Fox News is debunking election fraud claims made by its own anchors in response to a legal threat

Rudy Giuliani on Lou Dobbs Fox Business
Rudy Giuliani on Lou Dobbs’ show on Fox Business.

  • For weeks, Fox News hosts have peddled allegations of widespread voter fraud occurring in the 2020 election, a baseless claim that was first made by President Donald Trump. 
  • Election software company Smartmatic sent Fox News a legal threat demanding a “full retraction” of these falsities and inaccuracies. 
  • In response, Fox News created and aired a segment dedicated to debunking various inaccuracies and falsities related to the results of the 2020 election. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Over the weekend, Fox News aired a segment that debunked some of the election fraud claims made by its own hosts and anchors.

The network put together a news package that ran across various Fox News and Fox Business Network shows, starting with Lou Dobbs’ show on Friday night. Fox created the segment in response to a legal threat from election software company Smartmatic.

On December 10, Smartmatic hit Fox with a 20-page demand letter obtained by Business Insider asking for “a full and complete retraction of all false and defamatory statements and reports” about the 2020 election. 

Fox News engaged in “a concerted disinformation campaign against Smartmatic” by “continually and repeatedly published demonstrably false information and defamatory statements,” said the letter, which was addressed to Fox News executive vice president and general counsel Lily Fu Claffee. 

“Fox News told its millions of viewers and readers that Smartmatic was founded by Hugo Chávez, that its software was designed to fix elections, and that Smartmatic conspired with others to defraud the American people and fix the 2020 U.S. election by changing, inflating, and deleting votes,” the letter said. 

After the election was called for Joe Biden, Dobbs and other Fox hosts have staunchly defended President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani – who is one of the people spearheading dozens of lawsuits alleging fraud – appeared on Fox News to cast doubt on the election results.  Sidney Powell, another attorney Trump hired to challenge the election, also appeared on the network.

In its letter to the network, Smartmatic said Fox should not have offered either of them a platform to spread baseless claims to millions of people nationwide. 

“Fox News used its anchors and on-air guests, including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, to spread lies about a company that had absolutely nothing to do with the voting that took place in areas at the heart of the ‘conspiracies’ discussed following the 2020 U.S. election,” the letter said.

Fox’s segment in response to the letter debunked election fraud claims from both Giuliani and Powell, as well as other Trump supporters. 

In the segment’s original airing Friday night on his primetime evening show, Dobbs introduced the package by telling viewers that “there are lots of opinions about the integrity of the election.” He then brought on Edward Perez, who works with the Open Source Election Technology Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to evaluating election technology.

 

 

“I have not seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to delete, change, alter, anything related to vote tabulation,” said Perez, who spoke in what appeared to be a prerecorded segment. 

A Fox News spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the segment aired on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on Friday, “Justice with Judge Jeanine” on Saturday, and “Sunday Morning Futures” on Sunday. 

SmartMatic sent out letters containing similar demands to other conservative networks, including Newsmax and One America News, a spokesperson at the election software company told Business Insider. Newsmax and One America News did not immediately return requests for comment.

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Trump supporters rally to overturn the 2020 election, even as the courts continue striking down lawsuits contesting the results

Melissa Regan Trump rally December 12
“We came here to fight for our freedom,” said Melissa Regan from Pike County, Ohio. “We are tired of the corruption, of the stealing of this election.”

  • As President Donald Trump continues to falsely insist he won the presidential election, his supporters are rallying behind him.
  • They gathered in droves today in Washington, DC, to defend Trump’s unsubstantiated accusations of mass voter fraud that have been disproven many times over the last month.
  • President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election, and will take office January 20, a point that Trump has not yet explicitly acknowledged.
  • Trump’s supporters at the march also refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory, parroting the same baseless allegations the president has been making since the results came out in November.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Washington, DC, on Saturday in support of President Donald Trump’s failed efforts to overturn the 2020 election. 

