One of the most memorably horrific scenes of police abuse that played out across the country last week took place in Buffalo, where an officer shoved a 75-year-old man to the ground and then the rest of his colleagues marched past as the victim lay bleeding on the pavement.
Or so you think. Real-estate heir, reality television host, cable news junkie, swindler, and titular president of the United States, Donald Trump, proposed via Twitter that the episode is not what it seems:
Trump’s theory is that the victim, elderly progressive activist Martin Gugino, set up the officers by deliberately taking a fall like he was a power forward for Duke. But the plot goes even deeper. Trump referred to a report from One American News, the station of choice for viewers who consider Fox News too sane. OAN based its report on a story broken by Conservative Treehouse.
The Conservative Treehouse theory of the case is that Gugino is secretly working either with, or somehow inspired by, antifa, despite no evidence linking him to the street-fighting cult composed largely of confused young men young enough to be his grandchildren. Conservative Treehouse breaks down video of Gungino’s fall, Jim Garrison–style, and tries to claim he was reaching for the belt of the officer who shoved him. It alleges the old guy was attempting to covertly carry out “a method of police tracking used by antifa to monitor the location of police. In some cases, the more high-tech capture software can even decipher communication encryption, allowing the professional agitators to block (black out), jam, or interfere with police communication.”
So obviously, the officer, attuned to the probability that the old man in front of him was executing a sophisticated espionage technique, had no choice but to shove him. At this point, Gungino exaggerated the fall and then started bleeding for some probably unrelated reason. And then the police had to walk past him, because if they stooped down to check on his health, he might have reached up and stolen their communications.
Traditional presidents have had to rely on the clunky federal intelligence bureaucracy to update them of such dangerous plots. But since that bureaucracy is also part of an unrelated anti-Trump conspiracy, he has had to rig up his own intelligence-gathering system. Which, in this case, is a straight line from Conservative Treehouse to OAN to his own brain.