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Tag: election 2020

Murdoch To Kushner On Election Night 2020: Arizona 'Isn't Even Close'

Although Fox News is facing a major defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems for promoting the false and totally debunked claim that Dominion’s equipment was used to help steal the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump, some members of Fox News’ hard news division did some accurate reporting on Election Night. The Fox News decision desk, in fact, accurately called Arizona for now-President Joe Biden on Election Night 2020, and according to former White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner’s new book, Breaking History: A White House Memoir, Rupert Murdoch had no doubt that Biden was the legitimate winner in Arizona.

After Fox News called Arizona for Biden, Murdoch, according to the book, told Kushner: “The numbers are ironclad. It’s not even close.” Subsequent vote recounts in Arizona demonstrated that Murdoch, in that case, was absolutely right: Biden, not Trump, was the clear winner in Arizona.

Biden’s victory in Arizona, like his victory in Georgia, was among the bombshells of 2020’s presidential election. For many years, Arizona was a deep red state and was synonymous with the conservative politics of Sen. Barry Goldwater and his successor, Sen. John McCain. But in recent years, Arizona has evolved into a swing state. Both of Arizona’s two U.S. senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, are centrist Democrats, although its term-limited governor, Doug Ducey, is a right-wing Republican.


Breaking History has an August 23 release date on Amazon, and previews of Kushner’s book have come from the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly. In an article published by the Times on July 25, Haberman reported that according to the book, Kushner was secretly treated for thyroid cancer in 2019.

Pengelly’s reporting, in an article published by The Guardian on July 28, focuses heavily on what Kushner’s book has to say about Arizona. In Breaking History, Kushner says of Biden’s Arizona victory, “The shocking projection brought our momentum to a screeching halt. It instantly changed the mood among our campaign’s leaders, who were scrambling to understand the network’s methodology…. I dialed Rupert Murdoch and asked why Fox News had made the Arizona call before hundreds of thousands of votes were tallied. Rupert said he would look into the issue, and minutes later, he called back.”

During that conversation, Murdoch told Kushner, “Sorry Jared, there is nothing I can do. The Fox News data authority says the numbers are ironclad. He says it won’t be close.’”

Trump was furious when Fox News called Arizona for Biden, and he continues to make the false claim that Arizona was stolen from him through voter fraud — a false claim that former television news anchor and far-right conspiracy theorist Kari Lake, the frontrunner in Arizona’s 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary, has been campaigning on.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Indicted Colorado County Clerk And Election Denier Crushed In GOP Primary

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.

Peters and her deputy, Belinda Knisley, were indicted on March 8. Peters was indicted on seven felony charges and three misdemeanors, including identity theft, criminal impersonation, attempting to influence a public servant, and official misconduct after she allegedly helped an unauthorized person gain access to a room that housed Mesa County's election equipment in August 2021 and gave an unauthorized person passwords for the equipment.

Images of the voting machine data wound up being published by a Telegram social media account run by believers in the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory that a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles runs the U.S. government. The FBI said the QAnon movement is a domestic terror threat.

Peters had declared herself a candidate for Colorado secretary of state the previous month, challenging incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold, who had been investigating Peters at that point for seven months and released a statement in response to Peters' announcement that said, "Peters compromised voting equipment to try to prove conspiracies, costing Mesa County taxpayers nearly one million dollars. She works with election deniers, spreads lies about elections, was removed from overseeing the 2021 Mesa County election, and is under criminal investigation by a grand jury."

In response to a suit filed by Griswold, Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison in May barred Peters from overseeing the 2022 midterm elections in the county because of the indictments, writing, "Based on the circumstances of this case … the Court determines that the Petitioners have met the burden of showing that Peters and Knisley have committed a neglect of duty and are unable to perform the duties of the Mesa County Designated Election Official."

Peters did not accept her primary defeat.

She told supporters Tuesday night, as results showed her trailing the Anderson by double digits, "We didn't lose, we just found evidence of more fraud. ... They're cheating and we'll prove it once again. ... It's not over. Keep the faith."

Peters was one of several Republican election deniers running for secretary of state positions in 2022. Not all of them have won.

In Nevada, Republicans nominated Jim Marchant, a Trump supporter who has pushed numerous baseless and antisemitic voter fraud conspiracies.

But Republican Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, one of the 147 congressional Republicans to vote against certifying President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory in January 2021, lost a primary bid for Georgia secretary of state in May. Hice, who was endorsed by Trump, was handily defeated by incumbent Republican Brad Raffensperger, who had rebuffed efforts by Trump to steal Georgia's Electoral College votes.

In Colorado, Peters isn't the only election denier to have lost Tuesday night.

Republican state Rep. Ron Hanks, a Peters supporter who attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington that preceded the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, lost his primary run for Senate.

Anderson will face Griswold in November.

