WorldNetDaily columnist James Zumwalt is spreading falsehoods and conspiracy theories about the election. He also smeared an official at a voting-tech company -- and it might get WND sued.
By Terry Krepel
James G. Zumwalt
An August 2019 WND column by Zumwalt first served up his own conspiracy theory regarding the prison death of convicted child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein -- surprisingly a Clinton-free one, unlike other WND columnist. He argued that Epstein's death was an "inside job" because "the perpetrator would have known certain cameras monitoring Epstein were malfunctioning and, thus, was unworried his actions would be monitored."
Then Zumwalt lectured about proliferating conspiracy theories: "Conspiracy theories will continue running rampant about Epstein’s death simply because so many contributing factors fell into place for it to happen: no suicide watch, a cellmate’s removal hours prior, two guards falling asleep on duty, a critical camera malfunctioning. A perfect storm of coincidences make Epstein’s death a conspiracy theorist’s gift that will keep on giving. As more evidence comes to light, his death will take on a high-level, public profile completely contrary to the low-level private profile friends preferred be given a lifestyle they shared with him."
Clearly, Zumwalt is not so above conspiracy theories that he refused to advance one of his own. And when the presidential election resulted in his beloved President Trump getting defeated, he quickly descended into conspiracy territory. In his Nov. 9 column, he quickly jumped to the conclusion that Trump lost because of election fraud:
Any hope of Trump retaining the Oval Office rests on irrefutable proof of voting fraud. Keeping in mind we live in an era where first impression news stories have proven inaccurate, some Trump confidants are saying evidence of massive voter fraud is being assembled, arrests of several players in the voting scam will follow and the proof will be damning. Allegedly, this evidence involves fraudulent use of ballots identified as part of a sting operation. The Trump administration supposedly had all legal ballots secretly imprinted with invisible watermarks in unbreakable code. A scan so far of 14 million ballots in five states reflect an 80% failure rate all Biden votes.
On Nov. 16, Zumwalt embraced a detailed conspiracy theory:
While President Donald Trump's legal team pursues numerous lawsuits against states caught up in purported fraud, the primary legal argument rests on proving massive fraud. It will be shown this occurred courtesy of a tool for hacking vote-counting computers, developed by the CIA to monitor and influence foreign enemies. With the assistance of a CIA whistleblower who developed it in 2003 and a true patriot, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who understands the tool better than anyone else, the ugly truth is emerging. Despite CIA's charter banning domestic operations, this technology was applied domestically to ensure a political party's gain.
In fact, election security officials have said there's no evidence that Hammer and Scorecard even exist. And that "CIA whistleblower," Dennis Montgomery, is a fraud artist and hoaxster who has made something of a career of making fanciful claims about technology that turn out to be quite fraudulent. He was also allegedly involved with then-sheriff Joe Arpaio the scenes to try and advance Obama birther conspiracy theories and got paid $100,000 in tax money by Arpaio to provide information in another case that proved to be unreliable.
As for the former military men who are also pushing this, both McInerney and Lyons were members of Accuracy in Media's "Citizens' Commission on Benghazi" kangaroo court, McInerney is a Obama birther, and Lyons got the Washington Times sued for defamation after he wrote a column advancing Seth Rich conspiracy theories and falsely claiming that Rich's brother helped him download Democratic emails and give them to Wikileaks, forcing the Times to issue a public retraction. So maybe these are guys whose word can't be trusted.
The offending column
Nevertheless, Zumwalt's conspiracies continued. He wrote in his Dec. 2 column:
As Antifa raised its ugly head, a founder of the Faith Education Commerce United, Joe Oltman, infiltrated the group. He heard a conversation involving Antifa members and "Eric from Dominion" in September 2020. In that conversation, Eric encouraged Antifa to "keep up the pressure." When a member asked, "What are we gonna do if f****** Trump wins," Oltman said Eric responded: "Don't worry about the election. Trump's not gonna win. I made f****** sure of that!"
