ASU’s McCain Institute Hosts “Big Lie” Election Seminar

ASU’s McCain Institute Hosts “Big Lie” Election Seminar

By Elizabeth Troutman |

Arizona State University’s McCain Institute hosted a discussion on the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2023. 

The organization, which claims to be nonpartisan, invited CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett and left-leaning election law advocate David Becker to discuss their 2022 book, “The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy in the Age of ‘The Big Lie,’” with Executive Director of the McCain Institute Evelyn Farkas. 

“This book, although it was written in 2022, is incredibly timely… because right now… we have the former president of the United States in D.C.’s court of appeals sitting there listening to an argument about whether he should have immunity for actions that he took, things that he said in the 2020 election,” Farkas said.

In 2020, the election process was “placed under more pressure than ever since the Civil War” and “was carried out with the highest turnout ever, the most diverse populace ever to participate in a presidential election in our history,” according to Garrett. 

“Those things are signs of success, not failure,” Garrett continued. 

The discussion fell on the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, breach at the U.S. Capitol and focused on “what actually happened in the 2020 election.” The speakers discussed the “misinformation” designed to “con and beguile Americans into chasing phantom allegations of election crimes.”

“People who spread disinformation don’t necessarily have to convince you of the lie, they just have to convince you that nothing is true,” Becker said at the event. 

The election “was an impressive example of democracy at work, despite attempts to overshadow its success,” according to the McCain Institute.  

The McCain Institute has a history of dwelling on the 2020 election years after the fact. The ASU center hosted a panel discussing “election denialism” and former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about the 2020 election in February.

Inspired by Senator John McCain and his family, the McCain Institute is part of Arizona State University and based in Washington, D.C. The book discussion was part of the institute’s Authors and Insights book talk series, which started in 2020. 

Elizabeth Troutman is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send her news tips using this link.

Obama’s Top Pentagon Official Hosts ASU Event Lobbying For More U.S. Support For Ukraine

Obama’s Top Pentagon Official Hosts ASU Event Lobbying For More U.S. Support For Ukraine

By Corinne Murdock |

The Pentagon’s former policy chief on military relations between Russia and Ukraine — Arizona State University (AUS) McCain Institute Executive Director Evelyn Farkas — is leading an event focused on lobbying for more U.S. support in Ukraine.

The event, “Relentless Courage: Ukraine and the World at War,” will also feature Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, and panelists for a discussion, “One Way Forward: The Vitality of a Democratic Ukraine,” to advocate for continued Western support for Ukraine. 

ASU’s McCain Institute and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication (Cronkite School) will co-host the event. Other featured speakers at the event include Cronkite School Dean Battinto Batts; peacebuilding advisor for Romanian Peace Institute, senior protection officer for Center for Civilians in Conflict, and 2022 McCain Global Leader Maria Levchenko; and photographer Svet Jacqueline. 

The Biden administration has sent over $76 billion in aid to Ukraine since last year, with the president pushing for another $24 billion in the ongoing budget discussions. Last year, Congress approved $113 billion of aid to Ukraine.

The ASU event will be streamed here.

While Obama’s deputy assistant secretary of defense to Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, Farkas advised on Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and was largely responsible for initiating the admission of Montenegro into NATO, a move that caused an escalation from Russia. Then and now, Russia views NATO as a threat.

Shortly after setting the wheels in motion for Montenegro’s admission to NATO and amid divisions within the Obama administration over the correct approach to Russia, Farkas resigned. Leading up to her resignation, Farkas issued similar calls for increased U.S. involvement in the Russia-Ukraine War.

“As the crisis deepens, our European allies and partners will look to the United States to demonstrate resolve and to reinforce solidarity across the continent,” said Farkas in a 2014 Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting.

Earlier this week, CNN featured Farkas to advocate for additional U.S. support for Ukraine. 

Farkas said that it was America’s moral duty to submit to Ukraine President Vladimir Zelensky’s weaponry requests. Farkas characterized reluctance to continue funding to Ukraine as “fickle[ness].”

“If he doesn’t have these things, more civilians will die and more military will die fighting the Russians,” said Farkas. “Politically, certainly, the West can be fickle, and that’s what Vladimir Putin is counting on.”

Farkas upholds the belief that Ukraine’s outcome in this war will determine the “fate of all humanity.”

In February, the McCain Institute hosted the Ukraine Prosecutor General for a meeting with the newly-formed Ukraine Business Alliance (UBA). The UBA coordinates executives from American technology and defense companies, senior U.S. and Ukrainian government and military leaders, and foreign policy experts to strategize public-private partnerships supporting Ukraine. UBA-involved companies include Palantir Technologies, Microsoft, and Amazon. 

Even after escaping the turmoil of the Obama administration, Farkas appeared eager to jump back into the fray against Russia. Farkas was one of the first to promulgate the Russiagate conspiracy that former President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to fix the 2016 election, and called for an investigation into the president. 

“[T]he Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more,” said Farkas in an MSNBC interview. 

