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Conspiracy-mongering Republican seeking John Lewis seat gets social media boost from Trump

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President Trump sits next to Terrence Williams and Angela Stanton-King during a meeting with African-American leaders at the White House in February. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

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President Trump sits next to Terrence Williams and Angela Stanton-King during a meeting with African-American leaders at the White House in February. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)
President Trump sits next to Terrence Williams and Angela Stanton-King during a meeting with African-American leaders at the White House in February. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

On Thursday evening, amid a fairly typical burst of presidential Twitter activity, President Trump retweeted two recent posts from the account of Angela Stanton-King, a Republican congressional candidate who has repeatedly used her social media feeds to promote content related to QAnon and other fringe conspiracy theories, including wildly implausible internet rumors about sex trafficking of children.  

Trump has also flirted with QAnon memes on social media, although his retweets of Stanton-King were not related to the loosely knit group whose followers have been described by the FBI as conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists.

In the first tweet, which was originally posted last week, Stanton-King describes herself as a proud Black woman who supports @realDonaldTrump and is done with the Democrat Party lying to my community. Stanton-King is running in the Georgia congressional district that was represented by the late John Lewis. 

Trump also passed along her tweet citing recently reported police data showing that Chicago experienced a 139 percent increase in murders this July compared to the same month last year. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and every single NBA player are silent, Stanton-King charged in the second tweet. They dont care about black lives. They care about capitalizing on black lives!

Stanton-King, who served over two years in prison following a 2004 conviction on federal conspiracy charges related to her role in a vehicle theft ring, was pardoned by Trump earlier this year and has since appeared at the White House along with a handful of other Black Trump supporters. 

I have never run for office, and I dont have political experience, Stanton-King told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Back in March. But I do have life experiences.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Stanton-King, 43, is a native of Buffalo, N.Y., and the goddaughter of former Georgia state Rep. Alveda King, a niece of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and an antiabortion advocate. She said she would fight against what she calls a Democratic war in support of abortion, and that criminal justice reform would be a big part of her agenda, noting that during her time in prison she gave birth to a daughter and lost both her mother and grandmother. 

Like the president, Stanton-King who also dabbled in reality TV before pursuing a career in politics   is prolific on social media. Besides parroting many of Trumps favorite talking points, she has frequently repeated ideas related to QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory centered on the belief that Trump is secretly working to  dismantle an international child sex trafficking ring run by a cabal of deep state actors and global elites. 

Screenshot: Angela Stanton-King via Instagram.
Screenshot: Angela Stanton-King via Instagram.

The FBI has warned that QAnons growing network of believers poses a potential domestic terrorism threat. In an intelligence bulletin first reported by Yahoo News last year, the bureau warned that the threat of conspiracy-theory-driven violence would likely increase leading up to the 2020 election, noting that the advent of the Internet and social media has enabled promoters of conspiracy theories to produce and share greater volumes of material via online platforms that larger audiences of consumers can quickly and easily access.

In June, Stanton-King ran unopposed in the Republican primary for Georgias Fifth Congressional District, which had long been represented by the late Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who died on July 17.  Georgia State Sen. Nikema Williams has since been selected by the state Democratic Party to replace Lewis on the ballot in November and is favored to beat Stanton-King in the heavily Democratic district, which includes most of Atlanta. 

Still, while her chances of getting elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November may be small, Stanton-King is among a growing list of QAnon-linked congressional candidates whove managed to secure a spot on the general election ballot this year. According to federal election records, Stanton-Kings campaign has received $2,200.00 from the Republican National Committee and $2,800 from the Georgia Republican Party. 

African-American supporters with President Trump at the White House on February. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
African-American supporters with President Trump at the White House on February. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Twitter and Instagram, Stanton-King has posted QAnon-related videos as well as the movements well-known hashtags and slogans, such as Trust the Plan and Where We Go One We Go All, or #WWG1WGA. In a statement to the Associated Press last month, Stanton-King disputed the notion that such posts are evidence that she is an adherent of the movement, suggesting instead that shes used the QAnon hashtags to extend her reach on social media.  

Nonetheless, Stanton-King has continued to promote the core beliefs and language used by QAnon followers, tweeting on July 11, for example, about Globbal [sic] elite pedophiles trafficking children. On Thursday evening, after Trumps back-to-back retweets had already brought Stanton-King to the attention of his 84.8 million followers, she tweeted in all caps, THE STORM IS HERE, a popular QAnon rallying cry. In Q parlance, the storm refers to the highly anticipated moment when former presidents and other members of the deep state and global elite are rounded up for their alleged involvement in pedophilia and child sex trafficking rings.

In an emailed response to questions from Yahoo News Friday, Stanton-King again denied having any association with QAnon, writing, I am familiar with the name only. I am not familiar with the group, movement or any of its core principles or beliefs.

I have an obligation to listen to my constituents, Stanton-King continued in her statement to Yahoo News. It is their right to express their concerns and my job [to] look into them.

QAnon isnt the only fringe conspiracy theory Stanton-Kings social media posts have touched on. Other recent tweets have included references to an older, thoroughly disputed internet rumor known as Pizzagate, which claimed that prominent Democrats including Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were running a child sex ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor. She has also made reference to a current, thoroughly debunked rumor that  the  online furniture retailer Wayfair is a front for child prostitution.

Did Ghislane Maxwell tip authorities off about #Wayfair? Stanton-King tweeted on July 10. Maxwell, a British socialite and longtime companion of the late Jeffrey Epstein, was indicted earlier this year by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York for her alleged involvement in Epsteins recruitment and sex trafficking of underage girls. Trump, who has known both Maxwell and Epstein socially for years, has said of Maxwell, who is in jail awaiting trial, I wish her well. … Let them [Department of Justice] prove somebody was guilty. 

With regard to her posts about the Wayfair conspiracy, Stanton-King told Yahoo News, There are major concerns of pedophilia and child trafficking.  For me, if there is an implication of danger towards children anywhere, no matter the source, Im on the front lines against it. 

According to a report by the Washington Post on the rapid online spread of the baseless Wayfair claims, An increase in calls prompted by the [Wayfair] conspiracy theory is straining the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which provides emergency help to victims.

Yahoo News sent requests to spokespeople for both the White House and Trumps reelection campaign for comment on this story. Neither has responded. 

_____

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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