In the wake of “sharpiegate,” in which President Trump reportedly used a black marker to extend Hurricane Dorian’s predicted path of destruction to include Alabama during a briefing on the topic, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Director D. James Baker told CNN’s Don Lemon Wednesday night the president could actually be jailed for publicly claiming the state could be affected by the storm.
“It’s illegal for the president of anybody else to put out a false weather forecast,” Baker said. “Congress passed a law back in 1894 providing for a fine or imprisonment for anybody who puts out a false weather forecast.”
Baker then pointed to a 1954 “tornado hoax” as the most recent example of a fabricated weather projection.
Acting NOAA director Neil Jacobs has been accused of directing the agency to publicly contradict the National Weather Service, under alleged threat from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, to include Alabama in order back up the president’s claims. Reports say Ross threatened to fire NOAA employees if they refused to support Trump’s assertion that Dorian might hit the Yellowhammer state.