Via America’s Lawyer: As we hurtle toward the November election, Greg Palast joins Mike Papantonio to explain how mail-in ballots and voter roll purges continue to dilute our democracy, particularly among black and poor communities. Then, legal journalist Mollye Barrows breaks down the New York attorney general’s lawsuit against the NRA, seeking to dissolve the gun group after an investigation revealed sweeping financial fraud.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. So your book, I, I, you know, it’s, it’s the same quality. You don’t just say it, you’ve investigated it. You put it out there you say, here is what the issues are. I’m wondering why I’m not seeing more of this discussion on corporate media. I have a theory and my theory is that corporate media goes after low hanging fruit and if a producer can’t put a story together that the talent on air talent can deliver, they don’t do the story. I think you’ve said something similar to that, similar to that to me in the past. What’s your take on what, why, why is this whole issue disappearing? This book should be, it should be a national bestseller because it’s getting ready to happen. Your title is Trump is going to win this election and here’s why, I mean, basically, that’s what you’re saying in your title. Isn’t it?
Greg Palast: Well, I’m saying the title, “How Trump Stole 2020,” is he’s already stolen it. That is we’ve wiped out 17 million voters off the voter rolls, overwhelmingly African-American and young. That is the bluish voters, but we can steal it back. That is we can bust the burglary. People who’ve been wiped out from their, wiped off the voter rolls, you can re-register. And that’s why I encourage everyone to check their registration now. So it’s not a done deal, but you’re right about investigations of these matters. Number one, it’s very uncomfortable to talk about the deficit of American democracy, that what we have is a mockery of democracy, it’s not exactly democracy when you don’t count 5.8 million ballots. And by the way, that’s the official number from the elections assistance commission, the federal government, we don’t count those votes.
So we don’t like to talk about that on national TV and you brought up something else, investigative reporting. I have a foundation, my own foundation to back this work, my discovery of the millions of voters wrongly removed from the voter rolls, that was a seven year investigation that cost several hundred thousand dollars. If you think that there’s any American commercial outlet, that’s going to pay for that and stick with that, that doesn’t happen. We are going to get some big coverage is coming up in the mainstream, but basically we had to pay and conduct the entire investigations ourselves. But it’s a very uncomfortable subject for American commercial television and print.
Mike Papantonio: It’s uncomfortable for corporate TV to do this. So they don’t do it. It’s probably one of the most important issues we have out there because if I, if, if I read you right, and if we see the history, for example, Detroit, I remember what happened in Detroit. Was it like 6 million votes, almost 6 million votes that just disappeared in Detroit?
Greg Palast: In, in the book, I explain how, while Trump won officially Detroit by 10,700 votes, 75,000, in fact, 75,355 ballots to be exact were never counted in Detroit because 87 counting machines, that is the scanners, broke down. So the ballots simply weren’t counted. And in Detroit, so whose votes are those? That’s Motown. So who really won Michigan? But why weren’t we covering big time, the fact that 75,000 ballots were not counted?
Mike Papantonio: Both you and I have done corporate media over the years quite a bit, a lot, actually a lot.
Greg Palast: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: And we know the inside of what happens and it is the, it’s always the low hanging fruit stories. It’s easy to get on and just attack Trump and or attack Biden. And, you know, it just, this, this food fight, this food fight mentality in corporate media is preventing you, real investigative journalists, from actually telling stories like this. And it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. Let me, let me ask you this. There’s a hot button issue now, and it’s the longevity of the US postal service, which is already struggling financially before this pandemic. What’s the impact on mail in ballots if we’ve got problems with the postal service? Or maybe that’s not, maybe that predicate isn’t correct. What’s your take?
Greg Palast: We’ve already had a disaster with mail in ballots. Like I said, one in five, aren’t counted now. The biggest problem is you don’t get them. Sometimes that’s the government slow walking it to, especially into communities of color, which is what I saw in, in Georgia, in June. The other problem is that so the post office has imploded with mail in balloting that we’ve had before. So this is a huge, huge problem. And by the way, the corporate media doesn’t really like talking about it because they want to encourage people to vote by mail as I do to stay safe, I don’t want you to die to vote, but you have to understand how difficult this is and how we have to correct this system.
Mike Papantonio: Greg I’m out of time. I want to have you back about this book, it’s an important book, God, I wish corporate media would do their job and get this out there. I’ve got to go right now, but thanks for joining me. Okay.
Greg Palast: Thank you for doing your job.
Mike Papantonio: Following an investigation that revealed the national rifle association is ripe with fraud, New York’s attorney general is now seeking to completely dissolve the organization as a whole. Legal journalist Mollye Barrows is with me now to talk about it. I took a look at this, it’s, it’s complicated in that she’s attacking their nonprofit status. Okay. If she succeeds, you understand what’s going to happen is they’re going to say well, okay. What about the Catholic church? Same deal.
Mollye Barrows: Right.
Mike Papantonio: What about these hospitals that call themselves nonprofit?
Mollye Barrows: Right.
Mike Papantonio: And there’s all kinds of hinky stuff going on. What about churches in general? You see.
