Dominion’s lawyers demand Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Parler preserve posts by Trump and other far-right figures, ahead of threatened defamation lawsuits

Giuliani Fox News interview

Lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems sent letters Thursday to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Parler, asking them to preserve posts by more than a dozen high-profile far-right individuals and news outlets ahead of threatened defamation lawsuits.

“A number of posts on your website must be preserved because they are relevant to our client’s libel claims; these claims are based on false accusations that Dominion rigged the 2020 election,” lawyers from the firm Clare Locke, which represents Dominion, said in the letters.

The lawyers said that, between November and January, then-President Donald Trump, his campaign, attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Lin Wood, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, prominent QAnon adherents Ron and Jim Watkins, and far-right commentator Dan Bongino all posted content that could be relevant to Dominion’s defamation lawsuits.

Read more: Election-fraud liars are scrambling to avoid lawsuits, but they can’t retract the damage they’ve done

Dominion makes voting machines and has been the target of conspiracy theories, extensively amplified by Trump and his allies, that the company rigged the election.

Last month, Dominion filed defamation lawsuits against Giuliani for $1.3 billion and Powell for another $1.3 billion, and had sent letters threatening to sue various pro-Trump media figures.

In the letters, Dominion’s lawyers said “more will follow.”

Dominion also asked the social media companies to preserve posts and data from the accounts of: Fox News and Fox anchors Sean Hannity, Jeannine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs; far-right news outlets One America News Network, The Epoch Times, Rebel News, Newsmax, and Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly; Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis; former national security advisor Michael Flynn, entrepreneur Jovan Pulitzer, discredited election analyst Russell Ramsland, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, and conservative talk radio host John Catsimatidis.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Dominion sends letters threatening defamation lawsuits to Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and other pro-Trump media figures

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Trump wanted the Justice Department to sue individual states to overturn their election results, but top officials refused, WSJ report says

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President Donald Trump.

  • Trump wanted the Justice Department to sue states directly in the Supreme Court to overturn the election results.
  • DOJ officials refused, prompting Trump to plot to replace the acting attorney general with a loyalist.
  • That effort was foiled by DOJ leaders when some threatened to resign if Jeffrey Rosen was removed.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump wanted the Department of Justice to file lawsuits in the Supreme Court against specific states in an attempt to overturn their election results, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

DOJ officials refused, prompting Trump to plot to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with a loyalist. The plot was blocked when a group of top DOJ leaders threatened to resign if acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen was removed.

Trump’s idea to sue states was pushed by his personal lawyers, The Journal reported.

“He wanted us, the United States, to sue one or more of the states directly in the Supreme Court,” a former administration official told The Journal.

DOJ officials refused to file the case, determining that there was no legal grounds and that “the federal government had no legal interest in whether Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden won the presidency,” according to The Journal.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read more: Trump didn’t pardon himself. Here’s the massive tsunami of legal peril that now awaits him.

Trump and his allies pursued dozens of legal challenges in the wake of the election in an attempt to overturn the results based on unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud. The Trump campaign and Republican officials filed lawsuits across battleground states, but virtually none of the challenges held up in court.

Trump’s own Justice Department, and ally Attorney General Bill Barr, said in December it had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would’ve affected the election outcome.

The Journal said the effort to sue states directly was ramped up after the Supreme Court on December 11 dismissed a lawsuit filed by Texas’ attorney general Ken Paxton in an attempt to overturn the results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

On the night of the election during a speech where he falsely claimed victory, Trump threatened to go to the Supreme Court over the election, though it was unclear why or on what legal basis he planned to do so.

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died in September and Trump and Republicans were determined to fill her seat, Trump also suggested the election would be decided in the Supreme Court, though again it was unclear what exactly he thought would constitute litigation.

Trump successfully nominated and appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, making her the third Trump-appointee on the bench alongside Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, solidifying the court’s conservative majority with a 6-3 split.

After the Texas case was dismissed, Trump blasted the Supreme Court in a tweet, saying “no wisdom, no courage!”

Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal

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Pennsylvania Republicans spent $1 million in tax dollars on 2020 election lawsuits to suppress voters

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A woman participates in a protest in support of counting all votes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 5, 2020.

  • Pennsylvania Republicans spent $1.04 million in taxpayer dollars on 2020 election lawsuits.
  • That’s according to documents obtained Thursday by the news organization PA Spotlight.
  • Republicans had sought to disenfranchise millions of people who voted by mail.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Pennsylvania Republicans spent more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars on litigation aimed at making it more difficult to vote ahead of the 2020 election, according to documents obtained by the news organization PA Spotlight. Over $650,000 went to the same law firm that tried and failed to place Kanye West on the ballot in another swing state.

