Republican operatives have deployed a massive network of fake local news sites to weaponize “critical race theory” in political campaigns, Popular Information reports.
Newt Gingrich told Fox News that if the Virginia gubernatorial race comes down to a narrow margin, Democrats will try to “steal it.”
Said Gingrich: “First of all if it’s really tight they’ll steal it, so you can’t afford to have a really tight election. You have to win by a big enough margin that they can’t steal it.”
Within hours of former President Donald Trump announcing his new social network, “pranksters found what appeared to be an unreleased test version and posted a picture of a defecating pig to the ‘donaldjtrump’ account,” the Washington Post reports.
“The site has since been pulled offline — evidence that Trump is to likely face a daunting challenge in building an Internet business that can stand on its own.”
“Russian State media pundits and personalities are claiming that the experienced CNBC journalist, who interviewed President Putin last week, was part of an American ‘special operation’ designed to sway and tantalize the Russian leader,” the Daily Beast reports.
“Putin started the pile-on himself by implying that Hadley Gamble was too beautiful to understand his remarks during an on-stage interview at a Russian Energy Week panel in Moscow.”
Aaron Blake: “They’ve trafficked repeatedly in recent days in false, misleading or unproved allegations involving the Taliban hanging someone from an American helicopter, President Biden skipping a ceremony for 13 Americans killed last week, military dogs being left behind, and $80 billion in military equipment being left for use by the Taliban. With the assistance of some high-profile conservatives and even congressional Republicans, these reports have proliferated on social media.”
“The process really kicked into gear over the weekend when conservatives accused Biden of skipping the ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.”
“Two conservative hoaxers face a record $5.1 million fine for allegedly making illegal robocalls to wireless phones without the owners’ consent in the 2020 election,” the Associated Press reports.
“The proposed fine for Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman and Burkman’s lobbying firm would be the largest ever for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.”
A sham candidate for the Florida Legislature pleaded guilty Tuesday to being part of a vote siphoning scheme in last year’s election and will testify against a former state senator Frank Artiles (R) who prosecutors say ran it, the Associated Press reports.
New York Times: “Back-alley firms meddle in elections and promote falsehoods on behalf of clients who can claim deniability, escalating our era of unreality.”
“Matte Nox is the assumed name and online persona of Matthew Tunstall, a 34-year-old from Texas who over the past three years has raised millions of dollars operating two political action committees that impersonated the Trump campaign,” CNN reports.
“Tunstall’s two PACs, Support American Leaders and Campaign to Support the President, have together raised a total of $3.4 million to date… While much of that money pays for the billions of robocalls the two groups make, almost all of which feature recorded soundbites of public statements from Trump, a CNN KFile analysis shows that the PACs paid Tunstall at least $738,000 of that money to date.”
Politico: “A little-known GOP candidate in one of Florida’s most competitive congressional seats was secretly recorded threatening to send ‘a Russian and Ukrainian hit squad’ to a fellow Republican opponent to make her ‘disappear.’”
Arizona Republic: “People are knocking on the doors of Yavapai County residents and asking how they voted in the last election, while falsely claiming to represent the county recorder’s office.”
“The mysterious door-to-door survey, which has alarmed local officials, comes after the U.S. Department of Justice warned the Arizona Senate against plans to canvass voters’ homes as part of an unprecedented review of November’s election.”
“Interviews with more than a dozen election workers and top officials – and a review of disturbing texts, voicemails and emails that they and their families received – reveal the previously hidden breadth and severity of the menacing tactics,” Reuters reports.
Two particularly disturbing incidents come from Tricia Raffensperger, wife of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R-GA): “In late November, the family went into hiding for nearly a week after intruders broke into the home of the Raffenspergers’ widowed daughter-in-law, an incident the family believed was intended to intimidate them. That evening, people who identified themselves to police as Oath Keepers – a far-right militia group that has supported Trump’s bid to overturn the election – were found outside the Raffenspergers’ home.”
She also received a chilling text message: “You and your family will be killed very slowly.”
Brad Raffensperger: “The continuing false claims of a stolen election have led to violent/death threats, intimidation, and claims of prison time coming for elections workers. They keep coming. Real leaders need to take steps to stop it. So far they haven’t.”
“Of the 150 disinformation campaigns that Facebook has caught and removed in the past four years, the U.S. has been the most frequent target by far, according to a new threat intelligence report from Facebook,” Axios reports.
The other top two targets: Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
The top two originators of disinformation campaigns: Russia and Iran.
“Key elements of the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump took shape in an airplane hangar here two years earlier, promoted by a Republican businessman who has sold everything from Tex-Mex food in London to a wellness technology that beams light into the human bloodstream…” the Washington Post reports.
“The enduring myth that the 2020 election was rigged was not one claim by one person. It was many claims stacked one atop the other, repeated by a phalanx of Trump allies. This is the previously unreported origin story of a core set of those claims, ideas that were advanced not by renowned experts or by insiders who had knowledge of flawed voting systems but by Ramsland and fellow conservative activists as they pushed a fledgling company, Allied Security Operations Group, into a quixotic attempt to find evidence of widespread fraud where none existed.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) is suing conservative operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman “over robocalls the pair allegedly made to suppress the Black vote ahead of the 2020 presidential election,” the Daily Beast reports.
“If successful, they will be on the hook for $2.75 million, in addition to the felony charges they face in other states.”
“Texas Republican congressional candidate Susan Wright (R) is seeking help from federal law enforcement the day before her special election, after supporters reported receiving robocalls that accused her of being responsible for the death of her late husband,” Politico reports.
“Wright’s campaign reached out to the FBI and the Department of Justice on Friday after discovering robocalls baselessly alleging that she had ‘murdered’ her husband, the late Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX).”
“When incumbent Democrat José Javier Rodríguez lost his Florida state senate seat to Republican challenger Ileana Garcia by just 32 votes in November, the losing party and investigators began asking questions about a suspicious third candidate,” the Washington Post reports.
“Now, the mysterious candidate and a former Republican state senator are facing felony charges for crimes stemming from a plot to ‘confuse voters and siphon votes from the incumbent,’ police said in an affidavit filed this week.”