Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
Barr says Justice Dept. hasn’t uncovered fraud that could have tipped the election, and McConnell refers to ‘new administration.’
Attorney General William P. Barr said on Tuesday that the Justice Department had not uncovered voting fraud at a scale that could have affected the results of the presidential election, reaffirming Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s win despite President Trump’s groundless claims that he was defrauded.

Mr. Barr’s comments, in an interview with The Associated Press, were a prominent repudiation of Mr. Trump’s baseless assertions and came days after the president implied that the Justice Department and the F.B.I. may have played a role in an election fraud.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Mr. Barr said.

Mr. Barr’s comments came as another Trump ally signaled he was ready to move on after a surreal month of lawsuits, conspiracy theories and denials by the president of a loss that has proved durable and decisive.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, who has refused to recognize Mr. Trump’s election loss, on Tuesday moved closer to overtly accepting the reality that Mr. Biden would be in the White House next year, while discussing the prospects for more pandemic stimulus in 2021.

“After the first of the year, there is likely to be a discussion about some additional package of some size next year, depending upon what the new administration wants to pursue,” Mr. McConnell said at a news conference.

Taken together, Mr. Barr’s direct declaration and Mr. McConnell’s indirect reference to Mr. Biden’s new administration represent a major, if not unexpected, blow to the president’s postelection effort to change the results from two men whom he has often relied on for political cover.

Moments after Mr. Barr’s comments were made public, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, emailed a statement on campaign letterhead, claiming — again without evidence — that he had found “ample” proof of national voter fraud sufficient to swing the election to Mr. Biden.

“With the greatest respect to the Attorney General, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud,” wrote Mr. Giuliani late Tuesday.

Mr. Barr was seen entering the White House grounds Tuesday afternoon. A department spokesman said he was there for previously scheduled appointments that did not include a meeting with the president.

Trump Has Discussed With Advisers Pardons for His 3 Eldest Children and Giuliani
Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is promoting baseless claims of widespread election fraud, talked about a pardon with President Trump as recently as last week. President Trump has discussed with advisers whether to grant pre-emptive pardons to his children, to his son-in-law and to his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser.

Donald Trump Jr. had been under investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for contacts that the younger Mr. Trump had had with Russians offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, but he was never charged. Mr. Kushner provided false information to federal authorities about his contacts with foreigners for his security clearance, but was given one anyway by the president.

The nature of Mr. Trump’s concern about any potential criminal exposure of Eric Trump or Ivanka Trump is unclear, although an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into the Trump Organization has expanded to include tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees by the company, some of which appear to have gone to Ms. Trump.

Presidential pardons, however, do not provide protection against state or local crimes.

... Such a broad pardon pre-empting any charge or conviction is highly unusual but does have precedent. In the most famous example, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon for all of his actions as president. President George Washington pardoned plotters of the Whiskey Rebellion, shielding them from treason prosecutions. And President Jimmy Carter pardoned thousands of American men who illegally avoided the draft for the Vietnam War.

A witness in Trump ally Sidney Powell's lawsuits says the voting results in 'Edison County' indicate fraud. No such place exists.
  • A lawsuit in Michigan pushed by allies of President Donald Trump are seeking to fight what voters decided and declare him the winner of the state's electoral votes.
  • To bolster its case, it includes an affidavit from Navid Keshavarz-Nia, a cybersecurity expert who alleges the election data indicates widespread fraud (extensive research and other experts refute such claims).
  • The affidavit says that President-elect Joe Biden won "more than 100% of the votes" in a county that doesn't exist.
  • Keshavarz-Nia also said he hasn't actually analyzed the voting machines used in the 2020 election.
A witness in a lawsuit from allies of President Donald Trump trying to overturn democracy in Michigan said that the vote count in Edison County "are cause for concern and indicate fraud" because President-elect Joe Biden won "more than 100% of the votes."

There's just one problem: There is no Edison County in Michigan, the Detroit Free Press pointed out.

In fact, there is no Edison County in the entire United States of America.

Top defense official overseeing fight against ISIS has reportedly been pushed out amid Trump's Pentagon purge
  • A senior Pentagon official overseeing the fight against ISIS has been forced out, according to multiple reports.
  • Chris Maier, head of the Defeat ISIS Task Force, resigned Monday. The New York Times reports that he was told by a White House appointee that ISIS had been defeated and that his office was being disbanded.
  • Maier's duties are being taken over by offices led by two Trump loyalists who moved into senior posts last month at the outset of an ongoing Pentagon leadership purge.
Both CNN and The New York Times, citing multiple officials, report that Maier was forced out of the post he has held since the task force was created in 2017.

... While the physical ISIS caliphate has fallen, the UN said in late August that over 10,000 ISIS fighters are believed to still be active in Iraq and Syria.

... Maier's task force was reportedly in the process of getting the incoming Biden administration up to speed on counterterrorism policy and operations when it was disbanded. The move is expected to make it more of a challenge for the transition team to get the information it needs.

The Trump campaign's new lawsuit would invalidate 221,000 Wisconsin ballots — including votes cast by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic
  • President Donald Trump's campaign filed a new lawsuit in Wisconsin seeking to invalidate 221,000 votes.
  • Wisconsin already confirmed its electoral votes, declaring President-elect Joe Biden the winner.
  • The lawsuit would invalidate the vote of Jim Troupis, the campaign's top election lawyer in the state, who wrote the lawsuit.
  • It also challenges votes cast by people who were concerned about leaving their home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission said it's up to voters themselves to decide whether they wanted to use the "Indefinitely Confined" ballot option and provides extensive guidance for people using those ballots but who don't have a valid photo ID available. Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin's top election official, told a local ABC News affiliate that voters could sign an absentee certificate and have a witness sign their absentee ballot instead of using a photo ID.

