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Trump Campaign Memo Shows Giuliani, Powell Knew Election Fraud Claims Were False

Reprinted with permission from Aternet


A memo obtained by The New York Times makes clear that the Trump campaign not only spread propaganda and misinformation about the results of the 2020 election, they did so with full knowledge that what they were telling the American people was simply a lie.

Long before Jan. 6, in the days immediately following the election, Trump's team was aware that claims about voting machines made by Dominion and Smartmatic were utterly false. The interal memo, prepared by Trump's communication team, includes a thorough debunking of claims about the software, hardware, origins, and political connections of each company, One by one, everything circulating in the fever swamp of right-wing claims about the election was stood up, and just as quickly shot down.

Despite this, Trump's legal team would step forward six days after that memo was circulated and make exactly the claims they already knew not to be true. That included false claims about how the companies were connected to antifa. False claims about how the software had originated in Venezuela. False claims about the connections between the two companies. False claims about connections to George Soros. And false claims about votes being counted overseas.

Now that memo has surfaced in court papers as part of a defamation lawsuit against Trump's campaign. And a quick look at the information suggests that another, very brief, memo could be written. The title of that memo: Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell are f***ked.

On Nov. 19, 2020, Rudy Giuliani stepped out to deliver another round of nonsense claims, random non sequiturs, and outright lies concerning the 2020 presidential election. It was on this occasion that Giuliani explained the legal basis of his claims about voter fraud. "I know crimes," said the former prosecutor. "I can smell them. You don't have to smell this one, I can prove it to you 18 different ways. I can prove to you that Trump won Pennsylvania by 300,000 votes. I can prove to you that he won Michigan, probably by 50,000 votes." Needless to say, he provided no such proof.

But other than Giuliani's crime-sniffing nose, that press event is mostly remembered for two things.

First, that a steady stream of dark hair dye trickled down Giuliani's face as he spoke, lending his overt lies about how Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito had blocked votes in Pennsylvania or how Michigan's most populous county had decertified its vote total an extra air of comic desperation. Again and again, Giuliani threw out numbers along with a claim that he could "prove" some level of malfeasance on the part of election officials and voting machine companies. Again and again, he offered absolutely no proof.

Second, it was at that event that Powell, until then best known for her judge-infuriating defense of disgraced general Michael Flynn, stepped forward to present a jaw-dropping collection of claims that included how Democrats had engaged in a multistate conspiracy to "inject" hundreds of thousands of Biden votes by using voting machines built to appease Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez with the help of wealthy Jew George Soros and sent American votes overseas to servers in Germany, where they could be altered according to orders from antifa.

Powell was detailed, if little short of deranged, in her claims about connections between Dominion and Smartmatic, the origins of their systems as a means of ensuring the election of long-dead dictator Hugo Chavez, the control of mysterious figures from antifa, and a connection to this Biden-Venezuelan-Jewish-Cuban-antifa conspiracy and the Clinton Foundation.

The simple amount of hogwash, hooey, and absurdity in the statements from Giuliani and Powell would have been amusing had all that propaganda not been in service of a lie that led directly to the January 6 insurgency and fueled ongoing claims of election fraud now supported by a majority of Republicans. In the course of the morning, Giuliani and Powell managed to hit Every. Single. One. Of the claims that the Trump team had already investigated and found to be false.

It was if they had taken the internal memo and used it as a checklist to be sure they punched every button on the defamation elevator.

Clearly, someone on Trump's team was listening well enough to hear all the alarms that the claims—particularly those made by Powell—were setting off. Just three days later, Giuliani issued a statement in which he made another false claim: "Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own," wrote Giuliani. "She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity."

Unfortunately for them, not only had Giuliani introduced Powell and appeared with her in front of the nation's cameras while she went on her everything-but-the-kitchen sink rant; Powell had been introduced by Trump attorney Jenna Ellis as part of "an elite strike team that is working on behalf of the president and the campaign to make sure that our Constitution is protected."

And there was some other fellow. Some guy on Twitter. What did he say?

"I look forward to Mayor Giuliani spearheading the legal effort to defend OUR RIGHT to FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS! Rudy Giuliani, Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers and representatives!"

Within days of Trump's "distancing" from Powell, she was right back at the center of his representation, acting as the lead attorney on lawsuits filed in December and January. Any claim that she was not connected to the Trump campaign is less believable than Hugo Chavez and George Soros counting votes in Spain using an antifa-branded server.

