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Voter Fraud, Italian Satellites and…Marla Maples? - Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracy

Voter Fraud, Italian Satellites and…Marla Maples? - Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracy

Tue, 17 Jan 2023 04:30

Stop the Steal: It’s the rallying cry of Trump supporters and election deniers who believe the 2020 election was stolen from them. In the final episode of Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracy, Jordan dives into a theory about Italian satellites that led to a Biden win and the crack team that is working to set the record straight: an unidentified lawyer, a real estate agent, and Donald Trump’s second wife, Marla Maples.

Jordan breaks down the details with investigative journalist Eric Levai, Pennsylvania Attorney General and Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro, and Supreme Court expert Dahlia Lithwick, who explains the Supreme Court cases that are currently being heard about voting rights, and what’s at stake.

Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracy is a podcast from The Daily Show. Check out more episodes wherever you get your podcasts or

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You're listening to Comedy Central. Hey, it's Roy Wood Jr. Correspondent for the Daily Show. Up next is an episode of a new Daily Show podcast from my friend and Daily Show contributor, Jordan Klepper. Klepper is going deeper into some of the conspiracy theories he's heard in the past seven years on the Trump campaign trail. Enjoy this episode of Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracy. Take it away, Jordan. In the days after the 2020 presidential election, CIA director Gina Haspel flies to fight for Germany on a secret mission to secure a computer servers that contain evidence that the election has been manipulated. These servers, owned by a bankrupt Spanish company called Skydle, could prove that the election was rigged for Joe Biden. Haspel and a team of special forces troops to send on Frankfurt to destroy the evidence. But in the raid, five troops in the CIA official are killed. Haspel herself is injured, flown to Guantanamo Bay, and given a tribunal for......treason. In 2009, Venezuela leader Hugo Chavez creates a voting system that could change votes in elections in any country using this advanced technology. One of the technology companies that uses it is called Smartmatic, which supplies voting equipment to a single U.S. county in the 2020 election. The scheme between Smartmatic and Hugo Chavez is a secret and successful effort to ring the election for Joe Biden. Even though Chavez has been dead for seven years. Pescara Innoley, a rogue employee at the Defense and Aerospace Company Leonardo Spa, hacks into military satellites to change the margin of victory in U.S. states where Trump has beaten Biden. It's a variable coup d'état, and it would go down as the most extraordinary effort in history to overturn a presidential election. How you doing? I don't know, and actually sounds pretty fun. I tell you, military satellites? Mamma mia, these sound great. Oh, I'm forgetting one. How can I not mention the Hungarian vector? There's been so many bizarre stories going on through the media. You can have some pretty far-fetched ideas on both sides, and what we're doing is simply proving or disproving as many of those as we can. Speaking of somebody on the outside, this feels like it's just feeding into conspiratorial thinking. We're mythbusters. Great. OK. We're doing things we think are foolish, but people believe it's real. If we validate that something they think might have happened, didn't happen, then we're not throwing fuel on the fire. Are you looking into the Hungarian vector? I didn't know about that. It's a Hungarian vector. It's a bullshit thing. I just made up. That sounds cool and a little bit spooky. This is Jordan Klepper figures the conspiracy, and yes, those 2020 election conspiracy theories do sound a lot more exciting when we put public domain-suspenseful music underneath them. You may have heard a few of those theories, partly because the White House and Republicans in Congress were publicizing them in the weeks after the election to convince Americans that the election was stolen. And it worked, to an extent. 61% of Republicans still believe the election was stolen, according to a Monmouth University poll from September of this very year. Today, we're going to talk to someone who has had the most legal success against Trump's efforts in court to overturn the election. And we're also going to talk to Supreme Court expert about the cases in front of the court now that could determine how future elections here are conducted. But before we get there, I really want to go back to the Italian military satellites. This is what became known as Italy Gate, and it's filled with more juicy content than a piping hot-cale zone. And the craziest part of this conspiracy theory is that Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was emailing details of it to the Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to try to get him to do something or anything about it. I can't unpack Italy Gate alone, so let's introduce Eric Le Vey. He's a digital research analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and a former investigative journalist who wrote extensively about the Italy Gate conspiracy theory. Or as I like to call it, lasagna gase. There's going to be a lot of these, Eric, so I hope you're ready. Thank you for being here. Let's start at the very beginning of this conspiracy theory, which comes from an organization called Nations in Action, a group apparently based in Sarasota, Florida, which published a press release titled Senior IT Expert and Global Defense Contractor testifies an Italian federal court. He had other switched votes throughout America in the US presidential race. Can you explain some of this for us? Yeah, definitely. It emerged in late 2020, and it's still a little bit murky about where it came from. The Washington Post did a really good article on it. It possibly had origins in an article in Italian media. Then an XCIA station chief named Bradley Johnson put out a video. The ones who really pushed it forward to answer your question were Maria Zach from Nations in Action, and a woman named Michelle Roosevelt Edwards. Let's start with, let's break down. Talk to me a little bit about Maria Stroll, O'Zac. You've talked to her, correct? I talked to, I called her number and an identical voice answered the phone, who said it wasn't her. So yeah. Theoretically talked to somebody who may have been herself pretending to be somebody else. That's why I'm reporting like, that's why I hate phone calls and I like emails. Yeah. The era of Zoom works for you because you see what that person looks like. Supposed to distrust him, but who is this person? Who is Maria Stroll, O'Zac? So she's a conservative activist and an ex-Georgilobius who I guess was pretty successful. I think she ran for office a few times herself just on the local level. Just at some point got very involved in this Italy gate conspiracy and pushed it very far. I feel like if you're in this world, you're talking about Italian satellites, those things flip and you're probably a character. Is she a character? I'm guessing. It's