The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Rioters in the Capitol on January 6, 2021

A recording made by a disgruntled election conspiracist is the strongest evidence yet that operatives in Donald Trump’s orbit summoned supporters to Washington on January 6 for the express purpose of coercing lawmakers into overturning the 2020 election.

News broke late Tuesday afternoon, whereupon this bombshell of a story was promptly buried under an avalanche of other news.

The main characters aren’t household names, but this story is every bit as important as the earlier revelation that Donald Trump, Jr, was pushing a detailed plan for a coup to his father’s chief of staff before the election had even been decided. And it’s even more important than the late-breaking news that Sen. Mike Lee talked up Trump lawyer John Eastman’s plan for a procedural coup in late November.

The star of the secret recording is Jason Sullivan, one-time aide to dirty trickster and longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone.

Sullivan told the Times he was invited to speak by a group of anti-vaccine activists, who were planning a permitted event in the capital on January 6. (By amazing coincidence, Stone was scheduled to speak at an anti-vax event on the afternoon of January 6, an engagement he missed, for reasons that are surely of great interest to the January 6th committee.)

The call was made a week before the insurrection.

Sullivan repeatedly urged the other callers to intimidate the lawmakers who were meeting to certify the election. He told them they needed to make them feel like the people were “breathing down their neck.”

“If we make the people inside that building sweat and they understand that they may not be able to walk in the streets any longer if they do the wrong thing, then maybe they’ll do the right thing,” Sullivan said.

“We have to put that pressure there.”

This recording was made by a woman named Staci Burk, a former school board official turned election conspiracist. Burk filed an anonymous affidavit supporting one of Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s many election conspiracy theories. Whereupon heavily armed paramilitary operatives calling themselves the 1st Amendment Praetorian (1AP) moved into her home for several weeks, ostensibly to guard her. Burk told the Times a 1AP member joined the call, and she made the recording because the armed men were making her feel unsafe. Members of 1AP were in the capital during the insurrection and members of the group have been subpoenaed by the House Select Committee.

This recording partially corroborates previous claims by Ali Alexander, another one of Roger Stone’s associates. He said he schemed with members of the Congress to gather a crowd to pressure lawmakers into overturning the election during the certification ceremony.

In a video made before the insurrection, Ali Alexander claimed that he and Reps. Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, and Paul Gosar “schemed up putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.”

The video circulated on social media but was later deleted. The plan was to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside,” Ali Alexander said.

The Sullivan call proves there was an inside-outside game on January 6.

The inside game was the procedural coup devised by John Eastman that was unfolding inside the Capitol on January 6th as GOP legislators raised spurious claims of election fraud to overturn a free and fair election.

The outside game was the mob deliberately assembled in order to pressure legislators to go along with Trump’s illegal scheme.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, and President Joe Biden during 2020 presidential debate

I look at September 2019 as a month where I missed something. We began with a trip to New York to do Seth Meyers’s and Dr. Oz’s shows. Why would we go on The Dr. Oz Show? For the same reason we had gone on Joe Rogan’s podcast in August: We could reach a vast audience that wasn’t paying attention to the standard political media. On Dr. Oz, Bernie could talk about Medicare for All and his own physical fitness. While at the time we believed Bernie was uncommonly healthy for his age, he was still 78. Questions would be raised related to his age, and we needed to begin building up the case that he was completely healthy and fit. It turned out to be a spectacular interview, ending with the two of them playing basketball on a makeshift court in the studio. Bernie appeared to be on top of the world.

Yet in retrospect, I should have seen Bernie growing more fatigued. After New York, with the school year starting, we did a series of rallies at colleges and universities in Iowa; this was the kickoff of our campus organizing program in the state. We would then fly to Colorado for a large rally in Denver before heading to Boulder to prep for the third debate, to take place in Houston on September 12. In Iowa, Bernie’s voice was a little hoarse. After the rally in Denver, he had completely blown it out. He sounded terrible.

Keep reading... Show less

Rep. James Clyburn

When I interviewed House Majority Whip James Clyburn in 2014 about his memoir Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, the South Carolina Democrat was confident in America’s ability to find its way, no matter how extreme the political swings might appear at any given time.

“The country from its inception is like the pendulum on a clock,” the congressman told me. “It goes back and forward. It tops out to the right and starts back to the left — it tops out to the left and starts back to the right.” And remember, he said, it “spends twice as much time in the center.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}