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No doubt Fox ‘News’ is going wall-to-wall with this today, so you’ve got no need for us to tell you about it, right? … What? They’re not? Huh. How strange.

Well, then, if you haven’t heard, Lorianne O’Brady, a former staffer to Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) has pleaded “no contest” to five misdemeanor counts of election fraud yesterday, related to creating and submitting fraudulent signatures in a failed conspiracy to qualify McCotter for the ballot this year.

O’Brady is just one of four of top McCotter aides who were charged last month with a total of 36 federal felony and misdemeanor election fraud-related counts in the alleged ballot petition forgery scheme. McCotter abruptly resigned last July as the scandal began to emerge.

While U.S. House candidates in Michigan are required to submit just 1,000 valid voter signatures, McCotter’s campaign turned in some 2,000. Investigators discovered, however, that just 244 of them were actually valid. The rest were forged or photo-copied from previous petitions.

Submitting false signatures is the same thing that Fox “News” has spent years falsely claiming the community group ACORN was engaged in. The difference, of course, is that ACORN was the one to have discovered and turned in the handful, among their tens of thousands of voter registration workers, found to have defrauded them in such schemes. ACORN itself was never found to be involved in such fraud, and in every case, it was ACORN themselves who discovered the fraud and sought prosecution for the workers.

McCotter’s campaign was hardly the only Republican team involved in submitting fraudulent signatures in hopes of winning a place on the ballot this year. As The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively last January, the Presidential campaign of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich was being investigated by the Virginia State Attorney General after the former GOP Presidential candidate’s campaign was discovered to have turned in fraudulent signatures in their failed bid to qualify for the Republican Presidential Primary Election in VA, Gingrich’s home state. Gingrich was caught on tape claiming to a supporter, after the forgeries were discovered by the state Board of Elections: “We turned in 11,100 — we needed 10,000 — 1,500 of them were by one guy who, frankly, committed fraud.”

In May of this year, it was discovered that Momentum Political Services, a group hired by the Sacramento GOP and headed by a “professional con artist” to carry out their voter registration campaign for Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), had turned in thousands of fraudulent voter registrations as part of a $50,000 bounty paid for Republican-only voter registrations. That is, of course, exactly what ACORN was falsely accused of, even though — unlike in the Sacramento GOP case, and in a very similar scheme by a firm hired by the California Republican Party in 2008, where the head of the firm itself pleaded guilty to charges of voter registration fraud — the former four-decade old community organization was never actually involved in.

For more on the McCotter staffers charged with 36 election fraud-related counts, see our August coverage. As an added bonus, that article also includes a quick round-up of more than 10 recent cases of alleged and confirmed voter fraud and election fraud by a number of very high-profile Republicans, including Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Todd Akin, James O’Keefe, the Sec. of State of Indiana and, yes, the high priestess of GOP Voter Fraud, Ann Coulter.

Of course, none of the fraud detailed above would have been prevented by the disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction schemes Republicans are enacting around the country under the guise of deterring “voter fraud” — not even Coulter’s, since she also committed a felony to create a fraudulent drivers’ license with the faked address she submitted to election officials when she committed fraud on her voter registration form, before later, knowingly, voting at a precinct in an area where she did not live in Florida. That, even though there are just 10 known cases of in-person voter impersonation — the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions — in the entire country, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast since 2000.

Originally posted at BradBlog

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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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.

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