Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., is returning to her QAnon roots to push a conspiracy theory suggesting that the Clintons may be behind the death of a journalist who is believed to have died by suicide.
Boebert suggested on Twitter that the "Clinton Crime Syndicate" may be behind the death of local Alabama news anchor Christopher Sign, who broke the story about former President Bill Clinton's tarmac meeting with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the 2016 presidential campaign and FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, which itself has been the target of countless Republican conspiracy theories. Local police have given no indications of foul play in Sign's death and told NBC News that the death is being investigated as a suicide.
"Why is it that so many who cross the Clinton Crime Syndicate end up dead?" Boebert tweeted along with a clip of Sign promoting his book about the meeting during a 2019 interview on Fox News. Sign said in the interview that he left his job in Phoenix to move back to Alabama because he and his family "received significant death threats shortly after breaking this story."
It's not the first time Boebert has pushed conspiracy theories about Clinton. Asked during a town hall in March about whether Hillary Clinton and the former heads of the CIA and FBI would be arrested, the freshman congresswoman echoed QAnon-style conspiracy theories claiming that "with that information that I have, I believe we will see resignations begin to take place and I think we can take back the majority in the House and the Senate before 2022 when all of this is ended."
Boebert has previously expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory but denies being a follower. QAnon conspiracy theories have long targeted Clinton, baselessly alleging that she is part of a globalist child trafficking ring that cuts the faces off babies and wears them on video.
Donald Trump Jr., who has a long history of spreading conspiracy theories himself, also suggested that Sign's suicide may be some nefarious plot.
"Has anyone ever seen so many suicide coincidences EVER???" he wrote on Instagram while sharing a screenshot of a headline about Sign's death.
Trump Jr. similarly pushed long-debunked conspiracy theories about the murder of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed in Washington D.C. in what police suspected to be an attempted robbery. Conservatives pushed conspiracy theories that Rich was killed because he was somehow connected to the release of stolen Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign. The conspiracy theories were also promoted on Fox News, which ultimately retracted its reporting and settled out of court with Rich's family.
Debunked conservative conspiracy theories about the Clintons' "body count" date back to Bill Clinton's days in the White House, when right-wingers claimed that many of those connected to the Clinton's had died under "suspicious" circumstances even when they hadn't. Many have focused on the suicide of Vince Foster, Clinton's former deputy White House counsel who died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head in 1993. Multiple investigations, including the infamous Ken Starr probe, concluded that the death was a suicide but Republicans like Trump Jr. have continued to refer to in the decades since. Former President Donald Trump and others renewed the conspiracy theory in 2019 after the suicide of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Trump shared tweets alleging that the Clintons, longtime associates of Epstein, were behind his death even though Trump also frequently hung out with the disgraced financier.
"This conspiracy just sort of hung around," Joe Uscinski, a University of Miami professor and author of the book, "American Conspiracy Theories," told NBC News. "Mainly because the Clintons have been in power for so long and because she's the most recent face of the Democratic Party. She's a good boogeyman for Republicans to use now still."
Uscinski said the conspiracy theory has become especially popular with "QAnon" followers, who have gone even further than the nutty conservative claims in the 1990s.
"Q also absurdly implied that Hillary Clinton was somehow responsible for the tragic plane crash that killed JFK Jr. in 1999," Travis View, a podcaster who tracks QAnon, told NBC. "A minority sect of QAnon followers believe that Clinton merely tried and failed to kill JFK Jr, and he is still alive today."
Clinton recently responded to the decades-old conspiracy theories in a video with "Borat" star Sasha Baron Cohen."It's hurtful, I'll be really honest with you," she said. "It's hurtful not just to me and my family, but, you know, to my friends, and other people who know that this is not just false, but you know, sometimes painfully false."
The FBI has briefed members of Congress that QAnon "digital soldiers" may become violent and engage in more acts of domestic violent extremism, like the January 6 insurrection. In an unclassified version of the threat assessment delivered to top lawmakers in April the Bureau warns that Democrats may be targeted.
Rather than walking away from the far right wing conspiracy movement that paints some top Democrats as part of a dark cabal of cannibalistic Satan-worshipping pedophiles being fought by Donald Trump, some QAnon cultists think "that individuals need to take greater control of the direction of the movement than before," CNN reports in an exclusive.
