Category Archives: chicanery

“House Jan. 6 committee to reveal Meadows’ pressure on Georgia election officials”

LAT:

The House Jan. 6 committee plans to show that President Trump’s then-chief of staff Mark Meadows “had an intimate role … in this plot to put pressure on [Georgia] state legislators and on elections officials,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), a member of the panel, told The Times in advance of Tuesday’s hearing.

Among other things, Schiff said the committee investigating the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will release new information about Meadows’ appearance at a key election meeting in Georgia and text messages revealing that he wanted to send autographed Make America Great Again hats to people conducting the audit.

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“US is worried about Russia using new efforts to exploit divisions in 2022 midterms”

CNN:

Homeland and national security officials are worried about how Russia could significantly exploit US divisions over the November midterms, considering scenarios like Russia staging smaller hacks of local election authorities — done with the deliberate purpose of being noticed — and then using that to seed more conspiracies about the integrity of American elections.

These efforts, the officials said, would be designed to dovetail with the false doubts about the 2020 presidential election spread by former President Donald Trump and many of his allies.The five current and former US officials who spoke to CNN stressed that such a scenario remains hypothetical.

Although US elections have become more secure in recent years, officials say that an atmosphere of distrust in America’s elections, coupled with the sheer number of local election systems, means there’s no way to truly be ready for such a convergence of Russian asymmetric warfare techniques.

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“Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening Election Official”

USDOJ release:

A Nebraska man pleaded guilty today to making multiple threatening posts on an Instagram page associated with an election official.

According to court documents, Travis Ford, 42, of Lincoln, made multiple threats in August 2021 toward the election official, specifically: “Do you feel safe? You shouldn’t. Do you think Soros will/can protect you?” and “Your security detail is far too thin and incompetent to protect you. This world is unpredictable these days….anything can happen to anyone.”

“The Justice Department will not tolerate illegal threats of violence against public officials,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Threats of violence against election officials are dangerous for people’s safety and dangerous for our democracy, and we will use every resource at our disposal to disrupt and investigate those threats and hold perpetrators accountable.”

“Threatening violence against election workers in an attempt to intimidate them while in performance of their duties will not be tolerated,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Threats to election workers have no place in our society, and today’s plea demonstrates the success of our collaborative efforts to ensure the safety of the workers we entrust to effectuate the democratic process.”

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“Texas Republicans Approve Far-Right Platform Declaring Biden’s Election Illegitimate”

NYT:

The Republican Party in Texas made a series of far-right declarations as part of its official party platform over the weekend, claiming that President Biden was not legitimately elected, issuing a “rebuke” to Senator John Cornyn for his work on bipartisan gun legislation and referring to homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice.”

The platform was voted on in Houston at the state party’s convention, which concluded on Saturday….

The state party’s resolution embracing the baseless 2020 stolen-election claims stated that “substantial election fraud in key metropolitan areas significantly affected the results in five key states in favor of” Mr. Biden. The state party, the resolution continued, rejected “the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”

The resolution encouraged Republicans to “show up to vote” in November, and to “bring your friends and family, volunteer for your local Republicans and overwhelm any possible fraud.”

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“Texts Reveal GOP Mission to Breach Voting Machine in Georgia”

Daily Beast:

The Georgia Secretary of State claims it is investigating how a local election supervisor gave a cadre of 2020 election truthers improper access to an election computer system, in what initially seemed like the latest example of rogue actors misusing their government positions to cast doubt on President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.

But that investigation may expose a far more sinister plot than previously suspected.

According to text messages obtained by The Daily Beast, the covert access granted to Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall and his technical team was actually part of a coordinated effort to find election irregularities. And the effort, it turns out, was led by a local elections official and the chair of the rural county’s Republican Party—who was also one of former President Donald Trump’s infamous slate of fake electors.

Last month, The Washington Post revealed that the Secretary of State’s office was investigating the matter. But the previously unreported text messages shed new light on who arranged the possibly illegal access to the computer and who was on the team that traveled south to do it. The Secretary of State’s office is already fighting off a lawsuit over the security of the state’s voting machines and may face tough questions before a federal judge next week, given that the Coffee County incident demonstrates the state’s inability to keep its machines off limits.

The situation has election cybersecurity experts concerned about the actual danger to election systems posed by these vigilante expeditions, which are mainly driven by disproven conspiracy theories.

“Everything we have seen so far shows that the people who have been doing this have no fucking skills. You have an elephant in a porcelain store. They can accidentally install malware, accidentally cause all kinds of havoc,” said Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer programmer with extensive experience analyzing election systems.

