We live in a wonderful, yet terrible time. But to paraphrase jRR Tolkien don’t get to pick the time we are born. We just get to decide what to do with the time given to us.
One night in 1931, two friends took a long walk in a garden. Both were university professors and writers. One was an atheist. The other a Christian. For several years, the Christian had written letters to his friend trying to convert him, but it was only after that night’s stroll in the garden that his friend placed his faith in Christ. The atheist was CS Lewis. His friend was JRR Tolkien, the author of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. In fact, it was Lewis who encouraged Tolkien to write the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Decades later, Lewis confided to Tolkien that:
“All my philosophy of history hangs upon one sentence of yours:
‘Deeds were done which were not wholly in vain.’
Deep down inside, everyone wants to believe that his life has a purpose. That we are not just passing time. 47 years ago, I wanted to believe that. I was in law school in September 1974 when I accepted Jesus into my heart. It was a turning point in my life.
I started practicing law in 1976. My first case was in Chicago defending the Jesus People, street preachers who were being falsely accused of brainwashing the drug addicts they rescued from Chicago streets. Over the next 40 years, I took many other worthy but unpopular cases. I wasn’t a very good businessman, but nonetheless, had a deeply satisfying career. I retired in 2016, but as I watched our country fall deeper and deeper into moral and spiritual decay, I wondered if all my battles had really accomplished anything. I felt like an old warhorse put out to pasture before his time.
When the pandemic hit last year in March, I knew it was a perfect storm for the Democrats. So, I started praying. I said Lord can you still use me? Isn’t there something I can still do? But I heard nothing for months. Then the bottom dropped out. The election happened. I am sure we all felt the same way that day. Depressed, angry, frustrated, isolated, powerless.
A week later, my brother Jim invited me to go musky fishing near his home in Madison, Wisconsin. Since misery loves company and since fishing with your brother is just about the best cure for whatever ails you, I went. But when I arrived in Madison, Jim told me we might have an opportunity to do something after all. We had a conference call that afternoon with Reince Priebus, the former RNC chair and former Chief of Staff for President Trump and several members of the Trump family, as well as the current leadership of the RNC. They wanted to know our thoughts on the prospects for a recount in Wisconsin. The call wasn’t a complete surprise since Jim and I have been involved in several prior recounts and election disputes in Wisconsin and Jim worked with the Bush team in Florida in the 2000 ‘hanging chad’ recount.
Long story short, Jim flew to Washington to meet with the President and he hired us to conduct a recount in Wisconsin. After it was all over, Jim asked the President what would have happened if we had said no, and the President told him there was no plan B. There would not have been a recount in Wisconsin. I am really glad Jim didn’t tell me that until after it was all over.
We had identified four distinct categories of defective ballots. Altered absentee ballot envelopes, absentee ballots without a written application verifying the identity and status of the voter, ballots harvested at Democracy in the Park events sponsored by the Dane County Clerk in Madison, and the expansion of indefinitely confined status from people permanently confined in nursing homes to anyone claiming that covid prevented them from going out to vote in person. Wisconsin laws were very clear on all these categories and we knew we could identify the illegal votes with precision. For that reason, and because Wisconsin had only paper ballots, the President’s legal team considered Wisconsin to be the lynchpin for the national election.
At least 40% of Americans already doubted the fairness of the election. If we could overturn the results in Wisconsin, the Trump team felt that public sentiment would shift dramatically and the other states would fall like dominoes. In other words, the fate of the nation hung in the balance. We had an opportunity to make history.
A recount is a massive undertaking. Wisconsin has only paper ballots, no electronic voting. All of the election materials are reviewed individually by hand. No observer can touch election materials. They are all handled by clerks. Because of Covid, tables were set up in the convention center with plexiglass dividers. Our observers were on one side of the table and across from each of them were clerks, who showed the ballot applications, envelopes and ballots one by one to the observer across the table. Documents in question were set aside for review by the attorneys. If we thought an objection should be made to a ballot or ballot application, we made those objections to the board of election commissioners, who were present throughout the recount.
We decided to limit the recount to the counties with Wisconsin’s two major cities, Madison and Milwaukee because we knew that was where most of the ballot harvesting had taken place. That meant we had to review 1.4 million ballots and 650,000 absentee ballot applications and envelopes. Under Wisconsin law we had 10 days to complete the recount. There were a few hundred ballots that even the board had to agree were invalid and those were thrown out. But in Madison, we objected to 90,673 ballots that were still counted, even though there was no basis under Wisconsin law to count them. Milwaukee was even worse. Its board counted 130,650 ballots that were clearly illegal under Wisconsin law.
