Tag: cleta mitchell
Top GOP Lawyer Spearheads Secret Plot To Curtail College Student Voting (VIDEO)

Top GOP Lawyer Spearheads Secret Plot To Curtail College Student Voting (VIDEO)

A prominent Republican lawyer involved in efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election is spearheading a sinister, clandestine campaign to limit voter access across key states, curtailing turnout among demographic groups that skew Democrats, including young voters.

The lawyer, 72-year-old Cleta Mitchell, a notorious election denier and ardent Trump supporter, urged GOP donors to “combat” measures that facilitate voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration, and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters, according to the Washington Post.

Mitchell made the petition at a Republican National Committee donor retreat in Nashville on Saturday, giving a 50-slide PowerPoint slide presentation — titled “A Level Playing Field for 2024” — audio portions of which the Post obtained from journalist Lauren Windsor.

“What are these college campus locations? What is this young people effort that they do?’ Mitchell demanded, according to audio of the presentation reviewed by the Post. “They basically put the polling place next to the student dorm, so they just have to roll out of bed, vote, and go back to bed.”

Mitchell’s “special legal presentation” proposed limiting early voting and repudiated campus voting in five states with large public universities and in-state student populations: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“Forty-five days!” Mitchell fumed about Virginia’s early-voting period. “Do you know how hard it is to have observers be able to watch for that long a period?”

Mitchell told the conservative audience at the event that to eliminate any chance “for any candidate other than a leftist to have a chance to WIN in 2024,” the nation’s electoral system must be “saved,” per the Post.

“The Left has manipulated the electoral systems to favor one side … theirs,” Mitchell falsely stated in her presentation, driving a GOP-wide election disinformation campaign that fueled the January 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of conservative voters.

“Our constitutional republic’s survival is at stake,” she added.

Unlike a large swathe of the new breed of fringe conservative agitators, Mitchell’s strong election denialism goes back a decade, pre-dating former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign effort.

In a 2010 letter soliciting contributions for Tea Party-backed Nevada Republican Sharon Angle in the high-profile race against then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Mitchell alleged without evidence that Reid would steal the election.

“Reid intends to steal this election if he can’t win it outright… Understand, EVERYTHING we have worked for in the last year could be destroyed by dirty tricks and criminal acts,” Mitchell wrote.

Shortly after major news outlets projected Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Mitchell, then a Trump legal adviser, appeared on Fox News to spread election fraud conspiracy theories, Media Matters reported at the time.

“We’re already double-checking and finding dead people having voted. We’re going to be finding people have voted across state lines, voted in two states, illegal voting, noncitizens and that sort of thing. So we are building that case,” Mitchell said.

Several Fox anchors, including Trace Gallagher, Maria Bartiromo, and Jon Scott, gave Mitchell a platform to air the sort of election lies that, in April 2023, cost Fox News to pay Dominion Voting Systems the largest known defamation settlement in U.S. history.

Mitchell also participated in the now-infamous hour-long phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, during which Trump pressured Raffensberger to “find 11,780 votes,” enough to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.

“All we have to do, Cleta, is find 11,000-plus votes,” Trump said on the call, which Fulton County’s district attorney, Fani T. Willis, is investigating as part of a probe into Trump’s efforts to subvert the state’s 2020 election results.

Facing criticism for her presence on the call, Mitchell tweeted, “Happy to be considered a nut job because I believe in the rule of law,” per the Post.

In the weeks before the call, Mitchell tweeted conspiracy theories targeting Raffensperger, alleging that the Georgia recount was a “total sham” and political “cover” for the secretary of state.

Trump Coup Lawyer's 'Election Integrity' Outfit Aligning With QAnon Influencers

Trump Coup Lawyer's 'Election Integrity' Outfit Aligning With QAnon Influencers

The head of Fairfax County, Virginia’s purported “election integrity” task force lauded the supposed research abilities of certain QAnon influencers and admitted to sending their materials to the Fairfax County Office of Elections on a podcast hosted by the Conservative Partnership Institute’s Cleta Mitchell. Mitchell reportedly helped organize the group in 2021 ahead of the Virginia gubernatorial race, along with 18 other local task forces.

Mitchell leads CPI’s Election Integrity Network, an organization that she says aims to create “a volunteer army of citizens” in various positions related to election administration, motivated by false claims of election fraud. She is one of at least 20 of Trump’s allies — along with former chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Pentagon official Kash Patel — who were intimately involved in Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election and are now associated with CPI, a pro-Trump think tank. Mitchell, who was on the call with then-President Donald Trump when he pressed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the presidential election in the state, was subpoenaed as part of a Fulton County, Georgia, special grand jury investigation into potential criminal election interference.

