California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters shared a puzzling conspiracy theory Tuesday involving ties between Russia and Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who recently announced that not only will he not seek re-election but he may also leave his seat early.
MSNBC's "All In" host Chris Hayes asked Waters what she believes is the reason behind Chaffetz's planned departure. Waters began by speculating that Chaffetz, the House Oversight Committee chairman, was leaving in order to position himself for higher office — most likely governor of Utah.
Then the conspiracy theories began.
"There are those who think that he, in some ways, has some connections to what is going on in the Ukraine and perhaps in Russia itself and knows something about all of this," Waters said. "I don’t really know. I can’t say, but he’s strange in the way that he’s conducting himself.”
Waters then referred to Chaffetz's recent accusation that former national security adviser Gen. Mike Flynn illegally had dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin but did not seek permission to do so. Also, Chaffetz accused Flynn of receiving money from Turkey and Russia.
“Maybe [Chaffetz] thinks that if he rolls out and points to the fact that something is going on with Flynn that [Flynn] did not disclose, and this is criminal," Waters continued. "I mean [Flynn] violated a federal law, that somehow this will raise [Chaffetz] above maybe what connections he may have with the Kremlin, we need to keep an eye on him.”
Hayes interjected, saying, "I have not seen any evidence produced of that,” and adding that he would continue to search for evidence.
Waters isn't the first Democrat to push a Russia-related conspiracy about Chaffetz. DNC Deputy Communications Director Adrienne Watson took to Twitter to leave a now deleted tweet saying “Chaffetz not seeking re-election will raise more questions about this” and quoting a separate tweet by independent investigative journalist Louise Mensch, suggesting the Russians have “kompromat,” or compromising information, on Chaffetz.