2020 Elections

  1. Legal

    Eastman provides new details of Trump’s direct role in legal effort to overturn election

    The court filing describes the direct role of Trump himself in developing strategy, detailing “two hand-written notes from former President Trump about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation.”

    John Eastman, the attorney who architected Donald Trump’s last-ditch legal strategy to overturn the 2020 election, revealed Friday that he routinely communicated with Trump either directly or via “six conduits” during the chaotic weeks that preceded the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

    In a late-night court filing urging a federal judge to maintain the confidentiality of his work for Trump, Eastman provided the clearest insight yet into the blizzard of communications between Trump, his top aides, his campaign lawyers and the army of outside attorneys who were working to help reverse the outcome in a handful of states won by Joe Biden.

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  2. Elections

    Effort to recruit poll workers relaunches amid fears of shortage

    Power the Polls is looking to reengage 700,000 people who expressed interest in volunteering during the 2020 election.

    Power the Polls, an effort backed by major civic groups and businesses that recruited hundreds of thousands of people to serve as poll workers in 2020, is relaunching its efforts ahead of the midterms.

    The program relaunch, shared first with POLITICO, comes amid some early signs that some jurisdictions are struggling to recruit enough poll workers to staff primaries and the general election.

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  3. Fourth Estate

    Opinion | Trump’s Alternate Reality Hits a New Crazy Note with Dr. Oz

    And it’s only a matter of time before other Republicans echo his call to declare victory early.

    Donald Trump broke through a new barrier Wednesday night as he urged Mehmet Oz, who leads the Pennsylvania Republican senatorial primary by a micrometer, to simply assert himself the winner and be done with it.

    “Dr. Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find,’” Trump stated on Truth Social, his social media platform. He didn’t explain how the mechanics of such a tactic would work. Would Pennsylvania just put Oz on the general ballot by Oz’s (and Trump’s) decree? Even Trump supporters must have suffered a few seconds of the willies at Trump’s order that Oz should seize victory in a cliffhanger that might trigger a recount — especially given that Oz has only collected 31.2 percent of the vote.

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  4. legal

    Former FBI official recounts alleged lie at heart of Sussmann trial

    Former Bureau General Counsel James Baker described a meeting where attorney Michael Sussmann relayed suspicions about a Trump server.

    A former top official at the FBI told a federal jury on Thursday that he was “100 percent confident” that Michael Sussmann, a prominent cybersecurity lawyer, said he wasn’t acting on behalf of any of his clients when he gave the FBI information weeks before the 2016 presidential election about an alleged data link between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank.

    The daylong testimony from former FBI General Counsel James Baker in federal court in Washington backed the central claim of the narrow false-statement case special counsel John Durham brought against Sussmann last year: that he lied to Baker by hiding the involvement of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in promoting the alleged link.

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  5. Legal

    Former FBI official takes stand in trial of former Democratic Party lawyer

    Michael Sussmann is accused of lying to the official, former FBI General Counsel James Baker, in a 2016 meeting in which he relayed information about possible ties between Russia and candidate Donald Trump.

    Updated

    Jurors at the trial of a former Democratic Party lawyer accused of lying to the FBI in 2016 while trying to gin up an investigation damaging to candidate Donald Trump heard for the first time, on Wednesday, from the former official on the receiving end of the alleged falsehood: former FBI General Counsel James Baker.

    Baker took the witness stand on behalf of the prosecution in the late afternoon in U.S. District Court in Washington, but quickly made clear that he considered the defendant — former Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann — a friend and wasn’t testifying out of any desire to see Sussmann punished.

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  6. politics

    What’s the hottest spot to debut your 2020 election conspiracy film? Mar-a-Lago, of course.

    Movie night at the former president’s club is a mix of cocktails and conspiracy theories. And it’s become a symbol of Trump’s cultural impact on the GOP.

    On a warm evening in May, a small galaxy of MAGA stars in tuxedos and floor length sparkling gowns stood around a pool sipping cocktails, eating plates of risotto and clinking champagne glasses under perfect palm trees.

    They had gathered there, at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, not for a campaign fundraiser or a holiday affair; but, rather, for a glitzy film premiere.

