President Trump reportedly tried to plant a conspiracy theory in the National Enquirer that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough murdered an aide in his congressional office.
As his anger festered against Scarborough and his wife Mika Brzezinski during his first year in office, the president asked White House aides if he should tweet about “the dead girl,” two people with direct knowledge of the matter told the Daily Beast.
He held off on the urge until November 2017, when he sent a vague tweet about an “unsolved mystery” in Florida related to Scarborough.
He also asked his son-in-law Jared Kushner to push the National Enquirer to pursue the story. “Trump through Kushner was begging [Enquirer publisher David] Pecker to do something about Scarborough [and Lori Klausutis’s death],” a person with direct knowledge of the situation said. “The Enquirer started working on a story at their behest.”
A White House official denied that account.
“This is utterly and completely false. Jared did not speak to the president or the Enquirer about this and any assertion to the contrary is ludicrous on its face,” the official said.
Klausutis, 28, worked in Scarborough’s district office in Florida when he served in Congress. She was found dead in his office in July 2001, and it was determined that she had an undiagnosed heart condition that caused her to fall and hit her head on a desk, which killed her.
“I remember we were looking into it, and the story didn’t materialize,” said a person who worked at American Media, the tabloid’s publisher. “We reached out to experts, and they dismissed theories that she’d met with foul play or Joe had anything to do with her death. We reached out to her family. The story never went anywhere.”
“If there was something there, we would’ve bit into it and stayed with it,” the person said.
A private investigator, Paul Huebl, and forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht said the tabloid had contacted them, and both concluded the death was not a homicide.
Yet Trump has continued pushing the conspiracy theory and has called for an investigation into her death.
Klausutis’s family has pleaded with him to stop, asking Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to remove Trump’s tweets related to her death.
“I am asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him — the memory of my dead wife — and perverted it for perceived political gain,” Timothy Klausutis wrote in a letter to Dorsey last month.
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