‘I didn’t come here to kiss your f—ing ring’: Sidney Powell ripped into Rudy Giuliani after clash over election theories, book says

sidney powell trump giuliani election
Sidney Powell participates in a news conference with Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington on November 19, 2020.

  • Sidney Powell clashed early on with Giuliani as part of Trump’s campaign legal team, per a new book.
  • “I didn’t come here to kiss your f—ing ring,” she reportedly told the former New York City mayor.
  • Powell later saw herself cast aside and then brought back into the Trump orbit.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

As Sidney Powell, a former assistant US attorney, became one of the faces of then-President Donald Trump’s campaign legal team, tension unfolded with Rudy Giuliani last November, according to a forthcoming book by Michael Wolff.

During an outburst, Giuliani, who served as Trump’s personal lawyer and has backed up many of the former president’s debunked election claims, reportedly described Powell as “crazy.”

After Giuliani questioned some of Powell’s most bizarre election theories, she snapped back at the former New York City mayor.

“I didn’t come here to kiss your f—ing ring,” she reportedly said.

Wolff detailed the showdown in “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency,” an early copy of which was obtained by Insider.

The book goes on to describe how Powell and Giuliani went into separate rooms as Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis sought out the former president to resolve the situation.

“The two of them [Powell and Giuliani] ended up in separate rooms sulking, with Ellis calling the president to moderate,” the book said. “The president made clear that he wanted Powell on the team. He was embracing everybody (or anybody) who agreed that the election had been stolen from him.”

As Powell became more entrenched within the Trump orbit, her conspiracy theories were amplified on a much larger scale.

Read more: Where is Trump’s White House staff now? We created a searchable database of more than 327 top staffers to show where they all landed

“In the days immediately following the election, she was the author on Fox of operatic new conspiracies, going much further out than anything the president had yet reached: computer systems had been programmed to switch Trump votes to Biden votes, with the CIA in on it. Now she had been telling Giuliani and the team that the conspiracy ran even deeper: Trump’s landslide victory was upended by an international plot,” the book said.

In media appearances, Powell falsely claimed that Dominion Voting Systems had tilted the US presidential election in favor of now-President Joe Biden. She alleged – without evidence – that Dominion secretly aided a rival election-technology company, Smartmatic, and had links to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Over time, the damage from her unsubstantiated accusations had taken a serious toll.

In late November, Giuliani and Ellis announced that Powell was “practicing law on her own” after being purged from the campaign team.

However, just weeks later, The New York Times reported that Trump was considering naming Powell as a special counsel investigating voter fraud.

According to The Times, most of Trump’s advisors didn’t support the plan, including Giuliani.

Powell currently faces a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion over her debunked election claims; Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell are also being sued by the election technology supplier.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A 7-point-plan to reinstate Donald Trump as president ‘in days, not years’ was handed out at CPAC

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

  • A plan to reinstate Donald Trump as president circulated at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
  • The outlandish plan involves ousting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and replacing her with Trump.
  • The conspiracy theory that Trump will be reinstated as president is popular among his supporters.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas have been handed cards outlining a 7-point-plan to reinstate Donald Trump as president ‘in days, not years.

Forbes reporter Andrew Solender posted an image of the card on Twitter.

The cards seemed to have been made by a group called Patriots Soar, which was not affiliated with the event organizers.

The outlandish plan involves ousting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and eventually installing Donald Trump in her place.

Donald Trump as Speaker would then call for a vote to impeach, charge, and remove “imposters” President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

As the Speaker of the House is third in the line of presidential succession, Trump would then take up the presidency again in this highly improbable scenario.

The plan hinges upon Republicans regaining control of the House, which they plan to do by pulling back the curtain on “the horror show” of the Democrat Party, causing groups such as the Black Caucus to “flip” sides.

The card links to a website that elaborates on the madcap scheme to reinstate Trump and claims to have proof connecting the Democrat party to satanic sacrifices.

The messaging alludes to popular QAnon-affiliated conspiracy theories that accuse the Democrat party of secret satanic abuse. A recent study found that around a quarter of Republicans believe that Satan-worshiping pedophiles control the US government.

The conspiracy theory that Trump will soon be reinstated as president has been popularised by prominent supporters, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and the lawyer Sidney Powell.

The card also refers to the widely debunked conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was fraudulent, which has been rejected dozens of times in court.

Insider has previously reported that there is no legal path for Trump to be reinstated.

CPAC, an annual gathering of top US conservatives, is taking place in Dallas this weekend. Donald Trump is scheduled to speak on Sunday.

