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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

‘Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH?’ Donald Trump fans conspiracy theory about Jeffrey Epstein death

Jeffery Epstein was found dead early Saturday morning in his jail cell in Manhattan, New York. Attorney General William Barr called it “an apparent suicide” in a statement and it “raises serious questions that must be answered.

world Updated: Aug 12, 2019 10:45 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Epstein had links with politicians and with both Presidents Trump and Clinton
Epstein had links with politicians and with both Presidents Trump and Clinton(REUTERS FILE PHOTO)
         

As US authorities launched multiple investigations into the “apparent suicide” by Jeffrey Epstein, the politically connected billionaire accused of sexually abusing young girls, in federal custody, President Donald Trump sought to promote a baseless conspiracy theory linking it to former President Bill Clinton.

Trump re-tweeted Saturday a post from a conservative commentator and comedian Terrence Williams seeking to link Epstein’s suicide to former president Bill Clinton: “Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH? Yeah right! How does that happen. #JeffreyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead.

Retweet if “you’re not surprised”, Williams wrote in conclusion, and the president, who has been an enthusiastic purveyor of conspiracy theories, retweeted the post.

The Clinton camp retaliated swiftly. “Ridiculous, and of course not true — and Donald Trump knows it. Has he triggered the 25th Amendment yet?” a spokesperson for the former president wrote on Twitter, pointing to a constitutional provision that allows the federal cabinet to remove the president on health ground, something that has ben talked about in senior levels of the Trump administration, according to an anonymous oped written in 2018 in the New York Times purportedly by a serving official.

Epstein was found dead early Saturday morning in his jail cell in Manhattan, New York. Attorney General William Barr called it “an apparent suicide” in a statement and it “raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death”. Officials have ruled out any foul play at this stage.

Also read | ‘Favoured economically disadvantaged minor girls’: How Epstein allegedly built a network of victims

Epstein’s sudden death in federal custody — by hanging — despite having been on a suicide watch earlier left many questions, as Barr pointed out, and just as many conspiracy theories if not more. One TV commentator wondered about Russian involvement and a reporter for a newsmagazine suggested it was “a hit”.

Epstein had links with politicians and with both Presidents Trump and Clinton. Trump was known to have partied with the hedge-fund billionaire and called him “terrific guy” and Clinton had flown on Epstein’s private jet at least once. And conspiracy centering around these relationships did not take long to surface.

Soon rival posts hash-tagged “#TrumpBodyCount” and “#ClintonBodyCount” began popping up on on Twitter. And the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, complained Twitter was not being an honest broker and had allowed posts hash-tagged to his father to trend and not the ones about Clinton.

First Published: Aug 11, 2019 21:14 IST

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