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Donald Trump announced Wednesday night -- without warning, the way he likes it -- that he was disbanding his great big fraud of a voting commission, which he put in place to prove that he really won the popular vote, once you subtract the three to five million votes illegally cast for Hillary Clinton by ninja illegal immigrants who left no sign of their having voted. That just proves how sneaky they are.

The "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" was, at least on paper, co-chaired by Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of Keeping The Vote White Kris Kobach, although most of the heavy lying was handled by Kobach. It had only met twice, and had actually been sued in November by one of its own members, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat, who argued the commission was refusing to turn over important documents to the very people who were supposedly going to be making recommendations on policy.

Trump hasn't changed his belief that the 2016 election was chock full o' voter fraud, and was not convinced by critics who called the commission a thinly veiled excuse to erect more barriers to voting for people who might not vote for Republicans. Instead, he had to deep-six the nominally bipartisan commission because states kept suing the commission and refusing to turn over all the detailed voter information the commission wanted. And while both Republican and Democratic secretaries of state had sued the commission, Trump thinks he knows who the bad guys are:

Curse those tricksy Democratses who wouldn't comply. Like commission co-chair Kris Kobach, since Kansas state law forbids the release of the last four digits of voters' Social Security numbers, just one of the items Kobach asked all states to submit.

Trump also made it plenty clear what the goal of the commission was anyway, so why have a commission?

Gosh, that's an original argument! Maybe we could turn around that line the gun humpers always use: Yeah, but buying beer, getting a plane ticket, and driving a car aren't in the CONSTITUTION (OK, yeah, the beer thing, with the repeal of Prohibition, but let's not get distracted, mmmm, beeeeeeer).

CNN wins for the best quote from an unnamed White House adviser on what went wrong with the commission's "work," and it was so good that we'll uncensor it for you nice folks:

"It's a shit show," said one White House adviser to CNN, adding that the commission went "off the rails."

Another "senior White House adviser" in the same report said Pence should have given himself even more distance from the commission:

"VP's team, though, should have seen that assignment as a shit sandwich and treated it like a book report," the adviser said. "Avoid trouble, cite real instances of voter fraud, address structural and technology problems, make recommendations and move on." [cusses restored by Yr Wonkette]

My, what a lot of potty mouths! And at least one outright fantasist, since Kobach would never have gone for such a wussy, unpanicked approach.

In a statement from the White House yesterday, someone wrote these words with Donald Trump's name attached to them:

Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry [...]

Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.

So hooray, instead of a loaded presidential commission spitting out recommendations to restrict voting, we'll get voting restrictions coming out of DHS, which can operate with even more opacity than the commission. Kris Kobach practically admitted as much to the New York Times:

As a White House commission, the voter-fraud panel was subject to public-disclosure requirements and other restrictions that Mr. Kobach said opponents of the inquiry had seized on in “a determined effort by the left” to hamstring its investigation [...]

“It got to the point where the staff of the commission was spending more time responding to litigation than doing an investigation,” Mr. Kobach said. “Think of it as an option play; a decision was made in the middle of the day to pass the ball. The Department of Homeland Security is going to be able to move faster and more efficiently than a presidential advisory commission.”

DHS is already tasked with ensuring the integrity of the vote, which in olden times meant helping states update the security of their computer systems to avoid hacks from our pals in Russia (not that it was so great at that either). And now, the same folks who brought you mass deportations and the arrest of a little girl at a hospital will be crafting "improvements" for voting security, hooray. What do you want to bet they'll recommend national adoption of Kobach's notoriously evil "Crosscheck" system to identify lots of people named "Rodriguez" and "Washington" so they can be purged from voter rolls?

Having already sued the commission for insufficient transparency, Matthew Dunlap told the Times it might be too soon to be celebrating the commission being tossed out like a black North Carolinian's voter registration form:

“Homeland security operates very much in the dark,” he said. “Any chance of having this investigation done in a public forum is now lost, and I think people should be, frankly, frightened by that.”

Dunlap said much the same to the Washington Post, but with a hip movie reference:

“I think people who are saying ‘the witch is dead’ should be very alarmed by this move,” he said. “I think that’s very dangerous.”

Sounds like Dunlap and Kobach are pretty much in agreement on what may come next, if not on whether that's a good thing. How's that for some rare bipartisanship?

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[WaPo / NYT / CNN / Rolling Stone / WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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