Our book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good. Trump and his minions falsely claimed that he won the election, and have kept repeating the Big Lie. And we now know how close he came to subverting the Constitution.
Supporters on the fringes of former President Trump’s circle explored seeking sweeping authority after the 2020 election to enlist armed private contractors to seize and inspect voting machines and election data with the assistance of U.S. marshals, according to a draft letter asking the president to grant them permission.
The previously undisclosed “authorizing letter” and accompanying emails were sent on Nov. 21, 2020, from a person involved in efforts to find evidence of fraud in the election that year. The documents, which were reviewed by The Times, are believed to be among those in the possession of the House Jan. 6 committee, which is scheduled to begin public hearings Thursday.
The letter appears to be one of the earliest iterations of a draft executive order presented to the then-president in the Oval Office on Dec. 18, 2020, by then- Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, former national security advisor Michael Flynn and former Overstock.com Chief Executive Patrick Byrne in an effort to take control of voting machines.
The Georgia Secretary of State claims it is investigating how a local election supervisor gave a cadre of 2020 election truthers improper access to an election computer system, in what initially seemed like the latest example of rogue actors misusing their government positions to cast doubt on President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.Efforts at election subversion are ongoing.
But that investigation may expose a far more sinister plot than previously suspected.
According to text messages obtained by The Daily Beast, the covert access granted to Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall and his technical team was actually part of a coordinated effort to find election irregularities. And the effort, it turns out, was led by a local elections official and the chair of the rural county’s Republican Party—who was also one of former President Donald Trump’s infamous slate of fake electors.
Last month, The Washington Post revealed that the Secretary of State’s office was investigating the matter. But the previously unreported text messages shed new light on who arranged the possibly illegal access to the computer and who was on the team that traveled south to do it. The Secretary of State’s office is already fighting off a lawsuit over the security of the state’s voting machines and may face tough questions before a federal judge next week, given that the Coffee County incident demonstrates the state’s inability to keep its machines off limits.
The situation has election cybersecurity experts concerned about the actual danger to election systems posed by these vigilante expeditions, which are mainly driven by disproven conspiracy theories.
“Everything we have seen so far shows that the people who have been doing this have no fucking skills. You have an elephant in a porcelain store. They can accidentally install malware, accidentally cause all kinds of havoc,” said Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer programmer with extensive experience analyzing election systems.