Christine Brim, the leader of the task force in Fairfax County, appeared on an episode of Who’s Counting? with Cleta Mitchell uploaded on October 11, and she claimed that the group put together a “20-page memo” on election software company Konnech in September that “really just aggregated data, screenshots and so on from” QAnon influencers. Brim said the task force sent the memo to the county board of elections.

Konnech has been targeted by influential election-denial organization True the Vote and collaborating QAnon influencers, who allege that the Chinese Communist Party used the company to influence American elections. Konnech has sued True the Vote for defamation. Attacks on Konnech ramped up when its CEO was arrested “on suspicion of theft of personal identifying information” about poll workers, even though the charges were unrelated to vote tabulation or election results. After the CEO’s arrest, the Fairfax County Office of Elections canceled its contract with Konnech.

The QAnon figures behind the data Brim shared, whom she called “very professional researchers,” are known online as Kanekoa and CognitiveCarbon. They are members of We The Media, a collective channel of QAnon influencers. (A blog post from the group mentioning the memo also cited another QAnon influencer and member of We The Media known as The Authority.)

CLETA MITCHELL (HOST): I want to come back to something here because I think that it’s one of the reasons I think this is so important is that you and your group of volunteers and, as you say, researchers around the country, but because you already were working in Fairfax County, you were able to and did take the initiative starting when — I mean, walk us through the schedule of the things that you took to the county board of elections, what they said, how, you know, sort of what happened each step along the way. Because there were multiple — there were multiple steps.

CHRISTINE BRIM (CHAIRMAN OF FAIRFAX COUNTY GOP ELECTION INTEGRITY TASK FORCE): There were. And let me just backtrack slightly. We had a much more difficult relationship with our prior registrar. We got a new registrar in late March of this year. And he has been working very hard with a — with his staff, with his staff to increase transparency and to improve relationships. And we also have, under Gov. [Glenn] Youngkin, our new Republican governor, appointed Susan Beals as our new commissioner of the state Department of Elections. And she has been issuing guidance after guidance that has improved transparency. So this has been a — an exciting year for us. The problem, of course, with transparency is you have to go copy the documents, right? But we even got the right to photograph where before we hadn’t had it. So we — when this situation started in August, we were still clarifying some issues in terms of transparency. But we had established a good working relationship with the office and with the staff much better than last year. And last year was much better than the year before.

We do a lot of training of poll watchers. We have 264 precincts. We coordinate with the Fairfax County Office of Elections so our training conforms to what they’re actually teaching their chiefs and their supervisors as well. We want to teach the right thing.

So there’s — that’s the environment in which this, this bomb kind of went off, from an informational point of view, and we said, “Oh, my gosh. What are we going to do?” So we immediately, I immediately emailed them, August 16, and said, “You really need to escalate this. This is a problem. We have to take this seriously.” And at that point, send in also a Freedom of Information Act for any additional contracts. We already had — because we have an active Freedom of Information activity, already had the original contracts from 2016.


BRIM: This has been out since 2016 that our election officers, names, mail, mailing addresses and so on, have been potentially going over to China, but certainly looked at. But the — that didn’t get a response and so we —

MITCHELL: You sent that in and, what, got no response?

BRIM: So August 16, so the email didn’t get a response, but we did get the contractual information back and that was helpful. And then following that on — I’m trying to think the sequence here — we again send another email saying, “No, you really need to take this seriously.” And at that point I think they were probably talking to their lawyers because we were getting fewer responses from them.

Then on September 6, we constructed a whole memo, which is linked from the article, about a 20-page memo, which really just aggregated data, screenshots and so on from these wonderful researchers, Kanekoa, CognitiveCarbon. They all work under pseudonyms over at Substack, but they had done — these were clearly very professional researchers with a lot of linguistic capabilities. They — and also I.T. knowledge — who were trying to corroborate, and did corroborate, all of the information with these links to the Chinese companies. And we — our team, we had a small research team, which was pulling this together, of three, four people, just scanning the environment for additional research out there, which they do anyway. They’re always scanning the environment for opposition situations, opposition groups, opposition publications in Virginia. So they focused on this, and that was tremendously helpful because we also could combine that with the contractual information that we had.

And pulled that together, reverified every single link. So we went back and, you know, revisited the links, so that everything was firsthand. Took our own screenshots.

MITCHELL: Wow. I see, I see what you did.

