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The Black Bastard
BGOL Investor
Arizona Republicans feud over audit as Trump pushes falsehoods about 2020 election

By Eric Bradner, CNN
Updated 3:24 PM EDT, Mon May 17, 2021

(CNN) Arizona Republican officials are pushing back against false claims from former President Donald Trump and his allies about the 2020 election -- another sign of how the same divisions that led the House GOP to oust Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as No. 3-ranking member last week are fracturing the party outside of Washington.

Trump lit the latest fuse Saturday -- as Republican leaders of the Arizona state Senate press forward with a controversial audit conducted by Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based consulting firm -- when he falsely claimed in a statement that the "entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED!"

Stephen Richer, the Maricopa County recorder -- a Republican who heads the county's election department -- responded to Trump's statement by saying on Twitter: "Wow. This is unhinged."

"I'm literally looking at our voter registration database on my other screen. Right now," Richer said. "We can't indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country."

Maricopa County's Board of Supervisors -- four out of five of whom are Republicans -- are set to meet Monday afternoon, which the county's Twitter account said would be used to "refute lies alleged by the Arizona Senate and the people involved in its audit."

Trump's statement amplified claims made by Arizona state Senate President Karen Fann in a letter last week that a screenshot offered evidence that election files had been deleted.

Matt Masterson, an elections cybersecurity official who served under both the Obama and Trump administrations, told CNN the screenshot looked like it was a duplicate of one of the two post-election "Logic and Accuracy" tests run by the county.

Fann's claims were condemned by Jack Sellers, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who said the allegations are "false and ill-informed."

"It's clearer by the day: the people hired by the Senate are in way over their heads," Sellers said. "This is not funny; this is dangerous."

Richer also lambasted the GOP-controlled Senate's allegations, saying: "Enough with the defamation. Enough with the unfounded allegations. I came to this office to competently, fairly, and lawfully administer the duties of the office. Not to be accused by own party of shredding ballots and deleting files for an election I didn't run. Enough."

In Washington, the far-right and Trump-aligned portion of the House Republican caucus was also wading into the Arizona election battle.

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida joined two Arizona congressmen, Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, wrote a letter Monday to Pamela Karlan, a top official in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Department who on May 5 had written a letter to Fann seeking "the steps that the Arizona Senate will take to ensure that violations of federal law do not occur."

The four Republicans asked Fann for "a commitment to uphold the rule of law and allow Arizona to confirm the 2020 elections were free and fair."

They also said they wanted a response by May 20 -- the day before Gaetz and Taylor Greene hold an "America First" rally in Mesa, Arizona.

Late last week, semi trucks filled with 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona in the 2020 election moved those ballots to a warehouse where they are being temporarily stored as the audit is paused because the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum -- where the audit is taking place -- is hosting high school graduations this week.

State Senate officials have said the audit will resume May 24, with the goal of finishing in about 14 to 16 days, Arizona Senate liaison Ken Bennett told CNN last week.

That pace would require an exponential ramp-up and rate that so far have proved elusive to this partisan ballot count, taking place despite two audits conducted by Maricopa County showing no widespread election fraud.

"I've never seen anything like it," said election technology expert Ryan Macias of the ballot review being led by Cyber Ninjas, hired by the state Senate. "They do not have auditing experience. They do not have election technology experience. The more that this (the ballots) moves in and out, the more likely the chain of custody will be broken and the less likely that the data is reliable."

Macias is an expert in election technology who is one of the pro bono observers brought in by the Arizona secretary of state's office to watch the Cyber Ninjas ballot count. He has been hired by both Republicans and Democrats to help safeguard dozens upon dozens of state and federal elections.

"There's ballots; there's people counting. But the process in which they are utilizing, at least on the counting floor, is nothing that is in an election environment," said Macias.



