Iron County Progressive

 

The Washington Post

20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election

Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Amy Gardner 13 hrs ago

But Trump refused to see it that way. Sequestered in the White House and brooding out of public view after his election defeat, rageful and at times delirious in a torrent of private conversations, Trump was, in the telling of one close adviser, like “Mad King George, muttering, ‘I won. I won. I won.’ ”

However cleareyed Trump’s aides may have been about his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, many of them nonetheless indulged their boss and encouraged him to keep fighting with legal appeals. They were “happy to scratch his itch,” this adviser said. “If he thinks he won, it’s like, ‘Shh . . . we won’t tell him.’ ”

Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin, for instance, discussed with Trump a poll he had conducted after the election that showed Trump with a positive approval rating, a plurality of the country who thought the media had been “unfair and biased against him” and a majority of voters who believed their lives were better than four years earlier, according to two people familiar with the conversation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. As expected, Trump lapped it up.

The result was an election aftermath without precedent in U.S. history. With his denial of the outcome, despite a string of courtroom defeats, Trump endangered America’s democracy, threatened to undermine national security and public health, and duped millions of his supporters into believing, perhaps permanently, that Biden was elected illegitimately.

Trump’s allegations and the hostility of his rhetoric — and his singular power to persuade and galvanize his followers — generated extraordinary pressure on state and local election officials to embrace his fraud allegations and take steps to block certification of the results. When some of them refused, they accepted security details for protection from the threats they were receiving.

“It was like a rumor Whac-A-Mole,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Despite being a Republican who voted for Trump, Raffensperger said he refused repeated attempts by Trump allies to get him to cross ethical lines. “I don’t think I had a choice. My job is to follow the law. We’re not going to get pushed off the needle on doing that. Integrity still matters.”

All the while, Trump largely abdicated the responsibilities of the job he was fighting so hard to keep, chief among them managing the coronavirus pandemic as the numbers of infections and deaths soared across the country. In an ironic twist, the Trump adviser tapped to coordinate the post-election legal and communications campaign, David Bossie, tested positive for the virus a few days into his assignment and was sidelined.

Only on Nov. 23 did Trump reluctantly agree to initiate a peaceful transfer of power by permitting the federal government to officially begin Biden’s transition — yet still he protested that he was the true victor.

The 20 days between the election on Nov. 3 and the greenlighting of Biden’s transition exemplified some of the hallmarks of life in Trump’s White House: a government paralyzed by the president’s fragile emotional state; advisers nourishing his fables; expletive-laden feuds between factions of aides and advisers; and a pernicious blurring of truth and fantasy.

Though Trump ultimately failed in his quest to steal the election, his weeks-long jeremiad succeeded in undermining faith in elections and the legitimacy of Biden’s victory.

This account of one of the final chapters in Trump’s presidency is based on interviews with 32 senior administration officials, campaign aides and other advisers to the president, as well as other key figures in his legal fight, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details about private discussions and to candidly assess the situation.

In the days after the election, as Trump scrambled for an escape hatch from reality, the president largely ignored his campaign staff and the professional lawyers who had guided him through the Russia investigation and the impeachment trial, as well as the army of attorneys who stood ready to file legitimate court challenges.

Instead, Trump empowered loyalists who were willing to tell him what he wanted to hear — that he would have won in a landslide had the election not been rigged and stolen — and then to sacrifice their reputations by waging a campaign in courtrooms and in the media to convince the public of that delusion.

The effort culminated Nov. 19, when lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell spoke on the president’s behalf at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee to allege a far-reaching and coordinated plot to steal the election for Biden. They argued that Democratic leaders rigged the vote in a number of majority-Black cities, and that voting machines were tampered with by communist forces in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Ch├ívez, the Venezuelan leader who died seven years ago.

There was no evidence to support any of these claims.

 


From State Representative Beth Meyers

Hello to my constituents, 

The holidays can be a stressful time any year, but this Thanksgiving is going to look different for most of us. It may be difficult to not celebrate in person with some of your loved ones, but COVID-19 is still filling our hospitals and taking the lives of our neighbors and friends. Even though we are all exhausted, we must continue to be cautious for our safety and the health of those around us. 

Last week, Governor Evers released a package of legislation to aid Wisconsinites as our state has one of the worst outbreaks in the nation. See the summary of the bills here.

Unfortunately, Republican leadership has given us no indication of when we will meet again. Time is of the essence, and I will continue to push for action. Lives depend on it.

