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By Rachel Stoltzfoos
A liberal activist desperate to take down President Donald Trump paid thousands of dollars for what turned out to be forged documents, revealing a willingness among Trump’s critics to believe almost anything that might hurt his presidency.
The Israeli flew to Rome in January to meet with an Italian businessman who promised him a set of potentially explosive documents on Trump in exchange for $9,000 in cash, reports Buzzfeed News. The documents appeared to prove ExxonMobil had secretly bribed the president to nominate Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state, and the man eagerly passed them on to Democrat operatives and journalists. But they turned out to be forgeries. (RELATED: Former CIA Director Says No Evidence Of Trump-Kremlin Collusion)
The story is a look inside a growing market for information and is just one example of the lengths Trump’s opponents will go in the hopes of toppling his presidency, and gives a glimpse inside the growing market for potentially damaging information on him. Scam artists have taken note, Buzzfeed reports, and are whipping up elaborate schemes to tempt activists with fake information for a price.
The forged documents regarding the ExxonMobil bribe involved a network of people, including the Italian businessman, who claims to be a knight, an American felon who spends time digging up dirt on Trump, and the Israeli who fell for the scam.
“Such forged documents also feed the hunger of a growing audience on the left that seems willing to believe virtually any claim about Trump’s supposed bad deeds,” Buzzfeed reports.
Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith cautions journalists to watch out in a companion piece: “And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.”