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Senate Committee Plans First Federal Hearing on Election ‘Irregularities’

December 10, 2020 Updated: December 10, 2020

The Senate will hold a hearing next week on irregularities that took place during the 2020 presidential election.

“I am mindful that many of the issues that have been raised have been, and will continue to be, appropriately resolved in the courts. But the fact remains that a large percentage of the American public does not view the 2020 election result as legitimate because of apparent irregularities that have not been fully examined. That is not a sustainable state of affairs for our country,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

“The only way to resolve suspicions is with full transparency and public awareness. That will be the goal of the hearing.”

The committee will hold the hearing on Dec. 16. Additional details, including witnesses, will be made available next week. The hearing is not yet listed on the committee’s calendar.

According to officials, witnesses, whistleblowers, and data experts, some level of fraud and other irregularities occurred during the 2020 election. The level is disputed. Democrats and many officials argue it wasn’t enough to alter the election results, while President Donald Trump and Republicans say it does look like it was enough, considering how close the election was, according to the current results.

Epoch Times Photo
Gwinnett County workers begin their recount of the ballots in Lawrenceville, Ga., on Nov. 13, 2020. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has declared victory in the election but Trump and others are contesting results in key battleground states in court. The Epoch Times is not calling the race at this time.

Attorneys from Wisconsin and Nevada are among the witnesses who lawmakers will hear from, Johnson told Fox News’ “Hannity” on Wednesday. In Nevada, he said, 42,000 people voted twice and dead people voted, referencing charges made by Trump lawyers.

“We’re going to ask these questions, what about this truckload of ballots from Great Plains, New York, headed toward Philadelphia? How do you explain that type of thing? So we’re going to hold that hearing and we’re going to ask those questions and we’re going to ask for explanations. Because the American people deserve to know what happened,” he said.

“This is a terrible state of affairs that you have a great percentage of the American public that don’t view this election as legitimate, because the Democrats pushed the envelope; they did everything they could to make this a suspicious result.”

A spokesperson for Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the ranking member of Johnson’s committee, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Lawyers for President Donald Trump
Lawyers for President Donald Trump and members of the Arizona Legislature hold a public hearing on election integrity in Phoenix, Ariz., on Nov. 30, 2020. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

The Dec. 16 hearing will be the first at the federal level examining accusations of fraud and other irregularities. Hearings have been held in Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania featuring poll workers, experts, and Trump lawyers on the matters.

Trump’s campaign is trying to convince state legislatures to take back the power to select electors in a bid to upend the current results, alleging that the level of fraud that occurred makes the atypical scenario necessary.

Johnson earlier Wednesday indicated he may support a secondary path to victory that would be triggered on Jan. 6, 2021, when a joint session of Congress is scheduled to count electoral votes.

A representative and two representative-elects are planning to file objections during the vote counting on that day. They need at least one senator to join them to make the objections legitimate, under congressional rules.

Johnson told reporters in Washington when asked if he’d challenge the results that it depends on what lawmakers find out.

Epoch Times Photo
Pro-President Donald Trump rally-goers during a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on Nov. 14, 2020. (Jenny Jin/The Epoch Times)

“I need more information. The American people need more information. I’m not ready to just close and slam the book on this thing and go ‘OK, let’s walk away from it,’” he said.

The Epoch Times reached out to the offices of all Republican senators and senators-elect to inquire whether the lawmakers had been in touch with the group planning to file objections, and whether they would consider joining them.

The only on-the-record response was from a spokeswoman for Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who referred to comments the senator made to reporters earlier this week.

Romney had called the planned objections “madness.”

“It would be saying, ‘Look, let’s not follow the vote of the people, let’s instead do it [sic] what we want.’ That would not be the way a democratic republic ought to work,” Romney added.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

‘Bought by Beijing’: Pompeo Warns of China’s Threats to US Colleges

December 9, 2020 Updated: December 9, 2020

 

American colleges are becoming “hooked on Chinese Communist Party cash,” while Beijing works to siphon cutting-edge U.S. research to China, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Dec. 9.

“So many of our colleges are bought by Beijing,” Pompeo said during a speech at the Georgia Institute of Technology, outlining Beijing’s aggressive efforts targeting U.S. research institutions. He added that the Chinese regime’s influence on American academics and students jeopardizes academic freedom, as it seeks to suppress critical voices on campus.

