MyPollow Cyber Symposium

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I am an historian of United States History my focus is twentieth century history. I am not a cyber security expert; however, I do maintain two websites and this blog. As a result, I am familiar with the process of looking for anomalies in code. It is tediously slow and time consuming. No one, not even a cyber security expert can look at scrolling information on a giant screen, and find anomalies let alone evidence of election fraud. Mike Lindell held his three-day cyber symposium last week at which he promised to provide “non-subjective evidence” that the 2020 election was hacked by the Chinese.1 The symposium began on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, and concluded on Thursday, August 12, 2021.

Mike Lindell is the CEO of MyPillow, rabid Trump supporter, and far right conspiracy theorist. Since November 3, 2020, Lindell has echoed the baseless claims of Sydney Powell and Rudy Giuliani that Dominion voting machines were somehow compromised causing Donald Trump to lose the election. These claims were rejected by the Federal courts by judges appointed by Donald Trump. Dominion is now suing Mike Lindell, Sydney Powell, and Rudy Giuliani as well as several media outlets because of their false claims for 1.3 billion dollars.2 When Lindell became aware of the court ruling, on August 11, 2021, he was on stage at the symposium, and he abruptly left.3

Lindell had additionally claimed that after the symposium and the publication of the irrefutable evidence, Trump would be reinstated as President of the United States. The problem is that there is no mechanism either in the Constitution of the United States or in Federal statute that would allow such a thing to take place. Not even a ruling of the Supreme Court. The Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act 3 USC § 19 (a) and (b) state:

    1. If, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, upon his resignation as Speaker and as Representative in Congress, act as President.
    2. The same rule shall apply in the case of the death, resignation, removal from office, or inability of an individual acting as President under this subsection.
  1. If, at the time when under subsection (a) of this section a Speaker is to begin the discharge of the powers and duties of the office of President, there is no Speaker, or the Speaker fails to qualify as Acting President, then the President pro tempore
    of the Senate shall, upon his resignation as President pro tempore and as Senator, act as President.4

Now, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate are both members of the Democratic Party. The law says nothing about and does not allow for action taken by the Supreme Court; therefore, no action will be taken by the Supreme Court.

Lindell may not be aware of or understand Title 3 quoted above. Additionally, he may not remember that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency stated, on November 12, 2020, that “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history….” “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”5 Furthermore, Lindell may not know of or may have discounted Attorney General Bill Barr’s conversation with Trump on December 1, 2020, when Barr told Trump to Trump’s face that Trump’s election fraud claims were “bullshit.”6 Earlier Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press (AP) in which he made clear the “Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.” In other words, Barr stated as of the date of the interview … “We have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”7 Two weeks later, on December 14, 2020, Barr resigned.

For nine months Lindell has claimed the 2020 election was stolen and he has terabytes of evidence to prove it. As an historian this claim sounds familiar. In February 1950, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy from Wisconsin stated in a Wheeling West Virginia speech he had a list of communists working in the State Department. The number of people on that list varied from 57 to 205 to a lot. The fact is McCarthy never had such a list.8 McCarthyism is a prime example of the illogic of waste—time, potential; resources all to advance a single person’s career or agenda. In Lindell’s case, for communists read election fraud. At least, Lindell’s symposium did not last as long as McCarthy’s hearings. In the end, McCarthy’s search for communists produced nothing, except the addition of a new word to the English language–McCarthyism.9

Did the Sioux Falls South Dakota cyber symposium produce any evidence that China interfered with the 2020 election? No. The symposium did not get off to a good start, on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, because of technical difficulties, which Lindell claimed were due to the attacks of hackers.10 The event went downhill from there. On Wednesday, August 11, 2021, the invited cyber experts lost interest as Lindell incessantly spoke about his “evidence,” but produced nothing.11 Even former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was charged on August 20, 2020, with defrauding donors to an online fundraising campaign to build a border wall and pardoned by Trump, said Lindell should produce the evidence. “You’ve laid a theory of the case that is very powerful, but in laying that case out, you’ve got to bring the receipts.”12 Adding insult to injury, Josh Merritt cyber expert on the team hired by Lindell told the Washington Times Wednesday, that “packet captures are unrecoverable in the data and that the data, as provided, cannot prove a cyber incursion by China.” Merritt added, “So our team said, we’re not going to say that this is legitimate if we don’t have confidence in the information.”13

In the end, Lindell’s cyber symposium is another prime example of the illogic of waste—time, potential; resources all to advance a fantastic notion that had absolutely no chance of becoming reality. Lindell’s symposium produced no evidence of election fraud and Trump will not be reinstated. So, for a majority of the country nothing has changed; people go about their lives as before. But, what of Trump supporters? They were promised evidence that would support their belief, and they were given none. Will they alter their views to fit the facts? Or alter the facts to fit their views? What of Lindell? Was the symposium just a con to sell pillows? Or was Lindell the victim of a con man? Lindell has been silent since the end of the symposium on Thursday, August 12, 2021, will he fade into the background and concentrate on his legal defense in the Dominion lawsuit? A lot of questions, damn few answers.

