Tag: jan 6th
Donald Trump

Newly Revealed Memo Shows Trump Coup Plotted In Early December 2020

The New York Times has obtained a copy of the Dec. 6, 2020, memo written by Donald Trump-supporting lawyer Kenneth Chesebro that federal prosecutors have cited as a key piece of evidence in their case against Trump and, likely, against some of of his so-far-unindicted co-conspirators.

The contents of the memo aren't too surprising to anyone who was paying attention to the House investigation of the Trump White House's January 6, 2021, coup attempt. It does, however, spell out the intent of the co-conspirators quite plainly, as they hatched a plan for losing slates of Trump electors to sign documents purporting them to be their states' true electors, slates which would then be passed to Trump's vice president during the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress.

Quite a few Republican House and Senate blowhards have been trying to pass off their objections to certifying Trump's election loss as some sort of impotent protest vote. Nope. From the moment the plan was hatched, the co-conspirators intended it as a plan that would fraudulently overturn the election's results and reinstall Trump as president.

The memo written by Chesebro, identified only as co-conspirator 5 in the newest federal Trump indictment, proposed the plan that fellow co-conspirator John Eastman would quickly latch onto as the team's last-ditch strategy for nullifying the election: The Trump-Pence electors in all six allegedly "contested" states "must vote" and "send in the certificates containing their votes" on Dec. 14. It was to be portrayed to both the electors and the public as insurance, just in case Trump's legal team managed to score some implausible courtroom win that would change a state's vote totals, but after collecting those alleged "certificates" they were to be passed to Vice President Mike Pence—who would declare them to be the real electors based on his own say-so.

(c) On January in a solemn and constitutionally defensible manner, consistent with clear indications that this what the Framers of the Constitution intended and expected, and consistent with precedent from the first 70 years of our nation's history, Vice President Pence, presiding over the joint session, takes the position that it is his constitutional power and duty, alone, as President of the Senate, to both open and count the votes, and that anything in the Electoral Count Act to the contrary is unconstitutional.

This is, objectively an absolutely batshit argument to make—not in the least because according to the same logic, a vice president could pull any random gum wrapper out of his pocket, call it the official electoral slate of any random state, declare that it has added One Billion Electors to his preferred candidate, and not a single damn person in the country could overrule him. It is an inherently seditious plan, which is why even Chesebro immediately caveated the proposal to suggest that maybe he meant it and maybe he didn't.

I'm not necessarily advising this course of action, and the Vice President need not make a decision on how to proceed until January 6, and obviously there are many factors that will come to bear on how he proceeds, assuming the race has not been conceded before January 6. My point here is that it is important that the alternate slates of electors meet and vote on December 14 if we are to create a scenario under which Biden can be prevented from reaching 270 electoral votes, even if Trump has not managed by then to obtain court decisions (or state legislative resolutions) invalidating enough results to push Biden below 270.

The next paragraph, however, is perhaps the most illuminating. Again, many Republicans both before the coup attempt and after were insisting that the plan was not necessarily to reinstall Donald Trump as president: It was to declare the election results "disputed" and throw it to the House and Senate to resolve. Nope. The plan from the beginning wasn't just for Biden to lose, but for the vice president to engineer the vote count so that "officially," as the counting continued, Donald Trump was always ahead.

Again, I'd be happy to elaborate further on the January 6 scenario I have in mind, but provided the three conditions above are met, unless I am missing something, I believe that what can be achieved on January 6 is not simply to keep Biden below 270 electoral votes. It seems feasible that the vote count can be conducted so that at no point will Trump be behind in the electoral vote count unless and until Biden can obtain a favorable decision from the Supreme Court upholding the Electoral Count Act as constitutional, or otherwise recognizing the power of Congress (and not the President of the Senate) to count the votes.Specifically—but only if all six States are still contested, and all six slates of Trump-Pence electors had voted on December 14—I think the count could be managed so that Biden would have to seek Supreme Court review either when he is behind 12-0 in the electoral count or, at latest, when he is behind 232-227.

