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The US 2020 Presidential Election

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  • statquo
    Here’s an honest question to any election deniers that I haven’t seen asked.

    Why is it so hard to believe that Joe Biden didn’t win fairly? Or is it just “well Democrats did it to Trump with Russia Collusion in 2016, so we’re just doing it too”. Like is it just a troll? I’m being dead serious.

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  • TopHatter
    Rudy Giuliani falsely assured Trump 'there is no question' the Constitution gave Pence 'the authority not to certify' the 2020 election, new book says

    Rudy Giuliani repeatedly but falsely assured former President Donald Trump that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the 2020 election in the days leading up to January 6, according to a new book.

    A lengthy excerpt of author Michael Wolff's forthcoming book "Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency" published Monday in New York Magazine detailed the White House's moment-by-moment reaction to the January 6 insurrection. Wolff is the author of two other books, "Fire & Fury" and "Siege," about the Trump White House.

    By January 6, according to Wolff, many core administration officials and White House staffers had left or largely distanced themselves from the action, leaving only a small circle of aides who were still involved in Trump's day-to-day activities and, with the White House counsel's office largely checked out, leaving Giuliani as Trump's main legal confidante.

    Giuliani, according to Wolff, "was drinking heavily and in a constant state of excitation, often almost incoherent in his agitation and mania" in the lead-up to the deadly riot, obsessed with the idea that Pence could somehow preclude Congress from affirming President Joe Biden's election victory.

    "There is no question, none at all, that the VP can do this. That's a fact. The Constitution gives him the authority not to certify. It goes back to the state legislatures," Giuliani said continuously on the phone to Trump and anyone else who would listen, according to Wolff.

    In reality, Congress does not "certify" slates of electoral votes, but counts and affirms the Electoral College votes submitted by states. There is no constitutional or legal avenue for the vice president, who only performs a ceremonial role, to categorically reject slates of electors or "send back" electoral certificates to states for further review, as Trump has repeatedly suggested.

    On Thursday, a New York court suspended Giuliani's license to practice law in the state for two years, making him the first attorney to experience professional consequences for perpetuating lies about fraud in the 2020 election.

    The court found "uncontroverted evidence" that Giuliani had "communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large" in lodging unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud while representing Trump.

    Giuliani pushed false and unfounded claims of fraud in Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania in both official legislative hearings and in the media, in addition to misrepresenting the nature of the Trump campaign's federal court litigation in Pennsylvania.

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  • TopHatter
    The People Still Going To Trump Rallies Are Committed To Trump's Fantasy: "He’s Our True President"

    WELLINGTON, Ohio — When Rep. Jim Jordan took the stage at Donald Trump’s first post-presidential rally, he trumpeted the former president’s possible 2024 election bid. And then someone screamed “2021!”

    The fantasy that Trump could reclaim the White House later this year (some named August 2021 as the time) was a common theme among the droves of attendees at the “Save America” rally Saturday in Wellington, Ohio.

    It’s not going to happen, and explanations for why it could are rooted in lies and misinformation. But some people think he never stopped being president.

    “Honestly I think he won,” Anita Lee, 45, who happened to be visiting from St. Louis, Missouri, told BuzzFeed News. “He’s our true president and I don’t think he’s eligible in 2024.”

    Most Trump supporters came in their usual form: Red hats boasting “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” paired with a pro-Trump t-shirt (or anti-Biden one) and some representation of the American flag. But in 2021, after the president and his allies have consistently championed unsubstantiated voter fraud, there’s a new crowd favorite — t-shirts that say “Trump Won.”

    Pam Niner, 65, traveled more than an hour from Centerburg, Ohio to her third Trump rally after one in Circleville, Ohio last year and another in Delaware, Ohio during the 2016 election. And while she’s eager to hear him announce a bid for 2024, she’s convinced Trump didn’t lose the last election.

    “I know he won,” Niner told BuzzFeed News, her oversized “TRUMP WON” shirt nearly reaching her knees. “There’s so much evidence out there it was stolen,” she said before admitting only one thing could convince her otherwise. “Jesus Christ would have to come down and tell me that Biden won before I would ever believe it.”

    Robert Clegg, 47, said “of course” when asked if he thought Trump won the election. He hasn’t thought about Trump as a 2024 candidate. Instead, he told BuzzFeed News, “I’m hoping he gets back in there before'' and added “with the overturning of the election.”

    A May Ipsos/Reuters poll showed more than half of Republicans think the election was rigged and 53% of Republicans think Trump is the actual president. But the statistics alone don’t show how intense those beliefs are for such a large segment of the electorate. The rallying cry “Trump won” erupted several times Saturday and the attacks on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have become more visceral.

