GOP Launches Election Integrity Push to Make it ‘Easier to Vote and Harder to Cheat’

A voter arrives at a polling place in Minneapolis, Minn.  on March 3, 2020. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), an umbrella group for GOP state lawmakers and secretaries of state, launched an effort Wednesday to shore up election integrity.

The RSLC wrote in a Feb. 17 statement that the measure is meant to “restore the American people’s confidence in the integrity of their free and fair elections by convening leading policymakers to share and discuss voter-centric current laws and future reforms that make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

John Merrill, RSLC co-chair and Alabama’s Secretary of State, said that reforms are needed if Americans are to have confidence in their elections.

“While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to anything, every state in the nation should be working to assess and improve their respective election laws,” Merrill said.

Michigan state Senator and commission co-chair Ruth Johnson added, “The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges and exposed that our election processes are far from perfect.”

“The good news is that states are truly the laboratories of democracy, and we can all learn from what others do well as we try to provide assistance to the leaders across the country that are spearheading the effort to reform our elections,” she said.

Key reform principles that will guide the commission’s work include ensuring voter roll accuracy and securing absentee and mail-in voting.

“Every eligible United States citizen who is a legal resident of their state and has properly registered, should be able to vote without any encumbrance and absentee and mail-in voting options should be encouraged,” the RSLC said. “States should, however, look to strengthen these methods through proper signature verification (matching signatures against voter registration records, not ballot applications), photo ID submission, and timely ballot return requirements.”

Some of the controversies that swirled around the 2020 election include claims that state officials and judges made changes that weakened security around mail-in balloting in violation of state election laws, which are the domain of state legislatures.

Epoch Times Photo
Voters line up for the first day of early voting outside of the High Museum polling station in Atlanta, Georgia on Dec. 14, 2020. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Other principles that the commission will use in its work on shoring up elections integrity include increasing transparency for in-person voting and streamlining the canvassing process.

“In-person voting should be an orderly and transparent process that provides citizens a recourse when they think the law is not being followed,” the RSLC said. “Giving Americans the tools to better scrutinize their elections will strengthen trust in the system and lead to more voter participation.”

A number of the contest-of-election lawsuits filed by former President Donald Trump and his allies in the wake of the Nov. 3 vote contained allegations that Republican poll watchers were denied meaningful access to observe various stages of vote tabulation.

But some moves to strengthen election integrity have been denounced as covert attempts at voter suppression, with The Washington Post running a recent editorial  that argued, “nothing in the 2020 election experience suggests that wide-scale use of mail-in ballots, the provision of drop boxes or the rollout of automatic voter registration pose major risks to voting integrity.”

The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on the RSLC initiative on Feb. 16, countering the view presented by The Post.

“As states reconsider their election rules in the wake of the pandemic, Democrats have begun shouting that voter suppression is on the march,” the editorial board wrote. “They stress ballot access but not ballot integrity. Both are important, as the Jimmy Carter-James Baker commission on federal election reform explained in 2005.”

“If the RSLC can deliver best practices, drawing from red and blue states and covering hot-button issues and mundane details like ballot preprocessing, it could give state lawmakers a good push in the right direction,” they argued.

Following the historic turnout and increased mail voting in 2020, Republican and Democrat lawmakers across the country have been pulling in opposite directions by introducing legislation that either reduces barriers—and guardrails—to voting or seeks to strengthen election integrity, which can also make casting a vote more effortful or burdensome.

The Brennan Center for Justice, an advocacy group that pushes for progressive policies, counted 106 bills in 28 states designed to tighten voting standards so far this year, a significant jump from last year. At the same time, 35 states introduced a total of 406 bills to make voting less restrictive, also up from last year.

Source: GOP Launches Election Integrity Push to Make it ‘Easier to Vote and Harder to Cheat’

Time Magazine Details the “Shadow Campaign” Against Trump

In a surprisingly brazen article, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election,” Time magazine chronicles a myriad of pre- and post-election actions taken by a loose coalition of Democratic operatives, grassroots activists, mainstream media, tech companies, and corporate CEOs before and after the 2020 presidential election.

According to the article, the effort consisted of “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.”

In the post-election days, the author refers to this disparate grouping of players as a “conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs” resulting in an “informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans.”

Although the words “cabal” and “conspiracy” are used to describe the sweeping activities of these groups, collectively referred to as the Shadow Campaign, the article’s author takes pains to note that these efforts weren’t aimed at “rigging the election; they were fortifying it.”

Indeed, throughout the article, there is the repeated claim that these efforts were made not with the intention of subverting the election, but rather as part of a heroic grassroots movement intent on salvaging our democracy and preserving the integrity of this and future elections.

“The scenario the shadow campaigners were desperate to stop was not a Trump victory. It was an election so calamitous that no result could be discerned at all, a failure of the central act of democratic self-governance that has been a hallmark of America since its founding,” the article reads.

Although the article treats the actions taken by this “Shadow Campaign” as necessary steps towards saving our democracy, a more objective reader of events might make the case that our democracy was actually trampled underfoot.

According to the players in this saga, the perceived threat to our democracy was so consequential that it would require “an effort of unprecedented scale” and a measure of cooperation heretofore not seen during an election process. And one that would encompass a surprisingly broad coalition of interests that would include “Congress, Silicon Valley and the nation’s statehouses.”

As the article notes, the efforts of this cabal “touched every aspect of the election” including our election laws. These groups engaged in a unified legal front to “change voting systems and laws” at the state level, often unconstitutionally bypassing state legislatures and shifting power to the states’ governors in the process. Conservative efforts to fight against this process were euphemistically termed as “voter-suppression lawsuits.”

The terminology and framing of issues bring us to a peculiar characteristic of the article. It’s written as though 75 million Trump voters simply don’t exist—as though a nation was somehow wholly united against a self-imposed second term of a Trump presidency. There is no acknowledgment that President Donald Trump enjoyed support from a large segment of the population. When the term “voters” is used, it’s always in reference to those who were voting against Trump and for Biden.

Other than a few short paragraphs, the reader could be forgiven for thinking the election was ever even in question.

While an intense focus on the Trump campaign is present in the article, there’s an almost surprising lack of discussion regarding the Biden campaign. As the article states, the Shadow Campaign was “separate from the Biden campaign and crossed ideological lines.” Indeed, Biden is mentioned in the article only a handful of times and never in direct relation to anything he or his campaign was doing to prepare for the election.

Media Framing, Online Efforts & Tech Companies

In tandem with the focus on Trump, there is another almost unifying theme of gaslighting that traces its way throughout the article. Any activity, position, or response from conservatives or the Trump administration was automatically labeled and then framed as inherently nefarious, even villainous. Meanwhile, a notion of false nobility was attached to every action taken by the left.

Preelection warnings from the Trump campaign “and his henchmen” on the risks from an unprecedented shift to mail-in ballots were, according to the article, designed to “spoil the election.” Conservative legal pushback against the unconstitutional changes to state election law was termed as “spurious.” Despite being the legal instigators, the article stated that “Democratic lawyers battled a historic tide of pre-election litigation.”

Meanwhile, information from the right was repeatedly deemed to be “Trump’s lies,” “conspiracy theories” or “Bad actors spreading false information.” According to the article, these efforts, along with “the involvement of foreign meddlers made disinformation a broader, deeper threat to the 2020 vote.”

In contrast, when leftist organizations such as the Voting Rights Lab and IntoAction created “state-specific memes and graphics” designed to claim that mail-in voting was safe and not subject to fraud, their actions were framed as “battling bad information.” Nor was this any small effort. As the article notes, these memes and graphics were “widely disseminated by email, text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok” and were viewed “more than 1 billion times.”