What's absolutely clear is that both Giuliani and Powell were members of Donald Trump's legal team, who not only stepped forward on November 19—and on many other occasions—to make false claims about the 2020 president election, they did so knowingly. In particular, despite having investigated and found the claims about Dominion and Smartmatic absolutely false, Trump's team went on to file at least four lawsuits against the company and publicly accuse it of crimes in statements they were well aware did not reflect reality. Those accusations generated threats of violence about the companies and their employees, as well as interfering in the ability of the companies to do business.

The only real question should be, will Dominion get the pleasure of taking Giuliani's last dime before the FBI finally completes their actions?

And just in case someone thought either of these two was being more sensible these days …

Trump-Friendly Prosecutor Signals Potential Trouble For Insurrection Cases

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The federal government's prosecution of the January 6 Capitol insurrectionists continues to roll along with hardly any change in direction or pace: Participants in the attack continue to be arrested as investigators accumulate more evidence, while judges continue to keep major players, particularly members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, under lock and key.

However, one bright red flag was raised by Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel—who has assiduously tracked and reported on the imposingly complex prosecutions from January 6—this week in the conspiracy case being assembled by prosecutors against the Proud Boys: It now emerges that one of the lead prosecutors in that case is Jocelyn Ballantine, the same DOJ prosecutor who engaged in dubious behavior around former Trump official Michael Flynn's prosecution, such as submitting altered documents. Could a botch job be around the corner?

Ballantine, as Wheeler details, engaged in a pattern of misconduct in handling the Flynn case that could easily result in a federal judge dismissing the case. And as the Proud Boys' attorneys made clear in their filings this week demanding that key players in the insurrection, including leaders Joe Biggs and Ethan Nordean, be granted pretrial release, their primary strategy appears to be aimed at obtaining exactly that kind of summary dismissal of the charges.

Wheeler points to three specific acts by Ballantine in the Flynn matter that raise concerns:

  • On Sept. 23, she provided three documents that were altered to Sidney Powell, one of which Trump used six days later in a packaged debate attack on Joe Biden.
  • On Sept. 24, she submitted an FBI interview report that redacted information—references to Brandon Van Grack—that was material to the proceedings before Judge Emmet Sullivan.
  • On Oct. 26, she claimed that lawyers for Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe had checked their clients' notes to confirm there were no other alterations to documents submitted to the docket; both lawyers refused to review the documents.

Having a prosecutor on the Proud Boys prosecution team (let alone overseeing it) with a dubious conduct history poses serious risks for their success, and indeed for the broader prosecution: "Given Ballantine's past actions, it risks sabotaging the entire January 6 investigation," Wheeler observes.

The possibility of a bungled federal prosecution in the Proud Boys case raises the specter of a similar botch job in a major case involving right-wing extremists: Namely in 2018, when prosecutorial misconduct involving evidence sharing forced the federal judge overseeing the case against rancher Cliven Bundy for his 2014 armed standoff with federal authorities to order all charges dismissed—one of several cases of misconduct involving that U.S. Attorney's office. That dismissal, with prejudice, was upheld on appeal.

The attorneys for Biggs and Nordean, meanwhile, made a fresh appeal for their clients' pretrial release to home confinement, claiming the men posed neither a serious flight risk nor any threat to public safety in the interim. The attorneys presented clips from a video shot on January 6 in Washington, D..C., by fellow Proud Boys member Eddie Block, claiming they demonstrated that the group actually intended to hold their "big event" afterward at The Ellipse, not at the Capitol.

"There's no conspiracy," defense attorney John Hull said. "… So, [with] no conspiracy, about 80% of the whole case falls apart."

Prosecutors noted that Block's statements in the clips are contravened by the men's demonstrated actions that day, which included Nordean and Biggs tearing down a police barrier. They also reminded the judge of encrypted texts the men shared that day preparing for insurrection on January 6.

Prosecutors warned that the defendants' release would mean "there's no way to police" any other potential planning the men might participate in with other Proud Boys members: "That's a significant, prospective danger to the community," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason McCullough said.

In other January 6-related developments:

  • Accountability arrived for the Capitol Police officers who behaved as congenial hosts to the insurrectionists on January 6. The agency announced it had taken disciplinary action against six officers following an internal investigation.

There were 38 internal investigations involving officer behavior on January 6, with 26 different officers identified, Capitol Police reported. There was no wrongdoing found in 20 of the cases.

