Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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Two House committees on Friday asked Friday to intervene in a lawsuit filed by President Trump, his eldest children, and the Trump Organization seeking to block lawmakers’ subpoenas of their financial records.

In a joint motion to intervene filed in Manhattan federal court, the House Financial Services Committee and Intelligence Committee asserted their “broad” authority to oversee the executive branch. The subpoenas of Deutsche Bank and Capital One were necessary to carry out that work, the letter from House general counsel Douglas Letter said.

“The committees have broad legislative, investigative, and oversight authority. Pursuant to this authority, the committees are conducting various investigations on issues of national significance,” it read.

Trump, his children and their family real estate company swiftly responded, seeking a preliminary injunction that would stop the banks from complying with the subpoenas while the lawsuit is underway. The Trumps brought the suit on Monday.

In their own Friday letter to U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, the Trumps said they would suffer “irreparable harm” without the order, accusing Democrats of seeking their private financial information purely “for the sake of exposure.”

Democratic lawmakers are pursuing wide-ranging investigations into the Trump Organization’s financial practices and whether the President’s business interests influenced his political decisions.

Read the Democrats’ new letter below.

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President Trump spent Friday evening mad online.

The primary target of his irritation: Facebook’s announcement this week that it was banning a handful of extremist figures deemed “dangerous” from all of its platforms — including Sandy Hook truther Alex Jones, white nationalist ex-congressional candidate Paul Nehlen, and Jones’ fellow Infowars conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson.

“Surprised to see Conservative thinkers like James Woods banned from Twitter, and Paul Watson banned from Facebook!” Trump wrote.

Trump’s administration was “continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms,” he said in one of several tweets promising a further “look” at Facebook’s decision.

The President even retweeted multiple posts from Watson imploring his supporters to help him out. He also retweeted a post from alt-right Canadian media personality Lauren Southern, who has pushed the white nationalist talking point about the threat of white “genocide.” Another message shared by Trump, from an account using the handle “Deep State Exposed,” showed a video of a man claiming what would apparently happen to those who refused to convert to Islam: “We kill them, and take their women and smash their churches!” “#Trump2020,” the person added.

The beliefs of many of the people banned from Facebook and Instagram are well known. But Watson, who tweets to his 963,000 followers under the handle “Prison Planet,” has managed to avoid sustained media scrutiny of his extreme beliefs. Here are a few of the most egregious conspiracy theories the 35-year-old British Infowars “thinker” has brought us.

Claiming there are differences in IQ between races

In a 2017 Reddit “Ask Me Anything” chat, Watson claimed that African and Middle Eastern people are more aggressive due to their lower IQs.

“You can’t deny that there are differences between races when it comes to IQ,” Watson said, according to Media Matters.

Hillary Clinton was plagued by health problems during the 2016 campaign

Watson originated the bogus claims that the Democratic presidential nominee was facing grave health problems in the lead up to the 2016 election. According to a YouTube video posted by Watson, Clinton had Parkinson’s disease, syphilis, a brain tumor, a drug problem, and a host of other ailments.

“Weird seizures. Psychotic facial tics. Over-exaggerated reactions. Coughing fits. Strange lesions on her tongue. Is Hillary on the verge of a mental breakdown due to stress, or are her strange outbursts linked to a medical condition?” Watson asked in the video, which was viewed over 6 million times.

Other conservative outlets, including The Drudge Report, picked up on Watson’s claims, and Trump himself called Clinton’s health “an issue” in the race, insisting “something is going on.”

The Virginia Tech shooting was ordered by the government

Infowars is known for insisting that mass shootings are secretly “false flag” operations carried out by the government in order to institute stricter gun control regulations. Back in 2007, Watson floated an early version of this conspiracy theory, alleging that the shooting on the Virginia Tech campus, in which 33 people died, was the work of “a mind-controlled assassin” with ties to the CIA, as Media Matters documented.

Muslims “celebrate Islamic terror attacks”

Islamophobia is one of Watson’s running themes. The Infowars host has called Muslim culture “horrific” and endorsed the idea of “Islam control.”

“The left’s contention that Muslims who live in the west don’t celebrate Islamic terror attacks is a monumental lie and is proven so after virtually every single jihadist outrage,” Watson wrote in one 2017 article.

The Guardian reported that the British man who plowed a van into a crowd of worshippers leaving a mosque in London’s Finsbury Park neighborhood in June 2017 had read Watson’s article, headlined “Proof: Muslims celebrated terror attack in London,” in the weeks leading up to the attack.

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By now, it’s pretty clear that Attorney General Bill Barr thinks there was nothing unusual — let alone potentially criminal — about President Trump’s intervention in the federal Russia investigation. Not the repeated pushes to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, not the public fuming about being the innocent victim of a federal “witch hunt,” not the tweeted threats to the family of his former personal attorney.

Trump was just upset that he was a target of an investigation he felt to be “unfair,” Barr said again during a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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