House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) promoted a conspiracy theory without any evidence on Friday, saying that Jared Kushner may have been behind the apparent murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"Jared Kushner may have, with U.S. intelligence, delivered a hit list, an enemies list, to the crown prince, to MBS, in Saudi Arabia and that the prince may have acted on that, and one of the people he took action against is Mr. Khashoggi," Castro said on CNN.
CNN's Poppy Harlow offered some mild pushback to Castro's claims, saying, "Just to be clear Congressman, we don't have, I just want to be clear for our viewers, we do not have that reporting. I'm not sure where you are getting that from."
"But there has been reporting to the effect," Castro said, doubling down on his conspiracy theory. "I’ve seen reporting to that effect … that needs to be investigated."
Castro's baseless conspiracy theory was met with widespread condemnation on social media from members of the press and the Trump administration.
"[email protected]’s allegation is an outrageous slanderous lie without a shred of proof, it’s reprehensible for a sitting Congressman and supposed “news” outlets to continue citing an article that used unnamed sources and was completely debunked," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders wrote on Twitter.
"This has to be among the most irresponsible accusations ever leveled without a whit of evidence for it, one obviously reflecting full-blown TDS," conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt wrote.
"This is so wildly irresponsible I don't even know where to start," Observer columnist John Schindler wrote. "Castro is on the HPSCI. He publicly blamed the IC here. He needs to be removed from the Committee immediately.
Castro later tried to claim that he "did not intend to accuse" Kushner of potentially being behind the apparent murder, even though that is exactly what he said on CNN.
"To be clear, I did not intend to accuse @jaredkushner of orchestrating anything," Castro wrote on Twitter. "Based on press reporting, I’m asking for Congress to open an investigation of whether any US Intelligence was shared with Saudi Arabia that led to political persecution or killing of #Khashoggi"