In the weeks following the 2020 presidential election, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, asked Donald Trump’s attorneys for evidence of voter fraud which would justify decertifying Joe Biden’s victory in the state. He remembers Rudy Giuliani telling him something to that effect they had “lots of theories; we just don’t have the evidence.”
Despite the fact that they have no more evidence than Giuliani did back then, two Trump endorsed candidates to serve Alaskans in Congress still think it’s fair game to question the outcome of the 2020 election.
NPR referred to Bowers’ statement as “one of the eye-opening findings” of the Select Committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capital. But he wasn’t the first Republican to speak that truth.
In one of the first legal challenges of the election’s outcome, a lawyer representing Trump’s campaign in Arizona admitted in court it wasn’t a fraud case.
In a Pennsylvania case argued by Giuliani, a Trump appointed judge wrote “calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
That’s been the story since Trump first cried fraud on election night.
But Kelly Tshibaka doesn’t care. She’s running to unseat Sen. Lisa Murkowski. In a December podcast with Steve Bannon, she falsely claimed the Cyber Ninjas forensic audit of the vote in Maricopa County, Arizona, concluded that Biden’s victory there “never should have been certified.”
But that report stated, “there were no substantial differences between the hand count of the ballots provided and the official election canvass results in Maricopa County.”
Sarah Palin is running to fill the Rep. Don Young’s seat. Immediately after the Arizona audit report was published, her website posted a story claiming “the media has failed to focus on the fact that evidence indicates ‘tens of thousands of ballots were illegally cast or counted.’” The story claims Arizona “Senate Audit Liaison Ken Bennett highlighted these issues in his report titled, ‘Compliance with Election Laws and Procedures.’”
However, that report only identified “a number of missing signatures on ballot envelope affidavits,” approximately 2,500 ballots that were required to be duplicated which had “no discernible serial number recorded on either the original or the duplicate ballot,” and “numerous questions regarding possible ineligible voters” which warranted further investigation.
This week Palin’s website promoted an official Texas Republican Party statement claiming Biden “was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”
What you won’t find there are any stories about the evidence obtained by the Select Committee which upends Trump’s claims. Such as one published last August based on contemporaneous notes of a phone call in which the acting Attorney General and his deputy told Trump that based on dozens of investigations and hundreds of interviews, widespread voter fraud was “just not supported by the evidence.”
That didn’t matter to Trump. “Just say that the election was corrupt” he told them. “Leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen.”
They refused. Because the absolute lack of evidence mattered to them as it should for every American.
Now, I harbor no illusions that my opinion will make that happen. But in his testimony to the Select Committee last week, a lifelong Republican who served on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for 15 years explained who owns that responsibility.
Michael Luttig said Trump’s “false and reckless insistence” that he won the election has “laid waste to Americans’ confidence in their national elections.” He called the Jan. 6 insurrection “a war for America’s democracy, a war irresponsibly instigated and prosecuted by the former president, his political party allies, and his supporters.” And “as a political matter of fact only the party that instigated this war over our democracy can bring an end to that war.”
Luttig wasn’t just calling out candidates like Tshibaka and Palin to end the war. It was directed at Republicans in a position of influence, such as conservative news media figures whose silence has served as a passive endorsement of the lie that the election was stolen.
And elected officials like Sen. Dan Sullivan. As an American who has taken three separate oaths to defend the Constitution democracy against all enemies, foreign and domestic, it’s well past time he find the courage to publicly refute Trump’s lie.