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Michael Flynn Allies Allegedly Conspired to Lean on Republicans to Back Vote Audits | donald trump

FBI agents and the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill have learned of an alleged plan by allies of retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to gather “intelligence” on top Republicans to “move them.” ” to support election audits in key states. Trump lost, said former whistleblower Everett Stern, who spoke to the panel and the FBI.

Stern, who runs the intelligence firm Tactical Rabbit and is a Republican running for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, said in multiple interviews with The Guardian that two of Flynn’s associates with the right-wing Patriot Caucus asked for his help in April at a scheme to search for potentially harmful information. to two Republican members of Congress to goad them into backing an audit of the 2020 vote won by Joe Biden.

Stern told The Guardian that he spent several hours in November telling House panel investigators about alleged campaigning by Flynn associates seeking campaign finance and other dirty laundry on Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick to gain his support for an audit to buttress Trump’s discredited charges that Biden’s victory was fraudulent.

Stern, a candidate unlikely to succeed retiring Toomey, said he alerted the FBI in June when he learned more about the bizarre campaign by Flynn allies to specifically target the two Republicans, who backed the allegation of Trump after the January 6 insurrection.

The efforts by Flynn’s Patriot Caucus allies were launched after Trump failed to stop Biden from taking office, and are part of a broader campaign by Trump and Flynn loyalists to help boost Trump’s political fortunes to through more state audits across the country on bogus charges that Biden’s victory was rigged. and elect like-minded candidates in key states to top electoral offices.

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Stern provided text messages, emails and other documents revealing that he had multiple contacts with one of the Patriot Caucus members, Velma Anne Ruth, and two other influential Flynn allies, Houston real estate mogul Al Hartman and former Green Beret. of the army Ivan Raiklin, who were pressing audits in several key states.

Ivan Raiklin, a former Army Green Beret, allegedly pushed through audits in several key states that Biden won.
Ivan Raiklin, a former Army Green Beret, allegedly pushed through audits in several key states that Biden won. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Stern said associates of the Flynn Patriot Caucus first approached him in Pennsylvania for possible help after a GOP event in April, and told Stern in phone calls shortly after that they worked with Flynn and Patriot. Caucus, and planned to recruit “former domestic and foreign intelligence officials.” to make your schematic easier.

The scheme by Flynn’s allies alarmed Stern, but as a former whistleblower involved in exposing a major bank money laundering scandal by HSBC in 2012, he told The Guardian he decided to play along for a few months to collect information to expose the plan of Trump allies. .

Stern expressed dismay that Flynn’s Patriot Caucus associates “don’t understand that Biden is the president. They wanted to collect information through Tactical Rabbit and my campaign,” to increase pressure on Toomey and Fitzpatrick to back an audit that Stern deemed potentially “extortion.”

Stern gave The Guardian a voicemail he received in which Hartman talked about leaning on the moderate Republican “RINOs” in Pennsylvania for support for an audit of that state’s vote that Biden won by more than 80,000, and Hartman he said a similar campaign was needed in Michigan. .

Stern said Hartman wanted to use the intelligence-gathering tools of Tactical Rabbit and his campaign to unearth potentially embarrassing campaign finance information and other dirt on Pennsylvania members, as well as Republican political figures in Michigan who were also resisting audits. .

Hartman and Raiklin also talked to Stern about meeting with Flynn, Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser, and proposed compensating him for his information through campaign donations, Stern said.

In a Hartman text message exchange seen by The Guardian in April, Hartman asked a Flynn programmer to help “connect” Flynn with Stern, whose campaign and Senate credentials he highly touted, calling Stern a ” firm believer” in his cause.

Although Stern tipped off the FBI in June about what he considered a national security threat and said he met with agents again in November, it is unclear if his allegations are still being pursued.

Flynn's associates allegedly sought campaign finance and other dirt on Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania.
Flynn’s associates allegedly sought campaign finance and other dirt on Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

Stern’s accusations echo Flynn’s scheming with Trump and other loyalists in late 2020 to thwart a Biden victory, efforts that included a White House meeting with Trump where Flynn proposed declaring martial law in several states in the United States. that Biden won and then re-run the election there.

In November, the House panel that investigated the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill subpoenaed Flynn, whom Trump had pardoned after the election even though he had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation. . In response to the subpoena to testify and produce documents, Flynn sued the panel, but a judge quickly dismissed his suit last month.

John Sipher, who was in the CIA clandestine services for 28 years, shares Stern’s opinion of Flynn, whom he met in the army and soon after. “I am appalled at what it has become,” Sipher said in an email.