Hundreds of members of the far-right Proud Boys were part of the crowd, according to WTOP journalist Alejandro Alvarez, who tweeted a video of a mass of men chanting “fuck antifa” as they walked past a bus advertising the march. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Proud Boys as a hate group with ties to white nationalism. 

The crowd was largely made up of people who refuse to accept that President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated next month. January 20 will mark the start of Biden’s presidency. 

Biden won the presidential election with 306 electoral votes, thanks to key battleground states such as Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Trump secured just 232 electoral votes. All states have now certified their vote counts, finalizing the election results. 

Since Biden’s victory weeks ago, Trump has refused to explicitly acknowledge his loss. In the hours after the race was called for Biden, Trump said the “election is far from over.” 

He’s since doubled down and sought to overturn the results in state and federal courts across the country. The Trump campaign and the president’s allies have so far filed, and lost, dozens of lawsuits in multiple battleground states contesting the results.

And allegations of voter fraud have been struck down and disproven numerous times since Trump and his lawyers presented their arguments. The Trump-appointed Attorney General Bill Barr, who’s repeatedly positioned himself as one of the president’s strongest defenders, conceded earlier this month that neither the Justice Department nor the FBI found widespread evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

The Supreme Court dealt the latest blow on Friday, when it struck down a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to overturn election results in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia.

In the justices’ order throwing out the lawsuit, they cited a lack of “standing,” meaning that Paxton had not sufficiently proved that the state of Texas was harmed in any particular way that could be addressed by the court.

Still, Trump continues to claim otherwise, posting frequently on his personal Twitter account about widespread voter fraud and a “rigged” election. Saturday’s rally is proof that his baseless rhetoric is continuing to resonate with his constituents, despite all the evidence that says voter fraud did not occur.

Business Insider asked some people who attended why they are aligning themselves with Trump’s allegations of voter fraud. Here’s what they had to say.

Andrew Lichtenstein contributed reporting.

“If this election stands, we just do not have a country anymore. It’s as if we are saying, ‘Here, China, take it.'”

Seth Rosenblit, 61, West Hartford, CT, self-employed
Rosenblit is 61 and self-employed, and is from West Hartford, Connecticut.

“I support the president. I know he won the election,” Seth Rosenblit told Business Insider. “They stole our vote, and I will not accept it. That’s why I’m here,” he continued. “It’s just unacceptable.”

“We the people are not going to stop, and I’m speaking for the majority of Americans.”

Tina Fortey, New York City, political activist
Fortey is a political activist from New York City.

“I’m here to fight for our freedoms and to fight for my president against the fraud of this election,” Tina Fortey said.

“We must take our country back. Trump won,” she said, adding that she was “speaking for the majority of Americans,” though Biden won the election with 81 million votes, compared to Trump’s 74 million.

“Time will tell, but President Trump is always 10 steps ahead of everything.”

Dylan Quattrucci, 23
Quattrucci is a 23-year-old from Carmel, New York.

“I’m here today because I believe in election integrity,” Dylan Quattrucci said, before repeating several false allegations about voting machines and election misconduct, which have previously been disproven.

“Dominion machines are responsible for miscounting thousands of votes, and suitcases were found with thousands of votes in the key swing states,” Quattrucci said, likely referring to a viral video showing Georgia election workers taking out large bins of ballots from underneath tables. 

Georgia officials have investigated the videos and determined all the workers were following normal vote-counting procedures, and the bins were full of legal votes that had simply been stored under tables due to the room’s lack of space.

Trump supporters have also accused Dominion Voting Systems of enabling vast voter fraud in the country. In late November, the company tore into one of Trump’s lawsuits claiming “massive election fraud” and called the allegations “baseless,” “senseless,” and “physically impossible.” The company is not a defendant, but it’s mentioned in multiple instances throughout the 104-page Georgia lawsuit.

“I want a full audit of the vote so that we can have faith in free and fair elections in the future,” Quattrucci added, though most states are already required by law to conduct post-election audits, which so far have not found any instances of widespread voter fraud.

“People need to awaken.”

