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The case will now go back to District Judge Emmet Sullivan

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in an 8-2 decision that D.C. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan does not have to grant prosecutors’ motion to dismiss the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The en banc review by the full court (minus Judge Gregory Katsas, who recused himself) reverses the decision of a three-judge panel, which had issued a writ of mandamus ordering Sullivan to toss the case. Flynn had argued that Sullivan overstepped his authority by appointing a third-party amicus curiae (friend of the court) to argue against dismissal, even though Flynn and the Justice Department agreed to dispose of the case.

“Quite simply, the only separation-of-powers question we must answer at this juncture is whether the appointment of an amicus and the scheduling of briefing and argument is a clearly, indisputably impermissible intrusion upon Executive authority, because that is all that the District Judge has ordered at this point,” the court’s opinion said.

“We have no trouble answering that question in the negative, because precedent and experience have recognized the authority of courts to appoint an amicus to assist their decision-making in similar circumstances, including in criminal cases and even when the movant is the government,” the opinion continued.

While case dismissals are, by rule, done “leave of court,” Flynn’s legal team argued that in the vast majority of cases that is a mere formality and this case did not warrant being the rare exception where a judge needed to step in for further review.

In this Dec. 1, 2017, file photo, Michael Flynn, center, arrives at federal court in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Judge Neomi Rao argued in a dissenting opinion that Sullivan is acting improperly because “it is long settled that a district court cannot supervise the prosecutorial decisions of the Executive Branch.” In a separate dissent, Judge Karen Henderson stated that Sullivan should have been disqualified from the case because his “conduct patently draws his impartiality into question.”

The case will now go back to Sullivan in the District Court, where it is expected he will hear oral arguments from the DOJ — which has argued in favor of dismissal — and retired Judge John Gleeson, who was appointed as amicus and already filed a brief opposing dismissal.

Should Sullivan decide against dismissing the case following arguments, the case would once again move towards sentencing.

Federal prosecutors moved to dismiss Flynn’s case — in which he had previously pleaded guilty to providing false statements to the FBI — after FBI records called into question the circumstances surrounding Flynn’s interview with investigators. The DOJ was criticized by Democrats for giving Flynn unusual and improperly kind treatment due to his connection to President Trump.

Fox News’ Bill Mears contributed to this report.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: DC Circuit court rules against Flynn case dismissal

Here is the list of convention speakers

President Trump will not just be delivering an address on the final night of this week’s Republican National Convention to accept his nomination for the presidential election — he will be appearing every night of the convention.

Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller confirmed the reports during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“You’ll have President Trump speaking at various parts of each of the nights,” Miller said.

A Trump campaign official told Fox News that the president’s actual speech will take place Thursday, but that Trump will be “actively engaged in each night” of the convention. According to the New York Times, Trump is set to appear each night during the 10 p.m. hour.

The Trump campaign announced the full roster of speakers for the convention on Sunday. The list shows that other members of the Trump family will appear each night, including first lady Melania Trump, the president’s children: Ivanka, Tiffany, Donald Jr., and Eric — and Eric’s wife Lara Trump.

Other speakers will include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., former Ambassador Nikki Haley, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and UFC president Dana White.

Here is the full list provided by the Trump campaign.

Monday

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio

Former Ambassador Nikki Haley

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones

Amy Johnson Ford

Kimberly Guilfoyle

Natalie Harp

Charlie Kirk

Kim Klacik

Mark and Patricia McCloskey

Sean Parnell

Andrew Pollack

Donald Trump, Jr.

Tanya Weinreis

Tuesday

First Lady Melania Trump

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

Florida Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Nuñez

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Abby Johnson

Jason Joyce

Myron Lizer

Mary Ann Mendoza

Megan Pauley

Cris Peterson

John Peterson

Nicholas Sandmann

Eric Trump

Tiffany Trump

Wednesday

Vice President Mike Pence

Second Lady Karen Pence

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.

Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell

Kellyanne Conway

Keith Kellogg

Jack Brewer

Sister Dede Byrne

Madison Cawthorn

Scott Dane

Clarence Henderson

Ryan Holets

Michael McHale

Burgess Owens

Lara Trump

Thursday

President Donald J. Trump

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J.