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  7. legal

    'Provide some cover': New Eastman emails shed light on his push to overturn Biden's win

    He suggested a way for Pennsylvania legislators to cancel Joe Biden's win.

    Updated

    Attorney John Eastman urged Republican legislators in Pennsylvania to retabulate the state’s popular vote — and throw out tens of thousands of absentee ballots — in order to show Donald Trump with a lead, according to newly unearthed emails sent in December 2020, as Trump pressured GOP lawmakers to subvert his defeat.

    This recalculation, he posited in an exchange with one GOP state lawmaker, “would help provide some cover” for Republicans to replace Joe Biden’s electors from the state with a slate of pro-Trump electors, part of a last-ditch bid to overturn the election results.

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  8. congress

    Dems reserve $33M in bid to hold Senate

    The caucus' campaign arm is focusing on four embattled incumbents.

    Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is reserving $33 million in advertisements this fall, with the bulk of its resources devoted to protecting the party’s quartet of embattled incumbents in the hopes of keeping their tenuous hold on the majority.

    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is plowing most of its initial reservation money into backing Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia. In the 50-50 Senate, just one Republican net gain would flip Senate control to the GOP next year, which makes each race critical.

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  9. elections

    Muslim voter turnout grew in 2020

    Nearly three-quarters of registered Muslim Americans voted in 2020, according to a new report.

    Nearly 1.1 million Muslim voters cast a ballot in the 2020 election, turning out in numbers large enough to swing the presidential race in key battleground states, according to a new report.

    The analysis by Emgage, a Muslim American civic group, found that 71 percent of registered Muslim voters in the U.S. went to the polls that year — an uptick of 2 percentage points compared to 2016, and 4 points higher than the nationwide turnout level in 2020.

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  10. Florida

    DeSantis signs bill creating one of the nation’s only election police units

    The measure was watered down from one that initially had local election officials warning it was a “recipe for disaster.”

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday approved the creation of a new stand-alone election police force designed to crack down on voter fraud in the nation’s third-largest state.

    The Republican governor had proposed the creation of a special unit to tackle election crimes as he came under pressure from some Republicans to do a full-blown audit of the 2020 election even though former President Donald Trump had little trouble winning Florida.

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  11. media

    Did Donald Trump walk out or did Piers Morgan fake out?

    At issue between the former president and the broadcaster is how an interview ended.

    Updated

    Conflicting material released on Wednesday by the broadcaster Piers Morgan’s team and Donald Trump’s team showed Morgan’s recently conducted interview with the former president in radically different lights.

    At issue is whether Trump angrily stormed out or whether, as Trump’s team suggested, the footage was cut that way to publicize Morgan’s new show, which is to debut next week and feature the interview. Regardless, the conflicting narratives will almost certainly raise interest in their discussion.

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  12. insurrection fallout

    Eastman shielding 37,000 pages of Trump-related email from Jan. 6 committee

    The dispute over the documents is heading to District Court Judge David Carter for a case-by-case review.

    Attorney John Eastman revealed Monday that he has asserted attorney-client privilege on 37,000 pages of emails related to his work for then-President Donald Trump in the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

    The Jan. 6 select committee has objected to “every claim” over those pages, which now sends the gargantuan dispute to U.S. District Court Judge David Carter for a case-by-case review.

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  13. Elections

    Democrats turn to their Gen Z whisperer as youth support wobbles

    Biden's numbers with young voters took a staggering dive at the end of 2021, dipping lower than any Democratic president in decades.

    Democratic senators had two charts waiting at their chairs when they arrived at a caucus luncheon in February. They showed youth participation in national elections since the 1980s, with two impossible-to-miss spikes: 2018 and 2020, when huge turnout among 18- to 30-year-olds propelled Democrats into power in Washington.

    Those graphs led off pollster John Della Volpe’s myth-busting tour on young people and politics across the top levels of the Democratic Party. Young people do vote, he told the senators, and they’re not policy purists, snowflakes or socialists, either. Perhaps the most important point Della Volpe could make for that audience, though, is that young voters are not locked up for Democrats.

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  14. politics

    Trump's fixation on the past puts his political future in limbo

    The former president can’t stop, won’t stop harping on his loss to Biden. Will it doom his future?