Three of the six officers were disciplined for "conduct unbecoming;" another for improper remarks; one for improper dissemination of information; and one for "failure to comply with directives."

"The six sustained cases should not diminish the heroic efforts of the United States Capitol Police officers. On January 6, the bravery and courage exhibited by the vast majority of our employees was inspiring," the release said.

  • FBI agents arrested a woman from Allentown, Pennsylvania, who had filled her social-media pages with QAnon conspiracy theories and demands for an "Army of Patriots" to seize control of the government, prior to invading the Capitol with other right-wing extremists on January 6.

Prosecutors detailed Kelly O'Brien's prolific rants on social media leading up to January 6. One dated November 26, 2020, asserted: "We do not riot. We fight. We are an Army of Patriots. You will know us when you see us. There will be no ambiguity. Prepare yourself."

On Dec. 19, 2020, O'Brien posted: "WE ARE IN A BATTLE between GOOD and evil. Make no mistake about that. Elders are cheering us on and believe that WE ARE GOING TO BE THE GREATEST GENERATION in their lifetime. And they lived through WWII. Are you going to fight or are you weak. Let us know now. WE NEED PATRIOTS! WE NEED FREEDOM FIGHTERS! Now!"

The day after Christmas, another used posted: "You can vote your way into socialism but you have to shoot your way out of it!" O'Brien responded: "We might have to."

After the insurrection, on January 8, amid a discussion of Trump's refusal to concede to Joe Biden, O'Brien asserted that "Everything is happening according to Q plan. So scared."

  • A former FBI special agent remarked on MSNBC that the insurrectionists' targets were chosen not by movement leaders or members, but rather by elected politicians like Donald Trump and Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley.

"It's our political leaders that are doing this more than domestic extremists," Clint Watts, a Joint Terrorism Task Force veteran, said. "What you see right there President Trump told them they were going to the Capitol that day. They didn't pick the Capitol, he said it, his organizers they promoted it, his fellow congressmen in the GOP, they promoted it.

"It was Josh Hawley out there fist-bumping the crowd, right? Before it went in," he added. "That's the thing we look for to see, hey, where are they tipping to. For the most part, the groups aren't picking the targets. It's the elected leaders."

Michigan Judge Refers Trump’s 'Kraken' Lawyers For Disbarment

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Federal Judge Linda Parker on Wednesday referred a group of pro-Trump attorneys, including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, for potential suspension and disbarment for their misconduct in a lawsuit that sought to overturn Joe Biden's 2020 win in Michigan.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, along with other defendants in the original lawsuit, has asked the judge to consider sanctions after the pro-Trump lawyers had their claims of election fraud demolished.

In the new ruling, Parker issued a 110-page opinion condemning the team's "historic and profound abuse of the judicial process," finding that their behavior in the case warrants formal sanction by the courts. They will have to pay for Michigan and Detroit's legal costs and attend classes about the law relevant to the case, the judge ruled. And she will also be referring their cases to the authorities who issued the lawyers' licenses, which may take further punitive action against them.

Such harsh sanctions are rare in the legal world and highlight the extreme nature of the pro-Trump lawyers' conduct.

Parker was direct and unsparing in her condemnation of their actions.

"[T]he question before the Court is whether Plaintiffs' attorneys engaged in litigation practices that are abusive and, in turn, sanctionable. The short answer is yes," she wrote. "The attorneys who filed the instant lawsuit abused the well-established rules applicable to the litigation process by proffering claims not backed by law; proffering claims not backed by evidence (but instead, speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion); proffering factual allegations and claims without engaging in the required prefiling inquiry; and dragging out these proceedings even after they acknowledged that it was too late to attain the relief sought."

She continued:

And this case was never about fraud—it was about undermining the People's faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so.
While there are many arenas—including print, television, and social media—where protestations, conjecture, and speculation may be advanced, such expressions are neither permitted nor welcomed in a court of law. And while we as a country pride ourselves on the freedoms embodied within the First Amendment, it is well-established that an attorney's freedom of speech is circumscribed upon "entering" the courtroom.

The lawyers "scorned their oath, flouted the rules, and attempted to undermine the integrity of the judiciary along the way," she said.

Essentially, she argued that Powell, Wood, and the others used the case in Michigan to propagate the notion that Trump had been the true winner of the 2020 election, even though they had no reasonable case to bring. Their aim wasn't, she concluded, to make good faith arguments about the facts and the law in hope of being vindicated in a court of law. Instead, they were using the courts as a platform for propaganda without regard for the merits of their legal arguments. In short, it was a flagrant abuse of the system.

