Trump’s ‘voter fraud’ ego-obsession

Donald Trump’s claims of massive voter fraud are unsupported by evidence and debunked by experts. Some of his claims are plain ridiculous, not just the numbers (the millions claim happens to be about the size of Hillary Clinton’s overall vote majority over Trump)  but also that all fraudulent votes were for Clinton.

So far there have been four prosecutions for voter fraud, and two of them voted Republican.

From Trump’s interview on ABC with David Muir trump continued with his claims:

DAVID MUIR: I wanna ask you about something you said this week right here at the White House. You brought in congressional leaders to the White House. You spoke at length about the presidential election with them — telling them that you lost the popular vote because of millions of illegal votes, 3 to 5 million illegal votes. That would be the biggest electoral fraud in American history. Where is the evidence of that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, let me tell you first of all, it was so misrepresented. That was supposed to be a confidential meeting. And you weren’t supposed to go out and talk to the press as soon as you — but the Democrats viewed it not as a confidential meeting.

DAVID MUIR: But you have tweeted …about the millions of illegals …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure. And I do — and I’m very … and I mean it. But just so you — it was supposed to be a confidential meeting. They turned it into not a con … Number two, the conversation lasted for about a minute. They made it — somebody said it was, like, 25 percent of the … It wasn’t. It was hardly even discussed.

I said it. And I said it strongly because what’s going on with voter fraud is horrible. That’s number one. Number two, I would’ve won the popular vote if I was campaigning for the popular vote. I would’ve gone to California where I didn’t go at all. I would’ve gone to New York where I didn’t campaign at all.

I would’ve gone to a couple of places that I didn’t go to.

But Clinton wasn’t campaigning for the popular vote either. She was concentrating on the crucial swing states, like Trump.

And I would’ve won that much easier than winning the electoral college.

Typically brash over-confidence.

But as you know, the electoral college is all that matters. It doesn’t make any difference.

So why his obsession with the popular vote then? As is common, his words and actions are contradictory.

So, I would’ve won very, very easily. But it’s a different form of winning. You would campaign much differently. You would have a totally different campaign. So, but … you’re just asking a question. I would’ve easily won the popular vote, much easier, in my opinion, than winning the electoral college. I ended up going to 19 different states. I went to the state of Maine four times for one. I needed one.

I went to M — I got it, by the way. But it turned out I didn’t need it because we ended up winning by a massive amount, 306. I needed 270. We got 306. You and everybody said, “There’s no way you get to 270.” I mean, your network said and almost everybody said, “There’s no way you can get to …” So, I went to Maine four times. I went to various places. And that’s the beauty of the electoral college.

He didn’t win by a ‘massive amount’ – in fact he won based on a few thousand votes in each of a few key states. Winning electoral margins in the last ten elections:

  • 2016 Trump 306-232
  • 2012 Obama 332-206
  • 2008 Obama 365-173
  • 2004 GW Bush 286-251
  • 2000 GW Bush 271-266
  • 1996 Bill Clinton 379-159
  • 1992 Bill Clinton 370-168
  • 1988 G Bush 426-111
  • 1984 Reagan 525-13
  • 1980 Reagan 489-49

Being registered in more than one state is not illegal, it’s common. Many people don’t realise they didn’t de-register from one state when moving and registering in another.

It’s only illegal if they vote on more than one state, and there’s no evidence of that.

With that being said, if you look at voter registration, you look at the dead people that are registered to vote who vote, you look at people that are registered in two states, you look at all of these different things that are happening with registration. You take a look at those registration for — you’re gonna s — find — and we’re gonna do an investigation on it.

Media have already been investigating, and have found that these people are registered in two states:

  • Tiffany Trump (Trump’s youngest daughter)
  • Jared Kushner (Trump’s son-in-law)
  • Sean Spicer (White House press secretary)
  • Steven Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary nominee)
  • Stephen Barron (chief White House strategist)

So much for Barron being a genius strategist. Perhaps he has no control over Trump’s egocentric excesses.

DAVID MUIR: But 3 to 5 million illegal votes?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re gonna find out. But it could very well be that much. Absolutely.

DAVID MUIR: But …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But we’re gonna find out.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: In fact, I heard one of the other side, they were saying it’s not 3 to 5. It’s not 3 to 5. I said, “Well, Mr. Trump is talking about registration, tell–” He said, “You know we don’t wanna talk about registration.” They don’t wanna talk about registration.

You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion. Now …

Kushner is registered in both New Jersey and New York, as is Tiffany Trump.

