Donald Trump, John F. Kennedy (AP/Wilfredo Lee/Salon)

Donald Trump will finally get to play a role in JFK conspiracy lore

Will Trump release long-secret government files about the Kennedy assassination?


Matthew Sheffield
April 28, 2017 11:51PM (UTC)

Perhaps it's fitting that Donald Trump, the man who became the president thanks to the help of conspiracy radio hosts like Alex Jones and Michael Savage, now has the power to reveal thousands of documents related to the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy. Under a 1992 bill signed into law by former president George H.W. Bush, the federal government is obligated to disclose thousands of previously classified documents related to Kennedy's murder within the next six months.

Conspiracy theorists, including Trump's favorite Alex Jones, have been salivating for decades to get their hands on these papers, most of which are said to have been created by the FBI and CIA.

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After an extensive investigation---a commission headed up by Earl Warren, then the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court---found no evidence of a large-scale plot to kill the president but their explanation has remained unconvincing to many, if not most Americans. According to the Gallup Organization, the public has never trusted the Warren Commission's claim that just one person, Lee Harvey Oswald, was Kennedy's killer.

Strangely enough, the number of Americans who believe more than one person was involved is actually higher than it was closer to the actual event. During the 1960s, around 50 percent of Gallup respondents believed Oswald had help. In 2013, 61 percent did. In the 1990s, probably related to the conspiracy-themed film "JFK," upwards of 80 percent believed Oswald had accomplices.

It's likely that whatever is in the long-classified documents isn't going to satiate a lot of people. It might even produce new theories.

Regardless of its effect, according to Politico, the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act allows only a single person to determine whether the confidential reports should be released: the president of the United States.

And why wouldn't Trump release those records? After all, he can finally get to the bottom of a JFK conspiracy theory he proposed last year, that Rafael Cruz, the father of Trump's former bitter rival Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, was actually involved in the Kennedy murder.


Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via m.sheffield@salon.com or follow him on Twitter.

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