Tina Peters, the Mesa County clerk who is under criminal investigation for her alleged involvement in a security breach of election systems in her own office, appeared on a video call last week with supporters of the Three Percenter militia.
The video was posted Thursday on the America’s Mom Facebook page, which is operated by Sherronna Bishop, a Peters ally whose home was searched Nov. 16 by the FBI as part of an investigation related to the case against Peters. Peters’ home was also searched that day.
At one point in the video, a recording of a Zoom call, Peters is seen seated with Jacqueline Anderson, who last week, as reported by Colorado Times Recorder, resigned her position as first vice chair of the Mesa County Republican Party, and Anderson’s husband, activist Cory Anderson, who previously has been identified as a Three Percenter member.
Cory Anderson, discussing the Peters case, complains on the video that Mesa County has “weak commissioners, weak sheriff, weak (district attorney),” counting off on his pinky, fourth finger and middle finger – the three fingers that raised forms a Three Percenter hand sign.
“Three percent right there,” Anderson says, as Jacqueline Anderson laughs and joins him in flashing the sign. “Had to get my three out there. Show me the three, y’all.”
Peters smiles. Moments earlier Peters said, “Cory needs to be sheriff.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center says the Three Percenters are “an extremist movement that claims to be ready to carry out armed resistance to perceived tyranny.”
Peters is accused of being involved in a security breach of Mesa County election system equipment that resulted in passwords and other sensitive election system information becoming public. Peters, a Republican, was barred by a court in a case brought by Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold from overseeing the coordinated election this month. Agents from the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the FBI participated in the search of Peters’ home.
On the video call, Peters repeated conspiracy-theory claims about the integrity of the 2020 election.
“They’re the ones that cheated,” she said in reference to the people involved in removing her from election oversight. “They’re the ones that destroyed election records. They’re the ones that are allowing influences to come into our computers changing votes and doing all these things.”
She said she doesn’t want to go to prison, but she is “willing” to, to “expose the lies.”
Several other figures who have promoted debunked claims that the election was illegitimate took part in the video call.
Shawn Smith, a retired Air Force colonel from Colorado Springs who has worked with Colorado-based group U.S. Election Integrity Plan, which rejects the outcome of the election, made an appearance.
He says during the video call that Dan Rubinstein, the Mesa County district attorney, should be investigated by the FBI. And he says “something’s about to happen in a legal setting” related to election integrity and involving jurisdictions throughout the state, adding that district attorneys will be obliged to investigate.
“If they don’t investigate I think we’re going to have to go to sheriffs and ask them to arrest the district attorneys,” Smith says.
Later Smith endorsed violence as a legitimate response to the government activity discussed in the call.
“I have no desire whatsoever for violence, but I promise you that people in the country are not going to go down,” he said. “There’s not going to be a tyrannical regime that stays in power. Only they’ll recognize their limits under the law and this will be walked back or it’s going to get very dangerous. And it’s going to be dangerous all around. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if they think this is going to end somehow in surrender from the people, they’re all wrong about that.”
Smith’s backdrop on the call depicted a bald eagle filing its nails to sharp points.
Former state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, who is currently the executive director of the hard-right Republican Study Committee of Colorado, also joined the call. About law enforcement activities in the investigation into Peters and Bishop, Lundberg said, “They’ve set a standard that is completely unacceptable, and we cannot respond in like, but we need to respond in such a way that it will be unmistakable that we won’t go along with this type of tyranny.”
Bishop, a former campaign manager for Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, said law enforcement officers busted through her door during the search of her home, and she compared them to Nazis.
She said the search warrant was related to a charge of “conspiracy to commit wire fraud.”
“On the warrant it says that they were here to take anything electronic that they potentially could find any information on, so they took my cellphone immediately,” Bishop said. “I wasn’t able to film or take photos of anything and they took my laptop and my desktop.”
She said the investigation is part of pushback against people who question election integrity, critical race theory being taught in schools, “comprehensive sex education” and mask mandates in schools.
“It’s a new day, for sure,” she said.
In a news release Monday, Boebert said she requested and received a briefing from Rubinstein, the Mesa County district attorney, about the involvement of the FBI and the presumption of innocence “be extended to all of those being investigated” in connection with the investigation into Peters.
She said she received assurance from the district attorney that he is “being responsible in his approach” and providing oversight of the FBI’s role.
“As many of you know, I have been a vocal opponent of the overreach and targeted nature of the FBI’s activities on a national level,” Boebert said in the release.
The Durango Herald staff contributed to this report.