Posts tagged with "Maria Bartiromo"

A Trump lawyer makes a remarkable admission about her ‘stolen election’ claims

March 15, 2023

Yet another figure who promoted former President Donald Trump’s stolen-election claims has backed down in the face of legal scrutiny. This time it’s the Trump campaign’s then-legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, reports The Washington Post.

But even among the succession of walk-backs, this one stands out, the Post says. That’s because, as part of her censure deal with the Colorado Supreme Court in a disciplinary proceeding, Ellis actually admitted to ten specific “misrepresentations.” Among them are the following:

  • Her claim to evidence of “a coordinated effort in all of these states to transfer votes either from Trump to Biden, to manipulate the ballots, to count them in secret.”
  • Her claim of “overwhelming evidence proving this was stolen.”
  • Her claim that, “The election was stolen and Trump won by a landslide” (a version of which she said repeatedly).
  • Her claim that, “The proper and true victor … is Donald Trump.”
  • Her claim that, “We have over 500,000 votes [in Arizona] that were cast illegally.”

Ellis’s commentary broadly echoed many of the Trump team’s most frequent claims. And Ellis is now admitting that none of those claims were true.

Perhaps most notably—as part of a deal that apparently helped Ellis avoid potentially stiffer penalties (some have sought the disbarment of lawyers who promoted such claims)—the document says she also agreed that she acted “with at least a reckless state of mind.”

She also agreed that her actions “undermined the American public’s confidence in the presidential election, violating her duty of candor to the public.” And she agreed that she had “selfish motives” for alleging what she did, but the fact that she hadn’t faced prior discipline weighed to her benefit.

In response to the news, Ellis has sought to emphasize that she didn’t agree that she lied. Rather, she says, she was merely admitting that her claims were unintentionally false.

“They’re now trying to falsely discredit me by saying I admitted I lied,” Ellis tweeted. “That is FALSE. I would NEVER lie. Lying requires INTENTIONALLY making a false statement. I never did that, nor did I stipulate to or admit that.” She noted that the standard involved cites “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, OR misrepresentation.”

Ellis’s tweeted statement walks up to the line of saying she was forced to cave to political and legal pressure. (“This is and always was political lawfare to intimidate lawyers from representing Trump or Republicans candidates,” she said in the statement.) But while asserting that she would keep fighting for her causes, she cited “having learned I can do so in media even more carefully.”

Given that explanation, it’s worth looking at the specific “misrepresentations” Ellis admitted to. Ellis didn’t just claim the election was stolen. She contended Trump’s legal team had “testimonial and other evidence” to back that up and cited “the overwhelming evidence proving this was stolen.”

Perhaps her most pronounced claims came in a November 20, 2020, appearance on the Fox Business show “Mornings with Maria” hosted by Maria Bartiromo — a host who has recently figured prominently in Dominion’s lawsuit against Fox News.

Bartiromo leaned into Ellis’s allegations, starting her show by citing “explosive claims from the Trump legal team” involving “allegedly widespread global voter fraud and a coordinated effort to change the outcome of the 2020 election.”

Bartiromo asked Ellis what evidence she had, and Ellis assured her there was plenty: “We had affidavits from witnesses, we have voter intimidation, we have the ballots that were manipulated, we have all kinds of statistics that show that this was a coordinated effort in all of these states to transfer votes either from Trump to Biden, to manipulate the ballots, to count them in secret.”

But elsewhere in the interview, Ellis also suggested that the most damning evidence would have to remain secret. “Maria, no credible attorney is going to go out and actually show the evidence to the mainstream media to have them pick apart and especially dox witnesses, when we’ve already had this type of intimidation of our own attorneys,” Ellis said.

To put Ellis’s comments on television in the context of what she is now admitting, she’s saying the evidence that she assured viewers existed, somewhere, didn’t actually prove what she believed it did. She apparently misunderstood it. Perhaps a more public vetting would have been a good thing?

That’s a particularly stunning explanation when it comes to the last bullet point mentioned above—the one about there somehow being more than 500,000 illegal votes in Arizona. That amount would account for in excess of 1 out of every 7 votes in the state. It just wasn’t a serious claim, even before it was repeatedly confirmed that there was nothing to back it up.

These are pretty remarkable things for a lawyer to flub. But that’s what Ellis says happened, according to the Post. She apparently contends that she decided to allege a massive conspiracy that she now acknowledges “undermined the American public’s confidence in the presidential election,” as the court filing states—and she even reportedly drafted a plot to overturn the election on January 6 in part by having Vice President Mike Pence reject the submitted electoral votes— based on misunderstandings.

Research contact: @washingonpost

In deposition, Rupert Murdoch says Fox News hosts endorsed false 2020 election claims

March 1, 2023

Rupert Murdoch has admitted that some Fox News hosts and commentators endorsed the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen, according to testimony in an ongoing defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Denver-based voting-machine company is suing Fox News and Fox Corp. for defamation, over false on-air claims that its technology enabled widespread fraud in the election. The new details emerged in briefs in which the companies laid out evidence they plan to present to a Delaware state court.

