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Rigged!
January 17, 2019

When Michael Cohen infamously questioned the legitimacy of presidential polls in 2016, it seems he knew a thing or two about trying to rig them.

President Trump's former attorney hired an IT firm to manipulate online polls for Trump before he entered the 2016 race, The Wall Street Journal reports. John Gauger, owner of RedFinch Solutions LLC, says Cohen promised him $50,000 for work that included trying to manipulate a Drudge Report poll of possible Republican presidential candidates in 2015. Cohen also reportedly asked Gauger to tinker with a CNBC poll of America's top business leaders in 2014.

Gauger says Cohen paid him around $12,500 in a Walmart bag full of cash (and "a boxing glove that Mr. Cohen said had been worn by a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter") but never gave him the rest of the money, even though Trump reimbursed Cohen for $50,000 in "tech services." Cohen denied paying with a bag of cash, telling the Journal he used a check.

Gauger says Cohen did end up paying him more money later for additional services, though. This apparently included having Gauger make a Cohen fan account during the 2016 election called @WomenForCohen, which labeled Cohen a "sex symbol."

Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to violating campaign finance laws, saying he paid off women who alleged they had affairs with Trump before he ran for president, which Trump denies. Cohen will testify before Congress next month and reportedly plans to detail his personal experience working for the president, with one source saying he's "going to say things that will give you chills."

As for the poll-rigging efforts, Journal notes Gauger was unsuccessful. In the Drudge poll, Trump ended up in fifth place with five percent of the vote, and in the CNBC poll, he didn't even make it into the top 100. Brendan Morrow

October 29, 2016

A Donald Trump supporter in Iowa was arrested Thursday over charges she voted twice in the presidential election. Terri Lynn Rote, a 55-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa, reportedly cast one early voting ballot at the Polk County Election Office and a second at a county satellite voting location in Des Moines. Rote said her decision to vote in Des Moines was a "spur-of-the-moment thing." "I don't know what came over me," she said, per The Washington Post.

Rote has been charged with first-degree election misconduct, a "Class D felony" under Iowa state law, The Des Moines Register reported. She was released Friday after she posted a $5,000 bond. Her hearing is slated for Nov. 7, one day before Election Day.

The Polk County Auditor's Office is investigating two other cases of possible voter fraud, though arrests have not been made in either case.

In recent weeks, Trump has repeatedly claimed the election is "rigged" against him. Becca Stanek

August 26, 2016

When Donald Trump suggested that the 2016 election might be "rigged," he probably wasn't thinking about his new campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, who, The Guardian reports, is registered to vote in the key swing state of Florida using the address of a vacant house he never lived in. Bannon has an active voter registration in Miami-Dade County, with the address for a condemned house that was abandoned a few months ago by one of his ex-wives, Diane Clohesy, according to neighbors who say they have never seen Bannon at the house. (Clohesy herself also appears to be registered illegally in neighboring Broward County.)

Bannon owns a house in Orange County, California, which is reputedly his primary residence, and co-owns a Los Angeles condo, though he also claims to live in the "Breitbart embassy" in Washington, D.C., a $2.4 million townhouse owned by an Egyptian businessman named Mostafa El-Gindy, The Guardian says. Florida requires people to be legal residents of the county and state where they are registered to vote, with the Florida secretary of state's office defining legal residency as the place "where a person mentally intends to make his or her permanent residence." In Florida, willfully submitting false information on your voter registration is a third-degree felony.

"Bannon is executive chairman of the rightwing website Breitbart News, which has for years aggressively claimed that voter fraud is rife among minorities and in Democratic-leaning areas," The Guardian notes. Neither Bannon nor Clohesy responded to The Guardian's request for comment, though Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller said "Mr. Bannon moved to another location in Florida," without elaborating. This at least wouldn't appear to be a case of double-voting, though: Bannon gave up his California registration in 2014. You can read more at The Guardian, or about Bannon's alleged physical abuse and threats against another ex-wife at Politico and the New York Post. Peter Weber

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