- Guest: Lawfare's Anna Bower on inexplicable omissions in the Georgia state agency's long-awaited, nearly 400-page criminal investigation...
This is just getting ridiculous. As detailed on today's BradCast, the long-awaited, criminal report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) on Team Trump's unlawful January 7, 2021 breach, copying and distribution of Georgia's statewide voting system software in rural Coffee County, appears to leave out more than it includes! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]
Our guest today is ANNA BOWER, Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent at Lawfare. She recently obtained the report [PDF] and yesterday published extensive coverage under the headline, "What the GBI Missed in Coffee County: At almost 400 pages, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation report on the Coffee County caper looks impressive. It's not."
"One could be forgiven for thinking initially that the GBI's report on Coffee County is an authoritative account. It is, after all, nearly 400 pages long, and those pages summarize a voluminous body of evidence. ... But the document turns out to reflect a less vigorous investigation of the effort to unlawfully access the state's voting machines than may initially appear," Bowers reports.
In fact, she continues, "The document suggests, rather, that the GBI did not investigate the Coffee County affair fully at all. The agency relied almost entirely on the previous work of civil litigants [that would be frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks and her Coalition for Good Governance] and the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. It failed to seek interviews with key witnesses, and it omitted relevant evidence that is readily available in public documents."
And yet, GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger has been citing the GBI's long-running investigation as one of the reasons that his office has taken virtually no action over the past two and a half years in response to the unprecedented breach which threatens the legitimacy of next year's Presidential election in the critical battleground state. He has even ignored the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's warning to immediately apply security patches created by Dominion Voting Systems following the breach.
While Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has brought criminal charges [PDF] against five of Donald Trump's alleged co-conspirators involved in the scheme -- including Trump attorney Sidney Powell, Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall (both of whom have pleaded guilty), former Coffee County GOP Chair and fake elector Cathy Latham and former Coffee County Election Supervisor Misty Hampton (both of whom pleaded not guilty) -- there were dozens more involved in the plot that have yet to be brought to account by anyone.
Moreover, according to Bower, GA's Republican state Attorney General Chris Carr, who has also cited the GBI's criminal probe as explanation for a lack of state charges to date, has "been ill served" by his investigative department. Maybe, however, like Raffensperger and the State Board of Elections, he's just fine with that.
While there is almost zero new information of note in the GBI's long-awaited report, as Bower details on today's program, the state agency inexplicably leaves out enormous, well known chunks of the story -- such as the infamous Trump Oval Office meeting on December 18, 2020 when the Coffee County plot was hatched with Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn and others who were not interviewed in the agency's criminal probe. "In total," Bower explains, the GBI "interviewed only about 15 individuals" in their year and a half probe, "Many, if not most, of those interviews were conducted in under an hour."
"This account does not even attempt to answer certain key questions. Who devised the plan to access voting systems in Coffee County? When did the plan first arise? Who or what connected the then-president's attorneys to several locals in rural South Georgia? The report bizarrely omits readily available facts that help connect these dots."
On today's show, we attempt to connect at least some of the dots that the GBI didn't bother to, including those involving bedding impresario Mike Lindell and his still-unexplained, two-hour visit to the County in his private plane after flying from Mar-a-Lago to D.C. and back down to rural Southeast Georgia just prior to the breach; why the GBI would be seemingly be working so hard to cover up what actually happened; and why all of this is critically important to the state's (and nation's!) 2024 elections.
"For Georgians who care about elections, for Georgians who think that it's very serious that the then-President's legal team, aided by local allies in Coffee County, had a plot, a conspiracy, to copy and distribute Georgia's most sensitive voting system data, that is incredibly serious, and it warrants a serious investigation. And that just didn't happen here," Bower tells me.
"Georgia continues to use the same software and the Sec. of State's office has said there will not be an update before the 2024 elections. Election security experts have said that means that we could have increased risk in terms of vulnerability during the 2024 election. That software data that has been distributed and is still out in the wild from Coffee County [and] could be used for disinformation campaigns, because people can take the otherwise legitimate data, and make it look either edited or selectively presented. Adversaries could basically use that software to test it for vulnerabilities, and then potentially use that in the future for subverting the operation of that software through malware or other" means.
Federally, she observes, she has seen few signs that Special Counsel Jack Smith is investigating "these multi-state breaches. That, in itself, is concerning"...
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[Cross-posted from The BRAD BLOG...]