Ivanka Trump

Ja’Ron Smith

Ann Dorn

Debbie Flood

Rudy Giuliani

Franklin Graham

Alice Johnson

Wade Mayfield

Carl and Marsha Mueller

Dana White

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Trump campaign unveils convention speakers, POTUS to speak every night

Public statements that 100% of the money would be put toward the wall were false, prosecutors say

Steve Bannon, a former adviser to President Trump, was among four suspects arrested Thursday and indicted in connection with an online fundraising campaign that allegedly defrauded donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Justice Department announced.

According to the indictment, Bannon and co-defendant Brian Kolfage told the public that they were a “volunteer organization” and that 100% of the money raised would go toward their stated goal, which was to raise money for the federal government to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Those representations were false,” the indictment said. Prosecutors claim that Kolfage, Bannon, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea took money for themselves as the campaign raised upward of $25 million. The indictment alleges that Bannon received more than $1 million through a nonprofit that he then used for personal expenses and to pay Kolfage.

Prosecutors say Bannon and the others used the nonprofit and a shell company to hide the payments to Kolfage “by using fake invoices and sham ‘vendor’ arrangements,” as well as other means of keeping the payments quiet. The indictment stated that in order to raise funds, Kolfage and Bannon “repeatedly and falsely” told the public that Kolfage would “not take a penny” in compensation.

According to prosecutors, Kolfage instructed payments to be made out to his spouse, and this was reflected in a 1099 form the non-profit issued, saying the payment was for “media.”

Bannon. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

The campaign’s website said that all of the money raised would go to the government for building the wall, and that if they did not meet their fundraising target, they would “refund every single penny,” according to the indictment.

Within a week of Kolfage launching the campaign in December 2018, they raised roughly $17 million, prosecutors said. Due to concerns over where the money was going, the crowdfunding platform told Kolfage to identify a nonprofit that the money would go to or the funds would be returned. At that point, prosecutors said, Bannon and Badolato worked on creating the nonprofit We Build the Wall Inc.

The stated goal was then changed to using the money to privately construct the wall, and past donors had to agree to have their money used for that purpose. They were assured that all of the money would go to wall construction, and not to Kolfage or the organization’s board, the indictment said.

When Kolfage, Bannon, and Badolato learned in the fall of 2019 that the endeavor was under federal investigation, they allegedly “took additional steps to conceal the fraudulent scheme,” the indictment said. This allegedly included using encrypted messaging applications, putting a stop to Kolfage’s salary payments, and removing text from the website saying that Kolfage would not be compensated while adding a notification that he would begin collecting a salary in January 2020.

“As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction,” Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement. “While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle.”

Bannon and the other defendants were each charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

In addition to Kolfage and Bannon, the DOJ identified Badolato and Shea as the other suspects arrested and indicted.

White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah referred questions on the indictments to the DOJ, saying it is “not a White House matter.”

Fox News’ Marta Dhanis contributed to this report.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Steve Bannon, ‘We Build the Wall’ organizers arrested, charged with defrauding donors

Yates defended the investigation, but took issue with how Comey handled it

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that when the FBI interviewed then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn in January 2017, it was done without her authorization, and that she was upset when she found out about it.

Committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked Yates about the circumstances surrounding the interview, particularly the actions of then-FBI Director James Comey.

“I was upset that Director Comey didn’t coordinate that with us and acted unilaterally,” Yates said.

“Did Comey go rogue?” Graham asked.

“You could use that term, yes,” Yates agreed.

Yates said she also took issue with Comey for not telling her that Flynn’s communications with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were being investigated and that she first learned about this from President Barack Obama during an Oval Office meeting. Yates said she was “irritated” with Comey for not telling her about this earlier.

That meeting, which took place on Jan. 5, 2017, was of great interest to Graham, who wanted to know why Obama knew about Flynn’s conversations before she did. Graham and other Republicans have speculated that Obama wanted Flynn investigated for nefarious purposes. Yates claimed that this was not the case, and explained why Obama was aware of the calls at the time.

Yates said that after Obama placed sanctions on Russia, the Kremlin vowed to take retaliatory action, only to suddenly change course. She said Obama wanted to find out why, which led to the Justice Department discovering Flynn’s talks with Kislyak.

Those discussions included a conversation about sanctions that Obama had placed on Russia, with Flynn encouraging Russia not to retaliate too harshly because the incoming Trump administration would be different from Obama’s.

