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Hoax Alert

Fake News: NOT Due to Impeachment, Pelosi Did NOT Halt Trump's Presidential Salary

  • by: Molly Weisner
  • (Mon, 13 Jan 2020 17:49:41 Z)

Did Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi cut off President Trump's salary because of the ongoing impeachment proceedings? No, that's not true: a single member of Congress can't alter the president's salary. Only through legislation passed by Congress can it be changed.

The claim originated from an article published by Potatriots Unite on December 19, 2019, titled "Due to Impeachment, Pelosi Halts Trump's Presidential Salary" (archived here) and opened with:

"It's well-known that President Trump donates his salary to a worthy cause every quarter, but after his historic impeachment by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat led Congress, it appears that will no longer be an option. Using a statute in impeachment article 4-C of the United State's Presidential criminality code, she has halted any and all payments.

The order States that a President convicted of criminal activity while in office can not receive money or compensation of any kind for the remainder of his term. Moreover, Trump may also be forced to pay for wear and tear on White House furniture and properties, including several chairs in the oval office that have collapsed under his considerable weight, as well as 44 toilets that have been replaced due to massive structural failure and extreme pluggage. The total of these damages is near 4 million dollars."

Screenshot of https://potatriotsunite.com/paycut/

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Due to Impeachment, Pelosi Halts Trump's Presidential Salary

It's well-known that President Trump donates his salary to a worthy cause every quarter, but after his historic impeachment by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat led Congress, it appears t...

The hoax article cites impeachment articles in its claim that Pelosi can halt all payments to Trump during his impeachment. But no real consequences related to the president's salary can take effect until if or when he is convicted by the Senate.

The U.S. House already voted to impeach Trump on December 18, 2019. The proceedings now move to the U.S. Senate, with Pelosi expected to send articles - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - to the Senate this week.

Really, the financial incentives can only be revoked if Trump is officially ousted from the presidency by the Senate. Then, according to a clause in Article I Section III of impeachment, any convicted person is exempt from "Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States."

Additionally, the Former Presidents Act of 1958 says that presidents who have left office are entitled to a monthly pension, but that only pertains to those who don't leave the Office of the Presidency through impeachment. Trump would only be entitled to these continuing payments if he remained in office after the Senate trial.

For reference, the pensions are paid for by the Secretary of Treasury, and the president receives lifetime Secret Service protection. Since 2017, the annual presidential pension was set at $207,000 (the presidential salary is around $400,000).

And while it is true that Trump donated his salary to government agencies, the rest of the article suggests bogus claims, such as requiring Trump to pay for "wear and tear" on White House furniture "that have collapsed under his considerable weight, as well as 44 toilets that have been replaced due to massive structural failure and extreme pluggage."

The site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run by self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. Blair has been in a feud with fact-checking website Snopes for some time now and has also criticized other fact-checkers in the past who labeled his work "fake news" instead of satire. In reaction to this, he has rebranded all his active websites and Facebook pages so they carry visible disclaimers everywhere.

Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):

About Satire
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":

The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites that often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past, but new ones keep cropping up.

Here is a video of Blair explaining how his process works:

If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:

The Ultimate Christopher Blair and America's Last Line of Defense Reading List | Lead Stories

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.

If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer, it is, of course, also fake news.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes potatriotsunite.com as:

A site that publishes false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, part of a network named America's Last Line of Defense run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.

According to NewsGuard, the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about potatriotsunite.com before. Here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Molly Weisner.jpgMolly is a staff writer and fact-checker at Lead Stories based in North Carolina. She is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying media and journalism, with a specific interest in investigative reporting. Molly is also a reporter on several projects based out of UNC's journalism school, including another fact-checking initiative and an online weekly for a former news desert in Chatham County, North Carolina. Molly has also pursued freelance reporting in tracking the juvenile justice system in North Carolina.

Read more about or contact Molly Weisner

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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