interesting because when I watched the videos, she's clearly like a very intelligent person. That's what's also like said, there's a little bit of a, you know, you have this conspiracy theory, obviously, which is false. But then you have a person who's like, you know, she's laying it out with confidence. Tell us a little bit about Michelle Roosevelt Edwards. So she runs another organization called the Institute of Good Governance and she sort of worked closely with Maria Zach on an Italy gate. So the Washington Post had a big article that at some point in Iceland, like Film Crew went to interview Michelle Roosevelt Edwards. I don't know what that was for. But in the house, I guess there was, you remember that movie The Game where there was something weird and like the house and she really like a Michael Douglas and it's like, no, like this isn't a real house. The film crew was in there and they're like, is this your house? Is it something and she's like, yeah, it's my house anyway, it turns out that it wasn't her house. It was some other woman's mansion and she's just a realtor like in the area. And it's not her house and the poor woman, her husband died. She didn't even know she's like, why is this woman in my house? Wait, was that woman in the house at the time? She's like, no, there's, oh, dear Lord. Who was just confusing? There's some interviews in my, in my lead room. She was somewhere else or something, but it was like, I felt bad for her. No, it was like she was just using this house for like, I don't know, business. You're telling me this person will put up an entire false front to show that she's more successful than she is. She's somehow connected to this whole Trump world. I don't buy it. I don't buy it. It just doesn't, it doesn't sit well with me. Yeah, it's, it's tough to believe. That was like a, that was, it just, that killed me. Okay. And I want to dig into sort of their roles within this, but this, this initial thought was sort of revolving around and employ Arturo Delia, correct? Yeah, there's, I was thinking about this last night. This is, the hardest thing about Italy Gate is, I mean, to state the obvious is like explaining it. The short version is Italian satellites based in Piscara, Italy, altered the votes, giving Joe Biden enough votes from Donald Trump to win. That's the short version of Italy Gate. Yeah, Italian satellites, they're the bad guys. Well, there's a lot of players in this, the CIA, former president Barack Obama, the hacker that you just referenced, and a lawyer who put out an affidavit. There's like those four. Those are the four, it's the hacker. He worked for something called Leonardo Spa. Yeah, he worked there. They said he left in 2017, which is another problem because he, when he was indicted for a separate, I think it was like data theft. He didn't even work at Leonardo. That is Leonardo Spa. I mean, it sounds like a massage parlor and like a cheap one. Just outside Rome that like you, you splurge because you're on vacation, but you don't have enough money. So you're sort of like, what's a cheaper one? Like come to Leonardo Spa. It's right next to Michelangelo Nails. That was a very specific, not, this is a hypothetical. I've not had that experience. I, I imagine if you're pouring it in Italy and just had at a hard time on a long plane because those seats, there's not a lot of space and you're a tall person, hypothetically. You're going to be looking for Leonardo Spa. This is not that kind of spa. Exactly. No, it's a somewhat more boring military, you know, like a military, they make military equipment and satellites, stuff like that, like a Boeing. Okay. So a Boeing, is this Arturo Delia, D'Lia? Does he actually work for Leonardo Spa? My understanding is at some point he did work there, but he was gone by 2017. Okay. Is there any information that says that he had access to these Italian satellites in a way that could alter the election? Zero. No. Okay. Okay. Okay. But so walk us through this. So the head of nations in action, this group, it's a person, a Maria Stolosac, who you've spoken with in your reporting. What she, what she like. Well, and to be clear, I was telling your producer, that was, that was a funny story because when I called Maria's Ac for comment, obviously being a phone, I can't, I don't know, I don't know for a fact, I can say that the personal answer had sounded exactly like her, but told me very quickly it was not her, and actually said it was her secretary, and could she, the phrase was, could she return? And I was, I was telling Matt, I was like, it's, this is a cell phone, but anyway, I was like, you know, so of course. But so did you, did that person then pretend to hang up, put on a gruff voice? Yeah. And then attempt to then answer the phone? It was the same voice, but they were just like, you know, can she return? And I was like, you know, when you're a reporter, like, it's, things like that happen. So yeah, sure, of course, no comment. And just to be, if you're also like a public figure and somebody calls you and you pretend to be your own assistant, just because you think it gives you status, that doesn't make you weird. That's just a savvy media person thing to do. And if my parents or my friends think that's a desperate attempt or that I'm not in a good place, well, that's more on them. Can you verify that? Yeah. What jumped out of me, I'll always remember about that, was how quick it was. It was very, I mean, you know, your comedian, your improviser, it was real quick. There was no plus like that had happened before, maybe. That's, you know, that's, I mean, that's an interesting way of looking at it as opposed to just somebody who's quick on the, on the go. Yeah. All right. So you had a quick interaction with this Maria Stolo Zach, but again, so what, what, what, what is our understanding of this story? So she is head of nations and action. What is nations and action? If you go on their web page, there's a lot of sort of conspiracy theories and I think they say that their statement is, you know, good government, bringing transparency. Obviously, whether that's true is up to, to be determined. And so, but she was able to get this conspiracy and this idea in front of important people. Can you walk us through some of that? Yeah. So she used to be a lobbyist in Georgia. So she's got like close relationships with, as I reported on Congressman Barry Laudermilk. One of the top five names in all of Congress. Like, if you are going to, you know, if you're going to articulate what it feels like to hear a Southern Republican droland, Laudermilk feels right. It feels, feels obnoxious and white, which is kind of spot up. Yeah. He's, he's an interesting guy. I think, I think they were, he and his staff, I think we're getting pretty tired of my emails after a while. They stopped, they didn't ever respond to me, but then they added me to their mailing list. So. That's how you shut somebody up and just give them his ma'am. She got it to him. She got it to Devon Nunez, the staff. I mean, she, you know, this thing about last night, like the ordinary person has so much trouble reaching their elected officials. And yet this person pushing a complete, you know, conspiracy theory that's not true is able to reach very high up people. Yes, she claims she gave documents to Laudermilk. Do we know what was in those documents? Yeah. I