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Posts Tagged ‘ election

Lie as litmus test: Arizona governor candidate Kari Lake calls it ‘disqualifying’ for rival not to declare 2020 election ‘stolen’

A leading Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, Kari Lake, continues to put lies about the 2020 presidential election at the center of her campaign — this week calling it “disqualifying” and “sickening” for a rival candidate not to say that the election was stolen, though it wasn’t stolen.

Lake’s strong performance in the Republican primary so far means that an aggressively dishonest promoter of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election could potentially have a prominent role in the 2024 presidential election in a key swing state.
Lake said at a televised Republican debate on Wednesday that she would not have certified Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, which was certified by term-limited Republican Gov. Doug Ducey as required by law. Lake, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, falsely said of Biden: “He lost the election, and he shouldn’t be in the White House.”
The Arizona governor’s certification of presidential results “traditionally has been, and should be, uneventful,” Joshua Sellers, an expert on election law and an Arizona State University associate professor of law, said in an email on Friday — a necessary but “perfunctory” act confirming the result of the state’s popular vote. Sellers said “it would be deeply disruptive for a Governor to impede certification based solely on her own views or disappointment about a presidential election result.”
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the state’s top elections official, is the overwhelming favorite in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Arizona has elected a Republican governor in three straight elections dating back to 2010. Biden’s 2020 victory in the state was the first for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996.

A barrage of false election claims from Lake

Lake, a former news anchor at a local Fox station, repeatedly and falsely claimed at the Wednesday debate that the 2020 election was “stolen” and “corrupt.”
As supposed proof, Lake cited a “forensic audit.” A shambolic Republican-initiated partisan review, described by supporters as an audit but marred by problems, confirmed that Biden beat Trump in Arizona’s most populous county.
Lake also defended a right-wing film about the 2020 election that is filled with holes of logic and evidence, even after the debate moderator noted that Trump-appointed former Attorney General William Barr had scoffed at the film. And Lake falsely said that 34,000 Arizona ballots “were counted two, three and four times,” though this simply did not happen. (It wasn’t clear if Lake was referring to a long-circulating false claim about duplicate images of ballot envelopes, which have an entirely benign explanation, or talking about something else.)
Lake asked the three other candidates on stage to raise their hands if they agreed that the election was corrupt and stolen. When her top competitor, developer Karrin Taylor Robson, was the only one not to do so — Robson said she wouldn’t participate in Lake’s “stunt” — Lake’s Twitter account called Robson’s refusal “disqualifying.” Lake’s account posted video of the exchange again on Friday, this time calling Robson’s refusal “sickening.”
In other words, one leading candidate for a major office is bashing another leading candidate for declining to join her in championing a lie.
Lake’s campaign declined to make a substantive comment for this article. When asked for supporting information about Lake’s false claim that ballots were counted up to four times, an adviser replied only by mocking CNN.

Robson wouldn’t say whether she would have certified the 2020 election

Robson appears to have gained ground with party voters, narrowing Lake’s lead in recent polls. Robson got a boost this week when the third-place candidate, former congressman Matt Salmon, dropped out and endorsed her.
Unlike Lake, who said at the debate that the 2020 election is “the number-one issue” today, Robson has not made the 2020 election a top point of emphasis in this one. And Robson has not gone nearly as far as Lake in disparaging the 2020 election.
Robson, though, has also disputed its legitimacy. She said at the debate: “I believe our election was absolutely not fair.”
Robson cited supposed media suppression of news damaging to Biden and supposed anti-conservative bias by “big tech,” “liberal judges” having permitted the imposition of new policies shortly before the election (which was held during the Covid-19 pandemic), and Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg having donated a total of hundreds of millions of dollars to local elections offices around the country.
Robson did not answer directly when asked if she would have certified Arizona’s 2020 results as governor, saying she “was not privy” to the information Ducey had at the time. She was the only candidate at the debate to unequivocally say she would accept the outcome of this primary.
Hobbs campaign manager Nicole DeMont criticized both Lake and Robson for spending time complaining about the 2020 election even though “Arizonans are tired of being made fun of on late-night TV.”
“The Trump-endorsed frontrunner Kari Lake has been the biggest proponent of the Big Lie from day one, but now Karrin Taylor Robson is also peddling those conspiracy theories in an effort to catch up in the polls,” DeMont said in an email. She said Hobbs is committed to fighting for policies “Arizonans actually care about” on issues like schools, water and affordability.
Election Day in the primary is August 2. Early voting begins on Wednesday.

More than half of GOP governor nominees have questioned or denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election

The Republican nominee in at least 21 of this year’s 36 gubernatorial races is someone who has rejected, declined to affirm, raised doubts about, or tried to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

And the list will almost certainly get longer when the last batch of Republican primaries is completed over the coming weeks.
The 21 candidates on the list so far have expressed varying views about the 2020 election. Some have falsely proclaimed the election stolen; some others have been evasive when asked if Biden’s victory was legitimate. Some incumbents endorsed a 2020 lawsuit that sought to overturn Biden’s win but have said little about the election since; some first-time candidates made false election claims a focus of their successful 2022 primary campaigns.
Regardless, the presence of a large number of 2020 deniers, deceivers and skeptics on general election ballots in November raises the prospect of a crisis of democracy in the 2024 presidential election in which former President Donald Trump is widely expected to run again. Governors play a major role in elections — signing or vetoing legislation about election rules, sometimes unilaterally changing those rules, appointing key election officials, and, critically, certifying election results.
It is possible that some swing states will have their 2024 elections run by both a governor and elections chief who have vehemently rejected Biden’s victory.
In Arizona, for example, both Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem are conspiracy theorists who want to overturn Biden’s 2020 win in the state. In Pennsylvania, where the governor gets to nominate the election chief, the Republican gubernatorial nominee is Doug Mastriano, a fervent election denier who has taken various steps to try to reverse the 2020 result. Both Republican nominees in Michigan, Tudor Dixon for governor and Kristina Karamo for secretary of state, have falsely claimed Trump won the state in 2020.
CNN will update this article as additional Republican winners are chosen or if we find information showing that Biden’s victory has been disputed by current Republican nominees.

Alabama: Kay Ivey

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declares victory in her Republican primary race as she speaks at her election watch party in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday May 24, 2022.

In April, during the Republican primary, incumbent Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey released an ad in which she falsely claimed, “The fake news, Big Tech and blue state liberals stole the election from President Trump.” Challenged about the ad by local television station WVTM 13, Ivey said she believes Trump was the rightful winner. (He lost.)
The Ivey campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Alaska: Mike Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters about the recently ended legislative session on Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Incumbent Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy supported the Texas lawsuit that tried in December 2020 to get the Supreme Court to overturn Biden’s victories in four states. When an interviewer asked Dunleavy in December 2020 — a month after television networks unofficially declared Biden the winner — how he would manage Alaska’s relationship with “President-elect Biden,” Dunleavy said that “I’m not there yet, that there’s a new president.” He added that there was an “outside chance” that there would be a Biden administration — though, in fact, that was overwhelmingly likely.
“If there is any suspicion of fraud, which there is, that really needs to be looked into. That really needs to be investigated,” Dunleavy said, though there was no evidence at the time of widespread fraud that could have changed the outcome. “That really needs to be determined, I think by the courts, that if it does exist, then it needs to be rectified. If it doesn’t exist, then that needs to be proven as well.”
On the day Biden was inaugurated in January 2021, reporter James Brooks, then with the Anchorage Daily News and now with the Alaska Beacon, asked Dunleavy if Biden won the election legitimately. Dunleavy would not respond directly, saying, “Joe Biden won this election. Joe Biden was — has been sworn in today. So he is the president.” Though Brooks asked two more times if Dunleavy believes Biden won legitimately, Dunleavy again avoided a straight answer.
In July 2022, the Anchorage Daily News reported that “Dunleavy did not respond to several questions sent to his campaign spokesman about his position on the 2020 election results.” A Dunleavy campaign spokesperson told the newspaper that Dunleavy would remain focused on his own race.
Dunleavy succeeded in Alaska’s top-four primary in August, advancing to the general election as the leading Republican in the race. The Dunleavy campaign did not respond to a CNN request for comment.

