Read the full report from POLITICO.
A Pennsylvania ally of former President Donald Trump announced that he would try to initiate a review of the 2020 election in the key battleground state, mirroring a controversial effort in Arizona to examine the results months after President Joe Biden was sworn in.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican who has repeatedly echoed Trump’s false claims about widespread fraud and is now considering a run for governor next year, announced on Wednesday that he would investigate the 2020 general election and the 2021 election in “several counties” in the state.
Mastriano said that he was undertaking the review as chair of the state Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, giving counties until July 31 to respond.
In an interview with the far-right radio host John Fredericks, Mastriano named three counties that were being targeted — Philadelphia, Tioga, and York — and said they might do a “round two” of counties. A Philadelphia official confirmed to POLITICO that it had received a letter from Mastriano but declined to comment further. An official in York also confirmed that the president of the elections board there also received a copy of the letter, and the Tioga solicitor also confirmed the county received the request but declined to elaborate further.
Read the full report from POLITICO.
If you don’t follow politics in Georgia closely — or even if you do — you might be forgiven for not knowing much about The Georgia Star News.
Founded just after the November election when President Biden narrowly flipped the state by about 12,000 votes, it looks like a regular news website with a lifestyle section, a widget for the weather and stories about local and national goings-on.
But the site is more than just a local news outlet. It’s part of the Star News Network — an expanding network of pro-Trump sites seeking to influence local politics with conservative opinion by mimicking the look and feel of local newspaper sites. The group operates eight state-focused news sites, including in key Electoral College states such as Michigan, Arizona, Ohio and Florida.
Steve Bannon, a former strategist for former President Donald Trump, described The Georgia Star News in a radio interview as content “you can’t get anywhere else.”
“We’re not Conservative Inc.,” he said. “It’s very populist, it’s very nationalist, it’s very MAGA, it’s very American First.”
Pro-Trump media ecosystem
The Star News sites are part of a larger pro-Trump media ecosystem that emerged over the course of his four years in office. Since last year’s election, some of those sites have spent months churning out false content suggesting Trump won the election and claiming that massive electoral fraud will be uncovered.
Many of the Star News sites have been around for a while, but the 2020 election — and an intense focus on swing states like Georgia — has helped the sites’ stories reach a much a larger audience.
Georgia’s fledgling website gets a boost from publisher John Fredericks’ talk radio show that has featured numerous figures from Trump’s orbit, including Bannon and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. His show also regularly features Georgia Republican politicians who have pushed false claims of election fraud or are challenging those who did not work to overturn the election.
Fredericks, who most recently hosted his talk show from Virginia, came to Georgia ahead of last January’s dual Senate runoffs as part of an effort by conservatives (and conservative media) to support then-Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue’s reelection campaign. He also hosts a TV show on the Real America’s Voice network that also features Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” podcast popular with many election skeptics.
So there was a ready-made audience when the Georgia Star published a misleading story mid-June questioning the legitimacy of nearly 20,000 absentee ballots placed in Georgia drop boxes — slightly more than the margin of Biden’s victory there.
The story said that Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, could not produce crucial chain of custody documentation for ballots returned in drop boxes, suggesting that the ballots may not have been legitimate.
Days later, county officials were able to find all but eight of those forms, said all the ballots were accounted for — and noted that Georgia’s votes were counted three different times in November.
“The most explosive thing”
But in the conservative alternate media sphere, the story began to pick up steam. On Fredericks’ radio show, Bannon called it “the most explosive thing that I think has happened in the entire process.”
From there it ricocheted across the pro-Trump mediasphere to TV networks like One America News and conspiracy sites such as The Gateway Pundit.
But the story was not limited to the fringe of Republican politics: several pro-Trump lawmakers and primary challengers in Georgia demanded an investigation. Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — himself a frequent target of misinformation, attacks and death threats because of these sites — did too. That led mainstream outlets to run with Raffensperger’s response, pushing the story further into the spotlight.
Read the full report by Henry J. Gomez, NBC News.
Former President Donald Trump is on a revenge mission in Georgia.
After top Republicans refused to rig the state’s 2020 vote in his favor, he’s already inspired one primary challenge to Gov. Brian Kemp, and he’s endorsed another against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Wounded by two special election losses that cost the GOP control of the Senate, he’s also trying to coax Herschel Walker — a football legend in Georgia — to run for the seat that’s up again in 2022.
Trump’s ire comes through in the emailed statements he issues to get around social media bans. Since March, at least two dozen have mentioned Georgia, accounting for about 12 percent of the messages Trump’s Save America PAC has sent in that time. No other state has been singled out more.
