Sunday, October 17

Trump’s big lie about 2020 results suffers legal and political blows

(CNN) — It was a bad week for the Big Lie: the false claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies that widespread fraud is to blame for their defeat in the 2020 election.

In a battlefield state, Republican senators issued a report gutting Trump’s lies about voter fraud. In another, a judge undermined the hopes of Trump supporters to examine nearly 150,000 mail-in ballots. And one of Trump’s closest allies, Rudy Giuliani, had his license to practice law suspended in New York.

Trump and his conspiratorial-minded supporters have been eagerly anticipating the conclusion of the troubled audit of Maricopa County’s results in Arizona, but regardless of its final report, it will have no impact on the 2020 election results. since the elections have already been certified. Trump repeated his election lies at a rally in Ohio on Saturday night, but last week’s blows underscored the reality that his options to continue contesting the 2020 election are shrinking.

In Michigan, the Republican-led state Senate Oversight Commission said in a report released Wednesday that there was “no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud” in the 2020 state elections. The report included a harsh condemnation of the lies about the election fraud promoted by Trump and his supporters.

“Our clear finding is that citizens must trust that the results represent the true results of the votes cast by the people of Michigan,” the commission, chaired by Republican State Senator Ed McBroom, said in its report. “The Commission strongly recommends that citizens use critical eyes and ears towards those who have advanced demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain.”

Then, in Georgia on Thursday, a judge dismissed most of a lawsuit alleging fraudulent mail-in ballots had been cast in Fulton County, the state’s largest county, in last year’s election, a blow to the intent. of pro-Trump plaintiffs to conduct an in-person examination of nearly 150,000 vote-by-mail ballots with high-powered microscopes.

The judge dismissed seven of the nine claims in the lawsuit against Fulton County officials, only allowing the plaintiffs’ request for digital images of the ballots to proceed under the state’s open records law. Biden won the state by 12,000 votes, and Georgia officials have already audited the 2020 results three times, including a manual recount.

“Last year, I told President Trump and others who press the Big Lie to ‘either come forward or shut up.’ Six months have passed and no evidence of wrongdoing has been produced. Enough is enough, this whole circus must end, “said Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, in a statement.

On the same day, Giuliani, who had been Trump’s personal attorney and one of Trump’s closest allies in advancing the lies about the 2020 election, was suspended from practicing law in New York State by a court. appeals court that found he made “demonstrably false and misleading statements” about the 2020 election.

In a ruling issued after disciplinary proceedings, the court found that “there is incontroverted evidence” that Giuliani, a former Manhattan prosecutor, “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to the courts, legislators and the general public in his capacity as attorney for the Former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump Campaign in Relation to Trump’s Failed Re-election Effort in 2020.

“Giuliani’s conduct immediately threatens the public interest and justifies the provisional suspension of the practice of law,” the court wrote.

Trump has criticized actions that challenge his lies about the 2020 election. He attacked his political opponents on Saturday in front of an Ohio crowd who chanted “Trump won” and issued statements last week riddled with more falsehoods.

Targeting McBroom of Michigan and Republican State Senate Leader Mike Shirkey, he included the phone numbers of both senators in a statement that read: “Call those two senators now and get them to do the right thing, or vote to get them out of the way!” office!”

In another statement, he complained about the Georgia Department of Justice lawsuit: “Actually, it should be the other way around! The PEOPLE of Georgia should SUE the State, and its elected officials, for holding a CORRUPT AND AMAGED 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, “and for attempting to suppress the VOTE of the AMERICAN PEOPLE in Georgia.”

Of Giuliani, he said: “Can you believe that New York wants to strip Rudy Giuliani, a great American patriot, of his lawyer’s license because he has been fighting against what has already been proven to be a fraudulent election?”

Arizona audit conclusion

Another important moment could come when the results of the so-called Republican-ordered state Senate audit conducted by Cyber ​​Ninjas, a Florida-based company with no experience in election audits, led by a CEO who had anticipated Trump’s lies on electoral fraud in social networks.

The Twitter account for the audit tweeted on Friday night that “the paper test and the count ended today.” And the individual hand count that analyzed two races – the 2020 presidential race and the U.S. Senate race – ended days ago, according to Arizona audit spokesman Randy Pullen.

But Republicans in the Arizona Senate have not stated when their report will be released.

“Everyone eagerly awaits the result!” Trump said in a statement Wednesday.

That, however, was another falsehood.

Trump’s most fervent supporters are awaiting the report on the audit findings, which will likely be delivered first to the state Senate Republicans, who will then determine how to publish it.

However, experts in the conduct and auditing of elections and observers of Arizona procedures have repeatedly said that the Cyber ​​Ninjas’ methods are deeply flawed and could easily introduce errors into their final counts. Those issues have made the audit findings more likely to be used as a propaganda tool by Trump supporters than as a document that is taken seriously outside of the “Stop the Steal” movement, a rallying cry adopted by Trump and his supporters.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat running for governor, has kept a list of problems that observers on the floor of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix have reported.

Among the recent updates: “unsafe cybersecurity practices” used by Cyber ​​Ninjas; lost ballot papers; and auditors who write directly on the original labels of the Maricopa County ballot boxes, which according to Hobbs’ document “violates the agreements and calls into question the reliability and integrity of all county records.”

Justice Department Targets Georgia Law

The legal battles and audits are just one front in the ongoing fight for the 2020 election. In Republican-led states, including Florida, Georgia and Iowa, Republican legislators and governors have already enacted new laws that will make voting more difficult. Republican lawmakers in Michigan, Arizona, Texas and other states are also promoting restrictive voting measures.

President Joe Biden’s Justice Department said Friday it is suing the state of Georgia over its new restrictive voting law.

State law imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local boards of elections, limits the use of ballot boxes, and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and drink. Water.

Republicans saw the move as necessary to boost election confidence after the 2020 election and Trump’s repeated and unsubstantiated claims of fraud, but Democrats in the state have called the new voter suppression law and have compared to the voting laws of the Jim Crow era.

These legislative actions occurred at a time when the black population in Georgia continues to rise steadily and after a historic election that saw record voter turnout across the state, particularly for absentee voting, who are now more likely to use the Black voters than white voters, ”said Justice Department Civil Rights Division Leader Kristen Clarke at a news conference. “Our complaint challenges various provisions of SB 202 on the grounds that they were adopted with the intent to deny or restrict black citizens equal access to the political process.”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, issued a defiant statement in response to the department’s announcement, calling the lawsuit “born of the lies and misinformation the Biden administration has pushed against Georgia’s Election Integrity Act since the beginning”.

Kemp accused the administration of “weaponizing the US Department of Justice to carry out its far-left agenda that undermines the integrity of the elections and empowers the federal government to bypass our democracy.”

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