The idea the Bill and Hillary Clinton covertly kill your political opponents has circulated in right-wing fever swamps because that decades.

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A new York state sex offender registry photo of Jeffrey Epstein. New York State division of Criminal Justice solutions
on Wednesday, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) sent out 23 continuous tweets whose an initial letters spelled out a startling claim: EPSTEIN DIDN’T death HIMSELF.

Gosar has coyly stood up to confirming that he was alleging the hedge fund manager and also convicted sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein to be murdered. Yet his tweets were hardly anomalous. Epstein’s fatality has sparked a ton the conspiracy theorizing, and “Epstein didn’t death himself” has become a bona fide meme, showing up in indicators at college football games and posts by significant pundits like Joe Rogan.

To be clear, the brand-new York City medical examiner has ruled the Epstein passed away by suicide. A former NYC medical examiner hired by Epstein’s brother has questioned this finding, but that examiner was fired after ~ a long string that errors ~ above his watch, make his indigenous a small untrustworthy.

But the hasn’t stopped significant individuals, up to and also including Donald Trump, indigenous joining in the speculation. The job of Epstein’s death, chairman Trump retweeted a conservative personality who captioned a video clip in which that pontificates at length about his theories v “we know who did this” and also the hashtags #ClintonBodyCount and also #ClintonCrime family. Trump to be clearer 보다 Gosar in suggesting who he thought had actually Epstein killed: bill and/or Hillary Clinton.

To recognize what’s walk on here, you don’t just need to know around Epstein’s previous friendship v Clinton (or through Trump). You just need to recognize the duty that allegations of murder by the Clintons have actually played in right-wing fever swamps since the 1990s, start with the suicide of Vince Foster and also continuing through to the completely random 2016 murder of autonomous National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

What is the “Clinton body Count”?

According to a background and debunking an initial published through Snopes in 1998, the body count meme source in 1993 through Indianapolis lawyer and militia motion activist Linda Thompson, who compiled a list of 34 people linked to the Clintons who had died and also titled it, “The Clinton body Count: simultaneous or the Kiss the Death?” wilhelm Dannemeyer, a notoriously homophobic former Congress member from Orange County, California, choose up the list, trimmed it come 24, and also sent the congressional management in 1994 as he ran for the united state Senate.

Thompson noted — through her very own admission — “no direct evidence” that the Clintons were responsible for any kind of of the deaths, and Snopes gives a substantial account of all of them, many of which were easily described heart attacks, plane crashes, or suicides.

The many notable name on the perform is Vince Foster, the deputy White home counsel who died by suicide on July 20, 1993. Foster to be a partner of Hillary Clinton’s in ~ the Rose legislation firm in little Rock, Arkansas, and came to Washington, DC, as part of the crew the Arkansas loyalists that joined the Clinton administration. In the job, Foster helped conduct vetting of administration officials and said he felt choose he had actually failed the president once Clinton’s first two picks because that attorney general were required to withdraw because of revelations that they had hired undocumented immigrants.

Foster additionally became wrapped increase in a scandal neighboring the firing of staff in the White home travel office and in legitimate disputes about access come records around Hillary Clinton’s health treatment task force, earning him a bevy of harsh wall Street newspaper editorials.

Overwhelmed by these circumstances, and plainly struggling indigenous depression, Foster fatally shoot himself. But practically immediately, conservatives jumped on the idea that Foster was murdered. Those fanning the flames included the newspaper editorial board, national Review’s Richard Brookhiser, and then-Rep. Dan Burton, that tried to execute some amateur ballistics study on the situation by shooting a large fruit in his backyard. Reports differ as to whether Burton shoot a watermelon, a pumpkin, or a cantaloupe.

Numerous investigations, together my colleague Matt Yglesias describes here, have uncovered that Foster died by suicide. Yet the eagerness the conservatives, both on the much more conspiratorial right and also in respectable places like the journal editorial plank (Brookhiser favorably the review a publication casting doubt ~ above the suicide investigation in the new York Times), come doubt those findings fed the idea that a “Clinton human body Count.” therefore in the future, as soon as people associated to the Clintons died because of quickly understandable causes (like former organization partner Jim McDougal’s heart assault death in prison), your deaths ended up being grounds because that speculation.