The shift is fueled by a belief among some of the conspiracy's more militant followers that they "can no longer 'trust the plan" set forth by its mysterious standard-bearer, known simply as "Q," according an unclassified FBI threat assessment on QAnon sent to lawmakers last week, which was obtained by CNN.
This might lead followers to seek to harm "perceived members of the 'cabal' such as Democrats and other political opposition -- instead of continually awaiting Q's promised actions which have not occurred," according to the assessment.
CNN also reports FBI Director Christopher Wray "made clear the bureau is not investigating" the QAnon movement, but only crimes committed by its adherents.
One America News host Christina Bobb snapped at an Arizona Republic reporter last week while both were covering the GOP-backed Maricopa County 2020 election audit in Phoenix, Arizona. The conservative network host and Trump team ally swore at Jen Fifield during a confrontation in Veterans Memorial Coliseum after Fifield asked her a question, prompting an outpouring of online support for the newspaper journalist.
Fifield told Salon that the dust-up stemmed from a press gaggle earlier in the day with pro-Trump activist Vernon Jones, for which Bobb was also present. At the Q&A session, Fifield asked Jones if he would support a Democrat-led and fundraised audit, and Jones dismissed a question from Fifield regarding Republicans fundraising for the audit as fake news. Bobb — a fundraising force for the ongoing, baseless Trump ballot hunt — remained silent during the exchange.
Following the Jones gaggle, Fifield approached Bobb and asked, "Why didn't you say anything?" regarding the OAN host's own participation in GOP fundraising efforts.
"Go talk to your peers who do this to me every f**king day. I don't care," Bobb fired back.
That clash caught the ire of other journalists on Twitter, who defended Fifield and criticized Bobb's breach of professional behavior.
Neither Bobb nor OAN returned Salon's requests for comment.
In addition to her work with OAN, Bobb, a former Trump administration official, also leads a group called Voices and Votes, as Salon's Jon Skolnik writes, which raises money to support the audit:
Back in April, Bobb tweeted that Voices for Votes had set out to pump $150,000 into the recount effort in Arizona. Bobb told Buzzfeed that the dark money group is in no way connected to the news network, though the network and Bobb herself have repeatedly bandied false claims of election fraud.
Bobb has not only raised funds to support the Arizona audit, the OAN "Weekly Briefing" host has also reportedly passed information to the Republican Arizona Senate president to help advance GOP interests.
"Audit-related documents requested and published by The Center for Public Integrity and We Are Oversight showed that Christina Bobb ... was supplying Arizona Senate President Karen Fann with witness declarations, statements, and expert testimony in early December to help bolster the Republican-led effort to undermine the election results in Maricopa County, where President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump by 45,000 votes," Business Insider reported earlier this month.
Bobb has not hidden her fundraising activity. In early April, she wrote on Twitter: "This audit is crucial to know the truth about 2020. $5, $10, $20 will help the AZ senate finally complete the audit. Donate today! And thank you for fighting with us!"
When asked if Fifield thinks there's now bad blood between her and Bobb, the newspaper reporter believes it's possibly nothing more than a "misunderstanding."
"I think she misunderstood me as asking her to stand up for me. I think that's what happened," the Arizona Republic reporter told Salon. "I wish that exchange didn't go the way that it did."
Arizona Republic staffers took to Twitter in a show of support for their fellow journalist in the field.
Rebekah Sanders, a fellow Arizona Republic reporter and chair of the Arizona Republic Guild, told Salon that she stands by Fifield.
"Jen Fifield is one of the nicest, most polite, and most ethical journalists you will ever meet. She also is no pushover. She asks reasonable questions until she finds the truth. Anyone who can't handle that must have something to hide," Sanders told Salon. "No journalist deserves to be abused, cussed out, or threatened for doing their job. Our democracy is in debt to every local reporter providing accurate information about efforts to influence free and fair elections. It's disturbing and foreboding for our country's freedom that attacks on legitimate journalists are escalating and even celebrated among a small group of people."
The Arizona Republic Guild also told Salon that the harassment Fifield faced is "unacceptable."
"Jen is a dogged and well-respected journalist who has done an incredible job keeping the public informed about issues at the heart of our democracy," the Arizona Republic Guild stated. "She should not be attacked for doing her job. Nor should she apologize. We stand with Jen and all our reporters who seek to report the truth equitably and honestly."
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