Mollye Barrows: Right. Oh I, yeah. Church of Scientology.
Mike Papantonio: So, so the nonprofit issue is abused across the board.
Mollye Barrows: I agree.
Mike Papantonio: No question. So first of all, she’s got real problems with this case, but it’s a, it’s a creative place to begin. What’s your take?
Mollye Barrows: It’s interesting because she was successful in doing this with Trump university. She basically dissolved that organization when they wouldn’t come clean with how they were spending their money or they were misappropriating funds. So it looks like she’s trying to take the same angle here and this is just the latest in a long line of issues with the NRA. So maybe she’s attacking while there’s blood in the water. She’s not the only AG looking into them. You’ve got Washington, DC looking into them. You had the probe that the Senate looked into a year and a half, basically a year and a half probe that wrapped up last year. And they found, that was when they found the, you know, connections with the Russian operatives, if you will, or the nationals, Maria Buitoni and the other guy was Alexander something or another, but, at any rate, so they’ve had a long list of problems lately and legal issues as well of costing like a hundred million dollars. There was a secret recording that was leaked. So I think maybe she just sees an opportunity to take down one of the most powerful lobby groups that has kept States from being able to pass gun control laws that are significant in any way, shape or form.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. So the, the, the complaints in her complaint is that there, there’s signs of plane flights that were done, jets being used for.
Mollye Barrows: Yes.
Mike Papantonio: For, for executives.
Mollye Barrows: Misappropriation of money. Not, not filing properly, how they were spending their money and.
Mike Papantonio: Trip to Africa.
Mollye Barrows: Right.
Mike Papantonio: Private trip, trip to Africa that was unexplained. I think you, you had the, the CEO’s $17 million to, to, to the CEO saying $17 million is what I want to put aside for my exit package.
Mollye Barrows: Right. He didn’t even get it approved by the board, Wayne LaPierre.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. Now here’s what’s so startling about this. If you take these same facts and you apply them to a lot of nonprofits, you’re going to find the same result. So the question then becomes, is this the new, is this the new lawsuit? Is this the, is this what finally is used to go after the Catholic church where they’re spending gazillion dollars because of abuse of children.
Mollye Barrows: Right.
Mike Papantonio: You know, here’s, here’s what I find interesting about this. The Republicans are loving this.
Mollye Barrows: Absolutely.
Mike Papantonio: Did you know that?
Mollye Barrows: It gives them a lots of fodder.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah.
Mollye Barrows: You’re attacking our second amendment rights. The NRA is equivalent to God. Oh my Lord. We’re never gonna be able to defend ourselves, et cetera, et cetera.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Ann Richards, was a governor of Texas ran against Bush and when, when the smoke cleared and Bush beat her, overwhelmingly the thing that brought the folks out to vote against Ann Richards was, was the gun issue.
Mollye Barrows: Right.
Mike Papantonio: And that’s what the GOP is counting on with this. And I think they’ve even talked to Letitia James and said, look, can’t you wait? Can’t you wait till after the election?
Mollye Barrows: Not to give fodder.
Mike Papantonio: This is like, this is like red meat for these folks.
Mollye Barrows: Right. No, I think you’re exactly right. I mean, the NRA has already responded with a very, with its own lawsuit, basically saying you’re violating our freedom of speech. And, and Donald Trump is, has jumped on the bandwagon as well, and basically called it, you know, government control of our God given gun rights. But I didn’t know God gave us gun rights, but that’s the kind of language they like to use. At any rate, I think that’s essentially where this is going. It is going to open the door for a lot of political folks to say, hey, it’s a, it’s a dog whistle, if you will. Our gun rights are being violated.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. This is being done, this is the other GOP talking point that I’m already seeing. It is we’re in a time when their, we’re, you know, you got Democrats trying to defund the police. Their, their argument. This is not me telling.
Mollye Barrows: Law and order. Law and order.
Mike Papantonio: This is not me. It’s Law and order, the argument coming from the GOP is the Democrat cities. You know, whether it’s.
Mollye Barrows: Yes, Portland.
Mike Papantonio: Whether it’s Portland or Seattle or Chicago, it’s chaos, it’s crazy. New York, they’re leaving the city and she’s bringing this during a time that’s just going to add more to that argument. They, they’ve really tried to discourage her timing wise.
Mollye Barrows: From doing it.
Mike Papantonio: Now, I don’t know, I think she’s got some possibilities, but timing wise it’s bad.
Mollye Barrows: Well, I think you bring up some great points. I mean, personally, I’d like to see the NRA lose some of its teeth. I do think we have some much needed gun control regulation that doesn’t interfere with people’s second amendment rights. And if this is a way to get to that end goal, I approve of it, but you’re right. We only have a couple more months till we have an important election. And if this is going to be used as fodder to distract people away from the real issues that matter, that’s a damn shame.
Mike Papantonio: Well, she’s getting a lot of publicity, but it’s not helping the election.
Mollye Barrows: Yes.
Mike Papantonio: Mollye, thank you for joining me. Okay.
Mollye Barrows: Thanks, Pap.