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GOP pushes debunked conspiracy that led to death threats against Democratic congresswoman

The Washington Examiner’s reporting on border issues has repeatedly been questioned for accuracy, but House Republicans keep using it to launch attacks.

By Oliver Willis - September 09, 2019
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)

House Republicans are using a debunked story, which led to death threats for a Democratic congresswoman, to attack the actions of congressional staffers.

Fox News said on Monday that Republicans on the House Oversight Committee, in the minority because they lost the midterm elections last year, gave the conservative network “exclusive” access to the letter at the heart of a new campaign.

The document was composed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the ranking Republican member of the committee. Attempting to defend Trump’s actions at the border, Jordan accused Democratic staffers of visiting Mexico and providing residents with “misleading information” about border security.

Those claims are based on a story from the Washington Examiner published in July, which alleged that Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) had her staffers coaching people in Mexico on how to exploit regulations and file fraudulent asylum claims.

At the time it was published, Escobar strongly refuted it.

“The @dcexaminer has published a fabricated story resulting in death threats against me and my staff,” she wrote. “This hit piece is fueled by xenophobia and misinformation. But guess what, guys? These attacks won’t deter me doing my job, upholding my oath, and pushing for accountability.”

She also told Politico that she had contacted the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police to investigate the threats.

Escobar told the outlet there was “zero truth” to the Examiner’s story and explained that her office has assisted constituents whose clients are asylum-seekers sent back into Mexico under new rules put in place by Trump.

Escobar’s district in Texas is where the El Paso mass shooting at a Walmart occurred. The shooter’s manifesto echoed many of Trump’s anti-immigrant sentiments.

Despite the serious consequences of the story as noted by their congressional colleague, Jordan and his compatriots seem to believe they should use the tale anyway.

The writer who filed the story for the Examiner, Anna Giaritelli, also was responsible for a story claiming that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) “screamed” at Border Patrol agents in a “threatening manner.”

Ocasio-Cortez debunked that story. “They confiscated my phone, and they were all armed. I’m 5’4,” she wrote. “They’re just upset I exposed their inhumane behavior.”

Congressional Republicans consumed with defending harsh policies at the border seem more invested in questionable reporting that props up their specious claims than dealing with the fallout of their party’s border actions.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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