GOP Rep. Tom Rice says he voted for Trump’s impeachment because ‘what he did in my mind is what dictators do’

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In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, taken from video, Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington.

  • Rep. Tom Rice defended his vote to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol insurrection.
  • Rice called Trump a “bully” and said his actions were “completely despicable.”
  • The South Carolina lawmaker faces several Republican challengers hoping to unseat him in a primary election.
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Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina defended his vote earlier this year to impeach then-President Donald Trump over his role in inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.

“I took an oath to defend the Constitution. I didn’t take an oath to defend Donald Trump,” Rice said in an interview with The Washington Post that was published on Sunday. “What he did was a frontal assault on the Constitution.”

Rice expressed no regrets over his decision, telling his constituents at an event last week that Trump is a “bully” and his actions on that day were “completely despicable.”

“I will vote that way every single time,” the Republican lawmaker said, according to The Post.

Rice also blasted Trump for tweeting an attack against then-Vice President Mike Pence while his supporters were storming the Capitol and Pence was being rushed to safety.

“For him to be calling Mike Pence a coward and him sitting at the White House surrounded by Secret Service and tweeting while Mike Pence is in the middle of all that, and he’s a coward? Give me a break,” Rice said, per The Post.

Trump at the time said Pence lacked “courage” for refusing to overturn the 2020 presidential election results over false claims that the race was “rigged” and “stolen” from him. The vice president has no authority to challenge the results, and there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.

“If the president, by force, can intimidate Congress into voting their way, then we might as well do away with Congress and hand it over to a king. What he did in my mind is what dictators do,” Rice said of Trump.

Rice was one of 10 House Republicans who broke from their party and supported Trump’s second impeachment – the most bipartisan impeachment vote in US history. His vote shocked many GOP lawmakers, who at the time called him to make sure it wasn’t an accident, The Post reported.

Rice’s comments come as several pro-Trump Republicans have launched campaigns to unseat him in an upcoming primary election for his South Carolina district.

“If you want a congressman who’s going to choose a personality over the Constitution, I’m not your guy,” Rice told voters at the event last week, per The Post.

The Post reported that some of Rice’s constituents are frustrated over his impeachment vote against Trump and that his job is in jeopardy. But Rice is trying to win voters over by pointing to his record. Rice voted with Trump 94% of the time and helped draft the GOP’s tax cuts legislation in 2017.

“If it cost me the job, then it cost me the job,” Rice told The Post. “I hope it doesn’t.”

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Mike Lindell’s lawyer has left his law firm, after being accused of filing a suit against Smartmatic and Dominion without authorization

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell
Mike Lindell.

  • Alec Beck, the lawyer representing MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, has parted ways with his law firm.
  • The move comes a day after he filed a new lawsuit against Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems.
  • According to Beck’s former employer, the lawsuit was filed without any authorization.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Alec Beck, the lawyer representing MyPillow’s CEO, Mike Lindell, has left his law firm a day after filing a new lawsuit against Smartmatic and Dominion, according to Bloomberg.

Barnes & Thornburg, Beck’s former employer, said he filed the suit without its authorization.

The company issued a statement on Twitter on Friday night: “Late last night, firm management became aware that a Minneapolis firm lawyer filed a complaint, as local counsel, in federal district court without receiving firm authorization pursuant to internal firm approval procedures,” it said.

Lindell’s new lawsuit, filed in federal court in Minnesota, accuses both voting-machine companies of “weaponizing the litigation process to silence political dissent and suppress evidence showing voting machines were manipulated to affect outcomes in the November 2020 general election.”

As previously reported by Insider’s Grace Dean, Lindell stands to lose $2 billion over the legal battle.

Lindell’s latest complaint featured references to dystopian novels and William Shakespeare. One of the included quotes is attributed to Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”: “But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can’t last.” Another quote is from George Orwell’s classic novel “1984.”

Legal experts have spoken out about Lindell’s latest filing. These included attorney Akiva Cohen, who described it as “craptastic” and “half-assed” in a series of tweets.

In its Friday statement, Barnes & Thornburg added: “Firm management took action immediately. The firm has withdrawn as local counsel in this matter and has ended the client relationship. The attorney representing the client in this matter is no longer with the firm.”