Other speakers include Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump allies such as former Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to confront common science denial arguments, according to 2 psychologists

anti vaccine protest coronavirus
A protester holds an anti-vaccination sign during a rally on May 16, 2020 in Woodland Hills, California.

  • Denying, doubting, and resisting scientific explanations led to more COVID-19 deaths than expected.
  • Two research psychologists offer ways to understand and combat this issue of science denial.
  • Be aware of what you share on social media and recognize that people operate with misguided beliefs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Science denial became deadly in 2020. Many political leaders failed to support what scientists knew to be effective prevention measures. Over the course of the pandemic, people died from COVID-19 still believing it didn’t exist.

Science denial is not new, of course. But it’s more important than ever to understand why some people deny, doubt, or resist scientific explanations – and what can be done to overcome these barriers to accepting science.

In our book “Science Denial: Why It Happens and What to Do About It,” we offer ways for you to understand and combat the problem. As two research psychologists, we know that everyone is susceptible to forms of it. Most importantly, we know there are solutions.

Here’s our advice on how to confront five psychological challenges that can lead to science denial.

Read more: 3 things need to happen if the US wants to create a safe and organized vaccine-passport system, Okta’s CEO says

Challenge 1: Social identity

People are social beings and tend to align with those who hold similar beliefs and values. Social media amplifies alliances. You’re likely to see more of what you already agree with and fewer alternative points of view. People live in information filter bubbles created by powerful algorithms. When those in your social circle share misinformation, you are more likely to believe it and share it. Misinformation multiplies and science denial grows.

Action No. 1: Each person has multiple social identities. One of us talked with a climate change denier and discovered he was also a grandparent. He opened up when thinking about his grandchildren’s future, and the conversation turned to economic concerns, the root of his denial. Or maybe someone is vaccine-hesitant because so are mothers in her child’s play group, but she’s also a caring person, concerned about immunocompromised children.

We have found it effective to listen to others’ concerns and try to find common ground. Someone you connect with is more persuasive than those with whom you share less in common. When one identity is blocking acceptance of the science, leverage a second identity to make a connection.

Challenge 2: Mental shortcuts

Everyone’s busy, and it would be exhausting to be vigilant deep thinkers all the time. You see an article online with a clickbait headline such as “Eat Chocolate and Live Longer” and you share it, because you assume it’s true, want it to be, or think it is ridiculous.

Action No. 2: Instead of sharing that article on how GMOs are unhealthy, learn to slow down and monitor the quick, intuitive responses that psychologist Daniel Kahneman calls System 1 thinking. Instead turn on the rational, analytical mind of System 2 and ask yourself, how do I know this is true? Is it plausible? Why do I think it is true? Then do some fact-checking. Learn to not immediately accept information you already believe, which is called confirmation bias.

Challenge 3: Beliefs on how and what you know

Everyone has ideas about what they think knowledge is, where it comes from and whom to trust. Some people think dualistically: There’s always a clear right and wrong. But scientists view tentativeness as a hallmark of their discipline. Some people may not understand that scientific claims will change as more evidence is gathered, so they may be distrustful of how public health policy shifted around COVID-19.

Journalists who present “both sides” of settled scientific agreements can unknowingly persuade readers that the science is more uncertain than it actually is, turning balance into bias. Only 57% of Americans surveyed accept that climate change is caused by human activity, compared with 97% of climate scientists, and only 55% think that scientists are certain that climate change is happening.

Action No. 3: Recognize that other people (or possibly even you) may be operating with misguided beliefs about science. You can help them adopt what philosopher of science Lee McIntyre calls a scientific attitude, an openness to seeking new evidence and a willingness to change one’s mind.

Recognize that very few individuals rely on a single authority for knowledge and expertise. Vaccine hesitancy, for example, has been successfully countered by doctors who persuasively contradict erroneous beliefs, as well as by friends who explain why they changed their own minds. Clergy can step forward, for example, and some have offered places of worship as vaccination hubs.

Challenge 4: Motivated reasoning

You might not think that how you interpret a simple graph could depend on your political views. But when people were asked to look at the same charts depicting either housing costs or the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over time, interpretations differed by political affiliation. Conservatives were more likely than progressives to misinterpret the graph when it depicted a rise in CO2 than when it displayed housing costs. When people reason not just by examining facts, but with an unconscious bias to come to a preferred conclusion, their reasoning will be flawed.

