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Former President Donald Trump secretly contributed $1 million to fund the controversial "audit" of 2020 ballots in Maricopa County by the private Florida security firm "Cyber Ninjas," The Guardian reported on Friday.
"One of the enduring mysteries surrounding the chaotic attempts to overturn Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential battle has been solved: who made a secret $1m donation to the controversial election 'audit' in Arizona?" reported Brendan Fischer and Ed Pilkington. "The identity of one of the largest benefactors behind the discredited review of Arizona’s vote count has been shrouded in secrecy. Now the Guardian can reveal that the person who partially bankrolled the failed attempt to prove that the election was stolen from Trump was … Trump."
"An analysis by the watchdog group Documented has traced funding for the Arizona audit back to Trump’s Save America Pac," said the report. "The group tracked the cash as it passed from Trump’s fund through an allied conservative group, and from there to a shell company which in turn handed the money to contractors and individuals involved in the Arizona audit."
Trump was one of the biggest purveyors of conspiracy theories that Arizona had been stolen from him in the presidential election, where Biden carried the state by just a bit over 10,000 votes. There remains no evidence to support this claim.
The Cyber Ninjas audit, ordered by pro-Trump allies in the Arizona State Senate, was widely criticized for its secretive nature, its failure to follow any normal procedures for recounting ballots, and its investigation of bizarre conspiracy theories like hunting for bamboo fibers in ballots in case they were forged in China. One report accused them of effectively making up their numbers, and even a local right-wing talk radio host blasted the whole exercise as a "clown show." Cyber Ninjas was eventually fined in court for refusing to turn over public records, and last year, the firm announced it was shutting down and laying off all employees.
This comes after reporting earlier this week that Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, and several of his employees, were seeking advice and funding from Trump behind the scenes as the whole process was playing out.
Ohio Republican lawmakers in the state House of Representatives are at each other's throats in a growing schism — and after a particularly public floor fight this week, both sides are fuming, according to News 5 Cleveland.
The latest fight took place when right-wing Rep. Josh Williams tried to introduce amendments on the House floor, only to be passed over by more moderate GOP House Speaker Jason Stephens.
"Williams had two amendments he wanted to bring forward. He wanted to replace Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) with Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) for the assistant majority floor leader role and he wanted to change a specific rule dealing with quorums," reported Morgan Trau. "Williams, and many others within his group, shouted out to Stephens, objecting to moving forward without hearing their amendments. Stephens skipped over him."
"Even if you properly stand up and operate within the rules and you are the most educated on a particular subject, we are going to ignore you and we are going to continue to operate under traditions that were made before individuals that looked like you were even present in the House. That hurt to my core," said Williams, a constitutional law professor by training. Stephens, meanwhile, told News 5, "They wanted chaos on the floor. They were just trying to create controversy and maybe get their name in the paper or get on the news."
The core of the issue is the election of Stephens as Speaker in the first place. The GOP caucus had selected farther-right Derek Merrin as their choice for Speaker, but during the full House vote, Stephens and a group of more moderate Republicans cut a deal with Democrats, giving him the gavel instead in a bipartisan vote.
Such deals have happened before in Ohio politics; former Speaker Larry Householder also made a deal with Democrats to be elected. He is now on trial in a massive public corruption case stemming from his role in a years-long, $60 million bribery scheme by utility companies to pass a law bailing out coal and nuclear plants and gutting renewable energy standards.
A New York Times reporter revealed new details about an explosive meeting between Department of Justice investigators tasked with probing the origins of the Donald Trump-Russia case.
DOJ official Nora Dannehy blew up at lead investigator John Durham in September 2020 when she discovered that he'd acquiesced to attorney general William Barr's demand to produce an interim report about their work before it was completed -- and less than two months before the presidential election, and reporter Charlie Savage told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about the confrontation.
"She had had a series of prosecutorial ethics disputes with Durham, it turns out, and the first of which was that she wanted Bill Barr to stop talking about their investigation, in line with Justice Department principles, and asked Durham to tell Barr to stop," Savage said. "He was unwilling to challenge the attorney general. She opposed the step we talked about, using the grand jury powers to get information, a judge said they lacked legal basis to obtain about George Soros aide's e-mails, she opposed that and said Durham had done it without telling her."
"Then she came across an interim draft report in September 2020 that she had not known was in the works that Barr pushed Durham to produce, and he had other people on the team draft up," Savage added. "She exploded. There was a big argument in which she said it was inappropriate to issue a report before an investigation was done, definitely inappropriate to do so before an election, and the report contained some dubious information that it took at face value, and she sent them an e-mail to people in the investigative team outlining those concerns in greater detail and quit the next day. That is what happened in September 2020, when Durham's longtime colleague and No. 2 deputy in this situation abruptly quit."
Watch the segment below or at this link.
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