Former House speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that "rumors" about Hillary Clinton being given presidential debate questions in advance of Monday's broadcast may be true.
"It would not shock me," Gingrich, a Donald Trump supporter, said on Sean Hannity's radio show Wednesday.
Gingrich added that Clinton and the "news media producers on the left" — such as all of the presidential debate moderators — "operate in the same circle."
"They go to the same cocktail parties, they all know each other," he said. "This whole thing is a setup."
The "rumors" Gingrich was referring to have mainly been perpetuated by a fake online newspaper called the Baltimore Gazette, which regularly publishes untrue stories.
Conservative radio host Bill Mitchell had tweeted the Gazette article the day before Gingrich's interview, and a number of other pro-Trump, alt-right online communities spread similar conspiracy theories, such as Clinton being fed her debate answers through a "communications device." The "device" was almost certainly the lapel mic worn by both candidates.
Because Clinton's "operatives" and the liberal media producers are such "good friends," Gingrich explained, they will continue to form a "tag team" against Trump during the debates.
Gingrich also said that he didn't think Clinton bringing up former Miss Universe Alicia Moachado, whose weight Trump publicly ridiculed and criticized, was "going to work."
"The average American, in the end, is not going to say, 'I'm so offended by something which happened 20 years ago in a beauty pageant that boy, that really turns me off,'" Gingrich told Hannity, calling Moachado's statements a "fraud" set up by the Clinton campaign and "the elite news media."
"I think they become even less likely to agree to this and I think the end result in the end will be it's a diversion, and we'll go on to the big issues where Trump is winning on every single one of them," Gingrich concluded.
Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
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