On Monday, President Donald Trump shared a poignant clip of maligned hero Richard Jewell testifying before Congress in 1997 and demanding the FBI issue him a formal apology for falsely fingering him as a suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games bombing.
The president approvingly quote-tweeted a post from the Twitter user “Steph,” who argued that Richard Jewell’s treatment at the hands of the FBI and the fake news media parallels President Trump’s own treatment. Steph denounced both organizations as “tyrants” and “criminal organizations.”
“This is Richard Jewell. Listen to him. President Trump could read the same statement,” said Steph. “The FBI & their media partners are criminal organizations under the guise of ‘keeping us safe’ They are tyrants and it isn’t new.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2019
In the two-minute clip, a noticeably shaken and timid Richard Jewell denounces his treatment at the hands of both the media and the FBI, taking specific aim at the government institution for actively seeking to ruin his life in spite of the truth. Here’s the full transcript:
I come before you today, not as a Republican or a Democrat. I have no political agenda. I come before you simply as an American citizen with rights just like everybody else. One year ago today, the FBI and the media joined together to launch an attack on me of unparalleled proportions in the history of this nation. An attack calculated to portray me to the world as some kind of abnormal person, with a bizarre employment history who was guilty of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. It was all a lie.
Two days ago, the Justice Department issued a written report about its investigation into a few of the unlawful acts committed by the FBI in its investigation of me. While I have not had an opportunity to study the report in detail, I did read a redacted summary yesterday. I submit to you that the Justice Department cannot be trusted to investigate itself because that report is also a lie. It is filled with false statements, half-truths, and gross distortions of the truth. Reading it reminded me of reading the FBI search warrant affidavit against me. Apparently, truth for the Justice Department is simply whatever the Justice Department wants the truth to me. Within a few days, after my name was leaked to the media, the FBI knew it had a public relations disaster on its hands. The organization that prided itself on being the best investigative agency in the world had quickly, and with the word watching, pointed the federal government’s finger of guilt at the wrong man and they knew it within days. Not only did the FBI accuse the wrong man — its agents in Atlanta, and officials in Washington, actively participated in publicly humiliating me.
Richard Jewell became a national hero during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, when he discovered a bomb planted in Centennial Park. Risking his own life, Jewell successfully helped to evacuate the area, saving countless lives before the bomb detonated. As a result of his heroic feats, only one person died in the blast (a second person later died of a heart attack) while 111 people were injured.
Though first hailed for his triumphant efforts, things quickly turned sour for Jewell the moment the media learned that the FBI was investigating him as a potential suspect, believing he may have planted the bomb himself in order to gain notoriety.
Director Clint Eastwood’s movie chronicling Richard Jewell’s harrowing fight went nationwide last Friday.