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This week a conspiracy theory tying the death of a young DNC staffer to Wikileaks spread through conservative media. The story ignited outrage from the victim's parents and the public. Then today:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Why it matters: The President tries to distance himself from the idea that his campaign colluded with Russia, but conservative media that helped elect him (and who go to great lengths to defend him) is pushing the same false narratives as the Russian government.

Fox coverage: The victim's family is particularly upset with Fox News after the network discussed the topic during nearly every hour of its primetime coverage Tuesday night — even though NBC debunked the theory hours before around 5 p.m.

Between the lines: The sloppy reporting was used to pivot from coverage of a report that could be potentially damaging to Trump and his administration.

How it unfolded, per CNN's Oliver Darcy

  • The network claimed on air that they got the information — that the DNC staffer was in touch with Wikileaks prior to his death — from a private investigator named Rod Wheeler.
  • But, Wheeler later told CNN he didn't have any evidence and that he actually heard the report from Fox.
  • Online Fox cited a "federal source" who said the FBI found emails linked to Wikileaks on the staffer's computer, but a law enforcement official told CNN that the FBI never had possession of of his laptop.
  • The family is now demanding a retraction and apology from Fox and a local affiliate who also aired the false story about the unresolved murder case.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."