don't know. I know you guys are probably always working. Did you get a chance to see the affidavit that this was all based around? No. Tell us, tell us about it. So the whole thing is that she delivered an affidavit. Basically, what it is is it's a photograph of an actual document, which right away is a little, you know, unusual. It's not the document. It's a lawyer stating that this hacker that you mentioned in the beginning sat in front of him and told his story. That's what it is. No one's been able, there is a lawyer that matches this name, but no one's been able to actually show that like really that he, that it was that lawyer. So it's not clear if this thing is even real. You can't even verify that that conversation took place. No. And the document, you know, I can't say I'm an expert on court documents in Italy, but there's no numbers on it. It looks like someone like wrote it on Microsoft Word. And she's also Maria Zach was doing an interview about Italy gate from the back of a car in Washington, DC, on January 6th. What's going on there? This happened. It's very real. The president is right. Foreign interference did occur and people need to be prosecuted in our country who actually participated. That was the show called America Can We Talk? And that's a very strange interview just because as you said, it's taking place while our capital is being attacked. But there's no mention of it till the end there. Like, I think Maria's actually something like, well, if they're able to, you know, get this under control, we can, you know, get this affidavit to more people. It's like, whoa, like, you know, it's very strange. So there's a lot of interesting red flags and characters within this. But after all these conversations, meetings talking to Congressman Lautermel, how high did this go? Like, who in government was actually taking this theory seriously? That's a great question. Seriously, I mean, in terms of, as you said yourself, meadows, I guess would be the highest ranking person to get it. But taking it seriously, you know, a lot of work we can seriously theorize here. Wonder who's an opportunist, who's not? Well, I mean, it's interesting question. You say it like taking it seriously. We don't exactly know what people actually thought. But I would argue that part of the whole game plan here was to sow doubt. So the fact that there were different threads for people to hold onto, to grasp clearly Donald Trump as somebody who was just flooding the marketplace with any thought out there so that it's getting in people's heads. Like, who had awareness of it? We're talking meadows, meadows knew about this, which means Trump had awareness of this. How did this thing get into more mainstream culture? Yeah. And Zach too. She says she delivered or she told Trump about this at Mar-a-Lago in 2020. I can't confirm that, but she said that a number of times. Really? So, I guess, stands your question. If that's true, then that reached Donald Trump. No, what all this is happening is it fair to say that we didn't know how much of the voter fraud conspiracy theory would stick. These stories were so outlandish that it didn't seem possible that millions of people would believe them. And yet, even today, the majority of Republicans say they don't think the 2020 election was legitimate. Does that encourage Republican lawmakers to push more conspiracy theories? No, either probably won't be consequences, and then doing so probably will at least help them in some way? Consequences are, like, obviously incredibly important. Like, when there are no consequences, we're given a wide latitude to speak, and that's a good thing. But as you know, some of these conspiracies are incredibly harmful. So I don't know. In cases like, I don't know, let's say in Alex Jones, when people are actually held accountable, makes a huge difference. Some of them stop tomorrow, and you never hear from them again. What do you think it was about Italy gate that made it so sticky and interesting to people? So there's a conference call. I think it was on January 4th, 2021. It's between Maria's Act and supporters. So it's right before the attack on the Capitol. It's like 45 minutes long, and it's just, she lays out Italy gate, and then it's weird. Like, all these random people are popping in, like, I sound like Marla Maples pops in, and just like, she's the only, everyone else is just a first name, so you don't even know really who they are. What's Marla Maples doing there? I don't know, like, a supporter, I guess. Very strange. And all of this was sort of to just hip everybody to the Italy gate theory, so that they had it in their back pocket. I mean, I don't want to say that she comes right in, but there's some hints of to continue this work, we will need funding. Like a private plane is talked about at one point, so. No, she's asking for a private plane. I don't know. It might have been one of the other people, but there's definitely more than one hint there about, like, we need, you know, money. This sounds like a time share situation. She gets everybody on a conference call. Let me tell you about this fascinating Italy situation. If you give me your attention and enough money for a private plane, I have something that is going to take your breath away in pops Marla Maples. There's like, oh, tell me more. It's like, thanks Marla. Marla has been on this for quite some time. Herner family are big Italy gate supporters, and you too can be an Italy gate supporter for just a mere $2,000. We can give you the correct mindset to keep you happy from this day forward. The last seven years kind of feel like a time shared. Like, do you ever feel like that? Like, you're just trapped. Yes, I do feel like I've given over a portion of my life to live in a different reality every year. And you look at it, you're like, I think this is a bad investment. I think the time share is giving in to all of this bullshit that we're talking about. It sucks away so much time that I could be using for something else. It's not a time share. Maybe that's what we're describing as a time suck. We've all invested in a time suck that we will never get back. We can all agree is a really bad investment. It's wild. I mean, this is the conspiracy theory that like, I think I was telling your producer like, even other conspiracy theorists are like, like, that's how far this one is out there. Yeah. What is this Italy, gay conspiracy, break in terms of all the conspiracies related to the 2020 election? I would say in terms of the ones that are like the wildest, this has to be at the top. I can't think of, I know you guys have been doing this for a while in your podcast. If there's another one, I can't think of one. You got Hugo Chavez. So dead Hugo Chavez is a fun one. It definitely takes a stretch of imagination, but there's an intrigue. There's sexiness to this. I'd have to put it up there as well. It's also like the little details that kill me. The data, it wasn't enough that it was the Italian satellites. They routed it through Germany. It's like, like, why? That's what I don't understand. But it's just fascinating. There's somebody on the ground or in the air in Germany that was getting this information or working through the satellites through Germany? Yeah. At some point, they never got into the stuff was transmitted, but it was from the satellites and