Two years after former President Donald Trump’s false claims about widespread election fraud sparked an attack on the U.S. Capitol, more evidence is piling up that those who spread the misinformation knew it was false.
On Thursday, the voting machine company Dominion filed court papers documenting that numerous Fox News personalities knew there was no evidence to support the claims peddled by Trump’s allies, but aired them anyway on the nation’s most-watched cable network. The same day, a special grand jury in Atlanta concluded there was no evidence of the fraud that Trump alleged cost him Georgia during the 2020 election.
In December, the congressional Jan. 6 committee disclosed that Trump’s top advisers and even family members repeatedly warned him that the allegations he was making about fraud costing him reelection were false — only to have the president continue making those claims, anyway.
The latest revelations are not just historical curiosities. They add to the wealth of evidence that there was no widespread fraud during the 2020 presidential election and that even some of Trump’s most prominent supporters were aware of that fact at the time.
“It demonstrates a profound cynicism about the political process and the gullibility of Trump’s supporters,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has followed the election falsehoods closely since 2020.
“It’s really playing with fire,” Hasen said. “It’s one thing to make extravagant and unsupported statements about someone’s position on taxes or immigration.” But doing the same about the actual process of voting and counting ballots is different, he said: “Lies about elections are much more dangerous than lies about actual policy.”