For weeks, CNN’s New Day has been claiming that President Trump has been harming the election process by making claims of voter fraud and abuse. It is hard to imagine how these statements could be hurting the process more than New Day did by openly speculating, with no evidence, that the only way Trump can win reelection is by using the military or the justice department to steal the election. Camerota declared “The President is open to violence; the President sounds he like wants violence until his conditions are met.”
As was noted in an earlier article, President Trump responded to a leading question by a reporting asking if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power by stating “We'll have see to what happens.” He then bemoaned the election fraud that has been documented across the country. It was noted that the President never once brought up the possibility of violence.
John Berman and his co-host Alisyn Camerota, however, have taken this to mean that the President will use any means necessary to stay in power this November. Berman proclaimed “To be clear, the refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer in and of itself is an implicit threat of violence." Their guest, Atlantic reporter Barton Gellman said
“You also have a situation in which Trump has the executive power of the United States. … If he is claiming that foreign countries are sending in millions of fraudulent mail votes, he can order federal forces to see the mail ballots at post offices as evidence in an ongoing national security investigation. I mean, the limits are only his imagination.”
Political Correspondent Abby Phillip gave a scenario where the President uses his authority to remove the mail in ballots, refuses to concede, and then has his new Supreme Court Justice to help him win the case and get reelected. This was treated as the only way that the President could win reelection.
Hours after this segment, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany further discounted their tirades, stating “The President will accept the results of a fair and free election.” She also reiterated the President’s statements about voter fraud in the election, noting that already valid ballots for Trump have been thrown out.
This is just the latest attempt to further advance the campaign of Joe Biden by advancing the narrative that the only way Trump can win is by literally stealing the election. It is curious how unbiased new sources are so adamant about the election results six weeks away from said election. It seems that it is CNN that is making statements that undermine faith in the election.
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A transcript of the September 24 Coverage is included below:
JOHN BERMAN: We want to begin, though, with the president's refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power. Joining us now, CNN political correspondent, Abby Phillip, and Barton Gellman, a staff writer at the "Atlantic," who just this week, like hours before the president said what he said, Barton published a story that said "The election that could break America." I think it's worth playing one more time what the president said. And I will preface this again by saying, the peaceful transfer of power is central to our republic. It's one of the defining aspects of our republic. The president is asked directly about that and this is what he said.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transfer feral of power after the election?
DONALD TRUMP: We'll have see to what happens. You know, I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster.
REPORTER: I understand that, but people are rioting.
TRUMP: Well, get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very -- there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation.
BERMAN: To be clear, the refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer in and of itself is an implicit threat of violence. So Barton Gellman, there are people who are like, oh, no, this is just the president using words. He would never actually act in any way that might slow down the transfer. Well, you wrote a whole article and you have the receipts about actions that are there are being taken that might impede the peaceful transfer. What do you see here?
BARTON GELLMAN [Staff Writer, The Atlantic]: Well, the whole premise of the President's campaign is that Donald Trump will never concede defeat in the election, no matter what. The most important parts to me of what the President just said yesterday was that there won't be a transfer, frankly. He is not going to concede defeat under any circumstances. And they have, therefore, built a campaign around the idea that he may not be able to win if all the votes are counted. And therefore, they need to have a very powerful legal apparatus to challenge the votes, to try to suppress the votes, and to stop the count early. And they have talked about contingency plans, in which they would bypass the vote entirely in certain states, and seek to have electors favorable to Trump appointed directly by state legislatures, which is a power they have under the constitution. It's just not something we're used to having in modern American history. We're accustomed to the idea that we vote and the electors are appointed to correspond to our votes. That whoever wins the most votes in Pennsylvania gets the Pennsylvania elector. Trump, his people are talking to state legislatures about the idea that the legislator itself can appoint electors loyal to Trump, no matter what the vote is, on the grounds that the vote is rigged, or fraudulent, or incomplete.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Okay, just to put a finer point on that, because that's a bombshell. When the president said yesterday, get rid of the ballots and you'll have very peaceful -- well, there won't be a transfer, frankly, there will be a continuation. He is telegraphing what your reporting is, because you have actually spoken, Barton, to the head of the Republican party in Pennsylvania. They're already talking about how state legislatures would circumvent the popular vote.
GELLMAN: The last time this happened was 1876 and it very, very led to civil war. You had two people claiming to be President-Elect until two days before the inauguration and the threat of martial law. This is very serious stuff.
BERMAN: Abby Phillip, you were in the room or you've been in that press briefing room when the President has answered questions before, so you know how he behaves. What was said yesterday was next-level stuff. This is not just, oh, the President has been talking about rigged elections for years. This was a question about the peaceful transfer of power. So what did you hear?
