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2000 Mules: A Dilapidated, Termite-Infested House Built By an Admitted Felon On a Foundation of Bullshit

Submitted by Robin Messing on Fri, 08/18/2023 - 8:51am

Those trying to defend Trump's Big Lie will inevitably point to the movie 2000 Mules as evidence that PROVES there were thousands of people (known as mules) who illegally gathered ballots collected by leftist non-government organizations and then deposited them in multiple ballot boxes. This movie was produced by Dinesh D'Souza and revolves around claims by True the Vote leaders Gregg Phillips and Catherine Engelbrecht. They claim that geolocation data collected from millions of cell phones combined with video evidence proves their claim of massive ballot harvesting election fraud.

Here are eight reasons to laugh in the face of anyone who thinks 2000 Mules provides evidence of election fraud.

  1. Bill Barr laughed about the 2000 Mules movie and told the January 6th Committee why he was unimpressed by it. Watch between 1:06:40 and 1:09:26.

  1. Dinesh D'Souza pled guilty to the felony of campaign finance fraud in 2014. He was sentenced to five years of probation with 8 months to be served in a community confinement center. He was pardoned by Donald Trump in 2018. It is therefore not surprising that he would do a favor for Trump by producing this movie. (I am not claiming anyone on Team Trump asked him to make the movie. But it would not be surprising if he felt gratitude towards Trump and wanted to pay him back.)
  2. 2000 Mules has already been debunked by the Washington Post here and here and here and here. Reuters debunked it here. NPR also debunked the movie, including its claim that its geolocation data was so accurate that it helped authorities solve a murder case. In reality, the authorities had indicted two suspects two months before anyone from True the Vote had contacted them. (And that is assuming Engelbrecht and Philliips were telling the truth when they claimed they had contacted law enforcement officials about the murder. NPR could not substantiate that claim.)
  3. The Texas Monthly not only debunked the movie, it exposed Phillips' and Engelbrecht's long history of conflicts of interest, corruption, incompetence, and profiteering over false claims of voter fraud.
  4. Regnery had just published a book by D'Souza that supplemented the movie by adding even more information than had been provided in the movie. However, Regnery unexpectedly recalled the book just as it was hitting store shelves. NPR reporter Tom Dreisbach got his hands on one of the few versions of the book that had escaped the recall and compared it with the version that was released two months later. The original version named specific nonprofit organizations that it had accused of ballot harvesting. The second version softened its accusations and did not name any specific organizations. Apparently, Regnery issued the recall after its lawyers became spooked by the possibility that the book would open the publishers to defamation lawsuits.
  5. It turns out, Regnery had good reason to fear defamation lawsuits. Mark Andrews was falsely accused by the movie of being a mule after depositing five ballots for himself and his family in a drop box in Georgia. He is now suing D'Souza and True the Vote, Phillips, Engelbrecth, and others for defamation. You can read his complaint against them here.
  6. Engelbrecht and Phillips publicly claimed to have given law enforcement officials a hard drive with data backing their claims of illegal ballot harvesting, and they used that claim to raise a considerable amount of money.  Arizona's Attorney General's office (run by REPUBLICAN Mark Brnovich) tried repeatedly to get the evidence that Engelbrecht and Phillips had promised them. They gave the AG's office the runaround and the office wrote the IRS suggesting they investigate True the Vote's status as a nonprofit organization. You can read the letter from the Arizona Attorney General's office here.

 

  1. Finally, a bit of common-sense logic should persuade you that 2000 Mules is nothing but a money-making scam. You cannot see 2000 Mules online without shelling out $19.99If D'Souza REALLY had the goods to prove the Democrats stole the election, he wouldn't be charging money for it. If he had the goods, then he would do one of two things.
  1. Either he would make it available for free so that EVERYONE could see his evidence. This would boost his popularity even more with Trump and his supporters.
  2. OR he would sell the rights to the movie to Trump, and Trump and the Republicans would show it for free. Donald Trump claims to be a billionaire. He has LOTS of billionaire and hundred-millionaire friends. If Trump couldn't afford to buy the rights to the movie, then Kanye or someone else could do it for him.  And you can bet Trump and his supporters would include a link to the movie in every fundraising email they sent out and would advertise where it was available at every Trump rally. That link would be blasted all over Facebook and Twitter, and it would be posted by Fox News, OAN, Newsmax, and every other right-wing website as well. But D’Souza would apparently rather have his video hide behind a paywall where only the die-hard MAGA folks who are willing to shell out their money will see it.

David Marques wrote the perfect eulogy summarizing the flop that was 2000 Mules. Here are some highlights, but I encourage you to read the whole thing.

 

Alas, not even cunning timing could halt D’Souza’s continued slide toward cultural irrelevance. Released in May, 2000 Mules made just $1.5 million at the box office. It was his lowest grossing film yet, and a far cry from the receipts a decade ago for 2016: Obama’s America ($33 million) and 2016’s Hillary’s America ($13 million)—a major flop that presaged election denialism’s epic flameout in November. And for True the Vote, the Texas-based “election integrity” organization whose “research” forms the basis of D’Souza’s claims, it was even more disastrous. . . .

