Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo
Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom addresses the crowd during an inaugural celebration for her and Gov. Mike Dunleavy at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Jan. 20, 2023.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom addresses the crowd during an inaugural celebration for her and Gov. Mike Dunleavy at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Jan. 20, 2023.

Opinion: The many truths Dahlstrom will deny

Real conservatives wouldn’t be trashing the rule of law

“Now more than ever, we need real conservative leadership in Washington to right the ship,” Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom said after earning the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. Real conservatives, however, wouldn’t be trashing the rule of law. Which is exactly what she and countless Republicans did after Trump was convicted in the so-called hush money case three weeks ago.

Maybe it’s time we label them all conservatives in name only.

Until Jan. 6, 2021, Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney was considered a conservative stalwart. She was the third-ranking Republican in the House. In the eyes of less principled conservatives, she betrayed the party first by voting to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection. Then by defending her vote.

“We need to make sure that we as Republicans are the party of truth,” she said. “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” she later tweeted. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

She paid for those statements of conscience by being ousted from her position as the party’s conference chair and losing her seat in Congress to a Trump loyalist.

Dahlstrom isn’t spreading the big lie. But not refuting it has the same effect as lying by omission.

The justice system, on the other hand, determines the truth based on evidence submitted under oath. In the hush money case, prosecutors presented records and witness testimony that Trump intentionally falsified records of payments that were intended to suppress the story until after the election.

It’s certainly possible the verdict will be overturned on appeal. But not because “Democrats have weaponized our justice system” as Dahlstrom argued. Or because Trump was “accused of a secret crime,” which 28 Republican senators, including Sen. Dan. Sullivan, falsely claimed in a letter they sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

That’s all just a ruse to convince voters that there’s no merit to the other three indictments against Trump, two of which are about his schemes to overturn the 2020 election that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The truth is more than 1,400 who participated in that have been charged with crimes. To date, 229 have either been convicted or pleaded guilty on charges of assault or other acts of violence, destruction of property, or conspiracy. In two separate trials, juries found eight militia members guilty of seditious conspiracy.

In Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin, numerous people have been indicted for their involvement in a plot to submit illegitimate slates of electors to Congress.

In Fulton Country, Georgia, the district attorney indicted 18 people, including Trump, on a variety of charges related to their attempt to subvert the election outcome in that state. Three who have pleaded guilty are lawyers who worked with the Trump campaign.

Jenna Ellis is one of them. Earlier, in a censure stipulation endorsed by the Colorado Supreme Court, she admitted that she “repeatedly made misrepresentations on national television and on Twitter” about the election being stolen.

Another Trump lawyer indicted in Georgia and Arizona is John Eastman. During the congressional Select Committee investigation of the insurrection, he argued that correspondence between him and Trump was protected by attorney client privilege. After reviewing them, a federal judge invoked the crime fraud exception.

Some of the “emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public,” the judge wrote. “The Court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Eastman’s appeal.

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has also been indicted Arizona and Georgia. Although he pleaded not guilty, in a related civil case he admitted that in numerous public appearances he made false accusations that two Fulton County election workers had committed ballot fraud.

And let’s not forget that Fox News paid $787 million to settle a civil complaint after shamelessly promoting Trump’s lies to protect their supposedly conservative news brand.

The truth is the justice system is doing the work it’s supposed to do. And even though Dahlstrom wants “to make sure every Alaskan knows the TRUTH!” (emphasis original), to win a seat in Congress she’s prepared to defend Trump by denying all of the above and more.

• Rich Moniak is a Juneau resident and retired civil engineer with more than 25 years of experience working in the public sector. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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