Tag Archives: allegations

Analysis: Trump’s rigged election claims may leave lasting damage

Donald Trump keeps peddling the notion the vote may be rigged. It’s not clear if he does not understand the potential damage of his words — or he simply does not care.

Trump’s claim — made without evidence — undercuts the essence of American democracy, the idea that U.S. elections are both free and fair, with the vanquished peacefully stepping aside for the victor. His repeated assertions are sowing suspicion among his most ardent supporters, raising the possibility that millions of people may not accept the results on Nov. 8 if Trump does not win.

The responsibilities for the New York billionaire in such a scenario are minimal. Trump holds no public office and has said he’ll simply go back to his “very good way of life” if he loses.

Instead, it would be Democrat Hillary Clinton and congressional Republicans, should they win, who would be left trying to govern in a country divided not just by ideology, but also the legitimacy of the presidency.

As Trump’s campaign careens from crisis to crisis, he’s broadened his unfounded allegations that Clinton, her backers and the media are conspiring to steal the election. He’s accused Clinton of meeting with global financial powers to “plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty” and argued his opponent shouldn’t have even been allowed to seek the White House.

“Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail,” Trump wrote Saturday morning on Twitter. “Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election.”

Trump is referring to Clinton’s use of a private email system while serving as secretary of state. Republicans (and some Democrats) have harshly criticized her decision to do so, but the FBI did not recommend anyone face criminal charges for her use of a private email address run on a personal server.

Trump has offered only broad assertions about the potential for voter fraud and the complaints that the several women who have recently alleged he sexually accosted them are part of an effort to smear his campaign.

“It’s one big ugly lie, it’s one big fix,” Trump said at a Friday rally in North Carolina, adding later: “And the only thing I say is hopefully, hopefully, our patriotic movement will overcome this terrible deception.”

Trump’s supporters appear to be taking his grievances seriously. Only about a third of Republicans said they have a great deal or quite a bit of confidence that votes on Election Day will be counted fairly, according to recent poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

During a campaign event Tuesday with Trump running mate Mike Pence, a voter said she was deeply concerned about voter fraud and vowed to be “ready for a revolution” if Clinton wins.

“Don’t say that,” Pence said, waving away the woman’s rallying cry.

There is no evidence voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United States. A study by a Loyola Law School professor found that out of 1 billion votes cast in all American elections between 2000 and 2014, there were only 31 known cases of impersonation fraud.

Trump’s motivations for stoking these sentiments seem clear.

One of his last hopes of winning the election is to suppress turnout by making these final weeks so repulsive to voters that some simply stay home. Trump advisers privately say they hope to turn off young people in particular. They lean Democratic but don’t have a long history of voting and are already skeptical of Clinton.

Trump is also likely considering how he would spin a loss to Clinton, given that he’s spent decades cultivating a brand that’s based on success and winning. His years in public life offer few examples where he’s owned up to his own failings and plenty where he’s tried to pass the blame on to others, as he’s now suggesting he would do if he’s defeated.

Clinton appears increasingly aware that if she wins, she’d arrive at the White House facing more than the usual political divides. “Damage is being done that we’re going to have to repair,” she said during a recent campaign stop.

Democrat Hillary Clinton. — PHOTO: Gage Skidmore
Democrat Hillary Clinton. — PHOTO: Gage Skidmore

But that task wouldn’t be Clinton’s alone.

The majority of Trump’s supporters are Republicans. If he loses, party leaders will have to reckon with how much credence they give to claims the election was rigged and how closely they can work with a president who at least some of their backers will likely view as illegitimate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office wouldn’t say Saturday whether he agreed with Trump’s assertions the election is being rigged. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said the Wisconsin lawmaker is “fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”

Republicans have already experienced the paralyzing effect of Trump stirring up questions about a president’s legitimacy. He spent years challenging President Barack Obama’s citizenship, deepening some GOP voters’ insistence that the party block the Democrat at every turn.

Jim Manley, a former adviser to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, recalled the skepticism some Republicans had about Obama. “I’m afraid a President Clinton is going to start off with far too many people raising similar questions,” he said.

Justice Dept: 2 Milwaukee men charged with support for ISIL

Jason Michael Ludke, 35, of Milwaukee, has been charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Yosvany Padylla-Conde, 30, also of Milwaukee, was charged in the same complaint with aiding and abetting Ludke’s attempt to provide material support to ISIL.

The announcement was made by assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Ludke and Padylla-Conde were arrested near San Angelo, Texas. The complaint alleges they were traveling from Wisconsin to Mexico, where they intended to acquire travel documents necessary to travel overseas to join ISIL.

“The United States is committed to identifying and arresting persons intent on providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations. Those organizations pose a threat to United States’ interests at home and abroad.” said Haanstad.

Special Agent in Charge Justin Tolomeo of the FBI’s Milwaukee Division stated in a news release, “The arrest of these two individuals from Wisconsin, underscores how the real threat of terrorism can occur anywhere, at anytime.”

If convicted both men face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.

A criminal complaint is an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes.

Common Cause wants special counsel on campaign finance violations in presidential race

Common Cause on June 15 urged U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special counsel to investigate possible criminal violations of campaign finance laws.

