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Top Republican Says Giuliani Instigated Georgia Voting Restrictions

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) said in an interview this week that personal lawyer to Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, created a significant amount of the momentum behind the new restrictive voting laws being passed in majority-Republican state legislatures. "This is really the fallout from the ten weeks of misinformation that flew in from former President Donald Trump," Duncan said. "I went back over the weekend to really look at where this really started to gain momentum in the legislature, and it was when Rudy Giuliani showed up in a couple of committee rooms and spent hours spreading misinfo...

Top US Agencies Officially Smash Giuliani’s Election Conspiracy Claims

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a joint statement addressing right-wing claims of foreign interference in the 2020 elections — and found that according to an investigation, there is no evidence that such interference occurred in the ways that were alleged.

DOJ and DHS, in their statement, explained, "The Departments investigated multiple public claims that one or more foreign governments owned, directed, or controlled election infrastructure used in the 2020 federal elections; implemented a scheme to manipulate election infrastructure; or tallied, changed, or otherwise manipulated vote counts. The Departments found that those claims were not credible."

The foreign governments mentioned in the press release include those of China and Iran. As DOJ and DHS note, "The Departments found no evidence that any foreign government-affiliated actor manipulated election results or otherwise compromised the integrity of the 2020 federal elections."

Following the 2020 presidential election, then-President Donald Trump and attorneys who supported him — including Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Jenna Ellis — claimed that Trump had been the victim of widespread voter fraud. But that claim was totally debunked, and according to former DHS cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs, the election was quite secure. Trump fired Krebs for debunking his own conspiracy theories.

Powell and other pro-Trump attorneys baselessly claimed that the voting technology of Dominion Voting Systems was used to help Joe Biden steal the 2020 U.S. presidential election, suggesting it had nefarious ties to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Dominion, debunking Powell's false claims, responded that its voting technology had never even been used in Venezuela, and brought a wave of defamation lawsuits against those falsely making such claims.

Politico reporter Kyle Cheney notes that DOJ and DHS have investigated "Sidney Powell-fueled claims that Venezuela, China and Iran had some sort of control over U.S. election infrastructure" and found no evidence to support such claims.

The DOJ/DHS statement released on Tuesday notes that in 2020, election officials went to great lengths to maintain election security.

"During the 2020 election cycle, federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, non-governmental, and private sector partners nationwide worked together in unprecedented ways to combat foreign interference efforts and support election officials, political organizations, campaigns, and candidates in safeguarding their infrastructure," the DOJ/DHS release states. "The Departments remain committed to continuously strengthening the nation's cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, supply chain risk management, public-private partnerships, and public messaging to enhance the resiliency of our democratic institutions."

On Newly Revealed Audio, Trump Pressures Georgia Official For ‘Right Answer’ On 2020 Vote

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump infamously called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, berating him for Trump's loss of Georgia and demanding that the official "find" him 11,000 more votes in what some legal experts say was a criminal act. But less known until now is that Trump also called the chief investigator of the Georgia secretary of state's office in his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In that call, he blamed Stacey Abrams and "dishonest" Fulton County, which is home to Atlanta, for his defeat -- which he also insisted was not real, saying that he won the state by "hundreds of thousands" of votes.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday evening reported on the call, and published the audio.

"Something bad happened," Trump told the Georgia investigator, Frances Watson. "When the right answer comes out, you'll be praised."

Watson was not about to be intimidated.

"I can assure you that our team and the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], that we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts."

In the recording of the call, which has never been released before, Trump pressures Watson repeatedly to help him out.

"This country is counting on it," Trump tells her, meaning him winning Georgia.

"You have the most important job in the country," he also tells her.

Trump also falsely claims he won other states, like Texas, by the biggest margin ever: "We won Texas by a record, Texas was won by the biggest, biggest number ever," which is untrue.

(For the record, George W. Bush twice, along with Barack Obama twice, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon all won Texas by more votes than Trump did in both 2020 and 2016. In fact, Trump won Texas in 2016 by more votes than he did in 2020.)

"I won Georgia by a lot," Trump proceeds to tell Watson, "and the people know it, and, you know, something happened. Something bad happened."

"The people of Georgia are so angry at what happened," he says, seemingly noting that Biden was declared the winner. "They know I won, won by hundreds of thousands of votes."

