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GOP candidate is latest linked to QAnon conspiracy theory | WTOP

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GOP candidate is latest linked to QAnon conspiracy theory | WTOP

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DENVER (AP) When Lauren Boebert was asked in May about QAnon, she didn’t shy away from the far-right conspiracy…

DENVER (AP) When Lauren Boebert was asked in May about QAnon, she didn’t shy away from the far-right conspiracy theory, which advances unproven allegations about a so-called deep state plot against President Donald Trump that involves satanism and child sex trafficking.

Everything that Ive heard of Q, I hope that this is real because it only means that America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values, she said.

At the time, Boebert was on the political fringe, running a campaign largely focused on her gun-themed restaurant and resistance to coronavirus lockdowns. She is now on a path to becoming a member of Congress after upsetting five-term Rep. Scott Tipton in Tuesday’s Republican primary. The GOP-leaning rural western Colorado district will likely support the party’s nominee in the November general election.

Boebert is part of a small but growing list of Republican candidates who have in some way expressed support for QAnon. They include Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is advancing to a runoff for a congressional seat in a GOP-dominated Georgia congressional district, and Jo Rae Perkins, the party’s Senate nominee in Oregon.

The trend pales in comparison to previous movements that have swept Capitol Hill, such as the 2010 tea party wave. But at a time when the GOP is facing steep headwinds among women and in the suburbs, the QAnon candidates could add extra headaches.

The more times you have candidates who are crazy, the more it hurts your brand, said John Feehery, a Republican consultant and former House leadership aide. The trick is for Republicans to embrace the anti-establishment mood without embracing the crazy.

Republican leaders have distanced from some candidates, such as Greene. But now that Boebert is the nominee in Colorado, the GOP made clear Wednesday it would support her.

Lauren won her primary fair and square and has our support, Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, the chair of the House Republican campaign arm, said in a statement. This is a Republican seat and will remain a Republican seat as Nancy Pelosi and senior House Democrats continue peddling their radical conspiracy theories and pushing their radical cancel culture.

Boeberts campaign manager, Sherronna Bishop, said the campaign was ignoring the headlines tying the candidate to the QAnon conspiracy.

We know exactly what were about and thats the Constitution and freedom, Bishop said. We are not into conspiracy theories.

She said Boebert was not available for an interview until Sunday because she is traveling to South Dakota for a Bikers for Trump event near Trumps Independence Day rally at Mount Rushmore.

The QAnon theory has ricocheted around the darker corners of the internet since late 2017. It is based around an anonymous, high-ranking government official known as Q who purportedly tears back the veil on the “deep state, often tied to satanism, child molestation and even cannibalism.

Trump has retweeted QAnon-promoting accounts. Followers flock to Trumps rallies wearing clothes and hats with QAnon symbols and slogans.

Republican voters may not know the details of the theory, but they’ve become more amenable to the notion of conspiracies because Trump exploited them during his own campaign and administration, said Joseph Uscinski, a political scientist at the University of Miami who studies conspiracy theories.

Just as that worked for him, there are going to be copycats, too, he said.

Uscinski stressed that Democrats also believe in conspiracy theories he cited Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ insistence that the 1% run politics and that his 2016 losses in Democratic presidential primaries showed the system was rigged.

And Uscinski said there’s nothing in the QAnon theory that’s inherently conservative, and Boebert was nowhere near as enthusiastic about it as other candidates.

For example, Perkins, the GOP’s Senate nominee in Oregon, repeated the QAnon oath in a recent video. She took down a video backing the movement, then said she’d been duped by her own campaign staff and supported it again.

Still, Perkins has almost no chance in reliably Democratic Oregon. Boebert is running in a seat that leans Republican and stands the best chance of any of the candidates who have flirted with QAnon to end up in Congress.

I shouldn’t have to guess if my congressperson believes in satanic, baby-eating child molesters, Uscinski said.

Boebert owns Shooters Grill, an eatery where servers carry handguns in the aptly named western Colorado town of Rifle. She ended up on Fox News after confronting Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke in a Denver suburb last year over his plans to confiscate assault-style rifles.

Boebert’s sole known comments on QAnon came during a May interview with internet journalist Ann Vandersteel, whose site highlights other conspiracy theories. Vandersteel asked Boebert what she thought of the Q movement.

Boebert said she knew about it from her mother, who was a little fringe. Pressed, she added, If this is real, it could be really great for our country.

Some Republican candidates have referred to the conspiracy theory in social media posts but say theyre not believers. Angela Stanton-King, the GOPs nominee in Georgias solidly Democratic 5th Congressional District, said in a statement that a post linking to a QAnon video on Instagram that begins: This would explain why they tried so hard to make us hate him… was just questioning the movement. She also said that her use of QAnon hashtags in tweets didnt mean she was an adherent, explaining she peppers her social media with various hashtags to extend her reach.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the defeated Tipton was seen Wednesday sitting alone in the massive Capitol Rotunda. He said his campaign focused on the district’s issues and didn’t attack his opponent.

Asked if, in retrospect, he believed that was a winning tactic, he said: I dont know. Maybe were in a different world right now.

___

Fram reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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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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