Trump Adviser Cleta Mitchell Has Been Prepping For ‘Hand-To-Hand Combat’ Ahead Of Midterms

Cleta Mitchell, Esq., of Foley & Lardner, LLP, poses in the firm's law library on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007.
Cleta Mitchell, Esq., of Foley & Lardner, LLP, poses in the firm's law library on September 11, 2007. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)

Earlier this year, Cleta Mitchell — the longtime right-wing election lawyer and former legal advisor to Donald Trump — was recorded outlining her vision for Election Day: an opportunity for “hand-to-hand combat with the Left,” according to recordings obtained by ABC News.

In the months since Mitchell joined Trump on that now-infamous call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Mitchell has taken her Big Lie efforts to the streets, leading a movement to recruit fellow conspiracy theorists to become poll workers in the upcoming midterm elections.

The crusade birthed out of her work in 2020 to help spread Trump’s lies of a stolen election. Along with the Raffensperger call, Mitchell was a key figure in spreading the conspiracy theory that election workers in Fulton County, Georgia “made everybody leave” a counting room on election night in order to count thousands of illegal ballots.

The two new recordings — obtained by ABC News and described as meetings with local election groups — give us a closer look at just what exactly Mitchell’s been up to in her cross-country recruitment effort, revealing some of the strategies put in motion by Mitchell and her Trump-funded group the Election Integrity Network.

“My sole focus for the last year and a half has been how we as conservatives could build an infrastructure to do hand-to-hand combat with the Left starting at the local level,” Mitchell reportedly said on a September Zoom call.

The Election Integrity Network describes itself as a “coalition of conservative leaders, organizations, public officials and citizens dedicated to securing the legality of every American vote,” and is a project of the conservative organization Conservative Partnership Institute. In 2021, Trump’s PAC donated $1 million to the CPI —  that’s one of its largest donations to date.

“We’ve got a big challenge with the elections coming up,” Mitchell said in the recording. “But if we can keep them from stealing it, I think we have a good chance to win.”

The meetings, which took place in August and September,  were attended by Mitchell, members of various grassroots organizations and at least one elected state representative, according to ABC News. 

On one of the calls, Mitchell also addressed criticism that her group is “creating a hostile environment.”

“The Left is so undone about our engagement as observers and poll workers and challengers and election judges and all those roles, they started a year ago this narrative,” she said.

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