President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on all Americans to not engage in any violent demonstrations, vandalism, or lawbreaking ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking, and NO vandalism of any kind,” Trump said. “That is not what I stand for and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
The Epoch Times reached out to the White House for comment. Trump’s statement will go out as an email from the White House press office and the White House will post the statement through the president’s social media accounts. The report also cited an advisor as saying that the president wants Big Tech companies to assist in disseminating his message of non-violence.
It came after the president was suspended from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other tech platforms.
Other Republicans and Trump surrogates have called for no violence following the U.S. Capitol breach.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated Wednesday that “violence has no place in our politics. Period.”
“I wholly condemned last week’s senseless acts of violence, and I strongly reiterate the calls to remain peaceful in the weeks ahead,” McDaniel remarked. “Those who partook in the assault on our nation’s Capitol and those who continue to threaten violence should be found, held accountable, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
She added: “Let me be clear: Anyone who has malicious intent is not welcome in Washington, D.C. or in any other state capitol. The peaceful transition of power is one of our nation’s founding principles and is necessary for our country to move forward.”
The breach occurred during the Jan. 6 Joint Session of Congress as members were counting to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election. Critics have said Trump incited violence with his rhetoric during a speech to supporters, leading to House Democrats introducing articles of impeachment this week. A vote on impeachment is scheduled for later this week, although it’s unclear when the Senate might take it up.
McDaniel noted that “now is the time to come together as one nation, united in the peaceful pursuit of our common democratic purpose.”
Trump attorney Jenna Ellis said that “it is possible (and correct) to support election integrity, the Constitution, and free speech and also condemn violence,” adding: “We are a nation under the rule of law.”
Ellis remarked that some leftists and media outlets are attempting to create a narrative that the Trump team’s support for election integrity is supporting “violence” against and “disdain for the Constitution.”
“Some on the right are trying to build a false narrative that support for the Constitution is condemning election integrity,” Ellis remarked.
Trump will travel to the town of Alamo, Texas. He will mark the completion of 400 miles of border wall and his administration’s efforts to reform what the White House described as the nation’s broken immigration system.
The border wall was one of Trump’s signature campaign promises in 2016, with the president hailing the measure as one that would both curb the inflow of illegal immigrants and cut down on crime.
President-elect Joe Biden had vowed to halt border wall construction.
While most of the wall went up in areas that had smaller barriers, the Trump administration has built hundreds of miles of fencing as high as 30 feet in a short amount of time—most of it last year.
Border Patrol officials said the new fencing, much of which has replaced much smaller vehicle barriers, provides more deterrence against human smugglers and people trying to elude capture.
“We are shutting down illegal border crossing points with the new border wall system,” said U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott last year. “For too long, the smugglers had the upper hand in choosing where and when they smuggle their contraband, and that will no longer be the case.”
After the audio of a phone call between President Trump and Brad Raffensperger was leaked to the media, the Georgia Secretary of State may be in serious trouble.
The one hour long phone call included White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and several attorneys from both the Trump administration and Georgia. President Trump and his team spent the majority of the conversation discussing several serious allegations of fraud and irregularities in Georgia’s election, while Raffensperger and his allies tried to deny or ignore any evidence brought up in the call.
President Trump also insisted throughout the call that he won the state, and threatened vague legal consequences if actions were not taken to investigate the claims.
It has been alleged by multiple sources that Raffesperger’s team leaked the call to the left-wing news outlet Washington Post.
Within 24 hours of the call, the Washington post published a hit piece about the phone call, using edited and out-of-context clips to slander the president.
Since then, it has been announced by Georgia Republican Chairman David Shafer that President Trump and his team have filed two lawsuits against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
“President [Donald Trump] has filed two lawsuits – federal and state – against [Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger]. The telephone conference call [Raffensperger] secretly recorded was a ‘confidential settlement discussion’ of that litigation, which is still pending,” Shafer’s first tweet read.
