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There’s A Conspiracy Theory That Hillary Clinton Cheated At The Debate

A similar conspiracy theory was floated about George W. Bush in 2004.

Posted on September 27, 2016, at 4:33 p.m. ET

There’s a new conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton cheated at Monday's presidential debate by wearing some kind of hidden device.

Many supporters of Donald Trump point to photos of a strange lump in her clothing as proof she had help, with campaign staff possibly feeding her answers through a hidden earpiece.

In fact, the bulky object under Clinton's jacket is almost certainly just a microphone pack. Both candidates had visible lapel mics on stage.

Evan Vucci / AP
David Goldman / AP

That obvious explanation hasn't stopped many conservative blogs, YouTube channels, and Facebook pages from spreading the rumor that Clinton had extra help.

This isn’t the first time this conspiracy theory has been floated. Earlier this year, Snopes debunked the false claim that Clinton and Trump used secret earpieces during a televised forum on NBC.

One viral image, shared by prominent pro-Trump accounts on Twitter, even suggested Clinton was wearing a "coughing prevention machine."

Twitter: @USAforTrump2016

Whatever that might be. 😕

In 2004 there was a similar freak-out about a mysterious "bulge" in George W. Bush's jacket during a presidential debate.

This photo was spread on liberal blogs and became the subject of furious speculation about Bush having been fed answers by his team through an earpiece (even though no such earpiece was ever visible on video or in photos from the debate).

According to a report in The Hill, "sources in the Secret Service" said the president was wearing a bulletproof vest for security, which the Bush campaign denied.

"There was nothing under his suit jacket," Nicolle Devenish, a campaign spokesperson, told the New York Times. "It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.