The fatality of Seth rich in 2016 to be the next major event fueling Clinton Body count conspiracies. Wealthy was a 27-year-old democratic National Committee staffer that was shot in what police thought to it is in an attempted rob in DC. But nearly as shortly as he died, Clinton haters seized top top his death and also tried come argue the Hillary and/or bill was responsible. After these rumors began, Julian Assange that Wikileaks offered the conspiracy theorists a engine by hinting that Rich, not Russian hackers, detailed WikiLeaks v the DNC’s emails. WikiLeaks then available a $20,000 reward because that information around Rich’s death. The implicitly was the Rich’s killing to be punishment because that leaking damaging inner emails.

This conspiracy concept was constantly absurd; there is copious proof of Russian hacking, Rich had no accessibility to every one of the DNC’s internal emails, and he definitely didn’t have accessibility to all the other details Russia recovered, prefer Clinton campaign chief john Podesta’s emails. The Rich household would at some point sue Fox News unsuccessfully because that its initiatives to spread the conspiracy theory.

But because that Clinton Body counting conspiracy theorists, the incoherence that the theory in the Rich situation was never an impediment. The wealthy theory soon became component of the more comprehensive QAnon conspiracy theory, i beg your pardon is too oriental to explain in detail here but which my partner Jane Coaston summarizes as saying that “special counsel Robert Mueller and also President Donald Trump space working with each other to reveal thousands the cannibalistic pedophiles surprise in level sight (including Hillary Clinton and also actor Tom Hanks).” Obviously, the victims of Clinton’s cannibalistic pedophilia would be enhancements to the human body count.

How this fits in v Epstein

The Foster, Rich, and also QAnon allegations are plainly absurd. And, we must be very clear, over there is no firm proof at this juncture to suggest that Epstein was murdered, let alone murdered by human being with ties come the Clinton.

Epstein walk have an extremely real ties to bill Clinton. That does no mean the Clinton had actually anything to do with his death, any much more than allegations the Donald trump raped a 13-year-old girl when hanging out with Epstein typical that Trump had something to do with Epstein’s death.

My partner Andrew Prokop summarized Clinton’s interactions with Epstein thusly:

According come the everyday Beast’s Emily Shugerman, Epstein went to the White home for a donor event during Bill Clinton’s presidency and met v a White residence aide numerous times there. Shugerman also unearthed a 1995 letter from businesswoman Lynn Forester in i beg your pardon she said she appreciated briefly meeting Clinton in ~ a recent event and used she “fifteen secs of accessibility to talk about Jeffrey Epstein and currency stabilization.”

Soon after bill Clinton concluded his presidency in 2001, the ties deepened. Clinton gotten in a new stage of his career, in i beg your pardon he’d take trip the world, launch philanthropic initiatives, cave out v rich people and celebrities, and make money.

“What attracted Clinton to Epstein was quite simple: He had a plane,” Landon thomas Jr. Wrote in the 2002 brand-new York newspaper profile. Clinton’s aide Doug tape made the introduction, and also that September, Epstein and also Clinton were off on a tourism of five African countries, alongside gibbs Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker. Every Clinton’s team, the pilgrimage was around “democratization, empowering the poor, citizens service, and also combating HIV/AIDS.” (It to be that trip that very first elevated Epstein to part media notoriety, as journalists started to dig into Clinton’s new friend.)

That no the only trip. According to Clinton spokesperson point of view Ureña, in a statement last week, there to be one much more to Africa, one to Europe, and also one to Asia — but, he says, Clinton and also Epstein haven’t spoken in “well end a decade.”

Virginia Giuffre has actually said in an affidavit the Clinton was also present on small St. James Island, Epstein’s personal island in the us Virgin Islands. But so far, there has been no corroboration for this claim, and Ureña states Clinton has actually never been there.

Neither Giuffre nor any other Epstein accuser has alleged the Clinton had sex through them. Clinton was, however, credibly accused the rape by Juanita Broaddrick in the 1970s.

What makes the conspiracy theory so frustrating, in part, is the they’re premised on real elements: credible accusations of sex-related misconduct versus Bill Clinton, Clinton’s real ties come Jeffrey Epstein, and also Epstein’s own well-documented sex crimes. It no take very inventive conspiracy theorizing to move from that to allegations the Clinton was component of Epstein’s sex abuse and also from over there to wild accusations the Clinton had Epstein killed.

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But we must be an extremely clear that together of this writing, over there is no evidence whatsoever to imply someone bespeak Epstein’s death, and also certainly no evidence whatsoever that Bill Clinton was the person.