Eighteen Senate Republicans joined Democrats to pass an update to the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act. The act would clarify that vice presidents can’t overturn presidential elections. It is contained within a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill recently passed by the Senate.
On January 6, 2021, former President Donald Trump pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to certify the 2020 Electoral College victory of then-President-Elect Joe Biden, throwing the usual peaceful handover of executive power into conflict. Trump cited the 1887 law when arguing that Pence had the constitutional authority to block Biden’s victory.
Trump said the law allowed Pence to count the votes of alternative (fake) electors who would support Trump instead. However, Pence refused.
a February speech, Pence said: “President Trump is wrong: I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone. And frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”
Republican senators agree.
“The Electoral Count Act, that statute needed to be fixed and clarified,” Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) said. “A couple years ago there were a lot of questions raised about it. There wasn’t any question in my mind about what it said but since there are [questions], I think it’s important to nail that down.”
The proposed change to the law would “remove any doubt that the vice president’s role in counting Electoral College votes is simply ministerial. It would lift the threshold for members of Congress to force a vote on discounting presidential electors from just one member of the House and the Senate each to one-third of both chambers. And it would require governors to send electors to Congress for the candidate who won, based on state law set before Election Day, which cannot be retroactively changed,” MSNBC reported.
The Congressional January 6 committee’s 845-page final report said that Trump asked Pence, other Republican Congress members, and state election officials to falsely claim that an unprecedented conspiracy of nationwide voter fraud “stole” the 2020 presidential election from Trump.
When Congress met to certify the election, Trump held a “Stop the Steal” rally in which he repeated his false fraud claims, and urged his followers to “fight like hell” to keep their democracy. After the rally, his followers rioted at the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s win. Hundreds of rioters have received prison time and other consequences for storming the capitol.
On his badly-named Truth Social site, Trump criticized the proposed change to the 1887 law.
Linking to an article about the change, Trump wrote, “In other words, [my legal advocate] John Eastman and others were correct in stating that the Vice President of the United States had the right to do what should have been done. The only reason this change is being promulgated is to reform The Electoral Count Act so that the VP cannot do what they powerfully said he couldn’t do, but if it couldn’t be done, why are they making this law change? The whole thing is one big Scam!”
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said Trump’s reasoning would give the current Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris, the power to block a Republican from becoming president, The Hill reported.
“Let’s do something which he’s not fond of doing, which is taking that to the next logical conclusion. On that basis, that means that Kamala Harris would be able to choose the next president. Does he really think that’s the right way to go?” Romney said.
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Brazil’s Far-Right Former Pres Copies Trump and Contests Recent Election Loss
Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has challenged his recent election loss, claiming that the votes of malfunctioning voting machines should be thrown out.
Although Bolsonaro lost to Workers’ Party candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the country’s October 30 runoff election by over 2.1 million votes — a victory that has already been validated by Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court — Bolsonaro’s party has filed a 33-page petition with Brazil’s election authorities claiming that a computer bug necessitates that a large number of votes be thrown out.
Valdemar Costa, an auditor hired by Bolsonaro’s Liberal political party, told reporters that all voting machines manufactured before 2020 — nearly 280,000 of them, or about 59 percent of the total used in the election — lacked individual identification numbers in internal logs, Politico reported.
In a court filing, Bolsonaro’s party claimed that the machines suffered from an “irreparable non-compliance due to malfunction” which resulted in individual identification numbers tied to the machines being left off of internal logs. As such, all votes on these machines should be thrown out, the filing argues. If this occurs, it would leave Bolsonaro with 51 percent of the remaining valid votes, conveniently granting him as the winner.
“We always distrusted these machines. … We want a massive audit,” Bolsonaro’s said at a recent Mexico City conference. “There is very strong evidence to order an investigation of Brazil’s election.”
However, independent experts have said that the alleged bug didn’t affect the reliability of the election’s results. They also say that the missing identification numbers do actually appear on printed receipts showing the sum of all votes cast for each candidate.
“Each voting machine can still be easily identified through other means, like its city and voting district, according to Wilson Ruggiero, a professor of computer engineering and digital systems at the Polytechnic School of the University of Sao Paulo,” Politico reported.
While Bolsonaro was widely expected to contest the results, he was largely quiet after his loss. When his supporters began protesting his loss by blocking key highway routes to disrupt supply chains, Bolsonaro made a two-minute speech asking them to stop. However, he didn’t concede to his opponent during the speech.
“His chief of staff said at the time that the government would transition power, suggesting Bolsonaro would leave without issue,” Business Insider reported. World leaders have largely recognized da Silva as the winner. It remains to be seen how far Bolsonaro will go to remain in power.
Bolsonaro’s challenge is hardly surprising considering his public embrace of former President Donald Trump. Trump backed him in September 2022, calling him a “Tropical Trump.” The two are also transphobic and have embraced a nativist populism that targets the press as a public enemy.