    London Roche, 26, and several of his friends wore white t-shirts with black letters that read “BIDEN SUCKS KAMALA SWALLOWS” on the front and “FUCK JOE & THE HOE” on the back. They said they paid $25 for the shirts but it’s unclear if they bought them from the man who was selling the same t-shirts outside the venue.

    “I just want to show support for our real President Donald Trump,” Roche said. “We all know he won the election.”

    The rally’s speakers consistently raised false allegations of widespread voter fraud from the stage, including Trump, who began raising doubt about the election results last November and has continued making unfounded claims ever since.

    “We won the election twice,” Trump said to the crowd. “And it's possible we'll have to win it a third time.”

    Some speakers who addressed the audience parroted the same rhetoric. Douglas Frank, a math teacher in the state, gave an exhaustive presentation of his 2020 election results analysis involving algorithms he claims prove the election was stolen. The exhibition included graphs and charts that were projected on two big screens flanking the stage. Frank earned a pants-on-fire rating from Politifact, a fact-checking website, in April for the same analysis. The Michigan state Senate’s new report on the 2020 election specifically faulted Frank for analysis that is “not sound for several reasons.”

    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene also chimed in with false claims that Democrats pilfered the election when she took the stage.

    “President Trump is my president, too,” Greene said. “And he should be our president right now but the dirty, rotten Democrats stole the election.”

    About 400 feet away, Catherine Mehalic, 58, stood on one of the many food truck lines and speculated on what she sees as Trump’s best way back to office. She didn't say when.

    “I think the audit is gonna take all of it down,” she told BuzzFeed News, referring to one of the non-binding audits Republicans in several states are running to try and prove something about the election. “It’s gonna expose what exactly happened. Everybody knows he won.” And then again with more emphasis, “Everybody knows he won.”

    Trump won 8% more total votes than Biden in Ohio and flipped Lorain County, where the event was held. A plane, paid for by Senate candidate Jane Timken, circled the fairgrounds with a sign “OHIO IS TRUMP COUNTRY.”

    Just one person out of nearly two dozen people BuzzFeed News interviewed at the rally said they understood Biden won the election. Barry Clodwick said he watched the polls on Election Day “to make sure nothing went wrong” but ultimately was disappointed with what he understood to be the results.

    “Unfortunately, Joe Biden won,” he said.

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  • TopHatter
    Former Attorney General Bill Barr on Trump's election fraud claims: "It was all bullshit"

    Former Attorney General William Barr bluntly dismissed some of former President Donald Trump's election fraud allegations as "bulls***" in new interviews published Sunday in the Atlantic.

    “My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr recalled at one point. “If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bulls***.”

    The comment was part of multiple interviews Barr did this spring with ABC News' Jonathan Karl, who wrote the Atlantic article describing Barr’s break with Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

    Trump lost that election to now-President Biden, but had sought to overthrow the will of the voters by pushing a mix of conspiracy theories and outright falsehoods claiming he had actually won key states. Trump was clearly hoping that Barr’s Justice Department would help him in the effort. Barr had been widely seen as a Trump loyalist, and the attorney general had drawn widespread criticism for his rollout of the Mueller report.

    But Barr instead publicly undermined Trump’s false allegations of voter fraud. In a December 2020 interview with the Associated Press, Barr said “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

    Trump and his allies had been pushing a number of discredited claims, including one that voting machines were switching votes from Trump to Biden. (“We realized from the beginning it was just bulls***,” Barr told the Atlantic of the idea that voting machines were changing votes.)

    In the Atlantic, Barr said then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been encouraging him to speak out about the election. “Bill, I look around, and you are the only person who can do it,” McConnell reportedly told Barr.

    Trump was apparently livid with Barr for his comments to the AP.

    “How the f*** could you do this to me? Why did you say it?” Trump told Barr in a White House meeting, according to the Atlantic.

    “Because it’s true,” Barr responded.

    “You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump,” Trump continued.

    In the tense White House meeting, Trump reportedly confronted Barr with a litany of complaints, ranging from falsehoods about the election results to how the Justice Department conducted itself during the campaign.

    About two weeks later, Trump tweeted out Barr’s resignation letter, of which a substantial portion was dedicated to praising the president.

    “Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!” Trump tweeted. “As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family.”

    Never let facts get in the way of a good grift

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  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by statquo View Post
    This was interesting. They just flat out lied to Trump over troops numbers.
    That's what you do with a special needs toddler when he throws yet another temper tantrum and demands the sun, moon and stars:

    "Yes honey, Mommy will get you the sun, the moon and all the stars. You just sit right there and behave yourself like a good little boy. Here's some Sharpies and an NHC map of the Southeastern United States, you have fun now, ok?"

