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Tipsheet

Will Terry McAuliffe Go Back on His Word and Question the Election Results If He Loses? It's Looking Likely.

AP Photo/Steve Helber

During the first Virginia gubernatorial debate in mid-September, Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe assured voters he would not question the election results if he lost. He may not have meant it, though. On Thursday, five days before the Virginia elections, it was reported that McAuliffe has hired election attorney and liberal activist Marc Elias. As law professor Jonathan Turley pointed out, this suggests McAuliffe may be preparing to challenge the election results should his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, win. 

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As I referred to Elias in April, he's "the gift that keeps on giving." At the time he was mocked over a viral tweet lambasting the Georgia election integrity law, which he filed suit against immediately after it was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in March. In a since deleted tweet, Elias questioned voters would know how to vote by mail with their ID, which many called racist.

He was also involved in representing Rita Hart, who challenged and was prepared to have her opponent, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), removed from Congress after the congresswoman won her seat by six votes. 

Recently, it was revealed that Elias may be of interest in the investigation of John Durham. Elias is cited in last month's report from The New York Times regarding that investigation, which resulted in a grand jury indictment of Michael Sussmann, a former DNC attorney who was a partner of Elias at Perkins Coie:

Another partner at Perkins Coie, Marc Elias, was then serving as the general counsel for the Clinton campaign. Mr. Elias, who did not respond to inquiries, left Perkins Coie last month.

In their attempt to head off any indictment, Mr. Sussmann’s lawyers are said to have insisted that their client was representing the cybersecurity expert he mentioned to Congress and was not there on behalf of or at the direction of the Clinton campaign.

They are also said to have argued that the billing records are misleading because Mr. Sussmann was not charging his client for work on the Alfa Bank matter, but needed to show internally that he was working on something. He was discussing the matter with Mr. Elias and the campaign paid a flat monthly retainer to the firm, so Mr. Sussmann’s hours did not result in any additional charges, they said.

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As Turley writes about Elias on his website:

...Elias is a critical figure in the ongoing Durham investigation and has been accused of lying to the media to hide the role of the Clinton campaign in funding the Steele dossier. His former law partner Michael Sussmann at Perkins Coie was recently indicted by Durham.  Elias has also led efforts to challenge Democratic losses, even as he denounces Republicans for such election challenges.  Elias has been sanctioned in past litigation.

Like Sussmann, Elias has left Perkins Coie.  He ironically created a law firm specializing in campaign ethics. McAuliffe may be preparing to challenge any win by Republican Glenn Youngkin. He has given $53,680 to the Elias Law Group.  McAuliffe does not appear disturbed by Elias’ highly controversial career or his possible exposure in the Durham investigation.

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Elias’ work embodies the inherent hypocrisy of some advocates and some in the media on election challenges. He often solicits contributions to challenge election results while denouncing Republicans for challenging election results.

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Elias has not been criminally charged in his actions related to the 2020 election. Yet, bringing Elias into the Virginia race in the midst of the Durham investigation is an astonishing decision by McAuliffe. There are a host of election lawyers but McAuliffe selected an attorney accused of lying to the media, advancing rejected conspiracy theories, and currently involved in a major federal investigation that has already led to the indictment of his former partner.

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Such a move from McAuliffe shows that the candidate is going back on his word, which is its own separate issue, regardless of any controversy surrounding Elias. 

On September 16, at the Appalachian School of Law, moderator Susan Page asked both the candidates "If the state certifies that you lost this election, even narrowly, will you pledge tonight to recognize [your opponent] as the legitimately elected governor?"

McAuliffe answered "absolutely." Youngkin had also answered "absolutely."

McAuliffe has frequently accused Youngkin of questioning the results of the 2020 election, based on his stated commitment to election integrity.

Also in that first debate, Youngkin assured Page when asked if he thought Democrats would cheat in this election that "No. I think we're gonna have a clean, fair election and I fully expect to win." On multiple occasions he has reaffirmed that Biden was legitimately elected president, including during an interview on "The Guy Benson Show."

Meanwhile, McAuliffe has repeatedly questioned that President George W. Bush was legitimately elected in 2000. Additionally, as Turley also pointed out and Townhall has extensively covered, he's campaigned with fellow election denier and failed 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams. On Sunday, McAuliffe even repeated that Abrams "would be the governor" and claimed that "they took the votes away" from her. 

This isn't the only extremely questionable legal news to do with McAuliffe this week. On Tuesday, Luke Rosiak reported for The Daily Wire that "McAuliffe-Linked Law Firm Fighting Virginia Student Who Said She Was Gang-Raped." The law firm in question is the Hunton Andrews Kurth law firm, where McAuliffe served as a senior advisor from 2019 until recently. 

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While McAuliffe once held a comfortable lead over Youngkin, it has now shrunk considerably. Many polls show the race to be tied. According to the RealClearPolitics average, McAuliffe is ahead by just 0.8 percentage points for October 9-25. FiveThirtyEight shows McAuliffe with 1.5 percent lead.

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