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“Woodward and Bernstein thought Nixon defined corruption. Then came Trump.”

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, in an exclusive Washington Post perspective piece, use Richard Nixon as a foil to reflect on Donald Trump’s continuing threat to democratic institutions.

The heart of Nixon’s criminality was his successful subversion of the electoral process — the most fundamental element of American democracy. He accomplished it through a massive campaign of political espionage, sabotage and disinformation that enabled him to literally determine who his opponent would be in the presidential election of 1972.

With a covert budget of just $250,000, a team of undercover Nixon operatives derailed the presidential campaign of Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, the Democrats’ most electable candidate.https://e267ed3408e01502cc67d06551a48e08.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Nixon then ran against Sen. George McGovern, a South Dakota Democrat widely viewed as the much weaker candidate, and won in a historic landslide with 61 percent of the vote and carrying 49 states. . . . .

In a deception that exceeded even Nixon’s imagination, Trump and a group of lawyers, loyalists and White House aides devised a strategy to bombard the country with false assertions that the 2020 election was rigged and that Trump had really won. . . .

. . . .

On that day, driven by Trump’s rhetoric and his obvious approval, a mob descended on the Capitol and, in a stunning act of collective violence, broke through doors and windows and ransacked the House chamber, where the electoral votes were to be counted. The mob then went in search of Pence — all to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Trump did nothing to restrain them.

By legal definition this is clearly sedition — conduct, speech or organizing that incites people to rebel against the governing authority of the state. Thus, Trump became the first seditious president in our history.

And it goes on from there to recount the details of Nixon and then Trump’s actions and compare their subversive implications for American democracy.

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GOP Plans to Contest Swing-State Elections, on Tape

Politico’s Special Report describes the GOP plan for Michigan, which centers on recruiting activists primed to believe election fraud lies as poll workers and connecting them directly to movement lawyers. This appears to be the party’s playbook for other swing states as well.

“Being a poll worker, you just have so many more rights and things you can do to stop something than [as] a poll challenger,” said Matthew Seifried, the RNC’s election integrity director for Michigan, stressing the importance of obtaining official designations as poll workers in a meeting with GOP activists in Wayne County last Nov. 6. 

. . . .

Seifried also said the RNC will hold “workshops” and equip poll workers with a hotline and website developed by Zendesk, a software support company used by online retailers, which will allow them to live-chat with party attorneys on Election Day. In a May, 2022 training session, he said he’d achieved a goal set last winter: More than 5,600 individuals had signed up to be poll workers and, several days ago, he submitted an initial list of more than 850 names to the Detroit clerk.

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States’ Concerted Efforts to Curb Election Misinformation

Cecilia Kang, N.Y. Times, reports on efforts in several states to combat election misinformation in advance of November. The focus will be on unfounded rumors and lies about voting and election fraud. Connecticut “plans to spend nearly $2 million on marketing to share factual information about voting, and to create its first-ever position for an expert in combating misinformation” whose job will be to “to comb fringe sites like 4chan, far-right social networks like Gettr and Rumble and mainstream social media sites to root out early misinformation narratives about voting before they go viral, and then urge the companies to remove or flag the posts that contain false information.” Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon are working on similar initiatives.

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NYT: Federal Grand Jury Looking at Trump Lawyers Eastman, Giuliani, Ellis in Connection with Fake Electors Scheme

NYT:

The Justice Department has stepped up its criminal investigation into the creation of alternate slates of pro-Trump electors seeking to overturn Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the 2020 election, with a particular focus on a team of lawyers that worked on behalf of President Donald J. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

A federal grand jury in Washington has started issuing subpoenas in recent weeks to people linked to the alternate elector plan, requesting information about several lawyers including Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and one of his chief legal advisers, John Eastman, one of the people said.

The subpoenas also seek information on other pro-Trump lawyers like Jenna Ellis, who worked with Mr. Giuliani, and Kenneth Chesebro, who wrote memos supporting the elector scheme in the weeks after the election.

A top Justice Department official acknowledged in January that prosecutors were trying to determine whether any crimes were committed in the scheme.

Under the plan, election officials in seven key swing states put forward formal lists of pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College on the grounds that the states would be shown to have swung in favor of Mr. Trump once their claims of widespread election fraud had been accepted. Those claims were baseless, and all seven states were awarded to Mr. Biden.

It is a federal crime to knowingly submit false statements to a federal agency or agent for an undue end. The alternate elector slates were filed with a handful of government bodies, including the National Archives.

