House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has chosen five Republican members to serve on the select committee to investigate the attack on the Capitol on January 6 — and a majority of those chosen are people who voted to overturn the election on that day. Under the rules of the committee set by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), McCarthy is allowed to choose five Republicans for the 13-member committee. This is similar to Pelosi’s original proposal to form the commission, with Democrats making up a majority of the group. A subsequent bipartisan proposal for the commission, meanwhile, had a 50-50 split between the parties but was blocked by Republicans, despite several concessions from the Democrats. McCarthy chose Republican Representatives Jim Banks (Indiana), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Rodney Davis (Illinois), Kelly Armstrong (North Dakota) and Troy Nehls (Texas) to serve on the committee. Of those picks, Banks, Jordan and Nehls were among the 147 Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the electoral college results on the day that the deadly attack on the Capitol occured, encouraged by President Trump.
The evolution — or devolution, if you will — of the right’s January 6 narrative continues apace, but is steering toward strange waters. When it happened, it was deemed an appalling attack against the very fabric of democracy … but Donald Trump didn’t like that, because the attackers were his people, and so the story began to change. It was antifa! Black Lives Matter protesters! No, that didn’t stick. Wait, they were peaceful tourists! See how they stay within the ropes as they carry their Confederate battle flags and lengths of pipe! Ten minutes with the footage from the front stairs and hallways batted that one down.
House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) from her leadership position on Wednesday, in a move that cemented the right’s unending fealty to former President Donald Trump. Cheney had refused to continue perpetuating Trump’s big lie that the election was stolen, which many Republicans viewed as a sort of betrayal of their values — though Cheney herself has been a loyal rank-and-file GOP member over the years, often pushing the worst elements of conservative ideology.
A man who took part in the Capitol breach on January 6 said this week that his actions weren’t 100 percent his fault. Rather, he said, was influenced into being a part of the violence that day by something his lawyer called “Foxmania,” which resulted in him believing false claims about election fraud in the 2020 election. Anthony Antonio surrendered to police in April and was charged with five federal crimes related to the January attack, including violent entry and disorderly conduct while in the Capitol, and impeding law enforcement. One video of Antonio’s actions during the day shows him shouting at officers, telling them, “You want war? We got war. 1776 all over again.”
Politics & Elections Facebook Will Announce Tomorrow Whether Trump and His Fascist Posts Can Return Economy & Labor Mutual Aid Efforts Are Working to Fill the Gaps of Biden’s COVID Response Economy & Labor Amazon’s Anti-Union Bullying Shows Why We Need the PRO Act Economy & Labor Tax Dodgers Owe US Over $7 Trillion, Says Janet Yellen Politics & Elections Biden Picks Warren Ally to Oversee Student Aid, Signaling Shift on Student Debt Human Rights Over 10 Million People Could Become Homeless When Eviction Moratorium Ends Nearly six months after voting ended in the 2020 presidential election, Republicans are leading an effort in Arizona to throw undue doubt into President Joe Biden’s win in the state — and they’ve hired conspiracy theorists to help lead the charge. Republican legislators in the state, who hold a majority in the legislature, successfully subpoenaed 2.1 million ballots earlier this year. Senate Republicans demanded the ballots from election officials in Maricopa County, which put Biden over the top and then didn’t have anywhere to put the ballots once they got them. The GOP obtained the ballots with the goal of completing their own audit of the election results, despite the fact that the state’s own audits, as well as Maricopa County’s audit, found no evidence of voter fraud. Still, Republicans think that they can conduct a better audit — perhaps one with different results — and have hired a company with zero experience with elections to do so. As Judd Legum of Popular Information wrote, “The counting will continue until results improve.” The company Republicans have hired, for $150,000 of taxpayer money, is called Cyber Ninjas. Cyber Ninjas is a Florida-based cybersecurity company which has been described by its founder, Doug Logan, as a “Christian company.” Logan has espoused views supporting the conspiracy theories put forth by “Stop the Steal” groups and QAnon-affiliated Ron Watkins, who propagate the false claim that it was former President Donald Trump, not Biden, who truly won the election. Arizona is not Logan’s first rodeo in challenging election results. He was previously listed as an expert witness in a lawsuit in Michigan where the plaintiffs claimed that voting machines were rigged. Though the company has tried keeping their audit methodology under wraps, they’ve been ordered by a judge to disclose documents with procedures for the audit. The procedures “[don’t] make any sense, and I’ve seen a lot of audits,” Tammy Patrick, senior elections adviser for Democracy Fund and former Maricopa County elections worker, told USA Today. The documents detailing procedures for “forensics” are vague and unclear. One such procedure evidently being employed by Cyber Ninja is using UV lights to check for watermarks on the ballots. Arizona’s ballots don’t have watermarks, and the Brennan Center for Justice has warned that the lights could make the ballots deteriorate, but that hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists from believing that using the UV light might reveal a secret watermark. Observers and election experts have also caught the auditors making basic mistakes like using blue pens that might alter the vote on a ballot or not securing the area where ballots are being counted by locking the doors. Cyber Ninjas has also recruited former state lawmaker Anthony Kern to help validate ballots. Kern is a Trump supporter who was at the Capitol on January 6 with the mob trying to get the election results overturned. State Republicans are also evidently trying to raise funds beyond the $150,000 from the government for the audit effort, Legum reports. The Arizona Senate is soliciting donations to raise $2.8 million for the effort on a website, fundtheaudit.com, owned by an organization created by former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, also a known Trump supporter. Trump himself has been bragging about the audit, despite the fact that Arizona lawmakers don’t have the authority to overturn election results. Still, he’s been telling Mar-a-Lago guests that the audit will perhaps help reinstate him — although, even if the legislators could overturn the result of the state’s election, and if there were any evidence of fraud, the 11 electoral votes it would give the former president would still not be enough to give him the win he wants. So then why are Republicans still chugging along to overturn Arizona’s results? It’s unclear, but the audit is already likely having harmful effects. Most Republican voters still believe that the election was rigged; and the very fact that Republicans are conducting an audit may indicate, to some, that there are legitimate reasons to believe that there was fraud, no matter how spurious the real reasons for the audit are. Political observers warn that the results of the audit, even if they’re falsified or based on flawed methodology, could end up adding fuel to the Republicans’ voter suppression fire in Arizona and across the country. “The idea, obviously, is to create a new truth for Republicans,” wrote MSNBC’s Steve Benen, “at which point pro-Trump forces can exploit the lie to justify new voter-suppression efforts and perhaps even related efforts in other states, where Republicans can hire Cyber Ninjas of their own.” Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.