“The audio published by [The Washington Post] is heavily edited and omits the stipulation that all discussions were for the purpose of settling litigation and confidential under federal and state law,” Shafer’s second tweet said.
It seems that Raffensperger is in serious trouble.
The Gateway Pundit asks the important question about the Georgia Secretary of State: “Why is he so determined to defend the massive fraud in his state?”
Jack Posobiec reported on January 3 that the White House was “planning to refer Brad Raffensperger WaPo leak to Secret Service for investigation under national security grounds of the Espionage Act.”
Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday said that he doesn’t believe he has the “unilateral authority” to decide between competing slates of electors.
“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” Pence said in a statement released just before a joint session of Congress began.
As president of the Senate, Pence is presiding over the session. The purpose of the session is to count electoral votes.
Under the Electoral College system, voters choose electors. Those electors then vote, almost always for the candidate that received the most ballots in their state. Congress meets in the January after an election to tally the votes.
Typically a rote affair, this session has taken on heightened significance after seven states sent two certificates to Washington, one for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and one for President Donald Trump. Biden won the states but Trump has said he was cheated.
Trump and some Republicans argue that Pence has the “exclusive authority” to reject electoral votes for Biden and choose the ones for Trump. A lawsuit asking a court to support that view was rejected by a district judge. An appeal was dismissed, though the plaintiffs earlier Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to intervene.
Trump has repeatedly called on Pence to act. If Pence “comes through for us, we will win the Presidency,” Trump asserted in a tweet early Wednesday. He also said his vice president could send electoral results back to state legislatures.
Pence, though, described his role as presiding officer as “largely ceremonial.”
But he noted that members of Congress can act by objecting to electoral votes. Over 100 Republicans plan to do so. They will contest at least three states, with the hope that a senator supports challenges to another three or four. Objections require signatures from a senator and a representative. They trigger a two-hour debate and a vote; a simple majority of each chamber would uphold an objection.
“Given the voting irregularities that took place in our November elections and the disregard of state election statutes by some officials, I welcome the efforts of Senate and House members who have stepped forward to use their authority under the law to raise objections and present evidence,” Pence said.
He said he’d make sure that objections that meet the requirements “are given proper consideration” and criticized people who have described objections as improper or undemocratic, accusing them of ignoring “more than 130 years of history” and pointing out that Democrats raised objections in Congress the last three times a Republican candidate for president prevailed.
President Donald Trump asserted on Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence has the power to reject electors that were fraudulently chosen, echoing statements made by his legal team in recent days ahead of Jan. 6’s Joint Session of Congress.
“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump wrote on Tuesday in a tweet.
Republicans have been increasingly putting pressure on Pence, who serves as the president of the Senate and will oversee the certification of the Electoral College vote. At least a dozen Republican senators and dozens of House representatives have pledged to object to states’ electoral votes, which then is slated to trigger an hourslong debate before a simple-majority vote is held on whether to certify a state’s electoral votes.
“I know we all have got our doubts about the last election,” Pence told a crowd of supporters in Georgia on Monday, adding that “I want to assure you that I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities. I promise you, come this Wednesday, we will have our day in Congress.”
Hours after Pence spoke, Trump told Georgia voters: “I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you.”
“I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president, comes through for us. He’s a great guy,” Trump said, without elaborating. “Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him as much.”
But there have been questions about what power Pence actually has, as many legal experts have stipulated that the vice president mainly serves in a ceremonial capacity.
For the past several weeks since the Nov. 3 election, Trump and his team have alleged there was voter fraud, irregularities, and unconstitutional changes to regulations around mail-in balloting in key states. On Dec. 14, when the Electoral College voted, Republican-backed slates of electors also cast their votes for Trump and Pence in a bid to keep Trump’s legal challenges open.
The Joint Session of Congress opens starting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. In prior sessions, vice presidents opened up certificates reflecting the electoral vote tallies that were sent by states before handing them to “tellers,” who are individuals appointed by both chambers of Congress to read out the ballots and verify. The tellers then read the ballots in alphabetical order, starting with Alabama.