Notes

1 Mike Lindell Promises to Show ‘100% Non-Subjective Evidence’ of Election Fraud in August, Newsweek, June 26, 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/mike-lindell-promises-show-100-non-subjective-evidence-election-fraud-august-1604409.

2 “Judge Rules Dominion Case Can Proceed against Trump Allies,” AP NEWS, August 12, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/business-election-2020-fdb8faaacdbc06b241e55ebb37fbff61.

3 Cheryl Teh, “My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell Fled the Stage at His Cyber Symposium at the Same Time News Broke That Dominion’s Billion-Dollar Defamation Lawsuit against Him Would Proceed,” Business Insider, accessed August 12, 2021, https:// www.businessinsider.com/mike-lindell-ran-off-stage-cyber-symposium-dominions-lawsuit-proceed-2021-8; John Whitehouse, (@existentialfish), “Moments after a Federal Judge Ruled That Dominion’s Lawsuits against Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, Giuliani, and Others Can Proceed, Lindell Himself Hustles off Stage,” Twitter, August 11, 2021. https://twitter.com/existentialfish/status/1425583724138225669.

4 “3 U.S. Code § 19 – Vacancy in Offices of Both President and Vice President; Officers Eligible to Act,” LII / Legal Information Institute, accessed August 13, 2021, https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/3/19.

5 “Joint Statement from Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council & the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees | CISA,” accessed August 13, 2021, https://www.cisa.gov/news/2020/11/12/joint-statement-elections-infrastructure-government-coordinating-council-election.

6 Jonathan Swan, “Off the Rails: Inside the Disintegration of Trump’s Relationship with Bill Barr,” Axios, accessed August 13, 2021, https://www.axios.com/trump-barr-relationship-off-the-rails-b33b3788-e7e9-47fa-84c5-3a0016559eb5.html.

7 “Disputing Trump, Barr Says No Widespread Election Fraud,” AP NEWS, accessed August 14, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/barr-no-widespread-election-fraud-b1f1488796c9a98c4b1a9061a6c7f49d .

8 John Keegan, McCarthyism, jgkeegan.com, accessed August 14, 2021, https://jgkeegan.com/mccarthyism.htm, 2-3.

9 Keegan, 2. “Generally, McCarthyism was a serious assault on the Western political system and its antidemocratic aspects posed a genuine threat to that system. McCarthyism was, at its simplest, intolerance backed by power. Specifically, it was the use of unsupported charges and smear tactics to destroy someone’s reputation and career.”

10 “Mike Lindell Delays ‘Cyber Symposium’ After Saying He Was Hacked,” accessed August 15, 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/mike-lindell-delays-cyber-symposium-after-saying-he-was-hacked-1618010.

11 Zachary Petrizzo, (@ZTPetrizzo) “As Mike Lindell Talks about His ‘Evidence’ on Day Two, the Crowd Wasn’t Having It and Has Mostly Left.” Twitter, August 12, 2021, https://twitter.com/ZTPetrizzo/status/1425614163276189697.

12 “Steve Bannon’s Fraud Case Dismissed after Months of Haggling over Trump Pardon,” Washington Post, accessed August 16, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/steve-bannon-case-dismissed/2021/05/25/8f1e0422-93e7-11eb-a74e-1f4cf89fd948_story.html; “‘This Is a Mistake’: Steve Bannon Slams Mike Lindell’s Symposium for Not Proving Voter Fraud,” Newsweek, August 11, 2021. https://www.newsweek.com/this-mistake-steve-bannon-slams-mike-lindells-symposium-not-proving-voter-fraud-1618546.

13 “Cyber Expert Says Team Can’t Prove Mike Lindell’s China Election Hack Claims,” Washington Times, accessed August 13, 2021, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/aug/11/mike-lindells-lead-cyber-expert-says-they-cant-pro/

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