went through, I think, some servers in Germany. Then I guess back to the US. So there, theoretically, if this were real, not only are there folks in Italy who are culpable, but there are folks in Germany as well. Which is what always kind of blows my mind with a lot of these conspiracy theories because they hype the idea behind it involves so many people that even afterwards, you'd expect one thing we're really bad at is keeping secrets, especially if it's a multinational effort to overturn results in very specific states. And then it just disappears into the void, which is sort of, I think, people should consider a major, I don't know if red flag is the right word, but if you believe so strongly in something, you believe this happened. And then 30 seconds later, when it's gone, you're just onto the next thing, it kind of questions like credibility. I think we lost that a long time ago. Eric LeVay, thank you for unfolding this conspiracy theory, like carefully needing a perfect pizza pie. Thanks so much, Robby. We're going to take a short break. We'll come back. We're going to talk to Pennsylvania Attorney General and Governor-elect Josh Shapiro. We'll be right back. If ever-longer ingredient lists some beauty products, it's hard to tell what you're really buying. That's why Sephora is committed to cutting through the clutter and confusion, helping to push the industry forward, by showing what's really in their products. At Sephora, their clean standards mean products formulated without parabens, sulfates, thalates, mineral oils and more. So when you see the clean at Sephora seal, you know you're getting a clean you can count on. So before about their clean standards and shop clean at Sephora Beauty at In the days after the 2020 election, Pennsylvania became the focus of Republican efforts to overturn the results. They ramped up their attacks on the legitimacy of mail-in ballots and claimed that ballots would arrive after election day and be mixed with ballots that arrived before election day. Anticipating a possible Supreme Court showdown, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro began separating those post-election day ballots and became a high profile example of a Democrat fighting back against the voter fraud conspiracy theater. And as the Trump team became litigious before and after election day, Shapiro beat Trump more than 40 times in court. In last month's midterm, Shapiro won the race for Governor of Pennsylvania, defeating one of the country's most prominent voter fraud conspiracy theorist, Doug Masteriano. And Josh Shapiro is with us today to talk about the exciting world of voter fraud. Welcome to the show. Good to be with you, Jordan. Thanks for having me. Of course. So we were debating a current governor elect soon to be governor, Josh Shapiro. That's that's most of it, right? Yeah. And look, I only require our four children to use all of the titles when they address me. You can call me whatever you want. Well, not whatever you want, but you can call me one of those titles. I was going to say, do you also throw in the beat Trump 40 times in court, moniker, or there's probably a lot of people also have that in their, their name as well. The guy's been to court many, many times. I don't, I don't know about that. But listen, we went to court 43 times against the former president and his enablers. And we beat him every time. We protected the right to vote. We had a free and fair, safe and secure election here in Pennsylvania back in 2020, again, in 2021. And most recently in 2022, the will the people was respected each time. And you've been at the center of these claims over voter fraud for over two years now, even though you did win the race for governor, it appears as if the state is moving forward. Does it still alarm you? How many voters? Obviously, many of them Republican appear to have bought into these conspiracy theories. It does, but, you know, Jordan, I don't blame the voters and hear me on this. I blame the leaders who've been lying to them for the better part of the last two and a half years about voting by mail about this phony election fraud. When you have leaders who you trust, who you put into positions of authority and then they lie to you over and over and over again, it's hard to blame the public. I blame the leaders and the good news is we're defeating those leaders who pushed the big lie from the former president to his chief enabler here in Pennsylvania, who I just beat in the governor's race. And hopefully now what we can do is continue to speak truth to the good people of Pennsylvania to the American people and help them understand reality from the fiction that the former president pushed and get us back to having a healthier democracy. Well, I went to one of the rallies your opponent held right there at the state capital and talked to some of the tens of people who showed up. I think about 12 people showed up that day. And after a minimal amount of fanfare, Masteriano appeared and he was fricking hilarious. Going after the pillow guy, are you serious? Give me a break. Beat Scotty, beat me up, no side of intelligent life anywhere. Boom. But even with a coveted Trump endorsement, the crowd was tiny. Was it small because of Masteriano's far right policies and election denialism? Nope. This is Facebook. It's a surprising conservative speech. The reason there aren't people here because Facebook is silently- It's silently- It was a low turnout. I felt like it seemed as if you had a good shot of winning that race. I want to talk a little bit about Masteriano though, because he may have spread more election-related conspiracy theories than any other candidate. Let's go through a couple of these. He was claiming that voting machines glitched in Michigan and switched 6,000 Biden votes who were also responsible for 100,000 vote dumps that were all for Biden in the middle of the night, sharing a gateway-pundit post of suspected fraud issues that included a way for people to search for dead people who voted using something called the Social Security Death Master File. Pretty catchy. He was claiming Dominion Voting Machines were built intentionally to rig the election for Democrats and claiming that acts 77 of Pennsylvania law that allows no excuse voting by mail was illegally passed and was responsible for Biden's win. Can you walk us through some of these and tell us how you push back against them? Well by calling them what they were, complete and utter bullshit. That's what they were. He was lying to the good people of Pennsylvania and his conduct to try to overthrow the last election. He went there that day and he went there that day not just to hear a speech from the former president or be part of some peaceful protest. He went there that day with a singular purpose. That's why they were all there. That was to deny people's votes from county. Because remember when you vote here in Pennsylvania, it's true in other states, but let me focus on Pennsylvania. You vote for the presidential race in Pennsylvania in 2020. Your vote gets tallyed by your local county board of elections, gets certified by the governor and the secretary of state in Pennsylvania. But then in order for your vote to finally count, it has to be read across the desk in the US House of Representatives. That's what they were there to do on January 6th. And he was there as