“Americans must know how the Chinese Communist Party is poisoning the well of our higher education institutions for its own ends, and how those actions degrade our freedoms and American national security. If we don’t educate ourselves, if we’re not honest about what’s taking place, we’ll get schooled by Beijing,” Pompeo warned.

The state secretary cited a recent investigation by the Department of Education, which found that universities received almost $1.5 billion in contracts and gifts from China from 2014 to 2020.

“We cannot allow this tyrannical regime to steal our stuff to build their military might, brainwash our people, or buy off our institutions to help them cover up these activities,” Pompeo said.

He used the case of Vera Zhou to highlight Beijing’s influence on American colleges. Zhou, a U.S. resident, was a student at the University of Washington and also a Hui Muslim ethnic minority. While on a visit back to China in 2017, she was placed in a “reeducation camp” for five months after she was caught using virtual private network (VPN) software to circumvent China’s firewall and access the U.S. university’s website. Her mother and a Chinese rights activist pleaded with the university for help.

“But the University of Washington, a woman named Sarah Castro, head of the Federal Relations Office, said that the university wouldn’t help because of a multi-million dollar deal with China,” Pompeo said.

The university has previously denied that its relationship with China affected their actions on Zhou’s case.

Zhou was eventually released and allowed to return to the United States, “but no thanks to the University of Washington,” Pompeo said.

“What more bad decisions will schools make because they are hooked on Chinese Communist Party [CCP] cash? What professors will they be able to co-opt or to silence? What theft and espionage will they simply overlook?” he added.

The state secretary also said that institutions often censor themselves out of fear of offending China, adding that MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) wasn’t interested in hosting this speech, implying his “arguments might insult their ethnic Chinese students and professors.”

“You would think at freedom-loving places like Georgia Tech—and institutions and scholars all across the world, administrators, school faculty—would be more up in arms about the Chinese Communist Party’s outright theft and flagrant violation of freedoms that I’ve described, but we see it too seldom,” he said.

Silencing Dissent

Chinese students studying at American colleges are also targeted by Beijing, in what Pompeo described as a campaign of “repression.”

For instance, in 2017, Yang Shuping, a Chinese student at the University of Maryland, was pilloried on the Chinese internet after she praised “the fresh air of free speech” found in the United States but not enjoyed at home, during a commencement speech.

“She was so demonized and harassed by CCP propaganda outlets. I promise you, while I cannot tell you everything, that was no coincidence,” Pompeo said. Yang ended up apologizing for her remarks.

In another case in 2018, a Chinese student at Georgia University described being targeted by secret police, who pressured him to spy on other students who were critical of the CCP.

“They have harassed me repeatedly and asked me to give them information about the activities of overseas democracy activists and dissidents. They are particularly interested in the activities of Uyghurs and Tibetans,” the student told Radio Free Asia at the time.

Meanwhile, Chinese consulates control and fund Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSAs) “to keep tabs on students and to press pro-Beijing causes,” Pompeo said. CSSA chapters are present at more than 100 U.S. colleges.

Beijing-funded Confucius Institutes, which sit on dozens of American campuses, are also deployed to influence American students, professors, and administrators, the state secretary said.

The regime knows “that left-leaning college campuses are rife with anti-Americanism, and present easy targets for their anti-American messaging,” he added.

Tech Theft

Pompeo also referred to the case of professor Fei-Ling Wang, an academic specializing in China at Georgia Tech. Wang was detained and interrogated by Chinese security agents for two weeks while on a trip to China a few years ago. The agents wanted information about his research on China and his time teaching at the West Point military academy in New York, according to Pompeo.

“They thought they could intimidate him or perhaps recruit him because he’s ethnically Chinese,” Pompeo said.

The state secretary’s remarks underscore the Trump administration’s efforts at cracking down on Beijing’s attempts to steal American technology and influence academia.

In recent years, the Justice Department has brought charges against Chinese and American researchers over alleged intellectual property theft or for failing to disclose funding from China. Earlier this year, the former chair of Harvard University’s chemistry department was indicted on charges relating to lying about his ties to Chinese talent programs.

The State Department also designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center in Washington as a foreign mission, recognizing its role in promoting CCP propaganda on American campuses.

Follow Cathy on Twitter: @CathyHe_ET

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