Griswold, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, has vowed to protect voting rights in Colorado.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

House Select Committee Urged To Subpoena Ginni Thomas

Legal experts are encouraging the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack to subpoena far right-wing activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, now that she is backing out from appearing barely weeks after saying she “looks forward” and “can’t wait” to testify.

In an 8-page letter, her attorney says he needs “a better justification for why Mrs. Thomas’s testimony is relevant,” The Washington Post reports.

The Committee has been interested in speaking with her since at least last summer but had declined to invite or subpoena Thomas, the spouse of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice. After evidence of email correspondence between her and the infamous “coup memo” author John Eastman, the Committee said they would like to talk with her. She quickly told the right-wing Daily Caller she “can’t wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them.”

Virginia Thomas, who goes by “Ginni,” is a longtime and powerful name in Washington who actively, according to reports, pushed dozens of state and federal officials to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Her attorney says he sees no reason for her to speak with the Committee.

“Mrs. Thomas has expressed a willingness to try to come before the Committee as a means of clearing her name,” Thomas’ attorney Mark Paoletta wrote in a letter, HuffPost adds. “But, based on my understanding of the facts … I do not believe there is currently a sufficient basis to speak with Mrs. Thomas.”

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a law professor and MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst, is calling for Thomas to be subpoenaed.

“Thomas said she’d testify during the uproar,” Vance said via Twitter. “Now, she’s hoping to duck under the radar with so much other news. She should be subpoenaed like any other witness & if she fails to appear, treated like Bannon and Navarro, as she has no privilege to avoid testimony.”

Attorney, MSNBC anchor, and legal analyst Katie Phang tweeted, “SUBPOENA her. Now.”

Seth Abramson, an attorney and author said: “Only by issuing a subpoena to Ginni Thomas *now* does Congress have a chance of being able to work through her inevitable legal challenges and refer her to DOJ for a Criminal Contempt indictment *before* a possible handover of Congress to the insurrectionists in early 2023.”

Miranda Yaver, PhD, a political science professor who teaches courses on law at Wheaton also tweeted, “Subpoena Ginni Thomas.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Why Trump Can’t Pretend He Believed His Own Lies About 2020

Watergate, whose 50th anniversary is upon us, is remembered for the question: "What did the president know and when did he know it?" But in our age of post-truth politics, the question loses its punch. The Jan. 6 committee devoted the second of its public hearings to demonstrating beyond doubt that Donald Trump knew he had lost the 2020 election. The unstated assumption here is that Trump did not sincerely believe the election was stolen. He was told over and over again that it wasn't and yet persisted in propagating a dangerous lie to the world. And therefore, he is responsible.

With all due respect to the committee (and I wish them resounding success), that's the wrong way to look at it. In the first place, the tangle of loose wires, celebrity gossip, Putin-worship, grade school taunts and world-class vapidity that forms Trump's mind is impossible to penetrate. We are, to our sorrow, quite familiar with his indifference to truth. When it comes to a person who has lied about American Muslims celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers; told the country that COVID-19 was like the common cold and was "disappearing"; lied about why he fired James Comey; and lied even about the paths of hurricanes, we are dealing with someone whose lies are a constitutive part of his psychology. And everyone knows this.


Consider just one contrast from the Watergate era. Part of why the tapes were Nixon's undoing is that they proved that Nixon had lied to his friends and allies as well as to his enemies. The same cannot be said in Trump's case because absolutely everyone in his circle and everyone in the Republican Party who made their peace with him as leader had been lied to repeatedly. Trump had so warped the people around him that there was no expectation of honesty or integrity. What is sincerity in the mind of a man who lies with every exhale? Asking whether Trump knew the election was free and fair is like asking whether a komodo dragon prefers smooth jazz or hip hop. It's a category error.

This emphatically does not let Trump off the hook for his lies. On the contrary. Think of tort law. If you are the owner of a dye factory and an employee sues when he's blinded by a malfunctioning machine, you can't escape responsibility by saying that you didn't know the machinery was faulty. If the negligence is bad enough, it can be criminal.

Criminal negligence is a decent shorthand for the indifference to truth and/or eager embrace of lies that has come to characterize our historical moment. Are the people who get all of their news from Fox or The Federalist responsible for what they believe? They are. Every person in a democratic republic has a duty to ascertain the truth as best they can, and that means questioning the pap that they are fed nightly. It means letting the light of skepticism peek under the blanket of certainty every now and then. A Fox viewer is lied to, yes, but he or she can ask: "Why did Tucker Carlson do an entire show on the first night of televised hearings, Thursday, June 9, without commercial interruptions? What was he afraid viewers would learn if they switched channels to any other outlet even for a minute?"

