Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Voting company Smartmatic on Thursday filed a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, some of the network's top hosts, Rudy Giuliani, and Sidney Powell for starting a "disinformation campaign" against the company.

Why it matters: This is the second voting company to file a lawsuit against Giuliani and Powell, following Dominion Voting Systems' two $1.3 billion defamation lawsuits against the pro-Trump lawyers.

  • Dominion warned Fox News last month that lawsuits were imminent.
  • In comparison to Dominion, which was used in several states, Smartmatic machines were only used in Los Angeles County.

Details: The 285-page lawsuit, which was filed in the New York State Supreme Court, specifically accuses Giuliani, Powell, Fox News, and hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro of lying about Smartmatic to convince the public that the 2020 presidential election was plagued with fraud.

  • "Defendants did not want Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to win the election. They wanted President Donald Trump and Vice President Michael Pence to win re-election. Defendants were disappointed. But they also saw an opportunity to capitalize on President Trump’s popularity by investing a story," the lawsuit says.
  • "They needed a villain. They needed someone to blame. They needed someone whom they could get others to hate … Without any true villain, Defendants invented one. Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story."

The bottom line: "The Earth is round. Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. The election was not stolen, rigged, or fixed. These are facts. They are demonstrable and irrefutable," Smartmatic wrote in its lawsuit.

What they're saying: "FOX News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion. We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court," Fox said in a statement.

The big picture: Defamation lawsuits have so far proven somewhat effective in curbing the spread of disinformation about voter fraud on cable TV, although political disinformation about the coronavirus and the Capitol attack on Jan. 6 is still prevalent on some conservative networks, particularly in primetime.

  • Earlier this week, NewsMax co-anchor Bob Sellers cut off MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a Trump ally, when he tried to make such claims, saying: "While there were some clear evidence of some cases of vote fraud and election irregularities, the election results in every state were certified. Newsmax accepts the results as legal and final. The courts have also supported that view.”
  • Following threats from Smartmatic in December, Fox News aired a video interview with Eddie Perez, an independent voting technology expert, debunking any claims made on the network that Smartmatic software was used to "delete, change or alter anything to related to vote tabulation."

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Getty Images photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post, George Frey/Bloomberg

Four conspiracy theorists marched into the Oval Office. It was early evening on Friday, Dec. 18 — more than a month after the election had been declared for Joe Biden, and four days after the Electoral College met in every state to make it official.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.