Arizona: Kari Lake

Republican gubernatorial candidate for Arizona Kari Lake speaks to supporters during a campaign event at the Whiskey Roads Restaurant & Bar on July 31, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona

Arizona Republican nominee Kari Lake has put false claims about the 2020 election at the center of her campaign — repeatedly and falsely declaring the election “stolen” and even calling it “disqualifying” and “sickening” that her top rival in the party primary wouldn’t say the same. In an interview with The New York Times in early August, after primary voters had cast their ballots, Lake said of Biden: “Deep down, I think we all know this illegitimate fool in the White House — I feel sorry for him — didn’t win.”
Lake, a former longtime local news anchor at a Fox station in Phoenix, has said she would not have certified Biden’s victory in Arizona if she had been governor. She has continued, even in 2022, to demand the decertification of the Biden-won states of Arizona and Wisconsin, though that is a legal impossibility.
Lake has made numerous false claims about the 2020 election. She has falsely claimed Biden didn’t receive 81 million votes he indeed received, falsely claimed Trump won Arizona, though he actually lost by more than 10,000 votes, and promoted baseless conspiracy theories about the vote count and about election technology company Dominion Voting Systems.
Lake has advocated for the imprisonment of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is now her Democratic opponent for governor; there is simply no sign Hobbs broke the law. Lake has also called for the imprisonment of unspecified journalists she claims have told lies about the election and other subjects.
The Lake campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Arkansas: Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks at the America First Policy Institute Agenda Summit in Washington, DC, on July 26, 2022.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary under Trump, has run a low-profile Arkansas gubernatorial campaign with only sporadic public comments to the media. But when the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper asked her this spring whether she believes the election was stolen from Trump, Sanders declined to affirm the election’s legitimacy — saying, “I don’t think we’ll ever know the depths of how much fraud existed.” She continued: “We know there is fraud in every election. How far and wide it went, I don’t think that will be something that will be ever determined.”
Sanders didn’t go nearly as far as her obscure primary opponent, who flatly declared the election stolen. Still, she chose to vaguely cast doubt on the outcome. (There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, certainly not enough to have changed the winner in any state.)
The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

California: Brian Dahle

Republican gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Brian Dahle discusses the upcoming race against Gov. Gavin Newsom during an interview in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, June 9, 2022.

California Republican nominee Brian Dahle, a state senator who is challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, refused to answer directly when The Los Angeles Times asked him in a May article whether Biden was legitimately elected, saying only that Biden is “our president.” In late April, the website CalMatters reported that Dahle “notably did not affirm the 2020 election results, even after CalMatters pushed his team to clarify Dahle’s position on Trump’s conspiracy theory about widespread voting fraud. In a TV interview a day later, he said: ‘Joe Biden is our president, no doubt.'”
The Dahle campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Colorado: Heidi Ganahl

Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl addresses the media after a watch party at the Wide Open Saloon on June 28, 2022 in Sedalia, Colorado.

Colorado Republican nominee Heidi Ganahl, a businesswoman and University of Colorado regent who is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Jared Polis, refused on multiple occasions — including in late 2021 and early 2022 — to say whether Joe Biden won the election legitimately. In November 2021, Ganahl praised a group of election conspiracy theorists that has knocked on Colorado doors looking for evidence of fraud, saying the group was “doing great things,” the website Colorado Newsline reported.
In April 2022, the Colorado Sun reported that when Ganahl was pressed on a local radio show about whether she believes the election was “stolen,” she refused to answer directly and said, “I think there’s a lot of questions about what happened in the election.”
The Colorado Sun reported that Ganahl said in mid-June that “I don’t believe there was enough fraud that would have flipped the election.” But she also said “there are a lot of procedural things that were weird about this election,” criticizing states’ pre-election changes to their elections policies and Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s hundreds of millions in donations to local elections offices around the country. (Those donations helped cash-strapped offices deal with the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic but have been criticized by Republicans, sometimes conspiratorially, as inappropriate private influence.)
In July, Ganahl chose a running mate, Navy veteran and businessman Danny Moore, who falsely claimed on Facebook in January 2021 that Biden was “elected by the Democrat steal” and posted other baseless conspiratorial claims about the election. Because of these comments, Moore was removed in 2021 as chair of Colorado’s redistricting commission.
After he was removed as chair, he told The Gazette newspaper of Colorado Springs that he isn’t a conspiracy theorist and doesn’t believe Trump got more votes than Biden. He said, “Joe Biden is the duly elected president. Joe Biden is the commander-in-chief.”
The Ganahl campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Florida: Ron DeSantis

U.S. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pauses as he speaks on stage at the Turning Point USA's (TPUSA) Student Action Summit (SAS) in Tampa, Florida, U.S., July 22, 2022.

Appearing on Fox News two days after the 2020 election, incumbent Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hinted at the notion that Republican legislators in key swing states could potentially override the presidential choices of state voters. DeSantis was one of the first prominent Republicans to publicly float this idea.
DeSantis said, “Especially if you’re in those states that have Republican legislatures, like Pennsylvania and Michigan and all these places: call your state representatives and your state senators. Call Under Article II of the Constitution, presidential electors are done by the legislatures, and the schemes they create and the framework. And if there’s departure from that, if they’re not following law, if they’re ignoring the law, then they can provide remedies as well. So I would exhaust every option to make sure we have a fair count.”
DeSantis continued into early December 2020 to say he was encouraging Trump to “fight on,” according to a Politico report at the time. When DeSantis was asked in mid-December 2020, after the Electoral College ratified Biden’s victory, if he accepted the Biden win, he responded, according to Politico: “It’s not for me to do. But here’s what I would say: Obviously we did our thing in Florida. The College voted. What’s going to happen is going to happen.”
On multiple occasions since then, DeSantis has refused to respond directly when asked if he thinks Biden was legitimately elected or if the election was rigged. Instead, he has generally pivoted to praise of how the election was handled in Florida, which Trump won, and to other comments.
DeSantis is running unopposed in the Republican primary. His office did not respond to a July request from CNN to explain where he stands on the legitimacy of Biden’s win.

Idaho: Brad Little

Idaho Gov. Brad Little laughs while talking with media after declaring victory in the gubernatorial primary during the Republican Party's primary election celebration Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Boise, Idaho.

Incumbent Idaho Gov. Brad Little endorsed the Texas lawsuit in December 2020 that attempted to get the Supreme Court to toss out the election results in four states won by Biden.
Little’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Illinois: Darren Bailey

Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey celebrates with supporters on primary election night on June 28, 2022, at Thelma Keller Convention Center in Effingham, Illinois.

Illinois State Sen. Darren Bailey, the Republican nominee who is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker, signed a letter that asked an Illinois member of Congress to object, on January 6, 2021, to the certification of Biden’s victory; the letter said, “Certifying this election is tantamount to legitimizing fraud.” (The letter was previously reported by the Effingham Daily News.)
Bailey vaguely promoted the false suggestion that there was voter fraud sufficiently widespread to have changed the outcome. On November 12, 2020, five days after television networks unofficially called the race for Biden, Bailey wrote on Twitter: “TRUMP…..4 more years! It’s coming……#voterfraudistreason.” In a Facebook video on December 3, 2020, he said it is “appalling” that other Illinois Republicans were calling on Trump to “give up” the fight and baselessly hinted that “illegal voting” had led to Republican defeats in races in the Chicago area.
The Bailey campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Iowa: Kim Reynolds

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during the Ember Recovery Campus groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Cambridge.