A challenge to a state’s electoral votes needs to be submitted in writing and requires a senator and a representative. On Monday, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), the lawmaker leading the effort in the House, announced he signed an objection to “tainted” electoral votes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—states where Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuits or held hearings in front of legislature members.
There has been growing pressure on Pence to take action during the Joint Session, with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and other Republicans filing a lawsuit against him in a bid to strike down a key provision of the 1887 Electoral Count Act, among other requests. That lawsuit was dismissed over the past weekend by a Texas court. And White House adviser Peter Navarro also asserted that Pence can delay the Joint Session process and provide a 10-day audit of the election results.
Pence spokesman Marc Short dismissed the claim.
“Peter Navarro is many things,“ he told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “He is not a constitutional scholar.”
A six-person team that included Rudy Giuliani and Peter Navarro on Saturday briefed hundreds of state lawmakers on evidence of election irregularities.
The Zoom meeting included hundreds of legislators across Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, said during an appearance on Fox News.
“These legislators, they’re hot, they’re angry, they want action,” Navarro said. “We gave them the receipts. We explained exactly how the Democrat Party, as a matter of strategy, stole this election from Donald J. Trump.”
According to Got Freedom?, a nonprofit election integrity watchdog, the meeting included an address by President Donald Trump. Nearly 300 legislators heard from the president, Navarro, and Trump’s lawyer, Giuliani.
John Eastman and John Lott were also part of the briefing. Eastman represented Texas in the now-dismissed interstate challenge to the outcome of the election. Lott, a senior adviser for research and statistics for the Department of Justice, authored a recently released report on election theft.
“This information should serve as an important resource for state legislators as they make calls for state legislatures to meet to investigate the election and consider decertifying their state election results,” Phill Kline, who heads the Thomas More Foundation’s Amistad Project and who hosted the call on behalf of of the group, said in a statement.
“The integrity of our elections is far too important to treat cavalierly, and elected officials deserve to have all relevant information at their disposal as they consider whether to accept the reported results of the 2020 elections, especially in states where the process was influenced by private interests,” he added.
Navarro released a report on Dec. 21 that summarized and categorized evidence of election theft. In the Jan. 2 interview, he said he will be releasing another report on Monday. Navarro said Saturday the report “shows beyond a shadow of a doubt this election was stolen.”
Trump’s legal team and a handful of third parties are litigating challenges to the election in court in six battleground states. Dozens of U.S. Senators and House members have committed to lodging objections to electoral slates from those states when Congress counts the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
Democrats have criticized the efforts and say the election ran smoothly, apart from a small number of voter fraud cases.
Navarro also suggested that a special counsel may be appointed to investigate if fraud had occurred.
“I would not be surprised to see a special counsel on this,” Navarro said.
Trump’s legal team testified before several panels and committees from state legislatures, including in Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia. The team argued that the mounting evidence of election theft and malfeasance necessitated that the legislatures assert their constitutional right to appoint presidential electors. None of the legislatures have so far followed the team’s advice.
Trump has called on his supporters to descend on Washington when Congress counts the electoral votes on Jan. 6. Some of the senators who committed to objecting to the Electoral College votes that day said they will do so unless Congress appoints a special commission to conduct a 10-day emergency audit of the election. Individual state legislatures would then vet the findings and have the opportunity to convene and vote on a new set of electors.
Over 400 people from the Intelligence Community (IC), military, law enforcement, and the judiciary have formed a loose network to investigate irregularities in the 2020 election.
Robert Caron, one of the organizers of this network, began his intelligence career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He later worked for the Special Situation Group, a task force established by President George H.W. Bush that includes strategic planning, technologies, and foreign and domestic investigations.