Yes, viewers are lied to, and the liars deserve particular opprobrium, but at some point, citizens have to use the sense God gave them. If the Dominion Voting machines were rigged, why did Republican House and Senate candidates do so much better than Trump? If there was a vast conspiracy to flip votes from Trump to Joe Biden, why did Trump perform better with Hispanics in 2020 than he had in 2016? And if the problem was the "rigged" voting machines, why did two hand recounts in Georgia show no discrepancies?

If the riot at the Capitol was the work of antifa and the deep state, why was Ashli Babbit a martyr? And for that matter, if it was antifa, why were Republican members asking Trump for pardons in the final days of his presidency? Alternatively, if it was an "normal tourist visit," why blame it on antifa?

Finally, why would people like Brad Raffensperger, Chris Krebs, Bill Barr, Brian Kemp, Doug Ducey and Liz Cheney, who had nothing to gain and a great deal to lose by telling the truth, be doing what they are doing? If any discordant reality can be dismissed with "explanations" like "RINO" or "woke," we have left the realm of reality altogether.

So, yes, Trump is responsible for his lies however fervently he may tell himself and others that he believes in them, because what he believes is irrelevant. His mind is a black hole of truth. It's not what he knows but what he has a responsibility to know. And the same goes for all of us.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the "Beg to Differ" podcast. Her most recent book is Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

‘Outraged’ Rudy And Cronies Insist He Was Sober On Election Night 2020

Rudy Giuliani, the former president’s former attorney, says he is “outraged” by the “lie” he claims was told by former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and longtime Trump spokesperson Jason Miller, that he was drunk on the night of the 2020 presidential election. Giuliani suggested he was drinking “Diet Pepsi,” while his official statement says “diet coke.”

In a tweet filled with several typos that he deleted and did not re-post, the man once nicknamed “America’s Mayor” declared: “I am disgusted and outraged at the out right [sic] lie by Jason Miller and Bill Steppien [sic]. I was upset that they were not prepared for the massive cheating (as well as other lawyers around the President) I REFUSED all alcohol that evening. My favorite drink..Diet Pepsi.”

But Politico’s Nicholas Wu catches that while Giuliani says his ‘favorite drink” is “Diet Pepsi,” his “other official statement says he was ‘drinking diet coke all night.'”


He also tweeted and deleted this: “Is the false testimony from Miller and Steppien [sic] because I yelled at them? Are they being paid to lie?”

Stepien did not state Giuliani was intoxicated or inebriated

On Monday House Select Committee Ranking Member Liz Cheney announced during a live broadcast hearing that Giuliani was “apparently inebriated” that night, a claim supported in sworn, separately videotaped testimony by Stepien and Miller.

The Daily Beast adds that “Giuliani’s allies also rushed to his defense. Former NYPD commissioner [and ex-con] Bernard Kerik ripped into Miller while stating Giuliani ‘was not drinking at all.’ The longtime Trumpworld acolyte added while appearing on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast: ‘I don’t know why he [Miller] made this statement.’ Bannon, a longtime pal of Miller’s, insisted that Giuliani ‘has too much respect for the White House and office of the presidency ever’ [to] be intoxicated like that. Likewise, ex-Trump aide Boris Epshteyn claimed that Giuliani was ‘sober’ that night.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Republicans Attended MyPillow  Guy's 'Cyber Symposium' On Taxpayers' Dime

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell held his three-day “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in August 2021, three of the far-right MAGA Republicans who attended were lawmakers from Washington State — and according to Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner, they did so at the expense of Washington taxpayers.

Lindell, a far-right conspiracy theorist, has been falsely claiming, with zero evidence, that former President Donald Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election — and he claimed that his “Cyber Symposium” would offer “irrefutable” proof that the election was stolen from Trump. But the claims of widespread voter fraud that Lindell made at his event were aggressively debunked by elections experts. The “Cyber Symposium” was a joke, offering no proof that now-President Joe Biden didn’t defeat Trump by more than 7 million votes in 2020.

Brunner reports, “On hand at the symposium in Sioux Falls were dozens of state legislators from around the country, who have parroted Trump and Lindell’s false fraud narrative, demanding audits of the long-settled election. Among them were three Republicans from Washington, whose trips to the Lindell event were paid for with taxpayer dollars. Public records released to the Seattle Times last week show State Reps. Robert Sutherland (R-Granite Falls), Vicki Kraft, (R-Vancouver), and Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) requested and received expense reimbursements from the Legislature for the symposium.”

According to Brunner, taxpayers in Washington State paid a total of $4,361 for their flights to Sioux Falls and their hotel costs.

Brunner notes that Sutherland, Kraft, and Klippert “have stoked doubts about the 2020 election, claiming widespread fraud and irregularities around the nation and in Washington — even as they touted their own reelection wins last fall.”

Austin Evers, director of American Oversight, resents the fact that taxpayers in Washington State paid for Sutherland, Kraft, and Klippert to attend Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium.”