“The purpose of this meeting was for the president to find out whether – based on the calls between Ambassador Kislyak and Gen. Flynn – the transition team needed to be careful about what it was sharing with Gen. Flynn,” Yates said, noting that the meeting was not about influencing an investigation, which “would have set off alarms for me.”

Handwritten notes from then-FBI agent Peter Strzok indicated that Joe Biden, who was vice president at the time, may have mentioned the Logan Act at the Jan. 5 meeting. The Logan Act is a 1799 law that prohibits unauthorized American citizens from communicating with foreign governments or officials “in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.” It has never been used to successfully prosecute anyone.

When asked if Biden mentioned the Logan Act, Yates said she could not recall. She did say that Comey spoke about the Logan Act, but that she did not remember if he said this during the Oval Office meeting or in a conversation afterward.

Speaking further on the Flynn investigation, Yates said she supported the probe. She also supported Flynn’s prosecution for providing false statements to the FBI, stating that Flynn’s lies were “absolutely material” to the investigation. She said that the Justice Department’s decision to dismiss Flynn’s case was “highly irregular,” and that in her nearly 30 years as a federal prosecutor she had “never seen” anything like it.

Another frequent topic of conversation at the hearing was the FBI’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to conduct surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The Justice Department Inspector General’s office concluded that there were several omissions and inaccuracies in the FBI’s warrant applications, including relying on the unverified dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele as opposition research for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Yates denied knowing that the FISA warrant applications had problems when she signed off on them. She also denied knowing that her own deputy, Bruce Ohr, had facilitated meetings between Steele and the FBI. That led Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to express exasperation over the apparent ignorance of DOJ leadership during the Obama administration.

“Nobody appears to know anything in this government, and yet somehow a federal court was deliberately and systematically misled, so severely that they now say they can’t trust anything that the FBI did,” Hawley said.

Despite claiming that she was unaware of wrongdoing at the time, Yates still accepted responsibility for what happened.

“As the deputy attorney general and the number two person at the Justice Department, I was responsible for the actions of every single employee at DOJ, all 113,000 of them,” she said. “That includes everybody at FBI, DEA, and ATF and U.S. Attorney’s offices and all the lawyers at the Department of Justice. I was responsible, in that sense, for the actions of all of them.”

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Yates: Comey went ‘rogue’ with Flynn interview

The bill comes as a number of benefits under the previous CARES Act bill are set to expire

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said, during an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” that after weekend discussions he remains optimistic regarding a second coronavirus stimulus package, with Senate Republicans planning to introduce a bill Monday — with just 100 days before the presidential election.

The bill comes as a number of benefits under the previous CARES Act bill are set to expire.

Mnuchin also noted that due to resistance from Democrats, a payroll tax cut – which President Trump had hinted could be a deal-breaker for him if not included in a stimulus bill – will not be part of the current package after all. A number of Republicans were against it, as well.

“That’s something the president will come back and look at later in the year,” Mnuchin said, claiming that direct payments to Americans – which were part of the CARES Act and are expected to be part of a new bill, as well – provide faster relief.

“The direct payments are a much quicker way of effectively giving everybody a tax cut, and is much quicker than the payroll tax cut,” he said.

Meanwhile, key parts of the CARES Act are set to expire in the near future. The Paycheck Protection Program that provides small businesses with forgivable loans, is set to end in early August, and the enhanced unemployment insurance benefits will expire on July 31. A federal eviction ban already ended on July 25.

Mnuchin said that the new bill will provide additional unemployment benefits, but noted that it will be less than the payments issued under the CARES Act, because some workers were collecting more than they earned on the job. As a result, when businesses were reopening some employees did not have an incentive to return to work.

Mnuchin said that upcoming unemployment benefits would be in the form of 70 percent wage replacement.

“I think workers and Americans understand the concept that you shouldn’t be paid more to stay home than to work,” he said.

Mnuchin said that the Trump administration and Senate Republicans are on the same page with a $1 trillion package, but noted that in the interest of passing a bill quickly, issues that are more difficult to negotiate with Democrats could be held off for another bill.

“This will be the fifth set of legislation, so there’s no reason why we can’t have number five, six, and seven as we need to deal with issues, and obviously anything we do, we need bipartisan support,” he said.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Mnuchin optimistic as GOP set to introduce Senate coronavirus stimulus bill Monday

Historic monuments and statues have become the targets of anger and vandalism during protests

President Trump issued a warning Sunday morning to anyone who even attempts to harm federal monuments, including the Lincoln or Jefferson Memorials, saying that they will automatically face a substantial prison term.

