Tag Archives: The Big Lie

“2020’s ‘fake elector’ schemes will be harder to try in 2024 – but not impossible”

Derek Muller, for The Conversation, recounts some of the ways that both the law and enforcement have changed in the last four years.

Speaking of which, Wisconsin Public Radio reports that an attorney charged last week in the Wisconsin false-elector scheme has been temporarily suspended from a panel advising state judges on ethics.

Share this:

“In top races, Republicans try to stay quiet on Trump’s false 2020 claims”

Washington Post reports that while those auditioning for Vice President maybe embracing Trump’s narrative, Republican candidates in tight races are being intentionally vague, redirecting the focus on election rules. Also not good.

“[Unlike in 2022], many of the Republicans running alongside Trump in swing races are being far more ambiguous about their stance on 2020. Whether they have previously dismissed or embraced his claims, GOP nominees in some of the year’s most critical races are now evading the question and changing the topic. A number of them have steered clear of his most brazen allegations but tried to endear themselves to Trump’s supporters by questioning voting rules.”

Share this:

SCOTUS, Social Media Removal of Hate is Not “Discrimination”

This is Orwellian.

Texas and Florida passed state laws that effectively hinder social media platforms in removing hate, white supremacy, election denialism, and similar content. The states are currently before the U.S. Supreme Court in the NetChoice cases attempting to defend those laws. As Daphne Keller explains:

Yet now, in their briefs, Texas and Florida are also arguing their laws prohibit discrimination, just as civil rights laws do. On that logic, ‘must-carry’ laws that may compel platforms to carry racist diatribes and hate speech are justified for the same reasons as laws that prohibit businesses from discriminating based on race or gender.

This should be obvious, but Facebook or YouTube deciding to remove a racial slur, Nazi propaganda, or white nationalist attempts to mainstream “replacement theory” is not the same as Woolworth’s deciding to remove African American college students sitting at a lunch counter and attempting to order food.

Daphne has more here.

Share this:

“Don’t blame democracy’s woes on the GOP or ‘tyranny of the minority’”

Jennifer Rubin in the WaPo

Two of the year’s best books on politics present contrasting diagnoses for what ails American democracy.

Liz Cheney’sOath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning lowers the boom on the mendacious and cowardly Republicans and the now four-times-indicted former president Donald Trump, whom they enabled in nearly destroying our democratic system. “Tyranny of the Minority: Why American Democracy Reached the Breaking Point,” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, cites structural protections for the minority that have been exploited to the point that self-government is threatened. Both books have a point, but neither puts the blame squarely where it should be. . . . 

Plainly, we need both structural change and public virtue to repair our democracy. But there is another element the analyses do not fully acknowledge: voters. We get the government we want and deserve.

Share this:

“From Bush v. Gore to ‘Stop the Steal’: Kenneth Chesebro’s Long, Strange Trip”

N.Y. Times has an in-depth profile of Kenneth Chesebro.

“Some former colleagues say Mr. Chesebro’s 180-degree turn came after a lucrative 2014 investment in Bitcoin and a subsequent posh, itinerant lifestyle. Others, like Mr. Tribe, see Mr. Chesebro as a ‘moral chameleon’ and his story an old one about the seduction of power.

‘He wanted to be close to the action,’ said Mr. Tribe, who is among 60 lawyers and scholars who signed an ethics complaint in New York that could result in Mr. Chesebro’s disbarment. At Harvard, Mr. Chesebro assisted Mr. Tribe on many cases, including Bush v. Gore, which Mr. Tribe, as Mr. Gore’s chief legal counsel, argued before the Supreme Court.”

Share this:

“Special counsel Jack Smith pulls subpoena over pro-Trump fundraising”

Washington Post raises questions about what can be inferred from the decision of Special counsel Jack Smith to withdraw “a subpoena seeking records about fundraising by the political action committee Save America.” The group, controlled by former president Donald Trump, was involved in efforts to block the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Share this:

“The federal cases against Trump are legitimate: Bill Barr”

Video of Fox News interview yesterday. N.Y. Post has a story describing the interview. With respect to the federal indictment for conspiracy to subvert the 2020, Barr made clear that he believes that Trump “crossed the line” into criminal culpability:

“Barr added that he believes Trump ‘crossed the line’ after the 2020 election and that his alleged efforts to impanel fake electors in conjunction with demanding that former Vice President Mike Pence not certify Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory ‘was a calculated and deceitful plan.’

“’I think the chances are that he will be convicted on some counts,’” Barr said.” 

Share this:

“Trump cancels press conference on election fraud claims, citing attorneys’ advice”

AP via NPR.

“‘Rather than releasing the Report on the Rigged & Stolen Georgia 2020 Presidential Election on Monday, my lawyers would prefer putting this, I believe, Irrefutable & Overwhelming evidence of Election Fraud & Irregularities in formal Legal Filings as we fight to dismiss this disgraceful Indictment,’ Trump wrote on his social media site Thursday in announcing his reversal.”

Share this:

“Mark Meadows Is Everywhere and Nowhere”

N.Y. Times opinion essay by Katherine Miller.

