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Tag: qanon

The Pedophiles' Best Friend Is A Trump Republican

Of all the lurid nonsense circulating among conspiracy-addled Republicans, none of their theories is viler than the libel of child sexual abuse that began under the rubric of "Pizzagate" and became the basis of the cult ideology of QAnon. So successful was the smear campaign begun by followers of Donald Trump that millions of deranged people now believe those gothic horror tales targeting the likes of Hillary Clinton, Chrissy Teigen, and Tom Hanks, with the connivance of Republican politicians in search of Jewish space lasers.

Then there's real life, in which actual, detestable pedophiles and other sex offenders can depend on their reliable defender Kenneth W. Starr to shield them from the punishment they deserve. Yes, it's that Ken Starr, the Savanarola of sexual propriety, who is the pedophiles' best friend.

What we have learned in recent days about the sanctimonious Starr, from his alleged sexual infidelities to his zealous defense of the late Jeffrey Epstein, not only strips away his pious pretensions as sheer hypocrisies but also raises serious questions about his conduct that must still be answered.

A former public relations executive named Judi Hershman opened the latest inquest into Starr's iniquities on July 13 when she published an essay on Medium titled "Ken Starr, Brett Kavanaugh, Jeffrey Epstein and Me" that detailed, among many other things, her own illicit affair with the former independent counsel. Her account of an episode with the borderline Kavanaugh and his uncontrollable temper when they both worked for Starr on the Clinton prosecution, as well as her disillusionment with the misogynistic Starr, is worth reading. Yes, that Ken Starr, who, she says, took her hand and "placed it on his crotch."

Hershman recalls Starr's attempt in 2010 to deceive her into "counseling" Epstein, whom he whitewashed as "a very wealthy, very smart businessman who got himself into trouble for getting involved with a couple of underage girls who lied about their ages." He explained that "everyone deserves representation" and that the very smart businessman had "promised to keep it above 18 from now on." By then Epstein had raped scores of underage girls, and thereafter continued to do so.

Hershman writes that at the time, it didn't occur to her that Starr himself would be lying about Epstein, or that he might have been involved in executing the "secret and egregious sweetheart deal" that allowed the very smart businessman to evade justice for so many years.

But according to a new book by Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown, who first blew the lid off that deal, Starr was zealously committed to the Epstein defense. Her earlier reporting led to the dismissal of Alex Azar, the U.S. Attorney in Florida who signed off on that agreement, from former President Donald Trump's cabinet.

In Perversion of Justice, Brown writes that Epstein brought on Starr and Jay Lefkowitz, his longtime associate and partner at Kirkland & Ellis, because of their connections in the Bush Justice Department. Starr's campaign on behalf of Epstein included a "brutal" smear of a female prosecutor and an insider lobbying effort at the department's Washington headquarters.

Apparently, Starr has a strangely protective attitude toward molesters and rapists, even when he isn't being paid big money to defend them. A few years after his crusade on Epstein's behalf, he and his wife sent a letter to a county judge urging leniency for Christopher Kloman, a retired school administrator and friend of the Starrs who pled guilty to molesting five girls at the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia. They thought he should be sentenced to community service, but the judge instead gave him 43 years in prison.

Americans first glimpsed the dark side of Starr's character when he published the salacious Starr Report (co-authored by Kavanaugh) that led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. They learned more about him when he was booted from the presidency of Baylor University for covering up the rampant sexual abuse of women on campus, including a gang rape by football players. With his partisan fanaticism and his bogus religiosity, he was a natural for Trump's impeachment defense.

Considering the smears perpetrated against Hillary Clinton in recent years, it is ironic indeed to review the unsavory conduct of a man who spent so much public time and money attempting to frame her for crimes she didn't commit as first lady. But these revelations about Starr should evoke more than bemused contempt.

What Julie Brown's book demands is a full investigation of an authentic conspiracy to pervert justice by Republican prosecutors and lawyers, including Starr. The Justice Department and the House and Senate judiciary committees must not let them get away with it.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

QAnon Cultists Disguise Themselves To Run For School Boards

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Since former President Donald Trump's election loss, QAnon believers have been working around the clock to incorporate new ways to get their message across.

