By this time, most people know that Washington is in a stew over the hacking of the American election system in which Donald Trump was cheated out of 3 million votes or Hillary Clinton got 3 million too many.
Hamburg G20 Summit
In response to Trump's "who dunnit" question, Vladimir Putin said it was very likely that Liechtenstein did the hacking. That was a great relief for Trump because he didn't want to confront Putin when he wanted a deal for a new golf course in St. Petersburg.
(For those who don't subscribe to National Geographic, Liechtenstein is a country of 35,000 people stuffed into 62 square miles under the armpit of Switzerland. Its economy is equal to that of the North Dakota State Fair.)
To fight the cyber conspiracies of Liechtenstein, Putin proposed that the United States and Russia organize a joint cybersecurity team to compile all voting information in one place so Liechtenstein wouldn't be able to outsmart the 50 rebellious secretaries of states.
That sounded good to Trump so the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity asked the 50 states for voter registration files, Social Security numbers, motor vehicle ownership and the names of those who got deer hunting permits in 2016.
State Capitol, Bismarck
The president's commission then sent an armored truck to Bismarck to collect North Dakota's voter registration files. When Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum pointed out that the state had no voter registration files, 13 talking heads from CNN prowled the state Capitol for three weeks, certain that the Russian had been given the files. The only thing they found was 1,300 pounds of Civil Defense crackers stored in the basement of the Capitol during the Cold War.
CNN interviewed a Driscoll bartender whose cousin told him that someone from Russia in Wishek got the state to abolish registration in 1951. A nurse whose mother knew Bill Langer's cousin said that North Dakota abolished registration because nobody ever ran for office that people would vote for twice.
In any case, North Dakota didn't have any registration files for the Trump commission.
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McIntosh County Courthouse, Ashley
Even though the state has been stonewalling CNN and the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a team of election "marshals" appeared in Ashley to investigate the case of Gottlieb Aucht, who voted by absentee ballot in 2016.
The commission knew that absentee ballots were often used to facilitate multiple voting.
To break the ice, Chief Marshal Chester Winfield reported that there were 37,000 election marshals appointed to check on suspicious election cases and his unit was assigned to North Dakota. It was a skeleton crew for this job.
"What makes me a suspicious case?" Gottlieb asked as he casually stuffed his pipe with Prince Albert.
"We heard there are a lot of people around McIntosh County who came from Russia," the chief marshal observed with an accusatory tone.
"Yes, that is true but we are all Germans," Gottlieb replied. "My grandfather moved to North Dakota from Russia but his grandfather was born in Germany. We are Germans who came from Russia."
"Germans from Russia," the marshal noted with disbelief.
"Did folks in your family fraternize with Russians?" he probed, hoping for a break.
"I had a granduncle who eloped with a Russian ballet dancer and ran off to Liechtenstein."
"Liechtenstein?" the chief marshal blurted. "This was it!" he thought. And this was worth a leak.
FOX News reported the elopement as convincing evidence that it was not Russia but Liechtenstein that hacked American elections in 2016. CNN assembled a 20-member panel to discuss the matter.
Lloyd Omdahl is a political scientist and former North Dakota lieutenant governor. His column appears Sundays.