Brunner quotes Evers as saying, “The Mike Lindell symposium was, on its face, a conspiracy theory designed to undermine faith in American democracy. It should not have been funded in any way by taxpayer dollars, and no one in public office should have been attending it.”

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

Dominion Voting Systems Lawsuit Against Fox News Moves Forward

Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News can move forward, a Delaware state judge has ruled.

Law & Crime reports Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis wrote, “For purposes of the Motion, the Court must view all well-pled facts alleged in the Complaint as true and in a light most favorable to Dominion,” but added clearly, “If the plaintiff offers ‘some direct evidence' that the statement ‘was probably false,’ the Court can infer that the defendant ‘inten[ded] to avoid the truth.’

The right-wing cable network is being sued for giving “fictions a prominence they otherwise would never have achieved,” Dominion said in its lawsuit back in March, turning “a small flame…into a forest fire.”

“With Fox’s global platform,” Dominion’s 138-page lawsuit contends, “an audience of hundreds of millions, and the inevitable and extensive republication and dissemination of the falsehoods through social media, these lies deeply damaged Dominion’s once-thriving business.”

In a statement, Fox News called the lawsuit an “all-out assault on the First Amendment.”

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

Hands Off General Milley — He Did Nothing Wrong

What Gen. Mark Milley has learned during his most recent years of service is what most Americans have now come to understand about former President Donald Trump. He was always a highly dysfunctional and dangerous leader, or as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi succinctly told the general, "crazy." Treating him as a "normal" president would involve unacceptable risk.

That knowledge had to be a stunning realization for a military leader raised in our country's traditions of strict civilian control of the armed services. When the civilian in control has lost control of himself — and struck many around him as unstable from the beginning — then the burden of averting disaster inevitably falls heavily on flag officers at the pinnacle of the command structure. As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appointed by Trump himself, Milley confronted the conundrum in the frenzied final days of Trump's misrule.

Anyone who judges what the JCS chairman did must take into account the ominous context of his actions.

According to Peril, the aptly titled new book by the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, tensions with China increasingly spooked top officials in the Pentagon as Election Day approached in the fall of 2020. Intelligence suggested that the Chinese military feared a U.S. military strike, ordered by Trump, who was screaming about "kung flu," which could erupt into a catastrophic conflict. Not only Milley but also then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper sent calming messages to their Chinese counterparts, urging them not to "over-read" Trump's belligerent threats during the presidential campaign.

It isn't clear whether Esper or Milley told the irrational Trump about those contacts. Milley has described the calls as "routine" and "perfectly within the duties" of his job.

The effects of their soothing outreach dissipated in the election's aftermath, when Trump's mad and bad behavior attempted the ultimate destabilization of the American order, climaxing in the attempted coup of January 6. Observing the potentially lethal mischief of a deranged president, the Chinese government went on red alert.

Woodward and Costa report that on January 8, as the full dimensions of Trump's assault on our political system emerged, Milley reached out to the Chinese leadership again. He offered assurances that Trump would not attack China and therefore China need not contemplate the launch of any preemptive or defensive attack on the U.S. The Post reporters write that Milley promised to deliver a secret warning to the Chinese if any such attack was imminent — although Axios reports a slightly different version, in which the JCS chairman says, "We'll both know if we're going to war ... there's not gonna be some surprise attack and there's no reason for you to do a preemptive strike."

At the same time, Milley sought to reinforce the safeguards within the U.S. chain of command, which are designed to prevent a nuclear strike by a crazed president who attempts to act unilaterally. Milley reiterated to top generals and admirals that they were not to undertake any military action outside those protocols that he feared Trump might attempt, perhaps through a lower-ranking officer.

Unsurprisingly, Trump is enraged by the revelation of his top general's profound sense of responsibility, which has put on public display again the utter disrespect and mistrust he engendered in every experienced official he appointed. They all knew firsthand that he was absurdly unqualified to be president, his incapacity exceeded only by his frightening arrogance. Beyond the forced displays of toadying by his Cabinet, not one person who observed him close-up thought he was competent or rational.

In Trump's cartoon presidency there were endlessly embarrassing and outrageous moments — and then there were other moments when an unstable narcissist with access to the nuclear codes could have become a threat to the world. If Trump had turned into such a menace, Milley's choices were very narrow indeed.

Milley upheld his oath out of patriotism to the highest degree, contrary to the right-wing banana republic chorus that ludicrously claims he committed "treason." Milley aimed to preserve stability and avoid crisis by following all the protocols. He retains the full confidence of President Joe Biden, for good reason.

Our flag officers are not about to follow the impulses of a real traitor like former Gen. Michael Flynn, the convicted criminal pardoned by Trump, who urged that Trump institute martial law. Gen. Mark Milley did his duty and performed under pressure with composure and honor. He is owed thanks, not insults.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com