part of the violent mob to stop them from doing. Then he comes back home to Pennsylvania, launches a campaign for governor and Jordan he says in his campaign that he was going to use his power as governor to be able to review all the voting machines, make corrections as he calls them. And then he would pick the winner. That's not how our democracy works. That is not how our republic has survived over the last 246 years. And so it was important for us to beat him to just obviously win the election, but also to protect our democracy, to protect the will of the people and to make it clear to folks that spewing conspiracy theories being part of a violent mob pledging to overturn the next election is not the way things work in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or in this country. Well, I would surprise many of the people I talked to that day were also there at January 6th. It was almost a mini reunion. You have been aggressive at pushing back and it made headlines for that. Do you think that your victory is a sign that voters are energized by candidates who push back aggressively against election diners? You got to fight back against it. And look, we've done it in big ways and small. I mean, I've been to the hunt clubs in rural communities in Pennsylvania and confronted folks directly and they'll say to me, they were saying to me, you know, the election 2020 was stolen. So I said, what evidence do you have of that? Let's just have a conversation. Well, there was massive voter fraud. And I say, you know, I'm the attorney general. It's my job to prosecute election fraud along with some district attorneys as well. And we had about a handful of cases of election fraud in 2020, by the way, where each of those individuals who were prosecuted were trying to cast one extra single vote for their candidate for president, by the way, for Donald Trump, not for Joe Biden. But even if they were trying to do that for Joe Biden, it wasn't going to affect the outcome of the election. It was not this widespread voter fraud and they were prosecuted for it. And so I confront folks with truth and try to force them to think about the reality of what they are saying. In addition to that, it was critically important for us here in Pennsylvania, in Arizona, in Michigan and other places to defeat those people who continue to spread the lies. Now, I said on election night, when I won, Jordan, that this is the beginning of our work. Just because we beat these election deniers doesn't mean that it's rid from our system. We have to now do the hard work that folks have been doing for the last 246 years in this nation, right? Our ancestors and their ancestors to perfect our union, to speak truth, to make sure that the will of the people is respected. I think we've done step one defeating those extremists, but now we got to do the hard work of perfecting our union. And that test now falls to me as the next governor of Pennsylvania. How complete do you think step one truly is? Because I do looking at those, the major election deniers, the races in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, here's swing states where the people in control of verifying those ballots could have very well gone to election deniers. Those big places, they were defeated. But there's still a lot of people who are election deniers who are in position of power in America, a lot of very close races where perhaps election deniers were defeated. But when I looked at this, I didn't exactly see the idea of election denialism expunging from the American narrative, but perhaps stepping back for a little bit. Is there a fear that Democrats are a little too confident in the pushback of election denialism after this election? Well, let me say I'm not confident that it's over at all. So certainly don't put me in that category. I'm in the category where we had a good day on Tuesday, November 8th in defeating those extremists, those election deniers, but we have so much more work to do. Now I believe that these election deniers are, Masteryano in particular, just profoundly and pathetically weak people. And let me explain what I mean by that. They know it's bullshit, but yet they say it over and over again because they're willing to sell out our democracy in our country for some short term political gain, for some short term attention, maybe some love from the former president. That's why they do it. The death edition of week, if you're willing to sell out your nation and our values on behalf of your own short term goals, well now we've denied many of them that short term goal. And hopefully in defeating them the way we have, it forces that next batch of candidates to go along and say, Jesus, isn't really the path I want to take to be successful. It doesn't make them any stronger. It just speaks to how again, how kind of spineless so many of these folks are and letting them know they're not going to be rewarded for the lie. And so I think hopefully this will have an effect on the politics as we go forward. We also need to work on ridding our system of these weak folks and getting some people with backbones back in it. And by the way, Jordan, even folks who might disagree with me on some policy, that's okay. But we got to get back to the point where we have strong, capable people in positions of public trust who argue about tax policy and healthcare policy and education policy, all the things that we should be arguing about, the healthy fights we're supposed to have. But we've got to continue the battle against these weak people in defeating them in their elections and defeating them in their political aims. Did you have any Democrats from other states reach out to you to ask advice on confronting this election denialism? I did. A lot of them. Folks run in for governor and other offices. And I spoke, obviously, I'll keep those conversations private, but I did speak to them about the need to take the fight on directly to not give an inch on this. You know, when they say that something was stolen, challenge them on it. Put the facts out there. Make sure that you're going directly to the good people, in my case, of Pennsylvania, with the facts. Do not let any of that nonsense stand. Okay, looking forward, what are we all right now? Trump is running again. Elon Musk is green lighting misinformation all over Twitter. We know that voter fraud conspiracies, but we're going to get worse in 2024. What are tangible steps the Democratic Party can take to fight and to push back knowing the world they're in right now? You know, try to meet people where they are. That's why I'm talking to you today. I mean, you've been out front on the importance of combating elections and islas. You have exposed a lot of these folks and the lies they tell by, you know, mocking them and showing not the humor in it, because obviously this is incredibly serious, but showing people this in a way that they can comprehend it if they don't read, you know, from page of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, not to say that your listeners don't read the New York Times. But the point is- They at least read the headlines. They're right. They're right. They're right. They're right in the headlines. But like, you know, you got to meet people where they are. You got to communicate to them. You got to show them the difference between fiction and reality. And