For nearly three years, QAnon followers have been feverishly deciphering thousands of cryptic clues and predictions posted online by the shadowy persona of "Q" at the center of a metastasizing movement that experts say is the first far-right extremist conspiracy theory in the modern era to penetrate mainstream American culture and Washington politics.
Yet leading researchers and critics who study and debunk QAnon disinformation told ABC News that a key to identifying "Q" has been hiding in plain sight for years -- on a pig farm south of Manila in the Philippines -- at least until recently.
Experts who track extremist ideologies and movements as well as domestic terrorism in the U.S. say QAnon is a unique and unpredictable new strain of extremism in America's far-right political landscape.
In the span of President Donald Trump's term in office, the far-right fringe culture known as QAnon has made its way from cryptic posts on 4chan message boards to the White House press briefing room -- where on Wednesday the president of the United States made his most extensive comments to date in addressing a cartoonish but mutating conspiracy theory which features him as its crusading savior.
Trump's remarks were vague, so it's unclear precisely how tuned in he is to the full scope of QAnon's worldview. He addressed the broad outlines of the theory and his perceived role in it.
Earlier this year, New York became the U.S. epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which killed tens of thousands of state residents and left hundreds of thousands more infected with COVID-19. But hope is resurfacing in the Empire State.
"We went from the worst infection rate [in the nation] to the best infection rate," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told ABC News about the first 100 days of New York's response to COVID-19 -- which began with the state's first confirmed case on March 1 and ended on a small note of triumph on June 8, with the partial reopening of NYC.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the federal government's early coronavirus tracking a "terrible blunder" in an interview with "Good Morning America," said he would not accept a cabinet position in a Joe Biden administration and insisted that his gradual but disciplined approach to shutting down New York state was the best course -- then and now.
Cuomo also credited New Yorkers for following his lead and sounded off on everything from needing a good hug from his mom to his darkest moments -- when the crisis was so severe that he'd privately lean on his memories of his late father.
Facing an existential threat, hundreds of the most iconic independent rock clubs in America have banded together to do the unthinkable in an industry forged on pride, risk, ingenuity and imagination.
Last month, a coalition of club owners now numbering more than 1,600 -- the National Independent Venue Association -- hired top-shelf Capitol Hill lobbyists to petition Congress for financial assistance.
"We're in dark times," said Michael Swier of New York's Bowery Ballroom. "The unknowns are just staggering. It's hard to see the entrance to the tunnel, let alone the light at the end of it."
The novel coronavirus has already claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. But experts fear that number could be far higher at this point in the outbreak -- perhaps by tens of thousands -- once the pandemic subsides enough for officials to go back and make a true reckoning of the dead.
The plot had the hallmarks of an international spy thriller: a desperate pathologist, a contact code-named “Strawberry,” a secret associate in China, tense waiting games, a six-figure payout, an 11th-hour international rescue mission – and then a gut-punch twist ending.
The haul was significant: 100,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests airlifted from Shanghai to Seattle.
As the COVID-19 virus continues its relentless march across the nation, the looming crisis inside America’s jails and prisons appears to be deepening, as corrections officials dig in to prevent outbreaks in the nation's more than 6,000 prisons and jails.
So far this week, a total of 23 inmates have escaped correctional facilities in two states and judges from coast to coast have ordered thousands of inmates released — both those detained before trial and convicted inmates, but calls for release have have broadened to all medically-vulnerable inmates, as reports of shortages mount.
Fearing outbreaks and riots, nation’s prison and jail wardens scramble to respond to coronavirus threat
As much of the nation adjusts this week to sudden, indefinite home confinement, prison and jail wardens nationwide are scrambling to forestall nightmare scenario: an outbreak of COVID-19 inside a crowded U.S. correctional facility.
With the world's highest incarceration rate, the U.S. faces unique challenges among its roughly 2.3 million inmates as the coronavirus surges silently through America.
“People refer to cruise ships as petri dishes, but nobody has invented a more effective vector for transmitting disease than a city jail,” said former NYC corrections commissioner Martin Horn.
Harvey Weinstein was charged Friday with a new felony sexual assault count by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. The charge of sexual assault by restraint stems from an incident in which Weinstein allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at a Beverly Hills hotel on May 11, 2010.
The woman was originally interviewed last fall by the LA DA’s office as a corroborating witness, but last month provided information confirming the alleged attack took place within the state’s 10-year statute of limitations, which requires that a defendant be charged within 10 years of the alleged offense.
Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years on sex crime convictions in New York on Wednesday, following a landmark trial that spotlighted Hollywood power dynamics, predatory sexual violence and complex questions about the nature of consent and coercion.
The sentence includes 20 years for criminal sexual assault in the first degree, which stems from an accusation from former "Project Runway" production assistant Mimi Haley, and three years for rape in the third degree, which stems from an accusation from Jessica Mann,. The sentences are set to run consecutively.
Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced former Hollywood producer, was found guilty of criminal sexual assault and of rape in the third degree in a New York court Monday. He was found not guilty of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and of rape in the first degree.
The outcome is seen as a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, which was spurred into mainstream awareness after allegations against Weinstein were first reported in October 2017 by The New York Times and The New Yorker.
Two more women took the witness stand in New York on Wednesday, weeping as they described unwanted sexual encounters with Harvey Weinstein in 2004 and 2005.
Dawn Dunning and Tarale Wulff are two of three "prior bad acts" witnesses called in to support prosecutors' efforts to demonstrate a pattern by Weinstein of grooming and then sexually assaulting women looking for work in Hollywood.
The defense's first witness in the Harvey Weinstein rape trial took the stand late on Thursday to challenge actress Annabella Sciorra's account of being raped by the disgraced producer and stumbled memorably through a cross-examination when a series of texts he sent to Weinstein were read aloud in court to the witness' surprise.
"Listen," the agitated witness explained at one point. "I'm learning a lot now and I had no idea that my text messages would end up in a courtroom."