Donald Trump Turned the ‘Rigged Election’ Claim into a Fundraising Scam
When it comes to culpability for January 6, Donald Trump has claimed all along that not only did he not
When it comes to culpability for January 6, Donald Trump has claimed all along that not only did he not incite or condone violence, but that he genuinely believed the election was stolen from him.
In order to support that claim, he loudly proclaims at every turn that the election was rigged and that he’s the only bastion of truth and democracy that people can turn to – and they should pay to help him in the fight.
But now a report has been released showing that Trump and his team paid a thorough and reputable company to investigate claims of investigation fraud, and they turned up with empty hands.
It’s proof that Trump knew the election was not a fraud, even as he begged supporters to send money to help him fight “fraud.”
Essentially, he turned his claims about a rigged election into a fundraising scam that took his followers for millions – and he continues pushing it to this day.
Donald Trump and the ‘Rigged Election’
With 2020’s election going to President Joe Biden, a desperate Trump needed to find a way to hold his job – so he turned to an investigation he hoped would reveal enough fraud to give him some legal standing.
MSNBC reports, “According to The Washington Post, the Trump campaign commissioned an outside firm to try to substantiate the claims of widespread fraud Trump was peddling. Employees of Berkeley Research Group, you may be shocked to learn, discovered no irregularities that would have swung the election.
The research got shoved into a drawer rather than released, either to the public or in court filings, including the campaign’s last-ditch bid to the Supreme Court. That fits neatly with how much Trump had already gained at that point from insisting that the election had been stolen. But unfortunately for him and his enablers, their continued efforts to defraud the American people makes criminal charges all the more likely.
In late November 2020, Berkeley Research Group was brought in ‘to study 2020 election results in six states, looking for fraud and irregularities to highlight in public and in the courts,’ the Post reported. ‘Among the areas examined were voter machine malfunctions, instances of dead people voting and any evidence that could help Trump show he won.’ The findings from the roughly dozen researchers were reportedly shared with Trump, then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others in a December 2020 conference call. Rather than bow to the evidence, Meadows ‘showed skepticism’ of the firm’s conclusions, the Post reported, and Trump and his team did nothing to slow their deluge of efforts to overturn the election.”
In essence, Trump paid $600K to be told that there was no fraud and he couldn’t claim that the election was rigged with any reputability.
But even as he received that information, witnesses have testified that they both informed him and were informed by him that the election was not rigged – which means that he knew and understood exactly how deceitful he was being in pushing the “rigged election” narrative.
During the month after the 2020 election concluded, Trump solicited and was given $207.5M from donors desperate to uphold democracy.
Trump’s leadership PAC alone brought in around $31 million from November 24 to December 31.
And remember – he knew it was a lie. He was happy to scam supporters as long as they were happy to pay.
Donald Trump and Scammy Fundraising, is There Criminal Culpability There?
Donald Trump is the sort of man who has been sued dozens of times for failing to pay his bills.
So it must truly gall him that one bill he actually paid – to the tune of $600,000 – failed to yield the results he needed to bolster his claims of a rigged election.
The question then is not whether he knew he was scamming people, but whether or not it strays into illegal territory. Clearly he knew he was scamming – but using money raised through campaign donations for political purposes other than the declared isn’t entirely illegal in some contexts.
However, in their second public hearing last year, the January 6 committee revealed that the “legal defense fund” donors were supposedly donating to never actually existed. That action could lead to a potential charge of wire fraud, according to some legal experts.
In a way, it’s almost secondary to the other criminal activities Donald Trump is suspected of having carried out at this point – inciting an insurrection, mishandling classified documents for personal reasons, and election interference in Georgia.
It’s unclear which, if any, of these charges he could be criminally indicted for – although the answers to these questions will likely be answered soon.
Nonetheless, knowing that the former President willfully and wantonly deceived his followers and took their hard earned money in pursuit of something he knew he was lying about is a slap in the face.
And a grim warning for 2024 – because it’s a chance for them to donate all over again, and be lied to all over again.