GOP Senate Favorite Adam Laxalt Backs Candidate Pushing FBI-Revenge Fantasy




  • In Politics
  • 2022-01-21 23:36:17Z
  • By The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty  

As attorney general of Nevada, Adam Laxalt was in charge of enforcing the law. But now that he's a Republican Senate candidate, Laxalt is throwing his "extremely enthusiastic" support behind someone who wants to abolish the FBI.

That someone is Carolina Serrano, who Laxalt-holding a lead over Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto-endorsed earlier this week. A Colombian-American and self-proclaimed Democratic voter until 2018, Serrano has more recently reimagined herself as a fringe-right Jan. 6 truther and conspiracy theorist as she steams ahead with her bid to unseat Rep. Dana Titus (D-NV) in Nevada's recently redrawn 1st District.

And she's been on a tear. At least recently, that is.

Over the last few months, Serrano appeared to embrace false but widespread theories about the Jan. 6 attack, which supporters of then-President Trump waged on the U.S. Capitol. Chief among them that it was an inside job, and the feds need to pay.

GOP Candidate Adam Laxalt's Family Blasts Him: 'Wrong for Nevada'

On Jan. 12, in response to a post from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) wondering whether "federal assets" encouraged protestors to enter the Capitol, Serrano-who launched her campaign by claiming that Democrats want to "defund the police"-tweeted that it was "time to dissolve" the FBI and, apparently, the Justice Department.

To state the obvious, that will never happen.

But Serrano kept at it, dismissing in a tweet this Tuesday the idea that those "crazy" theories were in fact crazy.

"The FBI REFUSED to answer whether there were undercover agents in the crowd on Jan 6 AND if Ray Epps was an informant," Serrano said, adding that, "If FBI could just answer these questions all these 'crazy conspiracies' could be put to bed!"

On the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6, Serrano called the event a "fedsurrection."

Serrano's above reference to Ray Epps would be obscure to all but a slim slice of "very online" Americans.

Epps, an ardent Trump supporter who, after appearing a Jan. 5 video urging his comrades to enter the Capitol the next day, has become the focus of a fact-free narrative rooted in amateur internet sleuthery, positing that the MAGA ride-or-die is actually a federal informant-or possibly an agent, depending on who you ask.

But that strange lie has in recent months been gassed up by prominent Republican voices, including conservative late-night entertainer Tucker Carlson and election objectors such as Massie and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

"He's very upset," Epps' lawyer recently told The Washington Post.

Epps isn't the only Jan. 6 MAGA figure Serrano pegged for a turncoat. In October, she floated the same federal informant allegation against Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who last week was charged with seditious conspiracy.

In October, Serrano quoted an article from right-wing website Revolver speculating that Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes was also a government informant-a theory that was at the time gaining traction on the fringe right.

"[A]ll roads in the Jan 6 event lead back to Rhodes. So if Rhodes is a fed, that would mean the government used a fake anti-government front group to 'attack' itself and frame the sitting President and his supporters for the crime," she tweeted.

This Trump Crony Is Trying to Overturn the Election. His Own Group Has Thrown in the Towel.

But if Serrano believed the suggestion, she may have felt a personal betrayal. That's because she and Rhodes share a Jan. 6 connection: They were both affiliated with a bizarre legal election challenge filed three weeks after the riot. Rhodes was one of the lawsuit's many Oath Keeper plaintiffs, and Serrano was connected through Latinos for Trump, another plaintiff.

The widely mocked suit asked a federal judge to dissolve Congress and the executive branch as unlawful "Usurpers," render every 2020 election result illegitimate, and place the federal government into a receivership styled after the mythical kingdom of Gondor, from The Lord of The Rings. One of the attorneys who filed the original lawsuit took over as acting president of the Oath Keepers upon Rhodes' indictment earlier this month. (The other attorney filed a defamation claim against this reporter, which was dismissed with prejudice.)

Serrano got Laxalt's endorsement the same day she amplified the Epps conspiracy theory. She posted a statement the following day to social media, quoting Laxalt as "extremely enthusiastic" to back her. "I look forward to working together with her to bring about a historic red wave to Nevada," Laxalt said.

Reached for comment about Serrano's remarks on the FBI and Jan. 6, a Laxalt spokesperson replied, "I see you already have our statement." Asked to clarify if he meant that the campaign would have otherwise replied with a copy-pasted version of the endorsement, the spokesperson did not respond.

Laxalt, of course, has had his own encounters with the FBI, including an alleged pay-to-play scheme when he was attorney general; he was never charged.

The Nevada Globe, which broke the endorsement news, quoted Serrano as "honored."

She expressed gratitude to Laxalt after he "championed our Latinos for Trump efforts" and "worked tirelessly after November 3rd to try and get to the bottom of what truly transpired in our elections." That's a reference to several failed post-election lawsuits from Laxalt, who after losing a 2018 gubernatorial bid served as the Nevada co-chair for the Trump campaign.

However, it's unclear what Serrano herself was doing after Nov. 3 to "get to the bottom" of the election. In fact, there's a lot that's still unclear.

Serrano-who got an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2019, according to her personal Facebook page-has admitted voting Democratic until 2018, changing over when she reportedly first became "intrigued" by Trump.

But Serrano's own real-time thoughts and feelings about the election results-and Jan. 6-are not available online. Her personal Facebook page shows a two-year gap in posts between her first post in May 2019, which announced her graduation, and May 2021. And she appears either to have not tweeted at all or deleted all of her posts between Oct. 11, 2020, and May 17, 2021.

That's perhaps the most momentous period in modern American politics, covering the 2020 presidential election, the months-long MAGA putsch to overturn the results, the Jan. 6 assault and backlash, Trump's subsequent second impeachment and trial, and the internal fracturing of the Republican party leading to the GOP's ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) over her drive to hold officials accountable for the insurrection.

Serrano's feed resumes three days after the GOP gave Cheney the boot, with a quote from George Washington warning that political parties "are likely to become potent engines" exploited by "cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men" in order to "usurp for themselves the reins of government."

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