MONDAY UPDATE: As Nick Riccardi and David Klepper report for The Associated Press, Peters embodies a problem that the entire Republican Party will be dealing with in 2024:
During his conference, Lindell prefaced the video by saying “it isn’t about evidence” and meant to evoke the atmosphere of December 2020, as Trump was challenging the election results and trying to find avenues to remain in power. The anonymously produced video, full of fevered reports of other ”anomalies” in the election, opens with the words “this video is pure data.”
“I never forgot this video,” Lindell said…
…By repeating the lie over and over, even when it has been repeatedly exposed as baseless, Trump is not only ensuring that his loyal followers remain energized, but also dominating the discussion and forcing others to relitigate the 2020 election on his terms. [Pols emphasis]
As we’ve said before, if Republicans are still talking about 2020 in 2024, then they’re already in serious trouble.
As 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark took note of this week, former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who has been indicted on multiple felony charges stemming from a breach of election security in her half-baked attempt to prove Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, appeared in Missouri for Mike “MyPillow Guy” Lindell’s annual “Keep The Big Lie Alive” summit:
NEW: Tina Peters, the former GOP Mesa County Clerk indicted on felony charges for tampering with voting equipment, railed against “globalists” and “Marxists” at MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell’s summit today. Peters spoke beneath a graphic reading, “Election Crime Bureau.” #copolitics pic.twitter.com/Y44lJyhet5
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) August 16, 2023
As readers know, Peters is subject to a host of bond conditions that at one point nearly resulted in her being remanded to custody, when Peters’ lawyers allegedly forgot to inform the court that Peters was headed to Nevada for another election denier conference. Since that time, after some further stumbles, Peters has resumed traveling the country for speaking engagements by following the court pre-approval process.
But as the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, even the remarkable lenience being shown to this accused felon in being able to travel the country promoting her discredited conspiracy theories, which also constitute in large part her legal defense strategy, has its limits:
Indicted former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is traveling out of state without objection from her prosecutors, but there is something they are objecting to — giving back her passport.
In a motion filed earlier this week by Peters’ new attorney, Douglas Richards, the embattled former clerk wants to have her passport given back to her so she can enroll in the TSA PreCheck program, which allows frequent fliers to get through airport security faster…
Peters is already receiving far more privileges than are afforded to most pre-trial accused felons by being able to travel the country to attend election-denier events. Now she wants TSA PreCheck clearance to evade long airport security lines? It should be noted that at least one of the crimes Peters is accused of, identity theft, specifically excludes her from qualifying for TSA PreCheck upon conviction.
But the real problem, as prosecuting attorney Dan Rubinstein explains in his response to Peters’ request for temporary return of her passport, is giving Peters her passport back even for the few hours she says it would take to show it to the TSA would exacerbate a growing flight risk:
Rubinstein, who is the lead prosecutor in criminal charges against Peters over election tampering and other alleged crimes, said his reasoning behind requesting District Judge Matthew Barrett to reject the request is because recent indictments against former President Donald Trump, his onetime private attorney Rudy Guiliani and 17 others in Georgia have altered the landscape… [Pols emphasis]
“The defendant’s flight risk has increased as she appears to be increasingly associated with a group who has recently been indicted in Georgia for very similar conduct,” Rubinstein wrote in his motion to deny her request. “Attached Exhibit 2 is a flier for a conference that Ms. Peters is claiming to be attending today, along with now indicted Rudy Guiliani and others who are now recently indicted for crimes associated with tampering with election equipment.”
Not to mention:
According to the TSA, a passport can be used to enroll in the program, but so can a valid Colorado drivers license. The required documents are a photo ID and proof of citizenship.
Not only would returning Peters’ passport increase the risk that she might flee the country to escape prosecution, she doesn’t even need it to sign up for TSA PreCheck. If that doesn’t raise suspicions of an ulterior motive for getting her passport, we don’t know what would. No one can forget that when the story of Peters’ role in the theft and subsequent leak of election system data first broke, Peters disappeared for weeks with the assistance of Mike Lindell, only returning after fellow Mesa County elected officials begged her to. All of which happened before the felony charges against Peters were formalized.
Before this week’s indictment in Georgia of ex-President Donald Trump and a bevy of co-conspirators for their attempt to subvert the 2020 elections, Peters was a leading martyr of the election denial movement. Now she’s just a wannabe bit player who could easily find herself jettisoned as Trump’s legal defense focuses on the crimes of the big players. At some level despite the adulation Peters receives on the far-right speaking circuit, which has emotionally sustained Peters as her legal woes compounded, she must be aware of this.
If Peters does get her passport back, there’s too great a risk that MyPillow One lands in Moscow 12 hours later.