She even drew a connection between the lawyers' misconduct and the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Much of the opinion details how the attorneys, such as Wood, have been blatantly dishonest with the court, and why their arguments were frivolous and illegitimate on numerous grounds. For example, they sought to have Whitmer barred from sending the results of Michigan's election to the Electoral College, even though she had already done so. They cited precedents for their arguments that had no relevance or made the opposite point to what they were trying to push. They made baseless claims that legal acts were against the law. At other points, they completely reversed themselves on crucial issues, such as key deadlines in the case, without explanation or justification.

"It is not lost upon the Court that the same claims and requested relief that Plaintiffs' attorneys presented here were disposed of, for many of the same reasons, in Michigan courts and by judges in several other 'battleground' jurisdictions where Plaintiffs' counsel sought to overturn the election results," Parker wrote. "The fact that no federal district court considering the issues at bar has found them worthy of moving forward supports the conclusion that Plaintiffs' claims are frivolous."

The extent of the blatant deception and arguments clearly made in bad faith can only lead to one conclusion.

Parker explained: "Once it appeared that their preferred political candidate's grasp on the presidency was slipping away, Plaintiffs' counsel helped mold the predetermined narrative about election fraud by lodging this federal lawsuit based on evidence that they actively refused to investigate or question with the requisite level of professional skepticism—and this refusal was to ensure that the evidence conformed with the predetermined narrative (a narrative that has had dangerous and violent consequences). Plaintiffs' counsel's politically motivated accusations, allegations, and gamesmanship may be protected by the First Amendment when posted on Twitter, shared on Telegram, or repeated on television. The nation's courts, however, are reserved for hearing legitimate causes of action."

In short, her conclusion was simple: "This lawsuit should never have been filed."

MyPillow Guy’s Election ‘Bombshell’ Blows Up In His Face

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell has been one of the most prominent public figures still passionately pushing the lie that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election — and claiming that he can prove it. He even claimed Trump would be reinstated this month, a prediction he now disavows. His misinformation campaign came to a head this week as he held a so-called "cyber symposium" in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to make the case that President Joe Biden was illegitimately elected. But as the shambolic event stretched into its second day, the keystone of his repeatedly debunked argument turned out — unsurprisingly — to be a complete dud.

Lindell claimed that he would provide data conclusively showing that China rigged the vote counts to install Biden as president. But The Washington Times, a conservative news outlet, reported Wednesday evening that the "expert" who was supposed to assess this evidence admitted it didn't hold up to scrutiny.

The paper explained:

Mr. Lindell said he had 37 terabytes of "irrefutable" evidence that hackers, who he said were backed by China, broke into election systems and switched votes in favor of President Biden. The proof, he said, is visible in intercepted network data or "packet captures" that were collected by hackers and could be unencrypted to reveal that a cyberattack occurred and that votes were switched.
But Mr. Lindell's lead cyber expert, Josh Merritt, told The Washington Times that packet captures are unrecoverable in the data and that the data, as provided, cannot prove a cyberincursion by China.
"So our team said, we're not going to say that this is legitimate if we don't have confidence in the information," Mr. Merritt said on Wednesday, the second day of the symposium.

Brad Heath, a reporter who closely followed the post-election litigation, noted:

Merrit was previously the subject of mockery after Sidney Powell misrepresented him in her post-election lawsuits that sought to overturn the result. The Washington Post reported in December 2020:

Powell describes Spyder in court filings as a former "Military Intelligence expert," and his testimony is offered to support one of her central claims. In a declaration filed in four states, Spyder alleges that publicly available data about server traffic shows that voting systems in the United States were "certainly compromised by rogue actors, such as Iran and China."
Spyder, it turns out, is Joshua Merritt, a 43-year-old information technology consultant in the Dallas area. Merritt confirmed his role as Powell's secret witness in phone interviews this week with The Washington Post.
Records show that Merritt is an Army veteran and that he enrolled in a training program at the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, the unit he cites in his declaration. But he never completed the entry-level training course, according to Meredith Mingledorff, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, which includes the battalion.
"He kept washing out of courses," said Mingledorff, citing his education records. "He's not an intelligence analyst."
In an interview, Merritt maintained that he graduated from the intelligence training program. But even by his own account, he was only a trainee with the 305th, at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, and for just seven months more than 15 years ago.
...
Merritt acknowledged that the declaration's description of his work as an "electronic intelligence analyst under 305th Military Intelligence" is misleading. He said it should have made clear that his time in the 305th was as a student, not as a working intelligence expert.

