A cautionary note — grab yourself a fresh cup of coffee and take a “comfort break” before you go further because reading this might take a while.
I have a ton of preparatory remarks that I want to make before I get to the lying sacks of sh!t in the media who covered this story on Sunday.
I wrote a story Sunday afternoon before I was able to listen to the recording itself. I was writing in reaction to a dozen or more “stories” that had hit the ‘net from mainstream media outlets far and wide, reporting on the Saturday telephone call. The reporting was consistently negative in terms of the characterization of the call, the President’s comments during the call, and the context the authors ascribed to the conversation. I was a bit surprised by the amount of expert “commentary” that seemed to have been gathered in a very short time period. Most of it was some form of condemnation of the President’s comments as an abuse of power, and grounds for impeachment. Someone wrote the recorded call was the equivalent of the Nixon tapes being told to “hold my beer”. But the Nixon tapes included conversations between a President and his close aides discussing criminal activity and how it might be covered up. In addition, there was an 18-minute segment of the tapes that had been recorded over so the conversation at that point in the recording would never be known.
Saturday’s call??? Not only is it not in the same ballpark, it’s not even part of the same game.
To me, it was a firing offense the way the media mischaracterized the call, the purposes for the call, the comments of Pres. Trump, the comments of the officials from Georgia, and the comments of the President’s attorneys.
If we are in the final two weeks of the Presidency of Donald Trump, this recording and the media coverage of it are the perfect encapsulation of the level of dishonest hackery and the outright fraudulent manner in which Pres. Trump has been covered by the press.
A couple of caveats about the President’s conduct on the call before I get into the details. First, Pres. Trump can be intemperate in spoken remarks, he can tend towards being hyperbolic in expressing certainty, and he doesn’t speak like a lawyer might with regard to distinguishing between facts, conclusions, opinions, and allegations. The President forms beliefs about events based on the information he has been presented, and he forcefully asserts the veracity of what he believes to be true. I’m the offspring of a CEO of a family-owned business — nothing like Trump Inc., but the personality type is quite recognizable. They take in information, form conclusions, make decisions, and say “make it happen” to those who they pay to “make it happen.” They don’t look back much, and it can be hard to change their mind.
The President being the President, and the President being Donald Trump means that in calls such as the one which took place yesterday, he’s going to advance his position and he’s not going to take any steps backward in response to what he hears.
Before listening to the tape, and not yet having read anything about how the call came about, I was possessed by questions about “Why?” Why would the President of the United States take time on a Saturday, maybe in the final hours of his Presidency, to talk to an inferior elected official in the State of Georgia for an hour? I had swallowed whole the false narrative fed by the early Sunday reports that this was some kind of nefarious effort by the President to corruptly persuade the Georgia official to produce some fraudulent vote totals ahead of Wednesday’s joint session of Congress.
How would that ever be something done one-on-one between a President and Secretary of State — of a State — when whatever the subject matter of the call might have been, subordinate officials in the White House could have easily tended to the matter.
But then I saw a report that the call was part of a “confidential settlement discussion” concerning the litigation pending in Georgia courts.
I had published an article earlier on Sunday calling attention to the fact that there remained a legitimate and valid election contest pending in Georgia state court filed by the Trump Campaign, and if the Campaign prevailed in the matter the outcome of the Georgia vote would be invalidated. Under Georgia law, the remedy to the successful plaintiff in that situation is a new election — which is pointless when it comes to a Presidential election since the calendar for the meeting of the Electoral College and the transition under the 20th Amendment makes a “do-over” election physically impossible to accomplish.
The fundamental meaning of that reality is that there is NO basis under Georgia law by which a Presidential candidate can follow Georgia law to contest the outcome of a general election contest. That is a fact that future Presidential contestants and parties need to keep in mind — or at least the GOP needs to keep it in mind, as the Democrat Party seems to understand it well, i.e., that there is no remedy involving the reversing of an election outcome secured by cheating.
But, even with the new circumstances for why the call took place, I was still perplexed by the commentary in the media reports about President Trump’s comments which were portrayed as him urging the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” votes for him and to explain things by saying they had just “recalculated” the outcome.
The context presented was so juvenile and cartoonishly improper from an objective point of view, there had to be more to the call than was being reported.
And there was.
Late on Sunday, I was able to listen to the recording. It begins with Mark Meadows, the President’s Chief of Staff, advising the President that everyone is on the line. Meadows’s voice is clear and without distortion, and my first reaction is that it is Meadows who is recording the call on his phone. He quickly informs the President who is on the call, using first names only for some. But from what I could discern, the President was on the call, along with Meadows, two attorneys representing the President in Georgia litigation, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and one other person I who I wasn’t sure of but I think might have been the Georgia Attorney General.
