As the House of Representatives prepares for a historic vote on Wednesday concerning the impeachment of Donald Trump — a vote that would make him only the third president impeached in the 230 years since George Washington first assumed the office — the White House floated a new theory to explain why Democrats started the process in the first place. The theory was reported via Twitter early Wednesday morning by White House correspondent Brian Karem, who explained that the theory was “not from The Onion.”
“Hillary Clinton purposely lost the election with the aid of Russian hacking so the Democrats could then impeach Trump,” a White House source told Karem, according to the Playboy correspondent’s tweet.
The Onion is a satirical news site that publishes parody stories and headlines.
That Clinton — the 2016 Democratic nominee and the first woman ever nominated by a major party for the presidency — would somehow deliberately collude with Russia to tank the election, just to set up the impeachment of the candidate who defeated her three years later, may seem bizarre. However, this idea is not out of line with the narratives pushed by other Republicans, including Trump himself.
Trump, as The New York Times reported, first claimed that “the deep state” was out to get him in June 2017, when he retweeted a post from Fox News personality Sean Hannity.
The president himself first used the term in a November tweet that same year — more than two years before Wednesday’s impeachment vote, according to The New York Times.
He more recently has appeared to subscribe to a controversial theory that claims Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election at all, that it was, in fact, Ukraine that attempted to help Clinton — and not himself — win. That theory was identified as disinformation created by Russian intelligence services by former National Security Council Russia expert Fiona Hill, who explained the disinformation campaign during her testimony to the House Intelligence Committee during the impeachment investigation.
Hill testified that the disinformation blaming Ukraine was first conveyed to the Trump campaign by Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate of Trump’s now-jailed campaign manager Paul Manafort. Kilimnik was described by special counsel Robert Mueller as having links to the Russian intelligence services. In her testimony, Hill said that Kilimnik was generally believed to be a “Russian spy.”
The reaction on Twitter to Karem’s report of the White House source’s claim, as compiled by Raw Story, was generally derisive.
“That’s been the logical end to their nonsensical theory all along,” wrote one Twitter user quoted by the site.
“I feel so sorry for The Onion,” wrote another. “How can they possibly compete?”