Another focus of this campaign was to convince the public that election results would be delayed, perhaps for a number of days. These efforts were designed to condition the voting public to not expect, or even accept, an outcome on election night. As the article notes, the “organization’s tracking polls found the message was being heard: the percentage of the public that didn’t expect to know the winner on election night gradually rose until by late October, it was over 70%. A majority also believed that a prolonged count wasn’t a sign of problems.”

Perceptions and information are crucial in an election and in recognition of this, Democratic operatives “successfully pressured social media companies” in advance of the election. These efforts were largely successful as large numbers of conservative accounts were deplatformed and crucial stories that might injure the Biden campaign were suppressed, while the media relentlessly attacked the Trump campaign.

While acknowledging the involvement of technology companies in the effort, the article portrays the resulting suppression of information and conservative deplatforming in a positive light. When stories such as the ones regarding Hunter Biden’s business activities in China were dismissed or simply not covered by the mainstream media, these tactics were labeled as taking a “harder line against disinformation” in an ongoing effort to “fight viral smears.”

There is a side question raised by the participation of the tech companies in online suppression. If accounts were deplatformed from places such as YouTube and Twitter purely for political ends, does this not raise the specter of a meaningful breach of fiduciary duty to the companies’ stockholders?

Mail-In Ballots & Shadow Campaign Funding

These groups also engaged in large-scale “national public-awareness campaigns” designed to convince Americans that “the vote count would unfold over days or weeks” as an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots were systematically flooding into our electoral system.

With 100 million mail-in ballots sent out in an effort to get “millions of people to vote by mail for the first time,” the coalition recruited “armies of poll workers” to deal with the influx of absentee ballots. Large amounts of money would be required to deal with the processing and in preparation for this, the group “helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding.”

This money had two material sources. The first, surprisingly, came from the first round of COVID-relief packages in March 2020. As the article notes, activists lobbied Congress in March 2020, “seeking $2 billion in election funding.” This effort was led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Although the group didn’t get anywhere close to their lofty $2 billion goal, they were still wildly successful. When the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act passed in March, it contained “$400 million in grants to state election administrators.”

From there, the informal group turned to private funding for additional sources; Silicon Valley tech companies were the primary focus. According to the Time article, an “assortment of foundations contributed tens of millions in election-administration funding. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative chipped in $300 million.”

These contributions were framed as an effort to fill “funding gaps” left by the federal government, while ignoring that it was Democratic operatives who were pushing the mail-in vote efforts.

Indeed, focus groups were held by the Voter Participation Center (VPC), designed to “find out what would get people to vote by mail.” Several months later, the VPC would send out ballot applications to “15 million people in key states.” The group followed up with mailing campaigns and digital ads urging these targeted voters to “not wait for Election Day.”

These efforts were historically successful and transformative. As the article notes, “In the end, nearly half the electorate cast ballots by mail in 2020, practically a revolution in how people vote. About a quarter voted early in person. Only a quarter of voters cast their ballots the traditional way: in person on Election Day.”

The Left’s Control of the Mobs

There are several material admissions made in the article, not the least being that the left actually did control the activities of groups such as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and others that rioted throughout the election year. As the article notes, “Many of those organizers were part of [Mike] Podhorzer’s network” the man credited in Time’s article as being “The Architect” of the entire election effort.

The article notes that more than 150 liberal groups joined the “Protect the Results” coalition and stated that “The group’s now-defunct website had a map listing 400 planned post-election demonstrations, to be activated via text message as soon as Nov. 4. To stop the coup they feared, the left was ready to flood the streets.”

There’s another unspoken admission here as well. The trigger for the pre-planned riots was a Biden loss, not a “stolen election.” Or said another way, the left would determine what comprised a stolen election only by its outcome.

This matter was further highlighted in a recounting of election night events after Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden. Angela Peoples, director for the Democracy Defense Coalition, told Time that “We wanted to be mindful of when was the right time to call for moving masses of people into the street.”

But after Fox called Arizona for Biden, a decision was made to “stand down.” As Podhorzor noted, “They had spent so much time getting ready to hit the streets on Wednesday. But they did it … there was not a single Antifa vs. Proud Boys incident.”

In other words, Podhorzor and his crew effectively controlled the actions of Antifa and Black Lives Matter—if not completely, then at the very least during these critical moments and days.

The Importance of Fox’s Arizona Call

The description surrounding election night, while short, is telling and raises further questions. Despite the overall tone of the article, it seems clear that Democrats thought they had lost the election in the later hours of Nov. 3th, 2020:

“Election night began with many Democrats despairing. Trump was running ahead of pre-election polling, winning Florida, Ohio, and Texas easily and keeping Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania too close to call.”

According to the article, the “liberal alliance gathered for an 11 p.m. Zoom call. Hundreds joined; many were freaking out.” While Podhorzor was speaking, Fox News “surprised everyone by calling Arizona for Biden.”

The Fox News call changed everything. As the article put it, “The public-awareness campaign had worked: TV anchors were bending over backward to counsel caution and frame the vote count accurately. The question then became what to do next.”

There is another related item of note as well. Podhorzor was sharing his data regarding a “Blue Shift”—the term used to describe a late surge in Democrat votes from mail-in voting—with “media organizations who would be calling the election.”

One analyst, described as a “member of a major network’s political unit who spoke with Podhorzer before Election Day” told Time that having access to Pordhorzor’s data and being able to “document how big the absentee wave would be and the variance by state was essential.”

Arnon Mishkin, an outside contractor and a Democrat, was the individual at Fox who reportedly made the call on Arizona at 11:20 p.m. New York time. According to one report, “No announcement was made until anchor Bill Hemmer, reviewing the latest status of an electoral map that was looking positive for Trump, glanced at the southwest, where the decision desk had left its yellow check mark on Arizona awarding the state to Biden.”

After making his call on Arizona, Mishkin stated that Trump was “likely to only get about 44% of the outstanding votes that are there.” Mishkin was wrong. Trump got a significantly higher percentage of the remaining votes, and although the Arizona call ultimately stood, it was far closer than Mishkin had forecast. Indeed, there’s currently a parallel audit underway in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county.

Post-Election Impact

While voters on the right protested in seemingly unorganized groups, the left appeared to be far more prepared. At roughly 10 p.m. local time on election night, a bus carrying Republican election observers arrived at Detroit’s TCF Center. The article provides a rather biased description, stating that Republican observers “were crowding the vote-counting tables, refusing to wear masks, heckling the mostly Black workers.”

When the Republican observers arrived, Art Reyes III, leader of ‘We the People Michigan’ “sent word to his network.

“Within 45 minutes, dozens of reinforcements had arrived. As they entered the arena to provide a counterweight to the GOP observers inside, Reyes took down their cell-phone numbers and added them to a massive text chain.”

Election boards were another “pressure point.” Activists called “attention to the racial implications of disenfranchising Black Detroiters. They flooded the Wayne County canvassing board’s Nov. 17 certification meeting with on-message testimony.” Detroit’s vote was certified by the Republican board members.

Finally, the pressure on state legislatures was intense. On Nov. 20, Trump invited the Republican leaders of the Michigan legislature to the White House. According to the article, a “full-court press” was launched by the left and “Protect Democracy’s local contacts researched the lawmakers’ personal and political motives.”

Reyes’s activists rallied at departure and arrival terminals for the Republican state lawmakers’ trip to DC.

The final step in certifying the Michigan vote was a vote from the state canvassing board, which was comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats. “Reyes’s activists flooded the livestream and filled Twitter with their hashtag, #alleyesonmi. A board accustomed to attendance in the single digits suddenly faced an audience of thousands.”

The vote was certified 3-0, with one Republican abstaining.