We expected to have a large team of lawyers and staff to help us complete the recount and prepare the lawsuits challenging the election results. But all of the big law firms were threatened with losing clients if they helped us, so they backed off. When we started, it was just three of us – I ran the Madison recount, our brother in law Stew Karge ran the Milwaukee recount, and my brother Jim oversaw the entire recount and legal proceedings. Jim was able to recruit some of his close friends to fill out the legal team and I convinced my good friend Lou Esposito to come with me from Idaho. He ran all the logistics on the convention floor and coordinated with the team leaders, the elections board and clerks. He was an indispensible part of our team. He was my right hand and covered everything I didn’t have time or the skill to handle.
To be entirely candid, the night before the recount started, I was really scared of screwing up. That may sound crazy since I had been asking God for months to use me, but that night I was in tears in my hotel room. I prayed, Lord, “Why did you pick me? It’s too big. The stakes are too high. I can’t do this.” But I got a clear message in my head. Just do what you know how to do. Leave the rest to me. I woke up at about 2 in the morning with a name in my head, “Gideon.” I got up and read Judges 6 and 7, the story of Gideon, who described himself as the weakest member of the weakest tribe in Israel, and his army, 300 men whose only weapons against the mighty Midianites were lamps, water jugs and trumpets.
The next day God provided the army. When I walked onto the convention center floor, I was greeted by hundreds of volunteers who had arrived from across the nation. They were gathered in the meeting room above the convention floor, praying over the center.
When I stood up to make my first objections, all my anxiety disappeared, a calm assurance settled over me, and the words and arguments just flowed. The panel of Democrat attorneys had virtually no response time and again throughout the recount. It was unbelievable.
Over 4,000 people from all over the country came to Wisconsin to volunteer their time and talent. They gave up the holidays with their families and friends to do their part to save the country. Some of them were lawyers, and several of them joined our legal team and worked tirelessly through all of the holidays not only during the recount, but the lawsuits as well. I could never have covered all of the objections and reviewed all of the ballots without their help. Again, God provided.
What happened on the convention floor was stunning. We saw miracles every day. Here’s just one example. The Dane County Clerk set up over 200 ballot collection sites throughout the City of Madison – unsupervised drop boxes – in violation of state law in coordination with the Democrat party to harvest ballots. But we didn’t have access to the data to know how many ballots were illegally harvested until the Madison City Attorney, a lifelong Democrat, agreed to give us his sworn Affidavit with the exact number. It admitted there were 17,271 illegal votes cast in that category alone. He didn’t seem to realize he was giving us the evidence we needed. The entire vote difference in the Wisconsin election was only 20,427 votes.
We had a wonderful group of Chinese Christians who had come to America from Communist China and became citizens. One group drove 18 hours from New Jersey. Here they are, and they really love America and everything it stands for. A great group of ladies from Texas were our prayer warriors. 5 brilliant young attorneys came as volunteers from Virginia, Ohio, Arkansas and Pennsylvania and all joined our legal team to work on the Supreme Court cases. The vast majority of our volunteers were Christians.
There was such a spirit of joy and victory in the room that it was contagious. Christians were sharing the Gospel with the clerks across the table from them, and with their fellow volunteers. For 10 straight days, 12 hours a day. The contrast between our unpaid volunteers and the paid Biden supporters and clerks was eye-popping. They were universally sullen, grumpy, angry, sad, and lifeless. We were energetic, uplifted, joyful, spirited, and positive. Our proceedings were live-streamed and even people from the White House commented that they had never seen anything like it in any of the other recounts. Even in Milwaukee which was like a war zone. Something very special was going on in Madison.
The graffiti shown in the first two photos was plastered outside the convention center. The first one reads, “Christ Troupis thinks he is a miracle worker. Ha. Ha.” They got it half right. I don’t think I am a miracle worker, but I know I work for one. The second photo shows graffiti that reads, “Christ Troupis and his bogus $3 million recount. Tax deductible for Trump?” The last photo is of one of the clerks. And if we really had any doubt that this was a battle between good and evil, this clerk’s mask says “666”. I put one of our Texas ladies across from her and by the end of the recount, she had witnessed to her and they were sharing recipes.
I have never felt so humbled nor have I ever experienced anything so moving in my life. I went back to my hotel and that night dreamed of Isaiah’s vision of heaven. I felt so unworthy to be entrusted with this task. Our Pastor Steve Crane was preaching on the Beatitudes at the time so I opened my Bible to Matthew to read them. But I couldn’t get past the first word “Blessed”. I saw it and broke down in tears. These were long, tedious, contentious and difficult days. And yet, every morning I woke up refreshed, energized and ready to go to battle.
