Team Trump claims hackers broke into the Trump campaign’s live stream of their press conference and mocked Rudy Giuliani for having hair dye dripping down his face.
Viewers were shocked by the commentary on the campaign’s live stream, as a heavily-sweating Mr Giuliani addressed a press conference on Thursday to claim election fraud.
The 76-year-old, sweating profusely under the camera lights, repeatedly wiped his brow. Dark brown streaks started running down his cheeks.
"Can they hear us on the stream? I guess not," says one voice on the stream, broadcast on the Trump campaign’s Facebook page and website.
Another replies: "You see f****** Rudy's hair dye dripping down his face?"
The live stream was rapidly taken down from YouTube, once the press conference ended.
“The extra voices heard on a portion of our press conference livestream were NOT campaign employees,” the Trump campaign said several hours later.
“Our operators got disconnected, and when they re-connected, the keys were momentarily visible. Unauthorized users used them to get in & their voices were overheard on the stream.”
The extra voices heard on a portion of our press conference livestream were NOT campaign employees. Our operators got disconnected, and when they re-connected, the keys were momentarily visible. Unauthorized users used them to get in & their voices were overheard on the stream.
— Team Trump (@TeamTrump) November 19, 2020
They did not specify who the “unauthorized users” were.
Mr Giuliani, who was once a widely-respected prosecutor and mayor of New York before he began working with the Trump team, is currently leading a team of five lawyers fighting the election.
He made headlines around the world with his press conference at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping, in Philadelphia, during which Joe Biden was called the winner of the presidential race.
Mr Trump named him as head of his legal team to investigate allegations of election fraud, and since then the flamboyant New Yorker has made a series of outlandish accusations about vote rigging.
On Thursday, flanked by other members of the legal team, Mr Giuliani said that they were taking legal action in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and were exploring their options in Virginia and New Mexico.
He said they had “thousands” of affidavits alleging vote fraud.
So far, none have yet been proven in court.
Mr Giuliani also hit out at the voting machine company Dominion, based in Toronto, and majority owned since 2018 by Staple Street Capital, a New York private equity firm.
He said it used Venezuelan technology, approved by the late Hugo Chavez, and supported by Cuba and China for vote-rigging.
Mr Giuliani said that Dominion and Smartmatic, another voting systems company, had corrupted the election.
Both Dominion and Smartmatic have released statements saying no ownership relationship exists between the two competing firms.
Smartmatic is an international company incorporated in Florida by Venezuelan founders. There is no reason to believe Dominion has ties to Venezuela, nor a partnership with Smartmatic.
While Smartmatic technology has been used in Venezuelan elections, accusations by government opponents that the company rigged elections there are unsubstantiated.
In 2017, the company accused Venezuela’s government of electoral fraud.
Smartmatic purchased the voting machine company Sequoia Voting Systems in 2005 but sold it two years later after objections were raised over its partnership with a company in which Venezuela’s government had invested. Three years later, Dominion acquired Sequoia.
Election security experts say it’s difficult to know for certain whether some Sequoia code may be used in Dominion’s software because of the industry’s limited transparency. Both Dominion and Smartmatic say they do not use each other’s software.
“Dominion has no company ownership relationships with any member of the Pelosi family, the Feinstein family, or the Clinton Global Initiative, Smartmatic, Scytl, or any ties to Venezuela,” Dominion said in a statement on its website.
“Dominion works with all political parties; our customer base and our government outreach practices reflect this nonpartisan approach.”
Smartmatic concurred in its own statement, saying, “Smartmatic has never owned any shares or had any financial stake in Dominion Voting Systems.
"Smartmatic has never provided Dominion Voting Systems with any software, hardware or other technology. The two companies are competitors in the marketplace.”
Smartmatic only provided technology and software to Los Angeles County in the 2020 election, the company told the AP.
Its technology was not used in any battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan or North Carolina.
Dominion has been the target of a number of false claims about the election pushed by Trump supporters, among them that the company switched or deleted votes cast for Mr Trump and that it has ties to prominent Democrats.
There is “no credible evidence” that the 2020 election outcome was altered by exploiting technical vulnerabilities, according to an open letter signed by 59 election security experts and released 16 November.