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The New York Times’ Brazenly False “Fact Check” About Trump’s Impeachment Trial

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The New York Times’ Brazenly False “Fact Check” About Trump’s Impeachment Trial 

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By James D. Agresti

The New York Times has published a “fact check“ by Linda Qiu declaring that Donald Trump’s lawyers “made a number of inaccurate or misleading claims” during the Senate impeachment trial. In reality, much of the article consists of flagrant falsehoods propagated by Qiu and the Times.

“Inciting Violence”

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With regard to Trump’s speech on the day of the Capitol Hill riot, Trump attorney Michael van der Veen said: “Far from promoting insurrection against the United States, the president’s remarks explicitly encouraged those in attendance to exercise their rights peacefully and patriotically.”

That statement is demonstrably true, as the transcriptof the speech shows that Trump asked his supporters to go “to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” Qiu, however, alleges that his attorney’s statement “is exaggerated” because Trump “used the phrase ‘peacefully and patriotically’ once in his speech, compared with 20 uses of the word ‘fight’.”

Qiu’s argument presumes that Trump used the word “fight” to denote physical violence. This mimics the Democrat’s impeachment resolution, which declares that Trump is guilty of “inciting violence” because he said in his speech: “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

However, both Qiu and the Democrats are quoting Trump out of context. The transcriptshows that Trump never called for violence or even vaguely implied that. In fact, it is glaringly obvious that he was talking about legal and verbal fighting. To wit, 10 of the 20 times in which Trump used the word “fight” are found in these statements:

·     Rudy Giuliani has “guts, he fights. He fights.”
·     “Jim Jordan, and some of these guys. They’re out there fighting the House.”
·     “If they don’t fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don’t fight. You primary them.”
·     “The American people do not believe the corrupt fake news anymore. They have ruined their reputation. But it used to be that they’d argue with me, I’d fight. So I’d fight, they’d fight. I’d fight, they’d fight. … They had their point of view, I had my point of view. But you’d have an argument. Now what they do is they go silent. It’s called suppression. And that’s what happens in a communist country.”

Highlighting the duplicity of those who claim that Trump’s use of the word “fight” amounts to incitement, Trump’s attorneys showed video footageof numerous Congressional Democrats using the word “fight” more than 200 times, including more than a dozen timesin which they used the exact phrase for which they impeached Trump: “fight like hell.”

Antifa Involvement in the Capitol Hill Riot

Speaking about the Capitol Hill riot, van der Veen said: “One of the first people arrested was a leader of antifa.” Qiu begins her critique of this statement by changing the word “a” so that it becomes “the.” Thus, she claims that van der Veen said: “One of the first people arrested was theleader of antifa.” Qiu then writes:

This is misleading. Mr. van der Veen was most likely referring to John E. Sullivan, a Utah man who was charged on Jan. 14 with violent entry and disorderly conduct. Mr. Sullivan, an activist, said he was there to film the siege. He had previously referred to antifa—a loosely affiliated group of antifascist activiststhat has no leader—on social media, but he has repeatedlydeniedbeing a member of the movement. The F.B.I. has said there is no evidencethat supporters of the antifa movement had participated in the Capitol siege.

Those four sentences contain five elements of deceit:

1)   Sullivan’s claim that he was in the Capitol only to film the riot is flatly disproven by video footagethat shows him breaking a window, calling for people to “storm” and “burn” the Capitol, and celebrating the riot with an accomplice.
2)   Qiu neglected to reveal that Sullivan was also charged with“interfering with law enforcement.”
3)   Sullivan’s denials of involvement with antifa are implausible given that he:
o  was the leaderof a group called “Insurgence USA,” which sold“black bloc” tactical gear (often used by antifa) and rubber pigs (carried by antifato mock police officers).
o  threatened to physically ripTrump out of the White House in accord with antifa’s missionto use violence against people they deem to be “fascists” (this explicitly includesTrump, his supporters, all police officers, and anyone who stands in the way of their self-described “radical left-wing” agenda).
o  organizedan event called “Kick These Fascists Out of DC.”
4)   Qiu parrots the propaganda of antifa by reporting that they are “antifascist activists,” even though they embrace key tactics and defining elements of fascism, including but not limited to:
o   using “determined youths, armed, dressed in black shirts and organized in military fashion” to fight in the streets (Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals).
o   leftist economic policieslike a “strong progressive tax” on businesses, heavy unionization, a minimum wage, and government control of industries (Mussolini’s Fascist Manifesto).
o   the suppression of “all criticism or opposition” (Cambridge Dictionary).
5)   Qiu’s claim that the FBI found no involvement by antifa in the Capitol Hill riot is outdated and out of context. Two days after the riot, an FBI official was asked about antifa involvement, and he replied“we have no indication of that at this time.” Five days after that, the FBI filed an affidavitfor the arrest of Sullivan.