Since the Wisconsin Elections Commission was unwilling to follow the law and throw out the illegal ballots, we filed suit in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In any other type of case, we would have considered this a slam dunk. The other side did not dispute any of the facts we presented. They had no response to our claims that 221,323 illegal ballots were cast in the Wisconsin presidential election. No response to the claim that if there were a drawdown as required by Wisconsin law, President Trump would have won Wisconsin by more than 60,000 votes, numbers entirely consistent with those from every other battleground state. But this was a highly charged political case. So the rule of law went out the window.
You have heard and seen a lot in the news about unsubstantiated claims by lawyers in battleground states. I only have experience from Wisconsin, but I can tell you that we didn’t make crazy claims. We called out 4 categories of ballots in violation of Wisconsin election law and identified each ballot or envelope that fell into that category and we proved everything.
Take the category of altered ballot envelopes. Absentee ballots were enclosed in envelopes. They were required to be witnessed and hand delivered to a clerk or mailed to the clerk’s office. But the Wisconsin clerks received ballot envelopes from hundreds of unsupervised drop boxes that had no witnesses or other required information to verify that the voter was eligible to vote. The law required the clerks to reject those ballots. Instead, they altered them. We found 6,000 of those in just two counties and we now know for a fact that it happened across the country. How would you feel if you voted, and when it got to the clerk’s office, they altered your ballot?
We now know that this was a coordinated effort. In Wisconsin, it was coordinated in Green Bay by a Zuckerberg operative. We even know his name. They funneled money to all of the clerks in every county as a ‘public service’, but the money had strings attached. That the clerks put out blue drop boxes to collect ballots, allow other people to collect and deposit ballots, and give a wink and a nod to the requirements of voter id, witnesses and checks by the clerks. We also know now that happened in virtually every state across the country.
The Wisconsin Supreme court was comprised of 4 Republicans and 3 Democrats. We had all the facts and all the law on our side. We should have won easily. But we did not get a fair hearing. We lost the case by one vote.
One of the Republican justices, Brian Hagedorn, simply did not have the integrity to hear the evidence and apply the law. Instead, he and the 3 Democrats said they didn’t have the time to consider the evidence, and besides, we should have filed the lawsuit challenging the election irregularities back in March 2020, 8 months before the election took place and long before President Trump had legal grounds to challenge the election. By the way, that same argument, laches, was used successfully by the Democrats in every other battleground state.
Don’t delude yourselves. What Donald Trump said was credible. We have the evidence to prove it. The courts just refused to hear it. Why? because the election wasn’t fair and they knew it. They simply didn’t have the courage to do the right thing.
That’s not just my opinion. It was the consensus of the three other Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices. One of them, Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote this in her dissenting opinion;
“When the state’s highest court refuses to uphold the law, and stands by while an unelected body of six commissioners rewrites it, our system of representative government is subverted.
The consequence of the majority operating by whim rather than law is to leave the interpretation of multiple election statutes in flux——or worse yet, in the hands of the unelected members of the WEC.[Wisconsin Elections Commission] …The Wisconsin Supreme Court has an institutional responsibility to interpret law——not for the benefit of particular litigants, but for citizens we were elected to serve. Justice for the people of Wisconsin means ensuring the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections. A majority of this court disregards its duty to the people of Wisconsin, denying them justice.
The majority’s failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election. It will also profoundly and perhaps irreparably impact all local, statewide, and national elections going forward, with grave consequence to the State of Wisconsin and significant harm to the rule of law.”
We filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the US Supreme Court and Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch agreed to take our case. But Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett did not want to hear the case. We needed 4 to get a hearing in the US Supreme Court. Again, one vote may have decided the fate of a nation.
Senator Ron Johnson asked Jim to testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee in Washington DC. On December 16, our legal team flew to Washington DC. Jim and I sat in the Committee meeting for 3 ½ hours. I will never forget my brother’s closing remarks.
He said, “Lawyers do their job when we are able to present evidence It’s a sad day, frankly, when the opposition doesn’t argue we are wrong. It argues we should not be heard.”
