President Trump on Tuesday defended promoting a baseless conspiracy theory that ties the Clintons to the death of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, saying it was “fine” because he was only retweeting what someone else said.
“The retweet — which is what it was, it was a retweet — was from somebody that is a very respected conservative pundit. So I think it was fine,” Trump told reporters before heading to Pennsylvania for a speech.
Asked later if he truly believes the Clintons are involved in Epstein’s death, Trump said “I have no idea” before pointing to former President Bill Clinton‘s relationship with the disgraced financier.
Trump, who ran in the same social circles with Epstein before he said they had a falling out, said he would like there to be a “full investigation” into the convicted sex offender’s death.
“I want a full investigation and that’s what I absolutely am demanding,” Trump said.
Trump on Saturday shared a tweet from Terrence K. Williams that blamed Epstein’s death on Bill and Hillary Clinton without providing any evidence.
The tweet included the hashtags #ClintonBodyCount and #ClintonCrimeFamily, as well as a photo of both the former president and former secretary of State.
Attorney General William Barr said Monday that Justice Department officials will thoroughly investigate “serious irregularities” at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Epstein was found dead of an apparent suicide over the weekend.
Epstein was found dead early Saturday in his jail cell in the New York federal prison, where he was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. He had been a registered sex offender following an earlier conviction in 2008 of soliciting sex from underage girls.
Trump and Epstein were known to run in the same social circles in New York and Florida. Trump told New York magazine in a 2002 article that Epstein is a “terrific guy” and “a lot of fun to be with.”
The president said last month in the wake of fresh charges against Epstein that the two had a falling out 15 years ago.
“I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. I mean, people in Palm Beach knew him,” Trump said a day after the charges against Epstein were unsealed. “He was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn’t a fan.”
The tweet, by Twitter user Terrence K. Williams, blamed the death on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Clinton and does not provide evidence.
The tweet included the hashtags #ClintonBodyCount and #ClintonCrimeFamily, as well as a photo of both the former president and former secretary of State. Conspiracy theories linking the death to both the Clinton and Trump himself trended Saturday on Twitter.
Bill Clinton‘s spokesman Angel Ureña responded by writing “Ridiculous, and of course not true — and Donald Trump knows it. Has he triggered the 25th Amendment yet?”
The Hill has attempted to reach the White House and Hillary Clinton for comment.
At around 6:30 a.m. on August 10, Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Epstein is believed to have killed himself by hanging. At the time of his death, Epstein was not on suicide watch. A few weeks earlier, it was widely reported that Epstein had attempted suicide in his cell.
Epstein was 66 years old. Epstein, a financier, was arrested in July 2019 and accused of sex trafficking minors in Florida and New York. Epstein’s connections to the political and business worlds had led to his case becoming front page news across the world.
Shortly after news of Epstein’s arrest spread, Patton posted this to her Instagram page.
The caption for the post read, “Hillary’d!! 😳P.S. Let me know when I’m supposed to feel badly about this… #VinceFosterPartTwo.” On that Instagram page, Patton says of herself, “Longtime Trump Aide | RNC Speaker | Posts are my own & do not represent @HUDgov, incl. all images, links, tags & comments left by readers | NY ✈️ DC.”
The reference to Vince Foster is regarding Bill Clinton’s former White House counsel who committed suicide in July 1993, six months after Clinton took office. Five separate investigations ruled Foster’s death a suicide. Despite this, conspiracy theories regarding a Clinton-led cover-up remain to this day.
NBC News’ Tom Winter tweeted about Epstein suicide considering he had been on suicide watch saying, “It is really incomprehensible how Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to be in a position where he could hang himself. High-profile defendant. Previous attempt at injuring himself. Dozens of victims seeking justice they now won’t get. The law enforcement community is steaming.”
Conservative talk show host Andrew Wilkow reiterated the Clinton conspiracy theory in a tweet that read, “#JeffreyEpstein attempted suicide before, was he or was he not suicide watch? If not who decided to give him another chance? This has the Clinton’s fingerprints all over it.”
Less than two hours after Epstein’s suicide was announced, the term “ClintonBodyCount” became a trending topic on Twitter. As did the phrase “Another Clinton.”
Health and Human Services official Ximena Barretopublicly apologized recently for her “heated and hyper-passionate” tweets on race and far-right conspiracies, after they were reported on by CNN.
She made her Twitter account private, and held on to her government job. But on that now-private account, she’s been unapologetic — recently calling the reports exposing her fringe views a “smear campaign.”