In short, Qiu turned the truth about every major aspect of this matter on its head.

Georgia’s Absentee Ballots

Regarding Trump’s statements about electoral fraud, Trump attorney Bruce Castor stated: “Based on an analysis of publicly available voter data, the ballot rejection rate in Georgia in 2016 was approximately 6.42%. And even though a tremendous amount of new first time mail-in ballots were included in the 2020 count, the Georgia rejection rate in 2020 was a mere four-tenths of one percent. A drop-off from 6.42% to 0.4%.”

Once again, Qiu attempts to refute a statement that is entirely true. She does this by alleging:

Georgia elections officials have repeatedly debunkedthis claim, which conflates the overall rejection rate for mail-in ballots in 2016 to the rejection rate specifically for signature mismatch in 2020. (Ballots can also be rejected for arriving late or not having a signature, among other reasons.)

In 2016, Georgia rejected about 6.4 percentof all returned mail-in ballots and 0.24 percentof those ballots because of signature-matching issues. It is unclear what the 0.4 percent refers to, but in both 2018 and 2020, Georgia rejected 0.15 percent of mail-in ballots because of signature-matching issues.

To the contrary, it is abundantly clear what the 0.4% refers to: the overall rejection rate—just as Castor said. Ballotpedia detailsthe components of this 0.4% figure as follows:

This total was calculated by adding all accepted absentee/mail-in ballots received electronically or by mail (1,327,126) with the total number of rejected absentee/mail-in ballots received electronically or by mail (4,602) and dividing the total number of rejected ballots by the sum.

As of Jan. 7, 2021, the Nov. 3, 2020, absentee voter file provided by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office was last updated Nov. 16, 2020. Following communication with the Secretary of State’s office, there are no plans to update the file further and any such updates, were they to occur, would take place on an ad hoc basis.

Using raw datafrom Georgia’s Secretary of State, Just Facts confirmed Ballotpedia’s work and calculateda rejection rate of 0.35% in 2020.

That said, the rejection rate of 6.4% in 2016—used by Castor, Qiu, and Ballotpedia—comes from a secondary source(the U.S.Election Assistance Commission) that appears to be inconsistent with the primary source(Georgia’s Secretary of State). Ballotpedia mentionsthis discrepancy in a footnote and calculates a rejection rate of 2.9% in 2016 using the primary source data. Just Facts confirmsthat these calculations are accurate.

Regardless of whether Georgia’s 2016 mail-in ballot rejection rate was 6.4% or 2.9%, the 0.35% rejection rate in 2020 was at least 88% lower. This means that if Georgia had the same rejection rate in 2020 as in 2016, at least 34,000fewer absentee ballots would have been cast. In comparison, Joe Biden’s margin of victory in Georgia was 11,779 votes.

Georgia’s Signature Audit

With further regard to potential fraud in Georgia’s election, Castor said: “President Trump wanted the signature verification to be done in public. How can a request for signature verifications to be done in public be a basis for a charge for inciting a riot?”

Qiu attacked that truthful statement with the following barrage of misinformation:

This is misleading. Contrary to Mr. Trump’s belief and Mr. Castor’s repetition of it, Georgia does verify signatures. Georgia’s Republican secretary of state notedthat the state trained officials on signature matching and created a portal that checked and confirmed voters’ driver’s licenses. In a news conferencelast month debunking Mr. Trump’s claims, Gabriel Sterling, a top election official in Georgia, explained that the secretary of state’s office also brought in signature experts to check over 15,000 ballots. They discovered issues with two, and after further examination, concluded that they were legitimate.

Neither Castor nor Trump said that Georgia doesn’t verify signatures. Instead, Trump questionedthe integrity of the signature verification process in Fulton County, Georgia. This county is a Democratic Party strongholdwith an extensive history of corruption.

Moreover, the signature match of more than 15,000 ballots that Qiu characterized as “debunking Mr. Trump’s claims” does nothing of the sort. This is because it was performed in Cobb County, not Fulton County. Trump directly addressed this matter in his speechon the day of the riot:

We’ve been trying to get verifications of signatures in Fulton County. They won’t let us do it. The only reason they won’t is because we’ll find things in the hundreds of thousands. Why wouldn’t they let us verify signatures in Fulton County? Which is known for being very corrupt. They won’t do it. They go to some other county where you would live. I said, “That’s not the problem. The problem is Fulton County.”