According to NBC News, their latest plan involves infiltrating schools by way of the school boards. The publication recently highlighted details from Drake Wuertz's appearance at the Seminole County School Board. In a video posted to the school district's YouTube account, Wuertz expressed concern about the possibility of children being exposed to "systemic abuse."

"They're being carried away through our education system, through the woke ideology that's infiltrated professional sports, through the sexual grooming and pedophilia that's apparent in the entertainment industry," Wuertz said. "We need to run for precinct committees, we need to run for City Council, run for school board and primary the RINOs in this room," he said, using the RINO acronym which stands for Republicans in Name Only.

Still, Wuertz has made attempts to publicly distance himself from what he describes as "Q theories."

"I can tell you that I 100 percent don't subscribe to Q theories. Q theories hurt the mission of fighting sex trafficking and bring negative attention," Wuertz said.

The publication notes that many QAnon believers are taking the same course of action publicly. As they position themselves to run for public office, they are speaking less about the movement publicly. Mike Rothschild, author of The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy, weighed in on how QAnon believers are flipping the perspective of their movement.

"If you identify as QAnon, people look at you like you're crazy. But if you passionately talk about how we need to be saving children and protecting them from trafficking, then you come off as a compassionate person who really cares about the welfare of children," Rothschild said. "You're no longer one of those crazy cult people who thinks Hillary Clinton is trafficking kids in a tunnel under Central Park."

Since Trump's election loss, Rothchild explained how QAnon believers are making impromptu changes.

He later added, "QAnon traditionally was top-down. It was, at its heart, Donald Trump tweeting, 'My fellow Americans, The Storm is upon us,' followed by hundreds of thousands of arrests. They know now that's not happening," Rothschild said. "The prophecy around which QAnon was built is now done, but this movement now is bigger and stronger and more vocal than ever. So rather than just abandon it, they are changing it. They're rewriting it on the fly. And now it's really coming from the bottom up."

QAnon Promoter Seeks Maryland GOP Governor Nomination

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Maryland state Del. Daniel Cox (R), now a candidate for governor, has in the past expressed support for the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory.

Cox announced on Sunday that he would be seeking the Republican nomination for governor of Maryland. The current governor, Republican Larry Hogan, is term-limited and cannot seek a third consecutive term in office. Two other Republican candidates are currently seeking the nomination and nine Democrats are running for their party's nomination.

Cox, an outspoken supporter of Trump, used the hashtag "WWG1WGA" in an October 2020 tweet that warned that Biden was "dark and oppressed" and would "lock us in our homes."

The acronym "WWG1WGA" stands for "when we go one, we go all" and rose to prominence for its connection to the QAnon conspiracy theory. QAnon devotees believe that celebrities and elected officials are part of a worldwide child trafficking network. Those claims have repeatedly been debunked.

Hogan in January referred to Cox as a "QAnon conspiracy theorist" and criticized the delegate for lawsuits he filed against the state that attacked mask mandates designed to halt the spread of the virus. (Cox also works as a lawyer).

"I know he filed suit against us multiple times, [he's] a QAnon conspiracy theorist who says crazy things every day," Hogan said of his fellow Republican.

In addition to his QAnon background, Cox called for a "forensic audit of the 2020 election" in the video accompanying the launch of his gubernatorial campaign, a reference to right-wing conspiracy theories that have emerged since Trump lost to Biden.

Many Republicans have been pushing for other states to emulate the flawed election "audit" currently underway in Arizona, led by GOP state lawmakers.

Cox has previously promoted election conspiracies. He organized buses to transport protesters to the "stop the steal" rally in Washington on January 6, and as Trump supporters attacked the Capitol, Cox tweeted, "Pence is a traitor."

The website Maryland Matters noted that on the same day, Cox promoted tweets that falsely claimed antifa was behind the Capitol attack.

Cox later released a statement denouncing the attack after some called for his expulsion from the Maryland General Assembly.

Cox is a former member of Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group opposed to LGBTQ rights. In 2017, Cox filed suit against a Maryland high school, alleging that allowing students to use bathrooms aligned with their gender identity violated the rights of a female student.