Participating in the recount and court cases with Jim and Stew was the pinnacle of my legal career. I have now been to the mountaintop and it was a breathtaking experience. But the real highlight had to be our invitation to meet with President Trump in the Oval Office. We were supposed to see the President just to have our pictures taken with him, but when we got there and sat down, it was clear that he wanted to have a talk. The meeting lasted an hour and 40 minutes. To give you an idea how long that is, think the length of about 2 of the President’s rally speeches. I will never forget that meeting. I have never been more thoroughly impressed with President Trump. His knowledge and grasp of complex legal issues and facts was astonishing. He asked questions of each of us and when he was talking to me, it was as though I was the only person in the room. He gave me his undivided attention and you could tell he was sincere, not just waiting until I finished talking to make a point, but listening and processing the information. I felt like I was having a conversation with a friend.
My brother Jim, absolutely the finest lawyer I have ever known and the best brother I could ever have. 30 years ago, in one of the many seminal legal cases he won in his career, Jim saved a small biotech company from bankruptcy. Today, Promega is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. One of its many patents is on Taq-PCR. Promega started working on covid PCR tests in December 2019 and has produced and distributed over 5 billion to date. Next to him, Joe Voyland, former Wisconsin judge and brilliant attorney, Joe Olsen, another gifted Wisconsin elections lawyer, whose grandmother came from Poland. She was sold as a slave by the Nazis to an Austrian farmer and emigrated to the US with her husband, a resistance fighter. When her grandson got invited to visit President Trump at the White House, his now 92 year old grandmother said it was the proudest day of her life. Ken Cheseboro, clerked for the US Supreme Court and is responsible for the Daubert decision, the case that established the standard in all federal courts for expert witness testimony. And my brother in law, Stew Karge, who saved the Chicago skyline from a monumental disaster and bankruptcy when the Chicago river flooded its banks and the skyscrapers adjacent to it, by creating a novel theory to apply maritime law to all of the lawsuits brought against the architects and property owners. And that’s me, just happy to count myself one with this team of great gifted men. One other attorney, George Burnett, couldn’t make the trip because he was arguing a case that day in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. So as Yul Brynner once said in my favorite Western of all time, ‘Now, we are seven.”
Back in June 2015, when Donald Trump came down the escalator at Trump Tower and announced he was running for President, I was not a supporter. I was backing Ted Cruz at the time. But within a few days of the announcement, a friend of mine told me that I ought to back Donald Trump; that he was the best person for the job. He said Trump would not only win the Presidency, but he would fundamentally transform America for the better. Nobody else that I knew thought Donald Trump was anything other than a carnival barker or celebrity. That friend was Bob Nugebauer and today I have to admit, he was right. But then, he had the benefit of knowing Mr. Trump.
T.S. Eliot said, “always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” When I quit practicing law, I took up photography as a hobby. I love to watch and photograph eagles. Not only are they the symbol of our nation, but they embody all of the grace, power and beauty of all of God’s creation. And they are simply magnificent to watch. I took all of these shots on the Boise greenbelt behind our house. I like to think, we are so lucky to live in God’s backyard. But not so long ago, these magnificent animals were threatened with extinction. We identified the problem and took steps to fix it. But it took well over 25 years for the eagles to recover. They are flourishing now, no longer endangered.
Our country’s moral decline didn’t start a few years ago either. It began in the 60’s when we pushed God out of public life and banned prayer from our schools, when life in the womb became disposable. It began while we were asleep and leftists were taking over our institutions of higher learning, and when our children were being indoctrinated. It grew when states took federal monies instead of living within their means and too late realized nothing is free. There are always strings attached.
Our morality and collective conscience has been poisoned for years, and we are only now incurring the consequences. We see evil now for what it is because they don’t have to hide it any more.
CS Lewis said “All my philosophy of history hangs upon this one sentence.
‘Deeds were done which were not wholly in vain.’
We lost Wisconsin and perhaps the nation by one vote of one judge. That is tragic. But our work was not wholly in vain. And I don’t think it is an indictment of our election laws, legal system, or the principles on which this nation was founded. It is simply a consequence of taking too much for granted. Allowing evil men to flourish. We will never be rid of them. We just need to recognize them for what they are. And deal with them decisively. I made a somewhat cynical comment years ago about the apathy of voters that Kevin Miller at KIDO often quotes. I said, “Go ahead, drink your beer, ride your ATV’s and watch your sports. We’ll run the country.” My friends, the time for apathy is long gone.
In the fifth century as the Roman empire crumbled around him, St. Augustine wrote his seminal work, “City of God”. In that book, he argued that earth’s entire history is a story of the conflict between good and evil. He described it as a choice between the City of Man and the City of God, one utterly evil, corrupt and lost; the other, a mirror of God’s perfection, with Christians caught between the two.
