By Benjamin J. Cohen, Professor of International Political Economy, University of California, Santa Barbara. With the Senate’s passage of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” President Donald Trump seems close to notching his first legislative victory – a huge tax cut for the 1 percent.
Effort to retroactively hand Arizona to Trump exposed — and docs reveal top Republicans were complicit: report
A series of emails expose an Arizona effort to retroactively hand the 2020 Arizona election to Donald Trump, even though the GOP's own audit showed he lost.
According to Rolling Stone, "the technology was complicated, but the plan was simple: Scan mail-in and absentee ballots in populous Maricopa County, remove the “invalid votes,” and recertify the state’s 2020 election count, surely declaring then-President Donald Trump the rightful winner."
Newly released emails show that in early Dec. 2020, Trump officials and Republican allies were using the then-president's conspiracy campaign to uncover some kind of fraud that could be used to overturn the results.
"The emails show how a group of fringe election sleuths pressed state legislators on a plan to disrupt the 2020 election certification and potentially change the vote count in a battleground state that helped deliver Joe Biden the presidency," the report explained. "The emails also reveal that several Trump advisers, including campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis and legal adviser Bernie Kerik, were included in the discussion."
The two played major roles in the Trump legal team and extended to other states, not just Arizona. Kerik was more involved in trying to find cases of widespread voter fraud that could be used to prove Trump won. Their problem, however, is that they never could find anything. It didn't matter. What the emails reveal is that Ellis and Kerik were directly in contact with Arizona Republican elected officials trying to find ways to overturn Trump's loss.
One of those involved in the overthrow attempt, Mark Finchem, is running to take over the elections in Arizona.
A Republican chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors named Bill Gates, disputed the claims of fraud, only to be called a "traitor" by his party members. His family then faced harassment and threats. He saw the emails, saying that it's clear they were "trying to figure out that hail-mary pass" to overturn 2020. "They’re drawing up the hail-mary pass that obviously culminated in Jan. 6. This is part and parcel of it."
He note that it is also clear that those who were driving the election conspiracies came from outside of Arizona and were part of the Trump campaign.
"This was not an organic effort," he told Rolling Stone. "This is obviously people from outside, along with Trump and his lieutenants, pushing this."
This is the second time Rolling Stone has reported private conversations over text and email with high-level Trump officials who crafted the 2021 sham audit that cost $9 million for the audit. At the same time, the GOP's efforts against the machines in Maricopa County meant that they were permanently tainted and deemed not secure. That cost nearly $3 million that the county is asking the state to pay for.
Those also linked to the conspiracy, according to the emails, include Reince Priebus, the former Republican Party chair and Trump White House chief of staff, as well as Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Top Trump aides promised that they'd give lawyers to help the GOP with the effort.
Another person who was responsible for the emails was retired Army Col Phil Waldron, who deemed himself an investigator and researcher. He says he has worked with Michael Flynn as part of a group that claims the electronic voting machine companies have tried to help the Chinese Communist Party and Venezuelans. They don't. Waldron is also the same man who crafted the 38-page PowerPoint document titled "Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN."
Rolling Stone said that the emails handed to them from American Oversight shows Waldron reached out to many Republican lawmakers in early Dec. 2020 demanding evidence of fraud be found.
It was mere weeks before Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger to demand he "find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have" so he could win the election there.
Others included in the emails include former lobbyist Katherine Friess, who fought in Michigan to change the election. Russ Ramsland was yet another one who claimed he was some kind of election investigator. He went after Arizona state Sen. Sonny Borrelli saying that he had a special technology that would find "kinetic markers" to prove votes were fraudulent. Borrelli forwarded it everywhere. Waldron's efforts were quashed due to Arizona laws.
Republican Arizona officials then waged their war to hire CyberNinjas to find the fraud that never was discovered.
Speakers at the Defeat the Mandates rally led by anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. presented a dystopian vision of totalitarian control in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on Sunday that attracted extremist groups like the Proud Boys and alongside prominent figures in the effort to subvert the 2020 election.
"Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps; you could hide in the attic, like Anne Frank did," Kennedy said in a speech that devolved into a rant that leapt from resentment against public health measures to paranoia about Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the mastermind of a global surveillance regime.
"Today, the mechanisms are being put in place that will make it so none of us can run and hide," Kennedy continued. "Within five years, we’re going to see 450,000 low-orbit satellites. Bill Gates and his 65,000 satellites alone will be able to look at every square inch of the planet 24 hours a day. They’re putting in 5G to harvest our data and control our behavior — digital currency that will allow them to punish us from a distance and cut off our food supply."
A large InfoWars flag — representing the conspiracy theorist platform that has pumped out anti-government messaging for decades and amplified false claims of election fraud in 2020 — fluttered in the wind near the Lincoln Memorial. Joe Flynn, the brother of retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, who helped promote disinformation to discredit the election, rubbed shoulders with uniformed firefighters in Operation Freedom of Choice. Patrick Byrne, the Overstock.com CEO who went to the White House in December 2020 with Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell to try to persuade President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act in December 2020, was also at the Defeat the Mandates rally on Sunday.
A dozen or more Proud Boys in traditional colors staked out a position at the end of the Reflecting Pool, joined by two men wearing skull masks, camouflage jackets, khaki pants and work boots. The two men attached to the Proud Boys group took turns carrying a backpack bearing patches of the Confederate battle flag and another national colors and emblem of Ukraine. A small group of counter-protesters chanted on a nearby knoll, and at one point, the Proud Boys went over, but left quickly without a confrontation. Dozens of Proud Boys face federal charges, including conspiracy to obstruct the electoral count, for their involvement in the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6.
Shekinah Hollingsworth, a self-described "Groyper" — part of a movement that follows white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes — chatted with an activist carrying a sheaf of anti-vaccine signs promoting Turning Point USA, the conservative group headed by Charlie Kirk. Hollingsworth told Raw Story that the Groypers "seek to bring back a real identity: net-zero immigration, revere our founders, against critical race theory, which seeks to diminish American identity."
Hollingsworth, who identifies as biracial, told Raw Story she doesn’t see a problem with white nationalism, justifying it as equivalent to other racial groups advocating for themselves.
"Groypers don’t make a distinction between people who support the cause," she said. “There are Black Groypers. America was founded by white people. It’s through building coalitions with other minorities that we’re able to enjoy the benefits of American society.”
When speakers mentioned Gates and Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the president, rally attendees broke into chants of, "Lock him up!"
Other speakers attacked the news media, responding angrily to accurate reporting that conveys that vaccines are safe and effective while reducing the rate of death and hospitalization from COVID.
"There are people on this stand that went to journalism school, and now they are shilling for Big Pharma," Dr. Ryan Cole said. "They are censoring. When you woke up in the morning, CNN, did you say I’m going to cancel and censor doctors today so people can die’? We hold you responsible, too. Look into your hearts and say, ‘I have been wrong, I will be humble. I will do my job as a journalist and learn the truth — that people have immune systems, that Vitamin D saves lives."
"We are being starved of critical information media ignores us," complained Dr. Pierre Kory, who has described ivermectin as a "wonder drug" and testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee at the invitation of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers that the agency has received multiple reports of patients requiring medical attention, including hospitalization, after using ivermectin, a medication designed to treat infections caused by parasites in horses and other large animals.
"It’s about the war on repurposed drugs," he said. "We’re trying to win that war. And we are winning that war. And we will win that war. I see all of you guys. I am so grateful to see America showing up. That’s what we do. We are Americans and we resist tyranny! Enough with the medical tyranny!"
The 2016 election had barely started when former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) was desperately begging a crowd of supporters, "please clap." Now, in 2022, former President Donald Trump appears to be the one desperate for applause.
In a video posted by ParlerTakes, a video from Mar-a-Lago shows the former president entering the dining area to applause. He then appears to wave on the audience, asking that they give him more. He then flashes a double thumbs-up.
It isn't the first time the story is being told. Some of the many books that were published about Trump. post-presidency have told stories about him begging for a standing ovation when he walks into the dining room. This video doesn't appear to show anyone standing.
