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GOP's Biggs, colleagues seek hearing on claims from debunked film

The conspiratorial claims in "2000 Mules" have been discredited. So why are so many congressional Republicans demanding that they be taken seriously?


When it comes to congressional Republicans who partnered with the Trump White House after the 2020 election, few were as involved as Rep. Andy Biggs.

The Arizonan participated in a highly controversial White House “strategy session” in December 2020, for example, which came on the heels of the congressman sending politically provocative texts to the White House about state legislatures appointing their own electors. According to the Republican Speaker of Arizona’s state House, Biggs even applied direct pressure about decertifying legitimate electors.

Biggs, who reportedly sought a pardon from Donald Trump before his term ended, is one of the handful of GOP lawmakers who’s been subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee.

Given all of this, it’s tempting to think the far-right congressman — who leads the so-called House Freedom Caucus — would steer clear of election-related nonsense for a while. And yet, as my MSNBC colleague Hayes Brown noted, Biggs is doing largely the opposite.

The Arizona congressman is a member of the House Oversight Committee and is currently circulating a letter addressed to the committee’s chair. In the letter, Biggs urges immediate hearings “to investigate the potential illegal activities revealed in the documentary film ‘2000 Mules.’” It’s only fair, he argues, given that the committee has “held hearings on the Arizona election audit and Texas’ voting laws.”

To no one’s surprise, the letter was co-signed by a variety of other far-right Republican House members, including Georgia’s Andrew Clyde, Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, Illinois’ Mary Miller, Arizona’s Debbie Lesko, Texas’ Randy Weber, Texas’ Pete Sessions, Florida’s Byron Donalds, North Carolina’s Dan Bishop, Tennessee’s Diana Harshbarger, and Colorado’s Lauren Boebert.

Right off the bat, it’s worth emphasizing the fact that the House Oversight Committee held hearings on Arizona’s clownish election “audit” and Texas Republicans voting restrictions because they were legitimate controversies.

The same cannot be said about the questions raised by “2000 Mules.” For those who might need a refresher, NPR recently reported on the documentary:

As NPR’s Tom Dreisbach reported, 2,000 Mules is a documentary film directed by Dinesh D’Souza that alleges it has “smoking gun” evidence of massive voter fraud in the 2020 election in the form of digital device location tracking data. For the film, D’Souza worked with True The Vote, which claimed to have purchased geolocation data from various electronic devices. The group said it used that data to track the movements of people in key swing states around the time of the 2020 election, alleging that the data shows thousands of people making stops at mail-in vote drop boxes. The “mules” in the title refers to the individuals they claim stuffed drop boxes with stacks of completed ballots.

During his testimony to the Jan. 6 committee, former Attorney General Bill Barr was seen literally laughing at the movie’s claims and characterizing the premise of the film as absurd.

“If you take 2 million cell phones and figure out where they are physically in a big city like Atlanta or wherever, just by definition, you’re going to find many hundreds of them have passed by and spend time in the vicinity of these boxes,” the Republican lawyer testified.

Barr added, “The premise that if you go by a box, five boxes or whatever it was, you know that that’s a mule is just indefensible.”

As we recently discussed, Donald Trump’s former attorney general wasn’t alone in coming to this conclusion. The New York Times recently characterized the movie as “a Big Lie in a New Package,” noting that even some on the right have expressed discomfort with the project and its conclusions.

The Associated Press said the film is burdened by “gaping holes“; Washington Post analyses characterized its findings as “dishonest“ and “misleading“; The Daily Beast said the movie is “stupid“; and The Bulwark found it to be so bad that it’s unintentionally “hilarious.”

The Bulwark’s piece added that “2000 Mules” is a “tour de force exploring the limits of how many suckers there are willing to pay for fantasy.”

The Post’s Philip Bump added overnight, “Just to put a fine point on it: Seeking an investigation based on ‘2000 Mules’ is like declaring you will crack the mystery of why water falls from the sky. There’s nothing to figure out, unless you’ve been willfully ignorant.”

And yet, nearly a dozen House Republicans want the House Oversight Committee to hold hearings into the movie’s claims.

I don’t mention this because the GOP lawmakers are likely to succeed. On the contrary, so long as there’s a Democratic majority in the chamber, the push from Biggs and his colleagues will be ignored.

Rather, I mention this because Republicans will probably soon take back the majority in the House, at which point the chamber’s direction is likely to take a profoundly ridiculous turn.