Trump’s Election-Denying Lawyer Is Prepping Right-Wing Activists to Monitor the Next One

Cleta Mitchell, one of a handful of lawyers who attempted to wreck the 2020 presidential election on behalf of then-President Donald Trump in part through baseless allegations of fraud, is now working with right-wing organizations to recruit an “army of citizens” to run the polls to monitor The New York Times detailed in a report Monday.

According to the report, Mitchell works with groups such as the Tea Party Patriots and the Republican National Committee through the Election Integrity Network. The Election Integrity Network is part of the Conservative Partnership Institute, where Mark Meadows, former Trump White House chief of staff, is a senior partner. Save America PAC, Trump’s political action committee, gave the institute $1 million in 2021.

“Fostering the nature of Mitchell’s work[s] particularly aggressive methods – with an emphasis on surveillance – which appear to be aimed at fueling activist suspicions and putting pressure on local officials, rather than securing voters’ access to the ballot papers,” the report said. Their organizing efforts in Virginia, for example, have supported a coalition that includes a group that favors hand-counting of ballots. That group, Virginians for Americans First, was funded by Patrick Byrne, a key figure in Trump-ally fundraising programs based on false claims of voter fraud.

In a recent conversation with more than 150 activists in Pennsylvania, Mitchell described the motivation behind her work: “We’re taking the lessons we learned in 2020 and we’re going to make sure they never happen again.”

When asked about her efforts at the event, Mitchell declined to speak to her Timesbut later emailed a glossy statement that said, “The American electoral system involves citizen engagement, and we train people to fill the roles outlined in the bylaws.”

Mitchell has worked with Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, through the Council for National Policy, a conservative networking group, on outreach to activists, the report said. Thomas herself worked to overturn the 2020 election results when she contacted not only the Trump White House and Republican congressmen with requests to ignore the will of the people, but also GOP state lawmakers in Arizona.

It was Mitchell who, after being chosen by Trump in August 2020 to lead post-election lawsuits, brought attorney John Eastman on board. A memo Eastman authored directing then-Vice President Mike Pence to disallow voters from battleground states like Arizona where Joe Biden had won was clearly illegal, a judge ruled in March. Like Thomas, Eastman contacted state GOP lawmakers — this time in Pennsylvania — claiming they could just throw out valid absentee ballots.

Mitchell also participated in the January 2021 phone call in which Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to “find” enough votes to ensure Biden didn’t come out on top. Trump’s Election-Denying Lawyer Is Prepping Right-Wing Activists to Monitor the Next One

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