Donald Trump, his Russian email server, Betsy DeVos, voting machines, and the Michigan upset

Now that a Freedom of Information Act request has resulted in ninety pages of voting machine flaws in swing states in the 2016 election (link), it’s time to go back and revisit how and why Donald Trump truly won the state of Michigan. And that story involves the infamous Trump Tower Russian email server, its connection to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

During the recount effort, Palmer Report reported heavily on the voting machine flaws that surfaced, based on accounts we were receiving directly from recount observers (link) and the efforts of local reporters (link). But the story never went national, and the Michigan recount was shut down by the courts long before it was completed, meaning we never did get proof of why such an extraordinary number of voting machines just happened to malfunction in the most Democrat-heavy districts in the swing states in question.

But now that the FOIA request has officially confirmed the breadth of the voting machine malfunctions, thus vindicating the local and anecdotal reports of malfunctions we’d been reporting at the time, it brings us back to another story that took far too long to gain mainstream traction. Back in October, Slate first reported on what appeared to be private email server inside Trump Tower that was set to only communicate with two Russian banks and a health care company in Michigan. That latter part made no sense until after the election, when Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to his cabinet.

At that point Palmer report pieced together that the Michigan health care company in question was controlled by Betsy DeVos and her husband (link). Our reporting was largely brushed off, until a month later when CNN ran essentially the same story and splashed the words “Breaking News” across the screen. But even since that time, the story has taken a backseat to the more easily digestible Trump Russia scandals – until now.

With official confirmation that Michigan’s voting machines malfunctioned in extraordinary numbers on election day in a manner which just happened to help Donald Trump win a state that he had no real chance of winning, this raises several essential questions. Why were Russia, Trump Tower, and the DeVos-controlled company in Michigan sharing so much private data during the election? Why did Trump spend so much time trying to win Michigan, a state everyone knew he couldn’t legitimately win? Is this why Trump gave a cabinet position to DeVos after he won?

It raises other questions as well. Whatever this Trump-Russia-DeVos scheme in Michigan might have been, was it limited to just the general election? Could it have been in place to cause the impossible result in which Bernie Sanders won the Michigan primary despite Hillary Clinton having been up by twenty points? No other state in the democratic primary race had results that were anywhere near that far off from the polls. Bernie certainly didn’t cheat in Michigan. But did Trump and his allies rig the Michigan primary against Hillary, in order to slow her momentum? Keep in mind that if Hillary had won the Michigan primary, Bernie probably would have dropped out two months sooner than he did.

Considering that the end result was Russia illegitimately installing Donald Trump as president, these details matter. And now that we know the voting machines were broken in Michigan in such strategically convenient yet widespread fashion that it would be hard to explain away through mere happenstance, every aspect of Michigan must be reexamined within the context of the Trump Tower Russian email server. Help fund Palmer Report

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  1. Betty Seed Woellner; on May 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    That horrible Betsy DeVos! She admitted during her hearing that her family had donated hundreds of milliona to the RNC. “But not all at once” Bought and paid for to diddle around with the education of American children. This is a huge story I never see so Palmer you are the Man!! She is the perfect white american who resents paying for sick bottom feeders with her over the top mountains if money. Its a sickness with these people.

  2. Bob Gale, MD, JD. on May 6, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I have a hypothetical question to satisfy my “need to know” although I have no illusions that it will actually do the right thing. (People with power never voluntarily, or most of the time even involuntarily, relinquish it absent real and massive force. On the other side, people with guilt or substantial regret will also rarely, if ever, do anything because they feel ashamed or embarrassed.) my question is: if substantial, provable, evidence is found showing election manipulation, absent which would have given Clinton the Electoral College victory, can (not necessarily “will”) anything substantive and legal be done about it now or in the reasonable future? I, and a number of my colleagues and friends, would like to know. Thanx.

  3. John Bergmann on May 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Has statistical analysis been applied to the frequency and type of machine malfunctions in Michigan versus other states? Do the FOIA documents supply enough data to do this analysis?

    • Dale Staley on May 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

      It happened in other states too. Wisconsin, NC, PA. Wisconsin had 100+% turnout in 13 districts. IMPOSSIBLE
      Another 8 had 94+% Never happens

      • John Bergmann on May 9, 2017 at 2:07 am

        A proper statistical analysis would compare the frequency of “impossible” or “unlikely” occurrences in so called battleground states to similar occurrences in “safe” Trump states and “safe” Clinton states. Alternatively, such an analysis would compare such occurrences to data from previous presidential elections where the same types of voting machines were used.

  4. Susan Wright on May 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I have ALWAYS believed – from the first returns on the night of 11/8 – that the election was rigged … physically rigged. Yes, I believe the Russians used the internet to disseminate fake news stories, target specific demographics, and tarnish the reputation of HRC … but MORE than that, I have always believed they hacked voting machines – the entire world was not wrong, Hillary did not lose … and Bernie’s MI win in the primary was a dry run to see if it could be done successfully – when ALL is said & done, we will be in a dire Constitutional crisis because we will be faced with the acknowledgement that our election system is a failure – that it is antiquated & vulnerable – and we allowed the 2016 election to be tainted and corrupted … ultimately, we seated a completely illegitimate president.