Zachary Petrizzo, a reporter for Salon, noted that the crowd at the symposium was thinning out on its second day, apparently from lack of enthusiasm about the content.

Even Steve Bannon, a close ally of Lindell's, was critical on Wednesday about the symposium's lack of evidence.

"You've laid a theory of the case out here that's very powerful, but in laying that case out, you've got to bring the receipts," he said.

Steve Bannon slams Mike Lindell's 'cyber symposium' www.youtube.com

To top off the rest of Lindell's terrible day, the judge overseeing the defamation case against him and other defendants brought by the Dominion voting maching company issued a ruling allowing the lawsuit to proceed and rejecting his motion to dismiss.

‘Pure Insanity’: Emails Show Trump Urging Justice Officials To Overturn 2020 Election

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Emails released on Tuesday reveal just how far former President Donald Trump went to pressure the Department of Justice to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden, with everyone from Trump's personal assistant to Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows contacting top Justice officials to ask them to back up Trump's wild lies about voter fraud and even file lawsuits to invalidate the results of multiple states.

The emails were part of a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which found that multiple top Trump aides and allies reached out to then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen asking him to file a lawsuit with the Supreme Court to overturn the results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada — all states Biden won.

Another email showed that Meadows tried to push Rosen to "look into" baseless and absurd allegations from an ally of Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani that Italy used military technology to switch votes from Trump to Biden. And yet another email revealed that Meadows sought to force Rosen to look into "allegations of signature match anomalies in Fulton County, Ga."

The emails show Rosen was aghast at the pressure campaign.

"Can you believe this? I am not going to respond to the message below," Rosen wrote in an email to acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue of Meadow's demand that Rosen "engage" with the signature mismatch lie.

Rosen also said he "flatly refused" to meet with the Giuliani ally who was pushing the absurd Italy conspiracy theory, stating he "would not be giving any special treatment to Giuliani or any of his 'witnesses,' and re-affirmed yet again that I will not talk to Giuliani about any of this."

Donoghue called the efforts from the White House and other Trump aides to get them to aid in the effort to overturn the election "pure insanity."

Ultimately, the Department of Justice never filed any lawsuits to overturn the election.

And the band of crackpot Trump supporters who did file lawsuits — such as Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Lin Wood — all lost their lawsuits seeking to overturn the results. In fact, Giuliani and Powell now face libel lawsuits from voting machine companies that could put them in financial ruin. Powell also faces the possibility of court-ordered sanctions.

House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney wrote in a news release that the emails provide proof that Trump engaged in "a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost."

"Those who aided or witnessed President Trump's unlawful actions must answer the Committee's questions about this attempted subversion of democracy," Maloney (D-NY) wrote.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Trump Lies Spurred Wave Of Death Threats Against Georgia Official — And His Family

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

After the New York Times' Maggie Haberman reported, on June 1, that former President Donald Trump believes he will be "reinstated" as president by August, many Trump critics — from liberals and progressives to Never Trump conservatives — warned that his delusions could inspire more attacks like the January 6 insurrection as well as an increase in threats against officials. The death threats, harassment and intimidation that election workers have been receiving from Trump supporters is the focus of in-depth article published by Reuters this week, and reporter Linda So shows that the abuse continues months after Trump's departure from the White House.

In her report, So emphasizes that the election workers who have suffered ongoing abuse range from high-level officials such as Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (a conservative Republican) to low-level and mid-level election workers. Raffensperger, following the 2020 presidential election, infuriated Trump and his allies — including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and far-right attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood — by maintaining that now-President Joe Biden won Georgia fairly and that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state as Trump claimed. And Raffensperger, along with his wife Tricia Raffensperger, have been inundated with death threats ever since

So reports that on April 5, Tricia Raffensperger received a text message saying that a family member was "going to have a very unfortunate incident" — and that message was followed by one in mid-April saying, "We plan for the death of you and your family every day." Then, on April 24,

she received a text message saying, "You and your family will be killed very slowly."

Tricia Raffensperger, who is 65, told Reuters that because of all the death threats, she decided it was no longer safe for her grandchildren to visit her home. The Georgia secretary of state's wife explained, "I couldn't have them come to my house anymore. You don't know if these people are actually going to act on this stuff."