Incumbent Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in December 2020 that she wanted Iowa to join the Texas lawsuit that tried to overturn Biden’s victories in four states, and she lamented that the state wasn’t given an opportunity to sign on because Iowa has a Democratic attorney general. She blocked an effort by that attorney general, Tom Miller, to formally submit his opposition to the lawsuit.
Days after Biden’s January 2021 inauguration, Reynolds said on WHO 13 News of Des Moines, “I think he is legitimately elected.” But she continued to baselessly suggest there were unanswered questions “about the integrity of the election process.”
Reynolds’ office did not respond to a request for comment.

Kansas: Derek Schmidt

In this photo from Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt answers questions during an interview in his office in Topeka, Kan. Schmidt,  a Republican running for governor, has issued a legal opinion saying an anti-abortion measure up for a statewide vote would not hinder medical care for women facing life-threatening pregnancies.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the Republican gubernatorial nominee who is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Laura Kelly, signed on to a legal brief in support of the Texas lawsuit that sought to overturn the election results in four states. Schmidt said in a statement in December 2020: “Texas asserts it can prove four states violated the U.S. Constitution in an election that affects all Americans, so Texas should be heard.”
After the Supreme Court dismissed the Texas lawsuit later in December 2020, Schmidt issued a statement saying “the Court’s decision means it is time to put this election behind us.”
The Schmidt campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Maine: Paul LePage

Republican candidate for governor Paul LePage speaks at the Republican state convention April 30, 2022, in Augusta, Maine.

Maine Republican nominee and former governor Paul LePage, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Janet Mills, falsely claimed in a local radio appearance the week after the 2020 election: “This is clearly a stolen election.” He proceeded to make baseless claims about voter fraud and baselessly declare that Democrats don’t want fair elections. (His comments were previously reported by Beacon, a Maine website.)
LePage has not limited such claims to the 2020 election. This April, he claimed that out-of-state voters bused into Maine to vote in a 2009 referendum on same-sex marriage, though there is no evidence for that either. And in 2018, upon certifying a Democrat’s victory in the first congressional election in US history ranked-choice voting, LePage wrote the words “stolen election” next to his signature.
Asked for comment, the LePage campaign responded by asking CNN to cite the source for his claim that 2020 was a “stolen election.” When provided a link, the campaign did not respond again.

Maryland: Dan Cox

Dan Cox, a candidate for the Maryland Republican gubernatorial nomination, speaks to reporters at his campaign party on primary night, Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in Emmitsburg, Md.

Maryland state representative Dan Cox, the Republican nominee in the race to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, has been a particularly aggressive denier of the 2020 results.
Cox co-organized buses to Trump’s January 6, 2021, rally in Washington, writing on Twitter that he was doing so to “#StoptheSteal” (a “steal” that didn’t occur). During the insurrection at the US Capitol that day, as the mob raged against the vice president who had no power to thwart the certification of Biden’s win, Cox tweeted: “Pence is a traitor.” The month prior, Cox had called on Trump to seize voting machines.
In a speech in late 2021, which was previously reported by The New York Times, Cox said that Trump was “the only president that I recognize right now” and falsely said Biden wasn’t elected but “installed, in my opinion.” In a post on Facebook this June, Cox referred to the 2020 election as a “GREAT HEIST.”
The Cox campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Michigan: Tudor Dixon

Republican candidate for Michigan governor Tudor Dixon appears at a debate in Grand Rapids, Mich., Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

Michigan Republican nominee Tudor Dixon, a conservative commentator and anchor who is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, falsely claimed at Republican primary debates that Trump was the legitimate 2020 winner in Michigan, where Biden actually defeated Trump by more than 154,000 votes, and that there was fraud sufficiently widespread to have swung the election to Biden.
In a reply Dixon tweeted to Trump in November 2020, she falsely wrote, “Steal an election then hide behind calls for unity and leftists lap it up.”
Dixon has sometimes taken a somewhat softer line, complaining about the election without calling it stolen. MLive.com reported that she said at one point in July that there was enough fraud “that we have to be very concerned,” adding, “I don’t think we can see enough of the evidence because we weren’t able to look back and some of that is destroyed now.” (It isn’t clear what she was talking about.) In a Fox News interview in late July, Dixon dodged when asked if she thought the election was stolen, saying instead, “Well, it’s certainly a concern to a lot of folks here in Michigan because of the way the election was handled by our secretary of state.”
The Dixon campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Minnesota: Scott Jensen

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen announces a crime-fighting plan June 9, 2022, during a news conference outside the State Capitol in St. Paul.

At a Minnesota Republican primary debate in December, eventual nominee Scott Jensen would not offer a firm answer when asked if he thinks Biden won a “constitutional majority” in the Electoral College. Instead, he responded, “I can’t know what I don’t know, and I think that we have to take that attitude towards 2020.”
Jensen, a physician and former state senator, went on to uncritically report that someone on the ground in Arizona’s Maricopa County, where Republicans conducted a partisan sham “audit,” had told him that thousands more mail-in ballots were returned than were sent out to voters; that claim is based on a misunderstanding of the county’s records. He then added, “I don’t think there’s any question that we’ve had enough shenanigans that we should want to do something about our election integrity. Which states crossed the line, which states hit a certain threshold, I can’t know that.”
Jensen baselessly suggested at a Republican event in April that Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, should be imprisoned. And Axios reported that as Jensen campaigned across Minnesota in the summer of 2021, he complimented Mike Lindell, the pillow businessman who has propagated wildly inaccurate conspiracy theories about the election, for working to “get rid” of voting machines. (Jensen told Axios he has never talked about Lindell’s specific theories about 2020 election and “wouldn’t know what he’s saying.”)
The Jensen campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Nevada: Joe Lombardo

Joe Lombardo, Clark County sheriff and a candidate for the Republican nomination for Nevada governor, stands on stage during a primary-night party, June 14, 2022, in Las Vegas.

Nevada Republican nominee Joe Lombardo, the Clark County sheriff who is challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, has not done the same kind of explicit election denial as some of the others on this list. Lombardo has said the election was not stolen and that Biden was legitimately elected.
However, Lombardo has also fomented doubts about the election.
In 2021, Lombardo told the Reno Gazette Journal that he didn’t have the information necessary to say if the 2020 results were accurate, and he added that “we had an environment where it was easy to commit fraud.” (There is no evidence of any widespread fraud in Nevada in 2020.) This March, KRNV News 4 of Reno reported that Lombardo said he couldn’t say whether Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske was wrong to say there was no widespread voter fraud in 2020, since there hadn’t been a comprehensive audit.
In an email to CNN in July, Lombardo campaign spokesperson Elizabeth Ray said in an email that “Joe Lombardo has been clear … he has not been presented with evidence to show that any fraud would have changed the outcome of the 2020 election.” She added that, “however,” Sisolak and his allies “have passed laws that make it easier for bad actors from any party to commit fraud.”
Sisolak campaign spokesperson Reeves Oyster responded in an email: “Nevada has one of the strongest election systems in the country thanks to Governor Sisolak, who passed common sense legislation to ensure every eligible Nevadan can safely and easily cast their ballot. Joe Lombardo — on the other hand — has instilled doubt in our elections and cozied up to election deniers to appeal to his base while trying to ignore the Big Lie and its deadly ramifications for law enforcement officers. Lombardo’s willingness to take both sides of the Big Lie demonstrates he’s just another craven politician who will do or say anything to win.”