Asked if he thought the FBI was looking into Stern’s charges, Sipher said, “I would hope and assume they are taking this seriously.”

While Fitzpatrick and Toomey were the main “targets,” Stern said other Pennsylvania officials, including judges, were also coming under fire from Flynn allies as they sought to increase pressure for an audit in the state.

Neither Fitzpatrick nor Toomey’s offices responded to multiple requests for comment.

The Patriot Caucus, a coalition of Patriot and other right-wing groups in some two dozen states with which Raiklin and Hartman have ties, according to Stern and documents, has worked with Trump loyalists like Flynn to push for audits in key states Biden won. and endorsed Trump. allies for governor and other top jobs in states like Pennsylvania and Arizona Trump lost.

Flynn himself on January 7 publicly endorsed another Trump ally and campaigner for election auditing, Doug Mastriano, for governor of Pennsylvania, at a campaign rally also attended by Raiklin.

Flynn has also endorsed two Trump-backed candidates in Arizona: Kari Lake, a former Fox News figure for governor, and Mark Finchem, a state representative who attended the January 6 Stop the Steal rally, for secretary of state.

To coordinate national efforts, Raiklin and Hartman led one of a series of “Electoral Integrity” calls on July 3 with Trump loyalists, attorneys and donors to discuss the status of multistate audit efforts and other plans to put Biden’s victory is in doubt, according to an Arizona Senate document shared by the watchdog group American Oversight.

“Join us every second Saturday for STATUS UPDATES and HELP from leaders active in the statewide election remediation process: attorneys with Mike Lindell and Patrick Byrne, data analysts, state legislators, gubernatorial candidates, and grassroots activists whose goal is to complete a cyber forensic analysis. audit in your state,” the Arizona document says.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, backed Trump's impeachment after the January 6 insurrection.
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, backed Trump’s impeachment after the January 6 insurrection. Photograph: Allison Bailey/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

A who’s who of Trump loyalists and groups invited to join these calls included America Project and America’s Future, in which Flynn played a key role when they poured some $2 million into a discredited audit of the largest county in Arizona, plus the Patriot Caucus’ Velma Anne Ruth, Finchem, and Byrne, Arizona’s audition chief financial millionaire.

Hartman in emails with Stern obtained by The Guardian invited him in June to attend a far-right religious gathering known as Ziklag in Dallas, where he could meet separately with Flynn. Stern said Hartman told him “a private meeting was going to be set up with Flynn,” who told Stern he wanted to meet him.

After indicating to Hartman that he would attend, Stern opted to cancel at the last minute after his attorney indicated there could be legal repercussions for a meeting with Flynn. “I thought it was extremely dangerous to meet with a three-star general who I believed had broken the law.”

“They planned to fund my campaign to help me” develop damaging information about Toomey and Fitzpatrick, Stern said. “It was like a wink, wink. Hartman is the man behind the curtain. It is operational and financial”, promoting audits.

Hartman has long been a donor to the right. He is on the advisory board of pro-Trump Turning Point USA and has been active in the conservative donor network run by oil billionaire Charles Koch.

Raiklin, an Army Reserve officer who has reportedly known Flynn since 2014, is facing an internal Army Reserve investigation into possible violations of rules prohibiting partisan political activity, according to a military official who spoke to Reuters on Tuesday. last month.

Raiklin in December 2020 outlined a harebrained scheme in tweets and a podcast to thwart Biden’s victory, accusing a grand conspiracy that included Pence, intelligence, China and Big Tech, as Reuters reported. Raiklin told Trump to “activate the emergency broadcast system” and displayed the hashtag #FightLikeAFlynn, emphasizing that “we the people are going to put this plan on them.”

Neither Hartman nor Raiklin responded to multiple calls seeking comment.

A Flynn programmer did not respond to questions about the story.

Velma Anne Ruth with Patriot Caucus, who was photographed with Stern at a June event in Pennsylvania wearing a tank top that said General Flynn, called Stern’s charges “delusional, fabricated and defamatory” in a text message. Stern said he shared the photo and other documents related to exchanges he had with Ruth with the FBI.

Senior former prosecutors and intelligence officials say Stern’s allegations deserve law enforcement attention.

“Stern’s accusations suggest serious crimes,” said former prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig, who worked on Ken Starr’s team during the Bill Clinton impeachment trial. “If his allegations were corroborated by extrinsic evidence, they would clearly warrant an investigation.”

Former CIA official Sipher, who has spoken with Stern before, said, “Everett is someone with a strong sense of right and wrong, and he’s willing to take the consequences for doing the right thing. We would be better served by having more people like Everett in public life.”

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