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Bipartisan lawmakers introduce resolution condemning QAnon conspiracy theory

Reps. Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanTrump the X-factor in Virginia governor race Ex-Trump press secretary criticized for stirring up QAnon on Twitter House GOP lawmaker unexpectedly shakes up Senate trial MORE (R-Va.) and Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiAnti-Trump foreign policy group releases lawmaker rankings on global affairs Mo Brooks calls Capitol rioters 'fools' House lawmakers fired up for hearing with tech CEOs MORE (D-N.J.) introduced a bipartisan resolution Tuesday condemning QAnon.

The sprawling conspiracy theory centers around the baseless belief that President TrumpDonald TrumpDC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' Taylor Greene defends 'America First' effort, pushes back on critics MORE and his allies are working with the military to expose a shadowy cabal of elites who control U.S. politics and run child trafficking rings.

But it also casts a wide net, bringing in people who believe, for example, that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' Cuba readies for life without Castro Chelsea Clinton: Pics of Trump getting vaccinated would help him 'claim credit' MORE engages in Satanic sacrifices or that John F. Kennedy Jr. is alive and in hiding. 

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Malinowski warned that letting the theory fester without condemnation could prove dangerous.

“Conspiracy theories that falsely blame secret cabals and marginalized groups for the problems of society have long fueled prejudice, violence and terrorism,” he said in a statement. “It’s time for us to come together across party lines to say that QAnon has no place in our nation’s political discourse.”

Riggleman — who lost a primary for his seat earlier this year and is one of the most vocal opponents of the theory within the GOP — called QAnon “a danger and a threat that has no place in our country's politics.”

"I think we've got to look at stopping sort of the fringes of the parties controlling any type of narrative when it comes to these types of theories,” he told The Hill in an interview. 

The resolution outlines several examples of criminal activity and violence tied to the supporters of the conspiracy theory, which has been labeled by the FBI a potential domestic terrorism threat.

It also highlights the theory’s anti-Semitic undercurrents, a common thread between many of the conspiracies under QAnon’s tent.

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Beyond condemning QAnon, the resolution calls for the FBI and federal law enforcement to dedicate more resources to countering conspiracy-driven extremism. 

Top Republicans including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyKinzinger: Republicans who join 'America First' caucus should be stripped of committees McCarthy: GOP not the party of 'nativist dog whistles' Pro-Trump lawmakers form caucus promoting 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MORE (R-Calif.) House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study Scalise: House would 'take action' against Gaetz if DOJ filed charges MORE (R-La.) and House Republican Conference Chair Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyRepublicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Freedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' Kinzinger: Republicans who join 'America First' caucus should be stripped of committees MORE (R-Wyo.) have come out against QAnon. 

The community following along with Q — the anonymous figure that posts the cryptic messages that serve as the foundation of the theory on image boards — has ballooned recently, especially with the coronavirus pandemic keeping people home and providing fodder for conspiracies. 

The movement has begun to seep into mainstream political discourse as well, with multiple congressional candidates who have expressed support for the theory winning their Republican primaries.

At least one — Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia — is heavily favored to win her general election in the fall. Although she has attempted to distance herself from the theory, that is unlikely to matter for its supporters, who can chalk that shift up to wanting to ensure victory.

Many in the Republican party have seemed reluctant to speak publicly about the conspiracy theory, but President Trump called Greene a “future Republican Star.” 

Trump last week also said that the theory’s adherents "love our country." He added that “I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate.”

While it was not the full-throated endorsement of the theory subscribers were hoping for — many believed that once Trump was asked about QAnon he would announce a series of arrests of political opponents — the moment was celebrated in the community. 

That complicates the ability of Republicans to cleanly distance themselves from QAnon, a move they may have been questioning anyway given that estimates of the community are in the hundreds of thousands. 

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Michael McAdams quickly deflected when Malinowski first tweeted about the resolution. 

“But you won’t demand raging anti-Semite and current House Democrat @IlhanMN be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee???” McAdams tweeted. 

One of two Muslim women in Congress, Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBiden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' McCarthy: GOP not the party of 'nativist dog whistles' White House reverses course on refugee cap after Democratic eruption MORE (D-Minn.) has been a frequent target of accusations of anti-Semitism from the right. 

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Riggleman told The Hill that the two issues don’t correlate and the resolution should garner broad bipartisan support.  

“This should be a no-brainer. This is, this is easy, low hanging fruit to stop this type of ridiculous discourse,” the Virginia Republican said.  

“Everybody thought that [Omar's comments] was awful on the Republican side. We've already said that. That's just unrelated to somebody who believes in a secret cabal of sex traffickers trying to stop the president in the Democratic Party,” he added.