then I have responsibility now as a governor to hold myself up to that high standard and to continue to speak truth and continue, you know, to communicate meet people where they are, whether we're talking them on TikTok, on your podcast, anywhere we've got to meet people where they are and continue to share the truth. You say you, you, you went to Hunt Clubs. You went to places where people had questions about the election. Yeah. I get the question all the time. Do you ever change people's minds? Boy, that is, that's a unicorn. I can't say I'm watching people change their minds about information. When you're at those places, being confronted with outside facts doesn't always is often met with resistance and a doubling down of the things they, they think they believe. They feel challenged in a way that I have not found conducive to reaching a new understanding. Did you actually see that in those moments in those, those, those, those, those Hunt Clubs with people who were confronting you and you're pushing back? Sometimes I did directly, but what I was really going after was, was not to embarrass anyone in front of their peers. We're forced someone to have to look at me in front of their peers and say, you're right, I'm wrong. What I've thought for the last year, you know, is incorrect. What I really wanted was when they left there to be thinking about it and to process it and to maybe make a change in their thinking or their politics or the way they might vote. And, Jordan, I got some pretty good evidence that we made a whole lot of people think because I won this governor's race by a big margin. I think we won by about 15 points. I got more votes than anyone in the history of Pennsylvania running for governor. And the reason I'm telling you that is not to pat myself on the back, but because it would be impossible to win with the number of votes we did in the margin we did with only Democrats. We got a whole lot of Republicans and independents cross party lines to support us. A whole lot of people who clearly rethought their politics after 2016 and even 2020 and said, you know what, we're going to go with this guy. We're going to go against the election denier. We're going to believe this truth. And hopefully we're going to all be able to continue to come together to repair our politics. Well, after such a clear humble brag such as that, it, I thought I was chill about that. No, you did a pretty good job. That's that's where I can you're a savvy politician. And even the bragging does come across somehow as as humble and informative. That's, that's well played. Well, your high profile and your success here has up to some of the speculation where people have, I've seen you in the light of somebody who could be a democratic nominee for president. Do you want to use the Jordan Clepper fingers, the conspiracy podcast as a platform that you confirm loving hearing that speculation? Yeah, now, man, look, I'm just so excited to be governor. I haven't even been sworn in yet. I got a lot of work to do. That's all I want to do. That's all my wife and kids want me to do. And that's all I am going to do. Awesome. Well, well, thank you for talking to me. Governor-elect Josh Shapiro will be right back. With ever longer ingredient lists on beauty products, it's hard to tell what you're really buying. That's why Sephora is committed to cutting through the clutter and confusion, helping to push the industry forward. By showing what's really in their products, at Sephora, their clean standards mean products formulated without parabens, sulfates, phallates, mineral oils and more. So when you see the clean at Sephora seal, you know you're getting a clean you can count on. Learn more about their clean standards and shop clean at Sephora Beauty at We're back and we're talking election fraud. It's obviously something I hear over and over on the campaign trail, but unlike some of the other conspiracy theories we've covered on this podcast, this one has some serious implications on the future of our democracy. This month the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case called more versus Harper and it could fundamentally change how elections are conducted. To break this down with me, I have Supreme Court expert author of Lady Justice, Women of the Law and the Battle to Save America and host of the Slate podcast, Amicus Dahlia Lithwick. Welcome to the podcast. Hi Jordan. Dahlia, I have to call out the fact and you're well aware that you are wearing that one, but two headphones today. Is there a conspiracy in this? Do you want me to do a secondary podcast on your hyper attention or are you just a super big Jordan Klapper fingers, a conspiracy fan? I mean, I can repurpose the joke. I made the first time you tease me where I said that if Rudy Giuliani can wear two watches, I can wear two headphones, but I, you know, I'm a belt and suspender's guy. I went to law school and we learned to be very, very, very compulsive. So that's my story. I'm sticking to it. You're a belt and suspender's guy. What does that mean? That means it's, it's, it's, it's an overabundance of caution or fear that your pants could at any moment fall. Like what is, okay, this is what we do on this podcast. We really get into the nitty gritty, but it's, it's, it's a, it's a move out of fear, respect. True story. I heard the expression at one point very early in my career covering oral arguments at the court and I was like, what the hell does this mean? And all these lawyers were like, it just means being careful, idiot. So I think not to suggest that you're not knowing this term implies anything, but it was, I learned the hard way that apparently everyone but me knew that belt and suspenders is just kind of a shorthand for lawyerly over cautiousness, maybe, but also fear that your pants will fall down. I was going to say it's interesting. It's, it's all about spin. It's either caution or it's fear, but, but I see how the attorneys do it. It's a, it's a, it's a ducking of sound and I appreciate you taking that certain suspenders action to listen to this. I want to talk about, you know, the potential collapse of democracy. It's a, it's a hobby of mine. And I want to discuss this more V Harper. Can we talk about that case itself and what that might mean for elections? Sure. It is, it's hard to say this crispy Jordan, but it's both the most serious and least serious case of my career. It's serious because the implications are vast, which we're going to talk about. It's also rooted in so much nothing that it's almost painful. Like when they call it the independent state legislature doctrine or the independent state legislature theory, almost everybody puts doctrine and theory in air quotes because there's no there there. It's not something that is rooted in constitutional history. It's not something that's rooted in tradition. It's something that was almost entirely plucked from a chunk of a Rehnquist opinion in Bush Fieger. Then only got three votes. It's not a majority opinion where he was kind of spitballing. You may recall Bush Fieger also not a serious decision. So this is like a Rehnquist fever dream that we're in the midst of right now. It's a Rehnquist fever dream where he sort of spitballing, hey, maybe. These state legislatures have kind of plenary, unreviewable power and state courts can't come in and bigfoot on them. It