Historic monuments and statues have become the targets of anger and vandalism during protests in the wake of George Floyd‘s death while in police custody at the end of May. The initial statues under fire were those of Confederate soldiers and generals largely in the South, but the anger has spread to monuments well beyond that historical period.

“No, Radical Left anarchists, agitators, looters or protesters will not be knocking down or harming the Washington Monument, the Lincoln or Jefferson Memorials,” Trump tweeted. “If they even try, an automatic 10 years in prison. Sorry!” Trump’s warning included “just about any other” federal statues or monuments as well.

Trump has been vocal about protecting monuments and punishing vandals, especially following incidents involving a monument of Andrew Jackson and vandalism at the Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial and St. John’s Church.

Under the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act, offenders can face up to 10 years behind bars and a fine for damaging or attempts to damage “any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States.”

Earlier this month, Trump signed an executive order dealing with building and rebuilding monuments.

“To destroy a monument is to desecrate our common inheritance,” the order said.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Trump threatens ‘automatic 10 years in prison’ for anyone harming statues: ‘If they even try’

Most Americans have likely had their information stolen already, Wray says

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday warned Americans that the Chinese government’s theft of American information is taking place on so large a scale, suspected incidents make up nearly half of his bureau’s counterintelligence cases.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Hudson Institute in Washington, Wray said that Chinese thefts amount to “one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history,” and that the American people are the victims.

“Of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently under way across the country, almost half are related to China,” Wray said. “And at this very moment, China is working to compromise American health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research.”

In fact, Wray said that most Americans have already been affected.

“If you’re an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data,” he said.

As an example, Wray noted that in 2014 Chinese hackers stole more than 21 million records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Wray said that the Chinese Communist Party “uses a diverse range of sophisticated techniques — everything from cyber intrusions to corrupting trusted insiders,” and even “outright physical theft.” To do this, he claimed, they use “a wide range of actors — including not just Chinese intelligence services, but state-owned enterprises, ostensibly private companies, certain kinds of graduate students and researchers, and a whole variety of other actors working on their behalf.”

The director said that, in some cases, China uses social media platforms used by Americans “to identify people with access to our government’s sensitive information and then target those people to try to steal it.”

In one instance, he recalled, a Chinese operative posed as a headhunter, offering money to an American citizen in exchange for “consulting services” that related to sensitive data. In that particular case, the American reported the suspicious behavior to the FBI.

Wray’s remarks come a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is considering restricting United States’ users’ access to the Chinese social media application TikTok over concerns it is potentially being used by the Beijing government as a means to surveil and propagandize people.

Pompeo warned Americans that they should be cautious in using the video app, lest they want their private information “in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Gregg Re and Charles Creitz contributed to this report.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: FBI Director Wray says half of bureau’s 5,000 counterintelligence cases are related to China

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that she is lifting her state’s stay-at-home order effective next week, easing restrictions placed on businesses and public gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new guidelines, stores will be able to have customers without appointments and restaurants will be able to have customers dine in, but social distancing requirements remain in place requiring limited capacity. The state has noted that coronavirus cases and deaths have dropped more sharply and treatment capacities at hospitals and other health-care facilities have improved, among other criteria.

“While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing, and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a statement, as The Associated Press reported.

Whitmer moved 93 percent of the state into “phase four” of the reopening plan, with hopes to move to “phase five” by July 4. In addition to stores and restaurants being able to open up to customers, day camps and pools will be open as well.

Outdoor public gatherings, which had been limited to a maximum of 10 people, will now be allowed to have up to 100, as long as social distancing is practiced.

Indoor theaters, hair salons, and gyms will remain closed, although gyms will be permitted to hold outdoor classes.

Whitmer’s stay-at-home order was among the strictest in the nation. Many residents said Whitmer overstepped her authority by banning most travel between homes and by temporarily prohibiting sales of items such as garden supplies and activities such as some forms of fishing.

Michigan residents protested the order, with some even storming the state capitol while armed. Businesses sued over the order, but a judge allowed it to continue, refusing to grant a preliminary injunction that would have blocked it for the duration of the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifts state’s stay-at-home order

President Trump plans on pulling the United States out of the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement among more than 30 countries that allows for those involved to fly in each other’s air spaces, administration officials said.

