The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY)

The un­rav­el­ing of Trump’s case

- Cal Thomas Cal Thomas, Amer­ica’s most syn­di­cated columnist, is the au­thor of 10 books.

The Trump le­gal team’s re­cent move to dis­tance it­self from at­tor­ney Sid­ney Pow­ell as it seeks to over­turn the Novem­ber 3 elec­tion re­sults is a ma­jor blow to the pres­i­dent’s at­tempt to win a sec­ond term.

Pow­ell, whose 2014 book, “Li­censed to Lie: Ex­pos­ing Cor­rup­tion in the De­part­ment of Jus­tice,” along with her work as the at­tor­ney for former Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Michael Flynn, made her a dar­ling of con­ser­va­tives. But her as­ser­tions that Chi­nese com­mu­nists, vot­ing ma­chines once used to flip Venezue­lan elec­tions and for­eign money were be­hind Trump’s de­feat lack as much cred­i­bil­ity as Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s claim in the 1950s that com­mu­nists had in­fil­trated the U.S. State De­part­ment.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann dis­missed a law­suit that at­tempted to re­ject some of Penn­syl­va­nia’s votes for Joe Bi­den, call­ing the ef­fort “a Franken­stein mon­ster.” The law­suit, as re­ported by Reuters, had al­leged in­con­sis­tent treat­ment by county elec­tion of­fi­cials of mail-in bal­lots. Some coun­ties no­ti­fied vot­ers they could fix mi­nor de­fects such as miss­ing “se­crecy en­velopes” while oth­ers did not.

The pres­i­dent’s per­sonal at­tor­ney, Rudy Gi­u­liani, snatched vic­tory from the jaws of de­feat: “To­day’s de­ci­sion turns out to help us in our strat­egy to get ex­pe­di­tiously to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The 3rd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in Philadel­phia will be asked to ex­pe­di­tiously re­view the rul­ing. Gi­u­liani hopes the

Repub­li­can- dom­i­nated cir­cuit court (it in­cludes four judges named by Pres­i­dent Trump) will over­turn the lower court rul­ing.

Pow­ell had said she has kept ev­i­dence of voter fraud se­cret for fear of re­tal­i­a­tion against the more than 200 poll work­ers and poll watch­ers who she al­leges wit­nessed bal­lot tam­per­ing. She says some of them might have to be placed in wit­ness pro­tec­tion. Along with al­le­ga­tions of com­mu­nist in­ter­fer­ence it be­came too bizarre even for a Trump cam­paign that has of­ten dis­played bizarre be­hav­ior.

There have been nu­mer­ous charges of voter fraud over the years, though none have been sub­stan­tially proven. It was be­lieved that is how Lyn­don John­son stole a Texas Se­nate seat in 1948. LBJ had first run for the Se­nate in 1941. He lost by 1,311 votes and blamed voter fraud for his de­feat. In 1948, John­son ran again. On elec­tion night in the Demo­crat Pri­mary runoff against former Texas Gov­er­nor Coke Steven­son, it appeared LBJ had lost.

Then, as if out of a ma­gi­cian’s hat, a box of un­counted bal­lots was “dis­cov­ered” in the south Texas town of Alice. By the end of that week, LBJ had “won” by 87 votes, earn­ing him the ti­tle “Land­slide Lyn­don.” Each side ac­cused the other of voter fraud.

The 1960 pres­i­den­tial race be­tween Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy was an­other con­test in which voter fraud was al­leged. Out of 68 mil­lion bal­lots cast (roughly half the num­ber in the Trump-Bi­den race) Kennedy won by just 112,803 votes. The con­tro­versy arose over the Chicago Mafia and the cor­rupt mayor of the city, Richard J. Da­ley. They were ac­cused of pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary num­ber of votes for Kennedy to pre­vail in

Cook County and thus the en­tire state and na­tion.

Then there was the 2006 Min­nesota Se­nate race be­tween in­cum­bent Norm Cole­man and co­me­dian Al Franken, which Franken “won” af­ter nu­mer­ous bal­lot re­counts that stopped when Franken had ac­quired enough votes to be de­clared the win­ner. Franken’s mar­gin was 312 votes. Once again, voter fraud was al­leged.

The most re­cent elec­tion presents a much higher moun­tain for Pres­i­dent Trump to climb. His at­tor­neys prom­ise to re­veal their ev­i­dence of voter fraud this week. We’ll soon see if it is cred­i­ble and whether new judges will be per­suaded.

Will the Supreme Court in­ter­vene, if asked, as they did in a case in­volv­ing only a few hun­dred votes in Florida in the 2000 pres­i­den­tial con­test and again de­cide an elec­tion? I’m doubt­ful, but in this strange and un­pre­dictable year any­thing seems pos­si­ble.

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