In the meantime, please stay home when you can, maintain distance and wear a mask. Do your part to protect your community, and take care of yourself as best you can. 

Thank you,

 


 

 

Brennan takes final shot at Trump: 'I leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap'

Celine Castronuovo  

Former CIA Director and vocal Trump critic John Brennan on Monday took to Twitter to announce that he now plans "to ignore Trump," and will "leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap."

© YouTube Brennan takes final shot at Trump: 'I leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap'

"For four years, I spoke out vigorously against Donald Trump's craven dishonesty, corrupt pursuit of personal interests, & trampling of our democratic principles," Brennan, who served under the Obama administration, began in a series of tweets. "After serving over three decades in national security, I felt compelled to condemn Trump's depravity & incompetence."

"My outspokenness has brought criticism, retaliation by the Trump Administration, & threats by those blinded by Trump's demagoguery," he continued. "Yes, it is unusual for a former CIA Director to speak out, but when an autocrat descended upon the White House, silence was not an option for me."

"I now plan to ignore Trump," Brennan added. "I leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap."

My outspokenness has brought criticism, retaliation by the Trump Administration, & threats by those blinded by Trump's demagoguery.

Yes, it is unusual for a former CIA Director to speak out, but when an autocrat descended upon the White House, silence was not an option for me.

And while I will refrain from referencing Donald Trump in Twittersphere again, I will not hesitate to denounce public officials of any political stripe who I believe betray the trust of the American people or engage in unethical, unprincipled, or corrupt activities.

I promise.

Brennan called for "strong bipartisan support" for the national security policies that will come from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris once they take office in January.

On Monday, Biden announced a list of people he intends to nominate to head up his national security team, including Antony Blinken, a longtime foreign policy adviser, to serve as secretary of State; Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as Homeland Security secretary; Avril Haines to be director of national intelligence; and Jake Sullivan to be national security advisor.

Brennan added in a follow-up tweet Monday that while he "will refrain from referencing Donald Trump in Twittersphere again, I will not hesitate to denounce public officials of any political stripe who I believe betray the trust of the American people or engage in unethical, unprincipled, or corrupt activities."

"I promise," the former top national security official added.

Brennan's Twitter remarks come after the ex-CIA director argued earlier this month that President Trump was "score settling" with personnel changes at the Pentagon, which began with the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, followed by a series of resignations of other top officials.

"He wants people to be personally loyal to him," Brennan said in an interview on CNN at the time. "So therefore the firing of Mark Esper and the decapitating of civilian leadership within the Pentagon, I think clearly is score-settling on the part of Mr. Trump."

Sources reportedly told CNN's Jake Tapper that the White House had focused on pushing out Esper's undersecretaries after Esper and his team argued against withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller hired a senior adviser who frequently pushed for the immediate removal of troops from Afghanistan, and, last week, Miller announced that Trump had ordered the Pentagon to pull 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by mid-January.

Some experts have warned that such a rapid withdrawal would threaten national security and stability in the region, with the military frequently arguing against going below the 4,500 troops currently in Afghanistan.

Military officials have said that conditions on the ground do not warrant a drawback of troops, with the Taliban failing to uphold its agreement with the United States for peace in the country.

 


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POLITICS

Chris Christie tells Trump to end election lawsuits, calls his legal team 'national embarrassment'

PUBLISHED SUN, NOV 22 2020 12:06 PM EST

UPDATED 3 HOURS AGO

Amanda Macias

@AMANDA_M_MACIAS

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KEY POINTS

·         Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday that the president should end his legal fights challenging the results of the election and concede to president-elect Joe Biden.

·         "You have an obligation to present the evidence, the evidence has not been presented," Christe said.

·         Christie described Trump's legal team as a "national embarrassment" and Powell's explosive claims as "outrageous conduct."

·         Trump has alleged that the U.S. presidential election was riddled with "massive improprieties and fraud" and has therefore rejected the results.

 

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's confidant former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday that the president should end his legal fights challenging the results of the election and concede to president-elect Joe Biden.

"Listen, I've been a supporter of the president, I voted for him twice but elections have consequences and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn't happen," Christie explained on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"They allege fraud outside of the courtroom but when they go inside the courtroom they don't plead fraud and they don't argue fraud," Christie said, adding "you have an obligation to present the evidence, the evidence has not been presented."

