Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu doubled-down on a conspiracy theory about a deceased Republican operative despite any supporting evidence.
Lieu called the death of Republican donor and operative Peter Smith “awfully suspicious” on Thursday night, and stood by that statement on Friday when reached by The Daily Caller.
The 81-year-old Smith committed suicide days after talking to The Wall Street Journal about his attempts to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The day before his death, Smith told a man at the Rochester hotel where he committed suicide, “Tomorrow is my last day,” the Chicago Tribune reported. He also left a note stating: “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER.” The Tribune also noted that police do not suspect foul play. (RELATED: New Information In A Bizarre Story About A Quest To Hunt Down Hillary Clinton’s Deleted Emails)
Despite all this, Lieu took to Twitter Thursday night to call Smith’s deaths “awfully suspicious.”
“You don’t need to be a prosecutor to know that someone writing NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER in connection with a death seems awfully suspicious,” Lieu wrote.
You don’t need to be a prosecutor to know that someone writing NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER in connection with a death seems awfully suspicious.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 14, 2017
When reached by TheDC, Lieu stood by his original claim.
“I believe my tweet is accurate in using the term suspicious,” Lieu said.
He pointed to a tweet from WSJ writer Shane Harris as evidence for his theory. Harris’ tweet read: “When I spoke to Peter Smith I had no indication that he was ill or planning to take his own life.” Unlike Lieu, Harris did not describe Smith’s death as suspicious.
The California Democrat appeared to be implying that Smith’s death was actually a murder, despite what law enforcement have said. There is no public evidence to support that claim.
That conspiracy theory bears resemblance to the conspiracy theory that some on the far right have spread regarding the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered in Washington, D.C. last year.
This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Lieu is standing by his original conspiracy theory.