Shadow Campaign Wants You to Know

The in-your-face detailing of events in the Time article leads to one somewhat alarming conclusion. The leaders of the Shadow Campaign want you to know what they did. Whether this stems from hubris or a position of power isn’t entirely clear, but there are some important people who were willing to contribute to this article. And to be openly quoted.

In addition to Podhorzer, Norman Eisen is quoted at several points in the article. In addition to recruiting members for the Voter Protection Program, Eisen is one of the architects and authors of two Brookings Reports that were written during the Mueller investigation.

Brookings produced a 108-page report, “Presidential Obstruction of Justice: The Case of Donald J. Trump,” authored by Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder, and Eisen, on Oct. 10, 2017. They followed up with a 177-page second edition on Aug. 22, 2018, which also came with a lengthy appendix.

Eisen, a senior fellow at Brookings, served as White House special counsel for ethics and government reform under former President Barack Obama and is the founder of CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics) in Washington. Eisen, according to his Brookings profile page, advised Obama “on lobbying regulation, campaign finance law, and open government issues,” according to his CREW bio. He also served as the ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2011 to 2014.

Eisen and Berke were later retained by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) on a consulting basis as special oversight counsels to the Democratic majority staff.

As Nadler noted in an announcement, the two men had a particular focus on reviewing Mueller’s investigation and would be advising the committee. It also appears Nadler intended for the two lawyers to question Attorney General William Barr, who ultimately declined to attend the hearing—leading to a Democratic vote to hold Barr in contempt.

Ill-Fated Jan. 6 Rally

On Jan 6, thousands of Trump supporters came to D.C. for what would be an ill-fated rally, culminating in an assault on the Capitol building. The fallout from this event would be severe and the full effect has yet to be fully determined.

The new administration, along with many in Congress, appear to making domestic terrorism threats a top priority. Biden’s newly installed U.S. Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas has stated publicly that “one of the greatest threats that we face currently on our homeland … is the threat of domestic terrorism.”

Despite the expectations of many, there didn’t appear to be a material presence of counter-demonstrators from the left at the Jan. 6 rally.

The author of the Time article appears to have been in continued contact with members of the “Shadow Campaign,” including Podhorzer, the group’s “architect.” On the morning of Jan. 6, Podhorzer texted her, noting that the activist left was “strenuously discouraging counter activity.”

His message concluded with a “crossed-fingers emoji.”

Jeff Carlson is a regular contributor to The Epoch Times. He is a CFA® Charterholder and worked for 20 years as an analyst and portfolio manager in the high-yield bond market. He also runs the website TheMarketsWork.com and can be followed on Twitter @themarketswork.

Source: Time Magazine Details the “Shadow Campaign” Against Trump

Trump Won Two-Thirds of Election Lawsuits Where Merits Considered

Voters line up for the first day of early voting outside of the High Museum polling station in Atlanta, Georgia on Dec. 14, 2020. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

The claim often repeated by the mainstream media, social-media content moderators, and fact-checkers that lawsuits filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republicans were universally dismissed by the courts is untrue, according to a new analysis.

The findings do not necessarily suggest that if the lawsuits had all been decided before Joe Biden was certified as the official winner of the presidential election by Congress on Jan. 7 that former President Trump would have won the hotly contested election.

Nor would they necessarily have affected many of the Electoral College votes won by Biden in the disputed battleground states. Some of the legal victories took place in states like Colorado and Iowa where the popular vote counts for the respective winners of those states –Biden in Colorado and Trump in Iowa— were not close.

Of the 22 cases that have been heard by the courts and decided on their merits, Trump and Republicans have prevailed in 15, according to citizen journalist John Droz Jr., a physicist and environmental advocate in Morehead City, N.C.

This means Trump has won two-thirds of the cases fully adjudicated by the courts.

Droz and a team of volunteers dug through court filings and legal minutiae to track down 81 lawsuits that were filed in connection with the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election. The lawsuits were tracked on Droz’s publicly available spreadsheet that was current as of Feb. 6.

Of the 81 cases, 11 were withdrawn or consolidated and 23 were dismissed for lack of standing or on other grounds. Both the cohort of 11 and of 23 should not be considered “wins or losses for either side,” Droz says, because they “have nothing to do with the merits of the case.”

This leaves 47 cases. Of those 47, 22 have been finalized after the court heard arguments, considered evidence, and then issued a ruling.

Of those 22, Trump or Republicans won 15 and lost 7, according to the analysis.

This leaves 25 lawsuits that have yet to be finally disposed of.

This means Trump and Republicans “have WON the majority of 2020 election cases fully heard, and then decided on the merits!” Droz said in a statement. “Is that what the mainstream media is reporting?”

Among the legal victories for Republicans were:

RNC v. Miller, in the Iowa courts, a lawsuit in which the Republican National Committee won an injunction over absentee ballot applications.

RNC v. Gill, in the Iowa courts, in which the Trump campaign won an injunction preventing a county official from distributing and accepting signed forms containing preprinted information.

Trump for President v. Boockvar, in the Pennsylvania courts, in which the Trump campaign was granted an injunction against the counting of mail-in and absentee ballots where voters were allowed to provide proof of identity days after Election Day.

Droz noted that only three lawsuits addressed voting machine inaccuracies.

“One of these was dismissed (due to jurisdiction), one was ruled against (although no discovery was granted), and one is still open (discovery was granted).”

“The likely explanation for so few cases in these two areas is that legally proving fraud or voting machine manipulations are very time-consuming processes, that require substantial investigative work and documentation. There simply wasn’t enough time to do this prior to key points in the process (like the Electoral College).”

“Our view is that the public needs to be much better educated regarding the election integrity issue—and having a more accurate understanding of the lawsuit component is a key part of that,” Droz wrote, explaining the purpose of his report

Source: Trump Won Two-Thirds of Election Lawsuits Where Merits Considered

Supreme Court to Consider 2020 Election Challenge Lawsuits in February Conference

The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, on Nov. 5, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday scheduled several high-profile contest-of-election lawsuits, including ones brought by attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, and the Trump campaign, for consideration at its Feb. 19 conference.

According to a case listing, the lawsuits include Sidney Powell’s Michigan case(20-815), the Trump campaign’s Pennsylvania lawsuit (20-845) and Wisconsin lawsuit (20-882), the Pennsylvania lawsuit brought by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) (20-810), and Lin Wood’s Georgia case (20-799).

All cases allege some form of unlawful election-related conduct affecting the result of the election, including expansion of mail-in balloting by elections officials changing rules in contravention of state election laws, lack of adequate security measures around mail ballots, issues with machine vote tabulation, and denial of meaningful access to poll watchers.

The Supreme Court declined to grant relief or fast-track the cases as requested in respective petitions filed ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden.

Powell’s Michigan petition (pdf) sought “emergency declaratory relief avowing that the presidential election results certified by Michigan officials were unconstitutional and otherwise contrary to law, together with injunctive relief de-certifying those results.”

Wood’s Georgia petition (pdf) asked the Supreme Court to “enter an emergency order instructing Respondents to de-certify the results of the General Election for the Office of the President.”

The Kelly petition (pdf) asked the court for an injunction “that prohibits the Executive-Respondents from taking official action to tabulate, compute, canvass, certify, or otherwise finalize the results of the Election.”

The Trump campaign suits similarly called for emergency injunctive relief in the form of expedited hearings and blocking certification of the electoral college votes for Biden.

Some of the lawyers in the cases said that seeing the challenges through is important as they could have an impact on long-term election fairness.

“Our legal issue remains important in need of the court’s review,” attorney John Eastman told the Washington Examiner, referring to Pennsylvania’s conduct during the 2020 election.

Greg Teufel, Kelly’s lawyer, told the Washington Examiner that the congressman has no intention of dropping the suit.