DAVID MUIR: But again …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’m doing an …PRESIDENT TRUMP: … investigation. David, David, David …

DAVID MUIR: You’re now, you’re now president of the United States when you say …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Of course, and I want the voting process to be legitimate.

DAVID MUIR: But what I’m asking …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The people that …

DAVID MUIR: … what I’m asking that — when you say in your opinion millions of illegal votes, that is something that is extremely fundamental to our functioning democracy, a fair and free election.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure. Sure. Sure.

DAVID MUIR: You say you’re gonna launch an investigation.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure, done.

It was thought that an investigation would be officially announced yesterday but that didn’t happen.

NZ Daily News: Vice President Mike Pence told members of Congress that the Trump administration will launch a “full evaluation” of U.S. voting rolls and “the overall integrity of our voting system,” according to a leaked audio recording.

DAVID MUIR: What you have presented so far has been debunked. It’s been called …false.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, it hasn’t. Take a look at the Pew reports.

DAVID MUIR: I called the author of the Pew report last night. And he told me that they found no evidence of voter … fraud.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Really? Then why did he write the report?

DAVID MUIR: He said no evidence of voter fraud.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me, then why did he write the report? According to Pew report, then he’s — then he’s groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they wanna write something that you wanna hear but not necessarily millions of people wanna hear or have to hear.

Bizarre, but typically so.

DAVID MUIR: So, you’ve launched an investigation?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re gonna launch an investigation to find out. And then the next time — and I will say this, of those votes cast, none of ’em come to me. None of ’em come to me. They would all be for the other side. None of ’em come to me. But when you look at the people that are registered: dead, illegal and two states and some cases maybe three states — we have a lot to look into.

DAVID MUIR: House Speaker Paul Ryan has said, “I have seen no evidence. I have made this very, very clear.” Senator Lindsey Graham saying, “It’s the most inappropriate thing for a president to say without proof. He seems obsessed with the idea that he could not have possibly lost the popular vote without cheating and fraud.”

I wanna ask you about something bigger here. Does it matter more now …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s nothing bigger. There’s nothing bigger.

Bigger to him perhaps, but I doubt that most voters care – especially those who voted for him, successfully.

DAVID MUIR: But it is important because …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Let me just tell you, you know what’s important, millions of people agree with me when I say that if you would’ve looked on one of the other networks and all of the people that were calling in they’re saying, “We agree with Mr. Trump. We agree.” They’re very smart people.

Claiming that millions of people agree with him on this, without any proof of course.

The people that voted for me — lots of people are saying they saw things happen. I heard stories also. But you’re not talking about millions. But it’s a small little segment. I will tell you, it’s a good thing that we’re doing because at the end we’re gonna have an idea as to what’s going on. Now, you’re telling me Pew report has all of a sudden changed. But you have other reports and you have other statements. You take a look at the registrations, how many dead people are there? Take a look at the registrations as to the other things that I already presented.

He has presented little other than nonsense.

Dead people tend to not de-register themselves. They also tend not to vote.

DAVID MUIR: And you’re saying …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And you’re gonna find …

DAVID MUIR: … those people who are on the rolls voted, that there are millions of illegal votes?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I didn’t say there are millions. But I think there could very well be millions of people. That’s right.

He contradicts himself, he denied and then he agreed.

DAVID MUIR: You tweeted though …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I also say this …

DAVID MUIR: … you tweeted, “If you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally, I won the popular vote.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP: David, and I also say this, if I was going for the popular vote I would’ve won easily. But I would’ve been in California and New York. I wouldn’t have been in Maine. I wouldn’t have been in Iowa. I wouldn’t have been in Nebraska and all of those states that I had to win in order to win this. I would’ve been in New York, I would’ve been in California. I never even went there.

If the election was for popular vote both trump and Clinton would have campaigned much differently, and voters would have thought differently. It’s impossible to predict what the outcome could have been.

DAVID MUIR: Let me just ask you, you did win. You’re the president. You’re sitting …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s true.

DAVID MUIR: … across from me right now.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s true.

DAVID MUIR: Do you think that your words matter more now?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, very much.

DAVID MUIR: Do you think that that talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country without presenting the evidence?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not at all. Not at all because many people feel the same way that I do. And …

So as long as he thinks many people agree with him it doesn’t matter if he talks unsubstantiated crap?

