Assessing the Various Claims in Mike Lindell’s ‘Absolute Proof’
The MyPillow CEO recycled numerous debunked claims in his documentary.
|Khaya Himmelman||Feb 16||53||19|
Close to a month into Joe Biden’s presidency, Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow and a Donald Trump supporter, has released a two-hour documentary called Absolute Proof purporting to show that Trump won the 2020 election. The film premiered on February 5 and aired several times on One America News, which ran a disclaimer ahead of the airings emphasizing that Lindell purchased the airtime and that the outlet was not responsible for its contents. It was also released on Vimeo and YouTube, but has since been removed from both platforms for violation of community guidelines.
Lindell explained that he made this documentary to show “deviations on election night” that he said “didn’t make any sense.” Lindell claims that the film proves there is “100 percent evidence” that “these [voting] machines were used to steal our election by other countries including China.” To prove this, Lindell and a series of “experts” recycle many of the same rumors Trump and his lawyers spread for months after the election.
Before interviewing “forensic experts'' to explain what he calls the “biggest cyber attack in history,” Lindell points to what he believes are suspicious voting inconsistencies in certain states. For example, he highlights Maricopa County, Arizona, where he claims there are some “296,589 ballots demanding investigation,” with the biggest source coming from a supposed 150,000 ballots from voters who registered after the registration deadline.
This isn’t true. In the month before the election, a federal judge ruled in favor of extending Arizona’s voter registration deadline from October 5 until October 23. An appeals court overturned that decision, and ended registration on October 15. The Tucson Sentinel reported that there were fewer than 20,000 new registered voters--not 150,000--in Maricopa County during the extended period between October 5 and October 15. Furthermore, in December a U.S. district court judge dismissed allegations of voter fraud, specifically claims of illegal votes and foreign interference in Arizona in December, saying that the case was “sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence,” reported USA Today.
Lindell also points to supposed inconsistencies in Pennsylvania. He recycles the claim of the alleged “100,000 fake ballots driven from New York to Pennsylvania,” a claim we examined in an earlier fact check, where we wrote about U.S. Postal Service subcontractor Jesse Morgan alleging that on October 21 he drove “ballots with return addresses filled out. Thousands of them. Thousands. Loaded onto my trailer in New York and headed to Pennsylvania.”
Morgan’s allegation is not evidence of fraud. “Craig Lehman, commissioner for the County of Lancaster, also told The Dispatch Fact Check via email that ‘receiving absentee applications in which the registered PA voter requests their ballot to be mailed out of state, while it is not the norm, it is something that we see for every primary and general election.’”
Lindell then called on his first expert, Colonel Phil Waldron, who describes himself as having a background in “information warfare.” The Trump legal team has used Waldron as an expert in states like Arizona, Michigan, and Georgia where they’ve pushed aggressively to overturn the results. . In the video, Waldron appears to give his take on what Lindell calls the “machines that were used to hack into our election by foreign countries.” Waldron repeats the familiar rumor that Dominion Voting Systems, and similar voting technology, switched votes from Trump to Joe Biden. There is no evidence to support this claim.
The Dispatch’sAlec Dent fact-checked many of these claims about “switching votes” and Dominion Voting Systems. “Many of the claims about Dominion can be traced to its alleged role in vote-counting errors in Antrim County, Michigan, and several counties in Georgia. Antrim County revealed it had inadvertently misreported a number of votes in unofficial results. Michigan’s secretary of state announced that it was not a software issue, but ‘user human error’ that led to the misreporting, and clarified that ‘the correct results always were and continue to be reflected on the tabulator totals tape and on the ballots themselves. Even if the error in the reported unofficial results had not been quickly noticed, it would have been identified during the county canvass.’”
Waldron also claimed that Dominion has ties to China and that the Chinese Communist Party “does have access to the Dominion code.” There is no evidence to support this claim.. “Dominion began as a Canadian company and was later incorporated in the United States. One of the company's founders, John Poulos, serves as CEO. Dominion and other voting system manufacturers submit extensive company disclosures to federal and state authorities as terms of product testing and system certification. The company has no ownership ties whatsoever to UBS, or the governments of China, Cuba, or Venezuela,” Dominion declared in a statement. The company adds: “[N]o foreign national directly or indirectly owns or controls the company.” ”
Next, Lindell interviews Russell Ramsland, a former Republican congressional candidate who also filed affidavits in several lawsuits alleging voter fraud after the election. Ramsland repeats the claim that there was foreign interference in the election. Again, there is no evidence to support this claim. As noted in a previous fact check: “A joint statement from the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees says: ‘There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.’”
