There’s more news, if you can stand it, on Tina Peters, the embattled Mesa County clerk and Colorado’s most investigated Big Lie purveyor.
She traveled to Castle Rock Thursday night to give a speech — and at no point during her trip, as far as we know, was she even once arrested.
Yes, not getting arrested is now news when it comes to Peters, who was booked on two misdemeanor charges, including one for trying to kick a cop, Thursday morning in Grand Junction, posted a $500 bond, was released, and, before you knew it, ended up in Castle Rock for a right-wing FEC United event featuring other prominent Big Lie supporters and worse.
Speakers included state representative and U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks, who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and who invokes the Big Lie at every campaign stop; John Eastman, the former University of Colorado Boulder visiting scholar and Donald Trump’s top legal adviser on how to steal the 2020 election; FEC United’s founder Joe Oltmann, who is most infamous for calling for some reporters and politicians, including Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, to be hanged; My Pillow Guy pal Shawn Smith, who responded to chants from the crowd to lock up Secretary of State Jena Griswold by saying that though he believed in due process, “if you’re involved in election fraud then you deserve to hang. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.”
That’s a lot of lynching talk, but apparently those are the kinds of people that Hanks and Peters, um, hang around with.
At last count, Peters — who was banned by a judge from overseeing Mesa County’s 2021 election because of her apparent violation of a series of rules, and maybe a few laws involving the county’s election system hard drive — is currently being investigated for various activities by a grand jury, by the local DA, by the Grand Junction police, by the Colorado secretary of state’s office, by the FBI and everyone but the January 6 committee (which may, or may not, be investigating Lauren Boebert, but that’s another story, or maybe it’s the same one).
Peters, like Boebert, just can’t seem to stay out of the news. She has been lately accused by court officers of illegally filming a hearing for her deputy, Belinda Knisley. And when Peters was being served a search warrant for the iPad she allegedly used in the filming, she resisted arrest and kicked at the cop while being handcuffed. The iPad, in a scene out of a bad comedy, was apparently passed around by customers with Peters in a Grand Junction bagel shop before the cops got it. There’s video of the attempted kick, I swear.
And you know who’s happiest about this? Yes, Colorado Democrats and one particular Democrat, Sen. Michael Bennet, who is rooting for Hanks to win the Republican primary for Senate. I don’t know what kind of chance Hanks has, but he has been winning a series of Republican straw votes, which isn’t that surprising given that a majority of Republicans, according to all the polls, say they believe in the Big Lie that Joe Biden stole the election.
This is Colorado’s small, but significant, contribution to Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell’s big midterm election headache. While he’s busily trying to win back the Senate for Republicans so he can again be majority leader, McConnell is watching his party refuse to let go of the Big Lie, because Trump won’t let go of the Big Lie. And not only that, Trump is backing revenge candidates in primaries against Republicans who have dared to cross him, with Liz Cheney atop the list.
You saw McConnell’s reply to the Republican National Committee’s censure of dissident Reps. Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, in which the resolution said they were participating in a “Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate public protest.”
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Yes, ordinary citizens, legitimate public protest.
But as McConnell pointed out, in objecting to the censure, “Well, let me give him my view of what happened January the 6th. We all were here. We saw what happened. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next. That’s what it was.”
McConnell wants Republicans to concentrate on Joe Biden, whose approval numbers are in the low 40s while inflation rages, the pandemic continues and any good news on economic growth gets buried under all the bad news. And we’re now seeing a list of Democratic governors running away from COVID mandates precisely because of Biden’s low ratings.
But trying to win the 2020 election in the 2022 midterms would certainly be a disaster for Republicans in Colorado and, very possibly, for Republicans everywhere. You could call it political malfeasance, which I think is how veteran GOP strategist Dick Wadhams would put it. And before you try to put it down to fringe Republicans, remember that a majority of Colorado House Republicans voted for an amendment commending Hanks for going to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Every day, there are yet more revelations from the House committee and from the press about the events of January 6 and of Trump’s involvement. News of phony electors. News of Rudy Giuliani asking the Michigan secretary of state to hand over voting machines. News of Trump ripping up documents and, yes, tossing them into the toilet. News of aides/lackeys using tape to try to reconstruct the torn documents.
The latest news, of course, is that Trump took boxes full of stuff from the White House that he should have handed over to the National Archives, apparently including material that was marked “classified.” If that puts you in mind of the Republican attacks on Hillary Clinton’s emails, that’s exactly what Democrats want you to have in mind.
And if the White House logs apparently show Rose Mary Woods-sized gaps in recording calls that we know Trump made on January 6th, that’s something that Democrats also want you to notice.
Come April or May, there will likely be public hearings by the House January 6 committee, which some are even talking about putting in prime time, just to inform the public and, yes, maybe to further twist the knife. It will dominate the news for weeks. It will stir up angry Democrats and, yes, it will stir up just-as-angry Republicans.
But if there’s one thing we can be sure of — and let’s give Tina Peters and friends their due here — it’s that Democrats are bound to get a kick out of it from start to finish.
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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