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'Big Steal': RNC playing with rules to deny Trump nomination

Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump may need to outright win 1,237 delegates to avoid what Breitbart News has deemed the “Big Steal” at a brokered convention.

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The Republican National Committee has confirmed that a 2012 rule mandating a candidate must win a majority of convention delegates in at least eight states or territories to win the presidential nomination does not apply to 2016’s field. “Rule 40(b),” which would have benefited Trump as the Republican front-runner, will be of no use to him in July.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus confirmed the Rule 40(b) reality during an interview with CNN on Sunday.

“There will always be a perception problem if people continue to miss – to not explain the process properly. So, the 2012 rules committee writes the rules for the 2012 convention. The 2016 rules committee writes the rules for the 2016 convention,” Priebus said.

What this means is that if the Republican Party has a contested convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in July, then delegates will be at liberty to vote for any candidate they choose on the second ballot. Trump currently has 678 delegates of the 1,237 needed to outright win the nomination, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is still competitive at 423. Ohio Gov. John Kasich trails far behind at 143 delegates.

Trump is in a precarious position if he does not win 1,237 delegates because, as reported by Breitbart, it would be possible for party insiders to stack the Rules Committee with individuals whose “support” for the billionaire will disappear as soon as it is legally permissible.

“Republican state chairs are planting Trojan Horse delegates into slots won by Trump on the first ballot to vote with them on procedural votes to pass the Rules and Credentials Reports that will seal the ‘Big Steal,’ the website reported. “This is going on in Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Connecticut, North Dakota, and other states.”

The website said it discovered the plan after it was given entry codes for a conference call of five Republican chairmen from key states over the weekend.

Donald Trump (Photo: Twitter)

“People are under the misconception that it’s the results of the caucus and the results of the primary that determines who becomes the nominee. In actuality, it’s the delegates at the national convention that are supposed to pick the nominee,” Diana Orrock, a delegate from Nevada and Donald Trump supporter, told CNBC Monday. “Going into this convention, they’re going to try to do a lot of manipulation to try to keep Trump from becoming the nominee. A lot of political operatives in the Republican Party are trying to take Trump out at all costs.”

U.S. News & World Report likened a scenario where Trump is denied the Republican Party’s presidential nomination due to procedural sleight of hand to the National Football League “changing the rules of the Super Bowl in the middle of the third quarter.”

“That’s essentially what the Republican National Committee would need to do in order to impede Donald Trump’s advance to the presidential nomination at the July convention,” the magazine reported Sunday.

Peter Feaman, a Republican National Committeeman from Florida, said the RNC knows it would be “bad for the party” if millions of people walked away thinking the process was unfair.

“Nobody really wants a free-for-all. That’s not good for the party,” Feaman said Sunday.

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A.J. Spiker, 2012 Republican delegate who was chairman of the Iowa GOP, appeared to confirm Trump supporters’ worst fears.

“The question is: Can Trump buy off enough people to keep people in line? These people are all for sale,” Spiker said Sunday. “If you haven’t made enough friends to pick up those votes, you don’t win. I think if Trump goes to the convention short a delegate, he’s not going to be the nominee. There’s no way in hell.”

Republicans in Montana are doing little to quell rumors of plots to deny Trump the Republican nomination. Party officials have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to move before the state’s June 7 election to “close” its primary to voters outside the GOP.

“This is a First Amendment right,” state Republican Party lawyer Matthew Monforton told Fox News on Monday. “Without relief from this court, non-members and Democratic-aligned institutions will soon exploit Montana’s open primary and seek to nominate Republican candidates opposed by the majority of Republican voters.”

Montana has had an “open” primary since 1912.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has asked Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, a Republican, to respond to Monforton’s appeal of a lower-court order, which denied his request to close the June primary, the network reported.

Fox has until Tuesday to respond.

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