The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Tuesday called for both Democrats and Republicans to denounce the White House's alleged role in a discredited Fox News story about the death of a DNC staffer last year.
“If these allegations are true, it is beyond vile that the White House — and possibly even Trump himself — would use the murder of a young man to distract the public’s attention from their chaotic administration and Trump’s ties to Russia," DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement.
"The Rich family has begged those responsible for these conspiracies to stop. And yet, Trump’s allies have ignored their pain and their pleas, degrading the office of the president by spreading repulsive lies."
“This should outrage any decent human being," she continued. "There is no excuse for the suffering that Trump’s associates and their conspirators at Fox have caused the Rich family and those closest to him. Both parties should denounce these sick and twisted tactics.”
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday morning, Rod Wheeler, a private investigator and former Fox News contributor, alleged the network fabricated quotes from him to push the notion that former DNC staffer Seth Rich was murdered for leaking information to WikiLeaks.
It also alleges that Fox News worked with the Trump administration to push the story in order to distract from Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. The story was retracted on May 23 — a week after it was published on Fox 5 in Washington.
Fox News has denied the allegation that it sought to distract from coverage of ongoing investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The network also said it has no evidence to suggest that the reporter behind the story, Malia Zimmerman, fabricated the quotes from Wheeler.