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Trump Debuts Cool New Plan To Claim 2020 Election Really Was Hacked By China | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


(Photo by Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images)

Last night, Donald Trump’s legal team tossed a mountain of rancid spaghetti at the walls of Judge Tanya Chutkan’s DC courtroom. They know damn well none of it is going to stick, but at least they can force prosecutors and the court to spend time cleaning it up.

Styled as a motion to compel the production of BradyGiglio, and Jencks material, the document is a histrionic recitation of every insane conspiracy theory about foreign interference in the 2020 election.

Solar Winds! Chinese bluetooth thermostats! Iranian hackers! Executive Order 13848! Ray Epps!

The gang’s all here!

They start with the obligatory shitpost about the case being “little more than partisan advocacy designed to sabotage President Trump’s leading campaign for the 2024 President Election.” Then Trump’s razzledazzle legal team goes on to accuse the Special Counsel’s Office of relying on “witnesses who aligned with the Biden Administration’s political viewpoints, and to treat those biased opinions as objective and irrefutable truths regarding the integrity of the 2020 election and the events of January 6, 2021.”

By which he means guys like Mike Pence, Bill Barr, and the entire leadership team of the Trump Justice Department and the Trump White House Counsel’s Office — known Marxists, to a man.

To the extent that there’s any real argument here, it’s that the 2020 election really was stolen by foreign hackers, or alternatively, that Trump had a good reason to believe that it was, and thus cannot have knowingly convinced his followers to attack the Capitol based on a lie. There are also a few throwaway paragraphs about “undercover agents and individuals acting at the direction of official authorities at the Capitol on January 6,” i.e., the Ray Epps conspiracy, since that particular bit of batshittery has been resurrected this week by Sen. Mike Lee pretending to mistake a vape pen held by a rioter for a federal ID. (JFC, the guy was sentenced in July!)

Trump points to the massive Solar Winds hack in late 2019 and early 2020 by Russian state actors, as well as intelligence reports that the Chinese government had a preference for Biden in the 2020 election as evidence that he had a rational belief that the election was either stolen or marred by a foreign influence operation. He omits to mention that he himself elided these two events in real time — read: he lied — so any claim that he relied on government assessments to form his conclusions about a hacked election are misplaced.

In the event, Trump’s lawyers appear to have included Solar Winds simply as a shout out to the conspiracy loons. In the same vein, Executive Order 13848, a 2018 document which promised sanctions for foreign actors who might interfere in US elections, is mentioned as proof that Trump really did believe that foreign actors might hack the 2020 election. It’s not clear how this could possibly relate to compelling the production of evidence, but it’ll probably be noticed by the lunatics who hoped that Trump would use the order as justification to seize all the voting machines in December of 2020.

What Trump appears to want is a lot of evidence he never saw, and thus cannot have relied on to form his “good faith belief” that the election was hacked.

For instance, he demands “all information relating to foreign influence efforts targeting the 2020 election, including foreign influence relating to events on January 6, whether or not [Trump] was briefed contemporaneously regarding these issues.”

Similarly, he makes a great fuss about DOJ lawyer Jeff Clark, AKA “Co-Conspirator 4,” changing the wording of the letter he wanted to send to state legislators after a briefing with Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, demanding to see the entirety of the classified briefing. This would likely occasion a lengthy debate under the Classified Information Procedures Act, possibly delaying the trial. And that is not a coincidence.

Trump further demands that prosecutors disclose any evidence of election interference by “additional foreign actors—including Lebanese Hizballah, Cuba, and Venezuela” — a dogwhistle to the dead enders who still believe the crazy conspiracies spun out by Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, and Mike Flynn.

The problem for Trump is that, in the main, he didn’t talk about foreign election interference in 2020. He said that Democrats in majority-Black cities fed fake ballots into the tabulators. Trump wasn’t claiming that Chinese bluetooth thermostats stole the election in Georgia when he called up Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and asked him to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” He was falsely insisting that a mother and daughter in Atlanta fed thousands of fake ballots into the tabulators. In fact, he thought that Sidney Powell’s claims of foreign interference were “crazy.”

In Trump’s infamous speech on the Ellipse, he talked about the “China virus,” by which he meant COVID-19, not malicious code. He claimed that states making it easier and safer to vote in a pandemic was election interference. He talked about vote fraud, not hacking. And he claimed that evil election officials — not foreign hackers — messed with the voting machines to allow fraudulent ballots to be counted.

“In Clark County, Nevada, the accuracy settings on signature verification machines were purposely lowered before they were used to count over 130,000 ballots,” he vamped to the crowd. “If you signed your name as Santa Claus, it would go through.”

He hyped the crowd up with a stream of fantastical lies about fake ballots, including this gem:

Four witnesses have testified under penalty of perjury that after officials in Detroit announced the last votes had been counted, tens of thousands of additional ballots arrived without required envelopes. Every single one was for a Democrat. I got no votes.

What he didn’t do, though, was to claim that the election was hacked by China, or Russia, or Venezuela, or Hizbullah, or the Borg. So it’s unclear exactly why his lawyers think they’re entitled to every piece of intelligence that went into the multiple government reports that confirmed that Biden won the election without an assist from foreign governments.

But forcing the government and the court to go through yet another round of pointless discovery motions is a win in and of itself, so … here we are. Again.

US v. Trump [Circuit Docket via Court Listener]


Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes the Law and Chaos substack and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.

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