The Black Bastard
BGOL Investor
McConnell called Trump 'a fading brand' and said 'sucking up' to him 'is not a strategy that works': book

Eliza Relman
Sep 23, 2021, 1:41 PM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called former President Donald Trump a "fading brand" and insisted that the Republican party is moving away from the former president, according to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa's new book, "Peril."

McConnell called Trump an "OTTB as they say in Kentucky — off-the-track Thoroughbred" during a conversation with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who McConnell dubbed the "Trump whisperer."

"'There is a clear trend moving,' McConnell said, toward a place where the GOP is not dominated by Trump. McConnell added, "Sucking up to Donald Trump is not a strategy that works,'" Woodward and Costa wrote.

McConnell noted that he might face conflict with Trump if the former president endorses Senate candidates that the leader and other Republicans don't support.

"The only place I can see Trump and me actually at loggerheads would be if he gets behind some clown who clearly can't win," McConnell said. "To have a chance of getting the Senate back, you have to have the most electable candidates possible."

McConnell publicly blamed Trump for provoking the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, calling the then-president "practically and morally responsible" for the deadly attack.

"The mob was fed lies," McConnell said in a speech from the Senate floor on Jan. 19. "They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like."

But he ultimately did not vote to impeach Trump for inciting the riot.

Since leaving office, Trump has repeatedly attacked McConnell, calling him "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack" in one February statement.



Rising Star
Super Moderator
"The mob was fed lies," McConnell said in a speech from the Senate floor on Jan. 19. "They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like."
But he (McConnell) ultimately did not vote to impeach Trump for inciting the riot.
McConnell and Lindsey Graham are both Talking out of both sides of their asses . . .
One minute pretending to discredit and the next minute pumping-up PUblic Enemy No.


Rising Star
Super Moderator
We Are Republicans. There’s Only
One Way to Save Our Party From
Pro-Trump Extremists.

The New York Times
By: Miles Taylor and Christine Todd Whitman
(Mr. Taylor served at the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019, including as chief of staff, and was the anonymous author of a 2018 guest essay for The Times criticizing President Donald Trump’s leadership. Ms. Whitman was the Republican governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001).

Oct. 11, 2021

After Donald Trump’s defeat, there was a measure of hope among Republicans who opposed him that control of the party would be up for grabs, and that conservative pragmatists could take it back. But it’s become obvious that political extremists maintain a viselike grip on the national and state parties and the process for fielding and championing House and Senate candidates in next year’s elections.

Rational Republicans are losing the party civil war. And the only near-term way to battle pro-Trump extremists is for all of us to team up on key races and overarching political goals with our longtime political opponents: the Democrats.

This year we joined more than 150 conservatives — including former governors, senators, congressmen, cabinet secretaries, and party leaders — in calling for the Republican Party to divorce itself from Trumpism or else lose our support, perhaps with us forming a new political party.

[But] Rather than return to founding ideals, Republican leaders in the House​
and in many states have now turned belief in conspiracy theories and​
lies about stolen elections into a litmus test for membership and running for office.​

Starting a new center-right party may prove to be the last resort if Trump-backed candidates continue to win Republican primaries. We and our allies have debated the option of starting a new party for months and will continue to explore its viability in the long run. Unfortunately, history is littered with examples of failed attempts at breaking the two-party system, and in most states today the laws do not lend themselves easily to the creation and success of third parties.

So for now, the best hope for the rational remnants of the Republican Party is for us to form an alliance with Democrats to defend American institutions, defeat far-right candidates, and elect honorable representatives next year — including a strong contingent of moderate Democrats.

It’s a strategy that has worked. Mr. Trump lost re-election in large part because Republicans nationwide defected, with 7 percent who voted for him in 2016 flipping to support Joe Biden, a margin big enough to have made some difference in key swing states.

Even still, we don’t take this position lightly. Many of us have spent years battling the left over government’s role in society, and we will continue to have disagreements on fundamental issues like infrastructure spending, taxes and national security. Similarly, some Democrats will be wary of any pact with the political right.

But we agree on something more foundational — democracy.