The watchdog nonprofit made the call as Jeb Bush officially announced his candidacy for president.

“It’s good to see Gov. Bush acknowledge what has been apparent for some time — he is a candidate,” said Common Cause president Miles Rapoport. “Unfortunately, he and other candidates in both major parties have been testing the limits of laws that were sensibly designed to limit the influence of big dollar donors in our elections and our government. Because the Federal Election Commission is paralyzed by the partisan split among its members and thus unable to act, the Justice Department must see that the laws are enforced.”

Evidence provided to the U.S. Department of Justice in late May by Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center more than justifies their request for appointment of a special counsel to investigate fundraising by Bush for his Right to Rise super PAC and an affiliated non-profit organization, Rapoport said.

And whoever is appointed should have authority to extend the inquiry to cover fundraising by other candidates as needed, whether the candidates are declared and undeclared, Republican, Democratic and independent, Common Cause said.

Bush tweeted a message on December 10, 2014, saying, “I am excited to announce I will actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.”

Since then, he has helped the Right to Rise super PAC in a reported quest to raise $100 million by the end of June, including some contributions of $1 million or more, despite the federal limit of $2,700 on solicitations by candidates.

“Today’s announcement is not the first time Gov. Bush publicly has called himself a candidate,” Rapoport noted. “But for months he also has insisted that his mind was not made up. Today’s declaration is powerful evidence that his apparent indecision was a convenient way to skirt laws that limit fundraising by candidates while he helped Right to Rise and its nonprofit arm collect six- and seven-figure checks, including some from anonymous donors.”

Rapoport said the law makes it clear that anyone who behaves like a candidate, declared or not, must observe campaign finance laws.

Even those who are simply “testing the waters,” are subject to fundraising limits, he noted.

California woman says she was kidnapped for exorcism

A California woman says her husband and son kidnapped her to perform an exorcism, made her drink oil and told her she had devils inside her.

Forty-one-year-old Blanca Farias told News10 in Sacramento that she was held down in the backseat of a pickup truck on Nov. 9 after being picked up in Stockton.

“They were saying I had three devils inside of me,” Blanca Farias said.

She said her husband, Jose Magana-Farias, 42, and son, Victor Farias, 20, convinced her to meet them at a Walmart in north Stockton. She has been separated from Magana-Farias since January.

She told News10 that they told her they wanted to talk about the failing marriage at a nearby coffee shop, but coaxed her into the back of a pickup truck and held her down in the back seat while a pastor — whom she knew — drove.

An hour and half later, she said, they arrived at a church in Bay Point, where she was forced inside and bathed in oil.

“They made me swallow some of that oil,” Blanca Farias said. “I started throwing up and this pastor was just saying, `You’ve got the devil. Get off of her, get off of her, get off of her,’ until I fainted.”

She said she believes that the incident was motivated in part by her choice to see another man since the separation.

“They thought I was crazy,” she said, referring to her son and husband. “That, really, because I’m not with you, I have the devil?”

She said she was able to text her current boyfriend, and authorities were waiting when she returned home. Magana-Farias and his son were immediately arrested.

“That’s what hurts me the most,” Blanca Farias told News10. “Because it was my husband, who I haven’t been with since January, and then my son, following the steps of the dad.”

The father and son initially were accused of kidnapping, false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit a crime but on Nov. 13 officials said no charges would be filed unless there is more evidence found.

Gay lawmaker denies rape allegations in UK

A senior British Conservative Party politician arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault said on May 5 the allegations against him are “completely false.”

Deputy House of Commons Speaker Nigel Evans, 55, was arrested on May 4. He was questioned about sex offenses that allegedly took place between July 2009 and March 2013 and was later released on bail.

Evans – who has served in Parliament for two decades and is one of Britain’s most prominent gay lawmakers – said the allegations were made by “two people well known to each other” and who until a day earlier he had regarded as friends.

“The complaints are completely false and I cannot understand why they have been made, especially as I have continued to socialize with one as recently as last week,” he said, thanking colleagues and friends who echoed his own “sense of incredulity” over the allegations.

He did not address whether he would stay on as deputy speaker in his brief prepared statement, but a spokesman for the House of Commons confirmed that Evans had asked to be excused from chairing the Queen’s Speech debate due to start on May 8.

The debate comes after Queen Elizabeth II opens a new session of Parliament with a speech outlining the government’s legislative plans, and lawmakers then debate the content of the speech over several days.

Lee Bridges, the spokesman, said Evans had asked Speaker John Bercow to excuse him from the debate in the House of Commons and that the speaker was “happy to give him that” time, which could last about a week.

British officials, including Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, expressed shock over his arrest, while Foreign Secretary William Hague called him a “popular and well-respected member of Parliament.”

Evans has been a lawmaker for the Lancashire constituency since 1992. In June 2010, he was elected one of the three deputy speakers for the House of Commons.

Later that year, he told a newspaper he was gay, saying he was “tired of living a lie” and that opponents had threatened to expose his sexuality.

“I could not afford it to be used as leverage against me,” he told The Mail on Sunday at the time. “I couldn’t take the risk. I don’t want any other MP to face that kind of nastiness again.”