Trump Lawyer Cleta Mitchell Claims Democrats Oppose Restrictive Voting Laws Because They Want to Continue ‘Massive 2020 Cheating’

Right-wing election lawyer Cleta Mitchell (Photo from Conservative Partnership Institute)

Republican lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who joined former President Donald Trump in trying to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia in January, unironically published a diatribe Monday on the American Greatness website under the headline, “Democrats are Cheaters.” 

In her column, Mitchell continues to push groundless claims that President Joe Biden won due to “massive” cheating in an apparent effort to justify opposition to federal voting rights legislation and support for state laws that impose new restrictions on voting. Mitchell is helping lead multiple right-wing “election integrity” efforts and told an Associated Press reporter last month that she is in regular contact with Trump.  

Not bothering to marshal any evidence to support her claims—which were rejected by courts and state election officials of both parties—Mitchell’s American Greatness column charged that Democrats “cheated in the presidential election of 2020 and got away with it, thanks to a fearful judiciary, a complicit media, and a multimillion-dollar scheme that turned election offices in targeted cities and counties into Democratic turnout machines, and eliminated or ignored the verification requirements for people voting by mail to prove their identity and their eligibility to vote.” 

Mitchell described the voting rights and election reform provisions of the For the People Act, which has passed the House of Representatives, as an attempt by Democrats to “codify their massive 2020 cheating into federal law and to stop states from imposing new safeguards against illegal voting and election irregularities.” 

Mitchell seems particularly upset at Democratic criticism of restrictive state voting laws as a new form of Jim Crow-era voter suppression. “Democrats know how to do Jim Crow,” she said, adding: 

Fast forward to 2021: now they want to make sure that they can continue to herd African American voters and other minorities to the polls as they see fit, deny them their right to a secret ballot, fabricate and steal ballots belonging to legitimate voters, and engage in all manner of postmodern cheating. Just as they did in 2020. 

Democrats, she charged, oppose the new Georgia election law because “they cheated thousands of Georgia voters last year and they want to be able to keep doing it.” 

Mitchell was an active force in efforts to overturn Trump’s loss. In November, she took part in a panel convened by the secretive right-wing Council for National Policy to discuss post-election legal battles. In December, she signed a letter from right-wing leaders urging Senate Republicans to “protect the republic” by contesting electors from battleground states won by Biden.  A similar letter urging state legislators to override voters and appoint pro-Trump electors was sent a few weeks earlier and linked to a document created by Mitchell calling for a “constitutional remedy.” 

But perhaps Mitchell is best known for taking part in the notorious Jan. 2 phone call in which Trump tried to bully Georgia’s secretary of state into “finding” the votes to overturn Biden’s victory in the state.

Mitchell has been involved in right-wing advocacy for years. Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer recently reported that back in 2017, Mitchell helped Tea Party activist Jenny Beth Martin create a new legal entity through which to funnel contributions in order to evade a million-dollar libel judgment against her group Tea Party Patriots.  

American Greatness was launched during the 2016 presidential election with a declaration that it “aims to be the leading voice of the next generation of American Conservatism.” The “journal” has close ties to the right-wing Claremont Institute. Its publisher, Chris Buskirk, is a former Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute, as was senior editor Julie Ponzi. Buskirk co-authored “American Greatness: How Conservatism Inc. Missed the 2016 Election and What the D.C. Establishment Needs to Learn,” which was published in 2017 by WND Books. The Claremont Institute is also home to right-wing legal activist John Eastman. One of the Institute’s projects is the Center for the American Way of Life, which claims to defend “republican self-government against the existential threat of identity politics.”