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    That whole story can be wrapped up in oneword....MacGregor. If that sack of shit is involved it's shady as hell, unethical and immoral.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by statquo View Post
    [Note: In response to a request for comment, Powell said in an emailed statement to Axios: “I will not publicly discuss my private meetings with the President of the United States. I believe those meetings are privileged and confidential under executive privilege and under rules of the legal profession. I would caution the readers to view mainstream media reports of any such conversations with a high degree of discernment and a healthy dose of skepticism.”]
    Translation: It's true. Every last word of this is true: The President of the United States, amazingly successful businessman and Fighter for the Common Man, surrounds himself with batshit crazy bottom feeders, churning up an endless sea of garbage.

    The article is dead wrong about one thing though:

    It was remarkable that the presidency had deteriorated to such an extent that this fight in the Oval Office between senior White House officials and radical conspiracists was even taking place.
    A. There's utterly nothing remarkable about this occurring amongst Donald Trump's circle of advisors.
    B. His presidency never deteriorated, it was already at this point on Day One.

    Trump expressed skepticism at various points about Powell's theories, but he said, "At least she’s out there fighting."
    And that's all that matters to Trump or his die hard base of followers: "Fighting". It doesn't matter if the fight is worth fighting for, if the fight makes a goddamn bit of sense, if fighting is so utterly counter-productive that cutting off your nose to spite your face would be an improvement....all that matters is that He FIGHTS. jfc....

    Leave a comment:

  • statquo
    Bonus episode: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency

    Four conspiracy theorists marched into the Oval Office. It was early evening on Friday, Dec. 18 — more than a month after the election had been declared for Joe Biden, and four days after the Electoral College met in every state to make it official.

    "How the hell did Sidney get in the building?" White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann grumbled from the outer Oval Office as Sidney Powell and her entourage strutted by to visit the president.

    President Trump's private schedule hadn't included appointments for Powell or the others: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former CEO Patrick Byrne, and a little-known former Trump administration official, Emily Newman. But they'd come to convince Trump that he had the power to take extreme measures to keep fighting.

    As Powell and the others entered the Oval Office that evening, Herschmann — a wealthy business executive and former partner at Kasowitz Benson & Torres who'd been pulled out of quasi-retirement to advise Trump — quietly slipped in behind them.

    The hours to come would pit the insurgent conspiracists against a handful of White House lawyers and advisers determined to keep the president from giving in to temptation to invoke emergency national security powers, seize voting machines and disable the primary levers of American democracy.

    Herschmann took a seat in a yellow chair close to the doorway. Powell, Flynn, Newman and Byrne sat in a row before the Resolute Desk, facing the president.

    For weeks now, ever since Rudy Giuliani had commandeered Trump’s floundering campaign to overturn the election, outsiders had been coming out of the woodwork to feed the president wild allegations of voter fraud based on highly dubious sources.

    Trump was no longer focused on any semblance of a governing agenda, instead spending his days taking phone calls and meetings from anyone armed with conspiracy theories about the election. For the White House staff, it was an unending sea of garbage churned up by the bottom feeders.

    Powell began this meeting with the same baseless claim that now has her facing a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit: She told the president thatDominion Voting Systems had rigged their machines to flip votes from Trump to Biden and that it was part of an international communist plot to steal the election for the Democrats.

    [Note: In response to a request for comment, Powell said in an emailed statement to Axios: “I will not publicly discuss my private meetings with the President of the United States. I believe those meetings are privileged and confidential under executive privilege and under rules of the legal profession. I would caution the readers to view mainstream media reports of any such conversations with a high degree of discernment and a healthy dose of skepticism.”]

    Powell waved an affidavit from the pile of papers in her lap, claiming it contained testimony from someone involved in the development of rigged voting machines in Venezuela.

    She proposed declaring a national security emergency, grantingher and her cabal top-secret security clearances and using the U.S. government to seize Dominion’s voting machines.

    "Hold on a minute, Sidney," Herschmann interrupted from the back of the Oval. "You're part of the Rudy team, right? Is your theory that the Democrats got together and changed the rules, or is it that there was foreign interference in our election?"

    Giuliani's legal efforts, while replete with debunked claims about voter fraud, had largely focused on allegations of misconduct by corrupt Democrats and election officials.

    "It's foreign interference," Powell insisted, then added: "Rudy hasn't understood what this case is about until just now."

    In disbelief, Herschmann yelled out to an aide in the outer Oval Office. "Get Pat down here immediately!" Several minutes later, White House counsel Pat Cipollone walked into the Oval. He looked at Byrne and said, "Who are you?"