Action No. 4: Maybe you think that eating food from genetically modified organisms is harmful to your health, but have you really examined the evidence? Look at articles with both pro and con information, evaluate the source of that information, and be open to the evidence leaning one way or the other. If you give yourself the time to think and reason, you can short-circuit your own motivated reasoning and open your mind to new information.

Challenge 5: Emotions and attitudes

When Pluto got demoted to a dwarf planet, many children and some adults responded with anger and opposition. Emotions and attitudes are linked. Reactions to hearing that humans influence the climate can range from anger (if you don’t believe it) to frustration (if you’re concerned you may need to change your lifestyle) to anxiety and hopelessness (if you accept it’s happening but think it’s too late to fix things). How you feel about climate mitigation or GMO labeling aligns with whether you are for or against these policies.

Action No. 5: Recognize the role of emotions in decision-making about science. If you react strongly to a story about stem cells used to develop Parkinson’s treatments, ask yourself if you are overly hopeful because you have a relative in early stages of the disease. Or are you rejecting a possibly lifesaving treatment because of your emotions?

Feelings shouldn’t (and can’t) be put in a box separate from how you think about science. Rather, it’s important to understand and recognize that emotions are fully integrated ways of thinking and learning about science. Ask yourself if your attitude toward a science topic is based on your emotions and, if so, give yourself some time to think and reason as well as feel about the issue.

Everyone can be susceptible to these five psychological challenges that can lead to science denial, doubt, and resistance. Being aware of these challenges is the first step toward taking action to meet them.

Barbara K. Hofer, professor of psychology emerita, Middlebury and Gale Sinatra, professor of education and psychology, University of Southern California

The Conversation
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The history behind how Area 51 became the center of alien conspiracy theories

Following is a transcript of the video.

In the early 1950s, US planes were conducting low-flying recon missions over the USSR. But there were constant worries of them being spotted and shot down.

So … in 1954, President Eisenhower authorized the development of a top secret, high-altitude recon aircraft dubbed Project Aquatone. The program required a remote location that wasn’t easily accessible to civilians or spies. Area 51 fit the bill perfectly.

It was in the Nevada desert near a salt flat called Groom Lake. No one knows exactly why it’s called Area 51, but one theory suggests it came from its proximity to the Nevada Nuclear Test Sites. The Nevada Test Site was divided into number-designated areas by the Atomic Energy Commission. The location was already familiar territory for the military, as it had served as a World War II aerial gunnery range.

In the summer of 1955, sightings of “unidentified flying objects” were reported around Area 51. That’s because the Air Force had begun its testing of the U-2 aircraft. The U-2 can fly higher than 60,000 feet. At the time, normal airliners were flying in the 10,000 to 20,000 feet range. While military aircraft topped out around 40,000 feet. So if a pilot spotted the tiny speck that was the U-2 high above it, they would have no idea what it was. And they would usually let air traffic control know someone was out there. Which is what led to the increase of UFO sightings in the area. While Air Force officials knew the UFO sightings were U-2 tests, they couldn’t really tell the public. So they explained the aircraft sightings by saying they were “natural phenomena” and “high-altitude weather research.”

The testing of the U-2 ended in the late 1950s; but, Area 51 has continued to serve as the testing ground for many aircraft, including the F-117A, A-12, and TACIT BLUE.

No one knows for sure what Area 51 is up to these days. The government never even publicly acknowledged the existence of the base until 2013, with the release of declassified CIA reports. But if you’re ever at the Las Vegas airport, keep an eye out for some small, unmarked, passenger planes in a fenced-off area. They’re how Area 51 employees get to work from their homes in Vegas.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in July 2017.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tucker Carlson claimed the NSA is monitoring his Fox News show as part of a plot to take it off air

Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson on the June 28 edition of his show.

  • Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed that the NSA is monitoring his show.
  • He said a source tipped him off about the surveillance, but offered no proof.
  • Carlson has long stirred fears that US intelligence is plotting against ordinary conservatives.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson told viewers on Monday night that the National Security Agency (NSA) is monitoring his show as part of a plot to take it down.

The host said that a US government whistleblower contacted his show “to warn us that the NSA, the National Security Agency, is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.”

The host said that he’d been shown information by the whistleblower that could have only have been accessed if Carlson’s texts and emails had been hacked. He did not share that information, or offer any other proof for his claim.

Carlson said that he had submitted a records request seeking further information, and said “spying on opposition journalists is incompatible with democracy.”

Carlson’s claims were received with skepticism by those with experience of the NSA and national-security issues.