Summary

In direct contradiction to a so-called “fact check” by Linda Qiu of the New York Times, genuine facts prove the following about the circumstances surrounding Trump’s impeachment trial:

·     On the day of the Capitol Hill riot, President Trump explicitly encouraged his supporters to protest “peacefully and patriotically.”
·     In the same speech, Trump told his supporters to “fight” legally and verbally, not physically.
·     An antifa leader was arrested for participating in the Capitol Hill riot, during which he called for people to “storm” and “burn” the Capitol, broke a window, interfered with police, and celebrated the riot with an accomplice.
·     Antifa activists, who claim to be “antifascist,” embrace key tactics and defining elements of fascism.
·     In Georgia, the overall rejection rate for mail-in ballots in the 2020 election was 0.35%, or at least 88% lower than in the 2016 election.
·     Despite repeated requests by Trump, a signature audit of mail-in ballots has not been performed in Fulton County—a Democratic Party stronghold with an extensive history of corruption.

The points above don’t address every falsehood in the fact check, but they reveal a pattern of brazen dishonesty and/or incompetence by the Times.

James D. Agrestiis the president of Just Facts, a think tank dedicated to publishing rigorously documented facts about public policy issues.

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Elections

A Way Forward after Trump Found Guilty

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This is not the America we have known and loved. This is legal warfare striking at the heart of our republic. For the first time, an American President has been found guilty on 34 counts in a New York courtroom. As it now stands, he will be sentenced on July 11th. It may be unlikely Trump will be sentenced to prison, but even if the verdict ends up being repealed, what will be the result of this unanimous conviction on the November election and our growing political divide?

Will Americans rally behind a President wronged by a partisan assault on our legal system? Those who support him will clearly rally to his side. Within hours Trump doubled the record for daily contributions with a commitment of over $34 million, over twenty percent of which was from first time contributors. Right now, his support is growing.

That small New York jury, influenced by a biased judge, will not decide the future of America, voters will in November. Americans will have the opportunity to vote the verdict that counts most by reelecting Donald Trump President. But as positive as polls may appear right now for the past President, those voters who hate Trump are happy with the result and will show up at the polls to defeat that “felon” Trump.

The “Hate Trump” vote gave Biden the Presidency in 2020. Biden didn’t win on his personality or platform; it was the “hate Trumpers” who came out in record numbers to defeat Donald Trump. They have not gone away, and they now have more ammunition to fuel their hatred of the man.

Conservatives know that this next election is critical to the future of our republic. Candidate Biden presented himself as a harmless centrist ready to unite the country. But he governed as a progressive extremist using executive orders to end our energy independence, open our border to millions of illegal aliens, and spend our way into crippling inflation leaving many living paycheck to paycheck. Biden will claim that the rate of inflation has come down, but the result of months of inflation remain, putting more and more American on the brink of insolvency.

If people vote on whether they are better off after 4 years of Joe Biden, Trump’s conviction will mean little. Far too many Americans are hurting. No matter your age, politics, or race, if you can’t put food on the table for your family, you want a change. You remember what your life was like under Donald Trump. They will compare that to life under Joe Biden. The choice should be easy for another Trump victory.

But will that be the case in November. Now, there are strong reactions engendered by this kangaroo court and the travesty of these convictions. But it is a long way to November, and we are yet to see what the long-term impact of this court decision and possible additional convictions that may yet come. Some legal analysts have suggested that the New York case was the least likely charge to result in a conviction. Will Americans get weary of a wounded warrior, a President that is fighting against one partisan persecution after another?

Republicans are united in the belief that they must win this next election. Will there come a time that the baggage Trump carries into the election make his election unlikely? As of now, he is facing a failing opponent who has a hard time putting sentences together. But more and more Democrats are calling for Biden not to run and to find a new candidate to put forward.

What would happen if Biden steps down as President Johnson did? Who would Democrats put in his place? Would it be Michelle Obama? Some question putting a person up for election that has never been elected to any office. On the positive side, Michelle has no record to defend, she would bring back the aura of President Barack Obama’s Presidency, and she could easily disavow support for Biden’s controversial decisions. In short, she could be the Democrats dream candidate to rally behind.

On the morning after the verdicts and record donations to his campaign, Donald Trump said to America, “I will do what I have to do to save our country.” What if the early poll numbers for Trump begin to fade the closer we get to November? Would Donald Trump put America first if it looks more and more like he might lose to the candidate Democrats choose? Could he step down and campaign in support of a candidate with no negative baggage and powerful Contract with America? The Republicans have a strong bench of ready candidates and winning issues to support.

