Mike Lindell has been quite busy since Donald Trump's election defeat last fall. The founder and CEO of MyPillow somehow became a close confidant to the former president, mainly by touting utterly bonkers conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. These efforts not only endeared him to Trump, they also had the effect of turning Lindell into a cause celebre in some right-wing circles.
All has not gone well for the pillow guy, however.
This week, for example, Lindell received some discouraging legal news when a federal judge cleared the way for Dominion Voting Systems' defamation case against Lindell and some other pro-Trump conspiracy theorists. Dominion has accused Lindell of peddling ridiculous falsehoods about the company, and this week, a judge -- a Trump-appointed judge -- agreed that Lindell had "made his claims knowing that they were false or with reckless disregard for the truth."
It was against this backdrop that Lindell traveled to South Dakota for a "cyber symposium" event in which the pillow guy vowed to unveil "irrefutable" proof -- presented over the course of several days -- which would prove that President Biden did not actually win the election. In fact, Lindell was so confident in his claims that he said Biden would voluntarily exit the White House, as an honorable gesture, after seeing the evidence that China secretly hacked the election.
That didn't work out, either.
Josh Merritt, also known as "Spider" or "Spyder" and who was hired by Lindell for his "red team," told the Washington Times on Wednesday at the symposium that, effectively, Lindell has sold his adherents a bill of goods. Lindell claimed that intercepted network data obtained by other hackers, also known as "packet captures," could be unencrypted to reveal evidence of vote-switching by the Chinese-backed hackers. But Merritt has now said that's just not true.
In other words, Lindell said his team would bolster his conspiracy theories, only to hear his team discredit his conspiracy theories.
Making matters just a bit worse, as Rachel noted on last night's show, we also learned this week that Lindell was basing his strange campaign on cyber-data he'd received from Dennis Montgomery. As a Washington Post report added, Montgomery's background is ... problematic.
The New York Times reported in 2011 that the U.S. government was trying to keep secret the details of an arrangement in which Montgomery promised to provide technology to catch terrorists. Montgomery claimed he could decode secret al-Qaeda messages embedded in Al Jazeera broadcasts. He received more than $20 million in government contracts. But his own former lawyer indicated the government was clamming up because the technology was bogus and wanted to avoid embarrassment. He also called him a "con man."
Finally, let's also not forget that Lindell has been a prominent advocate of the idea that Trump will not only be "reinstated" to the presidency -- a literal impossibility in our system of government -- but that this transfer of power will begin the morning of Friday, Aug. 13.
Which is to say, right now.
Occasionally, assorted figures will generate headlines by making End Times predictions. The basic idea is straightforward: these figures will tell their followers they know the precise day in which the world will come to an end, and then ask believers to plan accordingly.
This never turns out well, since these End Times prophecies have always failed, leaving the prophesiers scrambling to explain why they were so terribly wrong. The more specific the prediction, the more embarrassing the failure.
These cranks came to mind this morning as Lindell's unfortunately specific prediction proved false. (I have it on good authority that there are no moving trucks outside the White House.)
And while it's certainly tempting to have a good laugh about all of this, let's not overlook the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has warned local police departments nationwide about the prospect of political violence this summer -- because many on the far-right fringe have come to believe that Trump really might be "reinstated," and some extremists "have included calls for violence if desired outcomes are not realized."
Mike Lindell has obviously had a difficult week, but the significance of the absurd ideas he's eagerly peddled continue to linger.