“This is an open offer to the alleged NSA whistleblower – If in fact you have evidence of improper or unlawful collection of the comms of @TuckerCarlson call me and I will see if I can assist you in making proper, lawful disclosures through the approved channels,” tweeted Bradley Moss, an attorney specialising in national security cases.

(HoIS is an abbreviation for “hostile intelligence service.”)

However, the Justice Department under both the Obama and Trump administrations did spy on journalists as part of national-security probes in recent years.

Carlson has long stirred fears that US intelligence and law enforcement agencies are seeking to persecute ordinary conservatives. But has offered scant evidence in support of the claims and has been accused of seeking to whitewash violent right-wing extremism.

In the wake of the January 6 riot Carlson claimed that a law-enforcement drive against white nationalist groups and other figures on the far right was part of the covert plot.

In recent weeks he has spread the conspiracy theory that the FBI may have instigated the January 6 riot in order to entrap and discredit Trump supporters.

He has long claimed that the threat of far-right extremism, which has motivated a series of mass shootings in the US which have killed hundreds, is being exaggerated. He doubled down on that claim on his show Monday.

“Americans are, in fact, much more likely to die from a lightning strike than at the hands of a white supremacist,” Carlson said. “White supremacy may be ugly, many opinions are, but it is not a meaningful threat to the nation.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Doug Logan, the man behind the Cyber Ninjas Arizona audit, starred in an election conspiracy theory film alleging the CIA was behind election misinformation

Doug Logan Cyber Ninjas
Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan talks about overseeing a 2020 election ballot audit ordered by the Republican lead Arizona Senate at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, during a news conference Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Phoenix.

  • Arizona audit leader Doug Logan, who heads the Cyber Ninjas, is in a new conspiracy theorist movie.
  • Logan appeared on “The Deep Rig,” a film that alleges that the CIA was involved in election misinformation.
  • The movie’s director is a man whose previous work claimed aliens were behind the September 11 attacks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Doug Logan is the man currently heading the controversial audit of the 2020 Maricopa County election results in Arizona. He is also one of the stars of a conspiracy theory documentary claiming that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump – providing an ominous voiceover alleging a lack of election integrity.

Logan is the founder and CEO of Cyber Ninjas, a private consultancy based in Florida that was nominated to audit the votes in Arizona. Logan himself is a “Stop the Steal” supporter who has been known to tout election conspiracy theories, particularly those in favor of former President Donald Trump.

According to an article by local media outlet AZ Central, Logan was revealed to be a mysterious tech expert featured in the film “The Deep Rig.” The documentary premiered over the weekend to a crowd of around 500 people at a church in Phoenix, who each forked out $25 for a ticket.

The AZ Central wrote that Logan’s identity was revealed during the premier to cheers from the audience. This came after it was earlier speculated that a character in the film called “Anon,” who works as an “application security analyst,” was actually Logan.

Local news outlet AZ Mirror reported that Logan made several statements in the movie, including allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was involved with “disinformation” and election fraud.

Per the AZ Mirror, Logan said in the movie: “If we don’t fix our election integrity now, we may no longer have a democracy.”

According to the movie’s website, the film is based on a book about a 2020 election conspiracy theory written by Patrick M. Byrne, titled: “The Deep Rig: How Election Fraud Cost Donald J. Trump the White House, By a Man Who Did Not Vote for Him.”

It is directed by Roger R. Richards, who also made a 2018 film called “Above Majestic” that claimed aliens were behind the September 11 attack.

The AP reported on June 26 that 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County have been counted and photographed, but noted that a report on the audit may still be months away.

But questions regarding the legitimacy of the audit have been raised.

Arizona GOP elections official Stephen Richer blasted the audit in a June 21 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, saying that these processes are “insane just from a competence standpoint.” Arizona Democrats have also fought the Maricopa audit, calling it a “sham.”

The audit process itself has not been smooth sailing.

For one, the vote recount was critiqued by voting machine maker Dominion and the US Justice Department, after questions arose about the chain of custody and integrity of the ballots. In May, the Cyber Ninjas also appeared to be pursuing a far-fetched theory that ballots were flown in from Asia and smuggled into the stack, and were sifting through the ballots to find Chinese bamboo fibers.