Trump has alleged that the U.S. presidential election was riddled with "massive improprieties and fraud" and has therefore rejected the results. Other top administration officials, such as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have publicly insisted that the election is not over. The Trump campaign continues to question the integrity of the election through a series of legal actions across battleground states.

On Saturday a federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed a lawsuit by Trump's campaign that sought to block that state's certification of millions of votes. The judge's decision is another brick in the crumbling edifice that is Trump's already long-shot bid to invalidate enough ballots in enough states to reverse Biden's victory in the election.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said in a statement that the judge's ruling confirms "Joe Biden won the 2020 election and will become the 46th President of the United States."

"I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory. They are both dedicated public servants and I will be praying for them and for our country," Toomey added.

The Trump campaign and its allies now have lost or withdrawn more than 30 lawsuits that were part of that effort.

Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell listed a slew of allegations of fraud during an interview on Newsmax TV on Saturday. Powell alleged that Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp may have been involved in kickbacks to public officials but gave no details.

"Sidney Powell accusing Governor Brian Kemp of a crime on television yet being on unwilling to go on TV and defend and lay out the evidence that she supposedly has" is "outrageous conduct," Christie said.

The former governor and federal prosecutor slammed Trump's legal team as a "national embarrassment."

 

 

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair



The people have spoken. The election is over.
Joe Biden will be sworn in as our next president. Trump, true to form, is throwing a temper tantrum because he lost. But his flailing won't change the outcome—it just sets the stage for Trump to lose again and again, in recount after recount and court case after court case. 

In January 2021, the people's clear choice, Joe Biden will be sworn in as President of the United States—and the real work will begin. 

Wisconsin clerks and other election officials oversaw one of the smoothest, most transparent elections in our state's history. Now, clerks and workers and observers in Dane County and Milwaukee County will conduct a transparent, smooth recount and demonstrate for a second time that a clear majority of Wisconsin voters chose Biden and rejected Trump. 

Trump's baseless lawsuits—no doubt he'll keep filing them—illustrate his
desperation to cling to power, despite losing. He knew the rules, he was elected by those rules in 2016... and he's whining about them now because he lost by them in 2020. In America, we believe in upholding the democratic, peaceful transition of power, and we're going to do it again—just as we've done at every other juncture in history.

We turned out, across race, across place,
surpassing 2016 Democratic turnout in every single county in Wisconsin. We chose our leaders. Now we're going to move forward together. 

In solidarity, 

Ben 

 

 

FIGHT on the Issues & FIGHT to Win

 

Gov. Evers Continues to Lead through the Pandemic While Republicans Do Nothing

 

As Wisconsin continues to break coronavirus records with more and more people dying and cases skyrocketing, Gov. Tony Evers is showing strong and steady leadership through the pandemic that is ravaging our state. On Tuesday, Evers unveiled a $541 million package of COVID-19 related measures that would provide economic and health relief to working families across the country. He also announced this week that he will declare a new public health emergency and extend the statewide mask mandate

Speaking to the moment, Evers said,
“It’s clear based on where we’re headed, we cannot afford to stop or have a gap in some of our only mitigation efforts we still have in place… We’ve got a long road ahead of us, Wisconsin, but we need to buckle down and get through this together until then. Call it what you want – flattening the curve, stopping the spread, staying safer at home . . . I’m going to call it what it is – saving lives.”

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to show absolutely no leadership and are actively slowing down any response. The pandemic has killed more than 2,700 Wisconsinites, yet state Republicans have yet to draft any bills aimed at addressing the public health nightmare. Evers’ spokesperson Britt Cudaback said,
“It’s shameful that Republicans are watching our state face an unprecedented crisis and would rather continue playing politics than work with the governor to do what’s best for the people of our state.”

 

 


 

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair

 

 

Dear fellow Wisconsin Democrats,

We did it. 

Ten days have passed since Election Day, and it’s still barely sunk in. 

We really, actually, genuinely did it. 

Holy mackerel. 

Democratic turnout—the raw number of Biden votes, relative to Clinton votes in 2016—went up in every single county in the state. That means that, no matter where you live,
you were part of the Biden victory. 

In the weeks and months to come, a million pundits, analysts, organizers, and everyone else will keep sifting through the numbers to try to understand what it all means. One thing we know now: turning Wisconsin blue was always going to be a massive challenge. 

Look at Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. In those non-Wisconsin states, the GOP didn’t have the same hammerlock on voting rules. In 2018, Democratic candidates won the governorships of those states by double-digit margins, and in many cases, through court decisions, ballot initiatives, and legislation, voting rules eased access going into 2018. 

