Corey Stewart’s impulse to utter provocative and evidence-free slurs reached even new heights Friday night after the Republican nominee for Senate from Virginia disparaged slain Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi on CNN as a “mystery man” tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and Osama bin Laden.

His remarks to Anderson Cooper trashing Khashoggi – a Virginia resident and Washington Post contributing columnist who was, according to Turkish officials, killed and dismembered this month by a team of Saudi assassins inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey – marked his latest attempt to rally hardcore Republicans in his uphill battle against Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.

Polls show Kaine leading Stewart by as much as 20 points.

“He’s kind of a mystery man … the thing is that he’s kind of a mystery guy,” Stewart said of Khashoggi on Cooper’s nightly show. “Well, I mean, you know, there’s a lot of reports out there that he was connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, reports that he was connected to Osama bin Laden and others. I don’t know if they’re true.”

With his latest conjectures on national television, Stewart appears to be moving in lockstep with extremist Republicans and conservative commentators engaging in a whisper campaign to smear Khashoggi and insulate President Trump from global rebuke. In the fallout of Khashoggi’s murder, Trump has repeatedly said he does not want the journalist’s death to disrupt the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia, especially the sale of billions of dollars in weapons made by American defense contractors.

But instead of whispering, Stewart amplified many of these sentiments on CNN.

“I think the bigger question though is, you know, does the United States jeopardize the relationship with Saudi Arabia over this one single human rights violation,” he said. “I think that would be a tremendous mistake to the United States.”

Stewart kept calling Khashoggi a “mystery man” or “mystery guy” during the interview, but when Cooper pressed him for evidence, Stewart appeared to fumble.

“Well, I mean, look, if you wanted somebody who is an expert on who he was, you know, I’m not the right guy,” Stewart said.