We cannot tolerate the continued hijacking of a major U.S. political party by those who seek to tear down our Republic’s guardrails or who are willing to put one man’s interests ahead of the country. We cannot tolerate Republican leaders — in 2022 or in the presidential election in 2024 — refusing to accept the results of elections or undermining the certification of those results should they lose.

To that end, concerned conservatives must join forces with Democrats on the most essential near-term imperative: blocking Republican leaders from regaining control of the House of Representatives. Some of us have worked in the past with the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, but as long as he embraces Mr. Trump’s lies, he cannot be trusted to lead the chamber, especially in the run-up to the next presidential election.

And while many of us support and respect the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, it is far from clear that he can keep Mr. Trump’s allies at bay, which is why the Senate may be safer remaining as a divided body rather than under Republican control.

For these reasons, we will endorse and support bipartisan-oriented moderate Democrats in difficult races, like Representatives Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, where they will undoubtedly be challenged by Trump-backed candidates. And we will defend a small nucleus of courageous Republicans, such as Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Meijer and others who are unafraid to speak the truth. - [REALLY ???]


In addition to these leaders, this week we are coming together around a political idea — the Renew America Movement — and will release a slate of nearly two dozen Democratic, independent and Republican candidates we will support in 2022.

These “renewers” must be protected and elected if we want to restore a common-sense coalition in Washington. But merely holding the line will be insufficient. To defeat the extremist insurgency in our political system and pressure the Republican Party to reform, voters and candidates must be willing to form nontraditional alliances.

For disaffected Republicans, this means an openness to backing centrist Democrats
. It will be difficult for lifelong Republicans to do this — akin to rooting for the other team out of fear that your own is ruining the sport entirely — but democracy is not a game, which is why when push comes to shove, patriotic conservatives should put country over party.

One of those races is in Pennsylvania, where a bevy of pro-Trump candidates are vying to replace the departing Republican senator, Pat Toomey. The only prominent moderate in the primary, Craig Snyder, recently bowed out, and if no one takes his place, it will increase the urgency for Republican voters to stand behind a Democrat, such as Representative Conor Lamb, a centrist who is running for the seat.

??? - For Democrats, this similarly means being open to conceding that there are certain races where progressives simply cannot win and acknowledging that it makes more sense to throw their lot in with a center-right candidate who can take out a more radical conservative. - ???

Utah is a prime example, where the best hope of defeating Senator Mike Lee, a Republican who defended Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede the election, is not a Democrat but an independent and former Republican, Evan McMullin, a member of our group, who announced last week that he was entering the race.​

We need more candidates like him prepared to challenge politicians who have sought to subvert our Constitution from the comfort of their “safe” seats in Congress, and we are encouraged to note that additional independent-minded leaders are considering entering the fray in places like Texas, Arizona and North Carolina, targeting seats that Trumpist Republicans think are secure.​

More broadly, this experiment in “coalition campaigning” — uniting concerned conservatives and patriotic progressives — could remake American politics and serve as an antidote to hyper-partisanship and federal gridlock.

To work, it will require trust building between both camps, especially while they are fighting side by side in the toughest races around the country by learning to collaborate on voter outreach, sharing sensitive polling data, and synchronizing campaign messaging.

A compact between the center-right and the left may seem like an unnatural fit, but in the battle for the soul of America’s political system, we cannot retreat to our ideological corners.

A great deal depends on our willingness to consider new paths of political reform. From the halls of Congress to our own communities, the fate of our Republic might well rest on forming alliances with those we least expected to.


Miles Taylor (@MilesTaylorUSA) served at the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019, including as chief of staff, and was the anonymous author of a 2018 guest essay for The Times criticizing President Donald Trump’s leadership. Christine Todd Whitman (@GovCTW) was the Republican governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001 and served as E.P.A. administrator under President George W. Bush.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

Opinion | Elect Democrats in 2022, Write Miles Taylor and Christine Todd Whitman - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

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