In a post on Thursday, PA Spotlight revealed that the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Caucus, which controls the commonwealth’s upper chamber, spent a total of $1,042,200 in the runup to November trying to restrict methods of voting. In particular, the state GOP sought to overturn key provisions of Act 77, a law passed in 2019 – with unanimous support from Senate Republicans – that allowed voters to request mail-in ballots for any reason.

At the time, the Pennsylvania state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman called the legislation “the most historic reform bill we’ve done.” But as time went on, Republicans began to see the measure as a boon to their political opponents, with Democratic voters far more likely to vote by mail during the pandemic. The Senate GOP also sought to prevent those ballots from being placed in secure drop boxes and to throw out millions of mail-in votes altogether, an effort rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

According to PA Spotlight, money on such litigation went to two firms, the bulk of it going to Holtzman, Vogel, Josefiak, and Torchinksy, founded by a former lawyer for the Republican National Committee. That firm also tried to place Kanye West on the ballot in Wisconsin.

Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxell, and Hippell also received just under $385,000 in tax collars for election work in Pennsylvania. Lawrence Tabas, chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, is a partner at the firm, PA Spotlight reported.

Neither Tabas nor the Senate Republican Caucus immediately responded to Insider’s requests for comment.

In the meantime, having lost in the courts, Pennsylvania Republicans are turning to legislation: On Thursday, state Sen. Doug Mastriano – who spent thousands of dollars busing protesters to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen – introduced a bill that would eliminate “no excuse” mail-in voting.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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A federal appeals court shot down a GOP lawmaker’s lawsuit against Mike Pence seeking to overturn the 2020 election

Mike Pence Donald Trump
President Donald Trump listens as Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus briefing in February 2020.

  • A federal appeals court on Saturday evening threw out Rep. Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence seeking to overturn the election.
  • Gohmert’s last-ditch legal effort asked the judges to empower Pence to “exercise the exclusive authority and sole discretion in determining which electoral votes to count for a given State.”
  • The appeals court judges noted that a lower court had already dismissed Gohmert’s lawsuit, and wrote in a one-paragraph order that “we need say no more.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A federal appeals court threw out Rep. Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday evening, issuing a one-paragraph response rebuffing the lawmaker’s effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Gohmert’s last-ditch legal effort asked the judges to dismantle the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and instead empower Pence to “exercise the exclusive authority and sole discretion in determining which electoral votes to count for a given State.”

Pence will preside over the January 6 session of Congress certifying the election results, and will declare the winner of the presidency.

Louie Gohmert
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas

President-elect Joe Biden won the election with 306 electoral votes over President Donald Trump’s 232 electoral votes. All states certified their election results throughout November and early December, and the Electoral College formally met on December 14 and affirmed Biden’s victory.

Pence and the Department of Justice responded to Gohmert’s lawsuit by asking the district court judge to toss Gohmert’s lawsuit. Gohmert filed his own response on Friday, arguing that Pence’s role as vice president should not be limited to “the glorified envelope-opener in chief.”

The three judges who sit on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – two Reagan appointees and one Trump appointee – noted in their order that a lower court had already dismissed Gohmert’s case due to a lack of standing, meaning that Gohmert hadn’t adequately alleged an injury that could be traced to the defendant and remedied by the court.

“We need say no more, and we affirm the judgment essentially for the reasons stated by the district court,” the judges wrote. “We express no view on the underlying merits or on what putative party, if any, might have standing.”

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A Republican lawmaker’s bid to overturn the presidential election by suing Mike Pence was dismissed in court

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Pence and the Justice Department had requested the judge dismiss the lawsuit.

  • A lawsuit brought by Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and other Republicans seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election was dismissed by a federal judge on Friday.
  • The lawsuit sought to give Pence the authority to accept or reject the election results of individual states when Congress meets next week to certify the Electoral College results.
  • The last-ditch effort was unlikely to succeed. Pence and the Justice Department had asked the judge to reject the request.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A lawsuit brought by Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and other Republicans seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election was dismissed by a federal judge on Friday.

Gohmert filed a lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence, attempting to have him declare President Donald Trump as the winner when Congress meets next week to certify the Electoral College results. The lawsuit argued Pence had the authority to choose which states’ electoral votes to count.

US District Judge Jeremy Kernodle said that Gohmert and the others lacked standing to sue, dismissing the lawsuit.

