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Son of Trump's incoming national security advisor pushes conspiracy theory targeting pizza parlor

 (Jim Lo Scalzo / European Pressphoto Agency)
(Jim Lo Scalzo / European Pressphoto Agency)

The son of Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's national security advisor, is pushing a conspiracy theory that prompted an armed man to venture into a Washington restaurant Sunday.

Michael Flynn Jr. promoted a theory that erupted about a month ago. The falsehood, dubbed by some as "PizzaGate," claimed that a pizzeria, Comet Ping Pong, and its owner were at the center of a child sex trafficking operation involving top Democrats, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta.

As the rumor spun up on extremist websites, the restaurant began fending off threats, peaking Sunday when a man with an assault-style rifle walked into the restaurant and fired at least one shot, prompting a lockdown and evacuation, according to police.

The 28-year-old suspect, identified as Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, N.C., said he went to Comet Ping Pong to investigate the PizzaGate rumor. Once he found no evidence of pedophilia, he told police, he surrendered to authorities.

After Flynn's tweets began gaining attention, he doubled down on his defense of the claims. CNN host Jake Tapper questioned Flynn through a private message on Twitter. Flynn tweeted some of Tapper's remarks, saying it was evidence he "hit a nerve."

Flynn is his father's chief of staff and top aide. The elder Flynn pushed a conspiracy theory a week before the election that Clinton was involved with sex crimes involving children.

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