Sunday, August 13, 2023

Fani, Flagged In Georgia, Con't

With Fulton County, Georgia DA Fani Willis expected to bring her case to a grand jury this week as several witnesses to Trump's efforts to interfere with the 2020 Georgia election have been informed they will need to testify stating Tuesday, we're starting to see what kind of evidence Willis may present, including messages from Trump's inner circle that they were directly involved in the January 2021 voting system breach in a Georgia county elections office.

Atlanta-area prosecutors investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia are in possession of text messages and emails directly connecting members of Donald Trump’s legal team to the early January 2021 voting system breach in Coffee County, sources tell CNN.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is expected to seek charges against more than a dozen individuals when her team presents its case before a grand jury next week. Several individuals involved in the voting systems breach in Coffee County are among those who may face charges in the sprawling criminal probe.

Investigators in the Georgia criminal probe have long suspected the breach was not an organic effort sprung from sympathetic Trump supporters in rural and heavily Republican Coffee County – a county Trump won by nearly 70% of the vote. They have gathered evidence indicating it was a top-down push by Trump’s team to access sensitive voting software, according to people familiar with the situation.

Trump allies attempted to access voting systems after the 2020 election as part of the broader push to produce evidence that could back up the former president’s baseless claims of widespread fraud.

While Trump’s January 2021 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and effort to put forward fake slates of electors have long been considered key pillars of Willis’ criminal probe, the voting system breach in Coffee County quietly emerged as an area of focus for investigators roughly one year ago. Since then, new evidence has slowly been uncovered about the role of Trump’s attorneys, the operatives they hired and how the breach, as well as others like it in other key states, factored into broader plans for overturning the election.

Together, the text messages and other court documents show how Trump lawyers and a group of hired operatives sought to access Coffee County’s voting systems in the days before January 6, 2021, as the former president’s allies continued a desperate hunt for any evidence of widespread fraud they could use to delay certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

 Last year, a former Trump official testified under oath to the House January 6 select committee that plans to access voting systems in Georgia were discussed in meetings at the White House, including during an Oval Office meeting on December 18, 2020,  that included Trump. 

Six days before pro-Trump operatives gained unauthorized access to voting systems, the local elections official who allegedly helped facilitate the breach sent a “written invitation” to attorneys working for Trump, according to text messages obtained by CNN.

Investigators have scrutinized the actions of various individuals who were involved, including Misty Hampton, a former Coffee County elections official who authored the letter of invitation referenced in text messages and other documents that have been turned over to prosecutors, multiple sources told CNN.

They have also examined the involvement of Trump’s then attorney Rudy Giuliani – who was informed last year he was a target in the Fulton County investigation – and fellow Trump lawyer Sidney Powell as part of their probe, according to people familiar with the matter.

A spokesperson for Willis’ office declined to comment.

The letter of invitation was shared with attorneys and an investigator working with Giuliani at the time, the text messages obtained by CNN show.
Remember, the entire Coffee County voting system mess was the justification Trump's team wanted for seizing voting machines across the country. The fact that it was all criminal activity on the part of Trump's followers was beside the point.
We lucked out because Trump's people lacked the fortitude to accept the consequences in January 2021.
We won't get a second chance to stop them if he is allowed back into office again. 

Sunday Long Read: Bee Not Afraid

Bee colonies continue to collapse around the globe, and in our Sunday Long Read this week, Lex Pryor at The Ringer profiles the beekeepers on the front lines of the fight. They're doing whatever they can to save the popular pollinators as climate change ravages billions of bees, leaving America and the world ever closer to losing a vital link in the global food chain.
There is a bee twiddling its legs on the moonlit dashboard of Bill Crawford’s pickup. I tell him we’ve got a straggler before it crawls under a stack of stained papers. There are roughly 4 million more in the back. He is not even slightly concerned.

“There’s probably bees all over. Inside the truck, outside the truck,” he says, eyes scanning the dim country road ahead. “You’re just as liable to get stung in here as you are outside.”

Crawford is a bee man. More than once, he refers to what we’re doing—driving a load of 80 honeybee colonies from western Massachusetts to a wild blueberry farm in central New Hampshire—as “haulin’ bees.” He is active behind the wheel, but he is not gung-ho. When the road bends, he slows down. On the highway he drives the speed limit.

“One thing that’s different haulin’ bees,” he cautions, “you got a higher center of gravity, so you don’t really want to take too tight of turns.”

The truck is a white Ford F-150 with the printed image of a smiling, anthropomorphic bee on the side and more than 171,000 miles on the odometer. The floors are coated in dried mud. Crawford drinks a Cherry Coke and owns both a flip phone and iPad.

He transports his bees at night so that none of them flutter away. They fly only in the daylight, but Crawford still covers the entire load with one big plastic tarp, fastening it with wooden planks and cargo straps. They are stored for most of the year in one of his beeyards near Springfield. When Crawford readies the bees for transport, it looks like some brand of outlandish NASA training: He and his staff, clad in full, graying bee suits, stack hives that resemble office cabinets from a forklift amid a cloud of soothing smoke and darting yellow fuzz.

He considers the North American black bear to be his sworn enemy. Each of his bee hubs is surrounded by electric fences. In total, Crawford owns around 3,200 colonies, equivalent to upward of 150 million bees. He is one of thousands of commercial migratory beekeepers in the United States. They are the phantom backbone of our agricultural system: The bees pollinate the crops; the beekeepers shuttle them from field to field, coast to coast.

They directly contribute to a third of America’s food: apples, peaches, lettuce, squashes, melons, broccoli, cranberries, tree nuts, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, plums, clementines, tangerines, sunflowers, pumpkins, alfalfa for your beef, and guar for your processed foods. Ninety-eight percent of organic vitamin C sources, 70 percent of vitamin A, and 74 percent of lipids; $17 billion worth of crops annually from honeybee pollination alone. The demand for their services has tripled in the past 50 years and shows no signs of abating.

The problem is they die. You have probably heard this. The number of colonies in the U.S.—2.7 million—is less than half what it was at the midpoint of the 20th century, and it has remained flat since the early 2000s. Virtually every year for the past two decades, U.S. beekeepers are tasked with replacing the third or more of their stock that perish after pollinating the very crops that required the bees in the first place. It is a shell game with titanic stakes. (In other words, it’s very American.) It works how it works because we made it to. This you may not have heard.

The bee-industrial complex is a quagmire linked to antiquity and the modern world. People have harnessed bees for about as long as they’ve harnessed anything at all. They are mentioned in the ancient cuneiform writings of Sumeria and Babylonia. They were domesticated for the Egyptian pharaohs by 2400 BCE. Early Roman naturalists recorded witnessing villages in northern Italy where “they place their hives on ships and take them during the night about five miles up the river” to access new fields of flowers.
And yes, bees are a multi-billion dollar business in the US. Without them, the food chain collapses.
America's apiary aces are losing the battle. 

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