Yet, behind closed doors about a month later, Farkas admitted to the House Intelligence Committee that she “didn’t know” whether anyone within the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. She further admitted that her media tour remarks were based on “a strong suspicion” cultivated from other media reports and reporters calling her.  Farkas’ testimony, along with others collected by the committee, weren’t released for about three years. 

“So I was making a leap that if, indeed, there was collusion, the way we would’ve uncovered it probably would have involved classified means,” said Farkas. “[I know] nothing outside of what’s been reported by the press.”

Farkas also admitted, contrary to her widespread public remarks, that she had no proof that Russians were interfering in elections aside from propaganda, or that Russians were colluding with the Trump campaign. She concurred with the following statement offered by Gowdy:

“I have no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, conspired, or coordinated with the Russians,” read the statement. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Liz Cheney to ASU Students: Stop GOP Officials Campaigning For Trump-Backed Candidates Like Kari Lake

Liz Cheney to ASU Students: Stop GOP Officials Campaigning For Trump-Backed Candidates Like Kari Lake

By Corinne Murdock |

Ousted Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) told Arizona State University (ASU) students to fight back and stop Republican leaders from coming to Arizona to campaign for Trump-backed candidates. Cheney suggested punishments for those GOP officials, as part of her remarks during the fifth installment of the ASU McCain Institute’s series “Defending American Democracy.” 

Cheney made an example of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), saying he should “know better” than coming to Arizona to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. Cruz attended a fundraising event for Lake on Wednesday. 

Yet shortly after giving that advice, Cheney lamented that “too often, conservative views are canceled.” Cheney also advised the students to vote for Democrats even if they’re Republicans. 

Shortly after her loss in August, Cheney launched a $15 million initiative through her political action committee (PAC) to defeat Trump-backed candidates.

At the opening of the ASU event, McCain Institute Executive Director Evelyn Farkus explained that Cheney was their latest guest speaker because she’s the “epitome of American political courage,” having sacrificed her political career by standing up for her values.

The McCain Institute’s first-ever Democracy Fellow, Sophia Gross, interviewed Cheney. Gross said Cheney exemplified a courage and set of values that young men and women should look up to in order to better themselves and serve their country.

The McCain Institute stated that the goal of the series is to advance citizens “beyond politics” in order to make America a city on a hill. It’s partially funded by the Knight Foundation, a left-leaning organization.

The four prior events in the “Defending American Democracy” series focused on the dangers of the decline and disappearance of local journalism, implications of verbal threats to election officials, protections for election infrastructure against cyberattacks, and plans to counteract hate.

In this event, Cheney fixed her remarks on several general topics: former President Donald Trump, January 6, and the Russo-Ukrainian War. 

Cheney said that the main lesson of the January 6 invasion of the Capitol was that institutions can’t defend themselves, it takes individuals. Cheney insinuated that government institutions were the victims — not citizens. Cheney also commended those who testified before her January 6 Committee: Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, and Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers. Richer and Gates were reportedly present at the ASU event.

“Arizona and our nation owes Rusty a debt of gratitude,” said Cheney.

Concerning the January 6 invasion of the Capitol, Cheney claimed that Trump didn’t take action to stop the trespassers. She quickly backtracked with a self-correction, noting that the former president did take action but complained that it took him “187 minutes.” Cheney stated repeatedly that Trump was attempting to destroy democracy. 

“No nation can have a leader who is so derelict in his duty,” declared Cheney. 

At one point, Cheney predicted that the nation was heading toward a future as similar and troublesome as the Holocaust. She issued that prediction as she relayed a recent conversation with a young woman from Wyoming whose grandparents escaped the Holocaust. That young woman reportedly expressed worry to Cheney that America would no longer be a place of refuge like it was when her grandparents escaped.

“I think that’s a very real and serious concern,” said Cheney.

Cheney also said that she’s proud of the January 6 Committee, assuring the audience that it was non-partisan. Cheney said she most respects her fellow select committee and other Democrats, especially those women on the armed service committee. 

“I never imagined that I would find myself spending so much time with Democrats. I’m sure they’re surprised to be spending so much time with me as well,” said Cheney “Everybody should be represented by the people that they know are going to do the hard work.” 

Cheney said that America needs to get involved in Ukraine’s war against Russia. She said that was a hallmark of patriotism. Cheney also indicated that anyone opposed to her beliefs belonged to the “Russian” wing of the Republican Party. 

Toward the end of the event, Cheney opined that true patriotism meant an allegiance to a fundamental sense of human freedom, of inalienable rights from God and not the government.

“Being a patriot means first and foremost loving our country more. We can say to each other ‘we’re Democrats, we’re Republicans, but we love our country more,’ and we’ll act in accordance with that. That means you’ll put your country above politics, your political career,” said Cheney. 

Watch the full event below:

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

ASU Launches Hate Speech Surveillance With Biden Administration’s Help

ASU Launches Hate Speech Surveillance With Biden Administration’s Help

By Corinne Murdock |

Last week, Arizona State University (ASU) launched a hate speech surveillance campaign with assistance from the federal government.