He told The Epoch Times that he was recruited to the network in 2014, during which time many in the intelligence community (IC) were seeing an increase in improper operations. Many IC officers were withholding information from their leaders, and their leaders were withholding information from the public. Caron mentioned that in 2014, Lt. General Michael Flynn called out then-President Barack Obama for “not acting properly on intelligence.”
In the same year, Obama fired Flynn over management issues. On Aug. 7, 2014, Flynn left his post as the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and ended his 33 years of an army career. After President Donald Trump pardoned Flynn last month, Flynn said in an interview with The New York Post that he was framed via the Russia-collusion investigation partly because Obama was afraid of Flynn’s ability to expose his corruption.
“President Obama was not acting properly on intelligence that he received concerning Benghazi,” Caron said, referring to an attack of U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of several U.S. officials. He said he believes it was then that a lot of people from the intelligence community got together and started recruiting people to join the network.
After numerous reports of irregularities in the 2020 election, the investigation network expanded. Many have focused on investigating the election, according to Caron, who said most are volunteering, while some are getting paid for the inquiry. He said that as far as he knows, the size of the network is “way over 400” and that each member of the network sees obvious election fraud based on their own observations.
Caron said that the network includes former intelligence officers, analysts, operatives, military, law enforcement, and judiciary from the FBI, CIA, Military Intelligence, DIA, and National Security Agency (NSA), among others, as well as many former intelligence officers in other countries.
“The fraud was so massive and so blatant, despite what the mainstream media said, that we need to get this information out to the public,” said Caron. “That’s why more and more people from the intelligence community and law enforcement are coming out, which is unheard of.”
Caron shared an example of information control by the mainstream media that he witnessed in McAllen, Texas, when Trump visited the border wall there in January 2019.
He said he saw two groups on both sides of the street. A group of about 100 was on one side, and a much larger group was on the other side. “A lot of people, because of what was told in the mainstream media, thought that all the people in the big crowd were the ones against the president. But no, they were the ones that were for the president.”
He said he asked them what they thought and learned that the border wall made their families feel safer, and was told that without the wall, various Mexican criminal organizations would cross the border and force their children to sell drugs.
One of the IC network’s current investigations focuses on foreign interference during the Nov. 3 election, with the Chinese Communist Party being a significant player.
At 1 p.m. local time on Jan. 6, members of Congress will gather in the chamber of the House of Representatives to observe the formal certification of Electoral College votes for president of the United States.
While it’s usually a formality, nothing has been usual so far about this year’s election amid numerous allegations of voter fraud in key swing states.
The situation is complicated by a lack of clarity on the legal and constitutional guardrails for the process. The joint session of Congress may well result in gridlock, in which a clear winner of the race isn’t announced at all.
Based on current election results, former Vice President Joe Biden has received 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 votes. Meanwhile, Republicans in seven states where Biden claimed victory have sent their own sets of electoral votes to Washington, and some members of the House have indicated that they will object to Biden electors in some states. Any objection would require support from one House member and one senator to be considered, and at least one senator has has left open the possibility he would join the effort.
So what will happen?
The counting of votes is primarily governed by the 12th Amendment of the Constitution and the amended Electoral Count Act.
The Constitution simply states that electors of each state have to meet, make a list of their votes, “which they shall sign and certify,” and send those to the president of the Senate, meaning Vice President Mike Pence.
“The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted,” the 1804 amendment says.
The Electoral Count Act of 1887, currently known as 3 U.S. Code Section 15, establishes a procedure for how the votes are counted, how to raise objections, and how to resolve disputes. First, it says that the vice president indeed presides over the proceedings. Then, it says the House and Senate leaders each designate two tellers. The VP opens the envelopes with the vote certificates and hands them to the tellers for counting. The tellers then read them out loud, count them, and hand them back to the VP to announce the results.
Then, in rather convoluted language, the law says that Congress members can object. At least one objection from each chamber is needed to trigger a separate vote by both House and Senate on the objections. If both chambers agree, the objected voters are rejected. That’s virtually out of the question given the Democrats’ majority in the House.
