The top funder of Arizona's 2020 election 'audit' is signaling a new report will admit Biden beat Trump
The team of Arizona Republican state senators, legislative staff, and advisers finalizing the Cyber Ninjas' report on the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County are preparing to say that Joe Biden legitimately won the election, according to the largest funder of the Senate's mostly privatized election review, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne.
"The way some of these political RINOs [Republicans In Name Only] are doing this is they're trying to argue that the [election] report should only be allowed to go and address the original construct of the report, the original assignment of the audit, and leave out other things that have been found," Byrne told Creative Destruction Media's L. Todd Wood.
"The political class is going to try to come in and water this down," Byrne said. "The Republican political class, the RINOs, the nobodies… They are going to try to water this down. I am sure they all have been promised federal judgeships or sacks of cash under a streetlight if they can get this killed at this late date or watered down. And I think the public of Arizona should go ballistic."
Byrne's comments were made on August 29 but have been reposted on pro-Trump media in recent days as Arizona's Republican Senate leadership is finalizing its report on the election. Trump has also revived his attacks on "RINOs" in recent days on Telegram, a social media site favored by his base.
The Arizona Senate's review team includes Doug Logan, the CEO of the Cyber Ninjas, its lead contractor—which is writing the report and has been paid $3.2 million from Byrne's organizations.
Byrne's comments underscore what observers of the Arizona Senate's review have anticipated for months—that any credible review would conclude there were no major problems with Maricopa County's conduct of the presidential elections, although, as in any election, some procedures could be improved to make the vote-counting process more transparent.
Cyber Ninjas was hired to oversee a manual recount of Maricopa County's presidential and U.S. Senate votes and to examine whether the county's ballots were authentic or possibly forged. Logan and his team had little or no prior election audit experience, and their methods were criticized as secretive and deeply flawed. Nonetheless, for months the Arizona "audit" has been a driving force perpetuating the "big lie," or the false claim that the election was rigged by Democrats and establishment actors who orchestrated a massive vote-stealing operation.
The Arizona review has generated endless conspiracy theories and became a rallying cry, if not a litmus test, for Trump-centered Republicans. It has inspired loyalists in other presidential swing states to launch similar reviews long after the 2020 election results were certified.
The stolen election claims, however, have not produced any evidence that has been accepted by any state or federal court. Instead, Trump's campaign legal team has been sanctioned by a U.S. District Court judge in Michigan for lying in court, and some of his lawyers face fines and disbarment. In Arizona, a team of retired election auditors with decades of experience has published analyses using official 2020 election records to document how nearly 60,000 ballots had a majority of votes for Republican candidates but not for Trump. Trump lost the state by nearly 11,000 votes.
Sources in Arizona have said that the state Senate review team was spooked by the possible losses of law licenses looming over Trump's attorneys, as well as stern warnings from the U.S. Department of Justice for possibly using investigative methods that could violate voter intimidation laws. As a result, they have been editing the report drafted by the Senate's lead contractor, Cyber Ninjas, and excising claims and narratives that are speculative rather than factual. This has delayed the report's release until the week of September 20, sources indicated.
The review team consists of Arizona Senate President Karen Fann; Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen; Senate legal counsel Greg Jernigan; contract Senate attorneys Kory Langhofer and Thomas Basile of Statecraft; Garth Kamp, the Senate's senior policy adviser; audit liaison and former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett; audit spokesman Randy Pullen; and Logan, the Cyber Ninjas CEO, according to the Arizona Republic.
Byrne's apparent frustration with the Senate stems from the decision not to include claims made in early September by Arizona Trump activist Liz Harris that there were 173,104 "lost votes" and 96,389 "ghost votes" in the Maricopa County election. That claim was quickly debunked by the county's Republican election director—and was the subject of the Justice Department's May 5 warning letter. During his interview with Creative Destruction Media, Byrne also cited sloppily marked ballots that were adjudicated—or set aside for review of the voter's intent—as another instance of when votes were allegedly changed.
Byrne's suggestion that the Arizona Senate is rejecting the conspiratorial narratives put forth by Logan—as well as Logan's subcontractors and partisan allies like Harris—could set the stage for one of the most stunning reversals in contemporary politics. Trump's endless claims of a stolen election led to an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. A rally defending those subsequently arrested and prosecuted is planned in Washington for September 18.
Meanwhile, across the country, pro-Trump Republicans have called for copycat audits in their states, and many candidates seeking office in 2022—including most of the Republicans running for governor in Arizona—have said they believe a second term was stolen from Trump. Those responses have been fueled to a large degree by Byrne's organizations and media projects, which include a book, a conspiracy-laden documentary film, and extensive fundraising efforts.
