Another crazy, grifty, report on the 2020 election conspiracies, this one from WaPo:
Late last December, as President Donald Trump pressed senior officials to find proof of election fraud, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows emailed acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen a letter detailing an outlandish theory of how an Italian defense contractor had conspired with U.S. intelligence to rig the 2020 presidential contest.
The letter, which was among records released by Congress this past week, was printed under the letterhead of USAerospace Partners, a little-known Virginia aviation company. In early January, a second Virginia firm, the Institute for Good Governance, and a partner organization released a statement from an Italian attorney who claimed that a hacker had admitted involvement in the supposed conspiracy.
According to the conspiracy theory known as “Italygate,” people working for the Italian defense contractor, in coordination with senior CIA officials, used military satellites to switch votes from Trump to Joe Biden and swing the result of the election.
Though her name was not mentioned in either document, both Virginia organizations are led by Michele Roosevelt Edwards, according to state corporate filings reviewed by The Washington Post. Edwards is a former Republican congressional candidate who built a reputation as an advocate for the Somali people and as someone who could negotiate with warlords and pirates in the war-torn region.
Edwards was formerly known as Michele Ballarin but changed her name last year, court records show. In 2013, The Post’s magazine explored how Edwards, once a struggling single mom, had reinvented herself as a business executive and then as a well-connected horse-country socialite who cultivated ties with senior Somali officials.
The Institute for Good Governance’s registered headquarters since late last year has been the historical North Wales Farm, a 22-bedroom mansion in Warrenton, Va., state records show. The property is listed for sale at just under $30 million.
On the day after the 2020 election, Edwards sat for an interview at North Wales with a television crew from Iceland, where she has business interests. Edwards told the crew that the estate was her property, according to their footage. “This is my bedroom,” she said, showing the crew around. “This is very private space.”
She was pressed on the lack of personal items in the house.
“So this is where you live?” she was asked.
“This is your property?”
When the interviewer noted that website listings showed the property for sale, Edwards said it was a “recent acquisition for us.” She said it was not for sale.
But North Wales was then — and is now — owned by a company formed by David B. Ford, a retired financier who died in September. Ford’s widow said in an interview that she did not know Edwards. The Post showed her the footage of Edwards inside the property.
“She’s in my house,” the widow said. “How is she in my house?”
The North Wales mansion was for sale at the time, and Edwards was a licensed Realtor in the area, according to the firm’s website. Hers was not the firm Ford’s widow had hired to sell the property.
Edwards declined to comment. “I am not giving media interviews at this time,” she said in a text message.