If two sets of electors are presented for counting, the House and Senate need to separately vote on which set is legitimate and which should be rejected. If each chamber votes differently, the set certified by the state’s governor should count. That would hand the victory to Biden.
The problem is, there’s a voluminous body of legal analysis arguing that the Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional. Congress has no business granting itself the authority to decide which slate of electors is the correct one and which votes should be rejected. Nor does Congress have the power to designate state governors as the final arbiters, a lineup of legislators and legal scholars have argued.
There are two arguments for who has the constitutional power to decide which electors to choose.
Some jurists say it’s the VP who has the sole discretion to decide which votes to count. The argument is that the framers intended for the VP to be the sole authority over the counting of the votes because the unanimous resolution attached to the Constitution said that the Senate should appoint its President “for the sole Purpose of receiving, opening, and counting the Votes for President.”
Moreover, before the adoption of the Electoral Count Act, it was always the VP counting the votes, sometimes despite major objections from Congress. Thomas Jefferson did so as the VP in the 1800 election, counting Georgia’s constitutionally deficient votes and de facto securing his own presidency.
Arizona state lawmakers and GOP electors, together with Rep. Louie Gohmert, have filed a federal suit asking for the court to clarify the law to the effect that the Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional and the VP’s power is paramount.
Not everybody agrees, though.
University of Virginia professsor John Harrison, an expert on constitutional history, says the VP doesn’t have “any constitutional power to make decisions” over which votes to count.
He argued that the law is deficient to the effect that “Congress doesn’t have the power to make the announcement [of its decisions regarding the vote count] conclusive.” But that doesn’t mean it can’t prescribe any rules at all.
“The Constitution does call for counting the votes with both houses present, so I think that setting up procedures for a count is within Congress’s power,” he told The Epoch Times via email.
The second argument is that the Constitution grants the authority to determine how electors are picked to state legislatures. As such, any disputes over which votes should be counted should be resolved by state legislatures.
The problem is, state legislatures aren’t in session and they can’t assemble in a special session without a call from the governors, who have refused to do so. Meanwhile, the legislatures have usually delegated the power to certify electors to the Governors and Secretaries of State, undermining their own authority on the matter.
The conservative Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the power of the legislatures is both “exclusive and non-delegable,” and thus any state and federal statutes to the contrary are unconstitutional and void.
That would not only knock down some provisions of the Electoral Count Act, but also render electoral votes that haven’t been certified post-election by state legislatures illegitimate.
Regardless of what the courts will say, the core question is what will take place in the House chambers on Jan. 6? Will Pence refuse to follow the Electoral Count Act? Will some of the tellers dissent? If things go wrong for the Democrats, will House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) try to end the session prematurely?
There’s no way to tell. Pence hasn’t let his intentions be known.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe confirmed that there was foreign interference in the 2020 election, according to CBS correspondent Catherine Herridge.
“Well DNI Ratcliffe leads the 17 intelligence agencies and he has access to the most highly classified information that is held by the US government. And he told CBS News that there was foreign interference by China, Iran, and Russia in November of this year and he is anticipating a public report on those findings in January,” Herridge said.
Ratcliffe’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for confirmation of the report.
Ratcliffe’s statement contradicts others made by national security officials.
Christopher Krebs, the recently-fired top cybersecurity official during the presidential election, testified before the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
“While elections are sometimes messy, this was a secure election,” Krebs said.
On a Nov. 27 “60 minutes” interview, Krebs was asked what he thought of the Trump legal team’s allegations that votes were tabulated in foreign countries and were manipulated.
“So, all votes in the United States of America are counted in the United States of America,” Krebs said. “I don’t understand this claim. All votes in the United States of America are counted in the United States of America. Period.”
Adding, “So, again, there’s no evidence that any machine that I’m aware of, has been manipulated by a foreign power. Period.”
