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Trump Fuels Conspiracy Theories By Claiming Beirut Explosion Was Caused By A Bomb

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Trump Fuels Conspiracy Theories By Claiming Beirut Explosion Was Caused By A Bomb

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President Donald Trump added weight to unfounded and dangerous conspiracy theories about Tuesdays massive explosion in Beirut when he claimed, without evidence, that the incident was a terrible attack caused by a bomb of some kind.

Trumps remarks at a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday evening came just hours after conspiracy theorists used social media to boosted the unfounded claim that the devastating explosion in the Lebanese capital was caused by a nuclear bomb a theory that VICE News has thoroughly debunked.

Trump began the press briefing by offering sympathy and assistance to the people of Lebanon, who are dealing with the fallout from the explosion that has left at least 100 people dead, 4,000 injured and 250,0000 homeless. The U.S. president then called the incident a terrible attack, without providing further details.

When a reporter questioned him further on this assertion, Trump said:

I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was [an attack],” the president said. “This was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event. This was a seems to be, according to them, they would know better than I would but they seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind, yes.

But it seems like no one inside the administration is willing to confirm Trumps claims.

The Pentagon declined to comment on Trumps assertion, referring reporters to the White House for a response. The White House in turn referred VICE News to the National Security Council, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Several defense officials, speaking to CNN, said there was no indication that this was anything other than an accident.

One official pointed out that if the generals Trump spoke about had concluded this was an attack, then it would have triggered automatic increases in force protection for U.S. troops and assets in the region none of which has happened.

It’s wildly irresponsible for a president to stand at the [White House] podium and spitball about an international incident like this as hundreds of casualties are still missing or being treated, Brett McGurk, a former national security official in the Trump administration who also served in the Obama and Bush administrations, tweeted.

State Department officials also revealed to CNN that Lebanese officials had been in touch with them regarding Trumps use of the word attack.

There are still many unknowns about the exact cause of the explosion, but the latest information suggests that it happened because 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, which had been stored in a warehouse in the Port of Beirut for over six years, ignited and caused a devastating blast.

But within minutes of videos of the explosion going viral on social media on Tuesday, people began speculating, without real evidence, that the blast was caused by a nuclear bomb a conspiracy theory that will be only boosted by Trumps statements.

Cover: Port workers run to the scene of an explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Massive explosions rocked downtown Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings and blowing out windows and doors as a giant mushroom cloud rose above the capital. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

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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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