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Trump cuts NPR interview short when pressed about election lies ...

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And if we simply look back and tell our people don't vote because there's cheating going on, then we're going to put ourselves in a huge disadvantage."But Trump — who has endorsed dozens of candidates for the 2022 midterm elections and still holds by far the widest influence within the GOP — is trying hard not to let them move on. That includes threats, bullying and intimidation, like badgering and name-calling.Referring to South Dakota's Rounds in a statement after he appeared on ABC, for example, Trump said Rounds "just went woke," called him a "jerk," "weak," "ineffective" and questioned whether he was "crazy or just stupid."He also called him a RINO, an acronym for an insult some conservatives reserve for more moderate Republicans they disagree with — Republicans in name only.In the interview with NPR, he partially blamed Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for Rounds and other senators feeling as though they can speak out and say — correctly — that Trump lost the election."Because Mitch McConnell is a loser," Trump said.Trump has called McConnell worse — and all because the Kentucky Republican has crossed Trump, blaming him for the insurrection on Jan. 6 and saying President Biden won, even if McConnell doesn't do so forcefully every day.It's par for the course for Trump, who has demanded unflinching loyalty — and who chafes at truths he disagrees with, especially about him losing. Trump is pressing candidates in a different direction.Josh Mandel, a pro-Trump Republican from Ohio, launched his campaign for U.S. Senate just weeks after Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol last year."I think over time we're gonna see studies come out that [show] evidence of widespread fraud," Mandel, a former state treasurer who is angling for Trump's endorsement, told WKYC-TV.In the year since Mandel made that prediction, the opposite has happened.Even more evidence shows a free and fair election.In one disputed state, Arizona, Trump allies held a widely criticized review of millions of ballots, but even Doug Logan, who led Cyber Ninjas, the firm that ran the review, couldn't find much."The ballots that were provided to us to count in the Coliseum very accurately correlate with the official canvass numbers," Logan said.As he does with any information or person he doesn't like or disagrees with, Trump dismissed the findings in the NPR interview.In the interview, Trump repeated a number of false claims about voting systems in the U.S., including that the discredited GOP-led ballot review in Arizona showed evidence of malfeasance — despite the fact that it also reaffirmed Biden's victory.Republican officials in Maricopa County, however, debunked the characterizations of Trump and his allies in a 93-page rebuttal issued last week."The people who have spent the last year proclaiming our free and fair elections are rigged are lying or delusional," said Bill Gates, the GOP chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.Asked why even Republicans in the state accepted the findings, Trump reverted to an old attack."Because they're RINOs," he said, "and frankly, a lot of people are questioning that."Tammy Patrick, a former Maricopa County election official and now an elections expert at Democracy Fund, was presented by NPR with a number of Trump's claims about voting and noted that in the 14 months since the election, no proof of any of his claims has come to light."It hasn't been presented in any of the courts. "Allegations of fraud hinge upon being able to produce actual instances of fraud — not merely thoughts, feelings or beliefs about it."To Republicans who know how elections work, the election has always been obvious."The facts show that it was President Biden who won fair and square," said Trey Grayson, who used to run elections as the Republican secretary of state in Kentucky. "It wasn't rigged."He's thinking about those Republican T-shirts that said, "F*** your feelings.""And here we are looking at the 2020 election," Grayson said, "and we are the ones who are basing it on feelings, not on facts, not on the law."Most Republican voters now say they feel the election was stolen, according to surveys. "So even he, when you carefully read it, does not claim that he was blocked from investigating fraud."Trump nonetheless made the letter public and gave his own interpretation at multiple rallies."We have a U.S. attorney in Philadelphia that says he wasn't allowed to go and check," Trump said at a rally in Florida.Grayson has watched similar stories unfold in multiple states."I think he's been really active in moving 2022 candidates toward his point of view," Grayson said. You know the real truth, Steve, and this election was a rigged election.When pressed, it was excuse after excuse — it was "too early" to claim fraud, his attorney was no good, things just seem suspicious.But it all comes back to the same place: He has no evidence of widespread fraud that caused him to lose the election.The tone of the interview changed.

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