Trump and his allies double down on election lies after indictments for attempting to undo 2020 outcomes

A federal indictment and one in Georgia charging Donald Trump with mendacity in regards to the 2020 election to overturn President Joe Biden’s win have performed nothing to gradual the geyser of election falsehoods flowing from the previous president and his supporters.

Just two days after the Georgia indictment, certainly one of Trump’s most enthusiastic backers took the stage at a convention in Missouri to once more unfold election misinformation. Mike Lindell, the proprietor of MyPillow who’s a vocal promoter of the parable that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, kicked off an occasion on purported election crimes with a video about fraud.

It included footage from November 2020 that purported to indicate a Fulton County, Georgia, election employee pulling a briefcase of ballots from beneath a desk to surreptitiously add them to the tally.

As proof has since proven, the employee, Ruby Freeman, was merely doing her job — pulling out a typical authorities container stuffed with actual ballots that needed to be counted. Three completely different counts of the Georgia vote, together with one by hand, confirmed the ballots had been tallied correctly and the outcomes had been correct.

But Freeman and her daughter, who additionally labored within the elections workplace that night time, had been focused by Trump and his allies and accused of serving to throw the election to Biden, in comparison with drug sellers and deluged with threats. The girls testified earlier than the congressional Jan. 6 committee about their ordeal and sued a number of Trump backers, together with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, for libel. The lies about them are a central a part of final week’s indictment of Trump and his allies for allegedly conspiring to unfold misinformation to steal the Georgia election.

Yet they endured. During his convention, Lindell prefaced the video by saying “it isn’t about evidence” and meant to evoke the ambiance of December 2020, as Trump was difficult the election outcomes and looking for avenues to stay in energy. The anonymously produced video, stuffed with fevered studies of different ”anomalies” within the election, opens with the phrases “this video is pure data.”

“I never forgot this video,” Lindell stated.

Nor has the Republican citizens. Although Trump’s allegations have repeatedly been disproven — typically by his personal advisers — they’ve taken a agency maintain amongst his get together. An Associated Press ballot final week discovered 57% of Republicans stated they didn’t view Biden as a legitimately elected president.

The 98-page Georgia indictment lists a number of false allegations made by Trump that had been shortly disproven by fellow Republicans, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, and Gov. Brian Kemp. Still, Trump insists to at the present time that the election was stolen from him and continues to lie about it.

After the indictment, he promised a press convention this week revealing a report he claimed would present how the Georgia election was stolen from him — a pledge he rescinded on Thursday, saying his legal professionals wished to make his argument in a courtroom submitting as a substitute.

“Does anybody really believe I lost Georgia?” Trump requested on his Truth Social community Saturday. “I DON’T.”

By repeating the lie time and again, even when it has been repeatedly uncovered as baseless, Trump shouldn’t be solely guaranteeing that his loyal followers stay energized, but in addition dominating the dialogue and forcing others to relitigate the 2020 election on his phrases.

At the current Iowa State Fair, the place he was campaigning for that state’s presidential caucus subsequent yr, Trump once more claimed the 2020 election was “rigged.” In anticipation of the Georgia indictment, Trump’s campaign issued a statement a week ago saying prosecutors were “taking away President Trump’s First Amendment right to free speech, and the right to challenge a rigged and stolen election that the Democrats do all the time.”

His attorneys have defended his actions by saying the previous president sincerely believes fraud value him reelection.

Lee McIntyre, a Boston University researcher, famous that a lot of Trump’s followers now not see different Americans as professional opposition, however quite as an enemy. “This is strategic,” McIntyre said. “This is not a mistake. Somebody is profiting from this — politically, ideologically or financially — and we know it’s Trump.”

Known as “affective polarization,” that phenomenon has led to increased violence and political destablization in other nations. This month, FBI agents fatally shot an armed Utah man who had threatened to kill Biden and referred to himself online as a “MAGA Trumper.”

“It’s not just that the other side is wrong, it’s that the other side is evil, and they deserve to be punished, maybe even physically harmed,” McIntyre said. “It is no longer about facts, but about trust. It’s about teams, and which side you’re on.”

Still, the political danger to Trump of continuing his false claims of widespread fraud in 2020 also was underscored last week. The same poll finding that 57% of Republicans don’t believe Biden was legitimately elected also found that 7 out of 10 Americans overall saw his election as valid. Trump will need to convince some of those voters if he is to return to the White House in 2024.

By resurfacing his false claims about the 2020 election, Trump is reminding voters of how even some of his staunchest supporters opposed his scheme to stay in power.

Trump’s vow to prove Georgia was stolen drew a sharp rebuke from Kemp on the site formerly known as Twitter: “The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen,” Kemp wrote on Tuesday. “For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward – under oath – and prove anything in a court of law.”

Trump’s own vice president agreed.

“Despite what the President and his allies have now stated for greater than 2.5 years, and proceed to insist at this very hour, the Georgia election was not stolen and I had no proper to overturn the election on January sixth,” Mike Pence wrote on the net website now generally known as X.

Indeed, the indictment lists quite a few costs in regards to the election Trump and his allies made in public, earlier than subcommittees of the Georgia Legislature in a last-ditch effort to influence them to exchange Biden’s electors with ones for Trump and even in a swiftly dismissed lawsuit they filed.

For instance, Trump’s supporters repeatedly claimed in testimony to lawmakers that they discovered 10,315 useless folks had voted within the election. Georgia officers investigated and located solely 4.

Trump and his backers additionally claimed that a lot of underaged folks had registered to vote — 66,248, Trump legal professional Ray Stallings advised a legislative committee on Dec. 3, 2020. Raffensperger’s workplace stated no such voters exist.

They additionally repeatedly cited the recordings of Freeman and her daughter, with Giuliani telling lawmakers that the ladies, who’re Black, had been passing one USB drive backwards and forwards like “vials of heroin or cocaine.”

The baseless allegations proceed. Trump has stated he’ll use the film “2000 Mules,” which was produced by a conservative filmmaker and has been broadly debunked for utilizing flawed evaluation, in his protection at trial. It alleges a conspiracy in Georgia and different swing states to carry pretend mail ballots to drop bins.

Georgia authorities investigated one man who was recorded allegedly making an unlawful poll drop within the film and located the votes he deposited had been for his household and subsequently authorized. He has sued the filmmakers. Georgia authorities, after repeatedly asking for extra proof of the crimes alleged and getting nothing, even have filed swimsuit.

Reporting by The Associated Press additionally revealed no widespread issues with the usage of drop bins throughout the 2020 election.

Three years after the election, Trump’s claims have been rejected by dozens of judges, together with a number of he appointed, his personal legal professional common and dozens of critiques, audits and recounts within the battleground states, a number of overseen by Republican lawmakers.

Even if his gamble does not repay for him in 2024, Trump’s distortions have left a mark on the nation’s political system by rising polarization and convincing a sizeable chunk of the American public that its elections and justice system can now not be trusted, stated David Becker, government director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research and co-author of “The Big Truth,” a guide warning of the hazards of Trump’s election lies.

“The scary thing is, those pushing these lies don’t need to get you to believe the loser won,” Becker stated. “They simply must get you to consider that nobody ever wins. All of our democratic establishments that we’ve constructed up over 250 years are in danger.”


Riccardi reported from Denver.

Leave a Comment