gets two votes. That should be the end of the story. But instead it's being lifted up as this important piece of doctrine. Not to get to in the weeds, but the reason it's serious is because if the claim in this case and this case comes from a North Carolina gerrymander, the North Carolina Supreme Court says, oh hell no, do your maps again. And the North Carolina Republican legislature takes this to the Supreme Court and says we're here proffering this completely assinine, rootless theory that when a legislature does election stuff, no court can review it. End of story. Is that it? It's in a nutshell. If you're to explain it to our audience, Reaver, our host pretend there's somebody who read the headline of a vox article, but maybe didn't get all the way through because they're busy. Is that basically it? It's something that's looking at the power of state legislatures over federal elections. And question whether or not they have ultimate power. Is that ballpark? There's there's there's one clarification. There's one section of this that has to do with the electors clause in the constitution. That's the federal elections. There's one that is the elections clause that has to do with state elections. So this particular case actually doesn't implicate some of the stuff we talked about. Brad Raffinsberger and you know, state electors and sending over fake state electors. This is not scooping up that. This is about state processes, but it does mean that if a red state, and let's remember, 30 of the 50 states have red state legislatures. If they decide they want to make up new rules about ballot initiatives, they want to do new vote suppression. They want to close polling plate. Whatever they want to do, they are saying nobody can take this to a state Supreme Court, not even a federal court, a state Supreme Court and complain because basically nobody is the boss of me. So this particular one is about the state, how state election procedures are handled. But one tiny wrinkle there, Jordan, that's worth saying. One consequence of that is that if they win on that claim, you're going to have on the same ballot that you used to have state and federal elections complete chaos because one set of them can't be reviewed and one presumably can. So one of the things that this is going to inject into the system is totally different lanes for state and federal office. Okay. So you're looking perplexed. I'm worried that I've been doing this. I mean, it sounds like there maybe should be a checker of balance in there that these state legislatures shouldn't be able to be the final say. Where do the justices stand on this? What is the actual likelihood that state legislatures will gain control of federal election procedures? I mean, here's the tricky part. We already have four justices on the current Supreme Court who've evinced real enthusiasm for this theory. So we have justices Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas that are kind of like peddled to the metal. This is cool. And in some of the pre-2020 election cases, we saw them sort of effusing about how cool this was. And then we have a fourth Justice Kavanaugh who's done some like chin strokingy like, oh, this is kind of, I think this is pretty compelling, but isn't necessarily all in. Let's remember it takes four votes to grant a case. So that might be it. We don't know where Amy Coney Barrett sits on this. We do know that Chief Justice John Roberts doesn't think this is necessarily a fantastic idea. We also know he's irrelevant. So there might be five votes already going in. So this is cool. It's probably coming down to Amy Coney Barrett is going to decide this case. That's your best guess right now. My guess is that John Roberts thinks this is too extreme and he's written lots of prior cases, famously, an Arizona case where he has said time and time again. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Taking state judges powers away over state legislatures. So I think he's pretty much going to adhere to some version of that. This is whack-a-do, right? Have we made that point enough? This is insane. And John Roberts has many things in saying he is not. So yes, I think it comes down to what Justice Barrett thinks. And we have no idea on this doctrine, what she thinks. Well, this issue has popped up over the last hundred years. Supreme Court has batted it down over and over again. Why is it cropping back up now? It's cropping back up as part of this kind of larger, larger, and I think this goes to your sort of vote suppression frame. What do you do when you can't win majorities anymore in America, right? What you do is you capture state houses and then you jerrymander the heck out. Of your state voting systems to make sure that tiny minorities stay in charge. And so I think this is of a piece with a whole subset of things, whether it's voter suppression bills, like the stuff that Stacey Abrams has been fighting, or whether it is ridiculous malaportionment. That means that the Alabama case that the court heard earlier this year, where you have a third of Alabama is African American, almost a third, 27%. They're all smashed into one of seven districts so they can't elect the candidate of their choice. So I think there's all sorts of ways that you suppress majorities. And I put this in the bucket of why do it small if you can do it huge, right? If you can just do whatever you want as a state legislature, and it's unreviewable by any court, and by the way, just one other parenthetical, there's a maximalist crazy version of this, not at issue in Morvy Harper, that would also say that governors, like you talked about checks and balances, also have no power to do anything. They can't veto this. So I think one way to sort of lock in minority rule for time immemorial is to just make it impossible for majority will to be represented at the ballot box. Go big or go home and while you're at home, just stay there because there's no reason to go out to vote. Or that you can have an entire orderly election, and this is where folks should think about what happened in Georgia in 2020, where you have a completely orderly non-chaotic election, and then you have the legislature be like, hmm, no, we don't like those lectures. Let's go for this slate of it, which is what John Eastman and Donald Trump were asking Brad Raffinsberger to do. So I want to be super clear, that issue is not, I think, in the four corners of what this appeal is, but I think it's of like you have to draw a straight line between this and the kind of election denialism. We're seeing in 2020 where you had states and state legislatures being lobby by Donald Trump, by Jenny Thomas, by John Eastman, to be like, and never mind what the voters say, let's do it this way. Well, let's draw that line. So we do have conspiracy theorists and election deniers in pretty prominent positions. Janet, quite a few of them did lose in the midterms, including Kerry Lake and Arizona, who is now contesting her loss for governor, even though the results have already been certified. Is it crazy to think that whole states that have election deniers and their legislatures could just choose to throw out the results in federal elections? I don't think it's crazy. And I think in fact, one of the things this doctrine is setting up is the stepping stone toward that. I mean, the reason it didn't happen