Conspiracy theories paint fraudulent reality of Jan. 6 riot

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Millions of Americans watched the events in Washington last Jan. 6 unfold on live television. Police officers testified to the violence and mayhem. Criminal proceedings in open court detailed what happened.

Yet the hoaxes, conspiracy theories and attempts to rewrite history persist, muddying the public’s understanding of what actually occurred during the most sustained attack on the seat of American democracy since the War of 1812.

By excusing former President Donald Trump of responsibility, minimizing the mob’s violence and casting the rioters as martyrs, falsehoods about the insurrection aim to deflect blame for Jan. 6 while sustaining Trump’s unfounded claims about the free and fair election in 2020 that he lost.

Spread by politicians, broadcast by cable news pundits and amplified by social media, the falsehoods are a stark reminder of how many Americans may no longer trust…

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