BRIM: Everything was — so that we didn’t send in anything that was uncorroborated by us, that we were told they would research the issues.

Later on in the interview, Brim told Mitchell that “one-off researchers, like Kanekoa,” provided “tremendous information,” from whom “election integrity working groups … have the capability to take that information and turn it into something operational locally.”

CLETA MITCHELL (HOST): I think that I really wanted you to have the opportunity — I wanted to have the opportunity for people to hear what you all had done, in conjunction with many, many others, but that ultimately, where the rubber meets the road, is taking the information and getting something done in the local election office. And you've really demonstrated the importance of that. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy wouldn’t have acted on its own. I don’t think they would have acted on their own.

CHRISTINE BRIM (CHAIRMAN OF FAIRFAX COUNTY GOP ELECTION INTEGRITY TASK FORCE): I think eventually they would have. In 2023, they wouldn’t have renewed the contract, but it would have not been — it would have stayed in place through the election. And I think some places may choose to do that. I know DeKalb County —

MITCHELL: Georgia.

BRIM: — is another user of PollChief. There’s — but, you know, it is not just a team. It’s the fact that this is a growing team. This is a growing team in Fairfax. The coordination across Virginia is there. We work and communicate and get ideas from people in other states.


BRIM: In part due to the wonderful efforts that you’ve made. And then we have these outside groups that are just these one-off researchers, like Kanekoa, who suddenly provide tremendous information. And the counties, these election integrity working groups, are poised and have the capability to take that information and turn it into something operational locally. And this is just kind of organically happening. It's extremely effective. Little by little, we’re kind of learning how to do this.

Since the interview came out, Kanekoa has praised the group for relying on the materials that both Kanekoa and CongnitiveCarbon put online, calling it “very cool” and claiming it “demonstrates the power of getting involved in your local elections.”

This instance of a CPI- and GOP-linked Fairfax County group sending material from QAnon influencers to the county board of elections further demonstrates the connections between the QAnon and election denial movements. Media Matters has previously documented True the Vote’s collaboration with QAnon figures, major election denial funder Patrick Byrne’s significant connections to the QAnon community, and a QAnon influencer’s involvement with a coalition recruiting and aiming to elect election-denialist secretary of state candidates. And according to Nevada Republican secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant, the leader of that coalition, he had been “working very close” with Mitchell and CPI.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Exposé Reveals Ginni Thomas' Financial And Political Ties To Court Litigants

Exposé Reveals Ginni Thomas' Financial And Political Ties To Court Litigants

A bombshell exposé by an award-winning investigative journalist takes a deep look into lobbyist and far right wing activist and conspiracy theorist Ginni Thomas, and the ties she has to people, groups – and money – that have or may have business before the U.S. Supreme Court, on which her conservative husband sits.

Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to the Supreme Court?The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer asks point-blank. “Behind closed doors, Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife is working with many groups directly involved in controversial cases before the Court.”

Mayer writes that “Ginni Thomas has declared that America is in existential danger because of the ‘deep state’ and the ‘fascist left,’ which includes ‘transsexual fascists.'”

But that’s just a small piece of her massive reporting.

“Ginni Thomas’s political activism has caused controversy for years. For the most part, it has been dismissed as the harmless action of an independent spouse. But now the Court appears likely to secure victories for her allies in a number of highly polarizing cases—on abortion, affirmative action, and gun rights,” Mayer reveals.

How bad and how close are these ties? Thomas, unbeknownst to almost anyone, was “an undisclosed paid consultant at the conservative pressure group the Center for Security Policy, when its founder, Frank Gaffney, submitted an amicus brief to the Court supporting Trump’s Muslim travel ban.”

Did Justice Clarence Thomas know? Did the couple discuss the case, or her financial and political ties? No one knows.

And that’s just one example. Mayer notes that Ginni Thomas “has held leadership positions at conservative pressure groups that have either been involved in cases before the [Supreme] Court or have had members engaged in such cases.”

“In 2019, she announced a political project called Crowdsourcers, and said that one of her four partners would be the founder of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe. Project Veritas tries to embarrass progressives by making secret videos of them, and last year petitioned the Court to enjoin Massachusetts from enforcing a state law that bans the surreptitious taping of public officials.

Another partner in Crowdsourcers, Ginni Thomas said in her announcement, was Cleta Mitchell, the chairman of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a conservative election-law nonprofit. It, too, has had business before the Court, filing amicus briefs in cases centering on the democratic process. Thomas also currently serves on the advisory board of the National Association of Scholars, a group promoting conservative values in academia, which has filed an amicus brief before the Court in a potentially groundbreaking affirmative-action lawsuit against Harvard.”