in 2020 when Donald Trump called Georgia and said, you know, give me a fresh ballot of fake electors, is that there was no architecture in place to support that. Right? This case would be part of building the architecture that says state legislatures can do whatever they want. It is unreviewable. Nothing can go to a state Supreme Court. And one other point, again, on this is, in there's an easy way to solve this particular North Carolina case, which is the actual legislature in North Carolina has already said that the state judiciary can review these questions. So this is an easy case. It shouldn't even be a question because the legislature has taken this power away from itself. But I do think you're exactly right to say this is really a building block toward a future where state legislatures power are so utterly unreviewable, or even creepily, reviewable only by the US Supreme Court that you should just stay home. Well, you say this shouldn't even be a question. And I guess I'm curious what that says about our country's political ideology and also the ideology of the justices. There are a number of conservative legal figures who are coming out against the Supreme Court, even hearing this case. The fact that they are what does that say about the ideology of the justices? So this is without a doubt for me the most interesting part, right? You've got Mike Ludig, the guy who almost got Chief Justice John Robert seat at the court, right? He was on the short list. This is a stalwart conservative legal movement giant. He's also the guy, by the way, who you may recall. Mike Pence was like, dude, can I do this thing that Donald Trump is asking me to do and not certify the election? It was Mike Ludig, you know, conservative legal giant who was like, no, Mike, you can't do that. So he's wildly come out opposed to this. And in fact, I think he's one of the people, at least he said on my podcast, like this would signal the demise of orderly elections and checks and balances. So he's come out against it. Ben Ginsburg famous Republican election lawyers against it. Every Chief Justice of every state Supreme Court is on a brief in this case saying like this is insane. Stephen Calabrese, co-founder of the Federalist Society has come out again. Like there's very few sane conservative figures who are for this. So then your operative question is why the hell is the court flirting with this? Like why are they playing footsie with a theory advanced principally by John Eastman, the guy who was the architect of the January 6th legal coup? And I think the reason is because there's no breaks at the US Supreme Court because they have a six justice supermajority. Everything in the world they wanted last term abortion guns, you know, kneecapping the EPA, kneecapping the CDC, everything they wanted they got, everything they didn't get last year, they're getting this year. So this is just my friendly allipment at Michigan calls it the hashtag yellow court, you know, they used to have some solicitude and sensitivity for what the public could tolerate. And I think now they're like directly in opposition to what the public can tolerate. They're like, oh 80% of Americans hate this. Let's do it. Great. What an uplifting conversation. It's so good to hear about the people who are pulling the levers here. Okay, so let's if states choose to do this, if this is a situation that does come into fruition, what happens next? Is that it for democracy? Is there anything people in these states could do to prevent that? Well, I think that you're going to see very much what you're sort of seeing post-dobs, which is blue states will rush to bolster blue state supermajorities and will create, you know, supermajority districts and will do all the things that New York tried to do and fail to do in the midterms, but you'll see red states rushing to bolster. You know, the power of Republican supermajorities and all the ways that they do that. And so I think in a weird way, maybe it's a sort of second iteration of the red state blue state patchwork we're seeing around guns around environmental protection around abortions. We're just going to see both sides further, you know, push whatever it is that they can do to make sure they have. Unlulsable power and that's pretty scary. The important question I think we're all thinking about what does this mean for me in the short term? Am I going to go out into the world and just here stop the steel forever or at least until rogue reds days decide to reinstall President Trump again? That is what we call a Stephen Breyer four-part hypothetical question. Can we start with? There's so many pieces of that. I mean, I think what it really means is that first of all, this is an incredibly abstract case. Nobody understands this case. This should be bigger than Bush v Gore, the implications, as I said, are vast. And yet I think folks are just like flummoxed, right? On the stop the steel folks, I have to say just looping back to where you started, Jordan, I'm pretty happy about the fact that the stop the Steelers got absolutely shall act in the midterms because it tells me it was not as salient as they thought it was and more urgently and I think the polling really showed this. People kind of like democracy. I mean, it was one of the issues that people showed up, you know, in addition to reproductive rights. People were really anxious that the machinery of crushing democracy had kind of gotten a toe hold. And so I actually think it's not to say this isn't a worry. It's a huge worry because the Supreme Court, as we have both stipulated, does not care what you and I think. But I do think that the appetite for crazy lawless vote suppression, democracy, shattering initiatives is not what I think Donald Trump and Carrie Lake thought it was. And so I'm like, I was like eight bourbons in this time before the, you know, before the midterms. I think maybe this isn't terrible because I think as much as it sucks that the US Supreme Court is an unchecked your stalker see that is going around doing whatever the hell it wants with life, Tandard people, one of whom has a wife who was involved in January 6th, that's bad. Let's agree. I think that folks recognize that after dogs in a way they didn't. And I think that the ability to just sit there and like take it on the chin because the Supreme Court says so is much. I think the taste for that is in decline right now. I think people are sort of angry. And so I'm not as hopeless as you sound. Well, I will drink to that. That looks like a good place to end. Daniel Lithwick, thank you for coming out of the podcast. It was a pleasure. Thank you. Well, that's it. The end of our six episode limited edition mini series, something like that. It's a limited series. It's a podcast. Whatever it is, we did six episodes. It's what we said we're going to do. And now we wrapped it up. And there's a chance we'll come back because there's always a world in which Americans believe dumb shit. And we want to talk about all of that. Thanks for listening. This has been a blast. Listen to Jordan Klapper fingers the conspiracy from the Daily Show on Apple Podcasts, the I Heart Radio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Watch the Daily Show week nights at 11 10 central on Comedy Central and stream full episodes anytime on Paramount Plus. This has been a Comedy Central podcast.