Bipartisan measure introduced in Congress to condemn QAnon conspiracy theory

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amid rising concern about the QAnon conspiracy theory, a bipartisan pair of U.S. congressmen on Tuesday introduced a resolution condemning the fringe movement and calling on law enforcement to block criminal activity by its adherents.

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol building is pictured at sunset on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

The resolution, introduced by Republican Representative Denver Riggleman and Democratic Representative Tom Malinowski, describes QAnon as one of the “fringe political conspiracy theories” that authorities say are likely to encourage violent actions by domestic extremists.

It was not immediately clear whether congressional leaders would bring the new resolution to a vote.

The measure comes at a time when QAnon looks poised to gain a toehold in the U.S. House of Representatives, with at least two Republican candidates who espouse QAnon beliefs on track to win their November elections.

QAnon followers espouse a series of beliefs spread online that view President Donald Trump as a hero waging battle against a cabal of child-sex predators including prominent Democrats.

Tuesday’s resolution urges the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies to strengthen their focus on preventing “violence, threats, harassment, and other criminal activity” carried out by conspiracy theory adherents.

As an ideology that has grown to embrace a range of popular conspiracy theories on topics from alien landings to vaccine safety, they warned that QAnon could have the potential to radicalize violent individuals at an alarming pace. The FBI last year included it in a warning about “conspiracy-theory-driven domestic extremists.”

Russian government-supported organizations are believed to be playing a small but increasing role amplifying conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon, raising concerns of new election interference.

Facebook has removed nearly 800 QAnon conspiracy groups for posts celebrating violence, showing intent to use weapons or attracting followers with patterns of violent behavior.

Trump recently told reporters that he knows nothing about the QAnon movement except that its followers like him.

Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell