James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas has a new book, “American Pravda: My Fight for Truth in the Era of Fake News.”
We’ll put aside the recent Washington Post embarrassment, along with the other flubs, missteps, and legal troubles that have arisen from the organization’s methods and pretend the title isn’t rather ironic.
Project Veritas came to prominence through undercover stings, aimed at capturing evidence of corruption in government, media, or other areas of public interest.
They’ve had a few hits (most notably, the ACORN sting in 2009). That early success helped launch Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website, and O’Keefe’s videos were prominently featured on Breitbart News.
That drive to maintain the same level of media attention has led to accusations of deceptive editing, as well as a few lawsuits.
Currently, Project Veritas is being sued for activities aimed at Trump protesters in the 2016 election.
With that in mind, O’Keefe’s organization does have one fan (even though he doesn’t seem to understand what it is PV does) – President Trump.
In the new book, O’Keefe tells of a 2013 encounter with Trump, where he was asked to go after President Obama’s sealed college records.
“He was confident Obama was born in the United States, but he suspected Obama had presented himself as a foreign student on application materials to ease his way into New York’s Columbia University, maybe even Harvard too, and perhaps picked up a few scholarships along the way,” O’Keefe explains. “Trump had reason to believe Obama was capable of this kind of mischief.”
I suspect Obama is capable of all kinds of trickery, but still…
It was Trump’s desire to find some smoking gun to place in Obama’s hands. He wanted something to hold over his head, proving him to be a fraud.
“Nobody else can get this information,” Trump reportedly told O’Keefe. “Do you think you could get inside Columbia?”
“As I explained, that was not exactly our line of work. We were journalists, not private eyes,” O’Keefe writes about the request. “At the end of our discussion, Trump shook my hand, encouraged me to keep up the good work, and half-whispered, ‘Do Columbia.’”
It didn’t quite sink in, did it?
Yeah. A lot of people seem to have that problem explaining things to Trump.