    • Elyse on May 8, 2017 at 10:34 am

      I’m with you on this, Susan. On top of Hillary’s large popular lead, Dump’s electoral margin of victory was so slim and strategic, that it seems contrived, doesn’t it? Also, I remember reading how certain states voter rolls were hacked into over the summer 2016. I wondered if likely democratic voters were purged from the rolls, making their votes invalid.

      Since the beginning of the Russian hacking scandal, reporters have pointed out the there is no evidence that the actual vote counts were manipulated. I think as time goes on vote manipulation will begin to look more likely.

      This scandal is going to take years to untangle — people will be investigating and writing books long after Dump is out of office and in prison. Hopefully, it will spark a renaissance of investigative reporting.

      • John Bergmann on May 9, 2017 at 3:11 am

        I have also suspected that the election was stolen by Trump and his gang. In case I have been misunderstood, I have asked about statistical analysis of the voting abnormalities TO PROVE that the election was rigged and how it was rigged.

  5. Andrew cummings on May 6, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Did Russia help Trump win Michigan in an effort coordinated through DeVos? Why did all those voting machines not work in Democratically controlled areas? Looks very suspicious.

    Very much like the only reason when Bush stole the elections from Gore that exit polls in certain states differed from results in a way that could only be statistically explained by Diabold no paper trail machines.

  6. Rose Meade on May 6, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    If Michigan was done like this, how do WE know that Ryan didn’t follow suit with #45/Putin in Wisconsin? And Florida & Pennsylvania? Wisconsin? Isn’t that McConnell’s State?

  7. Rose Meade on May 6, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Of course #45 nominated Betsy DoVos to his cabinet. He was paid $150,000 from Erik Prince (Betsy’s brother & Betsy’s mother). They put that much into Robert & Rebekah Mercer’s Super PAC company that they set up for their buddy Donald. And Erik Prince is still #45’s secret adviser in the shadows (behind closed doors).
    AND the only way #45 might of gotten Florida was through Russia & Attorney General Pam Boni. He paid her $25,000 not only to steal & hide files pertaining to the Trump University. What else did he pay her for? Then after the election, #45 got Pam Boni a job in his cabnet.

  8. Maddie on May 6, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    This is chilling.
    Thanks for presenting it so clearly.

  9. Claudia on May 6, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Yup, and now we are stuck with the biggest Ponzi scheme con, liar, and cheating s o b!

  10. Gary LeDrew on May 7, 2017 at 6:49 am

    I do not believe many conspiracy theories but I am starting to make one. The more I read about the american election and the similar data bumps electing trump in the prime states the more I believe the election was fudged. We need somebody to put p a huge reward for somebody to spill the beans.

  11. vcragain on May 7, 2017 at 7:40 am

    OMG – it now seems that the Religious Right will now do ANYTHING AT ALL TO FURTHER THEIR OWN ENDS – even crime ! How do they manage to look at themselves in the mirror every day ? How is that CHRISTIANITY ? I am now convinced there IS a DEVIL & he is not who they claim !

    • Claudia on May 7, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      You have to be human! Trump and all his minions don’t qualify!

  12. Michael Olson on May 7, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I wonder if they were Diebold machines.

  13. Roberta in MN on May 7, 2017 at 10:06 am

    It just keeps coming and coming. What is the saing where there is smoke there is something there?

  14. David white on May 7, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    I read everything you wrote and defended your reporting in face of overwhelming ridicule amongst my peers, because your reporting fit with the details my other friends were finding on the intra webs..I remember the photos of the voting machines that had been tampered with, and then saw it all get swept under the rug.
    I’m happy for you, our country, and our way of life that your reporting will be found to have been a misused, scoffed at, early warning..and now will be used with much better eyes..I think awards are in your future. Take care, and you have many friends out there.

    Thank you.
    A Friend of the Resistance

  15. NanaPat on May 7, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    This is a chilling story that I believe needs a thorough investigation. Nothing is more fundamental to our democracy than free and FAIR elections. I remember on the eve of the election at a big rally in Michigan, Trumpy Dump saying ” we are going to win, believe it, we are going to win” It was the way he said it that struck me, like he was letting us in on a secret. All this after months of saying the election was “rigged”, and projecting his own misdeeds onto others. SAD. Such a troubled incompetent diminished fraud. Time to resign! Keep up the good reporting.

  16. Mark on May 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    The sad part of all of this is that there is absolutely ZERO that can be done at a federal level to fix this issue. ALL VOTING, no matter where it is is completely managed and directed at the state and local level. Since voting is fragmented so minutely there is exactly nothing that can EVER be done in any overarching way to fix this issue. So, it will continue to be a massive problem going forward.

  17. Pat Sutton on May 9, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    It is time for the resistance in each and every state to demand hand-counted, videoed, paper ballots, and only support candidates who will make that change. Or is it too late? How can any vote count now? The corrupt oligarchs in this country, and in Russia have already made their move. And the GOP is so giddy with power, many will not likely cooperate in any measure to fix this corruption.

  18. Joe O'Connell on June 5, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Remember, DeVoss’ brother was head of Blackwater, essentially a private mercenary intelligence agency. He is documented as having met with Russian agents in the Seychelles shortly after the election.

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