New York: Lee Zeldin

Lee Zeldin appears during New York's Republican gubernatorial debate at the studios of Spectrum News NY1 on June 20, 2022, in New York.

New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican nominee who is challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, voted against the certification of Biden’s victories in Arizona and Pennsylvania. In his speech that day, January 6, 2021, he claimed that he was objecting because “rogue” state officials had made “unlawful and unconstitutional” changes to elections policies.
The Zeldin campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Pennsylvania: Doug Mastriano

Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano speaks during the Manufacturer & Business Association's Legislative Luncheon in Erie, Pa. on Wednesday,  Aug. 3, 2022.

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who is running against Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, has made an extensive effort to overturn the 2020 election.
In late 2020, on social media and in interviews, Mastriano made numerous false claims about supposed election fraud. (His comments were previously listed by WHYY radio.) Behind the scenes, Mastriano sent false claims about supposed fraud to the Justice Department. He also organized a November 2020 hearing in Pennsylvania in which Trump and lawyer Rudy Giuliani made false election claims.
Mastriano’s campaign chartered buses to the Trump rally in Washington on January 6, 2021. Mastriano himself was pictured on Capitol grounds during the riot at the Capitol that day. (The FBI subsequently questioned him, according to a source familiar with the interview; Mastriano has not been charged with anything.) Later in 2021, Mastriano spearheaded an effort to begin a so-called “forensic investigation” of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race is especially important for elections because its governor appoints the secretary of state, the top state elections official.
The Mastriano campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

South Dakota: Kristi Noem

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks on Feb. 25, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Noem was initially eager to jump right into lawmaking when the U.S. Supreme Court indicated this year it was poised to allow states to ban abortions.

Two days after Election Day in 2020, incumbent South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem baselessly claimed on Twitter that Trump was fighting “rigged election systems” and hinted that there were issues in “Democrat-run” states.
Then, in an ABC interview that aired five days after the election, Noem asserted that “dead people voted in Pennsylvania” (the number of such cases turned out to be tiny, and at least three involved registered Republicans) and referred to Michigan “computer glitches that changed Republican votes to Democrat votes” (in reality, a single, conservative county’s human error in reporting unofficial results had been quickly corrected). On Twitter, Noem added a reference to unspecified “illegal activity” in Nevada and declared that there were “so many serious election integrity concerns.”
Noem attended Biden’s inauguration in January 2021 and congratulated him on the occasion. But she declined the following week to agree that the election was free and fair, the South Dakota Standard reported — acknowledging to reporters that “we now have President Biden” but also saying “I think there’s lot of people who have doubts” about whether the election was fair and transparent.
The Noem campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Texas: Greg Abbott

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks before signing Senate Bill 1, also known as the election integrity bill, into law in Tyler, Texas, on Sept. 7, 2021.

Incumbent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spoke positively about the lawsuit that sought to overturn the results in four states (which was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton) — telling a Spectrum News 1 television reporter in December 2020 that the lawsuit “tries to accelerate the process, providing certainty and clarity about the entire election process. The United States of America needs that.”
Abbott congratulated Biden on his inauguration in January 2021. In the fall of 2021, after pressure from Trump, he supported a state audit of the 2020 election in four counties in Texas, a state Trump won.
The Abbott campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Wisconsin: Tim Michels

Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels speaks as he appears with former President Donald Trump at a rally in Waukesha, Wis., on Aug. 5, 2022.

When Tim Michels, the Republican nominee in Wisconsin who is challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, was asked by a conservative radio host during the Republican primary in May whether he believes the 2020 election was stolen, Michels said, “Maybe.” According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Michels added that “certainly, there was a lot of bad stuff that happened” and that there were “certainly illegal ballots.”
The Journal Sentinel reported that Michels, a businessman, baselessly said at a campaign event in May: “President Trump probably would be president right now if we had election integrity.” At a campaign event in July, The Washington Post reported, Michels said: “My very first priority is election integrity. Everywhere I go on the campaign trail, people, the media, everybody says, ‘Tim, Tim, was the election fixed? Was the election rigged?’ I have a lot of questions, as everybody else has questions.”
Inn a brief interview with the Post and in other forums, Michels would not directly say whether he would, as governor, endorse an effort by other Republicans to decertify Biden’s 2020 victory in Wisconsin — again, an impossibility. He said at a Republican town hall in early August: “I will look at all the evidence and everything will be on the table and I will make the right decision.”
Michels told the Journal Sentinel in June that it was too hypothetical to say at that point whether he would certify the 2024 results in Wisconsin.
The Michels campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump and right-wing lawyer were part of ‘criminal conspiracy’ to overturn 2020 election, January 6 committee alleges

Former President Donald Trump and a right-wing lawyer were part of a “criminal conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 presidential election, the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot alleges in a court filing Wednesday.

The filing is part of an attempt to convince a judge to allow the panel access to emails from lawyer John Eastman, who is claiming attorney-client privilege. The committee said he helped to orchestrate the plot.
The filing is the most extensive release to date from the House’s January 6 investigators as they try to obtain Eastman’s emails — and comes well before the House select committee releases its final report on its findings hey dude on Trump. House members have also signaled they may make a criminal referral to the Justice Department about Trump, depending on their findings, and the House’s arguments Wednesday could be seen as a preview of a case that could be made by federal prosecutors.
In the 61-page court filing on Wednesday, lawyers for the House wrote: “Evidence and information available to the Committee establishes a good-faith belief that Mr. Trump and others may have engaged in criminal and/or fraudulent acts, and that Plaintiff’s legal assistance was used in furtherance of those activities.”
Eastman and Trump have not been accused of any crime by federal or state prosecutors, and no top advisers around Trump have been charged for January 6-related crimes.
The House has no ability to bring criminal charges. A judge overseeing the civil lawsuit will review the emails himself and decide whether they should stay protected.
To make its case, the House pointed to Trump’s actions to overturn the election, arguing he was criminally attempting to obstruct Congress from certifying his loss of the presidency.
“The President called and met with state officials, met numerous times with officials in the Department of Justice, tweeted and spoke about these issues publicly, and engaged in a personal campaign to persuade the public that the election had been tainted by widespread fraud,” lawyers for the House wrote.
“The evidence supports an inference that President Trump and members of his campaign knew he had not won enough legitimate state electoral votes to be declared the winner of the 2020 Presidential election during the January 6 Joint Session of Congress, but the President nevertheless sought to use the Vice President to manipulate the results in his favor.”
They also cited an interview with a top adviser in the Trump administration, Keith Kellogg, who overheard Trump pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of January 6, 2021, to block Congress’ vote.
“Words—and I don’t remember exactly either, but something like that, yeah. Like you’re not tough enough to make the call,” they quoted Kellogg as saying, citing his congressional testimony, which has not previously been released.
Laying out their conspiracy argument in the filing, the House committee focused on pressure on Pence.
“The conspirators also obstructed a lawful governmental function by pressuring the Vice President to violate his duty to count the electoral certificates presented from certain States. As an alternative, they urged the Vice President to delay the count to allow state legislatures to convene and red wing shoes select alternate electors,” they wrote.
“The apparent objective of these efforts was to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and declare Donald Trump the winner. In this way, the conspiracy aimed to obstruct and interfere with the proper functioning of the United States government,” the House added.
The House’s filing on Wednesday revealed in great detail how officials in the Trump administration were pushing back on the then-President’s insistence that the federal government block the election result.
Leadership at the Justice Department told the committee, according to transcripts the House submitted to the court, that Trump personally pressured them to investigate election fraud and that they wouldn’t hold a news conference he wanted.
Richard Donoghue, a former deputy attorney general under Trump, testified that the then-President specifically pushed the Justice Department to label the entire election “corrupt.”
“He wanted us to say that it was corrupt. And this was consistent with some things he said at other points about. The Department should publicly say that the election is corrupt or suspect or not reliable. At one point, he mentioned the possibility of having a press conference. We told him we were not going to do that,” Donoghue testified, according to the House’s filing.
And Greg Jacob, a top lawyer in the vice president’s office, told Eastman in an email on January 6 that he “very respectfully” didn’t believe any Supreme Court justice would approve of Eastman’s legal theories. “And thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege,” Jacob signed off on the email, at 12:14 p.m. on January 6.
The filing also revealed that Jason Miller, a former senior adviser to Trump, told the committee Trump had been advised after the election “in pretty blunt terms” that he was going to lose.
Around that January 6, Eastman, a conservative lawyer working with then-President Trump’s legal team, was a key voice pushing a theory that Pence could stand in the way of Joe Biden’s electoral win. Prominent conservative attorneys as well as Pence and his advisers have largely condemned Eastman’s theory as nonsensical and not something that was possible.
The House subpoenaed Eastman’s emails from Chapman University, his former employer, in recent months, but Eastman went to court to block turning over thousands of the documents — claiming they are his confidential attorney-client communications.
One way the House can try to overcome that confidentiality claim is by showing in court the communications were about ongoing or future crimes, or fraudulent activity. Currently at issue in court are more than 100 emails that Eastman says are part of his Trump representation from January 4 through January 7, 2021, and more than 10,000 total that Eastman is trying to keep from the committee.
The Justice Department has charged more than 750 participants, including some it says engaged in conspiracies, in the pro-Trump riot at the US Capitol, which interrupted Congress from its session certifying the election.
The House’s argument on Wednesday accuses Trump of conspiring to commit the same types of crimes of which many of his supporters who breached the Capitol grounds have been found guilty.