Also, Attorney General William Barr said on December 1, that there was no evidence of voter fraud that would have impacted the results of the election. Barr told the Associated Press that ““to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” Barr also told the Associated Press that “[T]here’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”
Ramsland also mentions an incident of alleged fraud in Antrim County, Michigan. Ramsland references a forensics report he was involved with in December, which was released by Allied Security Operations Group to “test the integrity of Dominion Voting Systems in how it performed in Antrim County, Michigan for the 2020 election.”
The report in question claims that there was an election error rate of 68.05 percent, meaning that the system tabulators allegedly read votes incorrectly 68.05 percent of the time. “The allowable election error rate established by the Federal Election Commission guidelines is of 1 in 250,000 ballots (.0008%),” the report reads. “We observed an error rate of 68.05%.”
The report’s claim that the FEC has any kind of “allowable election error rate” is false. The FEC is in charge of “administering and enforcing the federal campaign finance law,” and does not oversee voting equipment. The Election Assistance Commision or EAC “tests and certifies hardware and software, and may also decertify those systems,” and has certified Antrim County’s Dominion Voting System technology.
Furthermore, Dominion has addressed this rumor: “Michigan’s Dominion voting system tabulators do not read ballots incorrectly 68% of the time. The so-called ‘forensic analysis’ report that is being referenced, while ambiguous and technically incoherent in many places, does not even try to make this claim. The report is severely flawed, having been produced by Russell Ramsland Jr. of Allied Security Operations Group (“ASOG”), a firm with a history of spreading disinformation as part of error-prone affidavits for lawsuits (i.e. mistaking Minnesota for Michigan, for example).”
For more context, it’s worth mentioning that in a voter analysis from Ramsland, intended to prove voter fraud due to issues with Dominion Voting Systems, Ramsland confused voting jurisdictions in Minnesota for Michigan. He falsely claimed in his analysis, that jurisdictions in Minnesota, which he labeled Michigan, had more votes cast than the number of registered voters. In a November 19 press conference, Rudy Giuliani, a member of Trump’s legal team, cited Ramsland's flawed affidavit as proof of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Jonathan Brater, director of elections in Michigan, said in a court filing December 13 that the Allied Security Operations Group’s report “makes a series of unsupported conclusions, ascribes motives of fraud and obfuscation to processes that are easily explained as routine election procedures or error corrections, and suggests without explanation that elements of election software not used in Michigan are somehow responsible for tabulation or reporting that are either nonexistent or easily explained.”
Lindell also interviews Melissa Carone, supposed whistleblower and contractor for Dominion Voting Systems in Detroit, who claimed to have witnessed workers scanning the same ballots multiple times.There is no corroborating evidence to support Carone’s claims and a judge that looked in details at her allegations found them “simply not credible.” In a fact check from early December, we explained as follows: “Carone’s affidavit, as reported by the Washington Post, was included in the lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign that sought to stop the certification of Wayne County’s election results. Wayne County circuit judge Timothy M. Kenny, however, denied that request. In his ruling, Kenny described Carone’s statement as follows: ‘There are no other reports of lost data, or tabulating machines that jammed repeatedly every hour during the count. Neither Republican nor Democratic challengers nor city officials substantiate her version of events.’ He then said Carone’s allegations were ‘simply not credible.’”
Dominion Voting Systems has sued both Giuliani and Sydeny Powell for defamation, while Dominion competitor Smartmatic has sued Fox News. Dominion spokesman Michael Steel addressed whether or not Lindell will be sued by Dominion Voting Systems in an email to the Dispatch Fact Check: “Dominion hasn't ruled anyone out for future litigation and there will be more lawsuits. As we've mentioned, Lindell is begging to be sued and we may soon oblige him.”
Before airing Absolute Proof, OAN issued a disclaimer distancing itself from Lindell and the content of the film, stating hat Lindell has “purchased the airtime for the broadcast of this program on One American News” and that Lindell is the “sole author and executive producer of this content and is solely and exclusively responsible for its content.” The disclaimer also says that “the statements and claims expressed in this program are presented at this time as opinions only and are not intended to be taken or interpreted by the viewer as established facts.”
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