The Daily Beast
Did the Trump White House Create a Batshit Report on Dominion Voting?
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/ Photos via Getty/APIt was billed as an “an explosive report” on the “foreign ties” of election technology company Dominion Voting Systems that Donald Trump’s legal team was sending to state legislators to give them “a rundown” of supposed voter fraud in the 2020 election. But despite the Trump team’s apparent eagerness to tout the report and its claims in December 2020, three months later nobody seems to want to cop to authoring it.Katherine Friess, the Trump legal team volunteer whose name is on the cover page of the report, titled “Dominion Voting Systems Overview 12/2/20,” and in metadata embedded in the document, says she had nothing to do with it. Friess and Bernie Kerik, a former New York City police chief under former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a volunteer with the Trump legal team, say the report was sent to the legal team by a then-White House aide to former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro. The former senior Trump official refused multiple opportunities to comment on the record for this story.The difficulty in identifying an author for a report which Trump’s team once seemed happy to brag about underscores the extent to which the looming threat of lawsuits by Dominion Voting Systems has cast a pall over veterans of the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Lawyers for Dominion have filed $1.3 billion lawsuits against Trump personal lawyer Giuliani, pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, and pillow magnate Mike Lindell for their alleged defamation of the company’s voting software, with more suits reportedly on the way.Senior Trump campaign officials including the former president and legal team chief Giuliani publicly aired since debunked conspiracy theories about Dominion, from nonexistent ties to Venezuela to fake “deleted” votes. But Friess and Kerik’s claims that a Trump administration aide shared the report with the campaign’s legal team suggests the White House was even more involved in the effort to raise questions about Dominion’s products.The Dominion report first surfaced publicly in early December in an article on the Gateway Pundit, a pro-Trump conspiracy site. The story claimed that the Trump campaign was using the document to brief state legislators on their claims of voter fraud. The report describes itself “an overview” of Dominion Voting Systems’ “history, executives, vote manipulation ability and design” and “foreign ties,” and repeats a number of claims that have since been discredited, including that Dominion has ties to “several state-run Venezuelan software and telecommunications companies” and that the company’s products use software from another election technology firm, Smartmatic.Here’s How Hugo Chavez, Dead Since 2013, Became Responsible for Trump’s Election LossFriess’ name appears on the cover page and metadata embedded in a PDF uploaded to Archive.org linked to by The Gateway Pundit. In an email to The Daily Beast, Friess insisted that she had nothing to do with the report and didn’t know how her name came to be on the document.“I did not have anything whatsoever to do with the research, writing or production of the Dominion report. I have no idea how my name came to be on a cover page for it, who did that, or why,” Friess told The Daily Beast, claiming that the report was “disseminated” by a member of Navarro’s team.Kerik, who was pardoned by Trump for a host of felony charges and later aided the Trump legal team in its crusade to nullify President Joe Biden’s victory, said Friess wasn’t involved with the production of the Dominion report. “It was actually sent to the mayor’s legal team by [a person with] Peter Navarro’s office [on] 11/29, however, I’m not sure [Peter] saw it before we received it.”Kerik continued, “It is my belief that Navarro did not see it, and I don’t believe he authored it. However, it was sent to me and the legal team via a then-White House aide who worked for Peter.”In a phone call Monday, Kerik read The Daily Beast the email that the “then-White House aide” sent on Nov. 29, but he declined to name who sent it. The Daily Beast has since confirmed that the sender was indeed an official who worked in the Trump White House.Kerik worked alongside Giuliani on the Trump legal team collecting affidavits alleging irregularities in the 2020 election and “liaising with people who wanted to discuss the issue with the president or mayor,” he said. Kerik added that Friess “had never met Giuliani or the president prior to coming in and volunteering to assist in the legal effort. I was the one who introduced her to the mayor. I was in the White House with her the first time she met [Trump], and that was a meeting with Giuliani and [others].”Navarro, a staunch Trump loyalist, also authored three documents, collectively dubbed “The Navarro Report” (“The Immaculate Deception,” “The Art of the Steal,” and “Yes, President Trump Won’), which erroneously alleged widespread voter fraud and irregularities that tipped the election from Trump to Biden.Friess made news recently when her name surfaced as part of a visit by a Giuliani-linked forensic team that traveled to Antrim County, Michigan, in November to copy voter data in connection with a local lawsuit against county officials. The Record Eagle reported that Friess “bragged” about having recently dined with Trump and Rudy Giuliani to local officials, but Friess says she’s never had dinner with Trump and “certainly” has “never claimed to have done so.”Friess says she joined the Trump legal team as “a volunteer attorney, to ensure election integrity, like hundreds of other volunteer attorneys across the country.”According to Kerik, she “assisted in the preparation of legal documents, interviews, and reviewed affidavits; and coordinated travel, legislative hearings and meetings, as directed by the mayor or myself.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.