The White House released a statement early Wednesday evening announcing that President Trump is finally dissolving his phony “Voter Fraud Commission.” The president created the commission to prove his infamous, unsupported claim that wide-spread voter fraud led to Hillary Clinton receiving 3 million more votes – a dubious enough reason in its own right.
But it soon became clear that the real purpose of the commission – led by voter suppression zealot Kris Kobach of Kansas – was to identify minority voters who are likely to vote for Democrats and move them off the voter rolls with restrictive state laws and other means.
Last year, the ACLU successfully sued the Orwellian inspired “Election Integrity Commission” to internal documents Kobach refused had to release. In October, a judge forced Kobach to make many of those documents public, and immediately the nefarious nature of his commission was exposed.
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Georgia Congressman and civil rights icon Elijah Cummings characterized the document dump this way:
“These newly released documents ― which Kris Kobach fought tooth and nail to conceal from the American people ― completely contradict the claims of the President and the Vice President that the voting commission did not have a preconceived agenda . . . Mr. Kobach has always wanted to impose abusive new voter suppression laws, and he and the White House are using this commission to manufacture a false political narrative to support their dangerous campaign.”
As embarrassing as these documents were for Kobach and the president, it didn’t end their legal problems. The following month, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who sits on the commission, sued Kobach for withholding information from the commissioners themselves.
The lawsuit states that Kobach violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act and asked the court to “compel the commission to hand over all documents he’s requested, share all future documents, to include him in all communications and to prevent the release of any final report until he has had a chance to review it,” the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.
It’s this lawsuit that makes the timing of today’s announcement to dissolve the commission so conspicuous. Austin Evers, the executive director of government watchdog group American Oversight which helped Maine’s secretary of state with the lawsuit, issued a statement shortly after the executive order was released, saying in part:
“It’s no coincidence that the president dissolved the commission once it became clear it wouldn’t be permitted to operate in the shadows. Secretary Dunlap deserves our gratitude for stepping into the breach to take on adversaries of democracy. We intend to continue to fight for his right to access to the commission’s secret communications.
“President Trump can dissolve the commission, but the law doesn’t allow him or the commission to slink away from view and avoid accountability.”
It’s been a horrible news day for President Trump, with the salacious revelations in Micahel Wolff’s forthcoming book dominating the headlines. But as bad as those stories are, it’s difficult to imagine anything worse for Donald Trump than admitting that Hillary Clinton did, indeed, demolish him in the popular vote.
His executive order today confirms exactly that.