How a Pennsylvania state senator helped fuel Trump’s election lies
CNN, WFMZ, WGAL
By Jeremy Herb and Sara Murray, CNN
Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano went out of his way to help advance the former President Donald TrumpThe Election Lies: He conducted a “hearing” at a Gettysburg hotel weeks after the 2020 election, where Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani made false claims about voter fraud. He chartered buses to transport his supporters to Washington January 6th. And he was briefly in charge of the Pennsylvania State Senate’s partisan âauditâ of the 2020 election.
Now, the role of Matriano behind the scenes is helping Trump try to reverse his defeat against Joe biden is under further scrutiny after a report by the Democratic-led Senate Judiciary released last week revealed his correspondence with the Justice Department disseminating debunked fraud allegations. Mastriano is one of three figures under the radar the report selects for further investigation for their efforts to help Trump attempt to overturn the election.
Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, introduced Trump to a senior DOJ official who was open to electoral conspiracy theories. Lawyer Cleta Mitchell helped Trump try to convince Georgian Secretary of State “finds” enough votes to win. And Mastriano pushed his allegations of fraud against Justice Officer No.2 as Trump tried to convince then Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to publicly say there had been election fraud, according to the report.
âElection fraud is real and widespread in Pennsylvania. Yet despite the evidence, our governor and secretary of state inexplicably refuse to investigate, âMastriano wrote in a December 28 letter to Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue.
The Pennsylvania state senator was perhaps the least known of those helping Trump’s lobbying campaign, but he sought to play his part in Trump’s post-election battles in a more prominent position in politics. Republican from Pennsylvania, including flirting with a gubernatorial candidacy. year.
Still, its path to a statewide race and what would be an overcrowded GOP primary has been bumpy. In May, Matriano said Trump asked him run for governor and campaign for him. A Trump campaign adviser, however, responded to Mastriano’s comments on Twitter saying Trump “has not yet made an endorsement or commitment” in the race for governor.
Mastriano was first tasked with the Arizona-style âauditâ of the Pennsylvania State Senate of the 2020 election, which gave him a prominent perch to further Trump’s fraud allegations. But Mastriano’s efforts to force counties to hand over treasures of data prompted the Republican Senate Speaker to remove him from the leadership of the scrutiny of the ballot in August, putting another lawmaker in charge of the ongoing effort.
And Matriano has faced with lingering questions about his actions related to the Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol after photos of him emerged on the Capitol grounds, although he insisted he did not cross the “changing” police lines that day.
Mastriano, 57, has since backed debunked allegations of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, where Biden beat Trump by more than 80,000 votes.
He made a hyperbolic comparison in a interview with CNN, saying, âI have seen better elections in Afghanistan.
In a statement to local media last week, Mastriano criticized the Senate report, saying, âThe hyper-partisan Senate Judiciary Committee report is yet another attempt to distract from the real issues that need attention at the federal level.
Masstriano did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment for this story.
A forum for Trump
Masstriano served in the military for 30 years, including deploying to Iraq for the first Gulf War and to Afghanistan three times. According to his biography of the State Senate, he earned a doctorate in history, taught at the Army War College, and published a book about a famous WWI army soldier, Alvin York.
After retiring from the military in 2017, Mastriano launched a 2018 campaign for Congress, finishing fourth out of eight Republican primary contenders for an open seat. The following year, Masstriano won a special election for his seat in the state Senate in rural southern Pennsylvania.
After the 2020 election, Mastriano embraced the wild and debunked electoral conspiracy theories of Trump and Giuliani. He hosted an event in Gettysburg that was billed as a committee hearing but served as a platform for Giuliani, who testified, and Trump, who called, to voice their election plots.
The following week, Trump invited Mastriano and other Pennsylvania GOP state lawmakers to the White House, but Mastriano had to leave abruptly after he and others tested positive for Covid-19.
Put pressure on the Ministry of Justice
Behind the scenes, Masstriano was helping Trump try to convince the Justice Department of electoral fraud. The Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee report shows that Mastriano forwarded a letter to Donoghue in December 2020 containing numerous false and disproved allegations regarding electoral fraud in Pennsylvania, which was then sent to Rosen, according to the panel.
âThis election is an embarrassment for our nation,â Mastriano wrote in his memo.
Trump, on a Dec. 27 call with Rosen, quoted both Masstriano and Perry when urging Rosen to say there had been election fraud.
âThe president said something like, you know, ‘People were trying to fix this problem, Scott Perry and Mastriano. Jim Jordan, he’s a great fighter, but they can’t do it on their own, âDonoghue told the committee.
At the Capitol on January 6
Pennsylvania state campaign fundraising records show Mastriano spent more than $ 3,000 from his campaign account to charter buses to Washington before the âStop the Stealâ rally on January 6. the attack on the Capitol.
“He and his wife participated in the Jan. 6 uprising, with video footage confirming that they passed through barricades and breached police lines at the United States Capitol,” the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote.
Masstriano said police lines changed during the day. No evidence has emerged showing him inside the Capitol.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and other Democrats called for Mastriano’s resignation after Jan.6, but he pushed the lies about voter fraud.
Withdrawn from the direction of a “forensic investigation”
In July, Matriano plans announced for his own âforensic investigationâ into the results of the 2020 Pennsylvania election, and he visited the Arizona partisan poll review in Maricopa County.
Mastriano unsuccessfully searched for voting equipment and voting machines in three counties in Pennsylvania. And it quickly met resistance from Republican State Senate Speaker Jake Corman. Matriano was stripped of his committee chair in August, and Corman put another republican in charge audit of State Senate elections.
Corman said in a statement that Mastriano was “only interested in politics and showmanship and not really getting things done.”
Matriano has yet to say whether he will run for governor. The domain already includes former GOP Representative Lou Barletta, who was endorsed by Trump when he was a Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania in 2018.
But Trump made it clear on Wednesday that his bogus allegations of voter fraud will guide his political thinking in the next election, saying in a statement that “the single most important thing for Republicans to do” is resolve the 2020 voter fraud.
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