Kernodle, a Trump-appointed judge, said the plaintiffs did not suffer legally recognizable injury that could be traced to Pence, the defendant of the lawsuit. Gohmert’s lawyers said Friday night they will appeal the decision, The Washington Post reported.

President-elect Joe Biden won the election by receiving 306 electoral votes compared to Trump’s 232. The results have been certified in every state, and presidential electors cast their votes last month.

On January 6, Pence will oversee a joint session of Congress to formally certify the results. The event is typically a procedural one, confirming the winner that voters and the Electoral College have already chosen.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Gohmert and Trump supporters from Arizona, sought to give Pence the ability to reject individual state results, theoretically giving him the ability to reject states won by Biden and award Trump a second term, despite the will of the voters.

The last-ditch effort was unlikely to succeed. Earlier this week, Pence and the Justice Department said the lawsuit was misdirected and issued a request on Thursday asking the judge to reject the case.

In response, Gohmert said the vice president is not just “the glorified envelope-opener in chief” and asserted the lawsuit was rightfully directed at Pence.

He also mentioned the 140 House Republicans who reportedly plan to vote against the certification of the Electoral College vote during the joint session next week, though doing so would not prevent the confirmation of Biden’s win.

The session on Wednesday is likely to be contentious due to the planned objections. Trump is also encouraging supporters to demonstrate in DC on that day, tweeting about a “BIG Protest rally” on January 6.

The lawsuit was the latest in a string of legal defeats for Trump allies. Since the election, the Trump campaign and some of the president’s supporters have mounted dozens of legal challenges, winning zero out of at least 40 lawsuits.

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After Pence told a court he was the wrong person to sue, Trump fans attempting to overturn the 2020 election told the judge he shouldn’t listen to the VP because he’s more than just a ‘glorified envelope-opener in chief’

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Rep. Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas (left), is trying to sue to have Vice President Mike Pence (right) overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

  • In a last-ditch effort unlikely to succeed, Rep. Louie Gohmert is among those suing to try and make Vice President Mike Pence declare President Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election.
  • President-elect Joe Biden won the election, and Pence is set to preside over a joint session of Congress to certify the results on Wednesday.
  • The Justice Department responded to Gohmert’s suit saying Pence was the wrong person to sue, and Gohmert responded by saying the vice president wasn’t just a “glorified envelope-opener in chief.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas wasted no time responding to the Justice Department’s request on New Year’s Eve to dismiss his lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election.

In a last-ditch, futile effort, Gohmert and other diehard supporters of President Donald Trump are suing Vice President Mike Pence, attempting to get him to declare Trump the winner when he presides over the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College results on Wednesday.

President-elect Joe Biden won the election, capturing 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. Every state has certified its results, and the electors officially cast their ballots making Biden the president-elect in December. The final ceremonial event before Biden is inaugurated on January 20 is the joint session of Congress.

Read moreSecret Service experts are speculating in group chats about how Trump might be hauled out of the White House if he won’t budge on Inauguration Day

Pence and the Justice Department said in a court filing on Thursday that the vice president was the wrong person to sue, and asked the judge to deny Gohmert’s request.

On New Year’s Day, Gohmert and his allies fired back in a 55-page response saying the DOJ and Pence were wrong, and that the vice president is not just “the glorified envelope-opener in chief” and is the right person to sue to try and make Trump president again, the Washington Post first reported.

Trump’s allies argued that Pence could decide to change the rules when he presides over the joint session of Congress on Wednesday: “Under the Constitution, he has the authority to conduct that proceeding as he sees fit. He may count elector votes certified by a state’s executive, or he can prefer a competing slate of duly qualified electors. He may ignore all electors from a certain state. That is the power bestowed upon him by the Constitution.”

Gohmert’s filing also referenced the 140 House Republicans and one GOP senator who plan to object to the election results during the joint session as a reason to consider the case.

But Law&Crime reported that experts called the Gohmert lawsuit “preposterous.”

“Their lawsuit is defective for reasons noted by counsel for the defendants, including Vice President Pence,” Tulane Law’s Ross Garber told Law&Crime. “And their litigation is more a political and public relations campaign than an earnest effort to seek judicial resolution of a legitimate dispute.”

Wednesday should be a spectacle nonetheless. In addition to the expected objections in Congress, Trump is urging his supporters to rally in DC.

By contrast, when Biden presided over the joint session of Congress to certify the 2016 election results, the former vice president gaveled down objections from his Democratic colleagues and made Trump the 45th president.

See the full court documents of Gohmert’s latest filing and Pence’s response below:

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