Fact Check: Someone Among Those Around Barack Obama WAS Indicted

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Someone Among Those Around Barack Obama WAS Indicted Greg Craig

Has no one surrounding Barack Obama ever been indicted? No, that's not true: Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig was indicted last year on charges related to work he did for the Ukrainian government after he had left the Obama administration. A federal jury found him not guilty.

The claim appeared in a meme (archived here) on Facebook on August 23, 2020. It opened:

Does anyone know how many people surrounding Barack Obama were indicted? I lost count at zero.

This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Aug 25 13:33:06 2020 UTC)

The meme continued:

Can you see a pattern in the US history? Nixon: 28 key officials indicted, Carter: None, Reagan: 33, Obama: None, Trump: We lost the count ... Steve Bannon is the latest.

As the source for its information, the meme cited a fact-check from Politifact, a group run by the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida.

We aren't attempting to cover all the same ground as that fact-check, which does -- in fact -- list 28 key indictments of people surrounding former President Richard Nixon, none with former President Jimmy Carter and 33 of people surrounding former President Ronald Reagan.

Rather, we are focused on the claim that no one surrounding Obama has been indicted. That's not true.

Craig, the former White House counsel, was indicted in a case connected to the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller last year. He was accused of making false statements to the Justice Department about the work he did for the Ukrainian government back in 2012. (By then, he'd left the Obama administration.)

Craig denied any wrongdoing -- and, in September, a jury found him not guilty. In a taped statement before his trial, Craig described the prosecution as both "unprecedented and unjustified." You can watch that tape below.

Although Craig was indicted after he left the Obama administration, the meme's reference to Bannon makes it clear that the indictments counted are not limited to those handed down to people still working in the various administrations. Bannon, who left the administration of President Donald Trump in 2017, was indicted this month on charges related to a border wall fundraising campaign.

Despite its flaw regarding Obama and indictments, the general gist of the meme is correct. It's true, in other words, that there have been many more indictments of people surrounding recent Republican presidents than of people surrounding recent Democratic presidents. For this reason, we rate the post partly false.

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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