Most recently, an expert review of the audit found that the Cyber Ninjas’ audit process had “fatal flaws,” and recommended that its findings should not be trusted.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Trump-loving insurrectionist and a convicted stalker are among 36 QAnon supporters running for Congress in 2022

2022 congressional candidates Omar Navarro, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Lauren Boebert with warped Qs and the Capitol building behind them on a purple background
Omar Navarro (L), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (C), and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

  • At least 36 QAnon-supporting candidates intend to run for Congress in 2022, Media Matters said.
  • Some of the candidates are diehard QAnon fans, while others signal their support subtly.
  • Experts told Insider that this shows how QAnon has evolved into a major political force.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In July 2020, JR Majewski made national headlines after transforming his 19,000-square-foot lawn into a massive Trump re-election banner. When the Air Force veteran from Ohio appeared in a television interview with Fox News, he was wearing a QAnon T-shirt.

Several months later, as Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s election win, Majewski was among the thousands of Trump supporters who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington DC, later admitting to breaching police barricades and walking up to the base of the Capitol building.

Majewski is now trying to return to the Capitol, but this time as a congressman representing the 9th district of Ohio, a seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Marcy Kapur.

Read more: QAnon followers are already spreading Epstein-like conspiracy theories about John McAfee’s reported suicide

Since he was first spotted wearing the “Q” T-shirt, Majewski has made several more references to the conspiracy theory, posting QAnon images and hashtags on his social media channel, and live streaming videos with the well-known QAnon influencer RedPill79.

Majewski is one of many congressional candidates running in the 2022 midterm elections who have given credence to QAnon, which the FBI described as a far-right group with “anti-government, identity-based and fringe political conspiracy theories,” The Washington Post reported.

Ohio man JR Majewski stands on his Trump-themed lawn
J.R Majewski is interviewed by FOX News about his Trump-themed lawn in Port Clinton, Ohio, on July 12, 2020.

A Media Matters investigation published earlier this month revealed that 36 candidates in 17 states have either openly endorsed QAnon, made subtle references to, or distanced themselves from the conspiracy theory despite repeatedly displaying their support on social media or in video interviews.

Thirty-three of the candidates are running as Republicans while two are independents and one is still deciding whether to run as a Republican or an independent, the investigation found. The state with the most QAnon-believing candidates is Florida with nine candidates, followed by California which has six candidates, although these numbers are still subject to change.

On the list are a handful of incumbents in Congress, including the gun-loving Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who helped bring the conspiracy theory into the mainstream.

The diehard QAnon supporters

Around a dozen congressional candidates have openly affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy theory, including Daniel Wood of Arizona, Darlene Schwaffar of Florida, and Mayra Flores of Texas.

In this cohort is also Reba Sherill, a health and wellness advocate who in 2020 unsuccessfully ran in Florida’s 21st congressional district – home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. She is running again as a Republican candidate for the US Senate in the midterms.

As a big Trump fan, Sherrill used to gather with other supporters on a bridge near Mar-A-Lago to wave in homage at the former president’s motorcade whenever he was in town, The Washington Post reported.

She is an ardent QAnon believer and has made the conspiracy theory central to her largely self-funded campaign.

The self-described “Q patriot” focuses her campaign on child trafficking, matching with QAnon’s false belief that Trump is fighting a “deep state” cabal of human traffickers in the United States, Yahoo News reported.

Sherrill has also referred to the more extreme adrenochrome theory – the belief that Democratic elites harvest the drug from children by torturing them and drinking their blood – in a now-deleted post on her website.

The Flordia native told Yahoo News that the “mainstream media tries to paint people who talk about human trafficking and child sex trafficking as being some kind of crazy lunatics.”

“This is not a conspiracy, this is reality,” she insisted. “It’s not some fictitious thing.”

Another congressional candidate who believes in the human trafficking theory is Omar Navarro, a convicted stalker running for California’s 43rd congressional district.

Navarro, who also featured in HBO’s “Q: Into the Storm” documentary series, is one of the more recognizable faces of the QAnon world.

The California native, who last year spent six months in jail after pleading guilty to a stalking charge, told Insider in an interview that he believes in “some things” that “Q” says, including the human trafficking trope.

“I do believe that there’s human trafficking going on right now. I do believe that Hollywood has participated in some of this with pedophilia on and it’s something obviously we can’t ignore,” he said.

Navarro, who has gone viral multiple times on Twitter for his far-right and homophobic views, has previously pushed the debunked Pizzagate theory. He told Insider: “I feel like there are certain things going on. There’s something shady in that pizza shop.”

The Californian also defended using the popular QAnon slogan WWG1WGA (“Where we go one, we go all”) in a tweet posted on October 3, 2020, saying he ended up deleting it because he didn’t want Twitter to ban him.