    PALM BEACH, Fla. — Standing before a crowd of political advisers — well-heeled donors in metallic designer dresses, longtime Palm Beach friends and Fox News stars past and present — former President Donald Trump couldn’t hide his pleasure with the reception he was getting.

    Ushered through the doors, he’d been met with a standing ovation, head nods and adoring smiles, the type of response he’s come to expect from the crowds that gather at his palatial Mar-a-Lago resort on the Florida coast. They were there, clustered together at white-tablecloth spreads under glittering chandeliers, to debut a movie meant to cast a shadow on the 2020 election results, but also to see Trump himself. Even in a slightly politically weakened state, he remains the axis around which the Republican Party revolves.

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  15. Elections

    How election conspiracy theories turned local politics ‘toxic’ in one Wisconsin city

    Green Bay has turned into an example of how Donald Trump's unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 election have eroded faith in local government.

    GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the second time since Election Day 2020, uniformed police officers will be on duty when ballot counting begins in Green Bay’s local elections.

    It’s the result of tension building for over a year in the city, which has become ground zero for election conspiracy theories in a battleground state still consumed by the last presidential race. Furor that started over the use of private funds to help a cash-strapped local government run the 2020 election soon morphed into something darker than normal political disagreement, including a report of a “suspicious person” who improperly accessed the clerk’s office on Election Day 2020, according to city government emails obtained by POLITICO.

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  16. elections

    Palin’s unexpected bid jolts Alaska

    The former vice presidential nominee returns to a party that looks nothing like the one she belonged to when she first burst onto the national stage.

    Sarah Palin considered running for president in 2012, was “seriously interested” in the office four years later and said she’d run for vice president again “in a heartbeat.” Last year, she teased — and prayed about — a potential U.S. Senate run.

    For all that, it nevertheless caught Republicans off guard — including in Palin’s home state — when the former governor of Alaska actually did announce her comeback bid, entering a U.S. House race on Friday.

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  17. Legal

    Trump likely committed felony obstruction, federal judge rules

    A federal judge ruled that former President Donald Trump “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress.

    A federal judge ruled Monday that former President Donald Trump “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress as part of a criminal conspiracy when he tried to subvert the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.

    “Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote.

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  18. Elections

    Trump backers push election change that would make counting slower, costlier and less accurate

    Ditching machine tabulators and replacing them with people counting votes by hand has become a new fixation on the right.

    Trump supporters are pushing to prohibit machine counting of ballots in future elections around the country, which election officials say could make vote-counting slower, more expensive and — most importantly — less accurate.

    Legislators in at least six states this year have introduced proposals to prohibit the use of ballot tabulating machines. Local jurisdictions in Nevada, New Hampshire and elsewhere have also been considering similar measures. The proposals stem from baseless conspiracy theories stoked by former President Donald Trump since the 2020 election, in which he and others contended that election machines around the country were hacked and votes were flipped.

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  19. Politics

    Under Trump, DHS directed to probe bogus claims about voter fraud

    The directive, which has not been reported before, casts new light on the administration’s efforts to use intelligence resources to investigate fanciful claims.

    Updated

    In late April of 2020, a top political appointee in the Trump administration called for Department of Homeland Security officials to scrutinize an unusual topic for a national security agency: possible voter fraud in the upcoming election. A subsequent directive included a focus on mail-in voting, according to a document reviewed by POLITICO.

    That guidance came as then-President Donald Trump fomented claims that the expansion of mail-in voting would corrupt the 2020 election — which later fed his unsubstantiated assertions that the election was stolen.

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  20. legal

    N.C. investigators are probing Mark Meadows' voter registration

    Public records show the former Trump chief of staff registered in two states and, according to The New Yorker, registered at a home that he never owned and possibly never visited.

    North Carolina state investigators have launched an investigation into Mark Meadows’ voter registration after reports raised questions about the former White House chief of staff’s status.

    Anjanette Grube, the public information director for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, told POLITICO that Meadows was under investigation, which was first reported by Raleigh TV station WRAL. WRAL also reported that the North Carolina State Board of Elections was investigating Meadows, but the office referred POLITICO to the state’s attorney general’s office.

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