The 66-year-old Brad Raffensperger told Reuters, "Vitriol and threats are an unfortunate, but expected, part of public service. But my family should be left alone."

Georgia's secretary of state is hardly the only major election official who has been receiving death threats from Trump supporters. Others have ranged from Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who is part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration, to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

So explains, "Trump's relentless false claims that the vote was 'rigged' against him sparked a campaign to terrorize election officials nationwide, from senior officials such as Raffensperger to the lowest-level local election workers. The intimidation has been particularly severe in Georgia, where Raffensperger and other Republican election officials refuted Trump's stolen-election claims. The ongoing harassment could have far-reaching implications for future elections by making the already difficult task of recruiting staff and poll workers much harder, election officials say."

In Georgia, So observes, the "intimidation" has "gone well beyond Raffensperger and his family." The Reuters reporter notes that in Georgia, "Election workers, from local volunteers to senior administrators, continue enduring regular harassing phone calls and e-mails, according to interviews with election workers and the Reuters review of texts, e-mails and audio files provided by Georgia officials."

Trump-inspired death threats are terrorizing election workers www.youtube.com

Richard Barron, elections director for Fulton County, Georgia, told Reuters that his predominantly African-American staff has received hundreds of threats along with racial slurs. Barron told Reuters, "The racial slurs were disturbing and sickening." And one of the targets was Ralph Jones, who is part of Barron's staff and oversaw mail-in ballot operations in Fulton County (which includes Atlanta) in 2020. Jones told Reuters, "It was unbelievable: your life being threatened just because you're doing your job."

Carlos Nelson, elections supervisor for Ware County, Georgia, believes that the United States is facing a dire situation when poll workers are fearing for their safety.

Nelson told Reuters, "These are people who work for little or no money, 12 to 14 hours a day on Election Day. If we lose good poll workers, that's when we're going to lose democracy."

After Reuters published So's article, election law expert Richard L. Hasen quoted it extensively on his Election Law Blog and described it as a "must-read."

Here are some of the many reactions to the article on Twitter:

Poll: Nearly One-Third Of GOP Voters Believe Trump Will Be ‘Reinstated’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Nearly one-third of Republicans believe Donald Trump will be likely be "reinstated" in office in August, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll released on Wednesday found — the latest lie the GOP base believes surrounding the 2020 election.

The poll found that an overwhelming majority of voters, or 72 percent, say it's "not likely at all" or "not very likely" that Trump will be reinstated. However, 17 percent of Republicans believe it's "very likely" that Trump will be reinstated, while another 12 percent believe reinstatement is "somewhat likely."

Trump himself has been telling advisers that he will be reinstated by August, according to a report from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman confirmed by other outlets.

The lie appears to have emanated from the QAnon conspiracy theory world, which purports that the shambolic audit of the 2020 results underway in Arizona will prove that Trump actually won the state, and will start a domino effect as GOP lawmakers in other states push for similar audits.

However, the Arizona audit will not overturn the state's 2020 presidential election results, according to which Biden carried it by more than 10,000 votes. Those results not only have already been certified, but also have been verified by three separate previous audits that found no fraud nor irregularities in the vote.

Experts say that the Arizona audit, being run by a Trump-supporting conspiracy theorist who pushed lies that the election was stolen, is being run so shoddily and by people who so desperately want to prove fraud exists that the results will be irrevocably tainted.

While the conspiracy theory appears to have started in QAnon circles, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says he believes he is the one who turned Trump on to the baseless idea of "reinstatement."

"If Trump is saying August, that is probably because he heard me say it," Lindell told the Daily Beast on June 2. Lindell is a vocal Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist who has lied about the election being stolen and advocated for Trump to invoke "martial law" to block Joe Biden from taking office.

Sidney Powell, the ex-Trump campaign lawyer who is being sued for defamation over her voter fraud lies, repeated the reinstatement lie at a QAnon conference in late May.

"He can simply be reinstated ... a new inauguration date is set, and Biden is told to move out of the White House, and President Trump should be moved back in," Powell said at the conference.

The "reinstatement" lie is not the only one GOP voters believe.

Two-thirds of Republicans, or 67 percent, believe that Biden did not legitimately win the election, according to a CBS News poll from May.