While the current governor of Maryland is a Republican, it is expected that the seat may tilt toward Democrats. Cook Political Report rates the race as "lean Democratic." In 2020, Maryland overwhelming voted for President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump, by a margin of 65 percent to 32 percent. Both of Maryland's senators are Democrats and seven out of the state's eight House representatives are Democrats.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Yes, There Is A Conspiracy

Conspiracy has replaced policy as the motivating force of the Republican Party and its media minions — but only the most flimsy and imaginary conspiracies qualify for partisan attention. Actual criminal conspiracies that threaten the nation merit no concern.

That's why congressional Republicans killed the independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection but now insinuate that the terrible events of that day were secretly instigated by the FBI. While there is no shred of evidence to support that fraudulent and insulting claim, the Party of Trump can say anything to its moronic cultists without fear of contradiction. They're faithful supporters of law enforcement, except when they're insulting law enforcement officers, accusing them of felonious schemes or perhaps trying to maim them.

Such fabrications ought to be familiar to anyone who has been paying attention over the past few years. Concocted to distract from real events and issues, they have become the standard Trumpist retort whenever a troubling question arises.

When the collusive relationship between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and the Kremlin became too obvious to ignore, the response from the suspected perpetrators (and traitors) in the White House was to scream "conspiracy." Somebody was conspiring to mount a "witch hunt" against Trump, whether it was the Deep State, the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS, the fake news media, or all of them combined. Investigators and subpoenas uncovered the facts, which included Trump Tower meetings with Russian agents, interference by Russian intelligence assets to support Trump, and even a handoff of sensitive campaign materials to a Russian spy. Then came the cover-up, with Trump promising (and eventually delivering) pardons to Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn, and other crooks who might incriminate him.

Dismissing all of that, Attorney General Bill Barr pretended to see a possible conspiracy against Trump — and even deputized a U.S. Attorney named John Durham to uncover it. By the time that probe came up empty, however, everyone had presumably moved on.

Now the Republicans want to avoid a thorough investigation of the January 6 insurrection — and the malign and traitorous actors behind it — at any cost. Any serious probe will not only incriminate Trump and certain figures around him but may well implicate members of the House Republican caucus who encouraged the violence. We already know at least a few of their names, including Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. All of them are frantically trying to conceal the horror of that day. Their actions scream consciousness of guilt.

Equally troubling for the Republican leaders is the prospect of testifying under oath about their own knowledge of what went down. They don't want to discuss the very strange failure by Trump to respond to pleas for help while the rioters hunted for members with intent to kill — as recounted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. It's just too sickening, and so is their cowardice.

The Justice Department is prosecuting extremely violent conspiracies by members of the Trump-affiliated groups that attacked the Capitol, notably the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and the QAnon cult. When all of the connections between those scummy outfits and Trump's circle are finally revealed, McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pray that America will no longer be paying attention.

If the fascist faction in the House — and their spokesman Tucker Carlson, the Fox News fabulist — believe their own slanders of the FBI, they should be clamoring for an independent investigation. But they're manufacturing a lie — and they know it.

Fortunately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just announced the formation of a House select committee to mount a full investigation of the January 6 insurrection. That special committee will have subpoena authority and, hopefully, a Democratic chair who will pursue the facts without remorse or fear. Unlike the independent commission, which Republicans rejected despite concessions to all of their demands, this committee will face no deadlines, nor require bipartisan agreement on investigative decisions.

Yes, there was, and is, a conspiracy against democracy, whose ringleaders will be exposed — despite the Republican leadership's desperate attempts to shield them.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Boebert Suggests Her Election Was Divinely Ordained

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) on Thursday described her 2020 House election victory in terms often used by Christian conservatives that place U.S. politics in a context of biblical miracles.

During an interview with Tony Perkins, president of the far-right anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, Boebert said, "My victory in this race is certainly a sign and a wonder, just like God promised."

Telling Perkins about "the journey that Jesus took me on as I was called to Congress," Boebert said that she voted for Donald Trump, "who defended the right to life and honored the Bible."

"The wisdom of the world is foolishness in God's sight," she said of predictions that she wouldn't win her race for the House, reciting a Bible verse: "Just like God promised, he said, 'Here I am,' Isaiah 8:18 says, 'Here I am, and the children whom the Lord has given me. We are made for signs and wonder,' and this victory was a sign and a wonder to so many people who think that they have it figured it out."