Leftist Gabriel Boric, 35, wins Chile’s presidential election

Chilean presidential candidate Gabriel Boric, of the political alliance "Apruebo Dignidad," or I Approve of Dignity, speaks to supporters during a closing campaign rally in Casablanca, Chile, on November 18.

Amazon workers in Staten Island, N.Y., file for union election

Amazon workers at a cluster of warehouses in Staten Island filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board’s regional office in Brooklyn on Monday requesting an election to form a union.

The effort, called the Amazon Labor Union, is headed up by Chris Smalls, a clarks shoes uk former Amazon employee who was fired in March 2020 after organizing a protest over the lack of protective gear and hazard pay for warehouse workers at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It marks the latest in a series of attempts by a small but vocal portion of Amazon’s 950,000 U.S. employees to organize to demand better working conditions.

“We want to let the company know that we are a real threat,” Smalls said, speaking on behalf of workers who support the efforts. “The time is now.”

Image: Organizer and former Amazon worker Chris Smalls speaks outside the NLRB office before filing paperwork to unionize workers, in Brooklyn, New York (Brendan McDermid / Reuters)
Image: Organizer and former Amazon worker Chris Smalls speaks outside the NLRB office before filing paperwork to unionize workers, in Brooklyn, New York 

Smalls and a few Amazon workers submitted the petition in person to the NLRB’s regional office 29 in downtown Brooklyn at about 2 p.m. Monday (capacity inside the office limited the number of people allowed to enter). Some dressed in costumes resembling the tracksuits worn by characters in hit show “Money Heist.”

Smalls and other organizers assembled a committee and spent the last six months gathering signed union authorization cards from more than 2,000 workers at four warehouses in Staten Island, including the facility Amazon refers to as JFK8, hey dude shoes where Smalls worked for five years before he was fired, as well as three other nearby adjacent facilities. They need at least 30 percent of workers across the four warehouses to sign authorization cards to be eligible for an NLRB election, and a simple majority to win.

The petition for an election comes amid “Striketober,” as a wave of workers across the country take to picket lines to protest stagnant wages and unsafe labor conditions exacerbated by the pandemic. There have been 184 strikes this year, including more than 10,000 John Deere employees who went on strike this month and Kellogg’s factory workers.

The organizers hope that their independent union will have more success than previous attempts to unionize by teaming up with established union shops, like in Bessemer, Alabama, where workers voted against forming a union with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in April.

“We have to make sure every move is calculated,” Smalls said.

“The established unions have expertise, money and resources. But Amazon is a different animal,” he said. “There is no playbook for unionizing Amazon, you just have to earn the trust of workers. It’s really just us on the ground having face-to-face conversations and building relationships.”

Amazon workers mock Jeff Bezos. (Ben Kesslen / NBC News)
Amazon workers mock Jeff Bezos. 

Since April, Smalls and other organizers have set up a tent outside the JFK8 warehouse, where they have been hosting barbecues and collecting signatures from workers expressing their support for the union effort. He described the effort as 24/7, rain or shine.

Derrick Palmer, a fellow organizer who works at JFK8, said they were inspired by the union drive in Bessemer and started collecting signatures as soon as that effort failed. He said they wanted to build on that momentum.

“We felt that it was super important that we started right when they took the loss,” he said, “Taking a defeat like that, we wanted to pick up where they left off.”

Palmer said that he and other organizers have already been contacted by workers at facilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Texas and Florida who have expressed an interest in joining the Amazon Labor Union.

Seth Goldstein, a senior business representative hoka shoes with the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153 in New York, who is also a lawyer, is helping the newfound Amazon Labor Union pro bono, said that Palmer and Smalls have an uphill battle against Amazon.

“No one is going in there starry-eyed thinking that this is going to be anything other than the nastiest campaign in labor management history,” he said.

Labor experts said that by trying to form an independent union, organizers would be able to avoid some of Amazon’s anti-union messaging, which has in the past focused on maligning the established union shop as not representing the interests of workers.

At the rally Monday outside the NLRB office, Monica Moorehead, a retired schoolteacher from New Jersey, joined the group in solidarity.

“Amazon workers are on the front line of the struggle” said Moorehead, who was there with members of the Workers World Party, adding that if Amazon workers can unionize, “it will create a tidal wave.”

Around two dozen people there to support the workers held signs encouraging Amazon to recognize the union, including ones that said “Fight Racism and Union Busting.”

“We’re skeptical that a sufficient number of legitimate employee signatures has been secured to warrant an election. If there is an election, we want the voice of our employees to be heard and look forward to it. Our focus remains on listening directly to our employees and continuously improving on their behalf,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said.

Previously, on a website Amazon set up this year to persuade workers in Alabama to vote against unionization, the company wrote: “We’ve got you covered with great hourly rates, best-in-class healthcare benefits, and career advancement. There’s so much MORE you can do for your career and your family without paying dues.”

Ahead of the Bessemer, Alabama, union election, Amazon’s worldwide head of communications Drew Herdener said that the involvement of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union marked an attempt by union head Stuart Appelbaum “to save his long declining union.”

A RWDSU spokesperson said Amazone executives used personal attacks to deceive workers in Alabama. “Their vehemently anti-union stance knows no bounds, legal, moral or otherwise,” Chelsea Connor said.

“They won’t have the resources and experience of a seasoned national union,” said Rebecca Givan, an associate professor of management and labor relations at Rutgers University. “But they also avoid a lot of the anti-union attacks that come from Amazon and get to work together to shape their own priorities and tactics.”

Senate Republicans block Freedom to Vote Act, Democrats’ latest election overhaul bill

Senate Republicans block Freedom to Vote Act, Democrats’ latest election overhaul bill

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked the advancement of the Freedom to Vote Act, one of three major voting bills brought forward by Democrats in Congress this year.