The Supreme Court has kept its distance from Trump’s election challenges. In December, it rejected a lawsuit filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas and backed by Trump seeking to decertify the election results in four states.

If, at the Feb. 19 conference, the Supreme Court decides to take up any of the election lawsuits, they most likely won’t be heard until October.

In a sweeping report on the integrity of the 2020 election, Trump adviser Peter Navarro concluded that the allegations of irregularities surrounding the vote in key battleground states were serious enough to warrant an urgent probe and substantial enough to potentially overturn the results.

“If these election irregularities are not fully investigated prior to Inauguration Day and thereby effectively allowed to stand, this nation runs the very real risk of never being able to have a fair presidential election again,” Navarro warned in his report.

Source: Supreme Court to Consider 2020 Election Challenge Lawsuits in February Conference

Patrick Byrne: How Donald Trump Lost the White House

Patrick Byrne: How Donald Trump Lost the White House

Authored by Patrick Byrne via Deep Capture

On the evening of Friday, December 18, Sidney Powell, Mike Flynn, a sharp female attorney on Sydney’s team (whom I will call “Alyssa”), and myself decided to call an SUV and get driven to the entrance that serves the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is on the grounds of (and connects to) the White House.  We had a vague plan regarding how we were going to get through all the rings of Capitol Police, Secret Service, and Marines without any invitation: Sidney and Mike were the center of global attention, and we were going to try to use that to bullshit our way past them all and get to the Oval Office. Beyond that, we’d be playing it by ear (I did say the plan was “vague”). There was a fine young NSC staffer whom I had gotten to know who, a real mensch, and I called him and left a message that I was accepting the open offer he had extended to drop by his office anytime, and was coming over … right then. At 6:15 PM. Not knowing if he would play ball, I may have been less than clear that there would be some people with me.

We were dropped off a block from the security gate, and walked through the light snow falling in the darkness. We got to the first security booth, and Sidney and Mike approached to talk. The Police and Secret Service saw it was General Flynn (“The People’s General”), and stiffened to attention. There was no appointment scheduled but they clearly were confused and trying to figure out what to say. Suddenly my staffer-buddy came out from inside, and when he saw Flynn and Sidney he froze and looked at me with raised eyebrows. I gestured that we were all together, and he looked shocked for a moment….. then did the right thing, strode over to the guard, flashed his ID, and asked him to let us all in, even though none of the requisite paperwork was arranged. With muted relief the guards quickly said, “Take care, General” and we were through the first layer. For the second layer my staffer-buddy and another of his colleagues who had joined up walked into the inner ring entrance before us, and spoke for us: again, when they saw Mike the guards again all stiffened to attention, looked puzzled for a moment (I think there is no such thing as a high-level visitor like that coming in without it being in the books), then briskly and professionally processed us all through as quickly as they could. They were silent and asked no questions, apparently guessing we might not have good answers if they did. I was the last one through, and as they handed my ID back to me one leaned in and said quietly and intimately, “Thank you Mr. Byrne.” I was surprised, and it was the first time I understood that in the constellation of Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, there was a faint little star of my own.

NB Since publishing this it has been brought to my attention that I had an incomplete picture of the situation. Besides my communication with Staffer 1 described above, others were in communication with Staffer 2, who was also making arrangements. Thus, things were more greased/arranged than I understood, and certainly no one was trying to evade security processes.

We were ushered inside to an office, to use as Base Camp.

If I recall correctly, we were in Base Camp for about 30 minutes before making a move for the office of another NSC staffer, another young and principled person, with an office closer to the Oval Office. Camp 2.

Once there, Mike Flynn made contact with someone with whom he had worked in his brief stint as National Security Advisor, someone with an office that could serve as Camp 3, from which would come the final assault on the summit (the Oval Office).  “Hey yes it’s Mike, how you’ve been? ….. Oh my Gosh, so great to hear your voice too….. Yeah yeah, it was unbelievable…. Where am I? Oh actually I’m in the White House! Yeah, just came by to see … See me? Sure well how about I just swing by… sure sure see you in  a moment.”

We launched for Camp 3. And sure enough, when we got there, as Mike Flynn stood talking to his former colleague, Sidney and I had a 20 foot line of site down into the empty Oval Office…… After a few minutes, through a private door on the far side, Donald Trump walked into the Oval Office. He was dressed in a sharply creased blue suit and tie, still, at 7:30 PM. He came through and glanced out the doorway to where Sidney Powell and I were already walking towards him, greeting him like he should be expecting us. President Trump’s eyebrows knitted in puzzlement but his face showed he recognized us, and after a moment he beckoned us in. Within seconds General Flynn, Sydney Powell, and I were all sitting in the Oval Office with President Donald J. Trump, with the door shut behind us.

So that happened. Really.

The President sat across the Resolute desk and made small chat with Mike, asked him how he’d been. It had been almost four years since they had seen each other (when Flynn had left the White House, weeks into Trump’s first term). He asked after Sidney as well. I gave and received no more than a nod, letting Mike and Sidney take the lead. As I have noted publicly, the first thing I noticed about him was how measured, gracious, and even soft-spoken Trump seemed to be, so unlike the character that has beamed at us for years through the media.

Eventually he glanced at me again, raised an eyebrow, and gave a small chuckle. Apparently he knew about me, as I thought my be the case. He said something quietly, civil and kind.  I said, “Thank you Mr. President…” He cocked his head quizzically and said something softly about knowing that I had not voted for him, and had said a number of critical things of him. I let him know the truth, that I had said some harsh things before the 2016 election, but while he was President my estimation of him had grown, and that in any case none of it was relevant, that I was there because I was confident the election had been hacked.  I told him, “We think there is a much shorter route through all of this than your team is pursuing,” I closed saying, “But Sir, entrepreneur to entrepreneur, I feel I must mention something. As you may know, I have been swimming around the outside of your administration for a couple months now, and I must tell you, I do not think you are being well-served by many people in the White House. I can bring in young staffers who will tell you that some of your senior leadership don’t want you to win. They want you to concede.”

The President raised his eyebrows at my frankness.  Then, like a man who knew the answer, he asked quietly, “Why?”

“I’m not sure,” I said, “but I hear people are getting signals that if they’re good boys and get you out the door, there will be jobs waiting for them. But if they don’t, they won’t be getting offers from the right law firms, they won’t be getting invitations from the right country clubs, they won’t be getting invited to the socialite parties on Manhattan…” Trump grimaced, and we moved on.

Sidney and Mike began walking the President through things from our perspective. In brief: there was a quick way to resolve this national crisis because he had power to act in ways he was not understanding. Under an Executive Order that he had signed in 2018, and another Executive Order that President Obama had signed in 2015, he could “find” that there was adequate evidence of foreign interference with the election, and while doing so would give him authority to do a number of big things, all he had to do was one small thing: direct a federal force (we suggested US Marshall Service + National Guard) to go to the six counties in question (the Problematic 6), and re-count (on livestream TV) the paper ballots that were held as fail-safe back-up. It would only take a few days. Even more conclusive would be if they imaged the hard-drives and those images could be examined forensically (which would make the project last no more than a week, as we had already cracked the Antrim County machines and knew precisely what to do going forward). In either case, if there was no mischief found, then President Trump would concede the election. But if (as we suspected) evidence of hundreds of thousands of improper votes was found in each of the six counties in question, then he would have a wide variety of options. He might have those six states re-counted. Or he might have 50 states recounted on livestream TV by federal forces, and America would finally have its answer to, “How much election fraud does our nation suffer?” Or he might skip that and have the National Guard re-run the elections in those six states. We pointed out that, it being December 18, if he signed the paperwork we had brought with us, we could have the first stage (recounting the Problematic 6 counties) finished before Christmas. And even if the result was hinky enough it demanded a rerun of the election in those states, it could be done before January 20, so that the January 20 Constitutional deadline would not be disrupted. The more time that he let slide by, the more compressed things would become. If he waited to see what the January 6 outcome was, however, and then decided to follow a plan such as ours, it would engender accusations of “sore-loserism”, so he had to act quickly. The alternative was an election that 47% of Americans doubted, which would not go down peacefully.