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Ahead of North Carolina GOP convention, people close to Trump are hoping he doesn’t talk about a bogus theory he could be ‘reinstated’ as president in August

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Former US President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in the Hyatt Regency on February 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

  • Allies close to Trump are asking him not to mention being reinstated, The Daily Beast reported.
  • The warning comes ahead of a planned speech by the former president in North Carolina.
  • Advisers reportedly said he could only bring it up if he plans to denounce the conspiracy theory.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ahead of Donald Trump’s speech at the North Carolina Republican Party’s annual convention, people close to the former president are asking him not to publicly mention the idea of being reinstated, The Daily Beast reported.

Three sources familiar with the conversations told the outlet that advisers have been calling the former president after New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said Trump has been telling people “he expects he will get reinstated by August.”

Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech Saturday night at the GOP convention in Greenville.

“I conveyed something [to Trump] to the effect of, ‘It would be a terrible idea to even say the word, ‘August’ [at Saturday’s event],'” a person who is in contact with Trump told The Daily Beast.

The allies have reportedly been walking a tight line on how to convey this message to Trump, with some worried that if they are too forceful about getting the president to drop the idea, he might instead hammer down on it.

Advisers are telling Trump that if he suggests he could be reinstated during President Joe Biden’s term, it could be used against him, and to only bring it up if he plans to dismiss it. Sources told The Daily Beast they are encouraging him to focus on the midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election instead.

The conspiracy theory has been bubbling up in fringe conservative media for several months. It gained traction when MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a staunch Trump ally, said he agreed with the claim. However, there is no constitutional support or legitimate legal framework to support the idea, Insider’s Jake Lahut reported.

Attorney Sidney Powell, who waged dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits trying to overturn the election, also falsely claimed Trump could be reinstated.

Sources told The Daily Beast Trump believes reinstatement would be possible when evidence of mass voter fraud is revealed. However, there is currently no evidence to support the claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

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GOP election official in the Arizona county targeted by ballot recount called Trump ‘unhinged’ and said ‘we can’t indulge these insane lies’

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Trump supports the Maricopa County audit, though Democrats and some Republicans have expressed concerns.

  • GOP election official Stephen Richer called Trump “unhinged” over claims about the election.
  • Richer leads the elections department in Maricopa County, where a GOP-backed recount is taking place.
  • “We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country,” he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Republican official in charge of the elections department in the Arizona county where a GOP-backed recount of the election is taking place lashed out at former president Donald Trump on Saturday.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer took to Twitter to refute a statement in which Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims about the election and claimed, without evidence, that the “entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED!”

“This is illegal and the Arizona State Senate, who is leading the Forensic Audit, is up in arms,” Trump said.

Richer tweeted the statement, calling it “as readily falsifiable as 2+2=5.”

“Wow. This is unhinged. I’m literally looking at our voter registration database on my other screen. Right now,” he wrote. “We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country.”

Read more: Liz Cheney has infuriated her party before and survived. Now she’s in for her biggest fight yet.

Richer, who was elected in the 2020 election and took office in January, is not the only Republican to speak out against false election claims or the widely criticized audit.

Paul Boyer, an Arizona state senator who initially voted in favor of the audit, has since called it “ridiculous.”

Boyer, a Republican who represents a Phoenix suburb, told The New York Times last week that he regretted supporting the recount after seeing for himself how it was being conducted.

“It makes us look like idiots,” Boyer said. “Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”

The audit was commissioned by Republicans in Arizona’s state Senate to investigate whether fraud took place in the 2020 election, prompting concern from voting rights groups over how it was being run. Arizona’s election results have already undergone two previous audits, which found no issues of concern and confirmed the results of the election.

Trump, who supports the Arizona recount, has repeatedly insisted the election was stolen from him, though courts and the Justice Department said there was no evidence of widespread fraud. He lost Maricopa County and Arizona to President Joe Biden, in a surprising result.

Observers who have attended the audit described it as sloppy and inconsistent and said it was run by people looking for evidence based on conspiracy theories, Insider’s Tom Porter previously reported.