In response to Augustine’s thesis, monasteries rose up, where monks walled themselves away from the world to preserve the Scriptures and Christianity until the dark ages passed. But of course they never did. Running away from the world doesn’t solve anything.
The alternative is for Christians to engage the culture. In his book Two Cities, Two Loves: Christian Responsibility in a Crumbling Culture, Reverend James Boice argued that Christians have a duty to engage the culture to change men’s hearts. he wrote that
“Religious people are the best thing a country can have and the only citizens who will actually advance the nation in the direction of justice and true righteousness. Today the need is not for more laws. If we do not have a moral citizenry, even the laws can be used immorally. They can be used to get out of paying one’s debts, escape a prison sentence, cheat the innocent, oppress the poor and many such things. What we need are people who know and are willing to live by the moral laws of God.”
I came away from the Wisconsin recount experience with renewed faith in the process, not because of the outcome, but in spite of it. It was because of the people who came to help us. For the first time in my life, I saw thousands of people not just showing up for a concert or football game, or to cheer on their candidate. 4000 people came with their sleeves rolled up. Gave up their holidays with their families, ready to work long hours for nothing more than their love of this country and liberty. People like Becky Franks from Black River Falls, Wisconsin, Kathy Haigler from Dale, Texas, Jake Ottinger from Tennessee, Sophia Tjotjos from Cleveland, Grace Norris from Lansing, Michigan, Wren Williams and Megan Fredericks from Virginia. They are the backbone of this country. There are thousands, perhaps millions of patriots just like them across this country. Don’t count them out.
I am proud of the work we did in Wisconsin, and I have unbridled optimism for the future of America. If you leave here without that same feeling, you just aren’t listening. We had an election stolen from us. To a large extent, it is our own fault. We knew it was coming. We saw it a long way off. But we did nothing to stop it. The Republican legislatures in the battleground states stuck their heads in the sand. To a large extent because a lot of Republicans in office didn’t care for Donald Trump. But it is not the end of the world. Look around you. We are still here and we are still strong. We love our God, our country, our families, and our freedom. Nothing has changed except our expectations. We can’t act like we are defeated. We have to get back up.
Abe Lincoln famously said, “you can fool some of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.” Liberals got into power because they lie effectively and often, and they were believed by many low information voters. But liberals can’t help but overplay their hand. They are already doing it. And I believe there are a lot of old school Democrats who will soon realize they have been snookered.
Scott McDonnell, the Dane County Clerk in Madison, implemented all of the illegal ballot harvesting schemes that stole the election from Donald Trump. He was supposed to be our nemesis at the recount. But Lou Esposito and I showed Scott who we were and what we stood for by acting with integrity, fairness and respect during a contentious 10 day recount. At the end of it, I told the elections board that we appreciated their professionalism and courtesy. My comments were broadcast and afterwards Scott showed Lou his phone. He showed Lou numerous texts disparaging us, the process and what was said. He was distraught because he now knew we were not the combative A-holes his texters were telling to go F-off. etc He had experienced the christian witness. Holding the proof of the 220,000 illegal ballots was not even close to as sweet as seeing his recognition of all we prayed for the 10 days of the recount. “Lord let us be a light to all, so they see only you Lord, none of us all of you”
Scott McDonnell invited us to sit down and eat dinner with him and his other clerks. We found out that apart from politics, we have a lot of common ground. Ladies and gentlemen, that is what victory looks like in God’s eyes, that is the prize, and we need to set our sights on that as our goal.
We are in a war, but not one that will be won with weapons of hate and violence. I recommend that you read the story of Gideon. He knew he was the weakest man from the weakest tribe and that he had no chance of defeating the mighty Midianites. But God’s angel told him, nevertheless you will prevail. God will give you the victory.
Gideon’s Army went into battle without swords or spears, only lamps and trumpets. The lamps were the light of God’s truth and the trumpets declared his victory. The apostle John wrote, Men shunned the light and loved the darkness because their deeds were evil. Shine enough light on the darkness and it flees. Believe it or not, the weapon to win this war is love. We have to change hearts before we have a shot at changing minds.
There are a lot more Scott McDonnell’s in the other camp than you would expect. They are unhappy and feel betrayed and alone. And their party has just left them. They are going to come looking for a home soon. Remember the old adage, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Let’s greet them with love, not anger. Show them who we are and they will want what we have. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
You are Gideon’s army. We are in a war and God has called all of us for this one. We need all the troops. No one can stay on the sidelines. It does not matter if we disagree on some things. It only matters that we want to take our country back. We want to heal the election process. We want to make America great again. God Bless each and every one of you. And God Bless America.