    The meeting was already getting heated.

    White House staff had spent weeks poring over the evidence underlying hundreds of affidavits and other claims of fraud promoted by Trump allies like Powell. The team had done the due diligence and knew the specific details of what was being alleged better than anybody. Time and time again, they found, Powell's allegations fell apart under basic scrutiny.

    But Powell, fixing on Trump, continued to elaborate on a fantastical election narrative involving Venezuela, Iran, China and others. She named a county in Georgia where she claimed she could prove that Dominion had illegally flipped the vote.

    Herschmann interrupted to point out that Trump had actually won the Georgia county in question: "So your theory is that Dominion intentionally flipped the votes so we could win that county?"

    As for Powell's larger claims, he demanded she provide evidence for what — if true — would amount to the greatest national security breach in American history. They needed to dial in one of the campaign's lawyers, Herschmann said, and Trump campaign lawyer Matt Morgan was patched in via speakerphone.

    By now, people were yelling and cursing.

    The room was starting to fill up. Trump's personal assistant summoned White House staff secretary Derek Lyons to join the meeting and asked him to bring a copy of a 2018 executive order that the Powell group kept citing as the key to victory. Lyons agreed with Cipollone and the other officials that Powell's theories were nonsensical.

    It was now four against four.

    Flynn went berserk. The former three-star general, whom Trump had fired as his first national security adviser after he was caught lying to the FBI (and later pardoned), stood up and turned from the Resolute Desk to face Herschmann.

    "You're quitting! You're a quitter! You're not fighting!” he exploded at the senior adviser. Flynn then turned to the president, and implored: "Sir, we need fighters."

    Herschmann ignored Flynn at first and continued to probe Powell's pitch with questions about the underlying evidence. "All you do is promise, but never deliver," he said to her sharply.

    Flynn was ranting, seemingly infuriated about anyone challenging Powell, who had represented him in his recent legal battles.

    Finally Herschmann had enough. "Why the fuck do you keep standing up and screaming at me?" he shot back at Flynn. "If you want to come over here, come over here. If not, sit your ass down." Flynn sat back down.

    The meeting had come entirely off the rails.

    Byrne, backing up Flynn, told Trump the White House lawyers didn't care about him and were being obstructive. "Sir, we're both entrepreneurs, and we both built businesses," the former Overstock CEO told Trump. "We know that there are times you have to be creative and take different steps."

    This was a remarkable level of personal familiarity, given it was the first time Byrne had met the president. All the stanchions and buffers between the White House and the outside world had crumbled.

    Byrne kept attacking the senior White House staff in front of Trump. "They've already abandoned you," he told the president aggressively. Periodically duringthe meeting Flynn or Byrne challenged Trump's top staff — portraying them as disloyal: So do you think the president won or not?

    At one point, with Flynn shouting, Byrne raised his hand to talk. He stood up and turned around to face Herschmann. "You're a quitter," he said. "You've been interfering with everything. You've been cutting us off."

    "Do you even know who the fuck I am, you idiot?" Herschmann snapped back.

    "Yeah, you're Patrick Cipollone," Byrne said.

    "Wrong! Wrong, you idiot!"

    The staff were now on their feet, standing behind one of the couches and facing the Powell crew at the Resolute Desk. Cipollone stood to Herschmann's left. Lyons, on his last day onthe job, stood to Herschmann's right.

    Trump was behind the desk, watching the show. He briefly left the meeting to wander into his private dining room.

    The usually mild-mannered Lyons blasted the Powell set: "You've brought 60 cases. And you've lost every case you’ve had!"

    Trump came back into the Oval Office from the dining room to rejoin the meeting. Lyons pointed out to Powell that their incompetence went beyond their lawsuits being thrown out for standing. "You somehow managed to misspell the word 'District' three different ways in your suits," he said pointedly.

    In a Georgia case, the Powell team had misidentified the court on the first page of their filing as "THE UNITED STATES DISTRICCT COURT, NORTHERN DISTRCOICT OF GEORGIA." And they had identified the Michigan court as the "EASTERN DISTRCT OF MICHIGAN."

    These were sloppy spelling errors. But given that these lawsuits aimed to overturn a presidential election, the court nomenclature should have been pristine.

    Powell, Flynn and Byrne began attacking Lyons as they renewed their argument to Trump: There they go again, they want to focus on the insignificant details instead of fighting for you.

    Trump replied, "No, no, he's right. That was very embarrassing. That shouldn't have happened."