On Thursday evening, the Pentagon issued a statement saying: “Tomorrow the United States will formally submit its notification of its decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty. After careful consideration, including input from Allies and key partners, it has become abundantly clear that it is no longer in the United States’ best interest to remain a party to this Treaty when Russia does not uphold its commitments. U.S. obligations under the Treaty will effectively end in six months.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the move was inspired at least in part by Russian violations of the accord, and noted that while U.S. withdrawal will be effective as of six months from Friday, Trump could change his mind about withdrawing if Russia fully complies with the agreement.

“While the United States along with our Allies and partners that are States Parties to the Treaty have lived up to our commitments and obligations under the Treaty, Russia has flagrantly and continuously violated the Treaty in various ways for years,” Pompeo said in a statement. “This is not a story exclusive to just the Treaty on Open Skies, unfortunately, for Russia has been a serial violator of many of its arms control obligations and commitments.”

According to the New York Times, NATO member nations are concerned that once the U.S. is out, Russia will block their flights, which provide valuable surveillance of their own borders. Pompeo said that even now “Russia has consistently acted as if it were free to turn its obligations off and on at will, unlawfully denying or restricting Open Skies observation flights whenever it desires.”

For example, Pompeo stated that Russia “unjustifiably” blocked access to a joint U.S.-Canada observation flight over a Russian military exercise.

U.S. officials have warned that Russia had been violating the treaty already by not allowing flights over areas where military exercises were taking place or sites where Russia had nuclear weapons deployed. Each nation in the treaty agrees to make all its territory available for surveillance flights

The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence have also claimed that Russia was taking advantage of the accord by flying over the U.S. to scout and document infrastructure that could be potential cyberattack targets, the Times reported.

Pompeo acknowledged this, claiming that Russia has also focused on European infrastructure.

“Rather than using the Open Skies Treaty as a mechanism for improving trust and confidence through military transparency, Russia has, therefore, weaponized the Treaty by making it into a tool of intimidation and threat,” he said.

The administration has also said that imagery collected during the flights can be obtained quickly at less cost from U.S. or commercial satellites.

Democrats have expressed concern that pulling out of the treaty could harm relationships with European allies who rely on it to keep tabs on Russian activities.

“The administration’s effort to make a major change to our national security policy in the midst of a global health crisis is not only shortsighted, but also unconscionable,” wrote Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

“This effort appears intended to limit appropriate congressional consultation on, and scrutiny of, the decision,” they wrote.

Trump has said in the past that he would only remain in the treaty if China joined, which has not happened.

Open Skies was first proposed by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955, but the Soviet Union refused. It was brought up again by President George H.W. Bush and negotiations began in 1992 following the fall of the Soviet Union. It went into force in 2002 and now has 35 signatories.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Ronn Blitzer, Rich Edson

Source: Fox News: Trump to pull out of Open Skies Treaty, administration says

President Trump is threatening to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada over their decisions to enact widespread mail-in voting in the upcoming election, claiming the moves were “done illegally” and will lead to voter fraud.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Tuesday that all registered voters in the crucial general election battleground state will be mailed an application to vote by mail in November so they do not have to risk exposure to the coronavirus by going out to the polls.

Trump was not a fan of the decision.

“Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”

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Trump later addressed Nevada’s decision to have mail-in votes for their June primary election and threatened to withhold funding from them as well. In that state, voters will not even have to request ballots through application forms; instead, voters will receive ballots in the mail.

“State of Nevada ‘thinks’ that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S.,” Trump tweeted. “They can’t! If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections.”

The legality of sending the ballot applications is already the basis of a lawsuit in Texas, in which a federal judge sided with Democrats in allowing the forms to be sent out to voters. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton immediately announced his office is appealing the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The president and other GOP leaders have repeatedly railed against expanded balloting by mail, saying that it leads to voter fraud. Democrats – pushing back on such arguments – say that cases of actual voter fraud are limited and claim that Republicans are trying to suppress voter turnout to improve their chances of winning elections.

GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel noted Monday that while she remains opposed to states sending ballots out to all voters, sending applications for absentee ballots “is one mechanism of ensuring that that voter is who they are.”

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Trump threatens to hold back funding to states over ‘rogue’ moves on mail-in voting

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