“You know Pat,” he said to me (the only people who call me “Pat” are either friends from childhood, or men from a background like my own family’s), “you know…” He caught my eye and gave a little snort of humor. “You know, I could leave here and my life would be really …. fine. I could be with my family, my friends, I could be playing golf …” We looked at each other and shared a moment as may occur only with CEO’s and other “leaders”: people think our lives are glamorous, but in many ways they are unpleasant. I had a little flashback: the first time I was running a firm, a 24-person manufacturer of industrial torch tips in New Hampshire, I went on a sales trip to Europe. Some great colleagues (engineers) and I spent a couple weeks of crawling around on plasma machines in a shipyard in Spain, a crane manufacturer in Belgium, knocking on factory doors in Hamburg, then attending a gigantic conference in Essen so we could walk around getting business cards and grabbing people to sit with us for a bagel to hear a sales pitch because we could not afford our own booth, but we needed a big order so we could make payroll the next quarter.  After a few weeks of it we were home to New Hampshire, being received by colleagues like we were jet-setting royalty. “Oh Spain! How was Spain? Belgium! Germany!… Gosh I always wanted to travel, what was it like?”  That’s when I realized that people do not understand how being in such leadership positionis generally not nearly as fun as people think, dreaming of taking it easy, of being able to take a walk without worrying about the (in my case at the time dozens, in Trump’s case, hundreds of millions) of people depending upon you.  I understood why Trump was chuckling, and I nodded and chuckled along with him. I got just what he was hinting: he was thinking that from a personal (74 year old’s) standpoint, leaving the White House and going to Florida and golfing had a real appeal. “So Pat, on January 20 I could walk to Marine One and climb aboard and go have a really good life….” He continued, talking softly to me, directly. “But this? Knowing I was cheated, that they rigged this election? How can I just walk away from that?”

Other than that, of that first 30 minutes we had alone with the President, most of the conversation was among the President, Mike, and Sidney, so I had a lot of time to watch and study President Trump, and I was surprised on many fronts. When he questioned Sidney’s legal reasoning that he had the power to do such a thing, she pulled out the Executive Order he had signed in 2018 and described one from Obama in 2015: Trump took the E.O. and scanned it quickly, then began asking pertinent questions from it. The same with the finding that he would need to sign: he asked questions of both Sidney (regarding legalities) and Mike (regarding substance), who discussed with him the kinds of information regarding foreign interference covered in the last chapter. Throughout what I saw was a sharp executive mind, taking in information quickly and calculating decision-trees. It takes a lot to impress me that quickly, but what I saw was a sharp mind in action. It surprised me how I had seen no mention of it in four years.

Finally, Trump stopped and scanned the three of us, and asked simply. “So what are you saying?” Thinking of the difference between the highly organized and disciplined approach I had experienced with Flynn and Sidney, versus the college sophomore bull-session approach of the Campaign and Rudy-World, I spoke up again: “Mr. President, I think you should appoint Sidney Powell your Special Counsel on these election matters and make General Flynn your Field Marshall over the whole effort. I know Rudy’s your lawyer and friend, and he can have a great role in this. Rudy should be personally advising you, and we don’t want to do anything to embarrass him. But it needs to be Sidney taking point legally on this. And if you really want to win, make General Flynn here the Field Marshall. If you do I put your chances at around 50-75%. You should see how he well he has this planned, it would run like clockwork…”

The President shook me off, saying, “No no, it’s got to be Rudy.”

After some time (20-30 minutes), three lawyers appeared together. They did not introduce themselves, and stood huddling in the back of the Oval Office, listening. In addition, Mark Meadows and someone else joined us by speaker phone. Eventually the lawyers in the back began muttering things to make their displeasure and disagreement evident. Finally President Trump said something indicating this was new to him, wondering why no one had shown him this route through the impasse. I said again, “Sir, again, CEO to CEO, you are not being served well by those around you in the White House. I’ve gotten to know staffers in your White House, and they tell me they are being told that leadership here is telling them to get you to concede.”

Trump started to say something to Mike and Sidney, but he stopped himself and turned back towards me. “Who?” He asked angrily, “Who wants me to concede?”

I was taken aback by his anger, because I thought what I was telling him was common knowledge. I thought it was generally understood that about half the White House was in on the program of getting him to concede, for that was the estimate I was repeatedly told. “Sir, I am surprised you’re surprised…. In your White House leadership is telling junior staff this everywhere. I am told that this fellow Pat Cipollone [indicating the lawyers behind me as I spoke, not knowing which was Cipollone] has been telling people since November 4, ‘Just help us get the President to concede.’ And for the last couple of weeks, Mark Meadows has been telling staff, ‘Help get the President into transition mode.’”

Trump turned to White House General Counsel Pat Cipollone, who began sputtering. “Mr. President, you know how hard I work, you know how many hours I have been putting in…” Both of which were mealy-mouthed, and neither of which was a direct denial, as was obvious to everyone in the room.  Trump faced him, his face darkening in anger.

“Sir,” I continued, “in 30 minutes I can have a number of staffers from within your White House  here to tell you that those are quotes from Pat Cipollone and Mark Meadows. This guy is lying to you through his teeth. They want you to lose.”

Trump turned, knowing I was correct. He indicated one of the other lawyers, said, “Did you know that this is his last day? He has a job starting Monday at a law firm up the street, getting paid 10 times what I can pay him here.” He continued wistfully, “Pat, can you imagine what I could have gotten done here, if I had not been fighting my own people?”

Cipollone and the other two lawyers scurried out the back door of the Oval Office. I heard them stay out in the ante room, caucusing. Meanwhile, the President, Sidney, Mike, Alyssa, and myself continued for a while walking through more of the details, reviewing some of what we had said earlier. At some point Allyssa, that quiet but razor-sharp female lawyer assisting Sidney, took over for a few points, and concisely explained aspects of the executive order, always clarifying with great precision whatever needed to be clarified.

After 10 minutes the three lawyers walked back into the room and stood, this time not in the back, but abreast and to the left of we four visitors: Alyssa, myself, Mike, and Sidney, sitting in chairs in a half-moon in front of the Resolute desk. Mike continued taking operational questions that arose, while Sidney and Alyssa handled the legal questions that arose. The three male lawyers edged closer to the front, and then as though as some hidden signal, they all started being bitches.

First was some comment about it not being right to use the National Guard. “The optics are terrible, Mr. President,” said one. “It would have to be the DHS.”  I liked the National Guard idea because we needed to reestablish trust of the American people in the electoral process, and the US institution with the most trust is the one where people dress in military uniforms. Yet the National Guard is local, they are all around us, our colleagues at work, our “Citizen Soldiers”. But perhaps in a sign of flexibility, Flynn and Sidney allowed as how one could use the DHS instead of the National Guard.

“The press would tear your apart,” predicted Pat Cipollone at one turn in the conversation. Sidney said what Mike and I were both thinking: The press is going to tear him apart? Really? What are they doing now?

At some point Cipollone objected, “Never in American history has there been this kind of a challenge to an election!” Flynn responded, “Never in American history has there been a situation like this, with counting being shut down for hours, foreigners connecting to our equipment, …..” and so on.

“He does not have the authority to do this!” Cipollone thundered eventually. Sidney rejoined, “Of course he does,” citing EO 13848 (and something else signed by Obama). “Without question he has the authority.” Alyssa whipped out EO 13848 again and showed the relevant language that we had just covered. Trump looked at Cipollone with an expression that said, You never even brought this to my attention, Pat. He said to Cipolloner, “You know Pat, at least they want to fight for me. You don’t even fight for me. You just tell me everything I can’t do.”