    The Powell team needed to regroup. They shifted to a new grievance to turn the conversation away from their embarrassing errors. Powell insisted that they hadn't "lost" the 60-odd court cases, since the cases were mostly dismissed for lack of standing and they had never had the chance to present their evidence.

    Every judge is corrupt, she claimed. We can't rely on them. The White House lawyers couldn't believe what they were hearing. "That's your argument?" a stunned Herschmann said. "Even the judges we appointed? Are you out of your fucking mind?"

    Powell had more to say. She and Flynn began trashing the FBI as well, and the Justice Department under Attorney General Bill Barr, telling Trump that neither could be trusted. Both institutions, they said, were corrupt, and Trump needed to fire the leadership and get in new people he could trust.

    Cipollone, standing his ground amidst this mishmash of conspiracies, said they were totally wrong. He aggressively defended the DOJ and the FBI, saying they had looked into every major claim of fraud that had been reported.

    Flynn and Powell had long nursed their antipathy to the FBI and Justice. Flynn had pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation but withdrew the plea after hiring Powell as his lawyer in June 2019.

    The two alleged the FBI had entrapped Flynn and failed to disclose exculpatory evidence, known as Brady material, as required by law. They had found an ally in Barr, a fierce critic of the Russia investigation who finally directed the DOJ to drop Flynn's case.

    Herschmann, known inside the White House as a defender of Barr and the DOJ, went off on Flynn again: "Listen, the same people that you're trashing, if they didn't produce the Brady material to Sidney, your ass would still be in jail!"

    It was no longer technically true that Flynn would be in jail, as he had received a post-election pardon from Trump. But Flynn was furious. "Don't mention my case," he roared. Herschmann responded, "Where do you think Sidney got this information? Where do you think it came from? From the exact same people in the Department of Justice that you're now saying are corrupt."

    Byrne, wearing jeans, a hoodie and a neck gaiter, piped up with his own conspiracy: "I know how this works. I bribed Hillary Clinton $18 million on behalf of the FBI for a sting operation."

    Herschmann stared at the eccentric millionaire. "What the hell are you talking about? Why would you say something like that?" Byrne brought up the bizarre Clinton bribery claim several more times during the meeting to the astonishment of White House lawyers.

    Trump, for his part, also seemed perplexed by Byrne. But he was not entirely convinced the ideas Powell was presenting were insane.

    He asked: You guys are offering me nothing. These guys are at least offering me a chance. They’re saying they have the evidence. Why not try this? The president seemed truly to believe the election was stolen, and his overriding sentiment was, let's give this a shot.

    The words "martial law" were never spoken during the meeting, despite Flynn having raised the idea in an appearance the previous day on Newsmax, a right-wing hive for election conspiracies.

    But this was a distinction without much of a difference. What Flynn and Powell were proposing amounted to suspending normal laws and mobilizing the U.S. government to seize Dominion voting machines around the country.

    Powell was arguing that they couldn't get a judge to enforce any subpoena to hand over the voting machines because all the judges were corrupt. She and her group repeatedly referred to the National Emergencies Act and a Trump executive order from 2018 that was designed to clear the way for the government to sanction foreign actors interfering in U.S. elections.

    These laws were, in the view of Powell, Flynn and the others, the key to unlocking extraordinary powers for Trump to stay in office beyond Jan. 20.

    Their theory was that because foreign enemies had stolen the election, all bets were off and Trump could use the full force of the United States government to go after Dominion.

    It was remarkable that the presidency had deteriorated to such an extent that this fight in the Oval Office between senior White House officials and radical conspiracists was even taking place.

    "How exactly are you going to do this?" an exasperated Herschmann asked again, later in the conversation. Newman again cited the 2018 executive order, which prompted Herschmann to question out loud whether she was even a lawyer.

    Then Byrne chimed in: "There are guys with big guns and badges who can get these things." Herschmann couldn't believe it. "What are you, three years old?" he asked.

    Lyons, the staff secretary, told the president that the executive order Powell and Flynn were citing did not give him the authority they claimed it did to seize voting machines. Morgan, the campaign lawyer, also expressed skepticism about their idea of invoking national security emergency powers.

    To help adjudicate, Trump then patched in the national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, on speakerphone. Trump's personal assistant brought O'Brien into the call with no explanation of what madness would await him.

    O'Brien said very little in the short time he was on the call but intervened at one point to say he saw no evidence to support Powell's notion of declaring a national security emergency to seize voting machines. There was so much fiery crosstalk it was hard for anyone on the telephone to follow the conversation.

    Trump expressed skepticism at various points about Powell's theories, but he said, "At least she’s out there fighting."

    The discussion shifted from Dominion voting machines to a conversation about appointing Powell as a special counsel inside the government to investigate voter fraud. She wanted a top secret security clearance and access to confidential voter information.

