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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 

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”

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

Will Democrats Do What They Must?

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On a warm August evening in 1974, President Richard M. Nixon said from the Oval Office that he was resigning, becoming the first president to do so. He confessed that he no longer had “a strong enough political base in the Congress” to finish his term.

Sen. Barry Goldwater, Ariz., the 1964 GOP presidential nominee, was a respected conservative leader in a Senate whose Republican ranks were less conservative than now. In a May 1973 interview with Time magazine, Goldwater had given an early warning, “If it can be proved that he (Nixon) lied, resignation would have to be considered. It would be quick. Everything would be over, ended. It wouldn’t drag out like impeachment.”

At a regular Senate Republican Conference lunch on august 6 of 1974, Goldwater had fumed: “There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many. Nixon should get his ass out of the White House today!” When he went to see President Nixon, Goldwater confided, “There’s not more than 15 senators for you.” After that showdown, the curtain on President Nixon’s presidency came down three days later.

In this challenging time in our history when President Biden’s competency is under serious question, will Democrat leaders have the courage to do the same? With this report, more Democrats and Independents will be less inclined to vote for Biden. That may very well impact the future of many Democrat politicians whose own election could be impacted if their voting base stays home. After his Wednesday night address, the evidence that Biden is in trouble is plainly obvious.

President Biden’s poll numbers are now at an all time low. The shocking Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Hur report suggests that Biden should not be indicted because Biden is “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” that a jury would be unlikely to convict. The Special Counsel also noted that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen;” he noted that such actions “present serious risks to national security.” It is clearly a risk for Biden to remain in office.

When President Biden addressed the country after the report was disclosed, he asserted that his memory was fine, and the report confirms that he was not indicted and did nothing wrong. His comments to the press questions were combative and defensive. He took no personal responsibility, blaming his staff for the faulty storage of classified documents. His message was strident and clear-Trump is guilty, and I did nothing wrong.

If he is not competent to stand trial for his actions, how can he be confident enough to remain president? It’s time for a private confrontation by Democrat leadership. If Biden does not listen, it is time to exercise the 25th amendment option to remove him from office.

It is not easy to use that 25th Amendment option. It is even more difficult with only 9 months before a critical national election. Waiting until the Democrat Convention in August leaves little time to right the ship and promote a replacement candidate.

Democrats, do your job to clean out your own house. President Biden is not competent to meet the challenges of our time. Do it now or pay the price in November. As Republicans, we hope you let Biden remain your candidate, but that is selfish. President Biden is our current leader and his decisions impact all of us and a world in turmoil. This isn’t about politics. We can’t afford even eleven more months of a mentally incompetent President.

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Claudine Gay, Ex-Harvard President, Will Strike it Rich in 2024

Gay will be a hot ticket at conferences leading up to the 2024 election.

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If she were a straight white male, Claudine Gay’s career in academia would have been completely finished weeks ago. Along with the presidents of MIT and (then) University of Pennsylvania, as a result of Gay’s anti-Semitism and her disastrous testimony before Congress in December, much of the country was in an uproar.

Pretzel Logic

Days later, when it was discovered that Gay had plagiarized or inappropriately paraphrased and lifted passages from other authors, from a variety of academic works, that would have sealed her fate. In this utterly illogical age of unreason, just the opposite of what ought to happen actually did happen. The Harvard bigwigs backed her!

Gay punched all of the intersectionality buttons: Black, gay, female, and what else you want to throw into the mix. So was she not terminated from her widely visible, high-profile position. Luckily for Harvard, she quit as president! She retains her cushy post as professor, however, at $900,000 per year. And more amazing good fortune likely is in store for her. She may well reap an income bonanza unlike most other college presidents in the U.S. or around the world.

You have to understand that Gay is actually a hero to many factions on the Left. Let’s see … she stood up to the man! She let Congress have it with both barrels. She defended her academic turf. She stuck with what she believes in. She didn’t kowtow to the U.S. pro-Israeli faction. She spoke her truth! My goodness, what a leader, what a noble soul, what a speaker we might have at our convention!

Media Darlings

A variety of questionable figures on the Left have become darlings to groups who lap up their every word. If you think this won’t happen with Ms. Gay, think again.

Unbelievably, the parents of Trayvon Martin became media darlings. Martin was a violent teenager who punched a bus driver in the face, stole money and other items at school, and was suspended from school at the time of his death. He met his fate while pounding George Zimmerman’s head into a sidewalk.

Democratic groups have celebrated the Martins ever since then. Their public appearances were considered to be special. In another minute, with a cracked skull, Zimmerman might have bled out and died, making Martin a murderer.

Honored at the DNC Convention

The parents of Michael Brown also made the rounds and were accorded celebrity status. The super-sized 18-year-old from Ferguson, MO had stolen cigars and choked a small Asian convenience store clerk just 10 minutes before he had tried to wrestle a gun away from an officer sitting in his police car.

Had Brown, whose fingerprints were all over the officer’s car, successfully taken the officer’s gun, Brown, too, might have been a murderer. At the Democrat National Convention attendees couldn’t get enough of Brown’s noble mother. Sadly, the city of Ferguson, MO, paid Brown’s family an extorted $1.5 million, largely due to fears of more mob violence.

If parents who’ve raised career criminals are celebrated, what are Claudine Gay’s prospects?

Prospects Aplenty

Presumably, she has no violent incidents in her past. Prior to her resignation as Harvard president she may have already, privately signed on with one of the top speaker’s bureaus from either in Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C. Bureaus value having partisan speakers in their lineup when they can book such individuals at large conferences and conventions. Gay will be a hot ticket leading up to the 2024 election.

She will be featured as the head liner at many conferences.

How much can she glean from such appearances? The floor is 20 to 40 thousand per outing, but 50 to 75 thousand is within reach, of which the bureau takes 25%. At that level of earnings for a speech, she could easily exceed another $900,000 by the end of the year. Will you earn $1,800,000 in the next ten years?

Knowing No Bounds

As one audience after another offers her special treatment, her already outsized, over-privileged ego will know no bounds, and all of her past sins will be long forgotten. The groups to whom she speaks will consider themselves to have done their part in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Gay’s intersectionality seals the deal, so by any measure, it’s a win-win-win (bureau, speaker, and audience) for Leftists.

To those on the Right, such developments are sickening, but we’ve come to accept that this is the world as it is currently. With all the devastation and destruction promulgated by the Biden administration, we have much bigger fish to fry.

– – – – –

 

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