Right now, it is not clear his stepping down is necessary. But if it is, I hope that Donald Trump would put his love for country first. He has been wronged, but winning in November is more important than whether Donald Trump is our next President. Whoever Republicans elect would bring the right people to Washington and the policy priorities that matter to Americans would once again drive the focus of this great country.

Rest assured that if Trump is the Republican candidate in November, we must work to rally support for him. Just know that with the election irregularities that are sure to surface, our candidate must win big. If the GOP wins big, Democrats can’t cheat their way to victory. May Trump live up to his promise to do whatever he has to do to save this country, whether that means running himself or supporting someone else better positioned to win. But win we must! May it be so.

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Antisemitic college demonstrators should be expelled

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Jewish students are being assaulted on American and European campuses with a viciousness that is reminiscent of 1938 Nazi Germany. The demonstrators, many of whom are professional agitators in their 40s who have been trained to cause mayhem, scream “kill the Jews” as they physically prevent Jewish students from attending classes. Jewish students were told to “go back to Poland.” In New York City, Jewish students at Cooper Union sheltered in a library while pro-Palestinian demonstrators banged on its glass windows and doors. Protesters at Tulane University assaulted a Jewish student, breaking his nose.

“This truly has been the worst antisemitism crisis on campus that we have seen for a generation,” said Edward Isaacs, president of the Union of Jewish Students in the UK, “and its impacts run deep throughout the Jewish student population.”

With few notable exceptions, college administrators have coddled the demonstrators instead of expelling them for committing assault, destroying university property and creating an unsafe environment. Local police have been told to stand down instead of enforcing the law.

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When it comes to choosing sides between violent antisemitic demonstrators and Jewish students who simply want an education, I am clearly coming to the defense of the innocent students. Instead of hearing angry responses from people who object to the flagrant contempt by the demonstrators for law and order, we have witnessed members of Congress, led by Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Cori Bush (D-Minn.), express their demands that police should protect the violent demonstrators.

Omar and Bush have compared police responses after pro-Hamas protests on campus to the so-called Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970, where four students were killed by the Ohio National Guard. The students in that case were protesting against American military involvement in Vietnam. “On the 54th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre, students across our country are being brutalized for standing up to endless war,” Bush tweeted on X. “Our country must learn to actually uphold the rights of free speech & assembly upon which it was founded. Solidarity with our students.”

Are we denying the free speech and assembly rights of the demonstrators? The real question is, should we protect speech when it becomes violent? The answer is straightforward. When violence occurs, it is no longer about protecting free speech—the rule of law must be upheld. “Violence, vandalism, and antisemitic harassment and intimidation are not free speech and those engaging in this behavior should be held accountable,” read a statement from Congressman Adam Schiff’s office.

When it comes to free speech, the pro-Hamas protestors are intolerant of opposing points-of-view. One student at Columbia University made that clear when she expressed sympathy with pro-Palestinian protesters and not with students of opposing views. “At the end of the day,” she said, “I don’t want a relationship with students who don’t support the cause.” Free speech for me but not for thee.

Many of the current crop of demonstrators who are physically assaulting Jewish students, shouting “death to the Jews,” believe they have the right to exercise violence in support of their views and think they should bear no consequences for their violent actions. They are upset at the prospect of being suspended or expelled. Most of them wear keffiyeh and Covid masks, presumably to protect their future Goldman Sachs job prospects.

“I think that the university needs to start with dismissing all their charges against the students if they want to rebuild trust,” said a deluded student at Columbia. Alex Morey, director of campus rights advocacy at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, disagreed. “That doesn’t mean that students are immune from the consequences of their actions,” Morey said. “You don’t want to see cops in riot gear descend on peaceful student protests. But if they’re breaking the rules and engaging in civil disobedience … sometimes that’s what has to happen,” she says.

Beating up Jewish students and destroying campus property do not come under the heading of civil disobedience. They constitute a flagrant contempt for law and order. Such activities must be stopped right at the outset. Jewish students across America are terrified, as they should be. They will not feel safe on their college campuses as long as hateful, antisemitic rhetoric, violence or intimidation go unaddressed.

Violent, antisemitic demonstrators deserve to be arrested, put in jail, and then expelled from the university. Campus administrators like Minouche Shafik at Columbia who attempt to negotiate with the neo-Nazis are doing a disservice to our republic. University leaders should take “personal responsibility” for protecting Jewish students on campus, said UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. This is not 1938 and we must not give an inch to the haters.

Ed Brodow is a conservative political commentator and author of two No. 1 Amazon Best Sellers, AMERICA ON ITS KNEES: The Cost of Replacing Trump with Biden, and THE WAR ON WHITES: How Hating White People Became the New National Sport.

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