On Friday morning, President Trump used his Twitter account to inform his nearly 60 million followers about a story he suggested the “corrupt” media is deliberately downplaying: the indictment of one of former President Obama’s top legal advisers, Gregory B. Craig.
“President Obama’s top White House lawyer, Gregory B. Craig, was indicted yesterday on very serious charges,” Trump tweeted Friday. “This is a really big story, but the Fake News New York Times didn’t even put it on page one, rather page 16. @washingtonpost not much better, ‘tiny’ page one. Corrupt News!”
While Trump slammed the media for not giving the story enough attention, all the major outlets did cover the indictment, though, as he notes, some featured it less prominently than others. Most of the mainstream outlets also underscored in the title of the piece Craig’s connection to Obama: “Obama White House counsel Greg Craig charged with lying to prosecutors about foreign lobbying,” the title of CNBC’s report reads. “Former Obama WH counsel Greg Craig indicted in charges connected to Mueller probe,” CNN’s title reads. “Greg Craig, former Obama White House counsel, indicted in case linked to Mueller probe,” CBS News reports.
Craig has been charged with lying and hiding information from federal authorities about his work related to Ukraine in 2012 and 2013, after he had left the Obama administration at the end of 2009. Like many of the charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the charges stem from Craig’s alleged failure to fully cooperate with the Russia probe.
“Craig, a 74-year-old lawyer based in Washington, D.C., was charged by the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, unit,” CNBC reports. Authorities say that Craig lied to the Mueller team about his work with the Ukrainian government in 2012 and 2013. At the time, Craig was a senior partner at the Skadden Arps law firm, which was hired in 2012 by the Ukrainian government to defend pro-Russia President Victor Yanukovich’s decision to imprison his political rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The charges carry a sentence of up to five years in prison.
In a preemptive statement to the press Wednesday, Craig’s attorneys pointed to the Southern District of New York choosing not to bring charges against him as evidence that the special counsel’s allegations are unfounded. “This case was thoroughly investigated by the SDNY and that office decided not to pursue charges against Mr. Craig,” his legal team said in a statement. “We expect an indictment by the DC US Attorney’s Office at the request of the National Security Division. Mr. Craig is not guilty of any charge and the government’s stubborn insistence on prosecuting Mr. Craig is a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”
After the announcement of charges, Craig’s lawyers decried the announcement as “itself unfair and misleading,” CNBC notes. “Mr. Craig had no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration. That is what this trial will be all about,” his lawyers said in a statement.