Let’s Just Recap This Wild Week in Trumpworld, Shall We? - DMT NEWS

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Let’s Just Recap This Wild Week in Trumpworld, Shall We?

This content comes from the latest installment of our weekly Breaking the Vote newsletter out of VICE News’ D.C. bureau, tracking the ongoing efforts to undermine the democratic process in America. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Friday, and watch for the premiere of the BTV TV show next Friday!

As we recap a wild week in Trumpworld that ended with Steve Bannon turning himself in to New York State authorities, let’s just go over some of the lesser-covered events and people who deserve a closer look.

Trump acolyte Couy Griffin, for one, who went from obscure local official (and former Disneyland Paris rodeo cowboy?) to a national historic figure overnight. That date with infamy came when a New Mexico judge kicked Griffin out of his job as an Otero County commissioner for participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

Griffin is the founder of Cowboys for Trump and a florid election conspiracist. In June Griffin led two other Otero County commissioners, both Republicans, in refusing to certify the county’s primary election results. He based that refusal not on any actual evidence but largely on vague misgivings about the accuracy of Dominion voting machines. 

The New Mexico Supreme Court eventually ordered the commissioners to certify the election, which two of them—but not Griffin—did. Griffin has had various brushes with the law, but none of this certification nonsense was what finally got him booted. Griffin attended the Jan. 6 riot and was convicted of trespassing on restricted federal grounds. A few citizens, backed up by the government transparency group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), sued under a state law that allows lawsuits against government officials who violate their offices. 

That’s when District Judge Francis J. Mathew ruled that Griffin was disqualified from his commissioner job under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. That’s the Civil War–era part, as BtV readers know, that bars public officials who swear to defend the Constitution but then do an insurrection or rebellion, from holding public office again. The big deal here is Mathew found that Jan. 6 was, in the legal sense, an insurrection and that Griffin’s participation meant he could never hold public office again. 

This is a big deal, especially since courts in other jurisdictions have refused to apply the 14th Amendment to other pro-insurrection officials, including, this week, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. The January 6 committee, before the year is out, is expected to complete a report detailing Donald Trump’s intimate role in fomenting and leading a coup attempt and sending the mob to the Capitol on Jan. 6. Whether Griffin’s ouster influences other judges to apply the Jan. 6 example to the 2024 front-runner is the thing to watch. 

A real Georgia breach

More from the ongoing story of how teams of computer experts directed by Trump lawyers perpetrated a massive breach of Georgia voting data and equipment in the days after the 2020 election. Now it appears the same team was behind a data breach in rural Coffee County, and was paid by disgraced Trump lawyer Sidney Powell to be there. 

Surveillance cameras captured a pair of data consultants entering the county elections office on Jan. 7, 2021. And wouldn’t you know it, one of the consultants is none other than Doug Logan, the former CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the group that conducted the infamous partisan ballot review that failed to find any voter fraud but inspired insipid audits and investigations in other states. Those guys are also involved in similar efforts to breach voting machines in Michigan. The footage also shows several employees from the data forensics firm SullivanStrickler entering the offices. That firm billed Powell for their activities, according to records surfaced by a huge lawsuit alleging poor election security in Georgia. The whole thing has now turned into criminal investigations in both Georgia and Michigan…

…which makes it extra weird that a voting machine from Michigan’s Antrim County, ground zero for the Trumpist data breach, showed up on eBay after being stolen. Apparently a dude in Ohio bought the machine from Goodwill for $7.99 and flipped it for $1,200. A well-known voting-machine security expert bought the thing, then reported it to authorities. 

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T.W.I.S.™ Notes

On Thursday the DOJ put everyone on notice that it will appeal that “nonsensical” ruling from Judge Aileen Cannon granting Donald Trump a “special master” in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. While the criminal investigation into apparent mishandling of government documents and obstruction is in its early stages, This Week in Subpoenas, chronicling accountability in other parts of Trumpworld, marches on!

- Three shirts, one cuffs

Former presidential adviser and picture of health Steve Bannon caught six new charges in New York State Thursday stemming from the $15 million “We Build the Wall” fundraising scam. Bannon is charged with five felonies, including money laundering, conspiracy, and fraud. This is similar stuff to what led the feds to pluck Bannon off a yacht along the Connecticut coast in 2020 and charge him. Prosecutors at that time charged Bannon with basically stealing $1 million in donations and using it for personal expenses. Two of his buddies pleaded guilty, and a fourth guy got a mistrial after a juror complained of a “government witch hunt.”  