Mediaite conducted an extensive review of her social media posts and found that the HHS appointee pushed the baseless Pizzagate conspiracy theory even more than previously reported. Her tweets include smearing former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta as “a pedophile,” accusing Democrats of hosting “Pedophile dinners,” and claiming liberals abuse children during satanic rituals.
After her apology, Barreto, who worked as a far-right media personality before joining HHS in December 2017, was allowed to keep her Trump administration job — albeit, with a demotion from her old deputy director of communications post. But her private comment attacking CNN for reporting on her controversial posts suggests she is far from repentant.
“Locked my account after CNNs smear campaign,” Barreto wrote on June 14 in response to a follower asking why they can’t retweet her posts. “[I] received too many threats and packages delivered to my home.”
Barreto did not offer evidence to followers proving her claim that she was doxxed and is receiving threats. It is also not clear how making her Twitter private would deter these supposed threats, but a locked account certainly allows her to recant her public apology to her fan base without her employers at HHS seeing.
The Department of Health and Human Services and Barreto were contacted repeatedly via email and phone for comment, but did not respond. After this reporter asked for comment, Barreto shut down her private Twitter account and deleted her tweet calling the CNN articles on her views a “smear campaign.”
In past reports on Barreto’s extreme views, the right-wing media watchdog group Media Matters found that the HHS official made racist attacks against African-Americans, called Islam a “cult,” and pushed the Pizzagate conspiracy. An investigation from CNN’s KFile team found that Barreto had shared a picture calling for the hanging of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for “treason,” as well as pushed the Seth Rich murder conspiracy.
Mediaite obtained screenshots of Barreto’s Twitter feed that show she pushed Pizzagate — an absurd conspiracy theory that claims the Clintons, the Podesta brothers, and other Democrats ran a child sex trafficking ring in a D.C. pizza restaurant — far more than previously reported.
She continued this claim in other tweets, writing that“@AndrewBreitbart definitely knew of #PizzaGate before passing!” and quote tweeting an old Breitbart tweet with just the hashtag “#Pizzagate.”‘
The so-called “spirit cooking” conspiracy, which alleges — without evidence — that John Podesta, his lobbyist brother Tony Podesta, and other high profile Democrats practice Satanic rituals that involve preying upon young children, was another conspiracy that Barreto frequently pushed.
“@johnpodesta why have you not tweet since nov 7th? Having too much pizza at spirit cooking parties? Or playing dominoes? #PizzaGate,” Barreto tweeted in late November 2016.
In another tweet, Barreto claimed liberals use “children… in their #SpiritCooking parties.” She pushed the same claim when someone responded to one of her posts, writing, “Are u into the pedophile satanic stuff that podesta is in?”
She also connected the Pizzagate and spirit cooking conspiracies to the rapper Jay-Z, who was a Clinton supporter, tweeting, “Didn’t jay z sold crack? And shoot his brother? #BasketOfCriminals #SpiritCooking.”
Barreto attempted to combat the spirit cooking by using spiritual warfare.
“#SpiritCooking Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet,” tweeted the HHS official, alongside a meme that read, “There is no election in 2016. There is only the trial of Crooked Hillary. On November 8th, vote guilty.”
The official even tied the women’s health organization Planned Parenthood to satanic rituals, tweeting, “#SpiritCooking Planned parenthood spent 38 million for democrats #AbortionsForSatan.”
Her other contributions to fighting the nonexistent pedophile ring include accusing Hillary Clinton of “trying to distract us from #PizzaGate,” invoking the supposed “Pedophile dinners” of Democrats to excuse Russian election tampering, and stating that Clinton should still be held responsible for “#PizzaGate #BillsVictims and all the things she has done wrong.”
In total, Mediaite found that Barreto tweeted about variations of the Pizzagate conspiracy at least 17 times. Additionally, she spoke at length about Pizzagate in a Periscope video, as detailed by the Media Matters report.
Her other controversial posts include Barreto saying, “Islam [is] a cult that oppresses women, kills gays and wants us all dead,” as well as claiming all Muslims “practicing Islam” are terrorists because “their religion is barbaric.” Barreto also pushed the Seth Rich conspiracy in threeseparatetweets, using the hashtags “#KilledByTheDNC,” “#HillaryBodyCount,” “#ClintonBodyBags,” “#SethRich,” “#Hero,” and “#RIP.”
A Donald Trump adviser repeated calls for Hillary Clinton to be executed while blaming reporters for misunderstanding exactly what type of harm he wishes her.
A reporter for The Republican/MassLive.com asked Baldasaro on Tuesday, after an unrelated event in Cambridge, whether he still stands by his remarks.