A few weeks after Zumwalt's column was published, Coomer sued Newsmax, One America News Network and others -- including Oltmann, who according to Snopes has refused to offer proof of his claims or a copy of the sworn court affidavit he claims to have filed regarding Coomer -- because being falsely named in these conspiracy theories, and falsely linked with Antifa, has led to death threats and forced him into hiding.
Coomer might want to include WND on his lawsuit list -- and it seems that Zumwalt and WND had better be chatting with their attorneys.
But that's not the only questionable claim Zumwalt made in that column. There's also this:
Other circumstantial evidence will follow from the testimony of a U.S. Navy veteran and data scientist in Pennsylvania.
That allegation came from a poll watcher named Greg Stenstrom, and his claims quickly spread across right-wing media. We'll let FactCheck take it from here:
Stenstrom did not provide any evidence that the cards were used to upload fraudulent votes or that Biden benefited from this purportedly illegal upload.
Zumwalt also wrote: "Biden's support base should have mirrored Hillary Clinton's in 2016, but he underperformed in every major metro area around the country, except in Democratic-controlled cities where fraud allegedly was rampant." Not true -- even the conservative National Review found that Biden actually overperformed compared to Clinton in 31 out of 36 urban counties.
Zumwalt then wrote:
And on election night, as Trump led in all battleground states, five (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Nevada) stopped counting votes for some inexplicable reason, simultaneously. During the next three hours, no votes were counted. When the count continued, Biden shockingly had overcome significant Trump leads in the five states, which all have Democratic governors.
Take it away, Reuters:
The posts start with the claim that these five states took a three-hour shutdown in which they “found enough votes for Biden to catch Trump.” There is no evidence to show that any of these states took a three-hour break from counting votes.
Zumwalt even claimed that "Among other evidence that recently has come to light is SEC filings that reveal the firm owning Dominion received $400 million from a Swiss bank with close links to the Chinese government less than a month before the election." Dominion CEO John Poulos testified at a hearing in Michigan that the claim is "bizarre and completely unfounded."
Zumwalt's history of factual accuracy has always been dubious. Now that he's repeated false claims that are drawing lawsuits in a column filled with numerous other false claims, both Zumwalt and WND would be best advised to lawyer up real soon.
More bogus election conspiracies
Since Zumwalt has always had an affinity for conspiracy theories, it's not surprising that other recent columns of his are filled post-election silliness (and potentially libelous statements). Zumwalt began his Dec. 9 column by gushing over bonkers Trump-adjacent lawyer Sidney Powell, then moved on to conspiracy-mongering:
To tease the public about the mountain of evidence she had accumulated on voting fraud occurring in the 2020 presidential election, attorney Sydney Powell said she would "release the Kraken." The reference was to a 2006 sci-fi movie about a giant squid. Just like the movie's monster, Powell's Kraken had many tentacles leading to numerous claims of fraud.
The "company providing the voting machines" is, of course, Dominion -- we're not sure when Dominion achieved he-who-must-not-be-named status for Zumwalt -- and Zumwalt's claim is, of course, false. There was a small tabulation error that was caught and corrected during a hand recount.
Zumwalt served up more conspiracy-mongering in his Dec. 16 column:
A large number of voters, both Republican (77%) and Democrat (30%), believe fraud occurred. Evidence includes ballots emptied from suitcases hidden under a table at a voting station and counted after the departure of monitors who were told counting had stopped for the night; a truck driver transporting thousands of Biden ballots from New York to Pennsylvania; the same Biden ballots repeatedly being run through the tabulation machine; voting machine post-election testing revealing running equal numbers of Trump and Biden ballots generating a 3% Biden advantage; etc.