By this point Cipollone was getting hot under the collar. Raising his voice to the President, he said, “Hey if you want to do this you don’t need my permission. You don’t even need a pen or a piece of paper. You can just say, ‘I hire Sidney Powell as White House Special Counsel,’ and it’s done.” But then he went on with more objections to everything he was hearing, all of which continued to sound stretched. Even frivolous.

After half-a-dozen of such frivolous objections from the White House General Counsel, Mike and I looked at each other dumbstruck. Mike grew calm and silent, his brow knit in bafflement. Finally I calmly announced to the room: “This is the most surreal conversation I have ever experienced.”

Around that time Alyssa spoke up on a legal point: he clearly had enough grounds to find that those Problematic 6 counties had enough peculiarities in their election, that under his powers under those EO’s, he was sending in federal teams to recount the ballots in those six counties. It was a defensible, reasonable action to take (which she said in legalese). What happened after that would be determined by what was found. But now the three male lawyers who were on their feet began speaking to her rudely. They challenged her, asking something like, “What do you think you know about the law?” She replied, “Well I am a lawyer. I work for Sidney, and-” they cut her off, snorting derisively.

Flynn sprung to his feet with a grace and ease that surprised me, a surfer getting up on his board. He turned to face the three lawyers standing over and barking at Alyssa. In a measured tone he asked of the three lawyers, “Let’s get something clear. What do you think happened on November 3? Do you think was a fair election? There was nothing unusual about it in your eyes?”

The three lawyers looked down, stuck their toes in the dirt, glanced at each other out of the corners of their eyes, and would not give an answer.

President Trump looked directly at me and said gently, “You know Pat, all my life I’ve had the best lawyers. People call me from all over the world, ‘What lawyer should I use on this? What lawyer should I use on that?’ But here…. You know, the other side breaks every rule in the book, but me….? All I have are lawyers who tell me ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that…’ Do you see what I have been working with for four years? Can you imagine what I could have gotten done……” He broke off, then turned to Cipollone, asked “Where’s my Durham report? Where’s ….” and started rattling off his legal disappointments.

Standing there next to his two colleagues, Cipollone started shouting back at Flynn, still on his feet, and at the President. Still shouting, he stepped rudely towards us, standing over (and inappropriately close to) Alyssa from behind. Before I knew it I was on my feet, shoulder-to-shoulder with Flynn, back mostly to the President, with a mental trigger that if Cipollone moved another inch towards Flynn, Alyssa, or me I was going to bury my knuckles in his throat.

President Trump said, “Hey hey hey!” We all turned. With both hands waiving at us to calm down, and a quarter-smile of disbelief on his face, he said, “Heeey calm down….”  Cipollone turned to storm out the door again, his two butt-boys in tow. Before he was out Sidney said, “Let him leave. I’ll take the job and you’ll win.” Trump said after him, “Go ahead Pat. Leave. Don’t come back as far as I am concerned.” As the door shut, Trump said softly, “Ahhh, I don’t mean that. You know, Pat’s a friend, and…” his voice trailed off. I winced at the dawning of my understanding.

I took another shot at it with the President. “Again Sir, I know that Rudy is a friend of yours, he’s wonderful. He’s America’s Mayor. I love Rudy, I don’t want to embarrass him. But you should see how what Mike and Sidney have got going. It is so organized, so well-planned-” Again he cut me off, saying, “No no, it’s got to be Rudy…” On the inside I slumped.

There was a third round where the lawyers came back in to interject themselves into what the rest of us were talking about. A third round of frivolous push-back, but this time in the end it was President Trump who got ticked off (in a weary kind of way) at the push-back from his own people, the searching for things they could oppose. Again he muttered something to me along the lines of, Can you imagine what I would have been able to accomplish these four years if I had not had to put up with this? Finally, when President Trump asked why such-and-such a course of action Sidney was proposing had not been explored by Cipollone, the lawyer responded, “Well we’re not the campaign lawyers.”

I did not even know what he meant by it, but it was painfully obvious that Cipollone was being purely obstructionist, coming from a place of, “How do I stop this?”

Trump sighed, and wearily said to Cipollone, “You know Pat? A few minutes ago you said that I can do it just by saying it. Well…. OK. I have decided, now I’m saying it. ‘Sidney Powell is hereby appointed as White House Special Counsel’. There, that’s it.”

“She needs a clearance!” interjected one of the other lawyers. “It’ll take months to get her a clearance!”

Even I knew how frivolous that objection was, but Flynn spoke up first, in disbelief. “Mr. President,” Flynn said, “you can do the same thing with a clearance. You can grant any clearance you want, on the spot, verbally.”

Sadly and defiantly, President Trump looked at his three lawyers and said, “I hereby grant Sidney Powell a Top Secret security clearance.”

Again they stormed out of the room. Again the conversation continued amongst the President, Sidney, Mike, Alyssa, and myself. That is where I realized I was having an emotional reaction quite different than I had ever expected. There was a moment of real warmth, where I saw him for what he was: a 74 year old man, tired, knowing he was being cheated out of his re-election, mostly defeated, ruing his errors, dwelling on what might have been. I wanted to walk behind his desk and put my arm around him, and tell him, Yes, I do understand now what you have been facing.

Eventually President Trump said that we would all meet in 30 minutes in the living quarters, in the “Yellow Oval” (I believe the room is called). In the meantime, Rudy was coming in and we had to find a way to make things work between Rudy and Sidney. As we parted he said, “You know, in 200 years there probably has not been a meeting in this room like what just happened…”. As he was leaving he brushed past me, stopped, and speaking low and quiet, said something quite kind and meaningful, showing me that he knew a lot more about me than I had guessed.

A few minutes later Sidney, Mike, Alyssa, and I were in the Cabinet Room. waiting for Rudy. It was dark, and we had to find a couple lamps to turn on. Mike and I were intent on making sure the meeting went well between Sidney and Rudy, so everyone could work happily together.

After 10 minutes Rudy came in, tying his tie, and said in not too gruff a manner, but with perhaps the gruffness of a man disturbed from his evening meal, “You know Sidney, if we are going to work together you have to share information.” I did not take his tone as being too aggressive, but one of trying to turn over a new leaf in a relationship, perhaps.

Sidney immediately told him, “I do share information Rudy. You never read your emails, you never read your texts.”

“That’s not true Sidney! I just need you to stop keeping me in the dark-“

“”Rudy I don’t keepo you in the dark! You-”

“Sidney you have to stop keeping everything to yourself! I cannot work with you if you don’t share with me!”

Within moments the conversation had spiraled out of control. After a minute of squabbling I tried to interject something helpful. “Mr. Mayor, it is true that since I arrived, everything we ever brought Sidney, she always said, ‘Get this to Rudy right away.’ It’s true. Absolutely everything we turned up, she told us to share with you. She never asked us to keep you in the dark about anything.” But it went poorly. Fuming, we all went up to the living quarters of the White House.

The President was there, waiting, and after we walked in the three lawyers joined again. Meadows entered as well. A waiter brought out a bowl of small, bottle-cap sized Swedish meatballs, with share plates. Trump motioned for them to be placed at the small table so that everyone could indulge, but the table was in front of me, for which I was grateful. I actually keep vegetarian from time to time, especially when I travel, but how often does one sit with a President serving meatballs from his grandmother’s recipe? And they were good.  For the rest of the meeting there were two and only two people eating meatballs: myself, scarfing them down like popcorn, and occasionally the President, who would get up, walk over to me, and refill a small share plate. Nobody else had any.