In Wisconsin, by contrast, Republicans and GOP-aligned judges set rules in Wisconsin to suppress Democratic votes, especially Black voters and young people across race and geography.

The GOP created our harsh and restrictive voter ID laws—and fought, from the lame-duck session of 2018 through court battles this year—to keep it in place, including the highly unusual requirement that requesting an absentee ballot involved uploading a photo or mailing a photocopy of one’s voter ID. 

Not only did the GOP battle against every effort to expand voter access—they actively made things worse. 127 days out from November 3, Republicans won a court ruling that actually curtailed voter access relative to 2016, by shortening the early vote period to two weeks and expanding residency requirements. Many Republican strongholds already had chosen two-week early vote periods. But in 2016, Milwaukee began early vote on September 26. This year, the easiest early vote date was October 20. 

Similarly, courts ruled to uphold a long-stayed GOP law that a Wisconsin voter must reside at her primary residence for 28 days, rather than 10, to be able to vote from there. This disproportionately harms voters who have to move frequently.

And at the Congressional and state legislative level, Wisconsin’s gerrymander remains legendary—one of the most extreme in the nation’s history.

All of those factors were stacked against us. They were why, even when polling suggested a blowout, we all told each other like a mantra: ignore the polls and vote. They were why we all felt that pit in our stomachs even when we could feel the wind at our backs in the final days. 

But they weren’t enough to overcome you.

Republicans spiked their turnout 15% relative to 2016. But your work, your tireless efforts, your refusal to concede in the face of Republican attacks, helped Democratic turnout jump up 18%. This was the work of volunteers and staff; of the campaign, of unions and grassroots groups, of candidates at every level and their families and kitchen cabinets and supporters; of community organizations and national allies and everything in between—and in the end, all of it, in every corner of the state, in every community and language, was enough to overcome the Trump and GOP machines. 

And when you look at the margins of victory in each state and add it all up, Wisconsin held the same title it held in the last election: we were the tipping-point state. (Read this Twitter thread for an explanation.) 

But this time, unlike last time, we tipped the Electoral College for the Democratic nominee. And that made all the difference. 

So many countries that start down the road of autocracy never come back once a strongman takes power. Here, through grit and focus and the skin of our teeth, we wrested the country back from the brink. The work goes on, and won’t be easy. But at this all-important moment, we came through. 

You did the work. You are now a part of history. Congratulations—and thank you. 

Ben 

 

 

FIGHT on the Issues & FIGHT to Win

 

COVID Cases Skyrocket Across Wisconsin. Stay Home.

 

Cases of coronavirus are spiking across Wisconsin as hospitals get overwhelmed with patients. Wisconsin is currently on track to double its total number of deaths from COVID-19 before the end of the year. On Wednesday, health officials warned that hospitals in the state are approaching a point at which they may not be able to save everyone who gets sick. These horrifying numbers are because Republicans have now refused to meet or take action on COVID for 222 days.

This week, Gov. Evers used his statewide address as an opportunity to urge Wisconsinites to stay home to save lives, saying,
“I am concerned about what our current trajectory means for Wisconsin health care workers, families, and our economy if we don't get this virus under control. We must get back to the basics of fighting this virus just like we did last spring, and it starts at home.” He encouraged the basics that can make an enormous difference: social distancing, mask wearing, and staying home when possible.

We are thankful for Gov. Evers strong, steady leadership on fighting this pandemic and getting our state back on track. He has called on Republican leaders to bring ideas that they are willing to support to get the pandemic under control, and we need your help to urge our legislature to take action and save lives!
Call your legislators at 1-800-362-9472 and urge them to take action on COVID-19.

 

 

 

INCLUDE & RESPECT

 

Lt. Gov. Barnes Says Harris’ Victory Shows Diversity Matters

 

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes emphasized what a historic victory this election was, with Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris becoming the first female vice president, as well as the first Black vice president and first South Asian vice president. Lt. Gov. Barnes, who himself was elected as Wisconsin’s first Black lieutenant governor in 2018, said, “Politics can often feel disconnected for too many folks, especially those communities that have been marginalized. Lower-income communities, communities of color. When we bring in people that have some sort of shared experience, it makes the election process that much more personal to them.”
 
We are proud to have fought and won such a historic presidential ticket, and we cannot wait to continue the march toward more inclusion, equity, and justice at every level of government.