- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

InfoWars host Alex Jones said in a Tuesday broadcast that he’s under “criminal espionage investigation,” as federal authorities look for connections between his popular internet and radio program and Russian actors.

The Federal Election Commission is expected to discuss Thursday whether to investigate if Russia colluded with far-right websites in order to boost President Trump’s 2016 campaign after news reports accused sites including Breitbart and InfoWars of receiving Russian support.

“We are witnessing the greatest witch hunt in U.S. history. The most transparent, the most fraudulent, the most upside-down, the most twisted compendium of fraud that I have ever seen in modern history,” Mr. Jones said at the start of the broadcast.

“I get up this morning and I learn from Ellen L Weintraub, commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, what I already knew from four months ago — I am under criminal espionage investigation by the FBI for taking money from Russians or Russian-owned companies,” Mr. Jonesadded.

A discussion surrounding the agency “response to alleged foreign interference in American elections” is scheduled for this week’s FECmeeting in Washington.

Planning documents first reported by The Washington Examiner on Tuesday indicate Ms. Weintraub indeed will use the event to address recent articles related to Russia’s involvement in last year’s contest — specifically including reports linking Russian agents to websites that touted Mr. Trump’s campaign over his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

A memorandum from Ms. Weintraub published prior to Thursday’s meeting cites a Time Magazine report from May involving Russia’s alleged digital operations with respect to Mr. Trump’s election, the likes of which references a McClatchy article from March that said FBI counterintelligence agents are investigating possible ties between Russia and websites including InfoWars.

The McClatchy report said Russian operatives may have used automated computer programs and ad buys “to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive,” including links published by Breitbart, InfoWars and Kremlin-backed websites.

Russia’s alleged activities in out 2016 presidential election may represent an unprecedented threat to the very foundations of our American political community,” Ms. Weintraub wrote in her memorandum. “I believe that this Commission can indeed rise to the challenge of understanding what happened in the 2016 election and plugging any legal or procedural holes that could allow foreign actors to interfere with our future elections.”

Mr. Jones denied ties with Russian sponsors during Tuesday broadcast and accused the FEC chair of “McCarthyism” and “tyranny.”

“This lady says we need to be shut down, we need to be arrested, we need to be hauled before Congress, because with no evidence I’m getting money from the Russians or subsidiaries,” Mr. Jones said. “I’ve never gotten one scintilla of money from Russia. I’ve never gotten any directives from Russia.”

“This is just pure intimidation,” Mr. Jones added. “If we give in to this, it’s over.”

Ms. Weintraub’s memorandum doesn’t explicitly call for any arrests but hints at the possibility of future hearings.

“The Commission has broad powers to hold hearings, compel testimony and require production of documents,” she wrote. “We have not generally used these powers outside the enforcement context, but [the Federal Election Campaign Act] is clear that our powers are not bound by out enforcement duties.”

Mr. Jones claims to reach about 45 million people a week through his InfoWars website and radio and internet broadcasts, and frequently boasts of having ties with the Trump administration. He interviewed Mr. Trump on his show in 2015 and frequently appears alongside Roger Stone, Mr. Trump’s former presidential campaign chairman.

A spokesperson for Breitbart did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday.

Russia has denied meddling in Mr. Trump’s election, contrary to the findings of the U.S. intelligence community.

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