"I see two possibilities here. One is that Boebert means that her election is in itself a miracle, something that testifies to God's power at work in the world. That seems more than a bit ego-inflated," said Daniel Schultz, a liberal Christian minister in Wisconsin. " The other possibility is more realistic: that her election demonstrates what God can do through the faith of ordinary people."

Schultz said, "It reinforces the claim that conservatives have God on their side: God shows power by sending righteous people into public office or public activism, with 'righteous' defined as agreeing to Boebert's hard-right agenda."

Boebert has previously used the term "signs and wonders" in a political context. She used it in a House floor speech on Feb. 25 speech laced with comparisons of current political events to events in the Christian Bible.

Christian conservatives have recently turned to the Bible in protesting the validity of Trump's loss in the 2020 election. The Washington Post reported in January, after the riot by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol, on an Arkansas ministry that broadcast to its listeners, "We thank God for exposing and foiling all the plans of the enemy set against him. We affirm his lawful election and pray for four more years with Donald Trump as our president!"

A growing number of them are also attracted to the QAnon conspiracy theory supported by Boebert, which posits a cabal of Democratic politicians and celebrities running a satanist child-sex ring, among other claims.

Former GOP Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told the Atlantic this month in response to a question about Christian churches and the Jan. 6 riot, "I have heard enough pastors who are saying they cannot believe the growth of the QAnon theory in their churches. Their churches had become battlegrounds over things that they never thought they would be. It's not so much the pastors preaching that from pulpits—although I'm certain there's some of that—but more people in the congregation who have become convinced that theories [such as QAnon] are reflective of their Christian faith."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Capitol Rioter Now Says He Was ‘Victim’ Of Internet Disinformation

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Some of the January 6 rioters who are facing federal criminal charges are now saying, as part of their defense, that they were misled, brainwashed or unfairly manipulated by then-President Donald Trump, MAGA media and/or the QAnon cult. And one of the rioters who is using that type of defense is QAnon supporter Doug Jensen, who is saying that he was a "victim" of false information from the far-right conspiracy movement.

Jensen is presently incarcerated, and a motion filed by his attorney argues that he should be released from jail while awaiting trial because he was misled by QAnon. The motion stated, "Doug Jensen was not an intended part of any group or mob at any time that day. He simply went to observe 'The Storm.' He was at the front of the crowd, but in no way leading anyone. He was in front of everyone for the now disclosed silly reason to get Q recognized for 'The Storm' that was about to take place."

According to the QAnon conspiracy theory, the United States' federal government was invaded by an international cabal of child sex traffickers, pedophiles, Satanists and cannibals — and that Trump was elected in 2016 to fight the cabal. In 2020, QAnon claimed that "The Storm" would occur when its battle against the cabal escalated.

As ridiculous as QAnon's beliefs are, some QAnon supporters have been elected to Congress, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

In video taken during the invasion of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, Jensen can be seen in his QAnon shirt leading others in the mob as he chased after Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman:

Jensen is facing seven federal charges, including obstructing a law enforcement officer and violent unlawful entry.

In an article published by Law & Crime on June 7, reporter Jerry Lambe explains, "Following his arrest in January, FBI Special Agent Tyler Johnson noted that Jensen 'said he went to D.C. to receive big news from Donald Trump,' and claimed to still be a steadfast believer of QAnon. Those theories, in short, purport that the world is run by a cabal of Satanist pedophiles which Trump was ordained to take down."

Lambe continues, "Jensen allegedly told Special Agent Johnson that he believed Mike Pence and several members of Congress were secretly going to be arrested on January 6, and even asked if law enforcement officials could 'let me in on that if you know those arrests are real.' Jensen also admitted to having a knife on him when he was inside the Capitol, though he claimed it was just his work pocketknife which he had on him 'for protection.'"

The motion calling for Jensen's pretrial release describes his actions on January 6 as "misguided" but argues that he thought he was being patriotic.