This is an interesting summary of Meadow’s relevance to some key issues. From my perspective, I would add that Meadow’s testimony would be especially relevant to any adjudication that might occur of Trump’s status under section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. In particular, did Trump’s behavior on January 6 itself rise to the level of “engage[ing]” in the “insurrection” by refusing to use his presidential powers to stop the attack on the Capitol that was in support of his orchestrated campaign to derail the joint session of Congress so that it would not officially declare that his opponent had won the election?

Share this:

“Trump supporters post names and addresses of Georgia grand jurors online”

NBC News.

“The purported names and addresses of members of the grand jury that indicted Donald Trump and 18 of his co-defendants on state racketeering charges this week have been posted on a fringe website that often features violent rhetoric, NBC News has learned.

“NBC News is choosing not to name the website featuring the addresses to avoid further spreading the information. …

“The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, which is handling the surrender of Trump and his co-defendants over the next 10 days, initially declined to comment, but said in a statement Thursday after this article published that they are ‘aware that personal information of members of the Fulton County Grand Jury is being shared on various platforms.’

“‘As the lead agency, our investigators are working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to track down the origin of threats in Fulton County and other jurisdictions,’ a statement fro the sheriff’s office said Thursday. ‘We take this matter very seriously and are coordinating with our law enforcement partners to respond quickly to any credible threat and to ensure the safety of those individuals who carried out their civic duty.’ …

“’These jurors have signed their death warrant by falsely indicting President Trump,’ a post on a pro-Trump forum read in response to a post including the names of jurors, which was viewed by NBC News.”

Share this:

“Texas Woman Charged With Threatening to Kill Judge in Trump Election Case”

N.Y. Times. I think this extremely disturbing story qualifies as election law news given that the case concerns election law. Also, it relates to the concerns about the possibility of violence, or threats of violence, surrounding the 2024 election–and the degree to which this risk escalates depending on how events unfold over the next months.

Share this:

“Burt Jones braces for legal fight in Fulton County election probe”

The Jolt in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

“Lt. Gov. Burt Jones avoided charges in the far-ranging Fulton County indictment filed Monday that accused former President Donald Trump and key allies of a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election results. But Jones did participate in one of the election interference activities cited in the indictment — the Georgia fake electors scheme — and could still face prosecution. 

“On Wednesday, the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia signaled it is considering a criminal complaint against Jones. The state agency’s head filed a motion to unseal a special grand jury report that potentially includes findings about Jones. 

“The lieutenant governor told Fox News he welcomed the chance to tell a prosecutor his story. 

“Jones’ case is complex. He was among the 16 Republicans who met secretly on Dec. 14, 2020 to sign election certificates claiming Trump as the state’s popular vote winner. Like the other alternate electors, Jones was notified last year by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis he could face charges.

“But a conflict-of-interest complaint against Willis led Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney to bar the DA’s office from investigating Jones. The ruling was in response to revelations that Willis hosted a fundraiser for Jones’ Democratic opponent in the 2022 election — a former colleague of hers. 

“Enter the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council to probe Jones. …”

Share this:

“With the Latest Trump Indictment, Mind These Lessons From the South”

Andrew Michael Kreis in a N.Y. Times opinion essay discusses the Georgia indictment in relationship to the collapse of Reconstruction”

“The democratic failures of that era shared three common attributes. The political process was neither free nor fair, as citizens were prevented from voting and lawful votes were discounted. The Southern Redeemers refused to recognize their opponents as legitimate electoral players. And conservatives abandoned the rule of law, engaging in intimidation and political violence to extinguish the power of multiracial political coalitions.

“At bottom, the theory behind the Fulton County indictment accuses Mr. Trump and his allies of some of these same offenses.”

While this historical comparison is interesting, I think Trump’s assault on democracy–which was a national, not regional, phenomenon extending to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as Georgia–has an element that (as far as I’ve seen) was missing in the electoral battles that were part of the effort to end Reconstruction in the South: the “Big Lie” flight from evidence-based reality and the deliberate fabrication of an entirely and utterly false narrative. As I’ve written before, I see a relevant parallel to Red Scare McCarthyism, what Hofstadter called the “paranoid style of American politics”–only this time applied to the vote-counting process rather than to the fear of Communist infiltration.

Perhaps a full understanding of Trump’s attack on democracy in relationship to the totality of US history will require drawing upon multiple periods and elements of the nation’s past in an effort to explain (as best we can) this unprecedented moment we are living through.

Share this:

“The ‘brains’ behind fake Trump electors was once a liberal Democrat”

Fascinating Washington Post profile of Kenneth Chesebro, a protégé of Larry Tribe’s. One interesting tidbit:

“In 2000, when Tribe joined Vice President Al Gore’s legal team dealing with the recount of the presidential vote in Florida, Chesebro offered to assist, Tribe recalled. Chesebro helped parse Florida law governing deadlines for the selection of electors, Tribe said.

Twenty years later, Chesebro would cite the case in his work for Trump. Tribe said the interpretation twisted their research to argue that ‘any state can submit new electors at any time.’”

Share this: