Top HHS official placed on leave for 2016 'Pizzagate' comments

Ximena Barreto, deputy director of communications at HHS, has been placed on administrative leave after Media Matters uncovered tweets and videos she's made supporting the "Pizzagate" conspiracy, according to The Hill.

Ms. Barreto has repeatedly supported the conspiracy theory about a nonexistent pedophile ring at a pizzeria in Washington, D.C. In November 2016 she claimed on Twitter that calls from Hillary Clinton supporters for an election recount were an attempt to distract people from "Pizzagate," and repeated those claims in a Periscope video.

"Don't listen to the recount, and relax. We've got to use all of our efforts into Pizzagate and not let that one die because that's what the mainstream media is trying to get distracted from. So check all the Pizzagate stuff," Ms. Barreto said, according to The Hill.

In the same Periscope video, Ms. Barreto also claimed that "African-Americans are way more racist than white people" and that Islam was a "f---ing cult, not a religion," according to The Hill.

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