Donald Trump is reportedly considering former UN Ambassador John Bolton to be his deputy secretary of state; one thing that the two have in common is a fondness for conspiracy theories.
In just the most recent example of this, both Trump and Bolton are disputing intelligence reports that say Russia was behind several hacks meant to help Trump’s electoral chances by derailing Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Bolton has gone so far as to claim that the hacks could have represented a “false flag operation” by the Obama administration designed to hurt Trump.
Such a bogus charge is nothing new from Bolton.
Bolton, who is best known for his fervent backing of the Iraq War and support for starting a new conflict with Iran, has been at the forefront of pushing right-wing conspiracy theories for years. Here are five other conspiracy theories that Bolton has gotten behind:
1) Maybe Bernie Voters Were Behind The Hacks
Before wondering if the election-related hacks were an Obama administration false flag operation, Bolton speculated that they could have come from Bernie Sanders’ camp.
Bolton said in July that while it was possible that Russia was behind the hacks, there was just as good of a chance that “a Bernie Sanders supporter” who was “good at computers” perpetrated the hacks and then tried to “cast blame on the Russians.”
2) Maybe Clinton Faked A Concussion To Cover Up Benghazi
Days after the 2012 attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, when early intelligence was linking the attack to an outcry over an anti-Islam video, Bolton claimed that Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton were attempting to “reinstitute blasphemy laws in the United States” and proscribe anti-Muslim speech.
In one interview, Bolton claimed that the administration’s response to the attack was either “a cover-up and the administration was lying to protect itself politically” or that “the administration’s ideology blinded them to the reality of what’s on the ground.”
He later said that Clinton faked a concussion to avoid answering questions about the attack.
When a GOP inquiry into the attacks cleared Clinton of wrongdoing, Bolton blamed the outcome on Clinton’s “obstructionism.”
3) Maybe The Obama Administration Has Been Infiltrated By The Muslim Brotherhood
In 2012, when then-Rep. Michele Bachmann and a handful of her GOP colleagues launched a crusade against Muslim-American administration officials, accusing them of secretly working for the Muslim Brotherhood, many Republican leaders denounced the wrongheaded campaign as a reckless and dangerous witch hunt.
But not Bolton, who instead hailed Bachmann’s group for “raising the question” and said that he was “mystified” that her efforts “generated this criticism.”
Bolton made those remarks while speaking with Frank Gaffney, an unhinged conspiracy theorist who believes the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the Obama administration, the Republican Party, the National Rifle Association and other groups.
4) No-Go Zones Coming To America
Last year, Bobby Jindal, then the governor of Louisiana and a Republican presidential candidate, drew widespread criticism when he claimed that European countries face an epidemic of “no-go zones” dominated by Muslims. Jindal defended his allegation by insisting that the existence of such areas had been “very well documented, by Ambassador Bolton and others.” It appeared that Jindal was referring to a report issued by the Gatestone Institute, which Bolton chairs.
Bolton responded that while he “didn’t participate in the writing” of the report, he was confident that such zones could emerge in America if the U.S. government didn’t start working to better integrate immigrants.
5) Obama Wants To Create A Gun Registry
Bolton, a longtime supporter of the National Rifle Association, wrongly suggested in 2013 that Obama was bent on creating a “national gun registry.” In 2011, Bolton told the NRA’s convention that the president was using the drug war “not to combat the illicit narcotic, but to use it as a foundation to argue for stricter gun controls at the federal level.”
Bolton, who has said that he doubts Obama even cares about “Americans dying,” told the NRA in 2013 that “If the administration in Washington won’t protect us, the American people will protect ourselves.”