Scott Schultheis, 42, Detroit, Michigan, contractor
Schultheis is a 42-year-old contractor from Detroit, Michigan.

“I’m here for liberty, justice, freedom, and the American dream. Biden is going to take all of those rights away,” Scott Schultheis said, incorrectly adding that “Trump won in a landslide.”

Schultheis described how he noticed Trump appeared to be ahead of Biden by 200,000 votes when he took a nap as election results were coming in on November 4. When Schultheis woke up, “he was losing.”

He continued: “Come on. The fraud is so obvious, it’s disgusting.”

In fact, Schultheis was describing a common misconception about how counties count ballots and report their election results. “Fraud” did not make Trump lose his lead — rather, Trump was never technically leading. Though he appeared to be ahead of Biden in several states on November 3, not enough votes had been counted at the time to accurately project a winner.

Trump’s apparent lead diminished as counties began to report more results, which consisted of legally cast votes that went largely for Biden.

In Pennsylvania, for instance, some counties barred election workers from counting legally cast mail-in ballots on Election Day, requiring them to wait until the next morning to begin counting.

Since the batches of legally cast mail-in votes in many states leaned disproportionately Democratic, Biden’s victory only became clear after those batches were counted and reported.

“There is going to be a bloodbath to pay for it.”

MAGA06.JPG
Warb is retired and lives in Monroe, North Carolina.

“People spoke up when they voted, and that vote was robbed,” Donna Warb told Business Insider. “Everyone knows it and no one is doing anything about it.”

“So we are here in DC to just do the little bit that we can,” Warb continued. “If we do not win, if we do not get this corrected, we are going to be a communist country under a communist leader, and there is going to be a bloodbath to pay for it.”

“I’m a mom and a proud American, and I’m really scared about what is happening in this country.”

MAGA07.JPG
Morin is a 52-year-old mom working in IT in Albany, New York.

“We must speak up. For me, it’s not about an election. It’ about the truth, and good versus evil. I just never realized how much of this country was surrounded by evil,” Lisa Morin said.

“Trump is speaking on our behalf, he is our voice, and watching that voice try to be silenced, it’s just so sad,” she added.

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Republican legislators are refusing to pay two Wisconsin counties the $3 million they’re owed for conducting election recounts

wisconsin recount
Observers listen as procedural issues are argued during the process of recounting ballots from the November 3 election.

  • A committee that’s part of the Republican-led state legislature in Wisconsin is refusing to pay two Wisconsin counties the $3 million they’re owed for conducting election vote recounts, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • It is unclear why these unnamed Republicans are withholding the money.
  • Residents in Dane and Milwaukee counties overwhelmingly voted for President-elect Joe Biden.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Two Wisconsin counties are being denied the money they’re owed for conducting election vote recounts, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The Trump 2020 campaign paid a total of $3 million to Dane and Milwaukee counties after demanding recounts there. President Donald Trump initially lost to Joe Biden by 0.6 percentage points. When the recount was finalized, Biden’s margin of victory had increased.

Candidates requesting officials to recount votes are responsible for the cost, according to Ballotpedia, unless the recount alters the result in favor of another candidate. In that case, the state will cover the recount cost.

The Trump campaign already paid the $3 million recount fee, but the state’s legislature’s budget committee, which has a Republican majority, is withholding it. Republican legislators have not specified why.

A letter from the state’s Joint Finance Committee said one of its 16 members opposed paying the two counties the $3 million they’re owed. The member was not named in the letter.

Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher tweeted out the letter, sent to her from Republican committee leaders Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Mark Born.

“Just learned that the republicans are objecting to reimbursing Dane County for Donald Trump’s recount,” Eicher said. “Expenses were incurred. We did our job. Time to pay the bill. We’re not a contractor Trump and his allies in the WIGOP can stiff.”

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Wisconsin is just one of the states where Trump filed dozens of lawsuits alleging widespread voter fraud. He’s won none so far. Recount efforts across Wisconsin and other states have not altered the results of the 2020 election. Biden is expected to begin his presidency on January 20, the day he will be inaugurated into office. 

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