WAshington, D.C. Sept. 30, 2019 — Donald Trump’s fateful phone conversation with the president of Ukraine included references to a far-right conspiracy theory about Ukrainian links to the 2016 DNC hack that aides reportedly warned him had been thoroughly debunked. But according to researchers at PFAW’s Right Wing Watch, who continually monitor far-right web and media activity, the theory that Ukraine meddled in the election to help Hillary Clinton and might even possess thousands of her deleted emails remains very current in extremist circles:

“Those who aren’t immersed in extreme far-right media think Trump’s embrace of the Ukraine theory is inexplicable and bizarre,” says Right Wing Watch Director Adele Stan. “But there is a whole universe in which it has been completely normalized — and that universe demands our attention because it’s become a wellspring of ideas and notions embraced by this administration. It’s true that in mainstream circles, the notion that Ukraine took part in the DNC hack and that Russia is being unfairly accused has been thoroughly discredited. But on the far right this theory hasn’t been debunked at all; it’s alive and well and getting plenty of oxygen every day from leading figures in those circles. This is really an object lesson in how far-right conspiracy theories now have a direct path to migrate from the fringes to the White House.  And it’s critical to recognize this when trying to understand the behavior of Trump.”

Right Wing Watch reporter Jared Holt’s analysis, “How Far-Right Conspiracy Theories Informed Trump’s Ukraine Call,” appeared in The Washington Post on September 26.

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org.