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President-elect Joe Biden

Photo by Ennoti.com

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President-elect Joe Biden, when all of the vote-counting is completed, might end up with more than 300 electoral votes. But President Donald Trump is still refusing to concede despite Biden's decisive victory, making baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. BuzzFeed News spoke to 11 members of the Electoral College in battleground states — and most of the interviewees, including some Republicans, expressed confidence that Biden won the 2020 presidential election fair and square.


BuzzFeed reporters Albert Samaha, Amber Jamieson and Rosalind Adams explain, "Biden doesn't officially secure his spot in the Oval Office until the Electoral College votes on December 14. Normally, this step is mostly ceremonial, as electors vote for the same candidate as their constituents did. But Trump and a growing list of Republican supporters are attempting to undermine and delegitimize Biden's win after months of attempting to suppress the vote. Trump and his campaign are amplifying baseless claims of widespread voter fraud."

The journalists continue, "Amid this, some states allow electors to choose any candidate, regardless of vote counts, leaving open the possibility of so-called faithless electors swinging the election at the last minute. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this summer, however, that states could punish electors who do not vote for the winner of the popular vote in their state."

Bill Feehan, chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party in Wisconsin, gave no indication that he won't accept the election results in that midwestern state — which Biden won.

Feehan told BuzzFeed, "I'm a man of reason. So, I look to see what evidence is there right now, and essentially, I haven't seen any evidence that proves that there was massive voter fraud, enough to change 20,000 votes in the state of Wisconsin."

Biden also won Nevada, and Eileen Rice — a Republican member of the Electoral College in that state — told BuzzFeed that although she had strong reservations about mail-in voting, the "margin is just too wide" in Biden's favor in Nevada.

Other battleground states in which BuzzFeed interviewed Electoral College members include Pennsylvania and Michigan, both of which Biden won. And according to Samaha, Jamieson and Adams, "nearly all" of the electors BuzzFeed interviewed "expressed confidence that despite Trump's lawsuits — and despite Republicans' attempts to overturn the result — the age-old process of installing a new president would move forward as it always has: with the winner at the ballot box elected into office."

Ryan Boyer, a Democratic elector in Pennsylvania, told BuzzFeed that Trumpian claims of voter fraud in his state are ridiculous — arguing, essentially, that if Democrats were trying to "steal" anything, they would have had a lot more victories on Election Night.

Boyer explained, "If the Democrats were going to steal the election, they did a terrible job…. To say the election was stolen is to effectively say the Republicans did something wrong."

Nonetheless, the BuzzFeed reporters note, "There have been discussions by Republicans to try to change the will of Pennsylvania voters. Lawrence Tabas, chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, told The Atlantic before the election that he had mentioned to the Trump campaign the possibility of the state legislature appointing Republican-aligned electors rather than a Biden slate if the election was 'flawed' — Pennsylvania is the only state where the presidential campaigns nominate the electors — calling it 'one of the available legal options set forth in the Constitution.'"

But Democrat Nina Ahmad, an Electoral College member in Pennsylvania, dismissed Republicans who are questioning Pennsylvania's election results as the Trumpian lunatic fringe.

Ahmad told BuzzFeed, "This is just the fringe element, making sure they are signaling to Mein Führer that they are still with him until he takes the poison pill."

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

Tina Peters

YouTube Screenshot

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

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