President Trump was the first to speak and went on uninterrupted for about 12 minutes — about 20% of the total call. It was not made clear at the outset what the purpose of the call was, as the conversation immediately went to the basis for the election dispute lawsuit in Georgia and the position of the Trump Campaign as expressed in the complaint it has filed.
Much later in the call, closer to the end, Meadows comments on a possible follow-up meeting which would be considered part of further efforts to reach a settlement, “just like the call” — or words to that effect.
That was the first confirmation that I heard that the reason for the call taking place was to look for a settlement or narrowing of issues in dispute in the matter pending in state court in Georgia. From that perspective — which every IDIOT journalist whose stories I read failed to mention or understand that as part of providing context for the call — the President’s comments and Raffensperger’s responses made perfect sense.
These were adverse parties in pending litigation on the call, along with their counsel and advisors. Each side was arguing the facts and stating the case from their respective points of view. The President was not trying to “coopt” Raffensperger, he was trying to convince Raffensperger that the facts as alleged in the complaint filed were correct, and the Trump Campaign had the evidence to back them up.
The President — as well as Meadows and his attorneys — were urging the Georgia officials to look at the evidence the Campaign had, and the Georgia officials were resisting. The position of Raffensberger and the other official was that they have looked at the allegations — not the Campaign’s evidence — and they have done their own investigation of the allegations and found them to be unsubstantiated.
The dispute comes down to the unwillingness — and in some cases the unresponsiveness — of the Georgia Official’s to provide the Campaign with the data and evidence that the Secretary of State has gathered which leads to their conclusion that the allegations are unsubstantiated.
Cleta Mitchell, one of the President’s attorneys on the case was on the call. She brought up the issue of whether or not dead people voted. The Campaign has alleged in the Complaint that as many as 5000 votes were cast in the name of Georgia voters who have died. Mitchell told Raffensberger that they arrived at that number by cross-referencing voters who submitted mail-in ballots, against Georgia residents with the same name and birth year who have been reported as having passed away prior to the election. Raffensperger claimed in response that his investigators had looked into that allegation, and had documented only two deceased voters who had votes cast in their names.
Mitchell stated that the Campaign has asked the Secretary of State’s office to share data that only the Secretary of State has and that the State is relying on to claim the Campaign’s allegations are incorrect. She said publicly available data is limited. The Campaign did what it could with the data available, but it does not have access to the same data the State has. She asked why the State won’t provide access to the data that either confirms or contradicts the allegations of the Complaint. Raffensperger had no good answer other than to say that state law might prevent disclosure of that information under privacy laws, and he would need to consult with the attorney representing the State in the election lawsuit about what they could provide to the Campaign.
On numerous occasions over the course of the hour, the President would jump into exchanges to make the same points over and over about his beliefs as to the outcome of the election. In a couple of instances, the phrasing he used referred to “finding” votes in comments he directed to Raffensperger. But the context for the comment was that he was referring to “finding” invalid votes. Rather than have Georgia fight his campaign on the allegations of invalid votes having been cast as set forth in the Complaint, Trump was urging Raffensperger to do his job — one part of which is to identify fraudulent voters who were ineligible to vote but did so anyway.
While identifying such invalid votes is one basis under Georgia law under which the losing candidate can file an election contest, Raffensperger has a separate and independent duty to identify such invalid or illegal votes himself as part of the official responsibility of his office. The President’s comments were not about “finding” more votes for him, but rather were about identifying invalid votes cast for Joe Biden. The Trump Campaign’s complaint identifies numerous categories of such votes and Pres. Trump was pressing the Secretary of State to do his job and confirm the same facts that the Campaign has found.
Every idiot journalist, legal pundit, and Democrat Party propagandist trotted out by the mainstream media now to claiming the President was doing anything else is lying about the substance and context of the call.
The President spent a lot of time in his comments talking about the videotaped events in the counting room of the State Farm Arena in Fulton County. The President repeated many of the claims that have been made by his supporters about the Observers being ordered to leave the room when they were told the counting was be stopped for the night. He raised the issue of the ballots being kept in boxes under the table, only to be brought out and run through the counting machines after the Observers were gone. He made several references to the names of the Democrat party operative who has been the subject of much speculation, particularly with regard to what appears to be her running the same set of ballots through the counting machine more than one time.
In response, Raffensperger claimed that the video that was put out on the internet has been edited, but didn’t specify how. He claimed that investigators from his office as well as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation interviewed everyone in the room, and studied the videotape themselves. They have concluded that nothing evidencing fraud is shown in the videotape, and none of the individuals interviewed provided any information of anything suspicious.
The President’s attorney Cleta Mitchell spoke up again. She asked why Raffensperger’s Office won’t make the reports of that investigation available to the campaign? She said she has asked to see them, but the response of the State has only been words to the effect of “We’ve looked into it and we’re satisfied nothing took place to impact the accuracy of the vote count.” Mitchell asked why the State is insisting that the Campaign simply take their word for it rather than share the results of the investigation that supposedly proves nothing happened.