This sounds more than a little like the ploys used by the George W. Bush legal team to "win" the state of Florida during Bush's 2000 presidential bid. Pence was to "conduct" the vote count so that Biden electors were dropped and Trump electors were inserted in such a way as to keep Trump in the lead throughout the counting; the only recourse available to the Biden camp would be to somehow interrupt the count, convince Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to abandon his position presiding over the congressional vote counting and return to the Supreme Court, assemble the justices, and issue a ruling declaring that Pence could not in fact pull gum wrappers out of his pockets and declare them the new electoral slates.

And through this whole process, however long it took, the "official" tally of electoral votes in Congress would be conducted so that the television screens showed Trump, not Biden, to have more votes.

Even if, in the end, the Supreme Court would likely end up ruling that the power to count the votes (in the sense of resolving controversies concerning them) does not lie with the President of the Senate, but instead lies with Congress (either voting jointly, or in separate Houses), letting matters play out this way would guarantee that public attention would be riveted on the evidence of electoral abuses by the Democrats, and would also buy the Trump campaign more time to win litigation that would deprive Biden of electoral votes and/or add to Trump's column.I recognize that what I suggest is a bold, controversial strategy, and that there are many reasons why it might not end up being executed on January 6. But as long as it is one possible option, to preserve it as a possibility it is important that the Trump-Pence electors cast their electoral votes on December 14.

What we have there is the "bold" strategy in a nutshell. The plan was to convince Pence to count the votes fraudulently, even if it was "likely" that even the archconservative Supreme Court would slap the plan down as obviously illegal. At worst, the act of attempted sedition would "rivet" the public attention on the exact same hoaxes Trump's team had been concocting to justify the conspiracy to begin with; at best it would provide another bare scrap of time for Trump's team to concoct some new theory that would pass muster with the Supreme Court.

All of it hinged, however, on Pence going along with the criminal scheme of introducing fake electoral certificates to Congress as if they were the real ones. Pence resisted that plan—and kept resisting even as Trump himself continued to pressure and threaten him. The conspirators were able to gain the cooperation of Trump-backing state electors and numerous Republican senators and members of Congress, but not Pence.

That failure led to another escalation of the conspiracy: Coordinating with Republican allies, Trump endorsed and promoted a Jan. 6 "march" to the Capitol in which his most fervent supporters were to confront Congress and Pence to demand the election's result be overturned. Trump was even made aware that the crowd was armed, as he prepared to address them before the "march," and demanded security stations let the crowd through anyway.

The point of the march was to construct a mob that would provide an immediate and very real threat to anyone inside the building who objected to the elector-swapping plan. And Trump identified, by name, Mike Pence as the man that needed the most threatening.

The rest of the memo is fluff attempting to justify the rest, but the "bold, controversial strategy" of Trump and his co-conspirators was laid out by December 6 and was quickly adopted as each of the team's previous false claims were thrown out by sometimes-angry, sometimes-incredulous judges. Pence was to pocket up to six states’ worth of fraudulent "electors," declare them to be real, declare Trump to be leading in the electoral count, and dare the Supreme Court to contradict the plan even as a pre-staged, armed, and angry mob threatened violence or rebellion if they did.

It's just a little bit astonishing to read it, yet again, and realize that the Trump team fully intended their acts as a coup. They didn't know whether it would succeed, or whether the Supreme Court would back them, or what the military implications would be if Pence's one-person unilateral reversal of state vote totals resulted in what would assuredly have been massive civil unrest, but they carried out the plan nonetheless.

It's difficult to even put it in historical context; it was a genuine coup attempt, carried out inside the Oval Office itself, and one that quickly gained the backing of a sizable chunk of both Republican elected officials and the party's functionaries.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Coup Lawyer Surrenders Documents But Implores Select Committee Not To Read Them

Coup Lawyer Surrenders Documents But Implores Select Committee Not To Read Them

Spoiler alert: The committee went right ahead and read them.

