It’s been more than six months since the presidential election, and the lies about a stolen election and large-scale voter fraud have not stopped circulating.
And even after debunked reports, a continuing lack of evidence, and former President Trump’s own failed attempt to use the Justice Department to overturn the election, his allies in positions of power in state governments are still providing fuel for those lies.
This week, new emails released to Congress revealed additional details about the extent to which the Trump White House exerted pressure on the Justice Department and acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to support those baseless claims and even bring a case to the Supreme Court.
The latest emails add further color to the already damning picture of a sitting president’s and his supporters’ attempt to reverse a free and fair election, from Trump’s pressure on the Georgia secretary of state to “find 11,780 votes” to the plot to replace Rosen with an official more sympathetic to voter-fraud conspiracies. But just because Rosen and his deputy Richard Donoghue stood firm against those lies does not mean those lies died there.
We can see them in the origins and operation of the Arizona Senate’s sham “audit” of votes cast in Maricopa County, spearheaded by Senate President Karen Fann who, as revealed in documents obtained by American Oversight, had been in contact with Trump and Rudy Giuliani in the weeks after the election. Lawmakers from around the country have traveled to Phoenix to observe the ballot review, voicing support for similar efforts in their home states.
In one such state, Wisconsin, the speaker of the state Assembly, Robin Vos, said he was hiring three former police officers to investigate the 2020 election. Records we recently obtained show that Vos and allies have been laying the groundwork for this investigation for at least two months, with Vos having met in early April with one of those former police officers, — Mike Sandvick, who once wrote a discredited report on voter fraud in Milwaukee and who has previously worked with a voting-restriction group.
This week, American Oversight expanded our investigation of Wisconsin’s partisan election review, filing new requests for records related to the effort. And we continue our work to provide transparency for what’s happening in Arizona, where our requests and active litigation against the state Senate continue to produce new records.
New Records About Trump Administration Protest Response
This week, American Oversight published a number of records related to the Trump administration and federal law enforcement’s aggressive crackdown on racial justice protests last summer. Among the records is a Secret Service timeline from June 1, the day federal officers used force and chemical irritants to disperse peaceful protesters from a park in front of the White House.
Multiple law enforcement agencies — including the U.S. Park Police, D.C.’s police force, and the Secret Service — issued contradictory or shifting statements about the use of such irritants that day. The timeline notes the deployment of “Tear gas and/or flashbangs” at 6:35 p.m.
Other records published in conjunction with our report provide details about the deployment of other federal agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service, as well as contain emails regarding the federal response to protests in Portland, Ore. Read more here.
Early Pandemic U.S.-China Relations
A March 2020 email from a State Department official, which we published this week, mentioned complaints from an official at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding Trump administration officials, including the president and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, referring to the novel coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus.” According to the email, the Chinese official had “said that if these comments were not taken down, they would narrow the window for Covid cooperation.”
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