There meeting continued for a couple hours up in those quarters. No substantial new ground was covered: we walked through the reasoning we had gone through in the Oval Office, and explained the plan. President Trump was decisively onboard, and none of the other parties pushed back. Instead, they glumly asked a few questions about how such-and-such was to be done, and Mike or Sidney explained. Finally, around 12:15 AM, we all began fading, and wrapped up. We walked outside in the hall, waiting, until the President came out to say goodbye. We each had a moment with him, and again he said something meaningful and quite kind to me. But we were all exhausted, I think, and glad that the meeting was over.

I wish to emphasize that at no point in the evening or in any segment of the discussion was there mention of martial law, or Insurrection Act, or anything of the sort. All claims to the contrary are lies, propagated (I would imagine) by Pat Cipollone, who (according to multiple sources) regularly leaks to Maggie Haberman of the NYT. Even cursory review of Haberman’s writings on the White House, which never fail to give stroke to Cipollone, would support that claim.

A few minutes later Alyssa, Sidney, Mike, and I were walking on the sidewalk in front of the White House, light snow still falling in the dark. We saw Meadows and Rudy leaving out another entrance and walking away together to the west. The four of us strode east, elated: with Sidney Powell ensconced as White House Special Counsel, and Mike (even from the outside) providing organizational skills and his vast expertise of matters DC, we were in good standing, and I believe at that moment we all weighted the chances of our success high. As we walked home in the falling snow we confided in each other, You know, for me this is not really about Trump. But we cannot let a rigged election stand. If we do, it could mean civil war, and even a Chinese take-over of our country. All we need to do is follow this plan, expose what happened in those six counties by checking the ballots. If there is nothing amiss, then Trump gets in his helicopter and leaves, and there’s no civil war. But if we find chicanery, it will give an opportunity to blow this scheme up for the whole nation. Who knows how much fraud there is going to turn out to be in US elections? I think ‘a lot,’ what do you think? Around and around we went, excited for our success in the meeting, like we had been thrown a Hail Mary and caught it in the endizone. After a few blocks our long-forgotten SUV found us in the snow flurries, we got in, and he drove us the rest of the way to the hotel. I had my first good night’s sleep in weeks.

The next day, Saturday, Sidney called Meadows and said, “Well now that I’m White House Special Counsel, I am going to need an office over there.”

Meadows told her, “Yeah we’re looking into that, we don’t have anything immediately but we are going to soon…”

“Then I will need a White House ID, so I can come and go,” replied Sidney.

“Yeah well we are working on that too, there might be a problem with that, we’ll see what it is going to take, …” said Meadows.

We all had a terrible sinking feeling, and by Monday or Tuesday, we learned that Sidney’s “White House Special Counsel” position was not going to happen. The plan we had discussed so extensively in the White House, the one that got an answer before Christmas (and depending upon the evidence found, either permitted a peaceful transition of power, or justified more extensive federal involvement that would get to the bottom of what the intent of the People truly was), that plan…. had been called off.

Instead, Rudy was going to continue his slog through the courts and the hotel-room hearings in the states….

Authored by Patrick Byrne via Deep Capture

Source: Patrick Byrne: How Donald Trump Lost the White House

Democrats Introduce Bill to ‘Massively Expand’ Mail-in Voting

Residents drop mail-in ballots in a ballot box outside of the Tippecanoe branch library in Milwaukee, Wis., on Oct. 20, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Democrat lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill dubbed the “Vote at Home Act,” which seeks to “massively expand vote-at-home ballot access,” enacting automatic voter registration and providing voters with pre-paid ballot envelopes.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced the bill (pdf), saying in a press release that the legislation is meant to “fight voter suppression.”

“Our democracy is stronger when every American can vote, without standing in ridiculous lines or having to take time off work or school to exercise their Constitutional rights,” Wyden said in a statement.

The initiative stands in contrast to a bill introduced by Republicans several weeks ago, which seeks to tighten voter registration verifications and narrow rules for when and how mail-in ballots can be accepted, in a bid to strengthen the integrity of federal elections.

The Democrat lawmakers said the introduction of the bill was encouraged by what they described as “the successful expansion of voting at home and by mail in the November 2020 election,” in which almost 50 percent of voters cast ballots by mail, a record high in federal races.

“Last year we saw a widespread expansion of vote-at-home access as a safe and secure way to participate during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “We should continue to make voting easier, not harder. This important bill would strengthen and clarify the right to vote at home, the most secure and convenient way for voters to exercise the franchise.”

Critics of expanding vote-by-mail initiatives have warned of the increased potential for voter fraud, allegations of which were front and center in the contested presidential election, with President Donald Trump, members of his legal team, and supporters, making numerous claims that amounted to the charge that the election was stolen.

Peter Navarro, who served as an adviser to Trump, concluded in a sweeping report on the integrity of the 2020 election that the allegations of irregularities, including outright voter fraud, were serious enough to warrant an urgent probe and substantial enough to potentially overturn the results.

State election officials, the Justice Department, and others rejected the notion that there was widespread voter fraud in the November election.

The Democrats’ “Vote at Home Act” stipulates a range of actions that would expand vote by mail in federal elections.

“All registered voters would receive ballots in the mail weeks before Election Day, allowing them to carefully research candidates and issues well ahead of Election Day to inform their vote,” the press release states.

The bill would also grant all registered voters nationwide the ability to cast their ballots by mail or at ballot drop boxes. The act also calls for increased funding for the U.S. Postal Service to cover costs associated with processing ballots.

“This would allow states to save money by transitioning away from polling stations and reduce a major barrier for voters with the federal government absorbing the cost associated with USPS delivery,” the press release notes.

Under the provisions of the bill, states would also be required to automatically register voters when they provide identifying information to the state motor vehicle authority. Voters who do not want to remain registered would be given three weeks to opt out.

The House Republican bill, meanwhile, called the “Save Democracy Act,” seeks to create baseline protections against election irregularities and voter fraud during elections.

The GOP initiative seeks to prevent automatic voter registration for federal elections, prohibits states from sending out unrequested absentee ballots, and calls for a ban on using public ballot collection boxes.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), said in a press statement, “This bill will restore the public’s trust that their vote is counted and their voice is heard.”

Source: Democrats Introduce Bill to ‘Massively Expand’ Mail-in Voting

Facebook Vows to Permanently Stop Recommending Political Groups

Facebook logo displayed on a tablet in Lille on Aug. 28, 2019. (Denis Charlet/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday the platform will stop recommending political and civic groups to its users, in an effort to “turn down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations.”

The social media company announced in October that it had taken “emergency measures” to stop recommending those groups to U.S. users in the run-up to the presidential election. According to an analysis by tech site The Markup, however, the platform continued to recommend political groups to its users throughout December, most often to Trump voters.

Zuckerberg said on Wednesday the policy will be made permanent and apply to the users in the rest of the world.

“We’re continuing to fine-tune how this works, but now we plan to keep civic and political groups out of recommendations for the long term, and we plan to expand that policy globally,” Zuckerberg said during a conference call.

“This is a continuation of work we’ve been doing for a while to turn down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations.”

The CEO also vowed to take steps to reduce the overall amount of political content that users see in their news feed.

Zuckerberg said although political posts only account for a “pretty small minority” of Facebook’s content, he felt “a lot of things” have become politicized and that politics has “had a way of creeping into everything.”

“One of the top pieces of feedback that we’re hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services,” he said.

Zuckerberg’s renewed promise comes after Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) condemned certain political groups on Facebook as “breeding grounds for hate” and “venues for coordination of violence.”

