Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., did an extended interview Monday with Alex Jones, the nation’s leading peddler of conspiracy theories, in an attempt to prove he was not a conspiracy theorist.
Interviewed on Jones’s show, Infowars, Gaetz urged the release of a House Intelligence Committee memo that many Republicans say will cast doubt on the legitimacy of the FBI investigation into President Trump’s campaign. Democrats have said that the memo is based on incomplete information and creates a false narrative, and the Justice Department has warned that releasing the memo without a security review would be “extraordinarily reckless.”
“We’re called conspiracy theorists because we see this cabal right in front of us,” said Gaetz. “We’re able to aggregate these data points and show what was really going on.”
Jones is a right-wing conspiracy theorist who has charged that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job conducted by the American government and that the Sandy Hook school killings in Newtown, Conn., were also faked. After a gunman fired shots in a Washington, D.C., restaurant, Jones apologized for pushing the theory that the proprietors of Comet Ping Pong were running a child pedophile ring out of its basement. (The gunman said he was a frequent listener of Jones and was on a self-appointed mission to rescue the imaginary victims.) Last year Jones was also forced to apologize to the Chobani yogurt company and the city of Twin Falls, Idaho, after broadcasting that refugees working in Chobani’s plant were spreading disease and crime.
Gaetz, a first-term congressman and Freedom Caucus member, is not the first well-known Republican politician to visit Jones. In December 2015, then candidate Trump told the host he had an “excellent reputation.” Jones claims he is still in contact with Trump, although Axios has reported that officials in the White House were attempting to limit Trump’s access to Infowars.
Jones assured Gaetz that while media companies would criticize him for appearing on the show, he should be proud of visiting.
“MSM’s [mainstream media] gonna attack you for coming on the show,” said Jones, “but that’s a badge of honor, the president’s come on before.”
Gaetz mentioned text messages between an FBI lawyer and FBI agent that he claims show a conspiracy to stop Trump from winning the 2016 election, and subsequently to remove him from the White House. (Republican legislators last week pushed the idea of a secret society of agents to depose Trump, claims that were later debunked.) A member of the far-right Freedom Caucus, the congressman has been pushing for months for the resignation of special counsel Robert Mueller.
The House could vote on releasing the controversial Intelligence Committee memo as soon as Monday. After the vote, Trump would have five days to either allow the release to move forward or file an objection. Monday also saw the resignation of FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who has been the object of suspicion by many Republican representatives.
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