He went on: "I hope you're going back two years as opposed to just checking, you know, one against the other because that would just be sort of a signature check that didn't mean anything but if you go back two years. And if you can get to Fulton [County}, you're going to find things that are going to be unbelievable. The dishonesty, that we've heard from … good sources, really good sources, but Fulton, Fulton is the mother lode you know as the expression goes, Fulton County."

At one point Watson appears to try to get Trump off the phone but he keeps talking. She says she knows how busy he is and she is "shocked that you would take time" to call.

"You know, they dropped the ballots, they dropped all these ballots. Stacey Abrams, really, really terrible. I mean just a terrible thing. And I will say this. If it went, I mean hopefully this will show because if you go back two years or four years, you're gonna see it's a totally different signature but. But hopefully, you know I will. When, when the right answer comes out you'll be praised. I don't know why they made it so hard. They will be praised, to people will say, 'great,' because that's what it's about that ability to check, and to make it right."

The Journal adds that "Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has launched a criminal investigation into alleged efforts to have officials in Georgia overturn the state's results of November's presidential election. In a February letter to officials, Ms. Willis said a grand jury would convene this month.

How Trump Lawyers Tried To Bully Michigan Election Officials

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Michigan is one of the states where former President Donald Trump and his lawyers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, unsuccessfully tried to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election. Reporter Mardi Link, in an article published by the Traverse City Record Eagle this week, discusses events in Michigan in late November — when some pro-Trump GOP operatives showed up to examine election data.

The operatives, according to Link, went to Antrim County, where they "identified themselves to township officials as representing Rudy Giuliani's legal team" and "accessed official election data in at least one township, according to local officials." On Nov. 27, Link notes, they examined "two separate paper totals tape" from a precinct tabulator.

Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy told the Record Eagle, "They made calls to township people on Thanksgiving Day to set all this up. They were strong-arming local clerks to get in and see those machines. Some clerks said 'no' or didn't answer their phones. And as soon as we could, we sent out an e-mail telling the clerks not to let them in. Then, we learn after the fact, they'd already been in three different locations."

One of the Republican operatives who showed up in Antrim County on Nov. 27, according to Link, was Katherine Friess — a Washington, D.C.-based attorney known for her connection to Trump allies Roger Stone and Paul Manafort (both of whom were prosecuted on multiple criminal charges and sentenced to prison during Trump's presidency but received presidential pardons from him).

Link reports that according to local Antrim County officials, Friess "bragged" about dining with Trump and Giuliani. The attorney serves as CEO of the lobbying firm, Global Policy Partners, and she previously worked for BKSH & Associates — a Washington-based lobbying firm that was created when, in 1996, two firms merged: Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (abbreviated as BMSK) and attorney Martin B. Gold's Gold & Liebengood. Long before Trump's presidency, Manafort and Stone worked together at BMSK during the 1980s.

Link explains, "The operatives who visited Antrim County on Nov. 27 included some of the same people who performed a court-sanctioned forensic exam of the county's voting equipment on Dec. 6, as part of a lawsuit filed by Central Lake Township resident Bill Bailey against the county, citing its use of Dominion Voting Machines equipment."

A debunked conspiracy theory that Trump's allies promoted following the 2020 election involved Dominion, whose equipment they falsely claimed was used to help Biden steal the election. Pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell falsely claimed that Dominion's equipment was also used to help the late President Hugo Chávez commit election fraud in Venezuela — which, according to Dominion, would have been impossible because its equipment has never even been used in that South American country.

In February, Dominion filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a far-right Trump supporter, for falsely claiming that its machines rigged the 2020 election in Biden's favor — a claim for which there is zero evidence. And Dominion, in January, filed a separate $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Giuliani.

The Traverse City Record Eagle interviewed Saginaw, Michigan-based attorney Greg Schmid to discuss the GOP operatives who showed up in Antrim County on November 27. According to Schmid, those visits weren't illegal but probably required a Freedom of Information Act request.

"Guy confirmed no FOIA had been filed requesting access, which Schmid said he found troubling — adding that without such a request, the clerks were well within their rights to simply refuse entry," Link reports.

Schmid told the Record Eagle, "The township clerk had the voting record lawfully, and anybody can knock on the door and ask for anything, but the clerk also could have refused — and without a FOIA, no one could have forced it."