“Our Republican colleagues may not agree with everything in this bill. Okay, then don’t be scared. Don’t hide behind your desk. Don’t deny us the right to simply debate this bill,” Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, bluetooth headphones a lead sponsor of the legislation, said on the Senate floor before the procedural vote that was expected to fail.

She noted that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer opened the door to Republican amendments on the bill, as long as they were “in line with the goals of the legislation.”

But Republicans saw the bill as Democrats’ latest iteration of their “election takeover scheme,” as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell described it on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

JOE MANCHIN, CAPTAIN OF THE SENATE

“I’ve just about lost count of how many times our Democratic colleagues have tried to truss up the same takeover with new trappings,” McConnell said. “For multiple years running, Washington Democrats have offered a rotating merry-go-round of rationales to explain why they need to federalize voting laws.”

The bill was blocked in a 49-51 vote along party lines on Wednesday afternoon. Schumer changed his vote to no at the end, in a parliamentary move that will allow him to bring up the legislation for consideration again.

Sweeping election reform has been a top priority for Congressional Democrats for the last several years. It got renewed attention in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump claiming widespread fraud in the 2020 election and Republican-led state legislation across the country seeking to limit pandemic-era voting skechers outlet measures such as automatic mail-in voting, ballot drop boxes, and drive-through voting.

But Democrats have struggled to advance voting reform legislation in the Senate not only because of the filibuster but due to conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia not signing on to the Democrats’ flagship voting rights bill.

The H.R. 1/S. 1 For the People Act proposed drastic changes to the U.S. election system, imposing federal mandates on nearly every aspect of state election administration. Measures in the bill included automatic voter registration, creating a system for publicly financed elections, requiring a mail-in ballot option for any federal election, and allowing felons who completed their sentences to vote. The bill passed the House in March, but in June was blocked by Republicans in the Senate.

The Senate’s cloture rule requires 60 votes to advance a bill to debate before a vote on final passage, requiring support from at least 10 Republicans in today’s Senate.

While Manchin voted to advance the For the People Act, he said that he would not support the bill on final passage, saying he was uncomfortable with partisan voting laws.

In response to that, Manchin worked with Senate Democrats to craft an alternative slate of federal voting changes in the Freedom to Vote Act. He is one of seven co-sponsors of the bill.

The Freedom to Vote Act includes a number of provisions borrowed from the For the People Act, with some scaling back. If enacted, it would:

  • Make Election Day a federal holiday.
  • Require states to offer at least two weeks of early voting for at least 10 hours a day in jurisdictions with more than 3,000 voters.
  • Require states to permit no-excuse mail-in voting for every voter, including allowing voters to apply for absentee ballots online.
  • Create a national standard for voter ID in states that have identification laws and define which forms of ID could be used, without mandating that any state implements a voter ID requirement.

Failure of the Freedom to Vote Act, which was expected, prompted renewed calls to create a filibuster carve-out in order to pass voting rights legislation.

“The filibuster has nike outlet been used dramatically more in recent years than ever before in American history and, by the way, it’s not in the Constitution,” independent Maine Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats and is a sponsor of the bill, said on MSNBC on Wednesday.

King proposed some options to get around the filibuster and a minority party unwilling to haggle over legislation: “Some modification of the rule, whether it’s a carve-out whether it’s a requirement that those who are opposed have to actually come to the floor and hold the floor.”

In August, the House also passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill to reestablish provisions of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down. It was introduced in the Senate earlier this month, but has no Republican support, and appears destined to be blocked by Republicans again if it comes up in the Senate.

Senate GOP again blocks Democrats’ election bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the third time this year, Senate Democrats on Wednesday tried to pass sweeping elections legislation that they tout as a powerful counterweight to new voting restrictions sweeping conservative-controlled states.

Once again, Republicans blocked them.

But amid the ongoing stalemate, there are signs that Democrats are making salomon boots headway in their effort to create consensus around changing Senate procedural rules, a key step that could allow them to muscle transformative legislation through the narrowly divided chamber.

Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats, recently eased his longstanding opposition to changing the filibuster rules, which create a 60-vote threshold for most legislation to pass.

“I’ve concluded that democracy itself is more important than any Senate rule,” said King, who acknowledged that weakening the filibuster would likely prove to be a “double-edged sword” under a Republican majority.

Democrats still face long odds of passing their bill, now known as the Freedom to Vote Act, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., excoriated Wednesday as a federal “election takeover scheme.” But the softening of King’s stance on the filibuster amounts to progress, if incremental, for Senate Democrats as they look to convince others in their caucus to support a rule change.

After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer invoked the Reconstruction era following the Civil War, hailing the Northern senators serving at that time for “going it alone” when confronted by “minority obstruction.”

“Members of this body now face a choice,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. “They can follow in the footsteps of our patriotic predecessors in this chamber. Or they can sit by as the fabric of our democracy unravels before our very eyes.”

The Democrats’ voting bill was first introduced in March in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. It quickly passed the House at a time when Republican-controlled legislatures — many inspired by Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen 2020 election — were advancing restrictions in the name of election security that will make it harder to vote and could make the administration of the elections more subject to partisan interference.

Trump’s claims of election fraud were widely rejected in the courts, by state officials who certified the results and by his own attorney general.

But initial optimism that the measure would swiftly pass the Senate dissipated after several members of the Democratic caucus, including King, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, among others, made clear sperry shoes their reluctance to change the filibuster rules. Manchin, who has said that any election overhaul needs bipartisan support, also sought changes to the voting bill to make it more palatable to Republicans.

As written, the current “compromise” version of the bill would establish national rules for running elections, limit partisanship in the drawing of congressional districts and force the disclosure of many anonymous donors who spend big to influence elections.

Other provisions are aimed at alleviating concerns from local elections officials, who worried that that original bill would have been too difficult to implement. And some new additions are aimed at insulating nonpartisan election officials, who may be subject to greater partisan pressure under some of the new state laws.

It also includes a number of changes sought by Manchin, the chamber’s most conservative Democrat, including a provision that would limit, but not prohibit, state voter ID requirements.

But so far, those changes have not attracted the Republican support that Manchin was seeking.

“The latest umpteenth iteration (of the bill) is only a compromise in the sense that the left and the far-left argued among themselves about exactly how much power to grab and in which areas,” McConnell, who recently met with Manchin about the bill, said Wednesday. “The same rotten core is all still there.”

Hours later, Republicans denied Democrats the 60 votes needed to debate the measure on the Senate floor.

That gives Democrats few options and little time to act on a major party priority while their restive base has become increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress on the issue.

“Democracy — the very soul of America — is at stake,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “It should be simple bluetooth headphones and straightforward. Let there be a debate and let there be a vote.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also hinted that Biden may be softening his opposition to filibuster changes.

“Are (Republicans) going to protect this fundamental right? Or are they going to continue to be obstreperous — to use a word the president has used in the past — and put Democrats in a position where there’s no alternative but to find another path forward?” Psaki said Monday.

But Manchin and Sinema, whose votes would be required for any rule change, have said they remain opposed to changing the filibuster.

Meanwhile, pressure is building from the Democratic base for Biden and Senate Democrats to take greater action.

“They have failed to pass substantive legislation, and they are failing to act now,” said Joseph Geevarghese, the executive director of Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution. “It needs to be made even more clear by the President that he is 100% on the side of the American people’s most sacred right, and if that means fixing the filibuster then we must do it for the sake of our democracy.”