Last week, a federal judge ordered former Trump attorney John Eastman to turn over a series of documents in response to a subpoena from the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. Eastman did so, coming in just under the wire on Sunday afternoon. But at the same time, he filed a motion that included a pack of complaints about how a judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had not gotten back to Eastman, despite repeated efforts (in a series of calls documented down to the minute, that came so close together that it’s easy to imagine that judge hitting the “spam” button).

Meanwhile, even as Eastman was pounding on the door of the Ninth Circuit asking for a stay, he was also desperately calling District Court Judge David Carter and begging him to hold off until someone from the appeals court got back to him. Carter refused to give more time. The appeals court didn’t call back. So Eastman reluctantly turned over the documents, but with a twist.

Eastman filed an official supplement complaining that, after he turned in the documents, members of the select committee had the audacity to read them.

From Eastman’s complaint...

In order to comply fully with the district court’s production order, counsel for Dr. Eastman provided to the Select Committee at 2:04 pm PDT a link to a drop box folder containing the remaining eight documents that were the subject of the Motion to Stay that was at the time (and is still) pending before the Ninth Circuit. In the email transmitting that link, counsel for Dr. Eastman requested that the documents not be accessed until the Ninth Circuit had had a chance to rule on the Motion for Stay pending appeal. Instead of honoring that request, counsel for the Select Committee notified Dr. Eastman’s counsel at 6:26 pm PDT and 6:40 pm PDT that the Select Committee had “downloaded and examined” the disputed documents, falsely asserting that there was no motion for stay pending before the Ninth Circuit at the time.

The motion to stay actually didn’t appear on the docket until 6:08 p.m.. The committee notified Eastman that the documents had been examined at 6:26 p.m.. And somehow, Eastman concluded that the documents were read in the 18 minutes after that stay actually appeared on the docket, not in the four hours before it made it there. Oh, and Eastman was four minutes late filing those documents. Nice of him to 'fess up.

Of course, says Eastman, this means that if the appeals court rules in his favor, and it turns out that any of these documents described crimes, he’s now immune from being prosecuted on those crimes because the committee looked at the documents just as they were entirely legally entitled to at the time. This would be another lesson from the John Eastman School of How the Law Does Not Work.

Eastman isn’t just staying busy in court this week. As Politico reported on Friday, the attorney who laid out the plan for how Donald Trump could break the electoral system, isn’t letting his failure in that coup stop him from couping again.

In a speech to GOP poll workers in New Mexico, Eastman encouraged them to file complaints that would provide justification for challenging any Democratic victories in court.

Eastman advised his audience to “politely” and “gingerly,” and even with “a smile” create paper trails, suggesting altogether different end goals. These include giving losing GOP candidates ammunition to argue in court—and to the public—against the integrity of the voting and to pressure local commissions not to certify elections.

To that end, Eastman also told the attendees to a speech on “election integrity” to take down the names of judges who ruled against them or refused to hear these made-up challenges. He also provided instructions on poll watchers and challengers on how to make voting as irritating as possible for those they suspected of being Democratic voters (how they would make that guess is left up to not-much-imagination-required). The attendees were told to challenge people’s signatures, make them restate their birth years, even challenge them when they “didn’t speak loudly enough” so that they had to say their name and other information loudly, in front of everyone present. Eastman encouraged challengers to be confrontational, telling them that anyone who refused to give them anything they asked for was “committing a crime.”

The group that obtained the copy of Eastman’s speech suggested that all this — along with Eastman’s advice on how to put more Republicans on county election commissions — was intended to provide justification for counties refusing to certify election results when Democrats win.

