Fact check: Fabricated screenshot of fundraising email from Donald Trump circulates online

·4 min read

The claim: An image shows a fundraising email from Donald Trump with nuclear codes

After the FBI searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on Aug. 8, the Washington Post published an exclusive report that said the agents were looking for classified documents related to nuclear weapons, among other items.

Following this report, some social media users shared screenshots of an email Trump supposedly sent a day after the search with nuclear codes.

A Facebook post shared Aug. 13 shows a screenshot of a tweet with that purported fundraising email. It includes the subject line "MAR-A-LAGO: RAIDED," a red banner with Trump's face and text that says, "The nuke codes are 15-25-50-80," followed by a request to donate $15, $25, $50 or $80.

"NEW: Donald is fundraising by giving us 'nuclear codes,'" the tweet says.

Text above the tweet in the Facebook post reads, "Do Trump and Republicans believe it is appropriate to use jokes about stolen #nucleardocuments to fundraise?"

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The post, along with several in the same vein, garnered a few dozen shares, and the original tweet amassed over 13,000 likes since it was published Aug. 11.

But the email shown here is digitally altered.

The original fundraising email sent after the Mar-a-Lago search, which USA TODAY obtained from Trump's spokesperson, contains different body text and does not include nuclear codes.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.

Original email has no nuclear codes

The purported email is "totally fake," Liz Harrington, Trump's spokesperson, told USA TODAY in an email. The original Aug. 9 email sent with the same subject line and red banner contains different accompanying text and has no mention of nuclear codes.

New York Times reporter Shane Goldmacher tweeted an image of the email with the caption "NEW: I believe this is Trump's first fundraising email off the FBI search."

The email reads "BREAKING: THE FBI RAIDED PRESIDENT TRUMP'S HOME: MAR-A-LAGO" and begins with the following: "These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, was raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents."

Trump adds that "nothing like this has ever happened to a president of the United States before," claiming that the Mar-a-Lago search was a violation of the "home of every patriotic American."

Fact check: Bruce Reinhart, who approved FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, was not appointed by Trump

Trump concludes the email by asking his supporters for donations.

Our rating: Altered

Based on our research, we rate ALTERED an image that purports to show a fundraising email from Trump with nuclear codes. The original email, which USA TODAY obtained from Trump's spokesperson, contains different body text. It does not include nuclear codes.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim Trump sent fundraising email with nuclear code