Baldasaro said his comments were in accordance with U.S. law establishing the death penalty for treason. He suggested that Clinton’s use of a private email server could be considered treasonous.
“That’s aiding and abetting the enemy by those emails on letting (out) names of Secret Service special agents, our veterans, on those emails,” Baldasaro said.
Asked if he was concerned about the impact of his rhetoric on someone who might take it upon themselves to act violently, Baldasaro said, “No. … Americans are better than that.”
“What you in the liberal media consider rhetoric, I consider freedom of speech,” Baldasaro said.
Baldasaro said if people are worried about the impact of him talking about the law on treason, “Maybe they need to take it off the books if they’re that worried.” He compared it to someone saying a person who killed a police officer should get the death penalty, which is the law in New Hampshire.
Asked whether he had spoken to Trump about his views, Baldasaro said he had. “Donald Trump, he might not agree on the way I said it, but I said it as a veteran,” Baldasaro said.
Baldasaro said the law is “in black and white.”
“If people are that stupid and don’t understand, that’s not my fault,” he said.
Al Baldasaro is making the assumption that Hillary Clinton’s email server was compromised, which FBI Director James Comey speculated it was likely but as of yet there is no evidence. Without proof of a hack, or the ability to prove intent, then Mr. Baldasaro’s claims of treason fall apart.
Perphas Al Baldasaro should stop reading right-wing conspiracy articles on Breitbart.com that make the same unsubstantiated claims he is parroting.
But make no mistake people understand what he is saying, and they understand the history of what has happened before when leaders incite violence.
Yitzhak Rabin, was Prime Minister of Israel in early 1990s who attempted to pursue peaceful relations with the Palestinians, culmination in the Oslo Accords. In response, in some of the Israeli press Rabi was called a traitor, and posters of him dressed as a Nazi war criminal were waved at right-wing rallies. Many critics saw him as a traitor for giving away land they viewed as rightfully belonging to Israel.
In 2011, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot outside a Tucson Safeway, by Jared Lee Loughner. Congresswoman Giffords was featured on Sarah Palin’s infamous ‘crosshairs’ map, which targeted legislators who voted for Obama’s health care bill.
The graphic he included in the tweet features a picture of Clinton, with the words, “I presided over $6 billion lost at the State Department, sold uranium to the Russians through my faux charity, illegally deleted public records, and murdered an ambassador. Elect me!”
Messages left with Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns were not immediately returned.
CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield slammed Cohen on her show Tuesday, saying: “This show is called ‘Legal View’ because we know a thing or two about the law, and Michael Cohen is a lawyer. That there is libel.”
“To suggest that a woman murdered an ambassador. Look, it’s not as though Hillary Clinton’s team is about to go and launch some litigation on this, but that’s pretty striking stuff,” she said.
Banfield showed a tweet from 2014 of Cohen with Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, where he wrote, “#tbt being received by two great Americans…Hillary Clinton and Patrick Kennedy at the Kennedy Compound.”
“Apparently Michael Cohen thought she was a great American two years after Benghazi, and now he does not,” she said. “Let’s just be really frank here, people. Don’t call someone a murderer of an ambassador, for God’s sake. It’s offensive to Americans who really want the truth and what’s going on in politics. Please, give us a break.”
Cohen’s tweet comes the same day as a the House Select Committee on Benghazi released an extensive report on the September 11, 2012, attacks that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The report from the House Republicans on the committee argues that intelligence was available suggesting an attack in the area was possible and that Clinton and a top aide, Patrick Kennedy, should have realized the risks.
Cohen’s tweet came after an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published Tuesday shows Trump is ahead of Clinton at “being honest and straightforward” 41% to 25% respectively and 44% to 39% on the issue of national security.
Clinton did not kill Ambassador Stevens and 2 years of 8 Republican-led Benghazi committees found no wrongdoing by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or President Obama.
Let’s also review the other claims.
$6 Billion Lost
False – The State Department inspector general discovered $6 billion worth of federal contracts that overlapped with Clinton’s tenure that had either missing or incomplete paperwork. “The failure to maintain contract files adequately creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” the IG’s office wrote in the audit, which did not mention Clinton by name and covers a six-year period that continued well after she left office in early 2013.
False – This comes from the book “Clinton Cash” where the author falsely claimed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State had “veto power” and “could have stopped” Russia from buying a company with extensive uranium mining operations in the U.S. In fact, only the president has such power.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump called the circumstances surrounding former Clinton Deputy White House counsel Vince Foster’s death in 1993 “very fishy,” saying the aide had “intimate knowledge” of events surrounding the Clintons.
I don’t bring [Foster] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.