In the latest news from Big Lie country, Mesa County’s embattled Clerk Tina Peters has left the building.
Actually, she’s no longer allowed in the building because of various accusations made against her regarding the integrity of the county’s voting machines, like allegedly leaking passwords, like late-night video copying of a voting system’s hard drive, like allowing a non-employee to be deployed — with security cameras turned off — in what should have been a secure location.
But Peters has, in fact, left the state for an undisclosed location, where she is in, uh, hiding, courtesy of — and I know you’re ahead of me here — the MyPillow guy, Mike Lindell, who says she’s under threat and has spirited her out of town.
We’re not sure who, if anyone, has threatened her or from whom she’s hiding. But I’ve got a list of suspects she may not want to meet up with, starting with the FBI, the Mesa County DA and any and all reporters.
The undisclosed location is apparently in Texas, where there should be plenty of room because of all those Democratic lawmakers who have fled the state, but in an exclusive report from Lindell’s TV show, we learn that Peters’ hotel room was broken into. You can watch the video of Lindell interviewing Peters on the “The Lindell Report,” seen on Lindelltv.com, which is actually a thing, an online outlet devoted to selling pillows and also to selling outlandish conspiracy theories on the so-called rigging of the 2020 election.
This was Peters’ first public comment since going into hiding two weeks ago. And, of course, she chose to break the silence in an interview with Lindell. The last time we saw Peters was at Lindell’s cyber symposium in South Dakota, where he promised to prove the election was rigged. Of course, he had no actual evidence because there is no actual evidence.
(Speaking of which, did you see that the report from the bogus audit in Arizona was delayed because three of the Cyber Ninja auditors had come down with COVID-19? Can any of this really get more bizarre? I hope no one is seriously ill, but I’m waiting for someone to make the accusation that an anti-Trumpist must have slipped the virus into their hotel rooms.)
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The evidence of the Peters break-in isn’t much clearer. We’re shown a photo of a door to some hotel room — we don’t really know whose room or in what hotel or in what state or in what country and, since it’s Lindell we’re talking about, in what universe — left slightly ajar.
No word of calling the police. Or of calling hotel security. Or of anything missing. Or of what anyone could possibly be looking for.
We don’t see inside the room. We don’t see evidence of, say, any ransacking. Nothing except a photo of, yes, a door. And from there, we’re supposed to think that this is another Watergate. I doubt G. Gordon Liddy would have gone anywhere near the Lindell-Peters team.
Should we believe them on the break-in, which Lindell informed us took place 15 minutes before Peters was to go on air?
Maybe. If you believe Lindell when he says the Chinese hacked the Mesa County machines to the tune of 25,000 votes. Or if you believe Peters when she tells Lindell that she overheard Jared Polis saying he wanted to make a push for Black Lives Matter groups to head into Delta and Montrose.
“I overheard it with my own ears,” she said. “There is a definite attempt to take over the Western Slope of Colorado.”
In Peters’ telling, Polis is trying to take over the Western Slope, although she didn’t say what he might want to do with it. And she also said the use of a warrant to search her offices for evidence of a security breach — a warrant taken out by the Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who is almost certainly a liberal, and we know what that means — was a raid. Peters says she wasn’t informed that investigators were coming, which probably wasn’t an oversight. If you were concerned that someone might have breached voting-machine security, you might also be concerned that person would try to hide the evidence.
What we did learn from the interview is that Peters admitted that she made copies of the hard drive before and after a scheduled May 25 systems update, an update where representatives of the state, the county and Dominion voting systems were all in place.
“I was concerned that vital statistics and information was being deleted from the system, or could be deleted from the system,” Peters said. “I wanted to preserve that. I was suspicious that something was happening to that information and decided to make an image before they came in.”
What she was doing, she said, was preserving the evidence of, well, who knows what.
In Lindell’s not-exactly-Mike-Wallace-style interview, he failed to ask who leaked the information on the hard drives, why a non-employee was allowed, against all rules, in a secure area, why the cameras were turned off in the room as Peters and company copied the hard drives, why she failed to turn over requested information to the Secretary of State’s office, why she isn’t talking to investigators, why she believed that an election she oversaw could have been hacked.
In the interview, she also complained that Griswold had appointed a “liberal” — her predecessor as clerk and a Republican, Sheila Reiner, now county treasurer — to replace her as Mesa County’s designated election official. She didn’t mention that the Mesa County commissioners had rejected Griswold’s choice and named Wayne Williams, the former Republican Secretary of State.
In a rare show of comity, Williams and Reiner have said they are happy to work together. Go figure.
And here’s the kicker, a kick right to the head of Lindell and Peters, a thumb right to the nose. After Griswold had deactivated the county’s voting machines, worried that they might have been tainted, it looked as if officials would have to hand-count the vote in the next election because of the expense of replacing the machines.
But the county commissioners — all Republicans, remember, but Republicans who apparently don’t believe in the Big Lie — are expected to extend Dominion’s contract, from 2023 to 2029, in order to get machines there in time for the next election in November, and to get them, even better, for free.
Yes, that’s the same Colorado company that Lindell, among others, has accused, without evidence, of being crooks. These are the same Dominion machines Peters thinks might have been hacked. Just wait until the Trump crazies in Mesa County hear about the commissioners’ decision. Let’s just say, Peters may not be the only one who has to go into hiding.
Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to count. He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
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