After the 2020 election, Trump’s legal surrogates claimed that electronic voting machines allowed hackers to “steal” the election by fraudulently submitting votes to help his political opponent, now-President Joe Biden. No evidence has surfaced to validate this claim.
In fact, the surrogates who publicly made this claim and the media outlets that platformed their lies are now being sued for billions for defamation by the voting machine manufacturers they accused.
Trump suggests threatening journalists who report on leaks with prison time, rape
Former President Donald Trump has said that the federal government should threaten journalists who report on government leaks with prison time (and possible rape) in order to get them to reveal their sources.
“You take the writer and/or the publisher of the paper … and you say ‘Who is the leaker? National security,’” Trump said during a Saturday night rally in Robstown, Texas. “And they say ‘We’re not gonna tell you.’ They say ‘That’s OK, you’re going to jail.’ And when this person realizes he’s going to be the bride of another prisoner very shortly, he will say ‘I’d very much like to tell you exactly who that leaker is!’”
Trump made his comments when mentioning the May 2022 leak of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion draft which revealed the court’s desire to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case which legalized abortion access nationwide. The Court overturned Roe in June 2022, but the identity of the leaker still hasn’t been revealed, despite the court’s pledge to investigate.
“Every year, a staggering 200,000 people are sexually abused while locked up,” Jesse Lerner-Kinglake, a spokesman for health and human rights organization Just Detention International, told Fox News, citing the most recently available data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. “At least half of all abuse is committed by officers.”
In 2003, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) to study and offer suggestions for preventing such rape. But its efforts remain woefully underdeveloped and underfunded, experts say.
Trump’s comments aren’t surprising considering his 2017 suggestion that police shouldn’t worry about injuring arrestees.
“The laws are so horrendously stacked against us, because for years and years they’ve been made to protect the criminal,” Trump told a group of law enforcement officials in Long Island, New York in 2017. “Totally made to protect the criminal, not the officers. If you do something wrong, you’re in more jeopardy than they are. These laws are stacked against you. We’re changing those laws.”
Trump has also referred to racial justice protestors as “terrorists” when protests for police reform have devolved into riots.
Trump has also repeatedly called for the loosening of national libel laws to allow lawsuits against anyone who publishes unflattering statements about public figures.
“We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts,” Trump said in 2018.
Trump has repeatedly sued or threatened to sue publications and authors who have published embarrassing facts about him and his presidency. He has also repeatedly referred to journalists as “the enemy of the people,” a phrase used by other fascist rulers throughout history to target their political opponents.
MAGA Rep. Madison Cawthorn Says Trump Created “Dangerous Setting” at Jan. 6 Capitol Riots
Disgraced outgoing Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) has blamed former President Donald Trump (R) for creating a “dangerous setting” outside of the U.S. Capitol during the January 6, 2021 riots.
In his recent interview on the Carlos Watson Show, the show’s host asked Cawthorn if there was anything he would have done differently when he spoke at Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington D.C. the morning before the riots began.
“Well, you know, one, I mean, you know, President Donald Trump said, ‘I want you to peaceably and patriotically protest,’ — that’s good on his part. But if I could go back, I probably and I had an opportunity to speak with the President, which I did not, I would have asked that he did not send or tell the crowd to go down to the Capitol,” Cawthorn said, adding, “You know, I think that that just put everything in a dangerous setting.”
Later on in the interview, Cawthorn said that if he could go back and change his own speech at the rally, he would have urged Trump’s followers to be more peaceful.
However, at the rally he repeatedly told Trump’s followers, without proof, that the election had been stolen. Trump himself said that his followers should “fight” for their democracy or else they wouldn’t have one anymore. He also repeatedly blamed his own Vice President Mike Pence for not overturning the election, something that Pence had no legal or political precedent to do.
Trump’s followers later called for Pence to be hung for treason.
Five people died during the January 6 riot, and Trump’s supporters injured roughly 140 police officers. The police injuries included a broken spine, a lost eye, lost fingers, brain damage and multiple cases of PTSD. Four Capitol Police officers have died by suicide since the riots.
The rioters ransacked the Capitol, shattered windows while trying to access congressional chambers, smeared feces in the hallway and stole computer equipment, potentially constituting a national security breach.
Cawthorn was voted out of office on May 17, 2022, when he lost his primary election. He has since said that “Dark MAGA” will rise, a presumably more violent and corrupt version of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” political platform which advocates against minorities and uses mob violence against its enemies.
Reflecting on January 6th, Madison Cawthorn said when Trump sent the crowd to the Capitol it “put everything in a dangerous setting.” pic.twitter.com/2OSkuxQ8Vw
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) June 20, 2022
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