The audit was temporarily paused Friday because the location of the audit had to be cleared for use in high school graduations, CBS News reported.

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A GOP-backed auditing group in Maricopa County is burrowing through ballots in search of bamboo fibers and Chinese paper to prove a far-fetched theory votes were flown in from Asia

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Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate, examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Maricopa County ballot recount comes after two election audits found no evidence of widespread fraud.

  • Workers at the Maricopa County recount are investigating an absurd theory that 40,000 Biden ballots were smuggled in from Asia.
  • They intend to check the fiber of ballots with UV lights and 5K cameras to check for bamboo.
  • The recount is partially funded by a lobbyist group, which raised over $1.5 million for the effort.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Maricopa County vote recount has taken a surprising turn, with UV lights and high-tech cameras being deployed as workers comb through ballots, checking for traces of bamboo fibers in the paper.

The reason? To investigate a new theory that 40,000 ballots for Joe Biden were flown in from Asia and smuggled into Arizona’s polls.

John Brakey, the co-founder of a group called AUDIT (an acronym for Americans United for Democracy, Integrity, and Transparency in Elections), told CBS reporter Dennis Welch that “5K cameras” were being used to take snapshots of the ballots and examine the folds in the ballots.

The far-fetched theory rests on the idea that tracings of bamboo would prove that the ballots were created abroad, despite the fact that not all paper made from bamboo is milled in Asia, and in fact, there are several bamboo forests in the US.

Additionally, while bamboo pulp paper does exist in China, not all paper produced in China contains traces of bamboo as the country continues to have a thriving wood pulp and timber industry.

“There are accusations that 40,000 ballots were flown into Arizona and it was stuffed into the box, and it came from the southeast part of the world – Asia -and what they’re doing is to find out if there’s bamboo in the paper,” said Brakey, who is also an assistant to former Arizona secretary of state Ken Bennett, who is fronting the audit as its spokesman.

Biden won the county by more than 45,000 votes.

However, Brakey – who claims that he has been investigating elections for at least 16 years – clarified that he did not believe the theory about the bamboo ballots.

“I don’t believe any of that. We’re just saying that this is part of the mystery that we want to un-gaslight people about, and this is a way to do it,” he added in the interview with CBS.

Maricopa County and Brakey did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

The bamboo theory first emerged in December

According to Slate, this bamboo ballot theory may have come from a man named Jovan Pulitzer, an individual who says he invented tech that can differentiate between real and forged ballots based on its ink and folds. Pulitzer claimed in December that there might be “detectable” bamboo particles in the ballot paper, which can be found via forensic analysis.

The ongoing recount of votes in Maricopa County has drawn criticism from both voting machine maker Dominion and the US Justice Department, after questions arose about the chain of custody and integrity of the ballots.

The Maricopa County audit is being run by Cyber Ninjas, a private firm based out of Florida that has been criticized for having no prior experience with handling election ballots. Doug Logan, its founder, is a “Stop the Steal” supporter who promoted several election conspiracy theories in favor of former President Donald Trump.

Cyber Ninjas has said it wanted the methods it uses to recount the votes to be kept secret, citing trade secrets and proprietary equipment.

Workers from Cyber Ninjas were seen leaving ballots unattended and laptop computers unlocked, The Post reported.

Bennett said in an interview with local radio station KJZZ.91.5 that the state senate audit of the Maricopa County ballots cost taxpayers around $150,000, but admitted during a press conference yesterday that private funds were also being used for the audit.

The Maricopa County recount is partially funded by a group called The America Project via an online fundraiser, which has at press time raised over $1.5 million.

The America Project is a section 501 (c) 4 not-for-profit organization. Non-profits classified as 501 (c) 4s have greater advocacy and lobbyist powers than 501 (c) 3s, and donations to them are not tax deductible. Other groups in this category include “super PACs,” which can spend an unlimited amount of cash on political campaigns.

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Voting rights groups ask for federal intervention in Arizona, where a company owned by a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist is conducting an ‘audit’ of the 2020 election

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In this Thursday, April 22, 2021, file photo, former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett speaks at a news conference to talk about overseeing a 2020 election ballot audit ordered by the Republican lead Arizona Senate at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. A judge hearing a challenge to voter privacy policies during the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate’s recount of 2.1 million 2020 election ballots says he is not convinced voter secrecy is being upheld.

