NOTE: The following was adapted from an informal post I wrote and may contain errors. Expediency seemed more important than grammatical excellence.
A series of actions over time led many to suspect that the White House intended to challenge the election outcome. Federal agencies are being instructed to behave as if the President has won re-election essentially. A pattern of public manipulation and disinformation worried many that the White House intended to cast doubt on election results and from that hoped to be handed a win in the Supreme Court.
Serious concerns about a plan to make fraud claim aimed at changing election results came when investigative reporters found that a conservative lawyer had been holding voter fraud meetings with state election officials. Emails painted a picture. The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, whose work about voting fraud has been discredited, has been conducting private meetings for Republicans only.
Jonathan Diaz, a lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan voting rights group, said it’s one thing for Von Spakovsky to make dubious claims of voter fraud in public but “another thing entirely for him to be circumventing official channels and making these presentations in private, where they’re not subject to public scrutiny.”
Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike are begging partisan officials to stop undermining faith in the electoral process — it is literally the foundation upon which society hinges, but misleading the public is the secret great American pastime.
American politicians have a history of using political strategists to influence how the public feels about issues.
This happened notably with:
- The ACA where they hired a political strategist to research which claims and words would turn voters off of the idea:
- This happened in the 1950s and 60s, where lobbyists had cartoons made to convince the public healthcare reform would lead to socialism.
- Elected officials gave credibility to false claims about the origins of COVID-19, despite scientific and intelligence consensus. A leaked strategy guide, the Corona Big Book, instructed candidates to deflect from the federal response and offered commentary that was sometimes misleading or outright false.
- Scientists worldwide concluded in January that it was not a bioweapon, but they have had to reiterate that message repeatedly.
Now edited images of newspapers with a Gore win have appeared.
It’s unclear who edited the image, but known campaign staff widely shared it. The newspaper, the Washington Times, has condemned and debunked the images. The effort was concrete evidence of current efforts to influence public opinion.
A texting company run by one of President Donald Trump’s top campaign officials sent out thousands of targeted, anonymous text messages urging supporters to rally where votes were being counted in Philadelphia on Thursday, claiming Democrats were trying to steal the presidential election without supplying evidence for claims.
Emails and texts have urged supporters to go to election counting centers and stop votes from being counted. “ALERT: Radical Liberals & Dems are trying to steal this election from Trump! We need YOU!” the text said, directing recipients to “show your support” on a street corner near the Philadelphia Convention Center where votes were being counted and tensions were running high.
Counting centers in Republican- and Democrat-led states have reported death threats and armed protestors. One Republican city commissioner reported getting calls saying, “You are what the second amendment is for,” while appearing visibly shaken and confused by his colleague's unsubstantiated claims.
FRAUD CLAIM NIGHTMARE COME ALIVE
Federal intelligence agencies warned that adversaries intend to cast doubt on the election results as voter fraud, and we knew that the President had repeated the threat despite Congressional task force, researchers, and international election monitors finding no substantial fraud.
The concern was that this signaled a pattern we’ve seen before, where 45 tells us exactly what he plans to do by accusing others of that precise thing.
- White House withheld intel about Russian efforts to denigrate the opposition. Department of Homeland Security scheduled the information for release to the public to warn them, but emails show that the AS1, an illegally appointed lobbyist, stopped the release. The information has still not formally been shared with the public.
Intelligence Analysts Warn Public Cannot Always Detect Fakes
To bring attention to the problem, MIT created this video.
The public cannot always tell a fake from a real video, especially when footage is blurred. Convincing images of people in situations that never happened are now possible. For now, experts can still distinguish them.
No Evidence Supports Widespread Voting Fraud
“The most famous one occurred in the 9th congressional district of North Carolina in the 2018 election cycle where political operatives for the Republican congressional candidate illegally collected absentee ballots. They were caught and convicted. The election was overturned and a new one held.”
Many feared, myself included, that the established pattern of making claims that also appeared in foreign disinformation campaigns meant that officials intended to cast doubt on the election. We’ve seen campaign messages align with the disinformation from the intelligence bulletin (pictured above).
Fraud happens in every election, but it just is not a credible threat.
