HHS Official in ‘Pizzagate’ Scandal Forced Out

A Trump-appointed Health and Human Services official who spread conspiracy theories about a nonexistent sex trafficking ring at a D.C. pizzeria was escorted out of the agency’s headquarters on Friday, according to Politico. The official, Ximena Barreto, has become the third HHS staffer to leave the agency after controversial social media posts surfaced. Barreto was a prolific pusher of conspiracy theories vilifying Hillary Clinton before she joined the agency as a deputy communications director last December. On social media, she frequently spread posts and online videos claiming Clinton was involved in child sex-trafficking, the murder of Democratic National Committee aide Seth Rich, and that she employed pedophiles. After her fondness for conspiracy theories became known earlier this year, Barretto was reassigned to the HHS' Administration for Children & Families. A source cited by Politico said Barreto resigned from the agency, though no further details were given.