January 18, 2020

How Trump Is Spreading a Conspiracy Theory About Pelosi, Biden and Sanders
WASHINGTON -- The first version of the conspiracy theory was hatched on Twitter on Jan. 10."Don't rule out that the reason Pelosi hasn't sent impeachment to the Senate is to hurt Warren and Sanders, and to help Biden," Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush, tapped out on his iPad. "By timing the trial so it takes place during the Iowa lead-up, she has leverage over the liberals."Fleischer's message was retweeted 1,400 times.Seven days later, Fleischer's theory that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was attempting to influence the Democratic primary -- for which there is no evidence -- was being promulgated by President Donald Trump."They are rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders, just like last time, only even more obviously," Trump tweeted Friday, claiming his Senate trial was designed to keep Sanders, the Vermont senator, grounded in Washington instead of campaigning in Des Moines, Iowa, ahead of the Feb. 3 caucuses."Crazy Nancy thereby gives the strong edge to Sleepy Joe Biden, and Bernie is shut out again," the president added.An idea that caught fire on Twitter and became grist for Trump demonstrates how the same echo chamber of right-wing media that boosted him in 2016 is exerting its power again just before the first primary votes are cast in 2020.There was nothing new in terms of the process that got the idea in front of Trump. But the evolution from online conspiracy theory to Fox News fodder to presidential talking point demonstrated how a world of conservative influencers, Republican lawmakers and online media outlets can drive disinformation through repetition and amplification.Two days after Fleischer's tweet, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, appeared on Maria Bartiromo's show on Fox News and repeated it. "This is the dirty little secret nobody is talking about: why the Speaker held these papers," McCarthy said Sunday. "This benefits Joe Biden. This harms Sen. Sanders, who is in first place and could become their nominee."In fact, Sanders is not the national front-runner for the nomination and never has been, although he had a narrow lead in a recent poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers. But Trump's reelection campaign in recent weeks has been seeking to elevate Sanders, viewing the self-described democratic socialist as the president's ideal Democratic opponent in November.The Trump camp, in turn, is worried about Biden's competitiveness against the president in Midwestern battleground states, and would like to do anything possible to trip up the moderate former vice president in his tight primary race against the liberal Sanders.McCarthy has continued to repeat the theory and profess support for Sanders, repeating the talking points in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. His television commentary was then written up by Breitbart News, the right-wing news and opinion site.On Thursday, The Federalist, a conservative website, ran an article with the headline: "Is Impeachment Delay How Democrats Are Rigging Iowa Against Bernie Again?" It said Pelosi's decision to delay impeachment "provokes the question whether she is deliberately helping Joe Biden."One day later, the message had reached the White House, where Trump, a frequent purveyor of conspiracy theories, presented the idea as a fact."It's easy to see why Bernie and his supporters would think the establishment is screwing them again," said Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, noting that the campaign often looks to Trump's Twitter feed for its daily message.Conspiracies surrounding Sanders' political fortunes have been a particular fixation for Trump, dating back four years. During the 2016 campaign, Trump circulated the false and unsourced claim that an "analysis" -- he did not say who wrote it or where it was published -- concluded that Sanders would have won the Democratic nomination if not for superdelegates, the party leaders and officials who were not bound to vote for the winner of their state's primaries or caucuses.At the time, Trump and his advisers realized the potential political benefit in lobbing these kinds of accusations. Their campaign, which relied heavily on depressing Democratic turnout as a way to win battleground states like Florida and Michigan, stood to gain by fanning the flames of the rivalry between Sanders and Hillary Clinton and dredging up the bitterness that many Sanders supporters felt over their loss.Even after winning the election, Trump continued to claim that Clinton had somehow robbed Sanders of victory. When Donna Brazile, the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, released a memoir in 2017, Trump inaccurately said the book showed that Clinton "bought the DNC & then stole the Democratic Primary" from Sanders.In an interview, Fleischer said he had not seen the idea about the timing of the impeachment trial anywhere else and had not consulted with anyone when he first pitched it on Twitter. "I just do my best to realistically assess what's happening in Washington," he said. Fleischer said he believed that Pelosi does not think Sanders can beat Trump in November, and that "she has one big thing on her mind: that's winning the White House."He said his tweet took off because "if it has merit, it starts to gather momentum.""If it has no merit, it's just another tweet," he added.Republican staff members on Capitol Hill said the theory gained traction because of a broader narrative -- pushed by Sanders' own supporters -- that Sanders was generally getting a raw deal from the mainstream news media and other candidates in the race.In a statement Friday, in response to a question from The New York Times about the president's conspiracy tweet, Sanders denounced the theories. "Let's be clear about who is rigging what: It is Donald Trump's action to use the power of the federal government for his own political benefit that is the cause of the impeachment trial," he said. "His transparent attempts to divide Democrats will not work, and we are going to unite to sweep him out of the White House in November."Pelosi's team has also made it clear she was not trying to meddle in the nominating process."Impeachment has nothing to do with politics or the presidential race," a spokesman for Pelosi, Drew Hamill, wrote on Twitter this week, responding to McCarthy's accusation. "As usual, the Minority Leader has no idea what he's talking about."On Friday, he added: "Regardless, Sen. Sanders isn't the only senator running, so this doesn't make any sense."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Vicki Gunvalson accuses ex Steve Lodge of cheating, lying and using her | Page Six Celebrity News
October 15, 2021
3RB_p9_FZ-Y
Katey Sagal hit by car while crossing the street, taken to hospital | Page Six Celebrity News
October 15, 2021
5kT2IIVMy0o
Erika Jayne’s threat to Sutton Stracke has been revealed & more from this week on Bravo | Page Six
October 15, 2021
X0y9D9aOBDQ
Necessary Realness: Will Morgan Survive the Dalgona Game? | E! News
October 16, 2021
QZJoaCiO3sA
Selena Gomez Says This Social Media Move "Saved My Life" | E! News
October 15, 2021
6DoqMGH3bRQ
Salma Hayek Explains Why Angelina Jolie SMASHED Her Face Into Cake | E! News
October 15, 2021
gTZPVmxRMfU
Kim Kardashian and Kanye Likely Won't Reconcile, She Now Owns Family Home | TMZ TV
October 15, 2021
attkYidh_Z8
Joe Rogan Stands Up to CNN | The TMZ Podcast
October 15, 2021
WgmPhCjlGoc
'The Masked Singer' Jester Costume Bulge Too Hot for TV | TMZ TV
October 15, 2021
0lnS7Gmu7O8
Jamie Lee Curtis talks 'Halloween Kills' and Laurie Strode's Legacy
October 14, 2021
-xyHjfTA2SY
Nicholas Braun, Jeremy Strong, Brian Cox and the cast of ‘Succession’ on the Red Carpet
October 14, 2021
O19yMBvhR48
Dave Chappelle Ignites Controversy, 'Halloween Kills' Hits Theaters | The Take
October 14, 2021
xOIUz0WuFS8
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.