The focus on the alternate electors is only one of the efforts by the Justice Department to broaden its vast investigation of hundreds of rioters who broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In the past few months, grand jury subpoenas have also been issued seeking information about a wide array of people who organized Mr. Trump’s rally near the White House that day, and about any members of the executive and legislative branches who may have taken part in planning the event or tried to obstruct the certification of the 2020 election.

The widening and intensifying Justice Department inquiry also comes as the House select committee investigating the efforts to overturn the election and the Jan. 6 assault prepares for public hearings next month.

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“Inside the push that landed a Trump legal adviser on a federal election advisory board”

CNN reports on how individuals who promote baseless voter fraud claims have been promoted for seats on an Advisory Board to the Election Assistance Commission.

“Emails obtained by CNN reveal how the push extended to a federal election advisory board and resulted in the 2021 appointment of one of Trump’s legal advisers who helped his failed efforts to pressure Georgia officials into overturning the state’s election results.The emails, obtained by CNN through a Freedom of Information Act request, show conservatives were working even before the 2020 election to gain a seat for an ally on the advisory board of the Election Assistance Commission, an independent government agency that provides voluntary election guidelines for states.

The story of how Cleta Mitchell — the legal adviser who took part in Trump’s phone call where he asked Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes for him to win — was appointed to that board underscores how a core faction of Republicans has focused on pushing unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud even before Trump convinced much of the Republican Party to buy into his election lies that the 2020 election had been stolen.”

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“How Trump’s 2020 Election Lies Have Gripped State Legislatures”

N.Y. TImes has a new analysis of Trump’s hold over elected officials in the battle-ground states. Support for 2020 election lies is quite strong (44% overall), still the Times notes that it is not unchecked (yet).

“The Times’s analysis also shows that these efforts have encountered significant resistance from key Republican figures, as well as Democrats.” In most states, the lawmakers who challenge the 2020 results do not yet have the votes. So while, they have advanced legislation, including to overturn popular election results, they have been unable to enact them. “And it is only a minority of Republican lawmakers who promote the legally dubious view that they—and not the votes of the people—can select the electors who formally cast a ballot for the president in the Electoral College.”

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New Fox Poll Shows Kemp with Comfortable Lead in Polls

A new Fox News poll shows Republican primary voters supporting Brian Kemp by wide-margins. This strikes me as going to the point that it is easier to distrust “other” people’s election systems than one’s own. Even in a swing state, like Pennsylvania and Michigan, that is the case: It is the cities–with all the racial coding–that cannot be “trusted.” The article also reports: “Early voting started May 2 and Georgia voters are turning out in record numbers.”

“Incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp leads former Sen. David Perdue by a 32-point margin in the Georgia Republican gubernatorial primary race, tripling his advantage from March, according to a new Fox News Poll of Georgia Republican primary voters released Wednesday.

Sixty percent of Republican voters prefer Kemp, while 28% go for Perdue (it was 50% vs. 39% in March). Another 8% support either Kandiss Taylor (6%), Catherine Davis (1%) or someone else (1%). Only 3% are undecided.”

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“Georgia county under scrutiny after claim of post-election breach”

WaPo:

A former elections supervisor in rural Coffee County, Ga., has told The Washington Post that she opened her offices to a businessman active in the election-denier movement to help investigate results she did not trust in the weeks after President Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat.

Trump had carried the conservative county by 40 points, but elections supervisor Misty Hampton said she remained suspicious of Joe Biden’s win in Georgia. Hampton made a video that went viral soon after the election, claiming to show that Dominion Voting System machines, the ones used in her county, could be manipulated. She said in interviews that she hoped the Georgia businessman who visited later, Scott Hall, and others who accompanied him could help identify vulnerabilities and prove “that this election was not done true and correct.”

Hampton said she could not remember when the visit occurred or what Hall and the others did when they were there. She said they did not enter a room that housed the county’s touch-screen voting machines, but she said she did not know whether they entered the room housing the election management system server, the central computer used to tally election results.

Voting experts said that, whether they accessed sensitive areas or not, Hampton’s actions underscore a growing risk to election security.

In the year and a half since the 2020 election, there has been steady drumbeat of revelations about alleged security breaches in local elections offices — and a growing concern among experts that officials who are sympathetic to claims of vote-rigging might be persuaded to undermine election security in the name of protecting it.

“Insider threat, while always part of the threat matrix, is now a reality in elections,” said Matt Masterson, who previously served as a senior U.S. cybersecurity official tracking 2020 election integrity for the Department of Homeland Security.

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