It’s just completely, completely pointless for media outlets to invest resources in doing fact-checks like this. It’s their duty, and it’s virtuous. But you can’t falsify a theory that’s designed to be nonfalsifiable, by definition. The big “Stop the Steal!” crusade is a loyalty test, not an evidentiary undertaking. If Trump and Giuliani say that this video shows people counting fraudulent ballots then it shows them counting fraudulent ballots and you’re a traitor if you disagree. Watch, then read on.
“There’s no indication that Giuliani or his team tried to evaluate the content of the video before presenting it as dispositive,” notes Philip Bump. “This isn’t surprising, either: Giuliani has repeatedly offered unvetted claims of wrongdoing by Trump’s opponents without checking them out beforehand.” We may have reached the point where he’s even inventing court victories whole cloth:
Nobody I can find has heard of this case or posted any related court order/docs. MI’s 13th Circuit Court, which includes Antrim, Grand Traverse & Leelenau counties, has an impressively user friendly online search function. (more) pic.twitter.com/RSorlZB6gi
— Paul Egan (@paulegan4) December 5, 2020
A Twitter pal thinks the claim originated with Rudy crony Bernard Kerik, the former NYPD commissioner who ended up doing time in prison for tax fraud and was ultimately pardoned by Trump. Kerik didn’t cite any source for his claim and no one seems able to substantiate it. Maybe he and Rudy decided that they needed to concoct some phantom legal triumps because the real thing has been so hard to come by.
Speaking of which, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals shot down Lin Wood’s lawsuit this morning seeking to block certification of Georgia’s election results. Among the three-judge panel were two conservatives, both of whom have been mentioned as potential Supreme Court nominees in the past. One was William Pryor, who authored the opinion; the other was Barbara Lagoa, who was considered for the seat this fall that went to Amy Coney Barrett. Their ruling was unanimous that Wood had no standing to sue and that, even if he had, his claim has been mooted by Georgia’s certification of its results. Waiting too long to attack a state’s allegedly troubling electoral process has been a chronic problem for the president and his allies in their post-election lawsuits, as Erick Erickson points out:
By the way, the Georgia GOP could have examined the absentee ballot electors before election day; they could have fought to observe the signature verification process; and they could have demanded to stay and observe that night, but they didn’t. So part of the narrative here that you must understand is that the Georgia GOP did not do the things it could have done to make sure there were no shenanigans and now is obfuscating and misdirecting blame.
Trump himself is in the same headspace Giuliani is now, either making stuff up to lead on his fans or doubling, tripling, and quadrupling down on claims that have been already debunked repeatedly. E.g.:
I will easily & quickly win Georgia if Governor @BrianKempGA or the Secretary of State permit a simple signature verification. Has not been done and will show large scale discrepancies. Why are these two “Republicans” saying no? If we win Georgia, everything else falls in place!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2020
It’s been explained by now ad nauseam, by literally hundreds of commentators, that signature matches were already performed twice on Georgia’s mail-in ballots before those ballots were counted and that they can’t be performed again after the fact. Each ballot has already been separated from its signed envelope; even if you could show that a signature is fraudulent you wouldn’t know whether to subtract that vote from Biden’s column or from Trump’s. I don’t know if Trump is still so ill-informed about the election process that he continues not to understand that, more than a month after Election Day, or if he understands it but continues to hammer the point because, again, this is a loyalty test, not a serious challenge to the results. All his tweet means, really, is “Kemp isn’t doing everything possible to help me win!” The fact that there’s nothing Kemp can realistically do for him is a detail.
There’s so much spaghetti being thrown at the wall to see what sticks that it’s easy to overlook basic logical inconsistencies like this one identified by Fred Bauer:
Many of its legal filings have been laughed out of court. Many of its witnesses have been less than credible. Some of the charges are self-contradictory (Why do you care about signature-matching for ballots if you argue that the vote totals were “hacked”?)
— Fred Bauer (@fredbauerblog) December 5, 2020
If the font of all evil here is the Dominion voting machines that allegedly allowed votes to be changed electronically, why is Trump hung up on signature checks? Is he seriously suggesting that fraud was perpetrated via *both* forms of voting in Georgia, in person via Dominion and separately via mail ballots? Why would the sinister forces that supposedly rigged the vote go to all that trouble knowing that it would increase their risk of being caught? Either hack the in-person vote or manufacture phony mail ballots to provide a margin of victory. There’s no need to do both. The fact that Trump is untroubled by his own internal illogic is all one needs to know to understand what a pure gaslighting effort this is.
I’ll leave you with this, which captures both the idiocy and the villainy of this episode in a single economical tweet. Republican voters, following the president’s lead, absolutely deserve to lose the Senate runoffs for having enabled stuff like this. Whether they will is a separate question.
Brian Kemp, Brad Raffensperger, Geoffrey Duncan, Gabriel Sterling.
Remember names. They are ALL going to jail. They are complicit in foreign interference with national election.
They will be joined by many others.
To those threatening me, stop wasting your time. I am fearless.
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) December 5, 2020