“I am 100% pro-life but Steve King’s bizarre comments and behaviour diminish our message,” he wrote on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Mr King told the Des Moines Register that the Republican leadership had stopped bills he sponsored banning abortions from advancing through the US House of Representatives.
“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” Mr King said on Wednesday.
“Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”
On Tuesday, a union official for workers at the jail told the Washington Post that one of the guards on Epstein’s unit on Saturday – when he died – was not a regular correctional officer, but rather another form of prison employee who was directed to operate as a guard due to staffing shortages.
Both guards working on his unit were working overtime shifts, but it’s unclear whether they were doing so voluntarily.
The union representing federal prison guards, the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals, said in a statement after Epstein’s death that many guards are forced to work overtime.
In a statement provided to BBC News, the organisation’s president Eric Young said prison employees who are not correctional officers – such as teachers, nurses, clerical workers – are often made to guard inmates due to a process known as “augmentation”.
What has Trump said?
President Donald Trump told reporters in New Jersey on Tuesday: “I want a full investigation, and that’s what I absolutely am demanding.
“That’s what our attorney general, our great attorney general, is doing. He’s doing a full investigation.”
He also defended his decision to retweet conspiracy theory that suggested that the Clinton family had Epstein killed.
“He’s a very highly respected conservative pundit,” Mr Trump said of comedian Terrence K Williams, who wrote the original post.
“He’s a big Trump fan. And that was a retweet. That wasn’t from me… So I think I was fine.”
The order comes one day after Mr Barr said he was “frankly angry to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner.”
He added: “We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.”
Just hours after the high-profile financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead on Saturday, unsubstantiated theories about his death began to gain traction online.
Epstein, who was set to stand trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, killed himself in his jail cell in New York. He was accused of running a “vast network” of underage girls for sex, and pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.
The 66-year-old was known to court famous friends and acquaintances. President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, and the UK’s Prince Andrew all had ties to him. Some of his powerful associates have been embroiled in the allegations against him, which has only served to fuel the conspiracy theories and misinformation.
Many rumours have centred on what politicians may have known about Epstein’s alleged crimes and whether some may have wanted him dead. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest this was the case. And yet, the hashtag #EpsteinMurder trended worldwide on Saturday.
Joke images and memes – suggesting everything from a faked suicide to an orchestrated hit-job – were shared thousands of times throughout the day. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were rife with unfounded theories about what may have happened to the financier.
This wild speculation was not confined to a fringe minority – far from it. Politicians and high-profile journalists also stoked rampant speculation at a time when little information was publicly available. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted:
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “way too convenient” that Epstein could no longer incriminate others.
“What a lot of us want to know is, what did he know?” he told reporters. “How many other millionaires and billionaires were part of the illegal activities that he was engaged in?”
Questions like these alluded, without evidence, to a malevolent conspiracy and fed the feverish speculation on social media.
“What does the word watch mean in the phrase suicide watch?” tweeted President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giulani. “Who was watching?” He then said it was “inconceivable” Epstein could have taken his own life under those circumstances.
But prison officials later said Epstein had actually been taken off suicide watch prior to his death. Conspiracy theories then began to focus on why this decision was made, rather than how he was able to take his own life.
The speculation, as was the case throughout Saturday, appeared to shift and change with the few concrete details that were released.
Perhaps the most far-fetched conspiracy theories were pegged to the hashtags #ClintonBodyCount and #TrumpBodyCount, which both trended on Twitter over the weekend.
The first was primarily used by conservatives to suggest that former “first couple” Bill and Hillary Clinton were linked to Epstein’s death. The latter, perhaps predictably, was used by liberals who speculated that Mr Trump was somehow involved. Neither side had any evidence to work with.
“There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest an outside person ordered Epstein’s death, and certainly no evidence whatsoever that Bill Clinton was that person,” Dylan Matthews wrote in Vox this week.
“[Mr Clinton] knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,” his spokesman, Angel Ureña, said.
But Mr Trump was quick to pour fuel on the flames. He shared a tweet from Terrence Williams, a comedian and Trump supporter, that alleged Epstein “had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead”. There is no evidence to support this, but the tweet has since been shared more than 55,000 times.
Other theories and tidbits of misinformation have been easier to disprove.
For example, a photo that appeared to show Mr Trump kissing the head of his daughter, Ivanka, while standing next to Epstein has been exposed as a fake. “The 1993 photograph… has been manipulated to include Epstein,” the Associated Press reported last month.
