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Conspiracy theory scholars explain why Trump’s paranoid rants are historically unprecedented

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From rants about former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate to paranoid ramblings about the “Deep State,” to fact-free declarations about “illegal votes” costing him the popular vote in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump has publicly spouted conspiracy theories in a way that is unprecedented for an American president.

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Russell Muirhead, a professor of government at Dartmouth, and Nancy Rosenblum, a professor of government at Harvard, have now written a new book on Trump’s embrace of conspiracy theories titled “A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy.”

In a review of the book in The New Yorker, staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert says the authors do an exception job of documenting just how strange it is to hear the most powerful person in the world talking like an InfoWars listener.

“Historically, Muirhead and Rosenblum maintain, it’s been out-of-power groups that have been drawn to tales of secret plots,” Kolbert writes. “Today, it’s those in power who insist the game is rigged, and no one more insistently than the so-called leader of the free world.”

Additionally, conspiracy theories have traditionally popped up to explain real-world events, such as JFK’s assassination or the 9/11 terror attacks. However, Trumpian conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate and QAnon are literally fiction that have no basis in reality whatsoever.

“There is often nothing to explain,” the professors argue. “The new conspiracism sometimes seems to arise out of thin air.”

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Read the entire review here.


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Michael Avenatti says he has El Chapo’s former jail cell — which the drug dealer described as ‘torture’: report

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Attorney Michael Avenatti, the colorful attorney who came to prominence representing Stormy Daniels against Donald Trump, is unhappy with his jail conditions.

On Monday, his attorney wrote to the federal judge overseeing his trial to complain about the jail conditions Avenatti is experiencing during pre-trial detention.

Scott Srebnick, Avenatti's attorney, wrote to Judge Paul Gardephe to complain about the "notorious 10-South" section of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he is being held in the Special Housing Unit.

"He is in a cell reportedly once occupied by El Chapo, on a floor that houses individuals charged with terrorism offenses," Avenatti's attorney wrote.

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It is Greta Thunberg vs Donald Trump at climate-focused Davos gathering of economic elites: report

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The starkly opposed visions of US President Donald Trump and Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg on climate change will clash in Davos on Tuesday as the World Economic Forum tries to face up to the perils of global warming on its 50th meeting.

The four-day gathering of the world's top political and business leaders in the Swiss Alps gets under way seeking to meet head-on the dangers to both the environment and economy from the heating of the planet.

Trump, who has repeatedly expressed scepticism about climate change, is set to give the first keynote address of Davos 2020 on Tuesday morning, on the same day as his impeachment trial opens at the Senate in Washington.

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‘Which Senator up this year most deserves to lose?’: Preet Bharara flooded with replies to provocative question

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Former United States Attorney Preet Bharara asked his 1.2 million Twitter followers a provocative question on the eve of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

With worries that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is presiding over a sham trial, many analysts have suggested that the Senate itself will be on trial.

"Which Senator up this year most deserves to lose?" Bharara, who was fired by Trump, asked.

There are a number of potentially vulnerable Republicans facing voters in 2020, including McConnell himself, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

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