  • Voting rights groups urged the Department of Justice to “deploy federal monitors” in Arizona.
  • The groups are concerned about a Republican-led effort to “audit” the 2020 election.
  • That effort is being led by pro-Trump conspiracy theorists.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Voting rights groups are expressing grave concern over a Republican effort to “audit” the 2020 election in Arizona, pleading with the US Department of Justice to “deploy federal monitors” and safeguard some 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County.

In an April 29 letter to the department’s Civil Rights Division, lawyers with Brennan Center for Justice, Protect Democracy, and The Leadership Conference allege that the audit that began last week is threatening the very right to vote.

Cyber Ninjas was selected by Arizona’s GOP-led state Senate despite not having any prior experience in elections. Its founder, Doug Logan, promoted “#StopTheSteal” conspiracy theories on his since-deleted Twitter account, suggesting he was selected not for his expertise but for his credibility with others who also believed former President Donald Trump’s debunked claims of widespread election fraud.

In their letter requesting federal intervention, the lawyers say they believe Arizona Republicans and Cyber Ninjas are breaking the law.

“Specifically,” they write, the parties “are violating their duty under federal law to retain and preserve ballots in federal elections, which are and have been in danger of being stolen, defaced, or irretrievably damaged.” They also allege that the parties are “preparing to engage in conduct which will constitute unlawful voter intimidation in violating of the Voting Rights Act and other federal laws.”

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cyber Ninjas has thus far failed to divulge how exactly it plans to spot improprieties that were not detected in two previous audits by credible firms; in the first few days, its temp workers and partisan volunteers were seen holding up ballots to ultraviolet lights in an apparent effort to prove President Joe Biden’s victory in the county was the product of fraud.

That process placed ballots “in jeopardy of being irreparably damaged,” the lawyers said.

The company has also impeded access for legitimate journalists – CNN reported Thursday that its journalists had trouble getting in even as granting special access has been granted to the far-right One America News Network, which is live-streaming the spectacle.

Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors, where Republicans hold a majority, certified Biden’s victory last fall and fought the state party’s efforts to hand ballots over to a pro-Trump third party.

Cyber Ninjas’ methods are at the heart of litigation brought by the Arizona Democratic Party, which demanded they be made public. A state court agreed and the company on Thursday released three documents outlining its security procedures.

The party’s chairman, state Rep. Raquel TerĂ¡n, said in an interview with Insider earlier this week that the ballot counting is a “sham audit” intended to placate conspiracy theorists and justify new voting restrictions. The party is now reviewing the documents that were released.

Sen. Karen Fann, the Republican state Senate president who selected Cyber Ninjas, allocating it $150,000 to conduct the ballot count, has not responded to requests for comment.

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

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‘Voter suppression’ or ‘voter fraud’? A Quinnipiac poll shows Democrats and Republicans are totally split on which is the real threat.

Voting booths
Table top voting booths are stored at the Allegheny County Election Division warehouse on the Northside of Pittsburgh, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020.

Republicans and Democrats are almost identically split on whether they think voter fraud or voter suppression is a bigger issue in the US, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

The poll, published on Thursday, found that 49% of the Americans questioned said voter suppression was a bigger issue, while 42% said voter fraud was a bigger issue.

When broken down by party lines, 83% of Democrats said voter suppression while only 13% said voter fraud, and 82% of Republicans said fraud and 11% said suppression.

Independents were more closely split, with 47% saying voter suppression posed a bigger threat while 44% chose voter fraud.

The poll was published amid a Republican-led push for legislation on voter restriction in several states.

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US set to sanction a dozen Russian individuals, 24 entities for influencing the 2020 election, SolarWinds hack

SolarWinds Orion Headquarters Austin Texas December 2020.JPG
SolarWinds headquarters in Austin, Texas.

