Over the last week, the backlash to Georgia’s voting law has continued, leading Major League Baseball to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta and prompting Texas-based corporations to come out against similar proposals in their own state.
But even as people discuss the Georgia law’s provisions — more restrictions on absentee voting, limited ballot drop boxes, expanded powers over elections for the state legislature — it’s important to remember that the law’s existence is predicated on a lie about widespread voter fraud, a lie the law seeks to validate. As Vox‘s Zack Beauchamp wrote this week, “By passing SB 202, Georgia’s Republicans are merely ratifying their own lie.”
A similar circular fallacy is on display in Arizona, where the state Senate is undertaking an “audit” of the 2.1 million votes cast in the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County. In January, after having issued new subpoenas to the county for ballots and election materials, Senate President Karen Fann had said the audit was necessary for “confirming the results of the election and investigating whether we need to modify statutes regarding the voting process.”
Of course, there is no evidence that any fraud occurred that would have changed the results — and, in fact, an independent audit confirmed the results in February — but a partisan majority of the Arizona Senate pushed forward with the plan anyway. Last week, Fann announced that the firm Cyber Ninjas had been hired to lead the audit team. The founder of Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, was a “Stop the Steal” supporter who repeatedly circulated lies that the 2020 election was rigged.
The urgent need for transparency in what amounts to another attempt to undermine the results of a free and fair election prompted American Oversight on Tuesday to file more than a dozen public records requests with the Arizona Legislature for contracts and communications related to the audit. On Wednesday, we obtained the master services agreement for Cyber Ninjas, as well as two previously reported documents. These are just the first records we’ve obtained in our investigation — keep your eyes on AmericanOversight.org for updates.
‘Call me ASAP’
On Sept. 24, 2019 — the day before the White House released the partial transcript of former President Trump’s “do us a favor” call with the Ukrainian president —then-Attorney General William Barr texted U.S. Attorney John Durham, telling Durham to call him “ASAP.” The messages, which we obtained in response to our FOIA litigation, reveal coordination at a key moment of the Ukraine scandal between Barr and Durham, whom Barr had tapped to probe the origins of the Russia investigation. Previously, we obtained records showing that Barr and his top aides began meeting with Durham almost immediately after Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapped up his investigation in the spring of 2019.
More About the Durham Investigation
In the records we received regarding the Durham investigation, the Justice Department asserted FOIA Exemption 7(A), which allows agencies to withhold information about ongoing matters. Such an assertion indicates that Durham’s investigation has not concluded.
Delayed Transition Ascertainment
Back in November, as the Trump campaign continued its flurry of failed legal actions challenging the election results, the presidential transition was delayed for weeks thanks to the refusal of General Services Administrator Emily Murphy to ascertain the election, waiting until Nov. 23 to authorize the use of government resources by the transition team. In our investigation of the GSA’s delay, we obtained records, published here, that contain a number of emails sent in November in which officials reiterated the need to hold off on any transition activities.
Corporate America isn’t welcoming former Trump Cabinet officials with open arms, headhunters say (Washington Post)
‘No good choices’: HHS is cutting safety corners to move migrant kids out of overcrowded facilities (ProPublica)
Judge rules against much of Georgia voting lawsuit over 2018 election (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
How a facial recognition tool found its way into hundreds of U.S. police departments, schools, and taxpayer-funded organizations (BuzzFeed News)
Inside a stealth ‘persuasion machine’ promising Republican victories in 2022 (Washington Post)
Matt Gaetz, loyal for years to Trump, is said to have sought a blanket pardon (New York Times)
Gaetz will speak at Trump Doral for summit hosted by Jan. 6 rally planners (Talking Points Memo)
Capitol riot defendant flips against Proud Boys (CNN)
U.S. scours files for more Trump-era migrant family separations than previously known (Reuters)
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