Murdoch, who is the chair of both Fox News and its parent, Fox Corp., said Fox News and Fox Business commentators—including on-air hosts Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and Sean Hannity—endorsed the idea of a stolen election to varying degrees, according to a deposition cited in Dominion’s brief, which was unsealed on Monday, February 27.

The media baron said Fox News itself didn’t endorse that narrative. “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it, in hindsight,” Murdoch said, according to the filing. Asked if he could have stopped the hosts from highlighting allegations on air, Murdoch responded, “I could have. But I didn’t.”

In full disclosure, Murdoch is also executive chairman of News Corp, parent of The Wall Street Journal. He and his family are large shareholders in Fox Corp. and News Corp.

Dominion is suing for what it alleges were defamatory on-air comments about its products after former President Donald Trump lost the election to President Joe Biden. The voting-machine company is seeking $1.6 billion in damages.

Fox News Media has said that it simply reported newsworthy allegations, and the lawsuit would be an attack on press freedom under the First Amendment. Fox also has argued the damages claim from Dominion vastly overstates the value of the company, and that the voting company can’t tie any losses directly to the network’s coverage.

Fox News Media said in a statement Monday that Dominion’s lawsuit “has always been more about what will generate headlines than what can withstand legal and factual scrutiny.”

The trial is slated to begin April 17 in Delaware state court.

Research contact: @WSJ

Republicans send North Carolina voters mail-in ballot materials featuring photo of Trump’s face

August 20, 2020

A number of voters in North Carolina  recently received brochures encouraging them to fill out mail-in ballot requests—and the brochures featured a large photograph of President Donald Trump’s face, Salon reports.

“ARE YOU GOING TO LET THE DEMOCRATS SILENCE YOU?” the mailer, sent by North Carolina Trump Victory, the joint field operation of Trump’s re-election team and the Republican National Committee, asks in large block font. “ACT NOW TO STAND WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP.”

The brochure goes on to request “immediate action” to “ensure your right to securely vote Absentee.” Next to a picture of a smiling Trump, the mailer says: “Stand with President Trump. Request your absentee ballot today.”

The president and a number of his Republican allies have routinely pushed the falsehood that voting by mail invites rampant fraud—although Trump, himself, has voted by mail a number of times.

CNN’Ana Cabrera reported last Wednesday, August 12, that the Palm Beach County elections board had delivered Trump and first lady Melania Trump mail-in ballots to Mar-a-Lago (which they had then filled out and returned).

Trump vowed in an on-air interview the next day that he would block crucial U.S. Postal Service (USPS) funding, citing concerns about universal mail-in voting. “They need that money in order to have the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions of ballots,” he told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on Thursday, August 13. “If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting. Because they’re not equipped.”

On his Twitter account, however, President Trump encouraged the use of mail-in ballots in Florida in a post on August 4, saying, “Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida, the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot * Vote by Mail!”

:Chandler Carranza, of Gaston County, North Carolina, told CNN that was the reason he laughed when he received the campaign mailer last Thursday.

“The irony is very thick and definitely not lost on me,” Carranza said. “Trump has been saying mail-in ballots will bring fraud to the election, but absentee ballots are legit. Which is it? It can’t be both ways. I laughed because if the campaign actually took information from other times they have reached out to me, they’d know I won’t vote for Trump despite being a registered Republican.”

Research contact: @Salon

Trump admits that he’s ‘breaking’ the Postal Service to block mail-in voting, cast doubt on election results

August 14, 2020

President Donald Trump admitted during a TV interview on August 13 that he is attempting to undermine the U.S. Postal Service by blocking funding for the agency—which is expected to deal with a high volume of mail-in ballots during this election season.

“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he said Thursday in an interview on Fox Business. “But if they don’t get [it], that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”

Specifically, The Huffington Post reported, during an exclusive interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, the president said negotiations over the fourth economic stimulus relief package were held up, in part, due to Democrats’ demands for billions of dollars in funding toward mail-in voting.

In another exercise in blame-shifting, Trump said, “It’s their fault,”  referring to the Democrats. “They want $3.5 billion for something that’s fraudulent … for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion for the post office. They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots.”

Indeed, according to HuffPost, Trump has repeatedly spread conspiracy theories about mail-in voting and has suggested he’ll cast doubt on the results of the November election. States are working to increase their capacity for mail-in voting, as many Americans are expected to vote by mail this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Election watchdog and voting rights groups are deeply concerned that Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting and the Postal Service will result in increased voter suppression.

At a press conference Wednesday, Trump gave similar reasons for why he would not approve emergency congressional funding for the cash-strapped and backlogged agency.

“They don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it, I guess, right?” Trump said. “Are they going to do it, even if they don’t have the money?”

He also claimed the election would “be the great rigged election in history” and “one of the greatest frauds in history.”

Research contact: @HuffPost