House condemns fringe QAnon conspiracy theory movement

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In one of their last acts before the election, the House passed a bipartisan resolution Friday condemning QAnon — a baseless fringe movement that has been increasingly embraced on the right, despite being labeled by the FBI as a potential domestic terrorism threat.

While the resolution garnered overwhelming bipartisan support, 17 Republicans and Independent Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) voted against the House resolution, with some citing free speech concerns. One GOP lawmaker, Rep. Andy Harris (Md.), voted “present.”

Some of the GOP lawmakers who rejected the anti-QAnon measure include Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who has a history of controversial and racist remarks; Rep. Drew Ferguson of Georgia, the chief deputy minority whip; and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

The House Republican Conference has grappled with how to handle the influx of GOP congressional candidates who support far-right conspiracy theories espoused by QAnon, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won her Georgia primary in August. Party leaders were initially slow to denounce the movement, though they have since made clear that QAnon has no place in the Republican Party. President Donald Trump, by contrast, has said he “appreciates” the support from QAnon adherents.

The measure — which condemns QAnon and rejects the conspiracy theories it promotes — took an unsettling turn after the resolution’s chief sponsor, freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), received death threats following an online attack from QAnon.

Malinowski was targeted after the House GOP’s campaign arm began running attack ads falsely accusing the New Jersey Democrat of lobbying to protect sexual predators, echoing some of the same baseless conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon. The group believes Trump is secretly battling a cabal of Satan worshiping, child sex traffickers who work in the “deep state” of his administration.

“I think they knew exactly what they were doing. They knew they were playing with fire,” Malinowski told BuzzFeed News, referring to the NRCC’s attack ads.

After passing the resolution condemning QAnon, House lawmakers — who are supposed to start their October recess — were sent home. But they may be called back to town if congressional leaders and the White House reach a deal on a coronavirus aid package next week.

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