Reprinted with permission from Media Matters
Trump confidant Roger Stone is pushing conspiracy theories about voter fraud in the 2020 election and suggesting he might launch an effort to "carefully monitor" voting on Election Day.
Stone floated the plan in a September 14 article published on his website where he responded to widespread attention given to his claim that a Donald Trump victory would be the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election and that if Trump loses, he should consider imposing martial law or using other draconian measures in order to stay in power.
Trump recently commuted a 40-month prison sentence that was handed down to Stone after he was convicted of lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into 2016 election interference. Namely, Stone lied to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks, which released hacked emails with the aim of boosting Trump's prospects. In the weeks leading up to the commutation, Stone made a number of media appearances where he asked Trump to grant him clemency and said that in exchange, he could be a more effective campaigner for the president's 2020 reelection efforts.
In comments first reported by Media Matters, during a September 10 appearance on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' Infowars outlet, Stone said that Trump should have federal authorities seize ballots in Nevada to prevent them from being counted in part because the state is "already flooded with illegals." He also said Trump should order FBI agents and Republican state officials to "physically" block voting on Election Day under the pretext of preventing voter fraud. And he urged the president to use claims of voter fraud to declare martial law or invoke the Insurrection Act in order to arrest people Stone baselessly accused of being involved in plans to steal the election from Trump. Evidence-free claims about early voting fraud have already led to right-wing protests in Nevada.
After those comments were widely criticized, Stone reiterated his claims in an article on his website Stone Cold Truth, where he wrote that "the Democrat Party has cheated at the ballot box for decades and how they plan on doing so again in 2020." He also claimed that "the Democrats plan to intimidate voters at the polling places through their alliances with Black Lives Matter and Antifa, as well as they are more traditional forms of election thievery including the manipulation of electronica voting machines, Double and Triple voting, the voting of ineligible illegal immigrants, not to mention those dead people will come back for an earthly visit only on election day" and urged supporters to "STOP THE STEAL."
Stone then called on the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign to "launch an effort to carefully monitor what happens in the electoral process" before writing that if those entities did not take action he would "have no choice but to do it in order to protect the integrity of our elections."
In 2016, Stone headed a tax-exempt 527 organization called Stop the Steal that repeatedly pushed baseless claims that Democrats would employ widespread voter fraud in order to steal the presidential election. Stop the Steal urged its supporters to act as "Vote Protectors" on Election Day by using "incendiary rhetoric to motivate members to turn up at contested areas tomorrow to participate in a survey of voters leaving polling places." Several Democratic groups filed lawsuits, leading an Ohio federal judge to issue an injunction prohibiting the group from participating in voter intimidation in that state.
And Stone interfered in the 2000 election. He was reportedly an organizer of the so-called "Brooks Brothers riot" during the 2000 presidential election that led to vote counting being suspended in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The disruption proved pivotal to George W. Bush becoming president.
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