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Data: GroupSense; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The QAnon conspiracy is picking up steam abroad, particularly in Europe, where populist movements are on the rise.

Why it matters: "The U.S. has started exporting these domestic-in-origin conspiracy movements to the outside world, "says Zarine Kharazian, Assistant Editor at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab.

  • "Instead of being the target for a lot of disinformation, the U.S. has become the exporter of a lot of it.”

Driving the news: The QAnon movement is gaining a foothold in countries like Italy, France, Germany and the U.K., according to a new report from NewsGuard, a company that fights misinformation.

  • The creation and sharing of QAnon-related material in Europe peaked in June during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, NewsGuard found.
  • "It’s like people took the QAnon theory from the U.S. and then modified it for the European context," says Kharazian.

Details: According the the NewsGuard report, many new QAnon websites, pages, groups, and accounts started to appear in European countries in late 2019 and early 2020, and quickly amassed large numbers of followers.

  • Older, more established pages and groups then started re-sharing QAnon information.
  • Some of these accounts are based in the U.S., suggesting they are being run by Americans hoping to export the QAnon ideology. 

Meanwhile: Tweets about QAnon are exploding worldwide, according to separate data from GroupSense, which tracked tweets that have used some of the top QAnon-affiliated hashtags.

  • Twitter's recent ban on thousands of QAnon accounts, and limits on over 150,000 others, does seem to have already made an impact on curbing the spread on Twitter.

What's next: Just like in the U.S., these fringe conspiracies have already begun to bubble up into the mainstream, per the report.

  • In the U.K., pop star Robbie Williams said he supported the Pizzagate theory.
  • In Italy, a member of Parliament posted a speech to her Facebook account promoting conspiracies previously popularized by pro-Qanon accounts.

The bottom line: QAnon's theories of a vast set of sinister forces arrayed against nationalist leaders are proving catching among the populist movement worldwide.

Go deeper

New GOP campaign: Argue election stolen, Biden illegitimate

Election observers demand access to counting room in Detroit. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are setting the stage to claim a Joe Biden presidency would be illegitimate, baselessly questioning everything from how ballots are counted to whether "fake" polls suggesting blue waves that never came are tantamount to voter suppression.

Why it matters: Arguing that he was wrongfully removed from office could give Trump a face-saving way to explain a possible election loss. It also could distract from a Biden presidency in transition.

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

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