"As misguided as he was," the motion stated, "he believed he was a patriot waiting to observe the events anticipated by 'The Storm.' To be certain, Jensen refused to obey Officer Goodman's order to stop and leave. And he did continue to follow him up the steps inside the Capitol. But Jensen neither threatened physical harm to anyone, nor did he destroy any property."

Jensen's attorney argued, "For reasons he does not even understand today, he became a 'true believer' and was convinced he doing a noble service by becoming a digital soldier for 'Q.' Maybe it was mid-life crisis, the pandemic — or perhaps the message just seemed to elevate him from his ordinary life to an exalted status with an honorable goal. In any event, he fell victim to this barrage of internet-sourced info and came to the Capitol, at the direction of the president of the United States, to demonstrate that he was a 'true patriot.'"

The Strange Nexus Between QAnon And Australia’s Right-Wing Prime Minister

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has never publicly claimed to be a QAnon supporter; in fact, he recently slammed the far-right conspiracy cult as "dangerous." But journalist David Gilbert, in an article published by Vice, examines the connection between Morrison and someone who is: Tim Stewart, described by Gilbert as "Australia's foremost QAnon booster."

Gilbert notes that Four Corners, a television series on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, was recently planning to air a report that addressed Morrison's connection to Stewart — who, according to Gilbert, he has known for 30 years — but said it decided to hold off on airing it because of editorial concerns. At a news conference in Canberra last week, Australia's capitol city, Morrison was vehemently critical of Four Corners — saying that it was "really poor form" for the program to delve into allegations that he has some type of connection to QAnon.

Morrison told reporters, "I find it deeply offensive there would be any suggestion I would have any involvement or support for such a dangerous organization. I clearly do not. It is just also disappointing that 'Four Corners,' in their inquiries, would seek to cast this aspersion — not just against me, but (on) members of my own family."

Gilbert notes that Stewart, who has 20,000 followers on Twitter, was a "vocal" supporter of QAnon "from the very beginning."

"Morrison and Stewart have been friends for 30 years because their wives, Jenny Morrison and Lynelle Stewart, are best friends," Gilbert explains. "The pair were bridesmaids at each other's weddings, and today, Lynelle Stewart works for her friend in the prime minister's residence in Sydney, where she holds a government security clearance."

Members of the QAnon cult believe that the government of the United States has been infiltrated by an international ring of child sex traffickers, pedophiles, Satanists and cannibals and that Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 to lead the fight against the cabal. In the U.S., some far-right Republicans have openly endorsed QAnon, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

Morrison, meanwhile, has never openly endorsed QAnon in Australia — and he expressed outright contempt for them recently. But as Gilbert explains in his Vice article, some QAnon extremists thought Morrison was giving them a coded signal of approval during an October 22, 2018 speech before the Australian Parliament in which he "apologized" for child abuse on behalf of the government.

Morrison said, "The crimes of ritual sexual abuse happened in schools, churches, youth groups, scout troops, orphanages, foster homes, sporting clubs, group homes, charities, and in family homes as well." And Gilbert notes that Morrison's use of the word "ritual" caught the attention of QAnon supporter Joe M., who tweeted, "Do my ears deceive me? The new Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison must be a rider in #TheStorm."

"The storm" is one of the terms used by QAnon, whose members have often spoke of "ritual" abuse. But a spokesperson for Morrison told the website Crikey that the prime minister's use of that word had nothing to do with QAnon.

According to that spokesperson, "The term 'ritual' is one that the prime minister heard directly from the abuse survivors and the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Reference Group he met with in the lead-up to the apology, and refers not just to the ritualized way or patterns in which so many crimes were committed, but also, to the frequency and repetition of them."

Morrison's supporters have maintained that his use of the word "ritual" during that 2018 speech is a non-story, and that the prime minister has nothing to do with QAnon. Nonetheless, Gilbert notes that the story has persisted.

Gilbert explains, "The link between Morrison and Stewart wasn't reported in the media until months later when the Guardian linked Morrison and Stewart…. The controversy has not gone away. And whether or not the 'Four Corners' episode was pulled or simply delayed due to editorial concerns…. it will be aired at some point, meaning Morrison will have a lot more questions to answer about his links to Stewart and to QAnon."

