President Donald Trump defended retweeting a message groundlessly linking the Clintons to the death of financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
On Saturday, following news that Epstein died in an apparent suicide in a New York prison, Trump shared a message on Twitter which said: “#JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead.”
It included the hashtag #ClintonBodyCount.
Trump defended retweeting the message because its author, comedian and commentator Terrence K Williams, has many followers, is “a very highly respected conservative pundit” and “a big Trump fan.”
When asked whether he really thinks the theory is true, he said “I have no idea.”
Trump’s boosting of the theory has enraged FBI agents, who attacked Trump for “fanning the flames with these bulls— theories.”
He told reporters at Morristown Airport in New Jersey: “That was a retweet. That was from him, it wasn’t from me. But he’s a man who has half a million followers. A lot of followers, and he’s respected … so I think I was fine.”
Williams was last in the news for a Fox News interview in August, where he made racial slurs about an Asian-American woman hired by the New York Times.
Trump doubled down on the links between former President Bill Clinton and Epstein when asked whether the theory could be true.
Here’s Trump’s full response to the question, which was: “Do you really think the Clintons are involved in Jeffrey Epstein’s death?”
“I have no idea. I know he was on his plane 27 times and he said he was on the plane 4 times. But when they checked the plane logs, Bill Clinton who was a very good friend of Epstein, he was on the plane about 27 or 28 times.
“So why did he say four times? And then the question you have to ask is did Bill Clinton go to the island? Because Epstein had an island that was not a good place, as I understand it. And I was never there, but you have to ask, did Bill Clinton go to the island.
“That’s the question. If you find that out, you’re going to know a lot. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.”
Trump was referring to a recent statement by Clinton, in which he said he embarked on four trips on Epstein’s plane to Africa, Europe and Asia for work related to the Clinton Foundation in the early 2000s — and note that he is referring to trips taken on the plane not the total number of flights on those trips.
The Washington Post and Washington Examiner have determined that Clinton took a total of six trips on Epstein’s private jet, totalling 27 flights.
According to flight logs revealed in court documents and reviewed by the publications, a flight from Miami to New York and a second trip to Asia were not disclosed by Clinton.
According to court documents unsealed on Friday, Trump took one trip on Epstein’s plane, flying from Palm Beach, Florida, to Neward, New Jersey, in 1997.
Trump then alleged that Clinton had visited Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean — Little St. James — where the financier is alleged to have abused girls.
“The question you have to ask is, did Bill Clinton go to the island? Because Epstein had an island. That was not a good place, as I understand it, and I was never there,” Trump continued. “So you have to ask, did Bill Clinton go to the island? That’s the question. If you find that out, you’re going to know a lot.”
Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, has alleged that Clinton visited the island in an affidavit. In documents unsealed Friday, she withdrew the allegation.
Clinton had denied ever visiting the island, and no other witnesses had corroborated Giuffre’s claim.
Angel Ureña, Clinton’s spokesperson, reacted to Trump’s messages Saturday, tweeting: “Ridiculous, and of course not true — and Donald Trump knows it.”
Trump has long stirred conspiracy theories, launching the political foray that led to his 2016 election by spreading the baseless “birther” conspiracy about former president Barack Obama.
The president’s promotion of conspiracy theories about Epstein has infuriated FBI agents and justice department officials.
“It’s not hyperbole to say that when the president makes up these stories — or promotes stories made up by others — he’s putting innocent lives at risk,” one former senior DOJ official told INSIDER’s Sonam Sheth.
A serving FBI agent said: “The last thing investigators need is the President of the United States fanning the flames with these bulls— theories that have no basis in reality.”
Far-right conspiracy theorists have for decades spread baseless rumors about the Clintons, claiming that they have been involved in a series of murders to cover up for their crimes.