BALTIMORE — At least one former or current member of the Baltimore Police Department has been "actively working" with defense attorneys for the six officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, according to prosecutors — leaking them an "arsenal of material" to use in a "campaign of public relations warfare." Deputy State's Attorney…
'Ineptitude': Arizona county destroys top GOP official's recount company as 'grifts and con-artists'
Arizona's Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in a letter sent Monday slammed both the State Senate Republican President and the company she chose to perform a highly-controversial recount of the 2020 presidential election ballots.
That recount, which has been going on for nearly four weeks, has been plagued by regular reports of irregular and suspicious actions and, as the Board of Supervisors said today, "ineptitude."
Already the U.S. Dept. of Justice has notified the company performing the recount, Cyber Ninjas, that it is watching their actions and warning them their actions may violate the law.
The Maricopa Board of Supervisors – which is made up of four Republicans and just one Democrat – Monday did not hold back, blasting Senate President Karen Fann, accusing her of lying, among other disturbing actions.
Fann, in a false accusation picked up and repeated by Donald Trump over the weekend, claimed Maricopa County deleted an entire database. The accusation was made either out of ignorance or political vengeance, or both, but the damage has been done.
The County responded today, calling the accusations "false, defamatory, and beneath the dignity of the Senate."
"We demand that you immediately rescind your false and malicious tweet," the county tells Senate President Fann in a 13-page letter, "asserting that Maricopa County 'spoiled evidence' in the days before we provided the server to the Senate. Your tweet, which relies on the 'modified date' shown in the screenshot as evidence of wrongdoing, is demonstrably false; the only thing it does demonstrate is your auditors' incompetence. Their stunning lack of a basic understanding for how their software works is egregious and only made worse by the false tweet sent defaming the hardworking employees of Maricopa County."
The Senate, Maricopa County adds, "is only interested in feeding the various festering conspiracy theories that fuel the fundraising schemes of those pulling your strings."
You have rented out the once good name of the Arizona State Senate to grifters and con-artists, who are fundraising hard-earned money from our fellow citizens even as your contractors parade around the Coliseum, hunting for bamboo and something they call "kinematic artifacts" while shining purple lights for effect. None of these things are done in a serious audit. The result is that the Arizona Senate is held up to ridicule in every corner of the globe and our democracy is imperiled.
A few more excerpts:
"Your various questions about our election procedures reveal a serious lack of understanding of election law."
"a spectacular lack of understanding on your part"
"we cannot give you a password that we do not possess any more than we can give you the formula for Coca Cola. We do not have it; we have no legal right to acquire it; and so, we cannot give it to you."
"We will not be responding to any additional inquiries from your "auditors". Their failure to understand basic election processes is an indication you didn't get the best people to perform in your political theatre. We have wasted enough County resources. People's tax dollars are real, your 'auditors' are not."
"Your 'audit' is harming all of us, and we ask you to end it."
But perhaps among the most disturbing accusations Maricopa County makes, is, as The Guardian's Sam Levine reports, Cyber Ninjas is "just straight miscounting ballots." Read this short tweet:
Maricopa county says Cyber Ninjas is just straight miscounting ballots https://t.co/riK3xBi6l3 https://t.co/vM5Wa9XjnX— Sam Levine (@Sam Levine)1621286015.0
Jack Sellers, the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, concluded a meeting Monday afternoon by announcing to the Arizona Sensate, "Finish your report and be ready to defend it in a court of law."
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) was not one of the more than 100 House Republicans who voted to block certification of the 2020 presidential election results. However, he did sign onto a frivolous lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that sought to block certification of four states' election results — a suit so ridiculous the heavily right-wing Supreme Court swatted it aside quickly.
On the Sunday talk show circuit, Crenshaw tried to draw a clear distinction between these things. "You guys in the press painted that as some extreme action, and of course it wasn't," he said. "That amicus brief was a simple question of the Supreme Court, in saying, 'Can you please speak to this question of whether, of whether process changes in the election -- last minute, not approved by the legislature — can be deemed constitutional?' It was a question, and they didn't want to answer that question."
On Monday, writing for CNN, fact-checker Daniel Dale dropped the hammer on Crenshaw's misleading account of events.
"The House Republican amicus brief did not merely ask the court to answer a constitutional question," wrote Dale. "In reality, the brief expressed a firm opinion — that the four Biden-won states had taken 'unconstitutional actions' — and asked the Supreme Court for a specific response: to allow Texas' lawsuit to proceed and to grant Texas' request for a preliminary injunction forbidding the four states from certifying Biden's victories until the lawsuit was resolved. The brief also invoked baseless claims of election fraud, saying that 'the election of 2020 has been riddled with an unprecedented number of serious allegations of fraud and irregularities.'"
Moreover, Dale also took aim at Crenshaw's spokesman Justin Discigil, who said that the brief Crenshaw signed, "doesn't make any specific request of the court or urge any specific outcome, and certainly didn't ask the court to overturn election results in states."
"That's just flat wrong. The conclusion of the amicus brief did make a specific request of the court beyond just objectively reviewing the Texas argument. In fact, it made two specific requests," wrote Dale. "There's 1) an explicit request for the court not to dismiss the Texas lawsuit and 2) an explicit request for the court to impose a preliminary injunction. And right before that, there is an explicit argument that the four states had acted unconstitutionally."
"If Crenshaw wants to distinguish himself from Republican colleagues who continued to try to overturn the outcome right up through January 6, he has solid grounds on which to do so," concluded Dale. "But that doesn't make his attempted whitewashing of the amicus brief any more factual."
You can read more here.
On Monday, at a hearing of the Louisiana House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure, one GOP state representative claimed she knows of doctors who are warning people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine can get "very very sick" and die from it.
"Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Denham Springs Republican, claimed her doctor's friend, who is also a doctor, told patients not to take the COVID vaccine because they could get "very very sick and possibly die from it." She said she's worried the U.S. will require vaccines for certain forms of travel," reported Sam Karlin for The Advocate. "Aly Neel, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health, said Louisiana has not had a confirmed death tied to the COVID-19 vaccines. Severe side effects from all three vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. are rare."
In the course of that hearing, two anti-vaccine bills were advanced in committee by the Republican majority: one to give lawsuit immunity to businesses for not imposing vaccine mandates on employees, and one that would prohibit denying people access to hearings, permits, or government programs based on vaccine status.
In recent weeks, Hodges has also sought to advance a bill that would require subjects like American exceptionalism and national sovereignty be taught in schools — which critics say is a retread of a shelved bill by Rep. Ray Garofalo, a lawmaker who landed in hot water last month by claiming schools should teach the "good" parts of slavery.
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