 

The evidence is, of course, unbelievably weak, to the point that one can only imagine the degree of contempt D’Souza has for his audience.  . . .

But the movie failed to find an audience beyond the most committed Big Lie cultists. In the year election denial went mainstream, 2000 Mules held the distinction of being too ludicrous even for the right. D’Souza had something of a public meltdown when both Fox News and Newsmax allegedly declined to promote the film, perhaps out of fear of being dragged into yet more billion-dollar defamation lawsuits related to claims of election fraud. (Trump lambasted Fox for refusing to “show or discuss the greatest & most impactful documentary of our time.”) Ben Shapiro said on his web show that “the conclusions of the film are not justified by the premises of the film itself,” and former Trump administration Attorney General Bill Barr, during his testimony in the January 6 committee hearings, laughed at D’Souza’s allegations and called the geotracking data “singularly unimpressive.”

 

If you still believe 2000 Mules provides proof of voter fraud, then you have fewer critical thinking skills than a meth-addicted amoeba swimming in a vat of vodka. I suggest you hop on over to Amazon.com and buy a book that will help you.

 

Update 9/8/23: I first wrote this column not long after 2000 Mules was published. Back then, it was hidden behind a paywall and you could not watch it for free.  It has since become available on streaming services you have to pay for such as Netflix and Hulu.  And now, thanks to @RareImagery, I have just learned that it has been made available for free on X (formerly twitter). This led me to a post by Dinesh D'Souza who said he would be making it available for free, but only between September 8 - 10, 2023. However, I stand by my eighth point because people had to pay to see it for such a long time before they could watch it for free.

 

Update 9/9/23: Sadly, there are some on the right who refuse to acknowledge that 2000 Mules is a scam, no matter how much evidence is thrown at them. They simply refuse to consider inconvenient evidence and they use the justify their refusal to acknowledge reality by saying that "Left wing articles give no merit to the debunking of this movie."

 

Fine. Don't believe me. But what about Ann Coulter--author of "In Trump We Trust"? Anyone who considers HER to be left wing has just revealed himself to be a clown.  Here is what Coulter had to say about the movie.

Which brings me to Dinesh D'Souza's movie "2,000 Mules." The movie tells Trump diehards (a dwindling bunch) that their man probably DID win the 2020 election!

 

Using cellphone tracking data obtained by "True the Vote" (which sounds like a group named by Melania Trump -- "BE BEST!") D'Souza claims to have proof that 2,000 people delivered multiple ballots to election drop boxes in the five crucial battleground states that Trump lost.

There are two problems with this.

First, the movie doesn't show what it says it shows.

-- Cellphone tracking isn't precise enough to distinguish between liberal activists stuffing drop boxes, and store owners, police officers, delivery men and others who have perfectly legitimate reasons to be within a few yards of the same drop box every day.

-- In all five battleground states D'Souza considers, it is perfectly legal for third parties to drop off ballots for others, with varying degrees of lenience. Pennsylvania, for example, allows a caregiver or jailer (among others) to drop off someone else's ballot.

-- Even if every cellphone dot represented a left-wing organizer illegally dropping off another person's ballot, that still wouldn't make the ballot invalid. A legal ballot can be illegally delivered, although the guy who delivered it might be in trouble.

These flaws have already been well aired elsewhere.

The second problem -- my problem with the movie -- is the idea that Trump's 2020 loss cries out for an explanation. We know for a fact that Trump was sailing to a landslide victory on the love of a grateful nation. Only something nefarious could explain his defeat.

I wonder how folks like our friend, X-Factor, will bend themselves into pretzels to deny the reality that is staring them in the face.

 

Update 12/13/23: I did some VERY minor editing for clarity, and I changed the link from Mark Andrews' original complaint to his First Amended Complaint. 

Update 2/16/23: True the Vote had to admit that they had no evidence to back up their claim of ballot stuffing. The AP reports:

A conservative group has told a Georgia judge that it doesn’t have evidence to support its claims of illegal ballot stuffing during the the 2020 general election and a runoff two months later.

 

Texas-based True the Vote filed complaints with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in 2021, including one in which it said it had obtained “a detailed account of coordinated efforts to collect and deposit ballots in drop boxes across metro Atlanta” during the November 2020 election and a January 2021 runoff.

A Fulton County Superior Court judge in Atlanta signed an order last year requiring True the Vote to provide evidence it had collected, including the names of people who were sources of information, to state elections officials who were frustrated by the group’s refusal to share evidence with investigators.

In their written response, attorneys for True the Vote said the group had no names or other documentary evidence to share


Hat Tip to Paola Poot (@PootDibou). She tipped me off to the great Texas Monthly article about Engelbrecht and Phillips that I cited in the fourth bullet point above. She is incredibly knowledgeable about D'Souza, True the Vote, and other election related issues. I recommend following her on Twitter if you want to keep up with this topic. She also has a Youtube channel with videos debunking 2000 Mules. I also recommend following @ABetterWorld17486320 on Twitter since they are very knowledgeable as well.

 

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