  • The Biden administration is set to sanction Russian intelligence officials over attempts to influence the 2020 election.
  • Russian officials and entities could also be sanctioned for misconduct, including the SolarWinds hack.
  • The sanctions may be announced this week, just days after Biden and Putin last spoke on Tuesday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US government is set to impose sanctions on around a dozen Russian government and intelligence officials, as well as 20 entities linked to Russian security services – some of which the US government believes are tied to the Solarwinds cyberattack.

The sanctions, which could be announced this week, are meant to punish these individuals and entities for their alleged role in tampering with the 2020 elections and the SolarWinds hack.

According to a Bloomberg report, an anonymous source said the sanctions could result in around 10 Russian diplomats being expelled from the US.

This appears to have been a long time coming, as Biden highlighted last year’s SolarWinds hack and suspected Russian interference in the 2020 election on his first day in office as priority items to be reviewed.

The sanctions come just days after Biden and Putin spoke on Tuesday, where Biden made clear that the US would act firmly to defend its national interests in response to Russia’s actions, particularly where cyber intrusions and election interference are concerned.

The SolarWinds hack took place in early 2020, when Russia-linked hackers allegedly broke into the Texas-based tech firm’s systems and plugged malicious code into the company’s system, “Orion,” – a crime which went undetected for months.

This malicious code allowed hackers to gain backdoor access to the IT systems of SolarWinds clients – which included Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, and Deloitte. Sectors of the US government, including parts of the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Treasury, were also affected by the cyberattack.

Bloomberg also reported that these sanctions are also an effort to take the Russians to task for interfering in the 2020 election. According to Bloomberg, US intelligence has confirmed that the Russians are responsible for seeding nuggets of fake information during Biden’s 2020 campaign, particularly through outlets under the control of Russian intelligence officials.

The Russians have denied any responsibility for the SolarWinds hack, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any charges that he interfered in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

The US government has held off on sanctioning the Russians for these two matters, despite imposing earlier sanctions last month for the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Another priority item that Biden also wanted to look into were indications that the Russians were offering to pay cash bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan, but no new sanctions have been announced on that front.

The Russians, however, have pledged to retaliate if the US were to impose new sanctions, as top Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov called the US’s foreign policy on Russia “deadlocked,” “dumb,” and ineffective.

Foreign relations between the US and Russia have been tense, to say the least, after Russia recalled its ambassador from Washington in March, following Biden’s comments in an ABC interview, where he said he thought Putin was a “killer” (a comment he’s made in the past) – a stark contrast to Trump’s warm descriptions of Putin during the former president’s time in office.

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7 key takeaways from Biden’s first news conference as president

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President Joe Biden answers questions during the first news conference of his presidency in the East Room of the White House on March 25, 2021.

  • Biden gave his first solo news conference as president on Thursday.
  • He fielded questions on issues ranging from voting rights, foreign policy, immigration, and his plans for 2024.
  • Scroll down for 7 key takeaways from the presser.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Reporters on Thursday grilled President Joe Biden on a slew of issues when he gave his first solo news conference since taking office. He fielded questions on issues ranging from immigration, foreign policy, voting rights, the filibuster, and his plans for 2024.

He also gave updates on his administration’s COVID-19 response, vaccine distribution, and the economy.

Until Thursday, Biden had mainly interacted with the media by doing cable news interviews and briefly answering questions after public appearances.

Here are 7 key takeaways from Biden’s first news conference on Thursday.

Biden plans to run again in 2024

The president announced that he expects to run again in 2024 with Vice President Kamala Harris on the ticket.

“The answer is yes, my plan is to run for reelection. That’s my expectation,” Biden said, before adding that he cannot know for certain. “I’m a great respecter of fate.”

Biden also scoffed at the idea of facing Trump as his GOP challenger in 2024. “I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party,” he said.

Biden ups vaccine goal to 200 million vaccinations in first 100 days

At the top of the briefing, Biden set a new goal of the United States administering 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by his 100th day in office. Initially, the president planned to hit 100 million vaccine shots within that time frame, but the country surpassed that milestone last week.

The US has administered over 133 million vaccine doses as of Thursday, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly 2.5 million doses are administered per day, The New York Times reported. At that pace, Biden is on track to fulfill his new objective by April 30, his 100th day in office.

