Carl Bernstein, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who, along with Bob Woodward, established his storied career on the landmark reporting he did on the Watergate scandal, says that President Donald Trump will likely “throw legal challenges into the courts” to undermine the legitimacy of the upcoming midterm elections. Bernstein refers to this political strategy as “untruth.”
Speaking to Brian Stetler during an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Bernstein said:
“I talked to people…in touch with the White House on Friday who believe that if the congressional midterms are very close and the Democrats were to win by five or seven seats, that Trump was already talking about how to throw legal challenges into the courts, sow confusion, declare a victory, actually, and say that the election’s been illegitimate. That is really under discussion in the White House.”
"We have had presidents in the past who have lied … but what we have never had is a President of the United States who uses lying and untruth as a basic method to promote his policies," says @CarlBernstein pic.twitter.com/dL09dVsYMF
— Reliable Sources (@ReliableSources) October 21, 2018
“We have had presidents in the past who have lied—there is no question about that—but what we have never had is a president of the United States who uses lying and untruth as a basic method to promote his policies, his beliefs and his way of approaching the American people and engaging with the world,” Bernstein continued. “His default position is to use untruth to go toward his objectives.”
Bernstein pointed to Trump’s recent comments about widespread voter fraud as an example of his “untruth” strategy.
All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 21, 2018
The press needs “to be doing stories about the reality of whether or not there is widespread voter fraud” to counter the president’s lies, he suggested.
>> @CarlBernstein: "When Trump talks, for instance, about voter fraud, as he did in a tweet last night, and warned people against fraudulent voting, we need to be doing stories about the reality of whether or not there is widespread voter fraud." pic.twitter.com/JAWvMSU2Lr
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 21, 2018
Bernstein’s comments come on the heels of a FiveThirtyEight analysis which projects Democrats have an 86 percent chance of winning the House; another analysis calculated Democrats have a 22 percent chance of gaining control of the Senate.
Naturally, political leaders, members of the media, and members of the public alike have expressed similar concerns, and Bernstein’s remarks have only affirmed what people already believe: That it would not be outside the president’s wheelhouse to challenge an election.
President Trump is "Mr. Misinformation." https://t.co/wS2ih08uFT
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 22, 2018
We have to fight with everything we got. If we don't put a check on tyrant Trump in the midterms, this will be our last remotely fair election. https://t.co/tWDQq8DJu6
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) October 22, 2018
Trump's talking about how to throw legal challenges to the courts, sow confusion, declare a victory, say that the election's been illegitimate," Bernstein said his sources warned#Mueller, hoping you drop a bomb immediately after midterms completehttps://t.co/UEm1GEdPs2
— Gamora 🔥👊 #VoteOutHate (@exoticgamora) October 21, 2018
Brother Carl is right about this. We have to show up in record numbers and take both the House and Senate! Trump and Putin will say and do anything to hold power.
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) October 21, 2018
This is the election of our lifetime!We get to stop a Putin installed despot and his Republican cronies from turning America into an Authoritarian state. No one wants Russian type rule suppressing our freedoms and using vicious tactics to silence us
— Olga Lautman (@olgaNYC1211) October 22, 2018
Bernstein’s concerns are not out of the ordinary: Trump has often claimed that millions voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, ironically casting doubt on the election he supposedly won. He even established a voter fraud commission to investigate just that.
But in August, in a letter addressed to Vice President Mike Pence, who chaired the now-defunct committee, and Kris Kobach (the commission’s vice chair), former commission member and current Secretary of State of Maine, Matthew Dunlap, stated that the president’s now dismantled voter fraud commission uncovered no evidence to prove Trump’s dubious claim.
JUST IN: Matt Dunlap, member of Trump’s former voter fraud commission, publishes trove of records, finds zero evidence of mass voter fraud, says claims from White House “were, in fact, false."
His letter to WH: https://t.co/nok74aEZFR
— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) August 3, 2018