“Facebook must explain the apparent discrepancy between its promises to stop recommending political groups and what it has delivered,” Markey wrote in a letter to Zuckerberg, citing The Markup’s report that found 12 of the top 100 groups pushed by Facebook were political.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it was removing all content that contains “stop the steal,” a phrase used by supporters of former President Donald Trump to question the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

The social media company said that the move was an attempt to remove content that “could incite further violence” ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“We’ve been allowing robust conversations related to the election outcome and that will continue,” Facebook officials Guy Rosen and Monika Bickert said in a statement. “But with continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the U.S. presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term by those involved in Wednesday’s violence in D.C., we’re taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration.”

Source: Facebook Vows to Permanently Stop Recommending Political Groups

Facebook Hires Biden Transition, Obama Admin Official as VP of ‘Civil Rights’

White House Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity Roy Austin at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 11, 2015. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Facebook has hired Roy Austin, former Obama administration official and a member of President Joe Biden’s transition team, as the social media company’s vice president of Civil Rights and deputy general counsel.

Austin used to serve as civil rights prosecutor and supervisor in the Department of Justice (DOJ) before becoming a deputy assistant to President Barack Obama for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity in 2014. In 2017, he went into private practice as a criminal defense and civil rights attorney at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis. In November, Biden named him as one of the volunteers on the Agency Review Team for the DOJ in his transition.

It’s not clear what will be Austin’s specific responsibilities at Facebook. The company didn’t respond to a request for further details and an attempt to reach Austin for comment was unsuccessful.

“I am delighted to welcome Roy to Facebook as our VP of Civil Rights. Roy has proved throughout his career that he is a passionate and principled advocate for civil rights—whether it is in the courtroom or the White House,” said Facebook General Counsel Jennifer Newstead in a Jan. 11 release.

“I know he will bring the same wisdom, integrity, and dedication to Facebook. It’s hard to imagine anyone better qualified to help us strengthen and advance civil rights on our platform and in our company.”

Austin’s appointment underscores the closeness of Facebook to the Biden administration.

Former Facebook associate general counsel Jessica Hertz was the Biden transition’s general counsel and is his new White House staff secretary. Jeffrey Zients—Biden’s coronavirus czar—used to serve on Facebook’s board of directors in 2018-2020. Austin Lin, a former program manager at Facebook, was on one of Biden’s agency review teams before reportedly being tapped for a deputy role at White House’s Office of Management and Administration. Erskine Bowles, a former Facebook board member, reportedly advised the transition team.

Hertz, Zients, and Lin used to hold roles in the Obama administration. Bowles served as President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff.

Facebook chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, gave $500 million to election officials ahead of the 2020 election for measures such as ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting described as tools to make voting safer amidst the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. The grants violated election laws and were distributed unevenly, favoring Democrat-heavy areas, according to The Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, a constitutional litigation organization.

Austin was to start his role at Facebook on Jan. 19, based in Washington, D.C., the company said.

“I am excited to join Facebook at this moment when there is a national and global awakening happening around civil rights,” Austin said in the release.

“Technology plays a role in nearly every part of our lives, and it’s important that it be used to overcome the historic discrimination and hate which so many underrepresented groups have faced, rather than to exacerbate it. I could not pass up the opportunity to join a company whose products are used by so many and which impacts the civil rights and liberties of billions of people, in order to help steer a better way forward.”

His referral to “underrepresented groups” raises the ghost of political bias, as the underlying reasoning has been tied to tech companies enforcing their content rules unevenly.

Facebook moderators were told, for instance, that prohibited “Hate Speech” against certain groups was to be left alone under some circumstances as long as it aligned with the company’s agenda, according to a 2018 memo to moderators working at Cognizant, a firm that at the time contracted with Facebook to shoulder part of the content policing.

“Anything that is DELETE per our Hate Speech policies, but is intended to raise awareness for Pride/LGBTQ” was to be temporarily allowed, the post stated, specifying that “this may occur especially in terms of attacking straight white males.”

In 2019, Facebook updated its policy to allow “threats that could lead to death” against those on the company’s list of “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations.”

Aside from groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and individuals tied to Nazism, Facebook also placed on the list people such as populist commentator Paul Joseph Watson and conservative activist Laura Loomer.

After backlash, Facebook quietly removed the exception from the publicly available version of its policy, but this change was never communicated to its content moderators, and, in practice, the exception remained in place, according to Zach McElroy, who used to work as a Facebook moderator at Cognizant.

Facebook isn’t the only tech company that seems to interpret its own policies unevenly.

Google tweaked its products to promote what the company considered the interests of “historically marginalized” groups, according to insider documents and recordings.

The approach aligns with the tenets of the quasi-Marxist critical theory, which divides society into oppressors and the historically oppressed based on characteristics such as race and gender along the lines of Marxism’s class division.

Source: Facebook Hires Biden Transition, Obama Admin Official as VP of ‘Civil Rights’

China ‘Sought to Influence’ 2020 US Election, Director of National Intelligence Assesses

Nominee John L. Ratcliffe sits during a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office building on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 5, 2020. (Gabriella Demczuk-Pool/Getty Images)

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe assessed that Chinainterfered in the 2020 federal elections, according to a letter transmitted to Congress.

In the letter (pdf), Ratcliffe alleges that intelligence about China’s election interference was suppressed by management at the CIA, which pressured analysts to withdraw their support for the view.

Citing a report by the Intelligence Community Analytic Ombudsman Barry Zulauf, the director of national intelligence said some analysts were reluctant to describe China’s actions as election interference because they disagreed with the policies of President Donald Trump.

The Washington Examiner published Ratcliffe’s letter and the ombudsman report on Jan. 17, ten days after publishing an original report on the documents. The ODNI did not respond to requests from The Epoch Times to authenticate the documents.

“Based on all available sources of intelligence, with definitions consistently applied, and reached independent of political considerations or undue pressure—that the People’s Republic of China sought to influence the 2020 U.S. federal elections,” Ratcliffe wrote.

The report by Zulauf, the intelligence community analytic ombudsman, was sent to Congress on Jan. 7 alongside an intelligence community assessment of interference in the 2020 election. In the report (pdf), Zulauf states the analysts working on Russia and China applied different standards to their reporting on election interference. While labeling Russia’s activity as clear election interference, the analysts were reluctant to do the same for China.

“Given analytic differences in the way Russia and China analysts examined their targets, China analysts appeared hesitant to assess Chinese actions as undue influence or interference,” Zulauf wrote. “These analysts appeared reluctant to have their analysis on China brought forward because they tended to disagree with the Administration’s policies, saying in effect, I don’t want our intelligence used to support those policies.”

Neither the ombudsman report nor the letter from Ratcliffe includes details on China’s meddling. Zulauf redirected an interview request to the ODNI, which did not respond to an emailed request.

The analytic ombudsman’s report assesses that politicization occurred in relation to both Russia’s and China’s election interference. Zulauf assessed that neither intelligence community leaders nor analysts are at fault, blaming the hyperpartisan atmosphere in the United States instead.

“In most cases, what we see is the entire system responding to and resisting pressures from outside, rather than attempts to politicize intelligence by our leaders or analysts.

The report states that the analysts who assessed Russia’s election interference had complained that the intelligence community management was reluctant to deliver their assessments to government clients because the work was not “well received.”

“Analysts saw this as suppression of intelligence, bordering on politicization of intelligence from above,” Zulauf wrote.

The Epoch Times had previously documented a multi-pronged election influence campaign linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In a Dec. 3 op-ed, Ratcliffe said the CCP “poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II.”

“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically,” he wrote. “Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Congress certified Joe Biden as the president-elect on Jan. 7. In the two months leading up to the certification, Trump challenged the outcome of the election in seven states, citing unconstitutional changes to election laws and potentially illegally cast votes.

Source: China ‘Sought to Influence’ 2020 US Election, Director of National Intelligence Assesses