    Lyons told Trump he couldn't appoint Powell as a special counsel at the Justice Department because this was an attorney general appointment. Lyons, Cipollone and Herschmann — in fact the entire senior White House staff who were aware of this idea — were all vehemently opposed to Powell becoming a special counsel anywhere in the government.

    By this point Trump had also patched into the call his personal lawyer Giuliani and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Meadows indicated that he was trying to wrap his mind around what exactly Powell's role would entail. He told Powell she would have to fill out the SF-86 questionnaire before starting as special counsel.

    This was seen as a delaying tactic. The sense in the room was that Trump might actually greenlight this extraordinary proposal.

    At its essence, the Powell crew's argument to the president was this: We have the real information. These people — your White House staff — don't believe in the truth. They're liars and quitters. They're not willing to fight for you because they don't want to get their hands dirty. Put us in charge. Let us take control of everything. We'll prove to you that what we're saying is right. We won't quit, we'll fight. We're willing to fight for the presidency.

    On some level, this argument was music to Trump's ears. He was desperate. Powell and her team were the only people willing to tell him what he wanted to hear — that a path to stay in power in the White House remained.

    The Oval Office portion of the meeting had dragged on for nearly three hours, creeping beyond 9 p.m. The arguments became so heated that even Giuliani — still on the phone — at one point told everyone to calm down. One participant later recalled: "When Rudy's the voice of reason, you know the meeting's not going well."

    Giuliani told Trump he was going to come over to the White House. The president, having forgotten about the others on the line, hung up and cut multiple people off the call.

    Herschmann, Cipollone and Lyons left the Oval Office, but soon discovered that the Powell entourage had made their way to the president’s residence. They followed them upstairs, to the Yellow Oval Room, Trump's living room, where they were joined by Giuliani and Meadows.

    Trump sat beside Powell in armchairs facing the door, separated by a round, wooden antique table. Giuliani sat in an armchair to the right of them, while Byrne and Meadows sat on a couch. Byrne wolfed down pigs in a blanket and little meatballs on toothpicks that staff had set on the coffee table.

    Herschmann was primed to brawl and ready to dump on Powell. It had been a long day.

    "Rudy," he said, turning to Giuliani, "Sidney was just in the Oval telling the president you don't know what the fuck you're doing. Right, Sidney?" He turned to Powell: "Why don't you tell Rudy to his face?"

    "Eric, really it's not appropriate," Trump replied curtly.

    "What's not appropriate?" Herschmann shot back. Turning to Powell, he said, "Why don't you repeat to Rudy what you just told the president in the Oval Office — that he has no idea about the case and that he only just began to understand it a few hours ago."

    Three days later, Giuliani would publicly distance himself from Powell, telling Newsmax that Powell did not represent the president, and that "whatever she's talking about, it's her own opinions."

    It didn't take long for the yelling to start up again. They were now in hour four of a meeting unprecedented even by the deranged standards of the final days of the Trump presidency.

    Now it was Meadows' turn, blasting Flynn for trashing him and accusing him of being a quitter. "Don't you dare challenge me about whether I'm being supportive of the president and working hard," Meadows shouted, reminding Flynn that he'd defended him during his legal troubles.

    Trump and Cipollone, who frequently butted heads, went at it too, over whether the administration had the authority to do what Powell was proposing.

    Powell kept asserting throughout the night that she had — or would soon produce — the evidence needed to prove foreign interference. She kept insisting that Trump had the legal authority he needed to seize voting machines. But she did not have the goods.

    Powell at one point turned to Lyons and demanded, "Why are you speaking? Are you still employed here?" The staff secretary, who had already resigned, laughed and joked, "Well I guess I'm here until midnight."

    It was after midnight by the time the White House officials had finally said their piece. They left that night fully prepared for the mad possibility Trump might still name Sidney Powell special counsel. You have our advice, they told the president before walking out. You decide who to listen to.



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  • statquo
    Episode 9: Trump's war with his generals

    Axios' "Off the rails" series documents the end of the Trump administration, from election night 2020 through the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol.

    One important piece is only now beginning to emerge: Former President Donald Trump's last-minute bid to pull U.S. forces from Afghanistan and swaths of the Middle East, Africa and even Europe ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration — and why he blinked.

    John McEntee, one of Donald Trump's most-favored aides, handed retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor a piece of paper with a few notes scribbled on it. He explained: "This is what the president wants you to do."