Should Americans be concerned? Should Justice Thomas? Should Chief Justice John Roberts?

“If Ginni Thomas is intimately involved—financially or ideologically tied to the litigant—that strikes me as slicing the baloney a little thin,” David Luban, a professor of law and philosophy at Georgetown, who specializes in legal ethics, tells Mayer.Surely Justice Thomas has the ability to separate his work and home life, right?

“Even before” Clarence Thomas’ controversial and contentious confirmation hearing, which included the accusations – labeled “credible” by many – from Anita Hill, “a friend told the WashingtonPost, the couple was so bonded that ‘the one person [Clarence] really listens to is Virginia.'”

In 2019 then-Congressman Mark Meadows, who because White House Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump and now appears to have been intimately involved in aspects of the January 6 insurrection, told members of a “nonprofit that mobilizes conservative evangelical voters” that “Ginni was talking about how we ‘team up,’ and we actually have teamed up. And I’m going to give you something you won’t hear anywhere else—we worked through the first five days of the impeachment hearings.”

Mayer adds, “Ginni Thomas has her own links to the January 6th insurrection.”

The nearly 7000 word deep dive can be read here.

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Discredited Trump Lawyer Will Run Anti-Voter Initiatives For GOP

Discredited Trump Lawyer Will Run Anti-Voter Initiatives For GOP

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A conservative activist and former Donald Trump lawyer is to head up two newly announced conservative initiatives aimed at suppressing voting.

Cleta Mitchell, who worked to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, will lead the two new efforts.

The conservative activist group FreedomWorks announced on Sunday that Mitchell would chair its National Election Protection Initiative.

FreedomWorks told Newsmax, "The integrity of our elections are the bedrock of our Republic and confidence in these institutions is on the decline." Conservatives often use the term "election integrity" as the rationalization for their efforts to suppress votes, particularly of ethnic minorities and other demographics that historically vote Democratic.

Newsmax, in what it said was an exclusive report on FreedomWorks' new effort, said Mitchell would "lead a program focused on election integrity education, training, and deployment, including registering voters, recruiting and training local activists, working as election officials, monitoring election procedures, and identifying needed changes and reforms in election administration and law."

On Tuesday, the Conservative Partnership Institute announced that Mitchell would be leading its Election Integrity Coalition. Former Sen. Jim DeMint, the chair of the institute, of which former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows is a senior partner, told the Washington Examiner, "Washington elites are trying to silence and bully conservatives with astounding brazenness, which Cleta has witnessed first hand, and now through her work at CPI, she will teach the conservative movement how to fight back against this cancel culture." The Examiner reported that the coalition is among a number of groups gearing up to fight against H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, House Democrats' proposed bill that would expand voting rights across the country.

Mitchell is a longtime conservative activist who has been a part of many right-wing organizations and Republican campaigns. She has worked in the past for former Trump campaign manager and adviser Steve Bannon, representing his nonprofit organization.

Most recently, she was a lawyer for Trump's reelection campaign.

In that capacity, Mitchell promoted the same fraudulent conspiracy theories about the election as her client did.

"We're already double checking and finding dead people having voted. We're going to be finding people have voted across state lines, voted in two states, illegal voting, non-citizens and that sort of thing," Mitchell said after the election had been called for President Joe Biden.

Mitchell echoed Trump in claiming Biden's win in Georgia was tainted, alleging that the recount in the state was a "total sham" and "A FAKE!"

"Happy to be considered a nut job because I believe in the rule of law," she tweeted.

As part of the Trump campaign's efforts to overturn Biden's win, Mitchell was on the January 2 phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to get him to throw out Democratic votes and "find" enough votes for him to give him the win.

After her role in that process became the subject of news reports, she was criticized by her employer, the Washington law firm Foley & Lardner: "We are aware of, and are concerned by, Ms. Mitchell's participation in the January 2 conference call," the firm said in a statement on January 5. A day later, it was announced that Mitchell had resigned from the firm.

It wasn't her first time promoting election conspiracy theories.

In 2010, as the lawyer for Sharron Angle's campaign for the Senate seat held by Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, Mitchell released a fundraising letter alleging that Reid "intends to steal the election" and accusing him of offering "free food" in exchange for votes.

A spokesperson for Nevada's Election Integrity Task Force told Talking Points Memo then that it had not received a single report of voter fraud from anyone who had experienced it personally.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.