DAVID MUIR: You don’t think it undermines your credibility if there’s no evidence?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not at all because they didn’t come to me. Believe me. Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn’t vote for me. I don’t believe I got one. Okay, these are people that voted for Hillary Clinton. And if they didn’t vote, it would’ve been different in the popular.

He is claiming millions of fraudulent voters all voted for Hillary.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Now, you have to understand I — I focused on those four or five states that I had to win. Maybe she didn’t. She should’ve gone to Michigan. She thought she had it in the bag. She should’ve gone to Wisconsin, she thought she had it because you’re talking about 38 years of, you know, Democrat wins. But they didn’t. I went to Michigan, I went to Wisconsin. I went to Pennsylvania all the time. I went to all of the states that are — Florida and North Carolina. That’s all I focused on.

He is right here, the Clinton campaign did stuff up on Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, but I think she tried hard in Florida and North Carolina.

DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, it does strike me though that we’re relitigating the presidential campaign, the election …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no. We’re looking at it for the next time. No, no, you have to understand, I had a tremendous victory, one of the great victories ever. In terms of counties I think the most ever or just about the most ever. When you look at a map it’s all red. Red meaning us, Republicans.

One of the greatest victories ever.

The greatest victory ever for Trump. Otherwise the voting margins were nothing spectacular.

But, again, I ran for the electoral college. I didn’t run for the popular vote. What I’m saying is if there are these problems that many people agree with me that there might be. Look, Barack Obama — if you look back — eight years ago when he first ran — he was running for office in Chicago for we needed Chicago vote.

And he was laughing at the system because he knew all of those votes were going to him. You look at Philadelphia, you look at what’s going on in Philadelphia. But take a look at the tape of Barack Obama who wrote me, by the way, a very beautiful letter in the drawer of the desk. Very beautiful. And I appreciate it. But look at what he said, it’s on tape. Look at what he said about voting in Chicago eight years ago. It’s not changed. It hasn’t changed, believe me. Chicago, look what’s going on in Chicago. It’s only gotten worse.

But he was smiling and laughing about the vote in Chicago. Now, once he became president he didn’t do that. All of a sudden it became this is the foundation of our country. So, here’s the point, you have a lot of stuff going on possibly. I say probably. But possibly. We’re gonna get to the bottom of it.

And then we’re gonna make sure it doesn’t happen again. If people are registered wrongly, if illegals are registered to vote, which they are, if dead people are registered to vote and voting, which they do. There are some. I don’t know how many.

I can guess how many dead people voted.

We’re gonna try finding that out and the other categories that we talk about, double states where they’re — registered in two states, we’re gonna get to the bottom of it because we have to stop it. Because I agree, so important. But the other side is trying to downplay this. Now, I’ll say this — I think that if that didn’t happen, first of all, would — would be a great thing if it didn’t happen. But I believe it did happen. And I believe a part of the vote would’ve been much different.

He claimed it was important to investigate to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but then swung back to his main focus, “a part of the vote would’ve been much different”.

DAVID MUIR: And you believe millions of illegal votes …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re gonna find out.

DAVID MUIR: Let me ask you this …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re gonna find out. And — and, by the way, when I say you’re gonna find out. You can never really find, you know, there are gonna be — no matter what numbers we come up with there are gonna be lots of people that did things that we’re not going to find out about. But we will find out because we need a better system where that can’t happen.

So he is going to find out what “you can never really find out about”.

In doing so he is taking a risk. If he does launch an investigation and it doesn’t back up his claims then his ego and credibility will take hits.

His bizarre and contradictory claims about voter fraud are damaging his credibility already.

Trump’s ego-obsession is proving to be a major distraction, and none of his advisers seem to be able to stop him.

 

Trump on torture

Donald Trump has reiterated his support of torture and his belief that it works: In an ABC interview he said “Do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it work.” But he also said he would defer to his Defense Secretary and CIA Director.

Trump says he’ll defer to Mattis and Pompeo on waterboarding

“Do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works,” Trump told ABC News’ David Muir in an excerpt of an interview that will broadcast Wednesday evening.

Trump said he has asked the “people at the highest level of intelligence” within the past 24 hours if waterboarding and other forms of torture work. “And the answer was yes, absolutely,” Trump recalled.

He took a firm stance on defending the country from terrorism during the interview, insisting that he wants to keep America safe and when the Islamic State is chopping off the heads of Christians in the Middle East, the U.S. has to “fight fire with fire.”

But he also said he would defer to Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. “I’m going with General Mattis. I’m going with my secretary,” he told Muir. “Because I think Pompeo’s gonna be phenomenal. I’m gonna go with that they say.”