    1. Get us out of Afghanistan.

    2. Get us out of Iraq and Syria.

    3. Complete the withdrawal from Germany.

    4. Get us out of Africa.

    It was Nov. 9, 2020 — days after Trump lost his re-election bid, 10 weeks before the end of his presidency and just moments after Macgregor was offered a post as senior adviser to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.

    As head of the powerful Presidential Personnel Office, McEntee had Trump's ear. Even so, Macgregor was astonished. He told McEntee he doubted they could do all of these things before Jan. 20.

    "Then do as much as you can," McEntee replied.

    In Macgregor's opinion, Miller probably couldn't act on his own authority to execute a total withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan because he was serving in an acting capacity. If this was for real, Macgregor told McEntee, then it was going to need an order from the president.

    The one-page memo was delivered by courier to Christopher Miller's office two days later, on the afternoon of Nov. 11. The order arrived seemingly out of nowhere, and its instructions, signed by Trump, were stunning: All U.S. military forces were to be withdrawn from Somalia by Dec. 31, 2020. All U.S. forces were to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Jan. 15, 2021.

    What the fuck is this? Miller wondered.

    A former Green Beret, Miller had directed the National Counterterrorism Center and was accustomed to following process. Trump had tapped him to run the Pentagon after his unceremonious firing-by-tweet of Mark Esper. It was Miller's third day on the job.

    News of the memo spread quickly throughout the Pentagon. Top military brass, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, were appalled. This was not the way to conduct policy — with no consultation, no input, no process for gaming out consequences or offering alternatives.

    A call was quickly placed to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. In turn, Cipollone notified the national security adviser, Robert O'Brien. Neither Cipollone nor O'Brien had any idea what the order was or where it had come from.

    Neither did the office of the staff secretary — whose job it was to vet all the paper that reached the president's desk. Yet the paper bore Trump's distinctive Sharpie signature.

    The U.S. government's top national security leaders soon realized they were dealing with an off-the-books operation by the commander in chief himself.

    Many would rally to push back — sometimes openly and in coordination, at other times so discreetly that top Trump administration officials had to turn to classified intercepts from the National Security Agency for clues.

    Trump's instincts should have come as little surprise. He was frantically trying to salvage his own legacy while simultaneously trying to overturn the election results and block Biden's transition to power. The result was chaos.
    A lot more in the link for anyone interested. This was a wild, crazy article. I'll post a few pieces that I found interesting.

    Some senior officials also deliberately deceived Trump. "What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal," Jim Jeffrey, Trump's special envoy to Syria and the anti-ISIS coalition, told Defense One in a post-election interview in November 2020.

    "We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there," he said, adding that the real number of troops in northeast Syria is "a lot more than" the roughly 200 Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019.

    It was a stunning admission. But it was one that reflected the mindset of some of the national security leaders and savvy bureaucrats who had repeatedly thwarted the commander in chief's demands over four years.
    This was interesting. They just flat out lied to Trump over troops numbers.

    Trump, with McEntee's encouragement, fired Esper on Nov. 9. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows called Esper to give him a heads up just minutes before a presidential tweet named Christopher Miller as the successor.

    The relatively low-profile Miller had first met Trump as an NSC counterterrorism adviser on Oct. 26, 2019 — the night of the special operations raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. A request by the commander in chief to lead the Pentagon was not something that Miller, a U.S. Army veteran, felt he could turn down, despite pleas from his family and friends.

    Miller told associates he had three goals for the final weeks of the Trump administration: #1: No major war. #2: No military coup. #3: No troops fighting citizens on the streets.
    Who would ever have thought those last 2 would be something someone in senior leadership would have to be seriously and actively on the watch for?
    Last edited by statquo; 17 May 21,, 18:16.

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  • TopHatter
    Judge rips Arizona GOP for 'groundless' lawsuit challenging Biden's win, orders it to pay legal fees

    Calling its lawsuit challenging 2020 election procedures "groundless" and "disingenuous," a judge has ordered the Arizona Republican Party – and its lawyers – to pay the state thousands of dollars in legal fees.

    In his ruling, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah contended the GOP's team acted in "bad faith" when it questioned the process for auditing voting machines and sought to delay certification of election results last November.

    Instead of living up to the "privileged position in the electoral process" afforded to it by state law, Hannah said, the party sought to undermine Arizonans' confidence in election results.

    "The public has a right to expect the Arizona Republican Party to conduct itself respectfully," he wrote. "It has failed to do so in this case."

    The party and its attorneys must pay the Arizona Secretary of State's Office $18,238, according to the order. That's just a fraction of nearly $152,000 the agency said it spent defending itself against a barrage of election fraud lawsuits challenging President Joe Biden's Arizona win.

    Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said the "damage inflicted upon our democracy by frivolous lawsuits and conspiracy theories can't be measured in dollars." But she called the order "good news for taxpayers" and said it sent an important message to "those willing to abuse the legal process for political purposes."

    Arizona GOP attorney Jack Wilenchik, on the other hand, said directives like Hannah's serve only to "stop plaintiffs from rightfully invoking the courts to hear their issues." He said the order "encourages public distrust in the government for being openly hostile to them."

    "We will be appealing this ruling, and it will be reversed," Wilenchik said.

    Party challenged county audit process
    The GOP's lawsuit against Maricopa County centered on how election officials audited the accuracy of electronic vote tallies. Instead of sampling assigned precincts to conduct their hand count, officials sampled vote centers that were open to any voter in the county – a strategy the GOP contended was both unlawful and imprecise.

    "The idea, as best the Court could figure it out, was that that precinct-by-precinct hand counts would reveal precincts where the number of votes exceeded the number of registered voters," Hannah wrote.

    "These were flimsy excuses for a lawsuit. The hand count is not meant to create data points for political parties to 'cross-check with other voter registration data.' The purpose of the hand count audit is to compare the results of the machine count to the hand count to assure that the machines are working properly and accurately counting votes.”

    Maricopa County's hand count, which had bipartisan oversight, matched electronic counts exactly. But the Republican Party insisted state law explicitly required the county to use the precinct-based method, rather than the center-based method outlined in the secretary of state's Election Procedures Manual – despite the law deferring to that manual to outline voting center rules.

    Hannah also noted the party did not name Hobbs as a defendant in the lawsuit, even though county officials were implementing her office's rules. She later intervened in the case herself to address claims involving her office.

    Nor did the GOP name any of the less populous counties that also used and audited voting centers in the 2020 election.

    "That the plaintiff did not proceed that way suggest(s) that its concern was something other than 'strict compliance' and 'election integrity,'" Hannah wrote.

    Judge: Case was politically motivated
    Hannah also questioned the GOP's motives for requesting an injunction as the lawsuit progressed.

    Wilenchik had asked to delay the county's certification of election results until a new hand count could be done, saying there would be "zero real hardship" to election officials if the canvass was pushed back.

    "If an injunction is not granted, then there will be lingering questions about the legitimacy of these results which could otherwise be answered through a proper hand count,” Wilenchik wrote at the time. “It will create a cloud over the legitimacy of this election and its results.”

    Hannah said it was the GOP's lawsuit, not the hand count procedure, that "cast false shadows on the election’s legitimacy." He noted that Wilenchik, in responding to the secretary of state's request for legal fees, had acknowledged public doubts about election results had played a role in the lawsuit.

    "'Public mistrust' is a political issue, not a legal or factual basis for litigation," Hannah wrote.

    In a statement provided to The Arizona Republic on Monday, Wilenchik disagreed, arguing that a lawsuit to "enforce the plain wording of the law is never 'groundless.'"

    "For a county judge to say that widespread public mistrust in an election is an 'improper' reason for a political party to be in his court is sorely disrespectful to the views of the many Americans whom I am proud to represent," he said.

    The order sanctions Lee Miller, a lawyer who testified in favor of the injunction, in addition to the Arizona Republican Party and Wilenchik's firm. Miller and Wilenchik also are named in a separate complaint related to election lawsuits pending in front of the state bar association.

    FINALLY. Let this be the first of many.

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  • Red Team
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
    LOL yeah and Lindell whining about how they're no different than Twitter or something

    Newsmax either has limits (even for them)...or they're terrified of the 900 lb gorilla lawsuits that about to drop on their heads
    Harambe never truly died, he was reincarnated as defamation litigation.

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  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Joe, my vote is on the gorilla!
    Mine too!

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  • Albany Rifles
    Joe, my vote is on the gorilla!

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  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Did you see the video of the NewsMax anchor when Lindell wouldn't shut up?

    He took off his mike live on air and walked off the set so he wouldn't be affiliated with this crap.

    And as for "people are saying," & "I've been hearing" I heard Press Secretary Jen Psaki shut down a reporter the other day for trying that game. SO great to see that happening again.
    LOL yeah and Lindell whining about how they're no different than Twitter or something

    Newsmax either has limits (even for them)...or they're terrified of the 900 lb gorilla lawsuits that about to drop on their heads

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    Did you see the video of the NewsMax anchor when Lindell wouldn't shut up?

    He took off his mike live on air and walked off the set so he wouldn't be affiliated with this crap.

    And as for "people are saying," & "I've been hearing" I heard Press Secretary Jen Psaki shut down a reporter the other day for trying that game. SO great to see that happening again.

    Leave a comment: