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Gov. Greg Abbott’s Pick for Top Texas Election Post Worked With Trump to Fight 2020 Results

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Gov. Greg Abbott’s pick for top Texas election post worked with Trump to fight 2020 results” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday appointed John Scott — a Fort Worth attorney who briefly represented former President Donald Trump in a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania — as Texas’ new secretary of state.

As secretary of state, Scott would oversee election administration in Texas — a task complicated in recent years by baseless claims of election fraud from Republicans in the highest levels of government fueled by Trump. The former president has filed a flurry of lawsuits nationwide and called for audits in Texas and elsewhere to review the results of the 2020 presidential elections. Trump’s own attorney general, Bill Barr, said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud nationwide, and in Texas, an official with the secretary of state’s office said the 2020 election was “smooth and secure.”

On Nov. 13, Scott signed on as counsel to a lawsuit filed by Trump attempting to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election. A few days later, Scott filed a motion to withdraw as an attorney for the plaintiffs. Scott’s motion also asked to withdraw Bryan Hughes, a Texas state senator from Mineola who works for Scott’s law firm, as an attorney for the case.

Scott will eventually have to be confirmed by the Legislature which is not scheduled to meet until 2023. Until then, he’ll serve in as interim secretary of state.

Abbott’s announcement of Scott’s appointment did not mention his work for Trump — even has he has endured mounting pressure from Trump supporters to call for audit elections.

“John Scott is a proven leader with a passion for public service, and his decades of experience in election law and litigation make him the ideal choice for the Texas Secretary of State,” Abbott said in a statement. “John understands the importance of protecting the integrity of our elections and building the Texas brand on an international stage. I am confident that John’s experience and expertise will enhance his oversight and leadership over the biggest and most thorough election audit in the country. I am proud to appoint John as the Texas Secretary of State and look forward to working alongside him to ensure Texas remains the best state in the nation.”

Scott will also be the state’s liaison to Mexico, the state’s biggest trading partner, and will advise Abbott on border and trade affairs.

Abbott’s last two appointments for the top elections position, Ruth R. Hughs and David Whitley, were not confirmed by the Senate. Hughs resigned in May.

Scott has 33 years of legal experience, arguing more than 100 legal cases in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Working at the attorney general’s office under Abbott, Scott was deputy attorney general for civil litigation, overseeing more than 22,000 lawsuits for the state. He later was appointed chief operating officer of the state’s Health and Human Services Commission where he was in charge of 56,000 employees and a biennial budget of $50 billion.

Scott also has served as board chairman for the Department of Information Resources. He has law offices in Fort Worth and Austin.

Disclosure: Texas Secretary of State has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/10/21/john-scott-texas-secretary-state-elections-trump/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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BREAKING NEWS

Watch: Stacey Abrams Announces She’s Running for Governor of Georgia

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Stacey Abrams has just announced she is running for governor of Georgia. Abrams, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives for more than six years ran for governor in 2018, losing by a slim margin to then Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a race many saw as tainted by his voter suppression actions.

Abrams went on to become a highly-effective voting rights advocate and activist, and many credit her with helping elect Joe Biden president by helping him win the state by registering an estimated 800,000 more voters.

Watch:

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BREAKING NEWS

January 6 Committee Subpoenas Proud Boys and Oath Keepers

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The House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has issued a new round of subpoenas, this time for members of the Proud Boys and its chairman, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio. The Committee also issued subpoenas to the Oath Keepers and its founder, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, among others:

“We believe the individuals and organizations we subpoenaed today have relevant information about how violence erupted at the Capitol and the preparation leading up to this violent attack,” Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said in a statement. “The Select Committee is moving swiftly to uncover the facts of what happened on that day and we expect every witness to comply with the law and cooperate so we can get answers to the American people.”

Thompson says members of the Proud Boys “called for violence leading up to January 6th, and at least 34 individuals affiliated with the Proud Boys have been indicted by the Department of Justice in relation to the January 6th attack on the Capitol.”

Many individuals associated with the Proud Boys repeatedly spread the former President’s unsupported claim that the 2020 election was stolen and suggested the use of force against police officers and government officials. Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was Chairman of the Proud Boys during the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

Months before the insurrection Trump infamously had told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” as this clip from his second impeachment shows:

The Oath Keepers “were similarly involved in planning and participating in the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6th. Eighteen members of the Oath Keepers were indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly planning a coordinated attack to storm the Capitol, including by traveling to Washington, D.C., with paramilitary gear and supplies,” Thompson’s statement adds.

“1st Amendment Praetorian is an organization that provided security at multiple rallies leading up to January 6th that amplified the former President’s unsupported claim that the election was stolen. On January 4th, the 1st Amendment Praetorian Twitter account suggested that violence was imminent,” Thompson says.

On Monday the House Select Committee issued subpoenas for five Trump allies, including Roger Stone and Alex Jones.

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BREAKING NEWS

Roger Stone and Alex Jones Among 5 to Receive Subpoenas from January 6 Committee

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Infamous “dirty trickster,” political operative, and decades-long Trump ally Roger Stone, along with far right wing extremist Alex Jones are two of the latest five people subpoenaed by the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

CNN describes the five being subpoenaed as “former President Donald Trump’s allies directly involved in planning ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies.”

The Jan. 6 Committee’s statement says Roger Stone “reportedly used members of the Oath Keepers as personal security guards, at least one of whom has been indicted for his involvement in the attack on the Capitol,” while he was in Washington, D.C. “Mr. Stone has made remarks that he was planning to ‘lead a march to the Capitol’ from the Ellipse rally.”

Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich, along with Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence, “key players in the Stop the Steal’ movement after the election,” were also subpoenaed.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) in that statement said: “The Select Committee is seeking information about the rallies and subsequent march to the Capitol that escalated into a violent mob attacking the Capitol and threatening our democracy. We need to know who organized, planned, paid for, and received funds related to those events, as well as what communications organizers had with officials in the White House and Congress. We believe the witnesses we subpoenaed today have relevant information and we expect them to cooperate fully with our effort to get answers for the American people about the violence of January 6th.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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