New York Times: Trump Poised to Lift Ban on C.I.A. ‘Black Site’ Prisons

The Trump administration is preparing a sweeping executive order that would clear the way for the C.I.A. to reopen overseas “black site” prisons, like those where it detained and tortured terrorism suspects before former President Barack Obama shut them down.

President Trump’s three-page draft order, titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants” and obtained by The New York Times, would also undo many of the other restrictions on handling detainees that Mr. Obama put in place in response to policies of the George W. Bush administration.

If Mr. Trump signs the draft order, he would also revoke Mr. Obama’s directive to give the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all detainees in American custody. That would be another step toward reopening secret prisons outside of the normal wartime rules established by the Geneva Conventions, although statutory obstacles would remain.

The draft order does not direct any immediate reopening of C.I.A. prisons or revival of torture tactics, which are now banned by statute. But it sets up high-level policy reviews to make further recommendations in both areas to Mr. Trump, who vowed during the campaign to bring back waterboarding and a “hell of a lot worse” — not only because “torture works,” but because even “if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway.”

As well as being abhorrent torture is widely regarded as immoral and largely ineffective.

Politico reports Mattis, Pompeo stunned by CIA ‘black sites’ report

The two officials in charge of Trump’s terrorism detainee policies were ‘blindsided’ by a draft calling for the CIA to revisit techniques critics call torture.

Two of the officials who will be in charge of carrying out President Donald Trump’s terrorism detainee policies, Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, were “blindsided” by reports of a draft executive order that would require the CIA to reconsider using interrogation techniques that some consider torture, according to sources with knowledge of their thinking.

Lawmakers in both parties denounced the draft order on Wednesday even as White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he had “no idea where it came from” and that it is “not a White House document.”

Interview transcript:


DAVID MUIR: Let me ask you about a new report that you were poised to lift a ban on so-called CIA black sites of prisons around the world that have been used in the past. Is that true?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’ll be talking about that in about two hours. So, you’ll be there and you’ll be able to see it for yourself.

DAVID MUIR: Are you gonna lift the ban?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You’re gonna see in about two hours.

DAVID MUIR: The last president, President Obama, said the U.S. does not torture. Will you say that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I have a general who I have great respect for, General Mattis, who said — I was a little surprised — who said he’s not a believer in torture. As you know, Mr. Pompeo was just approved, affirmed by the Senate. He’s a fantastic guy, he’s gonna be the head of the CIA.

And you have somebody fabulous as opposed to the character that just got out who didn’t — was not fabulous at all. And he will I think do a great job. And he is — you know, I haven’t gone into great detail. But I will tell you I have spoken to others in intelligence. And they are big believers in, as an example, waterboarding.

DAVID MUIR: You did tell me …

(OVERTALK)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Because they say it does work. It does work.

DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, you …

(OVERTALK)

DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, you told me during one of the debates that you would bring back waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would do …

(OVERTALK)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would do — I wanna keep our country safe. I wanna keep our country safe.

DAVID MUIR: What does that mean?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: When they’re shooting — when they’re chopping off the heads of our people and other people, when they’re chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when ISIS is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since Medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?

As far as I’m concerned we have to fight fire with fire. Now, with that being said I’m going with General Mattis. I’m going with my secretary because I think Pompeo’s gonna be phenomenal. I’m gonna go with what they say. But I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence. And I asked them the question, “Does it work? Does torture work?” And the answer was, “Yes, absolutely.”

DAVID MUIR: You’re now the president. Do you want waterboarding?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t want people to chop off the citizens or anybody’s heads in the Middle East. Okay? Because they’re Christian or Muslim or anything else. I don’t want — look, you are old enough to have seen a time that was much different. You never saw heads chopped off until a few years ago.

Now they chop ’em off and they put ’em on camera and they send ’em all over the world. So we have that and we’re not allowed to do anything. We’re not playing on an even field. I will say this, I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group. And if they don’t wanna do, that’s fine. If they do wanna do, then I will work for that end.

I wanna do everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally. But do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works. Have I spoken to people at the top levels and people that have seen it work? I haven’t seen it work. But I think it works. Have I spoken to people that feel strongly about it? Absolutely.

DAVID MUIR: So, you’d be okay with it as …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I wanna keep …

DAVID MUIR: … president?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: … no, I wanna — I will rely on General Mattis. And I’m gonna rely on those two people and others. And if they don’t wanna do it, it’s 100 percent okay with me. Do I think it works? Absolutely.