The President returned several times to the point that he only “needed” 11,779 votes — that was Biden’s margin of victory as reported by the State. If they “found” 11,780 invalid votes, the result would be changed, and the various categories of invalid votes identified in the Complaint were many multiples of the 11,780 they needed.
Near the end, Meadows tried to get Raffensperger to agree to examine with the Campaign four categories of claimed invalid votes identified in the complaint and raised by Mitchell in her comments about the State stonewalling them on getting access to records. Those categories were votes by dead people, votes by people who had moved away and were registered in a different state, the 18,000 ballots counted in Fulton County as captured on the videotape, and people registered at addresses that invalidated their registration such as PO Boxes. Meadows suggested that Raffensperger had agreed to meet with Trump’s attorneys and provide the information the State has regarding those four claims. Raffensperger immediately disagreed with Meadows comments, saying he only agreed that he would discuss with the attorney representing the State the possibility of sharing some of that data with the Campaign’s attorneys, but he thought there might be some legal restrictions on what information could be provided.
There was some reference by Pres. Trump to allegations of ongoing ballot destruction in Fulton County, which would be illegal if it involved 2020 ballots. Raffensperger said they had looked into that and were confident it was the destruction of older materials not having anything to do with the 2020 election. This is where Pres. Trump made reference to “illegal activity” and the potential for criminal convictions for anyone involved, including Raffensperger if he was aware of it and didn’t put stop to it. This was covered by some in the media as a threat made by Trump against Raffensperger, but that characterization is just stupid if you listen to the exchange.
Near the end, there was a clear sense of urgency in discussing the timing of how any follow-up meetings or discussions would take place. It was agreed that two of the lawyers — one for each side — would stay on the call after the others got off and discuss the logistics. There were also references by the President’s group revealing frustration that they had not been able to get their complaint in Georgia state court to proceed as provided by law. Some of the information they were asking for in the call was information that they claimed the Court would eventually order the State to provide, but because not judge was yet assigned to the case, there was no judge they could go to seeking such an order.
Taking some of these matters together, I drew the conclusion that this was really just a last-ditch effort by the Campaign to get the Georgia Secretary of State to take seriously the allegations that were listed in the Complaint and address them on the merits. Either concede that the Campaign had good information to support the claims, or provide the Campaign with the data and evidence which the State was relying on to take the position that the claims lacked merit.
Basically, the Campaign is stuck, the clock is running, and for reasons no one can understand the Georgia Secretary of State seems to want to simply run out the clock. The effort from the call had two hoped-for outcomes I think. One, they wanted to see if there was any ground where the two sides could agree with regard to the claims raised in the Complaint — would the State join with the Campaign on any of the specific claims of invalid votes having been cast that ware alleged. Second, absent such an agreement, they hoped to convince Raffensperger to share data with them that they currently don’t have access to, and which the State has been denying them access to. They didn’t succeed on either front and remained frustrated by what they see as Raffensperger’s intransigence at the end.
I came away from listening to the call thinking that Raffensperger had been warned ahead of time to not saying anything too specific on any particular claim. They seemed content to just let Pres. Trump talk himself out and say little of substance in response other than they had looked at the claims and found nothing suggesting fraud or invalid voting in the quantity claimed by the complaint. On the few occasions where Raffensperger did offer some specifics, Cleta Mitchell was right on him with contradictory information. Meadows did so as well a couple of times. But Raffensperger didn’t attempt to argue the merits on the issue, he just allowed Mitchell to make her point.
I’m not much for big conspiracy theories about 5-dimensional chess being played in situations such as this, but if ever there was a set-up where I couldn’t dismiss the possibility that the President and his team were playing “Mousetrap” with an “opponent” in order to set them up for some later action, the call on Saturday would be on the list. I can’t dismiss out of hand the idea that the call was a “set-up” intended to get Raffesperger to go on the record denying some specific aspect of the claims raised in the election contest lawsuit just ahead of a big “reveal” by the Campaign to the public tomorrow or Tuesday for the purpose of undercutting confidence in Raffensperger’s certification of the Nov. 3 election. That would call the validity of Georgia’s electors into question and the debate over the Objections on Wednesday would suddenly have a lot more substance.
Many have noted that changing Georgia doesn’t change the election. That’s true, but if there is any outcome in the future other than the one the media and Dems have assured us is preordained, it has to start with one state.
A factual demonstration of real issue of voter fraud and the counting of invalid votes in Georgia, with a legitimate election contest pending that everyone seems to want to see “wither on the vine” without a ruling on the merits, would be a significant development that might shift the dynamic a bit for what is going to take place on Wednesday.
if you got to this point, thank you for that.