Pizzagate: Trump Transition Team Advisor Steps Down Amid Accusations Of Spreading Conspiracy Theory

Michael Flynn Jr, an advisor to the Trump transition team, has stepped down from his position after it came to light that he has been propagating the so-called Pizzagate conspiracy theory.

Stemming from message boards 4chan and Reddit, the theory revolves around leaked emails sent among the Hillary Clinton campaign team, which, according to the theory claim to reveal the involvement of senior Democrats in a child sex trafficking ring operated from the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria in Washington, D.C.

Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria, centre of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory
[Image by Jose Luis Magana/AP Images]

The pizzeria is popular with Washington officials and its owner, James Alefantis, was a public supporter Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Promoters of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory have latched onto leaked emails sent by Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta to other top Democrats in which the conspiracy theorists allege to have found codewords relating to sexual abuse and murder of children taking place in the basement of the pizzeria. The allegations have come to be known by their Twitter moniker as #Pizzagate.

Michael Flynn Jr. is the son of General Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s pick for National Security Advisor. Until stepping down yesterday, he had been his father’s Chief of Staff — a position which granted him security clearance and an official government email account. On December 5, Michael Flynn Jr. tweeted the following.

“…until Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many ‘coincidences’ tied to it”

Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper about the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, confirmed that Michael Flynn Jr. is no longer a part of the transition team.

This comes shortly after a man claiming to want to investigate Pizzagate himself entered the restaurant with a rifle and fired a shot into the ground before surrendering to police after finding no evidence of child sex abuse on the premises.

Following that incident at the pizzeria, Michael Flynn Jr. was confronted by Jake Tapper on Twitter by direct message, writing the following.

“It is not the site of a satanic pedophilia cult, it is a f**king pizzeria. Show me what you’re talking about that proves a satanic pedophilia cult. Your tweet is wildly irresponsible. Listen to me. You are going to get someone killed. Maybe an innocent child. For what??????”

Michael Flynn Jr. posted a screenshot of the exchange with the caption “Want evidence??? I must’ve really hit a nerve.”

General Michael Flynn has not tweeted directly about Pizzagate, but he has shared a similar conspiracy theory linking Hillary Clinton to convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, because logs showed that she was a guest on his private plane on a number of occasions. Billionaire financier, Epstein, was found guilty of providing underage prostitutes to guests on his private island. The article to which General Flynn’s tweet links makes no mention of Donald Trump’s long friendship with Epstein or the many trips that Trump made on his plane.

The Pizzagate conspiracy theory focuses on John Podesta's leaked emails
[Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

The Pizzagate conspiracy has centered on several phrases found in Podesta and other’s emails which it is claimed are code words used by sex offenders to hide their activities. According to theory, the word “hot-dog” translates as “boy,” “cheese” stands for “little girl” and “ice cream” denotes a male prostitute.

Fake news websites have picked up on the 4chan threads where the conspiracy theory began, and related articles have been shared millions of times online. The message board is known as a refuge for taboo subjects and outlandish conspiracy theories as well as a place for alt-right supporters and white supremacists to congregate online and share their views. With the resignation of Michael Flynn Jr, the Pizzagate conspiracy theory may no longer have a place in the White House, but there is no doubt that it will continue to flourish online.

[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]