Eastman may not be good at actually dealing with the law in court, but he’s excellent at giving Republicans what they want — instructions on destroying democracy.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Poll: Americans Increasingly Regard Republicans As Party Of Violence

Poll: Americans Increasingly Regard Republicans As Party Of Violence

A new poll from the progressive consortium Navigator Research finds that a plurality of Americans agree that “people who support the Republican Party are inclined to resort to violence when they’re pushing their agenda or worldview.”

The survey found that 44 percent of respondents agree with the statement, while 34 percent disagree. The numbers are nearly mirror opposite for Democrats, with just 35 percent saying Democrats' supporters are likely to resort to violence, while 45 percent disagree.

Independents were 19 points more likely to view Republican supporters as likely to use violent means (40 percent agree) than Democratic supporters (21 percent agree).

The findings of the survey come as House Democrats have shifted toward a strategy of emphasizing the extremism of both Republican candidates and the MAGA movement. The January 6 hearings appear to be helping their case.

When the survey asked those who viewed GOP supporters as more violence-prone an open-ended question about why, the dominant themes centered around “January 6th,” “Trump,” “white groups,” and “Proud Boys.”

By a 20-point margin, the Navigator survey found Americans support the Justice Department filing criminal charges against Donald Trump for his involvement in January 6 (56 percent support, 36 percent oppose). Independents support filing charges by a 24-point margin (50 percent support, 26 perdent oppose). The data also indicatee that support for filing charges increases— by nine points among independents and 13 points among Republicans—after respondents read recent revelations from the select committee’s inquiry into January. 6. So the more people know, the better.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll similarly found a 57 percent majority of Americans say Trump bears either a great deal or good deal of responsibility for the January 6 insurrection.

But the NPR poll found that just half of the respondents think Trump should be charged with a crime, while 45% say he shouldn't—a much smaller divide than Navigator found. However, the number of Americans who think Trump actually will be charged sits at just 28 percent in the NPR survey.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Select Panel Plans Primetime Hearing After Talks With Secret Service Watchdog

Select Panel Plans Primetime Hearing After Talks With Secret Service Watchdog

The House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack officially announced late Friday that it will hold a primetime hearing next week, the eighth and final hearing in what is seen as the first part of its efforts to share with the public critical information it has obtained about the insurrection.

The announcement comes just hours after all nine members of the committee met with Joseph Cuffari, the Department of Homeland Security inspector general who revealed in a letter published Thursday that the U.S. Secret Service deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, the day before and of the insurrection.

Cuffari “met with the committee behind closed doors two days after sending a letter to lawmakers informing them that the text messages were erased after the watchdog agency asked for records related to its electronic communications as part of its ongoing investigation around the Capitol attack,” CNN reports.

“The committee now plans to reach out to Secret Service officials to ask about the erasure of text messages from the day of the US Capitol attack and the day before, including the agency’s process for cleaning out files to see if that policy was followed, the committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told CNN.”

The Committee also announced that its next hearing will be held Thursday, July 21, at 8 PM ET.

Daily Beast political reporter Jose Pagliery notes that because the hearing is scheduled for 8 PM, which “would be TV primetime … there’s the insinuation that this is meant to be a big one.”

CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane says next week’s hearing will focus on Donald Trump and his efforts to interfere with the Committee’s investigation. That could also include allegations he may have attempted to engage in witness intimidation.

NBC News earlier this week reported Chairman Thompson said Thursday’s hearing will be “the last one — at this point.”

But the Committee is expected to hold additional hearings as soon as next month. It has indicated it is interested is obtaining testimony from both former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.

That news comes as reports say Donald Trump is expected to announce his third presidential run some time before the November midterms, possibly in September. The Dept. of Justice has given no indication it is pursuing an investigation into what legal experts have repeatedly said are his potentially criminal acts.

One expert, former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade, says she will be “listening for elements of involuntary manslaughter in Trump’s failure to stop the attack” at next Thursday’s hearing.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday evening Committee member Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) “said he expects the committee will likely decide to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department regarding Mr. Trump’s actions on January 6 and the days leading up to it.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.