Senior citizens and other people who have used the ballot designation have objected to having their votes disqualified.

"We're beyond senior. We're really old. My husband just turned 80 and I'm 78. So there was no way we were going to vote in person," Wisconsin resident Tee Gee Levy told the Journal Sentinel. "It's not justified at all. I'm surprised there are attorneys still going after it. I wish more people would speak out."

In addition to disqualifying some "Indefinitely Confined" ballots and all "In-Person Absentee" ballots, the lawsuit would cancel all ballots where witnesses did not write down their addresses, as well as ballots given to election officials at "Democracy in the Park" events in September and October.

Former election security chief Chris Krebs hints at taking legal action against Trump's campaign lawyer who said he should be 'shot'
  • Chris Krebs is considering taking legal action against Joe diGenova, a campaign lawyer for President Donald Trump, who said the former cybersecurity official should be "shot."
  • "I've got an exceptional team of lawyers that win in court and I think they're probably going to be busy," Krebs told NBC News.
  • Calling Krebs an "idiot" and a "class-A moron," diGenova said on Monday that "he should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot."
  • DiGenova walked back his comments on Tuesday, saying, "It was obvious that my remarks were sarcastic and made in jest."

'It has all gone too far': Georgia voting official tears into Trump, GOP senators for fueling threats against election workers and being 'complicit' with their silence
  • Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling, a Republican, urged President Donald Trump and GOP senators to "stop inspiring potential acts of violence" against election workers in a fiery press conference on Tuesday.
  • Sterling tore into the president and local lawmakers for not showing any leadership and instead being "complicit" in the harassment of election workers.
  • Sterling, the state's voting systems manager, said that a young contractor with an election vendor, Dominion Voting Systems, has faced threats and harassment for completing basic tech tasks.
  • Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp have also been criticized and threatened for not falling in line with the president's claims of widespread voter fraud and for certifying the election results for President-elect Joe Biden.
  • Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed, and it's not right," he said.
"Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We're investigating, there's always a possibility, I get it, you have the rights to go through the courts," Sterling said. "What you don't have the ability to do, and you need to step up and say this, is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed, and it's not right."

Sterling was visibly angry and struggled to maintain his composure as he described threats against both high-profile officials — like Chris Krebs, the nation's former top cybersecurity official who was fired for pushing back on Trump's claims of massive fraud — and election systems technicians alike.

"Joe DiGenova today asked for Chris Krebs, a patriot who ran CISA, to be shot. A 20-something tech in Gwinnett County today, has death threats and a noose put out saying that he should be hung for treason because he was transferring a report on batches from an EMS to a county computer so he could read it," Sterling said. "It has to stop."

Since the election, Trump and his allies have embarked on an unprecedented campaign to undermine the integrity of the presidential election nationwide and specifically in Georgia, leading to election officials receiving harassment and death threats. Sterling criticized the president and GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for not speaking out against the vitriol that election workers and their families are facing.

... "Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. We need you to step up, and if you're going to take a position of leadership, show some," Sterling said, further describing the harassment and "sexualized threats" that Raffensperger and his wife received.

He continued: "This is elections, this is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. It's too much. Yes, fight for every legal vote, go for your due process, we encourage it, use your First Amendment right. Death threats, physical threats, intimidation, it's too much. It's not right. They have lost the moral high ground to claim that it is."

Trump is threatening to veto $740 billion in military spending unless Congress revokes Section 230 — the internet law he hates
  • President Donald Trump tweeted late on Tuesday night that he would veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) unless it included a repeal of Section 230.
  • Section 230 is the part of US law that grants broad protections to Big Tech companies to allow them to moderate their own platforms.
  • Trump has been trying to roll it back since Twitter first applied fact-checks to his tweets in May.
  • The NDAA is an annual defense spending bill worth roughly $740 billion, and Trump has already threatened to veto it if lawmakers go ahead with a plan to rename army bases named after Confederate generals.

Trump has given up on Iran policy in his last weeks in office and told Pompeo he can do anything he wants, as long as it doesn't 'start World War III,' report says
  • President Donald Trump has "checked out" on his Iran policy, giving Secretary of State Mike Pompeo freedom to dictate policy short of "start[ing] World World III," The Daily Beast reported, citing US officials.
  • According to the outlet, Trump is looking to undermine President-elect Joe Biden by putting the US-Iran relationship beyond repair before he leaves the White House.
  • Trump wants to deter Iran from rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal, a key plan of Biden's incoming administration.
  • Former US diplomats previously told Insider the November 27 hit on Iran's top nuclear scientist — believed to be perpetrated by Israel — was also designed to damage Biden's plan.
Trump has been deeply involved in the US "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran throughout his time in office, approving scores of sanctions and ordering a hit on the regime's top general, Qassem Soleimani, in January 2020.

Since losing the US election last month, reports have detailed how Trump has looked to put the US relationship with Iran beyond repair — a tactic to scupper President-elect Joe Biden's plan to bring Iran back to the 2015 nuclear deal brokered by former President Barack Obama.

Trump pulled the US out of the agreement — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — in May 2018, calling it a bad deal and opting to impose heavy sanctions on Iran to force its leadership to comply with US demands instead.

That plan has not been successful: While Iran was believed to be following the terms of the deal before the US withdrew, it later threatened to resume enriching uranium. Earlier this month the International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran's uranium stockpile was more than 12 times the limit under the agreement.

Evidence that Trump was keen to reignite the sort of US-Iran tensions seen after the Soleimani assassination in January came in mid-November, when Trump asked top aides how the US could attack Iran's main nuclear site, according to The New York Times.

But the news that Trump has given up on directing Iran policy indicates that his attention has run its course.

or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by US President Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.