Similarly, after Epstein’s arrest on 6 July, some social media users shared a false claim that prosecutors had struck a secret plea deal with the financier under the administration of President Barack Obama in order to protect his fellow Democrat Mr Clinton. That theory resurfaced on Saturday.
Meanwhile, some politicians and journalists have urged people to exercise caution given the sheer quantity of misinformation online.
“The immediate rush to spread conspiracy theories about someone on the ‘other side’ of [the] partisan divide illustrates why our society is so vulnerable to foreign disinformation,” tweeted Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
CNN presenter Jim Sciutto, reflecting on his time working in the Middle East, said: “Remember this is about… partisan politics. When I was [there]… folks didn’t trust authorities so assumed a plot behind every event.”
Detectives say they were first alerted to Clarisa Figueroa on 7 May – two weeks after Ms Ochoa-Lopez’s disappearance – when friends of the teen directed police to her Facebook account where she had made arrangements with Ms Figueroa to pick up baby clothes.
Police allege that Ms Figueroa then lured Ms Ochoa-Lopez inside her home and, with the help of her daughter, strangled the 19-year-old with a cable. Once Ms Ochoa-Lopez had died, her baby was forcibly removed from her womb.
“Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are,” Supt Johnson said.
That same day, Ms Figueroa called paramedics to her home, in the south-west of Chicago, claiming her newborn baby was not breathing.
Ms Figueroa later started a GoFundMe campaign that she claimed was for the funeral of her dying baby, a spokeswoman for Ms Ochoa-Lopez’s family told AP news agency.
Subsequent DNA tests revealed that Ms Ochoa-Lopez was the baby’s mother.
As tensions continue to mount between the United States and Iran, the New York Times reports the Pentagon has drawn up a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if President Trump decides to take military action against Iran.
The U.S. recently deployed a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the region claiming there was a “credible threat by Iranian regime forces.”
Meanwhile the European Union is urging the Trump administration to show “maximum restraint” following a meeting Monday between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and EU diplomats in Brussels. Iran has announced it will stop complying with parts of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal if others signatories of the deal do not take action to shield Iran’s oil and banking sectors from U.S. sanctions.
Republican Governor Kay Ivey has not said whether she would sign it, but she is seen as a strong opponent of abortion.
Democrats plan to mount a filibuster to block the bill, but have only eight seats in the 35-member chamber.
Republican lawmaker Terri Collins, sponsor of the legislation, said: “Our bill says that baby in the womb is a person.”
Democratic state Senator Bobby Singleton said the bill “criminalises doctors” and is an attempt by men “to tell women what to do with their bodies”.
As the Senate debated whether to an exception for rape and incest, Democrat Rodger Smitherman said: “We’re telling a 12 year old girl who, through incest and rape is pregnant and we are telling her that she doesn’t have a choice.”
It goes further than legislation passed recently elsewhere in the US to ban abortion after a foetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks into a pregnancy.
Under the Alabama measure, provision of abortion at any stage in pregnancy would be a class A felony.
Doctors could face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for actually carrying out the procedure.
A woman who receives an abortion would not be held criminally liable.
The bill would allow abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at serious risk.
Its text says more foetuses have been aborted than people killed in “Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields”.
An anti-abortion activist in Philadelphia
Supporters of the legislation have welcomed an inevitable challenge in federal court if the measure becomes law.
The bill’s architects expect it will be defeated in the lower courts, but hope it will end up before the Supreme Court.
Their aim ultimately is to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that recognised a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy.
Emboldened by the addition of two Trump-nominated conservative justices, anti-abortion activists are eager to take one of the most divisive issues in America back to the highest court in the land.
Eric Johnston, founded the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition that helped draft the bill, told NPR: “The dynamic has changed.
“The judges have changed, a lot of changes over that time, and so I think we’re at the point where we need to take a bigger and a bolder step.”
What’s the national picture?
If signed, the Alabama measure would become one of more than 300 laws challenging abortion access in the US.
Its passage comes amid a wave of anti-abortion measures in Republican-controlled state capitols around the nation.
Legislation to restrict abortion has been introduced in 16 of America’s 50 states this year alone, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for more abortion access.
The flurry of measures has led these activists to warn that a swathe of US territory could become an “abortion desert.”
At the other end of the political spectrum, a Democratic-sponsored bill in Virginia that would have allowed third-trimester abortions up until the point of childbirth failed to make it out of committee.