More than 100 million stimulus checks have gone out and ‘millions more will be getting their money very soon’

Biden said that more than 100 million stimulus checks worth $1,400 have gone out so far. The checks were included in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, known as the American Rescue Plan, that he signed into law earlier this month.

“Millions more will be getting their money very soon,” he added.

Biden reacts to surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border

The president faced several questionsabout the recent surge of unaccompanied children at the southern border. He claimed that the increase is not because he may be considered more welcoming to immigrants than former President Donald Trump, but due to the weather.

Biden also blamed the hardline immigration policies imposed by Trump and the dire living conditions of the home countries that people are fleeing from.

“I like to think it’s because I’m a nice guy, but it’s not, it’s happened every year,” Biden said. “The reason they’re coming is it’s the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying because of the heat in the desert.”

Biden skewers GOP-backed efforts to restrict voting registration as ‘sick’ and ‘un-American’

Biden called the dozens of Republican-led bills that would restrict voting currently circulating in state legislatures “despicable,” “sick” and “un-American.”

“This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” Biden said. “This is gigantic, what they’re trying to do. It cannot be sustained.”

The president said his aim is for Congress to approve the For the People Act, a Democratic-sponsored bill dedicated to voting rights reform, which passed the House on March 3.

Biden agrees the filibuster is a ‘relic of the Jim Crow era’

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins pointed out that former President Barack Obama said last year that the filibuster is a “relic of the Jim Crow era” and asked Biden if he agreed with the assessment.

“Yes,” Biden said.

“Why not abolish it, if it’s a relic of the Jim Crow era?” Collins pressed.

Biden replied, “Successful electoral politics is the art of the possible. Let’s figure out how we can get this done and move in the direction of significantly changing the abuse of even the filibuster rule first. It’s been abused from the time it came into being by an extreme way in the last 20 years. Let’s deal with the abuse first.”

“You’re moving closer to eliminating the filibuster. Is that correct?” Collins asked.

“I answered your question,” the president said.

Biden said he ‘can’t picture’ US troops being in Afghanistan next year

Reporters pressed the president on whether the administration would meet the May 1 deadline Biden had set as a candidate to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.

“We will leave,” Biden said. “The question is when we will leave.” Asked if he expected US troops to be in Afghanistan next year, he said, “I can’t picture that being the case.”

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Arizona Republican introduced a bill to let state legislature overturn results in a presidential election

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A man holds a sign reading “Q Sent me” as supporters of Donald Trump gather to protest outside the Maricopa County Election Department as counting continues after the US presidential election in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5, 2020.

  • An Arizona Republican introduced a bill that would let the state legislature decide presidential elections.
  • Rep. Shawnna Bolick’s legislation would allow lawmakers to overturn the secretary of state’s certification of an election result.
  • Bolick, who was reelected in November, promoted false claims about the 2020 election.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A top Arizona Republican who promoted a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2020 election has introduced a bill that would allow legislators override the certification of the state’s top elections official and effectively overturn the results of a future presidential election.

Rep. Shawnna Bolick, a Phoenix-area Republican, does not dispute her own reelection in November. But after Donald Trump lost his bid for another term, she sought to block electors from casting their votes for the winner, President Joe Biden, despite the election having already been certified by Arizona’s Secretary of State.

Bolick also promotedSharpiegate,” the false conspiracy theory that ballots were invalidated because poll workers gave Republican voters permanent markers instead of ballpoint pens.

Now the lawmaker, who chairs the Ways & Means Committee in the state house, is seeking to provide the legislature – narrowly controlled by Republicans – the formal power to revoke the certified results of a presidential election.

In particular, HB 2720 states that the legislature “may revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certificate of election.” Notably, the bill would not grant the lawmakers the power to overturn the result of elections for the legislature itself.

Laurie Roberts, a columnist for the Arizona Republic, noted the bill would “allow the legislature to ignore the state’s presidential election results and choose its own winner right up until the moment a president-elect steps up to the podium and puts his hand on the Bible.”

Ironically, the sponsor of the legislation is not herself known for strict adherence to electoral regulations.

In 2020, Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled that Bolick herself violated state law when she failed to disclose her actual home address in a filing with election officials.

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

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