US congressman Eric Swalwell forced to deny breaking wind during live interview after clip goes viral with #fartgate hashtag
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A US Congressman has denied loudly passing wind during a live interviewafter the clip went viral with the hashtag #fartgate.
Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, was being quizzed bypresenter Chris Matthews of MSNBC show Hardball abouttheimpeachment proceedings against Donald Trumpwhen the distinct sound was heard.
Mr Swalwell, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, had paused in the middle of a comment when the noise was caught on camera.
He said: "So far the evidence... is uncontradicted, that the president used tax payers dollars to ask the Ukrainiansto help him cheat... an election."
The noise was heard during the second pause. He appeared to smile slightly afterwards.
Thefootage went viral, trending on Twitter with #fartgate.
Mr Swalwellstrongly denied farting live on TV, telling Buzzfeed reporterAddyBaird: "It was not me!!!!!"
He then added: "Ha. And I didn't hear it when I was speaking.
"I def did not hear it."
Ms Baird posted the text conversation on Twitter and commended the Congressman for being "a good sport".
Hardball eventually released a statement explaining the sound had been a mug scraping across the presenter's desk.
The channel used the opportunity to plug its branded mugs for sale online.
The tweet read: "Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists - it was the #hardball mug scraping across the desk. Get yours today and let's ge back to the news!"
But, even the network's own journalists joined in the online banter, including Mark Taylor of NBC 4.
Others pointed out the age old wisdom attached to those who deny breaking wind in public.
Even the US President's son joined in with a jibe at Mr Swalwell, adding: "Most intelligible thing to come out of Swalwell in years."
Some also joked that the moment had madeAmerica "great again."
Mr Trump is being investigated due to a phone call with Ukraine's president this summer during which it is alleged he asked the foreign leader to dig up dirt on his Democratic opponent.More about: | impeachment | US Congress | Donald Trump | Ukraine | California