Report Cites New Details of Trump Pressure on Justice Dept. Over Election

WASHINGTON — Even by the standards of President Donald Trump, it was an extraordinary Oval Office showdown. On the agenda was Trump’s desire to install a loyalist as acting attorney general to carry out his demands for more aggressive investigations into his unfounded claims of election fraud.

On the other side during that meeting on the evening of Jan. 3 were the top leaders of the Justice Department, who warned Trump that they and other senior officials would resign en masse if he followed through. They received immediate support from another key participant: Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel. nike sneakers According to others at the meeting, Cipollone indicated that he and his top deputy, Patrick F. Philbin, would also step down if Trump acted on his plan.

Trump’s proposed plan, Cipollone argued, would be a “murder-suicide pact,” one participant recalled. Only near the end of the nearly three-hour meeting did Trump relent and agree to drop his threat.

Cipollone’s stand that night is among the new details contained in a lengthy interim report prepared by the Senate Judiciary Committee about Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to do his bidding in the chaotic final weeks of his presidency.

The report draws on documents, emails and testimony from three top Justice Department officials, including the acting attorney general for Trump’s last month in office, Jeffrey A. Rosen; the acting deputy attorney general, Richard P. Donoghue, and Byung J. Pak, who until early January was U.S. attorney in Atlanta. It provides the most complete account yet of Trump’s efforts to push the department to validate election fraud claims that had been disproved by the FBI and state investigators.

The interim report, expected to be released publicly this week, describes how Justice Department officials scrambled to stave off a series of events during a period when Trump was getting advice about blocking certification of the election from a lawyer he had first seen on television and the president’s actions were so unsettling that his top general and the House speaker discussed the nuclear chain of command.

“This report shows the American people just how close we came to a constitutional crisis,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “Thanks to a number of upstanding Americans in ecco shoes the Department of Justice, Donald Trump was unable to bend the department to his will. But it was not due to a lack of effort.”

Durbin said that he believes the former president, who remains a front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024, would have “shredded the Constitution to stay in power.”

The report by Durbin’s committee hews closely to previous accounts of the final days of the Trump administration, which led multiple congressional panels and the Justice Department’s watchdog to open investigations.

But, drawing in particular on interviews with Rosen and Donoghue, both of whom were at the Jan. 3 Oval Office meeting, it brings to light new details that underscore the intensity and relentlessness with which Trump pursued his goal of upending the election, and the role that key government officials played in his efforts.

— The report fleshes out the role of Jeffrey Clark, a little-known Justice Department official who participated in multiple conversations with Trump about how to upend the election and who pushed his superiors to send Georgia officials a letter that falsely claimed the Justice Department had identified “significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election.” Trump was weighing whether to replace Rosen with Clark.

Of particular note was a Jan. 2 confrontation during which Clark seemed to both threaten and coerce Rosen to send the letter. He first raised the prospect that Trump could fire Rosen, and then said that he would decline any offer to replace Rosen as acting attorney general if Rosen sent the letter. Clark also revealed during that meeting that he had secretly conducted a witness interview with someone in Georgia in connection with election fraud allegations that had already been disproved.

— The report raised fresh questions about what role Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., played in the White House effort to pressure the Justice Department to help upend the election. Perry called Donoghue to pressure him into investigating debunked election fraud allegations that had been made in Pennsylvania, the report said, and he complained to Donoghue that the Justice Department was not doing enough to look into such claims. Clark, the report said, also told officials that he had participated in the White House’s efforts at Perry’s request, and that the lawmaker took him to a meeting at the Oval Office to discuss voter fraud. That meeting occurred at around the same time that Perry and members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus met at the White House to discuss the Jan. 6 certification of the election results.

— The report confirmed that Trump was the reason that Pak hastily left his role as U.S. attorney in Atlanta, an area that Trump wrongly told people he had won. Trump told top Justice Department officials that Pak was a never-Trumper, and he blamed Pak for the FBI’s failure to find evidence of steve madden shoes mass election fraud there. During the Jan. 3 fight in the Oval Office, Donoghue and others tried to convince Trump not to fire Pak, as he planned to resign in just a few days. But Trump made it clear to the officials that Pak was to leave the following day, leading Donoghue to phone him that evening and tell him he should preemptively resign. Trump also went outside the normal line of succession to push for a perceived loyalist, Bobby L. Christine, to run the Atlanta office. Christine had been the U.S. attorney in Savannah, and had donated to Trump’s campaign.

The report is not the Senate Judiciary Committee’s final word on the pressure campaign that was waged between Dec. 14, when Attorney General William Barr announced his resignation, and Jan. 6, when throngs of Trump’s supporters fought to block certification of the election.

The panel is still waiting for the National Archives to furnish documents, calendar appointments and communications involving the White House that concern efforts to subvert the election. It asked the National Archives, which stores correspondence and documents generated by previous presidential administrations, for the records this spring.

It is also waiting to see whether Clark will sit for an interview and help provide missing details about what was happening inside the White House during the Trump administration’s final weeks. Additionally, the committee has asked the District of Columbia Bar, which licenses and disciplines attorneys, to open a disciplinary investigation into Clark based on its findings.

The report recommended that the Justice Department tighten procedures concerning when it can take certain overt steps in election-related fraud investigations. As attorney general, the report said, Barr weakened the department’s decadeslong strict policy of not taking investigative steps in fraud cases until after an election is certified, a measure that is meant to keep the fact of a federal investigation from affecting the election outcome.

The Senate panel found that Barr personally demanded that the department investigate voter fraud allegations, even if other authorities had looked into them and not found evidence of wrongdoing. These allegations included a claim by Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and a prime force behind the unfounded election fraud allegations, that he had a tape that showed Democratic poll workers kicking their Republican counterparts from a polling station and fraudulently adding votes for Joe Biden into the count.

Pak testified that Barr asked him to look into that claim and directed the FBI to interview a witness about the matter, even though the Georgia secretary of state had deemed the tape to be without merit.

On Dec. 1, just two weeks before saying he would step down, Barr said that the Justice Department had found no evidence of voter fraud widespread enough to change the fact that Biden had won the presidency.

The report underscored how Trump kept coming back to unsubstantiated accounts of election fraud and demanding that the Justice Department jump on them.

Soon after the completion of the Oval Office meeting on the night of Jan. 3, the committee’s report said, Trump reached out to Donoghue, asking him to look into reports that the Department of Homeland Security had taken possession of a truck full of shredded ballots outside of Atlanta.

Trump mixes election grievance while railing against Biden’s Afghanistan policy in Alabama

Former president Donald Trump (C-SPAN)
Former president Donald Trump

Former president Donald Trump mixed his normal lies about the 2020 presidential election being stolen while he blamed President Joe Biden for Afghanistan falling to the Taliban at a rally in Alabama Saturday night.

Mr Trump said criticized Mr Biden throughout the rally in Cullman, saying that Democrats stealing the 2020 presidential election led the Afghan capital of Kabul to fall.

“This will go down as one of the great military defeats of all time,” Mr Trump said, with some people seeing to call for Mr Biden’s impeachment. ecco shoes “This was not a withdrawal. It was a total surrender.”

Mr Trump also defended his negotiation with the Taliban and his negotiation with the organization’s leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

“I said Abdul, anything happens, we are going to reign terror upon you,” he said, noting how he and the Taliban had a conditions-based agreement on withdrawal. “And then we had a rigged election and a new president and the new president came into office and he dropped to his knees and he said ‘come on in and take everything that we have.”

The Biden administration, and even some former Trump administration officials, have blamed the former president’s negotiation with the Taliban for the complete collapse of the Afghan government.

In turn, the former president also praised the Taliban while also criticizing the Biden administration for not knowing the precise amount of Americans in Afghanistan.

“Taliban, great negotiators. Tough fighters,” he said. “This is a great stain on the reputation of our country.”