And a PRRI-IFYC poll from May found that nearly 30 percent of Republicans believe the QAnon claim that "things have gotten so far off track" in the United States that "true American patriots may have to resort to violence."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Trump Aide Meadows Pushed Election Conspiracies On Justice Department

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

A new report provides more detail on how top officials in then-President Donald Trump's administration relied on the lowest dregs of the internet fever swamps following Trump's 2020 defeat, as they tried to use the federal government to leverage false conspiracy theories about voter fraud to nullify the results.

Trump himself had long consumed far-right media content, and after the election he promoted a bevy of fantastical lies from Fox News, OAN, Newsmax, and others purportedly providing evidence that the election had been stolen from him. His paranoid rants put American democracy at risk, and ultimately helped spur the January 6 riot aimed at preventing the certification of Joe Biden's victory at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump had help, as a Saturday New York Times report based on emails reviewed by the paper makes clear. In a January 1 email, Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, asked Jeffrey A. Rosen, then the acting attorney general, to examine "Italygate," the conspiracy theory that "people in Italy had used military technology and satellites to remotely tamper with voting machines in the United States and switch votes for Mr. Trump to votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr.," according to the account.

The Times reported that Meadows' request "violated longstanding guidelines that essentially forbid almost all White House personnel, including the chief of staff, from contacting the Justice Department about investigations or other enforcement actions."

On what basis was Meadows willing to breach those restrictions? The Times further reported:

Mr. Meadows sent Mr. Rosen a YouTube link to a video of Brad Johnson, a former C.I.A. employee who had been pushing the theory in videos and statements that he posted online. After receiving the video, Mr. Rosen said in an email to another Justice Department official that he had been asked to set up a meeting between Mr. Johnson and the F.B.I., had refused, and had then been asked to reconsider.

Election Day ended with a "red mirage" showing Trump in the lead, only for there to be a "blue shift" afterward as key states counted ballots that heavily favored Biden, just as election experts had long predicted. But Johnson's theory, as detailed in a 13-minute video available online, is that Trump's early lead actually evaporated because nefarious forces changed the vote totals to swing the election to Biden.

This is a variation on repeated, baseless lies from pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and her right-wing media allies. But while Powell and company attributed the supposed switched votes first to a U.S. government computer system called "Hammer" and a software program known as "Scorecard," and later to the election technology companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic (which she hinted may have been working on behalf of Venezuela), Johnson instead points to an operation revolving around a military satellite controlled by the Italian defense contractor Leonardo SPA, overseen by an anti-Trump State Department official in the U.S. Eembassy in Rome with the help of British and U.S. intelligence services.

"The U.S. elections were changed, the results were changed in those five or six key states," Johnson claimed, after initial results were "uploaded and sent to Rome" through the Leonardo military satellite. In Rome, that "raw data" was scrutinized by the conspirators, who are "the ones who said, 'shut down all those five states or six states,' at the exact same time, and the problem was that the algorithms were overloaded, that what they had planned on didn't work because Trump got so many votes."

"So they upload all of the stuff — it gives them time to analyze all of this and create new analogues that then would allow the vote to come out in favor of Biden," he continued. "And that, then, once they created all the new data and manipulated all the data that was there, they sent these new numbers back up through this military satellite, Italian military satellite, run and operated by none other than Leonardo."

"That blast of information is what everybody sees on those number charts where it shows all the votes, and it shows the red line and the blue line going up like this, and Trump's ahead, Trump's ahead, and then all of a sudden, boom, and up above goes all of those votes for Biden," Johnson concluded. "That blip is that data being retransmitted back down through this military satellite back down into these machines that were all hooked up to the Internet."

In reality, the "blip" Johnson describes in which the tallying of large numbers of Biden votes changed the leader in several states was the expected result of largely Democratic counties reporting their totals at once and states adding mail-in ballots, which skewed Democratic, to their counts.

Johnson's video circulated on right-wing conspiracy theory sites, and as my colleague Parker Molloy documented, variants of "Italygate" spread on far-right message boards and social media platforms. It doesn't seem to have broken through on Fox, or even lesser right-wing outlets like OAN or Newsmax -- but it somehow made its way into an official communication, from the White House chief of staff to the head of the Justice Department, seeking an official investigation.

This level of dangerous absurdity did not end with Trump's administration. The former president himself continues to lie about the election result, echoing what he sees on his television. But what is even more concerning is that his party and propagandists are turning the falsehood that the election was stolen into the GOP's core precept -- and driving out those, like Rosen, who won't play along.