Jun 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DoD investigated "Italygate" conspiracy theory per Trump request

Former Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller speaks during a meeting in November 2020 at the Pentagon. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller called a high-ranking official in Rome to look into the unfounded "Italygate" conspiracy theory at the request of the Trump White House, the Jan. 6 committee revealed on Thursday.

Driving the news: The committee said at its fifth public hearing that it confirmed that Miller placed a call to a defense attaché in Italy to investigate the disproven claim that an Italian defense contractor uploaded software to a satellite to switch votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

  • "The ask ... was, 'Can you call up the defense attaché in Rome and find out what the heck is going on because I'm getting all these weird, crazy reports and probably the guy on the ground knows more than anything,'" Miller said in a taped deposition to the committee.

Background: The conspiracy theory first made its way to the White House when Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) sent a video about the claim to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

  • Meadows sent the video to the Department of Justice, whose officials rejected it as "patently absurd."

What they're saying: "This wild, baseless conspiracy theory made it from the recesses of the internet to the highest echelons of our government," Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said.

  • He added: "This is one of the best examples of the lengths to which President Trump would go to stay in power."
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