The Morning Jolt

Elections

Americans Deserve the Truth, Even If It’s Unpleasant  

Trump Campaign Senior Legal Advisor Jenna Ellis speaks as Trump campaign advisor Boris Epshteyn whispers to Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to President Trump, during a news conference about the 2020 election in Washington, D.C., November 19, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

On the menu today: a blunt message about who is conning whom in the aftermath of the 2020 elections.

You Are Being Conned

Rudy Giuliani, yesterday:

We have enough evidence without [a lawsuit in Wisconsin] to overturn this election. We have it from the affidavits of American citizens, but that’s a matter of national security that we’re talking about now, very, very serious matter of national security. Please don’t make light of it and don’t act like you knew it, don’t act like it isn’t a surprise. If that’s not a headline tomorrow, then you don’t know what a headline is. There isn’t a single person in this country that would have believed that we have states that are stupid enough to have our vote sent out of this country. You couldn’t possibly believe that the company counting our vote, with control over our vote is owned by two Venezuelans who were allies of Chavez, are present allies of Maduro, with a company whose Chairman is a close associate and business partner of George Soros the biggest donor to the Democrat party, the biggest donor to Antifa, and the biggest donor of Black Lives Matter. My goodness, what do we have to do to get you to give our people the truth? Yes.

Sidney Powell, yesterday, in the same press conference:

What we are really dealing with here and uncovering more by the day is the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China in the interference with our elections here in the United States. The Dominion voting systems, the Smartmatic technology software and the software that goes in other computerized voting systems here in as well, not just Dominion, were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez to make sure he never lost an election after one constitutional referendum came out the way he did not want it to come out. We have one very strong witness who has explained how it all works . . .

In terms of the level of corruption we are looking at here, we have no idea how many Republican or Democratic candidates in any state across the country paid to have the system rigged to work for them. These people didn’t do this just to take control. They make one heck of a lot of money off of it. Think about the global interests behind your own news organizations. Think about the pressure being brought to bear from the social media companies to shut down free speech on any challenge to the election. This is a massive, well-funded, coordinated effort to deprive we, the people of the United States of our most fundamental right under the constitution to preserve this Republic that we all cherish. It is of the greatest concern. It is the 1775 of our generation and beyond.

Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson, on his program yesterday:

We took Sidney Powell seriously with no intention of fighting with her. We’ve always respected her work, we simply wanted to see the details. How could you not want to see them? So we invited Sydney Powell on the show. We would have given her the whole hour. We would have given her the entire week, actually, and listened quietly the whole time at rapt attention.

But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of polite requests. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her. When we checked with others around the Trump campaign, people in positions of authority, they also told us Powell had never given them any evidence to prove anything she claimed today at the press conference.

Powell did say that electronic voting is dangerous, and she’s right, but she never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another. Not one.

If you put your faith in President Trump’s claim of a presidential election stolen through massive alteration of votes through the use of voting software, and in the legal skills of Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, I am sorry to tell you that you have been conned. Whether or not Rudy Giuliani wants $20,000 per day as the New York Times reported, it is safe to conclude he expects to be well compensated for his work for the Trump campaign. He has a financial interest in dragging out proceedings for as long as possible.

Dominion Voting Systems works in 28 states and ran elections in Ohio, Florida, and other states that Trump won. In state of Florida, which Trump won by a wider margin than expected, the state division of elections certified their voting systems as safe, secure, and effective. That division answers to the Florida secretary of state, Laurel Lee, who is a former assistant U.S. attorney and former judge appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2019.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency have thoroughly examined the company’s hardware and software and found no vulnerabilities, no backdoors, no evidence of a secret way to alter the votes.

Dominion and Smartmatic are competitors. The founders of Smartmatic, Antonio Mugica and Alfredo Anzola, immigrated from Venezuela and created the company in Boca Raton, Fla., in 1999. Back in 2006, after being accused of being influenced by foreign governments, they declared that “no foreign government or entity — including Venezuela — has ever held an ownership stake in Smartmatic, and we have voluntarily filed with the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to put to rest the baseless but persistent rumors about our ownership.” The company’s systems were indeed used in Venezuela, but in 2017, Smartmatic accused the regime of President Nicolás Maduro of rigging the election, declaring, “The turnout figures on Sunday, July 30 for the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela were tampered with.

