There is a legitimate “bombshell” story rapidly flashing across the news today. Its speed and prominence—specially on MSNBC and CNN, naturally— is explained by the fact that it can be used to attack and weaken Donald Trump, of whom the Axis remains justly terrified of having back in the White House (as should we all, though for other reasons). That the mainstream news media can barely restrain their glee and that Democrat partisan hacks will over-hype the revelation doesn’t make the story any less revolting. Nor does the fact that it should surprise no one.
The New York Times’ front page story reports…
“Two weeks after the 2020 election, a team of lawyers closely allied with Donald J. Trump held a widely watched news conference at the Republican Party’s headquarters in Washington. At the event, they laid out a bizarre conspiracy theory claiming that a voting machine company had worked with an election software firm, the financier George Soros and Venezuela to steal the presidential contest from Mr. Trump….By the time the news conference occurred on Nov. 19, Mr. Trump’s campaign had already prepared an internal memo on many of the outlandish claims about the company, Dominion Voting Systems, and the separate software company, Smartmatic. The memo had determined that those allegations were untrue. The court papers, which were initially filed late last week as a motion in a defamation lawsuit brought against the campaign and others by a former Dominion employee, Eric Coomer, contain evidence that officials in the Trump campaign were aware early on that many of the claims against the companies were baseless. “The documents also suggest that the campaign sat on its findings about Dominion even as Sidney Powell and other lawyers attacked the company in the conservative media and ultimately filed four federal lawsuits accusing it of a vast conspiracy to rig the election against Mr. Trump.”
I try to limit the number of posts here commenting on obvious unethical conduct unless the conduct is extreme, unusual, or culturally significant. Of course the conduct of the Trump campaign was unethical, but it was also distressingly close to what Trump’s enemies have been saying about the January 6, 2020 riot, and, to make another more apt comparison, what the Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton and Deep State saboteurs within the government, attempted to accomplish with their contrived “Russian collusion” plot. The objective in both cases was to use false information to shake the American public’s faith in their own institutions and systems of government to justify seizing power illicitly.
The fake voting machine plot was by far the more desperate and foolish of the two, especially since Democrats could be confident that the news media would promote any lies undermining Trump no matter how outlandish. In contrast, Trump allies, including his staff and campaign, had to know that even smoking guns proving a “stolen election” would be metaphorically buried in a metaphorical landfill by all but conservative media .
Nevertheless, the campaign apparently allowed the voting machine story to become a keystone of the stolen election claims. Morons. Of all the alleged evidence, this was easily the portion most certain to be debunked, and indeed it was debunked. It should have been self-evident to all but morons that a “stolen election” claim that proved completely spurious would allow the Axis of Unethical Conduct to brush aside legitimate questions about the election—and there were and are such questions—as well. Never mind. The voting machine ruse was only one of hundreds (thousands) of self-inflicted wound to Trump and his administration that resulted from a perpetual condition Ethics Alarms began discussing shortly after the election.
Although candidate Trump kept saying on the stump in 2016 that his administration would have “the best people,” every aspect of his operations, including the campaign, had what could fairly be called the opposite. A political naif who was distrustful of all but a few family members and long-standing henchmen (like Trump’s epically corrupt lawyer, Michael Cohen), Trump had a definition of “best people” that was Bizzaro World-like at best. Moreover, what someone like Trump would regard as the “best people” would be unlikely to include ethics in their skill sets. Look at Trump’s spheres of experience: real estate, construction, hotels, casinos, high finance, international projects and show business. Short of Colombian drug cartels, more well-documented breeding grounds for the scum of the earth could hardly be found. Donald Trump didn’t know “the best people,” or even what good people should be.
This was obvious, or should have been, from the beginning of his first campaign (by the second, it was undeniable.). When Trump was elected, Americans who cared about the country should have understood that getting as many trustworthy, smart, competent people with government experience and IQs over 100 into his circle of advisors, White House staff and Cabinet was crucial to the welfare of the nation. Trump would need more help than most Presidents to succeed and avert catastrophe, and Americans are ethically obligated to do what they can to help any elected President succeed. Instead, the entire political establishment in the U.S., including both parties, set out to keep the best people away from the Trump administration. To achieve this end, they employed virtual blackmail, much as their Hollywood equivalents had done to intimidate star entertainers from participating in Trump’s inauguration. With the toxic combination of Trump’s own warped judgment of what constituted “trustworthy” and “competent” and the virtual boycott of his Presidency by anyone who could be called “the best and the brightest” without evoking giggles, President Trump ended up with villains, scamsters, liars, hacks, assholes and fools all over his administration. Those who weren’t in those categories were leakers, spies, moles and saboteurs.
Of course his campaign allowed a false narrative to be played out.
The Times story says that it is unclear if Trump himself knew about or saw the memo. He is still responsible for the conduct of his subordinates. Meanwhile, “his campaign’s communications staff remained silent” about the truth of the claims against Dominion and “allowed its agents to advance false conspiracy theories” in public and in the courts “without providing them with their own research debunking those theories.”
Nice. “Best people” indeed.
- Now the campaign’s lawyers are facing professional discipline, and perhaps disbarment, because they advocated false theories of a rigged election. I believe that the intensity of the actions being taken against Trump’s lawyers is at least partly motivated by partisan animus, but the lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani, had an ethical obligation to check their alleged evidence. They deserve sanctions; to what extent is still unclear to me.
- The voting machines aspect of the stolen election narrative does not automatically mean allegations of vote manipulation, voter fraud and other irregularities do not have validity. Presumably, we shall see. Nor is it an excuse to curtail ongoing reviews and audits in the various states where small numbers of votes determined the winner of those states’ electoral votes.
- Similarly, mail-in ballots are an invitation to fraud regardless of the voting machine scandal. They are an invitation to fraud whether substantial fraud occurred in the last election or not.
- Even if the voting tallies were as clean as the driven snow, Trump, his supporters, and objective Americans who care about the integrity of democracy have every reason to resent and fear how misinformation, Big Lies, contrived investigations, law enforcement misconduct, illicit impeachments and journalism propaganda combined to remove an elected President from office in an elaction after efforts to remove him without an election failed.
- Here is how the Daily Mail headlined the campaign memo story on-line: “Trump campaign knew voter fraud claims were baseless soon after election loss, says report – as it happened.” That’s fake news, but typical of how the news media rigged the election against Donald Trump for four years.