Phil Rucker and Carol Leonig reported in their book I Alone Can Fix It describes the scene as Trump holds court in the dining room.
"As more dinner guests with plates began queuing up in the room to visit the raw bar and other food stations, Trump finally decided it was time to wrap up our conversation. He invited us to stay for dinner and instructed the maître d’ to find us a table. Then the former president stepped onto the veranda and into the last of the day’s sun. Right on cue, the dinner guests immediately stood up at their tables to applaud him. He took it all in, smiling," the book said. "Just another Wednesday night at Mar-a-Lago. And off he went, table by table, to greet friends."
"When you're down there talking to him, there's a distorted reality he's presenting, not only to us, but the dozens of guests that come to Mar-A-Lago every night for dinner and give him a standing ovation at sunset, and then you leave Mar-A-Lago and you realize what's happening in the world the reality is so different from what he's trying to tell his supporters," Leonig described after the book came out.
The video was quickly ridiculed by those who saw it. You can see the video, responses and a reminder of the Jeb Bush video below:
Jeb Bush: "Please clap" www.youtube.com
In other words, \u201cplease clap.\u201d Same energy as Jeb Bush.\n\nIf you\u2019re able to support us in monitoring the right wing, please consider a retweet and a small donation. No obligations as always. Your support is always appreciated.https://secure.actblue.com/donate/pt-research-fund?refcode=01.23.22MaraLagoBrunch&amount=5\u00a0\u2026— PatriotTakes \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@PatriotTakes \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1642976811
Please claphttps://twitter.com/patriottakes/status/1485372477119340545\u00a0\u2026— David Pakman (@David Pakman) 1642978412
Look at #Trump the clown, begging for attention and applause. He is such a clown!https://twitter.com/patriottakes/status/1485372477119340545\u00a0\u2026— It's About The Truth (@It's About The Truth) 1642983394
trump asks for applause like he asks for votes: shamelesslyhttps://twitter.com/patriottakes/status/1485372477119340545\u00a0\u2026— \ud83d\udea9 (@\ud83d\udea9) 1642981955
Trump needs lunch crowd love/applause at Mar-a-Lago. Where is Ivanka, Melania, Don, Jr., Eric?https://twitter.com/meidas_laurena/status/1485372793629790210\u00a0\u2026— Kathleen Zutell (@Kathleen Zutell) 1642982178
Jimmy Carter builds houses for the poor. Clinton has a foundation. Bush has a think tank and paints portraits of veterans. Obama has a foundation. \n\nTrump begs for applause at brunch at his gaudy golf club.https://twitter.com/dpakman/status/1485385239128162307\u00a0\u2026— Fred Wellman (@Fred Wellman) 1642980439
Look at all those black people serving all those white people at Mar-a-Lago.\n\nFascist Trump needed to ask his crowd for applause. (It\u2019s hard to get people to clap for you when they have more money.)https://twitter.com/patriottakes/status/1485372477119340545\u00a0\u2026— \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8(\u3063\u25d4\u25e1\u25d4)\u3063 \ud83c\udf46 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8(\u3063\u25d4\u25e1\u25d4)\u3063 \ud83c\udf46 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1642976073
Donald Trump begging for an applause.. here you go:\n#NobodyDoesItLikeNancyPelosipic.twitter.com/ascufbATTn— TheBadHombreAccount (@TheBadHombreAccount) 1642980404
I think those giving Trump his needed smattering of applause are even more pathetic.https://twitter.com/patriottakes/status/1485372477119340545\u00a0\u2026— LibertyIsStillALady (@LibertyIsStillALady) 1642979235
Trump begging for people to clap is priceless.\u201dplease clap\u201dpic.twitter.com/hVVe6QJy0t— aes (@aes) 1642985065
Trump gets the clap.https://twitter.com/patriottakes/status/1485372477119340545\u00a0\u2026— 21st Century Schizoid Man (@21st Century Schizoid Man) 1642982857
Check out the Mar-a-Lago employee on the right. Trump pays people to clap for him.pic.twitter.com/R4qurRWsND— PatriotTakes \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@PatriotTakes \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1642981576