ASU’s McCain Institute received support from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program to launch SCREEN Hate, an effort to monitor youths’ online activity. The institute told parents and caregivers that it was only a matter of time before the minors in their lives were discovered and corrupted by hate online.

“Trusting that your family’s values will protect them is not enough,” warned the campaign site.

The campaign resources came from DHS and leftist organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), UNESCO, Common Sense Media, and the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

The NSBA coordinated with the Biden administration to investigate parents and community members for domestic terrorism based on their school board activism. When reporters discovered this coordination between the DOJ and NSBA, the NSBA issued an apology letter that they later backdated on their website weeks after our reporting pointed out the letter’s absence online. It was only when the NSBA uploaded and backdated its apology letter that they deleted their celebratory press release about the Biden administration heeding their petition to investigate parents. 

One of the SPLC resources insinuated that devout Christians constituted extremist beliefs.

“Extremist beliefs say that one group of people is in dire conflict with other groups who don’t share the same racial or ethnic, gender or sexual, religious, or political identity,” stated SPLC. “Extremists believe that this imagined conflict can only be through separation, domination, or violence between groups.”

One resource from UNESCO advises individuals on how to “stop the spread of conspiracy theories.” The organization asserts that the world can’t be divided into objective good or bad, and that no powerful forces with negative intent are secretly manipulating events. 

Another resource, from the ADL, framed the 2020 George Floyd riots as peaceful protests, and those opposed to the rioters as white supremacists and extremists. The resource, “White Supremacy Search Trends in the United States,” also claimed that white supremacy was behind the January 6 protest at the Capitol. 

Search trends that the ADL deemed “white supremacist” included any inquiries about the truth behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization. The organization also declared that search trends reflecting concerns about the “great replacement theory” were rooted in conspiracy. ADL said that Arizona was the third in the top ten states it deemed to have the highest consumption of extremist content.

SCREEN Hate directs individuals to download the “Resilience Net” app in order to access a directory of practitioners who specialize in violence and terrorism prevention. It’s part of the One World Online Resilience Center (OWORC), a DHS-funded initiative from the Massachusetts-based organization founded by Boston Marathon survivors, One World Strong.

SCREEN Hate is the latest initiative of the McCain Institute’s Preventing Targeted Violence Program, which mainly focuses on combating right-wing extremists and white supremacy. The McCain Institute attributes the program’s focus to the DHS declaration that white supremacists were the biggest threat to the U.S., citing the 2020 Homeland Threat Assessment.

The Biden administration has labeled Americans supportive of former President Donald Trump as “MAGA Republicans” that present a “clear and present danger” to the country.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” declared Biden. “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people.”

During Sunday’s speech commemorating the 21st anniversary of 9/11, Biden alluded to his administration’s focus on rooting out present domestic terror threats at home.

That same day, Vice President Kamala Harris clarified Biden’s intent in a subsequent interview with MSNBC. The pair discussed the Biden administration’s focus on combating the “threat from within,” which Harris concurred was comparable to 9/11. 

“I think [that threat] is very dangerous and I think it is very harmful. And it makes us weaker,” said Harris.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Governor Ducey Shows Bipartisanship at Globalist Event In Sedona

Governor Ducey Shows Bipartisanship at Globalist Event In Sedona

By Corinne Murdock |

Over the weekend, leaders from across the world convened in Sedona for an annual event dedicated to collectively solving global issues: the McCain Institute’s Sedona Forum. Among them was Governor Doug Ducey.

A recap of the event focused on the word “democracy.” Featured speakers insisted on white supremacy’s hold on U.S. institutions, argued that the significance of 9/11 ended with January 6, lamented distrust in mainstream media, and proposed tactics for increasing aggression against Russia for invading Ukraine. 

While at the event, Ducey published a series of tweets declaring that Russia was attacking democracy and freedom by invading Ukraine. He commended the late senator, John McCain, for warning Americans about Russia and Vladimir Putin. Ducey didn’t mention NATO’s role in instigating the war. However, he did post a candid photo of his conversation with former NATO and Ukraine ambassador Kurt Volker.

Though Volker only served as NATO ambassador for one year, 2008 to 2009, he worked on NATO-related assignments beginning in 1998. Volker’s U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) Ambassador position incited controversy due to former President Donald Trump’s investigatory attempts into President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China and Ukraine. 

Volker helped create Arizona State University’s (ASU) Ukrainian campus, American University Kyiv, which stalled at the end of February due to the Russian invasion. 

ASU President Michael Crow was also in attendance at the Sedona Forum. He co-hosted a panel with Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16) and The New Yorker writer Sue Halpern to discuss cybersecurity. 

In another photo, Ducey shook hands with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was also present at the Sedona Forum.

The event had moderators and reporter coverage provided by its “media partner,” The Washington Post — the very publication that doxxed the woman behind “Libs of TikTok,” the popular social media account relied on by parents and politicians for showcasing leftist ideologies and political trends. 

Two of Hollywood’s most elite celebrities, Angelina Jolie and Ben Affleck, were present and spoke at the forum. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.