As recently as Friday, Trump suggested that the “PEOPLE of Georgia should SUE the State, and their elected officials, for running a CORRUPT AND RIGGED 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION” — a response to the news that the Justice Department is suing the state over the restrictive voting law Kemp signed after Trump’s loss and that Trump has complained does not go far enough.
Read the full report by Henry J. Gomez, NBC News.
Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager, hopped on The John Fredericks Show to tease the idea of a serious Republican contender entering the race against Gov. Brian Kemp. Said Lewandowski:
“I am not working for a candidate in the Georgia governor’s race, but I have talked to what I think is going to be a phenomenal candidate. And I think at the end of the day this person gets in …
“Brian Kemp is not a king. He doesn’t just get to decide that he’s going to be the governor and not have anyone challenge him. The person who I’ve been talking to, John, who is going to run for governor has held elective office in the state of Georgia.
“He’s a known commodity. He has a great story. He’s been elected in an area where traditionally Republicans don’t get elected. And he’s willing to take this fight directly to Brian Kemp. And it scares the hell out of the establishment.”
Supporters of former President Donald Trump are building his impeachment trial into a battle for the soul of the Republican Party and the first shots in the 2024 White House race.
His legal team outlined its strategy on Wednesday, arguing it is unconstitutional for the Senate to convict a former president and that his speech at a Jan. 6 rally in Washington did not directly cause the deadly assault on the United States Capitol later that day.
But it also left open the possibility of revisiting Trump’s unfounded claims that he won the November election.
The possibility of the Senate trial to feature, at least in part, the Trump legal team repeating its client’s unproven stolen election claims leaves one section of his allies hoping the former president seizes an opportunity to use the proceedings to defend his political movement and begin preparing for a return to power.
John Fredericks, a conservative radio host and confidant of “America First” strategist Steve Bannon, said Democrats were motivated by political considerations and that Trump should mount a political defense based on election fraud, not a “namby-pamby” legalistic play.
“Democrats are doing this for one reason: destroy President Trump, destroy his ability to lead the movement, to run again in the future, to discredit his movement’s followers, and shame them into silence,” he said. “The defense of unconstitutionality or the First Amendment doesn’t cut it.”
Democratic impeachment managers outlined their case on Tuesday morning, saying Trump aimed his supporters “like a loaded cannon” at the Capitol and accusing him of inciting an insurrection.
As President Trump’s term comes to a screeching halt, he leaves behind a party split between MAGA loyalists and Republicans who are ready to turn the page on his presidency.
“We’re done with the surrender caucus. We’re done with pina colada Republicans who go to retreats in resorts in Amelia Island in the most important three days of our republic,” said John Fredericks, a conservative radio host who served on the Trump campaign’s 2020 advisory committee, referring to the Republican National Committee winter meeting on Amelia Island, Florida, where top Republican brass are in situ with grassroots activists this week. “While Rome burned, they are sipping margaritas out of swizzle sticks.”
Fredericks told the Washington Examiner that in time, party leaders would have to start ceding control.
“The Trump movement, the Deplorables, the America First movement is bigger and stronger and more vibrant than it’s ever been right now,” he said. “We are the new woke, and we’re going to take over the Republican Party. We’re going to primary the RINOs and hold them accountable.”
But Trump isn’t politically invincible, other Republicans warn.
Read the full story from the Washington Examiner.
John Fredericks joins the WAR ROOM: PANDEMIC to discuss the fight to Stop the Steal of the 2020 Election.
But some Republicans are adamant this election isn’t over.
John Fredericks is the chairman of the Trump Virginia Campaign.
“Media outlets projection are irrelevant,” Fredericks said. “The Associated Press, CNN, Fox or the other fake news media out there, does not select the president. It’s selected by electors.”
As reports of voter fraud, ballot tampering, and the illegal removal of Republican election observers surface, Fredericks said they’re going to make sure every legitimate vote is counted and verified. No evidence has been presented that supports these claims.
“We have no idea what the outcome of this election is, so Joe Biden and the media can claim whatever they please,” said Fredericks. “This race is not over. We’re fighting on. We’re confident that Trump is going to get inaugurated on January 20.”
Democrats are continuing their fight too saying Biden will be the one to unify the country amid a global pandemic.
Kanoyton lost her 82-year-old mother in June from complications of COVID-19.
“This election was not only about bringing democracy back to the White House, but it was also to bring honor to the 200,000 people that died of COVID,” Kanoyton said
Meantime, Fredericks plans to travel to Atlanta and Philadelphia on Sunday for a two-week tour to shine a light on what he calls irregularities in the voting process.
“We’re making sure that democracy survives and exists, and our process is not fraudulent,” Fredericks said. “When legitimate votes are verified and certified, then there will be an outcome.”