Here comes another subpoena.
The Trump campaign paid an outside research group of specialists to find fraud or irregularities in six states in order to take those issues forward as “proof” that the election was fraudulent. Except the research group didn’t find any fraud. This will be the single most-solid evidence yet that Trump went ahead claiming fraud even though he knew that it did not exist. From the WaPo:
Former president Trump’s 2020 campaign commissioned an outside research firm in a bid to prove electoral fraud claims but never released the findings because the firm disputed many of his theories and could not offer any proof that he was the rightful winner of the election, according to four people familiar with the matter.
The campaign paid researchers from Berkeley Research Group, the people said, to study 2020 election results in six states, looking for fraud and irregularities to highlight in public and in the courts.
Among the areas examined were voter machine malfunctions, instances of dead people voting and any evidence that could help Trump show he won, the people said. None of the findings were presented to the public or in court.
Again, this is just devastating. Jack Smith doesn’t even necessarily need to talk to any of the researchers; he can just subpoena the report. But it’s incredibly powerful if he subpoenas the person who got the report to Trump.
There is no privilege that I can think of which would apply here. And though there has been proof that Trump knew he lost by admitting (sort of) to staff members and he heard it from the attorney general and his White House counsel, but this is an independent group that he hired. It would be motivated to find little bits of “something” to be paid to do more.
They didn’t. “Nothing.” He paid for it. He knew it. He still knows it. This is absolutely devastating evidence that could cap a charge of “Defrauding the United States.”
The report was never released publicly because the researchers disputed many of Donald Trump's theories and could not offer any proof for his false assertions that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential election. https://t.co/ua8aUIB82J
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) February 11, 2023
It’s like Trump refused to take no for an answer, which is of course his hallmark. If he could and would take no for an answer, we wouldn’t be talking about election denialism. The phrase would have never been coined.
A person familiar with the findings said there were at least a dozen hypotheses that Trump’s team wanted tested.
“None of these were significant enough,” this person said. “Just like any election, there are always errors, omissions and irregularities. It was nowhere close enough to what they wanted to prove, and it actually went in both directions.”
Senior officials from Berkeley Research Group briefed Trump, then-chief of staff Mark Meadows and others on the findings in a December 2020 conference call, people familiar with the matter said. Meadows showed skepticism of the findings and continued to maintain that Trump won. Trump also continued to say he won the election. The call grew contentious, people with knowledge of the meeting said.
The research group’s officials maintained privately that they did not come into the research with any predetermined conclusions and simply wanted to examine the data provided by the Trump campaign in the battleground states.
Through a spokesman, Meadows declined to comment.
“President Trump received a record-breaking 74 million votes, the most of any sitting president in the history of the country. Anyone who takes a look at Joe Biden glitching through his presidency knows who really won the election,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said. Biden won 81 million votes and won the electoral college, 306 to 232.
That is their mantra that they need to believe. They have to tell themselves that, over and over, to remain convinced. Gaslighting is one thing, self-delusion is quite another.