In short, Byrne is signaling, presumably based on what Logan and other allies have told him, that the Arizona Senate's review of the 2020 election will conclude that Biden beat Trump.
"The people of Arizona should make it very clear that they will not accept any political interference in this report," Byrne complained. "It's the kiss of death. If politicians get involved… The whole point was that we don't trust the politicians. We wanted some technologists to look at stuff and tell us what they find. To have them spend all these millions of dollars and all these months and this effort to do that… and then to have some weenie politicians get involved."
"I hope that it's made really clear in social media that the citizens of Arizona and this country do not want any political interference in this report from the political class in Arizona," he said. "[Within t]he Republican political class, believe it or not, there are some weak sisters. There are some RINOs… It's all corrupt."
Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, the American Prospect, and many others.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick warns Democrats are allowing in immigrants for 'silent revolution,' mirroring language of far-right extremists
Denouncing the thousands of Haitian asylum-seekers who are camped out under a South Texas bridge as an "invasion," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick accused Democrats of allowing their entry into the country for political gain.
"[Democrats] are allowing this year probably 2 million [immigrants], that's who we apprehended, maybe another million, into this country," Patrick said on Laura Ingraham's Fox News show. "At least in 18 years even if they all don't become citizens before then and can vote, in 18 years if every one of them has two or three children, you're talking about millions and millions and millions of new voters and they will thank the Democrats and Biden for bringing them here. Who do you think they're going to vote for?"
He said President Joe Biden and Democrats had begun a "silent revolution" to take over the country by winning over the votes of migrants.
"This is trying to take over our country without firing a shot," he added.
Patrick's rhetoric mirrors a far-right theory started in France known as the Great Replacement, which says that elites are replacing white populations with nonwhite populations through mass migration and demographic growth. These writings influenced the worst mass shooting of Hispanics in recent U.S. history in El Paso in 2019. The shooter, who killed 23 people and injured 23 others, ranted about a Hispanic invasion and told police he came to the city to kill Mexicans.
Patrick has repeatedly called the increase of migrants at the border an "invasion" throughout the year.
The two-term Republican was responding on Thursday to the thousands of asylum-seeking migrants — most of them from Haiti — who are waiting under an international bridge in Del Rio. The Caribbean country experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake last month that destroyed thousands of homes.
State and federal government butted heads on how to handle the migrants' arrival, with Gov. Greg Abbott backpedaling on an order to close the ports of entry after U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agency had not asked the state to do so. Abbott has blamed the Biden administration for the increase of migrants on the border this year.
Patrick told Ingraham the state received a "call for help" from U.S. Border Patrol, which led Abbott to order the closure of the ports of entry. A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said the agency had no information on Abbott's decision to close the ports.
"Then we found out that Border Patrol did not have permission from Homeland Security or the president, and so they came out and said 'No, we didn't say we needed any help. We didn't say that,'" Patrick said. "Someone in the administration flip-flopped on the issue, Texas did not take a back step."
Patrick urged Republican-led states to tell the White House they were being "invaded," adding that Democrat-led states did not care.
"This is not authorized by the state of Texas," he said. "It's not welcome by the state of Texas or any other Republican state that I know and they're not invited."
Patrick invoked Article IV of the Constitution, which guarantees states protection from invasion.
"What's a republican form of government? It's defined as a government that focuses on citizens running their government," he said. "We now will have illegals in this country denying citizens the right to run our government. Because our government, our representatives that we elect, can't even stop them from coming."
"This is denying us our government that's run by our citizens with illegals who are here who are going to take our education, our health care, all [of it]," he said. "This is selling out our country."
Former President Donald Trump reportedly snapped at one of his campaign's top pollsters when he informed him that voters were growing "fatigued" with his behavior.
Via Business Insider, reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa write in their upcoming book "Peril" that pollster Tony Fabrizio warned Trump after his infamously failed rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma that many swing voters were sick of all the chaos that the president caused on a daily basis, particularly in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"To be honest, Mr. President, the voters are just fatigued," Fabrizio said, according to Woodward and Costa. "They're tired of the chaos. They're tired of the tumult."
Trump, however, did not take kindly to this advice and snapped back with a profanity-filled tirade.
"Oh, they're tired?" Trump replied. "They're fucking tired? Well I'm fucking tired and fatigued too."
Trump would continue behaving chaotically, of course, which eventually culminated with him getting hospitalized after coming down with COVID-19 in October that year.
He would then go on to lose the 2020 presidential election to current President Joe Biden.
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