Election '16

FEC closes case on 'coordinated attempt' to steal Black Americans' votes for Hillary Clinton to help Trump

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has quietly closed the file on a five-year old election fraud case, confirming a "coordinated attempt" by an international 4chan-based group that set up a website masquerading as an official Hillary Clinton campaign site that targeted Black Americans to try to get them to "cast" their vote for the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate online, to help elected Donald Trump.

There is no online voting in U.S. elections.

The website also tried to profit off the venture, soliciting "campaign" donations, which is illegal since they had no affiliation with the Clinton campaign.

It is not known how many people believed they cast their ballot for Clinton online, at votehillaryonline.com, nor is it known how much money was collected through the election fraud scam. An FEC's Second General Counsel report reveals the main focus of the website (screenshot image below), as one user in a Discord chat said, was "to trick African-Americans 'into thinking that they can vote at home,' hopefully resulting in a 'Trump landslide.'"

"The results of the investigation show that the primary purpose of the Website was to deceive minority voters into thinking that they could vote for Clinton on the Website rather than at a polling place, thus, potentially helping Donald J. Trump to win the 2016 Presidential election," the FEC report reads.

It noted "the investigation confirmed the existence of a coordinated attempt, likely from outside the United States, to interfere with American voters."

The Daily Beast adds, "FEC investigators combed through reports by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the final report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller for signs that the fake site could be linked to the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll farm responsible for carrying out much of Russia's election meddling, but found no connections."

The FEC was unable to identify the perpetrators and recommended closing the case, taking no further action.

'I am screwed no matter what happens': The untold story of the day James Comey changed America

Four years ago, during the 2016 presidential election, Republican nominee Donald J. Trump got the "October surprise" his campaign was hoping for: James Comey, FBI director at the time, announced that he was reopening the investigation of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Journalist/author and New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt looks back on that October 2016 bombshell in his book, "Donald Trump v. the United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President" — and according to Schmidt, one person who urged Comey not to publicly announce his investigation was his wife, Patrice Comey.

Schmidt, in an article published on NBC News' website on October 28 and adapted from his book, explains, "FBI Director Jim Comey's decision to reopen the Clinton e-mail investigation 11 days before the 2016 election will likely go down in history as one of America's most dramatic October surprises. In the four years since that decision, it has become cemented in the minds of Clinton supporters and many political analysts as the turning point for her doomed campaign."

The then-FBI director, Schmidt explains, "turned to" his wife "as he searched for answers" in 2016 — and Patrice Comey advised against announcing the Clinton investigation.

"Patrice was an ardent Clinton supporter and had long dreamt of seeing a woman elected president," Schmidt notes. "She believed Trump was an existential threat and must never sit in the Oval Office. An argument between couples is normal. But in this argument, the Comeys — armed with knowledge that only a handful of Americans were privy to — had to weigh what felt like an incalculable decision. And of course, the stakes felt impossibly high. And as it turns out, they were."

Schmidt's piece describes, in detail, the conversations the Comeys had in October 2016 in their home in McLean, Virginia. On October 27, 2016, Schmidt explains, "There were less than two weeks to go before the presidential election, and now, the Clinton e-mail investigation that Comey had taken the rare step of personally and publicly closing in July was about to roar back to life. 'It's a shit show,' he told Patrice. 'They told me that there's thousands of e-mails.' It would fall to the director to make the final decision about what to do."

Patrice Comey told her husband, "You can't do this this close to the election. You can't do this to a candidate." And the then-FBI director told his wife, "I am screwed no matter what happens. If I disclose this, I'm screwed. If I don't disclose this, I'm screwed."

James Comey made his Clinton e-mails announcement, and that "October surprise" — just as his wife predicted — seriously damaged Clinton's campaign. On Election Day 2016, Schmidt didn't vote in the presidential election; he believed that by not voting for either Clinton or Trump, he was showing his neutrality or objectivity as a law enforcement agent.

"Patrice, on the other hand, was excited to vote," Schmidt writes. "She had waited decades to vote for a woman presidential candidate, and her eyes brimmed with tears as she selected Clinton."