“I always have to worry about my free speech and what I say on Twitter,” he said.

The fear of being removed from social media platforms is not holding back QAnon fan Jo Rae Perkins, who is running for the Senate in Oregon, where she unsuccessfully ran in 2020.

Perkins, who discovered QAnon messaging boards in 2017 and describes them as a “source of information.” She has also posted a video of herself taking a “digital soldier oath” in front of a WWG1WGA sticker, CNN reported.

In a video interview with Right Wing Watch last year, Perkins compared the “Q” posts to secret codes used during World War II and said believing in Q is like believing in Jesus Christ, VICE reported.

The camouflage candidates

Around eight candidates have consistently and blatantly pushed elements of the QAnon conspiracy theory in the past but have, in some way, tried to distance themselves from it. These include Josh Barnett, Bobby Piton, Jon McGreevey, and Billy Prempeh.

Most famously, firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the freshman Congressperson who received the support of Former President Donald Trump after her primary runoff victory in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, is one of these candidates.

In the past, Greene has proliferated bizarre fantasies that are on-brand with the QAnon conspiracy theory.

She has accused Hillary Clinton of sexually assaulting a child before slicing off her face and wearing it as a mask. She once suggested that the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been replaced by a body double years ago, and has said that California wildfires might have been started by space lasers.

marjorie taylor greene
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene holds a news conference to apologize for her recent remarks equating mask mandates with the Holocaust in Washington DC, on June 14, 2021.

Greene pushed these ideas so fervently that she became a “correspondent” for a conspiracy news website between 2017 and 2018, NBC News reported. In one of her posts for the now-defunct “American Truth Seekers” website, the controversial lawmaker called Q a “patriot.”

She also told her social media followers that Q “is worth listening to” in a now-deleted video from 2017.

But while Greene once proudly broadcast some of QAnon’s wildest ideas, she has since tried to publicly distance herself from the conspiracy theory.

In August 2020, Greene said that QAnon no longer represented her current position. “No, I don’t [consider myself a QAnon candidate]. I think that’s been the media’s characterization of me,” she told Fox News.

But that didn’t stop Twitter from temporarily locking her account in January 2021 when it culled QAnon accounts after the deadly Capitol riot.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a contemporary of Greene and a rising star in the GOP, has also tried to walk back her support of the conspiracy theory she had formerly championed.

Known to some as the “QAnon Congresswoman,” Boebert has said that she is “very familiar” with QAnon and has praised the conspiracy theory. “Everything that I’ve 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 during an appearance on QAnon web show SteelTruth in May 2020.

But after winning the Republican nomination for Colorado’s 3rd District, she told Fox 31 News that she’s “not a follower.” She did not, however, disavow a central tenet of the QAnon ideology – that the “deep state” is actively working against Trump. “I believe there are people working in the administration that at least appear to be actively undermining President Trump,” she said in 2020.

AP lauren boebert
Rep. Lauren Boebert smiles after joining other freshman Republican House members for a group photo at the Capitol in Washington DC, on January 4, 2021.

Publicly disavowing QAnon whilst continuing to advocate for some of the conspiracy theory’s nonsensical beliefs is an oft-used “camouflage” tactic by the far-right, Media Matters president Angela Carusone told Insider.

Some candidates might be doing so to appear more palatable to a wider audience and to avoid “political blowback” while maintaining their base of QAnon donors, he said.

“When candidates walk back their QAnon commitment, I think you have to view that with real skepticism,” Carusone advised. “They do things in a careful and concerted way.”

QAnon is a political tool to raise money and attract voters

While some candidates publicly disavow QAnon in a bid to appeal to a more mainstream audience, others subtly signal their support for it as a means to bring conspiracy theorists into the fold, to donate and vote for them.

“Many don’t even mention Q directly,” Jack Bratich, an associate professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University, told Insider. “It’s become a kind of background story for adherents, who can signal to each other that they are part of this shadowy movement.”

Insider identified around a dozen candidates who have expressed their support for QAnon in less than explicit ways, via retweets, subtle nods to slogans, and the use of specific hashtags. These include Steve Von Loor, Tricia Flanagan, Sam Peters, and Anthony Sabatini.

qanon sign dc
Crowds gather outside the Capitol for the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021. .

Several candidates included the hashtag #WWG1WGA in their tweets. Others included the letter “Q” in response to posts from QAnon-affiliated accounts.

Tricia Flanagan, for example, wrote “ThanQ” in response to a QAnon account. Sam Peters used the #QArmy hashtag in August 2020.

