Happy Monday, OnPolitics readers!
Without being a candidate for any federal office, former President Donald Trump is trying to reshape the Republican Party into a movement focused on devotion to him rather than to ideological principles.
At the top of the agenda for the former president is enlisting loyalists to help him settle his grievances over his loss in the 2020 presidential race.
Trump's vehicle for this is a fundraising machine called Save America. Started just after he lost the 2020 election and at the height of his efforts to overturn the results, the PAC's surrogates routinely send out misinformation including conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the FBI's search of Trump's Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, to rake in donations from the public. It operates like a veritable slush fund, paying for personal expenses like luxurious hotels and even a fashion designer.
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The money given directly to the candidates by Save America - usually $5,000 each - is a lever that the former president can pull on to encourage loyalty and exert influence.
Save America has backed 28 candidates for state office in nine states. In three of those states, Save America has backed candidates for state legislature, a level virtually unheard of for a PAC of a former high-ranking federal official. At the federal level, Save America has backed candidates for 131 seats in the House and 18 seats in the Senate. The vast majority are election deniers.
And they've been largely successful. Two-thirds of Save America candidates running at the state level won their primaries, including all of them in Arizona and Texas. All but a handful of the PAC's federal candidates have advanced from their primaries and will be on the ballot Nov. 8.
???? For a breakdown of PAC-supported campaigns by state, check out this interactive map at the bottom of the story.
It's Amy with today's top stories out of Washington.
Real Quick: Stories you'll want to read
White House switchboard called Jan. 6 rioter: Denver Riggleman, a former U.S. House of Representatives member from Virginia and senior technical adviser to the House panel investigating the Capitol attack, said he knows who received the call, but not who placed it.
"A situation that could certainly backfire": Across Russia, demonstrators spilled into the streets this week in the country's first nationwide anti-war protests since Russian troops invaded Ukraine back in February.
2022 Arizona race focuses on 2020: Republican Mark Finchem is one of the most outspoken 2020 election deniers running for the position of secretary of state this year. He's vying to oversee a pivotal state's voting process during the next presidential contest.
Italy's historic election: A party with neo-fascist roots, the Brothers of Italy, won the most votes in Italy's national elections, looking set to deliver the country's first far-right-led government since World War II and make its leader, Giorgia Meloni, Italy's first woman prime minister, near-final results showed Monday.
Is Biden doing enough at the border? Border agents in El Paso appeared to be shifting resources already in hand - food and gear from a processing center - to the borderline to stave off yet another humanitarian crisis, which comes at a critical point for the Biden White House weeks away from the midterms.
⚖️ What's next On Politics: The next hearing for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol resumes Wednesday. Check back at USATODAY.com tomorrow and Wednesday as the news develops. -- Amy
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How Donald Trump's Save America PAC is influencing the 2022 midterms