Still, Mr Trump said it was a mistake to go to war in the Middle East.

“Going into the Middle East was one of the most disastrous decisions,” he said. “In my opinion, it was the worst decision we ever had.”

Mr Trump also nike sneakers criticized Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said last year that it was a mistake for him to walk across Lafayette Square in front of the White House with then-President Trump to St John’s Episcopal Church to pose with a Bible when police used teargas and rubber bullets on protesters.

“He wanted to apologize for walking with the president of the United States. I said this guy doesn’t have what it takes,” Mr Trump told the crowd in Alabama. Mr Trump, who often touts toughness, had a clip from the movie Patton with George C. Scott in an attempt to contrast with the current generals.

“Do you think that General Patton was woke?” he said, using a term previously used among Africans that now is used as a pejorative among conservatives to deride the concerns of liberals.

“You know what woke means, it means you’re a loser,” he said. “Everything woke turns to shit.”

Mr Trump then used the remarks to deride the US women’s national soccer team and player Megan Rapinoe, a frequent critic of his who has knelt during the national anthem.

“The one with the purple hair, she didn’t play too well,” he said.

The president also encouraged people to get vaccinated but also hedged when saying that people could refuse to do so.

“I recommend, take the vaccines, I did it, it’s good,” he said, “ If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know. But it is working. You do have your freedoms.”

But when Mr Trump met some pushback from the crowd, to which he said, “You got your freedoms.”

Alabama’s vaccination rate has been on the upswing after an initial drop, according to WSFA. But AL.com also reported the state was nike store out of intensive care unit beds as cases have spiked.

Mr Trump’s rally also featured numerous local Republican officials, such as Sen Tommy Tuberville, who won his race last year, as well as Rep Mo Brooks, whom Trump endorsed in April for the 2022 Republican primary to replace outgoing Sen Richard Shelby.

Mr Brooks had spoken at the “Stop the Steal Rally” before the attempted insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January. But he called on the crowd to move on from the 2020 election.

“There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud election in 2020. Folks, put that behind you,” Mr Brooks said. “Look forward. Beat them in 2022. Beat them in 2024.”

But the crowd jeered him, at which point, the congressman relented.

“All right, well look back at it but go forward and take advantage of it,” he said.

She Hates Biden. Some of Her Neighbors Hate the Way She Shows It.

Andrea Dick is a die-hard supporter of former President Donald Trump and thinks the election was stolen from him, although that claim has been thoroughly discredited. She does not like President Joe Biden, and that is putting it mildly.

Her opinions are clear in the blunt slogans blaring from the banners outside her New Jersey home: “Don’t Blame Me/I Voted for Trump” and several others that attack Biden in crude terms. Several feature a word that some people find particularly objectionable but whose use the hey dude shoes Supreme Court long ago ruled could not be restricted simply to protect those it offends.

When local officials asked her to take down several of the banners that they said violated an anti-obscenity ordinance, she refused. Now, she is resisting a judge’s order that she do so and pledging to fight it in court on free speech grounds.

“It’s my First Amendment right,” she said in an interview on Monday, “and I’m going to stick with that.”

In a country where the political fault lines are increasingly jagged and deep, Dick’s case is the latest of several such disputes to highlight the delicate balance local officials must sometimes strike between defending free speech and responding to concerns about language that some residents find offensive.

Dick, 54, said she acquired the banners — which are available from Amazon and other retailers — earlier this year, but did not hang them on the home in Roselle Park where she lives with her mother, or on the fence outside, until Memorial Day.

“Something must have gotten me worked up,” she said.

Shortly after the holiday weekend, she said, she became aware that some Roselle Park residents, noting that her home was near a school, were upset about the language on the banners and about the potential for passing children to see it.

Dick, whose mother, Patricia Dilascio, owns the house, said that no children lived on the ecco shoes block and that no children routinely walk by on their way to the school.

But the town’s mayor, Joseph Signorello III, said he had received several complaints about the banners, which he passed on to the borough’s code enforcement officer. Residents of Roselle Park, a town of 14,000 people about a 40-minute drive from Times Square, voted overwhelmingly for Biden in November.

“This is not about politics in any way,” said Signorello, a Democrat. He added that officials would have taken the same steps if the signs expressed opposition to Trump using similar language. “It’s about decency.”

After visiting the home, the code enforcement officer, Judy Mack, cited Dilascio for violating a Roselle Park ordinance that prohibits the display or exhibition of obscene material within the borough.

Mack said that in more than 12 years as a code enforcement officer in Roselle Park, she had never invoked the ordinance before. She also said that while Signorello had passed on the residents’ complaints, he had not directed her to take any specific action.

“I’m only doing my job,” Mack said.

Dick was given a few days to remove the banners, Mack said. When she did not, she was given a summons to appear in court.

At that appearance, last Thursday, Judge Gary A. Bundy of Roselle Park Municipal Court gave Dilascio, brooks shoes as the property owner, a week to remove three of the 10 signs displayed on the property — the ones including the offending word — or face fines of $250 a day.

“There are alternative methods for the defendant to express her pleasure or displeasure with certain political figures in the United States,” Bundy said in his ruling, noting the proximity of Dick’s home to a school.

The use of vulgarity, he continued, “exposes elementary-age children to that word, every day, as they pass by the residence.”

“Freedom of speech is not simply an absolute right,” he added, noting later that “the case is not a case about politics. It is a case, pure and simple, about language. This ordinance does not restrict political speech.” (Nj.com reported Bundy’s ruling on Friday.)

Jarrid Kantor, Roselle Park’s borough attorney, applauded the judge’s decision, saying that local officials had been careful not to make an issue out of the political nature of Dick’s banners and had focused instead on the potential harm to children.

“We think he got it just right,” Kantor said.

But Thomas Healy, a law professor at Seton Hall University with expertise in constitutional issues, disagreed.

Citing a 1971 Supreme Court decision, Cohen v. California, that turned on the question of whether the same word at issue in Dick’s case was obscene, Healy said the word clearly did not qualify as obscene speech in the context of the political banners.

“It’s hard to imagine a simpler case from a constitutional standpoint,” he said, adding that he would be “stunned” if Bundy’s ruling were upheld.

Healy said he also found it troubling that the enforcement action had come after the mayor relayed concerns about the banners to the code enforcement officer, even though both of them said that Signorello had not directed any specific action.

“It doesn’t look good,” Healy said.

Conflicts like the one involving Dick have flared up this year on Long Island, New York; in Indiana, Tennessee and Connecticut; and about a half-hour’s drive south of Roselle Park, in Hazlet, New Jersey.

Hazlet officials received complaints like those in Roselle Park when a homeowner put up a similar anti-Biden banner there, Mayor Tara Clark said.

Citing an anti-nuisance ordinance, Clark said, officials approached the homeowner last month and asked that he remove the offending flag, but they did not take any steps to force him to do so.

“We knew that there were residents who were upset,” she said. “but we also know that free speech is protected under the Constitution of the United States.”

Though some people might have been unhappy that the banner could not be forced down, Clark said that she and her fellow Hazlet officials felt it was important to stand up for the First Amendment.

“It ended there,” she said. (The homeowner took the banner down last week, she said.)

As for Dick, she and her mother have about two weeks to appeal Bundy’s ruling to New Jersey Superior Court. He said the daily fines would begin accruing on Thursday if the offending banners remained up, regardless of whether Dick and her mother chose to appeal. If they do appeal, he suggested they take the banners down pending the outcome.

On Monday, Dick did not sound like she planned to follow that advice. She said she was looking for a new lawyer and was committed to seeing the case through.

“I’m not backing down,” she said.