And as many have pointed out, if any voting-machine software was altering votes from Trump to Biden, then the hand recount in Georgia should have revealed a dramatic difference from the initial tallies to the hand-counted tallies. The hand recount found Biden won Georgia by 12,284 votes, and Trump picked up about 1,400 votes from the initial count, as some Republican-leaning counties failed to count 5,262 votes. It’s good they did the recount! Those missing votes shouldn’t be hand-waved away. But those human-driven mistakes were caught and rectified, and out of 159 counties in the state, 54 counties had the same totals after the recount, 27 counties initially miscounted by one vote, and 26 counties miscounted by five or fewer votes. Of the 5,262-vote change, 4,740 came from Floyd, Fulton, and Gwinnett Counties.

In short, the contention of the Trump campaign’s lawyers is that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election was rigged by a conspiracy of multiple voting-machine-software companies, poll workers across the country, local and county election officials in multiple key states, various secretaries of state, state attorney generals, governors including Republicans, law enforcement at all levels, the Department of Homeland Security, and every judge who has ruled against them so far. Oh, and almost everyone in almost every form of media who covers elections, presumably including me. If indeed the conspiracy is that vast, that deep, and that powerful, it raises the question of why anyone should participate in elections at all.

If you still have more faith in Giuliani and Powell than everyone who contends what they’re saying is nonsense, don’t take my word for it. Every court document that is filed in relation to the election gets posted online. DemocracyDocket.com does a good job of collecting them and posting them fairly quickly. You can read through them; everything is right there in black and white. You can see that the Trump campaign’s lawyers are not making the same claims of massive widespread fraud and voter alteration in court. Lawyers face serious professional consequences for lying — that is, making an assertion that they know is not true, to a judge or jury — in a courtroom. Ask yourself, if what Giuliani and Powell are claiming is true, why is the Trump campaign not even making the accusation in court? Why are they not presenting evidence? Why did Powell get angry at Tucker Carlson, who is about as supportive a media voice as the Trump campaign could ever want, when he asked for evidence? Just what did Tucker Carlson do wrong in this situation?

You deserve to be treated better than this. You deserve the truth, even if the truth is unpleasant or something you don’t want to hear.

President Trump did not win the election. He came surprisingly close, considering how he was running during the worst pandemic in a century, after a sudden and severe economic shock, and his own difficulties staying on-message. He won a bunch of states that he needed — Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina. He lost Georgia by two-tenths of a percentage point, Arizona by three-tenths of a percentage point, Wisconsin by seven-tenths of a percentage point, Pennsylvania by 1.2 percentage points, Nevada by 2.4 percentage points, and Michigan by 2.8 percentage points. His ardent push in the final weeks probably helped keep the Senate close to GOP control and diminishing the Democratic advantage in the U.S. House of Representatives down to a handful of seats. That’s more than respectable.

But we are now two and a half weeks since Election Day. Other than California and New York — which is a separate story, worthy of tackling another morning — the voting is done, the counting is complete, and in some cases, the count has been completed twice. There are no more absentee ballots left to arrive, no more provisional ballots to sort out or dispute. Many, if not all, of the court cases have been resolved. As of this morning, 15 states and territories have certified their vote results; by dinnertime tonight, Georgia and North Dakota will have joined them. The 2020 election is over — other than those Georgia Senate runoffs, and a Louisiana House runoff between two Republicans — and it is time for Americans to move on with our lives.

As U.S. marshal Samuel Gerard says at the end of The Fugitive, “It is time to stop running.

ADDENDA: I’m reading Barack Obama’s memoir — his third — back to front, and the final chapter begins with Obama’s thoughts about his often-tense relationship with Bibi Netanyahu. Obama still carries a grudge against Netanyahu and paints him as an obstinate obstacle to Middle East peace. As I write this morning:

There’s just one glaring complication to Obama’s cynical interpretation, and that’s that Netanyahu is still leading Israel, and in just the past few months his government has signed major diplomatic agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan. This would suggest that he is more than willing to sign treaties, as long as he feels certain that they won’t harm Israel’s security interests.

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