Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey uses conspiracy theory-laden blogs as sources for information on alleged Trump-Russia connections, according to a top aide in his office.
“In fact, subpoenas have now been issued in Northern Virginia in regard to General Flynn and General Flynn’s associates. A grand jury has been empaneled up in New York,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in a Wednesday CNN interview.
One of Markey’s top aides told The Daily Caller that his sources were Louise Mensch’s blog and a left-wing blog called the Palmer Report. Markey did not mention these sources in his television appearance.
A spokeswoman later released a statement that said: “This morning Senator Markey erroneously reported that a grand jury has been empaneled in New York related to the wider inquiry of possible Trump campaign and administration ties to Russia. Senator Markey does not have direct intelligence that is the case, and the information he was provided during a briefing is not substantiated. Subpoenas have been issued in Eastern Virginia, but Senator Markey apologizes for the confusion.”
Mensch and the Palmer Report have promoted unfounded theories. Mensch, a former employee of News Corp and member of the UK Parliament, has blamed Russia for the bombing of a German soccer team’s bus, the death of conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart and low black voter turnout for Hillary Clinton.
On Monday, she accused Sen. Markey’s colleague Ted Cruz of having “worked with the Russians.” The Palmer Report is a blog ran by a man named Bill Palmer and frequently writes stories centered on tweets by conspiracy theorists such as Mensch.
The two Palmer Report stories that Markey relied on as sources — according to his aide — were based solely on tweets by non-reporters.
Both of them center around theories that have originated from Claude Taylor, a travel photographer and former Clinton White House staffer. Taylor has previously claimed there have been multiple grand juries convened in relation to the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
He tweeted two weeks ago, “This just in from a source with knowledge of Comey’s investigation. ‘two grand juries have convened and I know that one is almost complete.’” Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who is part of the “Never Trump” movement, responded to this tweet with “same.”
CNN did report Tuesday that prosecutors in Virginia have issued subpoenas for associates of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. However, the assertion that there is a grand jury in New York is unfounded. (RELATED: DNC Spokeswoman Promotes Theory That Russia Has Dirt On Chaffetz)
In one of Mensch’s blog posts, also sourced by Sen. Markey, she pointed to two federal cases in Virginia and New York as possibly being related to Trump.
The Daily Caller reported Tuesday that the RICO case in New York has been dismissed and the one in Virginia is completely unrelated and involves the ATF. Mensch wrote in her blog post, “There will be more on this developing story as we receive it.” Mensch has not updated the piece after publication but has tweeted about Markey’s Wednesday television interview.
“So [Sen. Markey] has just announced a #TrumpRussia Grand Jury has been empaneled in New York…,” Mensch tweeted.