Schmidt goes on to describe Election Night 2016, writing, "After the Associated Press called Florida for Trump at 10:50 p.m., Jim went to bed, still thinking Clinton would win. At 2:30 a.m., when the AP called the race for Donald Trump, Patrice cried on the phone with her daughters, not giving voice to what she feared: that their father might be blamed for Trump's election. Patrice finally went upstairs to their dark bedroom and woke up her husband to tell him the news. Jim sat right up. 'Oh, God,' he said."

Former FBI agent on the Mueller team says Trump was ‘badly compromised’ in 2016

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok — who was removed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation in July 2017 because of texts critical of President Donald Trump and fired by the FBI in 2018 — is still under fire from Trump’s sycophants. They will insist that his new book, “Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump,” has no validity.  But it won't keep him quiet.

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Journalist recounts the moment in the 2016 campaign where Trump took a 'dark turn'

In a new book excerpt published by Vanity Fair, ABC reporter Jonathan Karl recounts a moment from December 2015 in which he began to believe Donald Trump's presidential campaign started taking a "dark turn."

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DOJ moves to drop charges against 2 Russian shell companies indicted during Mueller’s investigation

A year has passed since former special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report for the Russia investigation, but Mueller’s indictment of two shell companies accused of promoting Russian interference in the United States’ 2016 presidential election remained. On Monday, March 16, however, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) moved to drop the federal charges the companies have been facing.

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'Bitter and vexed' Trump exploded after aides rejected his ‘insane’ 7-minute birther disavowal in 2016: book

President Donald Trump reportedly flew into a rage during the 2016 campaign after his lengthy and rambling statement on birtherism was edited down to something more concise and coherent.

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'The only one I didn't want her to pick': Recording of Trump private dinner shows he feared Bernie Sanders on 2016 ticket

A nearly 90-minute audio recording of a private dinner that took place with numerous individuals and President Donald Trump in 2018 was made public Saturday evening by the legal team of Lev Parnas, a close associate of the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, in which the president can be heard saying "take her out" in reference to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch—a key witness in the impeachment trial now in the U.S. Senate.

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Disturbing new report zeroes in on mysteries still surrounding Russia's 2016 election hacking — and why we're still at risk

A new report from Politico on Thursday highlighted the persistent and troubling concerns about the security of U.S. elections, diving deep into some of the still unresolved mysteries about Russia's efforts to hack the 2016 election.

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National security expert: DOJ IG report vindicated reason for FBI’s 2016 Trump campaign investigation — but ‘sloppy’ use of FISA warrants must be ‘audited’

On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz was questioned by both Republican and Democratic senators when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and discussed his recent report on the FBI’s 2016 investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election and possible Russian ties to the Trump campaign. Benjamin Wittes, editor-in-chief of the Lawfare website and a frequent guest on MSNBC, discussed Horowitz’ findings when he appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday morning — and he stressed that there are two main takeaways from Horowitz’ testimony: (1) the FBI’s investigation itself was perfectly legitimate, but (2) there were some civil liberties issues when the use of FISA warrants during the investigation.

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‘The truth is finally out’: Former FBI Director Comey cheers arrival of IG report on 2016 Russia probe

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has railed against the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election — describing it as a “deep state” conspiracy against his campaign. But on Monday, December 9, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz on that investigation — and former FBI Director James Comey, in a December 9 op-ed for the Washington Post, applauds Horowitz’ report as proof that the FBI acted honorably and ethically in 2016.

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'We need to get a shredder': New book finds evidence National Enquirer destroyed secret dirt on Trump

Author and journalist Ronan Farrow detailed evidence that the National Enquirer shredded documents related to dirt on President Donald Trump in his new book, "Catch and Kill,"  according to a Politico report on Monday.

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Trump once called him 'my African American.' Now he says the president has a 'white superiority complex'

In one of the countless stunning moments on the 2016 campaign trail, Donald Trump made headlines at a June rally when he pointed to a member of the audience and called him out as "my African American."

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Here’s the bizarre truth behind the study Trump is using to claim Google 'manipulated' 2.6 million votes in Hillary Clinton's favor

On Monday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that according to a “report just out,” Google “manipulated” millions of votes in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. But according to a report by Nick Bastone for Business Insider, Trump’s claims are misleading for a number of reasons.