Lucky for Bannon, Trump pardoned him—with one day left in his presidency. Unlucky for Bannon, Trump’s dirty use of pardons doesn’t apply to state charges. Reminder that the multi-shirted operative is already due to be sentenced for contempt on Oct. 21 after refusing to honor subpoenas from the January 6 committee. 

- Even grander jury

The federal grand jury investigating possible charges around Trump’s coup attempt has expanded into his political money operation. The grand jury is now issuing subpoenas and asking questions about Trump’s $135 million-plus Save America leadership PAC. The PAC launched immediately after Trump lost the 2020 election and used aggressive “stolen election” rhetoric in its fundraising appeals. Now grand jurors are interested in how the PAC has raised and spent its money.

Full takeover

How many election deniers are running for office in your state? This handy and altogether terrifying tool from fivethirtyeight.com shows that a full 60 percent of GOP candidates running this fall either fully deny or refuse to endorse the results of the 2020 election. 

In all, 6 in 10 voters will have an election denier on their ballot this fall. That’s horrible anywhere, but a huge deal in swing states like Arizona and Michigan, where full-on conspiracists are running for governor and secretary of state. Then there’s Pennsylvania…

They put the Q in Harrisburg

Pennsylvania GOP governor candidate Doug Mastriano attended Jan. 6, loves to tweet QAnon hashtags, and has fully endorsed stolen-election lies. Now meet the full-on Q devotee Mastriano is likely to appoint secretary of state if he wins in November. 

VICE’s Cam Joseph has the story of Toni Shuppe, the PA mom who admits that being at home during COVID sent her deep down internet rabbit holes that spun out her brain on conspiracies ranging from stolen elections to Pizzagate. Shuppe got active in QAnon conspiracies and election fraud, pushed audit petitions, and now appears to be in line to be Mastriano’s secretary of state. 

Shuppe has posted online about how a 10-part QAnon documentary opened her eyes to a global cabal of elites running a child sex trafficking ring. Bottom line, according to Cam: “If Mastriano wins this fall, the administration of the 2024 presidential election in the nation’s largest swing state could be in the hands of two QAnon-linked, election-denying conspiracy theorists who are hell-bent on upending the current election system.”

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“The January 6 Attack and surrounding planning, mobilization and incitement were an “insurrection” against the Constitution of the United States…The Court therefore concludes that, effective January 6, 2021, Mr. Griffin became disqualified under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.” - Order of New Mexico Judge Francis J. Mathew, removing Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin from office. 


Tina age diariesTina Peters finally got her chance to answer criminal charges in Mesa County, Colorado, this week. The county clerk and failed secretary of state candidate pleaded not guilty to all 10 charges she faces for allegedly staging a fraudulent scheme to breach and tamper with voting machines. 

We follow Tina news nearly every week here in BtV. So it’s good to take a step back and drink in how her entire saga went down, and where it may be headed. The New Yorker pulled off a great story featuring Mike Lindell, Sherronna Bishop, and all the many characters in Peters’ allegedly felonious fairytale. 

Pirro through the looking glass — As far back as November 2020, Fox News producers were warning not to let host Jeanine Pirro back on the air. NPR’s David Folkenflik is the authoritative source for reporting on the inner workings of Fox News, including this inside look at Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the networks and its Murdoch-run parent company. 

Burrowed in deep — Oath Keepers founder Stuart Rhodes is busy firing his lawyers in advance of his upcoming trial for seditious conspiracy. Meanwhile, there’s new evidence of just how deep the extremist militia group’s influence goes in law enforcement and government. 

The Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism analyzed a 38,000-name Oath Keepers membership list and found about 550 current or past members in law enforcement or the military, serving in public office, or running for office. Not everyone on the list is necessarily an active member or an extremist, but the numbers prove how effective the Oath Keepers have been in recruiting members from police departments and the armed forces. 

Fanatiques road show — If you’re in South Florida this weekend and desperate to sample what the American right is up to, your time has come! Drop in on “NatCon 3” in Miami, where the Trumpist intellectual election-denier braintrust joins elected officials and GOP mega-donors like Peter Thiel. If you like your fever dreams a little more… feverish… might I recommend West Palm Beach, where an “Election Integrity Public Hearing” will feature conspiracy bankroller Patrick Byrne; QAnon-fueled secretary of state candidates Mark Finchem, Jim Marchant, and Kristina Karamo; and (honestly-can-anyone-tell-me-what-the-hell-happened-to) Lara Logan.

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The Frontline interview: J. Michael Luttig. FRONTLINE

How one state resisted political extremism—against all odds. NEW YORK TIMES

Michigan GOP leaders encourage rule breaking at poll worker training session. CNN



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Todd Zwillich, Khareem Sudlow