Reuters Helpfully Finds Bunch Of The Radicalized Idiots Threatening Elections Officials. Thanks, Reuters!

Crime

Apparently Reuters thinks it's pretty gross how garbage people are getting away with harassing and threatening elections officials around America, now that Donald Trump and his Big Lie have radicalized and emboldened rightwing insurgents to attack their own country because they're sore losers who don't believe in democracy.

So Reuters decided to expose some of the most prolific offenders in that regard, people who have made awful threats to innocent people by phone and online, and who have suffered zero consequences. Hell, looks like most of them haven't even really been investigated.

Reuters ended up speaking personally to nine of these people. Eight of those were so proud of themselves they allowed their names to be used on the record.


Reuters with some more numbers:

In the seven cases that legal scholars said could be prosecuted, law enforcement agencies were alerted by election officials to six of them. The people who made those threats told Reuters they never heard from police.

All nine harassers interviewed by Reuters said they believed they did nothing wrong. Just two expressed regret when told their messages had frightened officials or caused security scares. The seven others were unrepentant, with some saying the election workers deserved the menacing messages.

And here is how the story starts:

In Arizona, a stay-at-home dad and part-time Lyft driver told the state's chief election officer she would hang for treason. In Utah, a youth treatment center staffer warned Colorado's election chief that he knew where she lived and watched her as she slept.

In Vermont, a man who says he works in construction told workers at the state election office and at Dominion Voting Systems that they were about to die.

"This might be a good time to put a f‑‑‑‑‑‑ pistol in your f‑‑‑‑‑‑ mouth and pull the trigger," the man shouted at Vermont officials in a thick New England accent last December. "Your days are f‑‑‑‑‑‑ numbered."

Golly they sound nice.

Reuters notes that all three people it's describing right there are big believers in Trump's big lie and other fake news, and that none of them has been charged with any crime. And those three are part of the nine Reuters spoke to, who all apparently just confessed everything they had done. Guess that's what happens when radicalized white people are under the impression, perhaps correctly, that nothing will happen to them.

In all, they are responsible for nearly two dozen harassing communications to six election officials in four states. Seven made threats explicit enough to put a reasonable person in fear of bodily harm or death, the U.S. federal standard for criminal prosecution, according to four legal experts who reviewed their messages at Reuters' request.

Reuters notes that in the course of its investigation this year, it's "documented nearly 800 intimidating messages to election officials in 12 states, including more than 100 that could warrant prosecution, according to legal experts." It notes that not long after it started reporting on this growing phenomenon, Attorney General Merrick Garland's Department of Justice "launched a task force to investigate threats against election staff and said it would aggressively pursue such cases." Unfortunately, Reuters adds, "law enforcement agencies have made almost no arrests and won no convictions."

And so forth:

In many cases, they didn't investigate. Some messages were too hard to trace, officials said. Other instances were complicated by America's patchwork of state laws governing criminal threats, which provide varying levels of protection for free speech and make local officials in some states reluctant to prosecute such cases. Adding to the confusion, legal scholars say, the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't formulated a clear definition of a criminal threat.

So all that is great.

This is a long report, so you'll have to read it all. Below are some previews if you want them.

Ross Miller

You can learn about Ross Miller, the real estate investor in Georgia, who according to Reuters "warned an official in the Atlanta area that he'd be tarred and feathered, hung or face firing squads unless he addressed voter fraud." That guy got radicalized, at least in part, by watching a bullshit video from Rudy Giuliani featuring fantastical tall tales about suitcases full of fraudulent ballots. We know what you're thinking — man, you'd have to be so stupid to believe Rudy Giuliani. But this guy is pretty clearly not smart.

More choice quotes from poor Ross, bless his heart:

"I left the message because I'm a patriot, and I'm sick and tired of what's going on in this country," he said. "That's what happens when you commit treason: You get hung." [...]

"You've got to stand up," said Miller. "You're either a patriot for the freedom of this country or you're a communist against it."

OK.

Jamie Fialkin

Then there was Jamie Fialkin, now of Peoria, Arizona, previously an Orthodox Jewish standup comedian in Brooklyn. He seems weird.

Jamie Fialkin of Peoria, Arizona, talked of a grand conspiracy of those controlling the media, the banking system and social media companies. "When you have those three things, you can get away with anything – you can tell people, 'black is white, white is black,' and people go, 'OK,'" Fialkin said. [...]

He said he's convinced that former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and progressive philanthropist George Soros bought fake ballots from China, another debunked theory promoted by Trump's allies.

Hoo boy.

Apparently he's really angriest at Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, and called her June 3 to say she was going to hang "from a fucking tree." Also: "They're going to hang you for treason, you fucking bitch." And then he called again to say a "good slogan" for her upcoming gubernatorial campaign would be "Don't vote for me, for one reason. Back in December I got hung for treason."

Fialkin is a good example of just how delusional these people are. He told Reuters he's "like most Americans" and "just waiting to see when the civil war starts." He regrets nothing.

Jeff Yeager

Also very angry at Katie Hobbs, and also very delusional, was Jeff Yeager, a 56-year-old electrician from Los Angeles:

"When Katie the c‑‑‑ is executed for treason, what are you f‑‑‑‑‑‑ traitors going to be doing for work?" Yeager said in a June 17 voicemail left for Hobbs and her staff. Months later, on Sept. 8, he left another voicemail warning she'd be executed.

Like Fialkin, Yeager said he never actually wanted to personally hurt Hobbs, but he's delusional, so he's convinced "the public is going to hang this woman." Reuters notes that when they talked to Yeager, he had gotten a visit the day before from the FBI for threatening Mitt Romney and Nancy Pelosi.

Eric Pickett

Another one?

Eric Pickett, a 42-year-old night staffer at a youth treatment center in Utah, said his anger boiled over after watching an Aug. 10 "cyber symposium" held by pillow magnate Mike Lindell, a Trump ally who has pushed false election conspiracy theories.

And you wonder why we cover that fucking pillow loser?

Pickett said he paid close attention as one of the symposium's speakers, Tina Peters, a Republican clerk in Colorado's Mesa County, criticized Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat. Griswold has been leading an investigation into Peters over a voting-system security breach in Mesa, one of the state's most conservative counties. At the symposium, Peters, an election-fraud conspiracy theorist, claimed Griswold "raided" her office to produce false evidence and "bully" her.

None of that was true, according to state officials. Nonetheless, Pickett snapped. He got on Facebook and sent Griswold a message.

"You raided an office. You broke the law. STOP USING YOUR TACTICS. STOP NOW. Watch your back. I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP, I SEE YOU SLEEPING. BE AFRAID, BE VERRY AFFRAID. I hope you die."

Pickett said in an interview that he "got wrapped up in the moment." He was surprised Griswold found the message threatening and expressed regret for causing alarm.

"I didn't know they would take it as a threat," he said. "I was thinking they would just take it as somebody just trolling them."

Good god.

If you like that guy, you'll LOVE all the rest of the folks in the Reuters report, especially VERMONT GUY.

To keep this piece from being 10,000 words long, and because the Reuters thing already is, we're not going to tell you about Vermont Guy. But listen, y'all Vermont Guy is FUUUUUUUCKED.

Now don't you wanna go read the Reuters thing?

The details of each of these situations are different, as are the particulars of why the threats really haven't been investigated.

But oh boy, we sure are down the rabbithole here, when local, state, and national law enforcement just can't figure out how to prosecute all these people threatening elections officials for their unwillingness to overthrow America in service of the one-term loser fascist.

Read the whole thing, as they say on the internet.

[Reuters]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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