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New Senate report reveals Russia's targeting of the 2016 voting process was more expansive than we knew

Just a day after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified before the House of Representatives, the Senate Intelligence Committee has released its own much-anticipated report on Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

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How Trump swallowed the GOP whole and exposed Paul Ryan's craven moral failings

There's another book coming about the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the White House, penned by Politico chief political correspondent Tim Alberta. The Washington Post got an advance copy of American Carnage and highlights the parts that demonstrate just how irredeemable the Republican Party is.

The former House speaker fully admits that he used retirement in 2018 as an "escape hatch" from Trump because he couldn't face having to deal with him for another two years. Now he tells Alberta, "We've gotten so numbed by it all. […] Not in government, but where we live our lives, we have a responsibility to try and rebuild. Don't call a woman a 'horse face.' Don't cheat on your wife. Don't cheat on anything. Be a good person. Set a good example." Says the guy who refused to stand up to Trump for the two years in which he had the ultimate power to do so. Like in the fight over the 2018 spending bill that didn't include border wall funding. Trump apparently reamed Ryan over it in person, but then "said he would sign it if Ryan were to give him time to build suspense on Twitter." Not only did Ryan agree to that,  but he "publicly sang the president's praises after the meeting."

The hypocrisy is one thing, a thing that so defines the Republican Party that it's hardly worth talking about anymore. It's the utter blindness that the likes of Pence and Ryan have for their own moral failures that's galling. It's the fact that Ryan, who presumably still sees a future for himself in national politics, and plenty of other Republicans willing to criticize Trump absolutely refuse to take responsibility for having created him in the first place, much less for rolling over entirely for him now. For this alone, Paul Ryan should be condemned to washing already-washed pots and pans for eternity.

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The money behind Trump’s $107 million inauguration

The inauguration of President Donald Trump was the most expensive in U.S. history, costing $107 million. All that money had to come from somewhere, and an in-depth report by a team of New York Times reporters is taking a close look at the money behind Trump’s inauguration.

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Kansas secretary of state finds $400,000 discrepancy in funds intended to upgrade voting systems

Kris Kobach, the failed candidate for Governor of Kansas has been in the news today as the architect of census altering questions that many believe were aimed at voter suppression. While the former Secretary of State faced pushback on Capital Hill, in Kansas, his Republican successor discovered that his basic incompetence serving in the office he had resulted in significant budget errors.

Democratic elected officials expressed genuine anger over the error. Democratic State Senator Marci Francisco, in a phone call, said: “It is concerning, and we need to find out why this happened and we have to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Kobach’s use (and potential misuse) of funds from HAVA (The Help America Vote Act) became a campaign issue in 2018, when his Republican primary rivals contended his use of the fund created gimmicky accounting. In the primary debate, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported this exchange and response:

In Hutton’s view, this suggested 85 cents of every $1 reduction claimed by Kobach was associated with downsizing of HAVA.

“The people of Kansas are tired of the gimmicks and games from the politicians in Topeka, whether it’s budgets that don’t balance from (Sam) Brownback and (Gov. Jeff) Colyer, or Kobach lying about his own budget to claim credit for something he didn’t do,” Hutton said.

Hutton does not have a clue,” Kobach said.

The state’s HAVA fund holds more than $3 million, Kobach said. The secretary of state’s office, which is a fee funded agency, collected $11.7 million in 2017 and spent $4.6 million during the year. More than $7 million was forwarded to the state’s general budget, Kobach said.

In the end, as Kansans are discovering now, despite all the bluster of saving money and who had a “clue”, it was Kris Kobach himself who managed to keep others completely in the dark as to the use of the funds, and his failure to follow proper reporting guidelines.

Republican Secretary of State Scott Schwabb announced the discovery today, contending that he felt as though a commitment to transparency would serve the office well, and told press he would work to address these kind of errors going forward.

Gone from office for more than six months, the damage left behind by the former Secretary of State continues to cast a shadow over the Kansas State house.

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Mitch McConnell's new admission confirms he pulled a historic fraud on the American people

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made plain on Tuesday that he's just as manipulative, mendacious, and unprincipled as any of his critics have ever said.

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Former director of national intelligence makes it clear that Trump would not have won without Russia's help

When Donald Trump produced the first list of names for his death list this week, he didn’t include that of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. But Clapper appears to be out to remedy this oversight by pointing out the fact that the Trump campaign didn’t just cooperate with Russia—it’s extremely unlikely Trump would have been elected without Russian support.

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