A new right-wing conspiracy attempts to use President Donald Trump's "birther" smears as an excuse to let him off the hook in the Russia investigation.
The pro-Trump website American Greatness questioned why former FBI director James Comey briefed the incoming president in January 2017 about a salacious dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and speculated it was a setup, reported Washington Monthly.
That particular conspiracy theory was floated after Attorney General William Barr told Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer about the briefing, and right-wing media outlets suggested the dossier was leaked by FBI sources to Buzzfeed News in the weeks ahead of the inauguration.
American Greatness wondered why President Barack Obama had signed off on Comey notifying the president-elect about the dossier's claim about Trump allegedly consorting with Russian prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.
The right-wing website speculated the briefing was made to "intentionally rattle" Trump as revenge for his birther smears against Obama, whose press secretary compared the salacious Trump rumors to the conspiracies that dogged the nation's first black president.
"Is there a possibility that the entire Trump-Russia election collusion hoax was meant as payback for Trump?" the website asked. "Will any journalists bother to ask?"