“I’m certain that there are some of these individuals that don’t actually care or believe in it, but they see it as an opportunity,” Carusone said.

“I think there are some candidates who are certainly just being political,” Carusone went on. “They’re crassly seeing a potential political donor base or power base.”

QAnon is ‘on the rise’ in congressional politics

It’s clear that the influence of QAnon in congressional politics is “on the rise,” Carusone said. “And they’re aggressively moving to take over parts of the Republican party, local committees, school boards, local races too.”

Bratich said it shows how deeply QAnon has “settled” into the Republican party. “As a movement, it has expanded to try and take over the party,” he said. “It’s not central to the GOP but it’s no longer a marginal component either.”

QAnon is now a major force in American politics, Carusone agreed. “And, basically, I think we’re kind of screwed.”

Here is a full list of all 36 QAnon supporters who are running for Congress in 2022.

  • Josh Barnett, Arizona
  • Daniel Wood, Arizona
  • Jamie Byers, California
  • Mike Cargile, California
  • Ignacio Cruz, California
  • Peter Liu, California
  • Omar Navarro, California
  • Buzz Patterson, California
  • Lauren Boebert, Colorado
  • Darren Aquino, Florida
  • Vic DeGrammont, Florida
  • Christine Quinn, Florida
  • Anthony Sabatini, Florida
  • Christine Scott, Florida
  • Reba Sherrill, Florida
  • Lavern Spicer, Florida
  • Darlene Swaffar, Florida
  • MTG, Georgia
  • Bobby Piton, Illinois
  • Philanise White, Illinois
  • Jon McGreevey, Maryland
  • Danielle Stella, Minnesota
  • Sam Peters, Nevada
  • Mindy Robinson, Nevada
  • Tricia Flanagan, New Jersey
  • Billy Prempeh, New Jersey
  • Antoine Tucker, New York
  • Steve Von Loor, North Carolina
  • JR Majewski, Ohio
  • Mark Pukita, Ohio
  • Joe Rae Perkins, Oregon
  • Bobby Jeffries, Pennsylvania
  • Robert Lancia, Rhode Island
  • Mayra Flores, Texas
  • Jonny Teague, Texas
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Fauci opened up about the hate mail he receives, with people calling him Hitler and sending death threats to his wife and daughters

Fauci
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke about the harassment he faces on a recent New York Times podcast.
  • The infectious disease expert has been called a fascist and received death threats targeting his family.
  • Fauci chalked up the most extreme comments to politicized misinformation.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci has received an overwhelming amount of public attention in the past year and a half, and it would be an understatement to say it’s not all been positive.

Some Trump supporters and COVID-19 deniers put the infectious disease expert at the center of outlandish conspiracy theories about the virus. The vitriol has only intensified following the recent release of thousands of Fauci’s emails to multiple national media outlets.

Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and White House chief medical advisor, addressed the criticism on Sunday, when he appeared on the New York Times Opinion’s “Sway” podcast.

His goal is to “parse the science from the politics,” Fauci said.

“What I do is I concentrate on my job,” Fauci told “Sway” host Kara Swisher. “And when I concentrate on my job, I put very little weight in the adulation and very little weight in the craziness of condemning me.”

As much as Fauci tries to tune out the noise – he’s not on Facebook or Twitter – he can’t ignore the impact on his family, he said. The death threats and “obscene notes” targeting his wife and daughters have been among the worst of the harassment.

Swisher also brought up some of the recent personal attacks on Fauci, from Roger Stone comparing the doctor to Hitler to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “freedom over faucism” tweet.

Fauci said that kind of backlash – “an organized effort to essentially discredit the truth,” he called it – has dissuaded some of his colleagues from publicly speaking about vaccines. However, he said the more extreme the comment is, the more political he believes it to be.

“Here’s a guy whose entire life has been devoted to saving lives, and now you’re telling me he’s like Hitler? Come on, folks. Get real,” Fauci said.

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Trump’s chief of staff pressed the Justice Department to investigate the bizarre conspiracy theory that people in Italy meddled in the 2020 election using military satellites

Trump Mark Meadows
President Donald Trump speaks as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (R) listens prior to Trump’s Marine One departure from the South Lawn of the White House July 29, 2020 for a fundraising luncheon and other events in Texas..