Sidney Powell a former federal prosecutor who has been seen working alongside President Donald Trump’s legal team pushing election challenges, filed a letterwith the Supreme Court on Dec. 13 to notify them of two batches of recently obtained evidence about Dominion Voting Systems voting equipment.
Her letter outlines new affidavits from two forensic experts who allege that international interference took place in the 2020 election and that Dominion systems were connected to foreign systems around the globe.
Powell said that two military intelligence analysts have signed sworn affidavits stating that the SSL certificates from dominionvoting.com were used multiple times from Canada, Serbia, and the United States.
Meanwhile, the office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) confirmed that their upcoming report includes information about “relevant” foreign threats from the recent election.
“The IC has received relevant reporting since the election and a number of agencies have not finished coordinating on the product,” said Amanda Schoch, a spokeswoman for the office, adding that Ratcliffe remains committed to an expeditious release of the report.
ODNI announced late Wednesday that the Intelligence Community (IC) has notified Ratcliffe that they will not meet the Dec. 18 deadline set by President Trump’s executive order to submit the report on foreign threats during the November election as “agencies have not finished coordinating on the product.”
“This afternoon the DNI was notified by career intelligence officials that the Intelligence Community (IC) will not meet the Dec. 18 deadline, set by executive order and Congress to submit the IC’s classified assessment on foreign threats to the 2020 U.S. elections,” said Schoch.
Dec. 18 marks 45 days after the Nov. 3 general election, when, according to Trump’s executive order from 2018, the DNI was expected to deliver a report regarding “to the maximum extent ascertainable” whether any interference attempts took place, and the nature of such interference, methods used, and who was involved and authorized such efforts.
An unprecedented “major leak” of official records has uncovered a register of 1.95 million members of the Chinese Communist Party, many of whom are now living and working all over the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The data lists names, party positions, date of birth, national identification number, ethnicity and — in some cases — their telephone number.
As reported by Australia’s Sky News on Sunday, the database “lifts the lid on how the party operates under President and Chairman Xi Jinping.” The leak “shows that party branches are embedded in some of the world’s biggest companies, and even inside government agencies,” the outlet reports.
“Communist party branches have been set up inside western companies, allowing the infiltration of those companies by CCP members — who, if called on, are answerable directly to the communist party, to the Chairman, the president himself,” said Sky News’ Sharri Markson.
“Along with the personal identifying details of 1.95 million communist party members, mostly from Shanghai, there are also the details of 79,000 communist party branches, many of them inside companies.”
Markson also inferred that this security breach would likely embarrass both Xi Jinping and “some global companies who appear to have no plan in place to protect their intellectual property from theft.”
According to the Daily Mail, communist party members swear an oath to “guard Party secrets, be loyal to the Party, work hard, fight for communism throughout my life…and never betray the Party,” are “understood to have jobs in British consulates,” and that “Beijing’s malign influence now stretches into almost every corner of British life, including defence firms, banks and pharmaceutical giants.”
“Detailed analysis” has revealed that Pfizer and AstraZeneca employed 123 “party loyalists,” and that “there were more than 600 party members across 19 branches working at the British banks HSBC and Standard Chartered in 2016.” In addition, “firms with defence industry interests” like Airbus, Boeing and Rolls-Royce “employed hundreds of party members.”
In The Mail on Sunday, former British Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith wrote that this discovery “proves that members of the Chinese Communist Party are now spread around the globe, with members working for some of the world’s most important multinational corporations, academic institutions and our own diplomatic services.”
Concluding, Sky News’ Markson said that it “is worth noting that there’s no suggestion that these members have committed espionage — but the concern is over whether Australia or these companies knew of the CCP members and if so have any steps been taken to protect their data and people.”
A spokesperson for the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China — a group “which comprises more than 150 legislators around the world who are concerned by the influence and activities of the Chinese government” — released a statement saying that a representative of the organization had “received this list from a non-governmental source, but was not in a position to verify it,” and that journalists had “since investigated and their findings are disturbing indeed.”