ABBY PHILLIP [CNN Political Correspondent]: The president has been engaged for many, many months in a systemic effort to undermine faith in ballots that are not counted for him. Frankly, I mean, this whole idea that mail-in ballots are fraudulent is all about trying to discount ballots that are likely to vote go for his opponent, Biden. And we know that, because poll after poll, internal democratic polls, public polls show a majority of Democrats say that they are planning to vote at a time that is not on the day of election day, either early or by mail-in ballot absentee. So the President has been doing that for months and this is the next step to say, if I can get rid of those ballots, if I can force them to not be counted, we won't have to transfer power, because I'm going to be re-elected and the third part of this is the Supreme Court. The other thing that President Trump said yesterday was that he needed to make sure that there was a ninth justice on the court to replace Justice Ginsburg, because he knew that after the election, he -- the legal strategy is in part to push all of these voting cases to the Supreme Court. The President believes that the court would then rule in his favor because of a conservative tilt. I think you have to take all of those things together and you see what is happening here, which is the President is trying to create a world in which mail-in ballots are not counted or viewed as fraudulent, he doesn't concede, and it gets settled perhaps in the court or in the way that Barton outlines in his excellent piece in "The Atlantic," this week.
CAMEROTA: Barton, this is happening in real-time. The President likes chaos so much and I think that on some level our central nervous symptoms have adapted where we have to sweep it away each day. But there comes a moment in time where you have to mark your calendar and you have to note it and you have to say, today something different happened. And yesterday was that day -- yesterday was the day, the adage about the frog boiling slowly in hot water, the heat was turned up yesterday. The President is open to violence, the President sounds he like wants violence until his conditions are met.
GELLMAN: I think what you have is someone who is planning all contingencies in ways that use the full range of his powers. Well beyond the norm that we've been accustomed to, and quite possibly, well beyond the law. One of the things we have to look out for on election day is that he takes traditional Republican voter suppression techniques to a new level. This is the first election in 40 years that will be run without a dissent decree that gave judicial supervision to what the Republicans were doing at the poll stations, in what they call ballot security. So you had people running around in uniforms and arm patches and guns and radios confronting voters, demanding proof of eligibility to vote. Barging into poll workers, intimidating people so they wouldn't vote. That is something that was done with off-duty police, sheriffs with and so forth. This year, those restrictions no longer apply. But you also have a situation in which Trump has the executive power of the United States. He doesn't have to use off-duty cops. If he is claiming that foreign countries are sending in millions of fraudulent mail votes, he can order federal forces to see the mail ballots at post offices as evidence in an ongoing national security investigation. I mean, the limits are only his imagination.
BERMAN: So Abby, there are what, 53 Republican senators right now? There are a couple of dozen Republican governors and, you know, more than 150 Republican house members. I think we've heard from exactly one of them. One of them this morning, condemning what the President said. And that's Mitt Romney. Let me read you what he wrote overnight. Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power. Without that there is Belarus. Any suggestion that the president might not respect the constitutional guarantee is unthinkable and unacceptable. Mitt Romney very specifically brought up Belarus in its point, because yesterday the State Department said that we're not going to recognize the President of Belarus, because he's not committed to the peaceful transfer of power. So you almost expect a statement from the State Department saying they're not going to recognize the President because he's not committed to a peaceful transfer of power. The irony is rich there and the danger high.
PHILLIP: Mitt Romney is alone in speaking out about something that should be straight forward for Republicans to speak out about. We'll see how many of them are asked about this today, on Capitol Hill or wherever they are. They're going to, I'm sure, say they didn't see it or hear it or read about it, because they've been under a rock or something. But I think that you can expect to not hear a whole lot of condemnation about this. And also to hear what you indicated earlier, which is a lot of Republicans are gonna say that the President doesn't mean it. That he doesn't actually plan to do any of these things. And frankly, we don't know. I think that that's the undercurrent of this conversation is that we don't know what he is going to do. But by the time we find out, it will be too late. And the one thing that has been different about this President is that unlike all of the other times, with very, very few expectations, the idea that you would not concede has really never been something that candidates and Presidents have talked about and mused about. It's just not done. But this President is doing it. And one more point on Barton's point about the President making all of these claims about foreign ballots, et cetera. The one thing we should also look out for is the Attorney General, Bill Barr, who has doubled down on these false narratives about mail-in voting, implying with absolutely no evidence that foreign countries might seek to print ballots, that mail-in ballots are rife with fraud. There is no evidence of that. But the Attorney General of the United States has backed the President up on that. And I think that that is a real significant thing that should not be overlooked.
BERMAN: On the importance of the question of whether or not the President would do it, what makes Barton's reporting so remarkable is the evidence that Barton found that he is doing it already. The campaign is already doing it. Abby Phillips, thank you. Barton Gellman, terrific reporting. Everyone should go read your piece in "The Atlantic "As soon as we go to commercial.