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GOP candidate who embraced QAnon conspiracy theory wins Georgia runoff, CNN projects

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GOP candidate who embraced QAnon conspiracy theory wins Georgia runoff, CNN projects

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The victory will also put national Republicans in the difficult position of how to respond to a conspiracy theory touting nominee who’s also made comments using Islamophobic and anti-Semitic tropes.

Greene faced off against GOP opponent John Cowan in the runoff. The two candidates previously competed against one another in a June primary election where Greene won roughly 40% of the vote, while Cowan received only 21%. A runoff was triggered after none of the candidates received over 50% of the vote in the initial primary.

The primary runoff for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, which is situated in the northwest corner of the state, drew national attention as a major flashpoint in the race has been Greene’s promotion of the wild and unsubstantiated conspiracy theory known as QAnon.

Although the theory is nebulous enough to invite all kinds of interpretations from its adherents, at its core QAnon claims that President Donald Trump has been secretly fighting to bring down a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles that has infiltrated all levels of the US government and other elite institutions.

Greene has repeated and promoted QAnon theories and phrases, praising the mythical Q as a “patriot” in a video from 2017 and describing the conspiracy theory as “something worth listening to and paying attention to.” She added, “He is someone that very much loves his country, and he’s on the same page as us, and he is very pro-Trump.”
Greene has also faced a backlash over the revelation of past Islamophobic and anti-Semitic comments, including saying that there is “an Islamic invasion into our government offices,” and calling the progressive billionaire activist George Soros, who is Jewish, a “Nazi.” House GOP leaders responded with condemnation following a report in Politico surfacing racist remarks and other incendiary comments in June.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-highest ranking Republican in the House, called the comments from Greene “disgusting” and responded by endorsing Cowan. Scalise has since maxed out in donations to Cowan and has helped fundraise for his campaign.

Asked during a primary debate to respond to the criticism she faced from House GOP leadership over the comments, Greene said, “If you’re a Republican and if you are unapologetically conservative like I am you’re going to see people like me called a racist even when it’s very unwarranted.”

During the same debate, Greene was asked if she was a follower of QAnon. She responded by saying in part, “I am committed to my allegiance to the United States of America. I, like many Americans, am disgusted with the Deep State who have launched an effort to get rid of President Trump.” She added, “Yes, I’m against all of those things and I will work hard against those issues.”

The seat for Georgia’s 14th congressional district is currently held by Republican Rep. Tom Graves, who has served in the House since 2010 and announced last year that he would not seek reelection in 2020.

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

CNN’s Michael Warren contributed to this report.

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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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