  • New emails show that Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s chief of staff, was involved in the bid to overturn the election.
  • The emails show Meadows pressured the Justice Department to investigate election fraud conspiracy theories.
  • It’s considered highly inappropriate for White House officials to try to get the DoJ involved in political cases.
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Mark Meadows, who served as chief of staff in Donald Trump’s White House, pressed the Justice Department to investigate several conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, according to reports.

The New York Times first reported Saturday that in emails between December and January to then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, Meadows pressed him to investigate the baseless theories that the presidential election was stolen from Trump due to mass fraud or foreign meddling.

Among the claims, Meadows pushed was the bizarre ‘Italygate’ conspiracy theory. Its supporters invented a narrative that allies of Joe Biden in Italy could flip the result of the election using military satellites.

In other emails, Meadows discussed unsubstantiated claims of mass fraud in New Mexico and Georgia, pushed by Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

The report was later confirmed by CNN and The Washington Post.

The emails were recovered as part of a Senate Judiciary Committee probe into whether the Justice Department had been involved in Trump’s attempt to overturn the election result.

Meadows’ campaign to get the Justice Department to investigate the conspiracy theories is highly controversial as White House officials should not seek Justice Department investigations for political purposes.

According to the Times, the emails do not show that Rosen opened investigations into any conspiracy theories. Another email showed Rosen refused to broker a meeting between the FBI and a man who’d promoted the Italygate conspiracy theory in online videos.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told CNN that the “new evidence underscores the depths of the White House’s efforts to co-opt the department and influence the electoral vote certification. This is a fire alarm fire for our democracy.”

Insider has contacted Meadows for comment on the reports.

Trump and his allies’ election fraud conspiracy theories fuelled the January 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

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Michael Flynn denies suggesting a Myanmar-style military coup should happen in the US

michael flynn
In this Feb. 11, 2014, file photo, then-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Michael Flynn appeared to say there “should” be a Myanmar-style coup in the US.
  • The former national security adviser backtracked the statement on Monday.
  • In February, Myanmar’s military overthrew its elected government and arrested its leaders.
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Former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who worked briefly under former President Donald Trump, said Monday that there was “NO reason” for a military coup in the United States – one day after he appeared to suggest the opposite at a QAnon-themed convention over the weekend.

“Let me be VERY CLEAR – There is NO reason whatsoever for any coup in America, and I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort,” Flynn said in a post on Telegram, a social-media app that has been favored by far-right groups.

“Any reporting of any other belief by me is a boldface fabrication based on twisted reporting at a lively panel at a conference of Patriotic Americans who love this country, just as I do,” Flynn added to his 227,000 subscribers.

But Flynn’s comments Monday were at odds with those he made a day earlier at the For God & Country Patriot Roundup conference in Dallas. Attendees included Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, George Papadopoulos, and other prominent peddlers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which baselessly alleges the existence of a “deep state” cabal of pedophiles.

“I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here,” an audience member asked Flynn, who is seen as something of a celebrity in the QAnon universe, during a panel.

“No reason, I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That’s right,” Flynn responded.

Video of the interaction circulated across social media immediately following Flynn’s remarks Sunday. In his Telegram post on Monday, Flynn claimed the “media” was “manipulating” his words.

In February, the Myanmar military overthrew the nation’s democratically elected government and arrested its leaders. More than 4,400 political prisoners have been arrested since the coup began and 840 have been killed by the military junta as it attempts to silence dissent, according to research from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a non-profit organization that has been tracking and uploading the data.

“I am no stranger to media manipulating my words and therefore let me repeat my response to a question asked at the conference: There is no reason it (a coup) should happen here (in America),” Flynn wrote Monday.

Flynn served as national security adviser under Trump for 22 days before resigning. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with a Russian ambassador, though he later retracted his plea and was pardoned by the former president last November.

As Insider’s Rachel E. Greenspan previously reported, Flynn has previously echoed the rhetoric of QAnon supporters, including last year the baseless theory that Dominion Voting Systems, which sells electronic voting hardware, rigged the 2020 election in President Joe Biden’s favor. There is no evidence to support that claim.

In July last year, he shared a video to Twitter espousing QAnon’s main slogan.

As CNN reported Monday, Flynn continued to repeat false claims about the 2020 election during last weekend’s convention, saying, “Trump won. He won the popular vote, and he won the Electoral College vote.” Trump won neither the popular vote nor the Electoral College vote.

Many followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which centered on the false narrative that Trump was fighting a fictional cabal of human traffickers, have refused to accept last year’s election results in the wake of Biden’s ascension to the presidency. QAnon followers and their theories were directly linked to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol that led to five deaths.

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