Wacky Advisers Have Roped Trump Into Their QAnon Restoration Fantasies

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Former President Donald Trump reportedly believes that he will somehow return to office in the coming months, a belief that fits with claims from supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory and far-right message boards. And it appears to have come through his QAnon-connected orbit of advisers who have egged on his voter fraud grievances and who continue to suggest Trump can and should be reinstalled into office based on those false claims.

The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reported on June 1 that Trump "has been telling a number of people he's in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August." As Haberman noted, Trump's expectation has no basis in reality. But it echoes a claim that MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has pushed. Lindell -- who has been making false claims of voter fraud for months -- appeared on Steve Bannon's show War Room: Pandemic in March and said that "Trump will be back in office in August" based on supposed evidence of voter fraud. At the time, Lindell's baseless statement -- which he also made around that time on multiple shows -- was hyped by some QAnon supporters and on far-right message boards.

Other figures influencing Trump since last November have also claimed that Trump could somehow come back into office. Attorney Sidney Powell, appearing at a QAnon conference in Dallas on May 29, said that due to supposed voter fraud, Trump could be "reinstated" into office and President Joe Biden forced out of the White House.

The following day, at that same QAnon conference, former national security adviser Michael Flynn was asked why a military coup could not happen in the United States like it did in Myanmar. In response, he said, "No reason. I mean, it should happen here." Although Flynn later tried to walk it back, his statement echoed the widespread praise of the Myanmar coup among the QAnon community and its members' hope of a similar situation in the United States.

These three figures had not only advised Trump following the 2020 election, but they also have multiple other connections to QAnon. Lindell, who met withTrump in the days before Biden's inauguration, had at that time floated Trump using martial law to stay in office, a call that had been pushed by QAnon supporters. Lindell has also shared voter fraud conspiracy theories from the QAnon community, including content from 8kun, the message board site where the central figure of QAnon is based. Since Biden's inauguration, Lindell has associated with the hosts of a QAnon show, which he has appeared on and praised, and is apparently signing QAnon merchandise for auction. Lindell has also apparently offered "QAnon" as a promo code on MyPillow.

Powell and Flynn have even more explicitly promoted QAnon. Before speaking at the QAnon conference, Powell had repeatedly amplified QAnon influencers, tweeted QAnon language, and appeared on QAnon YouTube shows. Following the election, she cited Ron Watkins, the onetime administrator of 8kun, and other QAnon-connected figures and claims in her lawsuits seeking to overturn the election results in certain states.

Similarly, Flynn (whom Powell has represented) had taken a QAnon oath, signed books with the QAnon slogan "wwg1wga" (short for "where we go one, we go all"), helped sell QAnon merchandise, appeared on QAnon-supporting shows, and hung out with the same QAnon influencer Lindell has become friendly with. Flynn, like Lindell, also encouraged Trump to declare martial law after the election.

Before Biden's inauguration, Trump had floated making Powell a special counsel on election fraud and Flynn the director of the FBI or White House chief of staff.

But these three are also not the only people through whom QAnon theories were reaching Trump. Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne -- who has gone on multiple QAnon shows to push voter fraud claims and recently has associated with the same QAnon influencer Lindell and Flynn have associated with -- met with Trump post-election. And Lin Wood, a QAnon-supporting attorney who has falsely claimed that Trump is still president, had been aiding Trump's campaign post-election.

Fundamentally, this voter fraud orbit around Trump -- Lindell, Powell, Flynn, Byrne, and Wood -- is part of a pipeline from QAnon supporters and far-right message boards promoting the conspiracy theory that Trump will somehow come back into office. This theory has taken a variety of forms, including claims that Trump would be inaugurated as president on March 4 and/or that the military would install Trump back into office and throw out Biden, whether on a specific day or some day in the future. QAnon supporters have also pointed to and are involved with a supposed election audit in Arizona that they believe will result in Trump returning to the White House. Lindell, Powell, Byrne, and Wood have all been involved with that audit, and Trump in turn is reportedly "fixated" on it.

This pipeline between QAnon supporters and far-right message boards, this group of figures who have advised Trump, and Trump himself partly fueled his voter fraud grievances that helped lead to the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol. And now it threatens to further ensnare Trump -- and in turn, much of the Republican Party and the voting public.