To lend credibility to the idea without evidence is to aid adversaries in their goal: undermine faith in the electoral process, thereby destroying the US. That we have elected officials sworn to serve the public and this nation, in what appears to be a bid to undermine voters, is disquieting at the very least.
Americans are more likely to “be struck by lightning” than to impersonate another in voting.
Veterans of past presidential transitions, including former GOP White House officials, have urged 45 to accept the result. This includes President George Bush, Jeb Bush, and several Republican governors.
Outside observers monitor every election, but it has been a critical piece of information at this moment. International oversight is often how countries know elections were a sham in another country.
On that note, even if the President successfully forced the outcome via the courts, the world will not accept an illegitimate outcome. The US would be sanctioned and forced to reverse course.
Sanctions are the same tactic the US, concerned with promoting democracy and human rights, used to save citizens in other countries once upon a time.
What's the Deal With Firing and Hiring Right Now and How does it Relate to the Election?
Yesterday leadership informed federal government employees that the election isn’t over in a phone call where there was repeated concern that everything they did would withstand a legal challenge. Leadership warned political appointees about their future work prospects and that DC is a small town.
The audio from a Monday conference call with USAID staff, the agency’s top-ranking official John Barsa addressed staff:
“Our concern is that you are serving the President,” and “sooner or later everybody gets outted for who they are, so my suggestion to all of you is to continue to play until the whistle blows,” and “it’s a small town.”
Staff reported to Axios it was a thinly veiled threat to their future job prospects. Leadership reminded employees that they served the President. Worthy of note: they don’t serve him. They serve the American people.
- LISTEN HERE: https://freebeacon.com/2020-election/top-usaid-official-tells-agency-leadership-there-is-no-transition-in-place/
Monday’s leaked call came as Trump and his inner circle continued denying their rival won the election.
- On the USAID call, Catharine O’Neill, newly installed as the agency’s White House liaison after her work on the re-election campaign stated: “The election is still happening. The Electoral College has not voted yet.” Barsa told the staff that “there is no transition in place” until the General Services Administration makes a determination about who won the election.
- GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, appointed to her position less than two weeks ago, has not acted despite the historical precedent. Leaving the US without a coherent plan for future leadership is a threat to national security because it could embolden adversaries.
- “While there will be legal disputes requiring adjudication, the outcome is sufficiently clear that the transition process must now begin,” the nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition. The transition center has both Republican and Democrat members.
White House Presidential Personnel Office director John McEntee “is spreading the word throughout the administration that if he hears of anyone looking for another job, we will fire them.”
- This checks out as Esper was drafting a letter of resignation. Barsa referenced Friday’s firing of USAID’s second-highest ranking official, Bonnie Glick, saying, “Bonnie is no longer with us.”
- USAID staff report feeling shaken, and they are outraged at Glick’s termination. This was echoed by USAID employees who spoke with me.
Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner on 60 minutes
Trump announced on Twitter that he had “terminated” Defense Secretary Mark Esper — “effective immediately.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development, which falls under Mike Pompeo’s State Department, has not responded to anyone as far as I know.
Esper was a lobbyist appointed by Trump and replaced with a defense contractor unlikely to challenge the President, which is what landed Esper in hot water. He challenged the President’s desire to use active-duty troops on American civilians. The Joint Chief Gen. Milley echoed this in congressional testimony.
WATCH: Milley, Esper testify on military's role handling civilian protests
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon's top leaders are going before Congress for the first time in months to face a long list…
Many expect CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray to face the ax next, and that is echoed by leaks from senior officials. Wray reported to congress that the threat from far-right extremism far exceeds any other, and CIA Director Haspel confirmed this.
Worth noting, they could not lie to congress and the evidence makes it very clear.
- WRAY CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY
- Analysis of Left, Right, and Religious Extremism in the US for 2020
- Another Extremism brief from 2020
PERSONAL NOTE: I know you’re scared right now. I know you’re anxious. If you weren’t, that would be concerning. No matter who you supported, I want you to know that I care how you feel, and you matter. Take a deep breath and stay calm.
Resist sharing information you haven’t confirmed (me included). Take care of yourself. If that means prayers, meditation, or doing something you enjoy, do that. We’re all Americans and we must always stand together.