The suitcase thing is bogus. The truck driver who claims to have transported the ballots from New York to Pennsylvania, Jesse Morgan, is an amateur ghost hunter with a criminal record and history of drug use who (surprise) has no proof of what he claims. The "Biden ballots repeatedly being run through the tabulation machine" is linked to the bogus suitcase thing. The "voting machine post-election testing" wasn't about voting machines at all but tabulation machines, and it's about claims made by Arizona Republicans that they refused to provide the evidence for when asked.
Zumwalt then called for a "nuclear option" to be activated:
As Trump declared, our election system is under a "coordinated assault and siege." It is a diabolical and stealthy effort to undermine democracy. It is an extreme threat demanding an extreme solution and the Insurrection Act has been proposed as providing the vehicle for doing so. The military's seizure of all election fraud evidence in contested states is a nuclear option needed to determine what occurred. Perhaps offering immunity to the fraud "foot soldiers" above would be a good start.
In his Dec. 21 column, Zumwalt invoked "a firsthand account by a most reliable source, Patrick Byrne, billionaire founder of the Internet furniture retailer Overstock.com." Byrne is actually a disgraced CEO who was forced out of Overstock after he started spinning tales of Deep State conspiracies and claiming he had an affair with a Russian agent at the behest of "men in black" federal agents. So, not reliable.
Zumwalt approvingly cited Byrne's claims that the fact that Barack Obama chose to live in Washington, D.C., after his presidency meant he was "well positioned geographically to establish a shadow government" and that "the Obamas worked with other Democrats to destroy Trump's presidency to preserve Obama's legacy." Asserting that Byrne's reputation as a successful businessman give credibility to what he says," Zumwalt repeated what Byrne said: that he facilitated a $20 million bribe from Turkey to Hillary Clinton and that "FBI agents then shared Obama's plan to manipulate Hillary" with Byrne. Which led to this wild conclusion by Zumwalt:
Connecting the dots tells us Obama remained in Washington's "swamp" to play the role of a puppeteer. He counted on holding the strings of power for what he believed would be an additional 16-year run, courtesy of Hillary and Michelle with Hillary a willing puppet due to the bribery charges hanging over her head. In view of Trump's election spoiling Obama's Plan A, does Obama's Plan B now involve using the 25th Amendment to remove Biden from office to get his preferred candidate, Kamala Harris, in? And, as far as Hillary's bribery not coming to light before Byrne's tell-all interview, one assumes a Deep State still influenced by Obama kept it buried. Meanwhile, Biden may unknowingly be serving as a puppet in all this one controlled by master puppeteer Barack Obama.
Zumwalt ranted in his Jan. 5 column:
Something very strange following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election has happened. Despite the occurrence on election night of numerous unprecedented acts such as the sudden vote-counting suspension in several key states where Donald Trump was leading at the time; how votes within some of these states, in mere minutes, gave rise to a mathematical impossibility of hundreds of thousands of Joe Biden votes "arriving" to offset Trump's lead as he received an insignificant number; how suitcases filled with Biden ballots were mysteriously pulled out from under tables in voting centers after observers left; the repeated feeding of the same Biden ballots into voting machines; issuance of a sworn affidavit from a truck driver who, in the dead of that night and the following morning, claimed he transported thousands of Biden ballots from New York to Pennsylvania, etc., what is most strange is the fraud indifference exhibited in the election's aftermath.
In his Jan. 13 column, Zumwalt huffed:
Now seeking to throw salt on an open wound, Democrats play their own "loyalty through fear" card. Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., introduced a resolution to expel members of Congress who dared to question the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. Her argument is that, simply by contesting the issue, they too contributed to inciting the Capitol riot. She hypocritically argues "We can't have unity without accountability" while ignoring "we can't have unity without knowing we had a fair election." Rather than support an election investigation to discover the truth, Democrats prefer to eliminate Republicans from office for challenging the election's fairness. Saddam would be proud.
WND has so far decided to stick by Zumwalt, and the column that falsely smeared Coomer is still live and uncorrected as of this writing. Is that really a wise thing to do given its shaky finances that would likely not withstand a legal response by the people Zumwalt has apparently libeled?