Joker: Former President Trump – Wholly incapable of ruling himself, unfit to lead our Republic

 

El presidente: “ARREST DERANGED JACK SMITH. HE IS A CRIMINAL!”
 
 

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”

– William ShakespeareMacbeth, Act 1, Scene 1

 
 

“If you can’t win, call the judges corrupt.”

Joyce Vance, Civil Discourse, Jan. 14, 2024

“But wait until Trump returns to power and the price of opposing him becomes persecution, the loss of property and possibly the loss of freedom. Will those who balked at resisting Trump when the risk was merely political oblivion suddenly discover their courage when the cost might be the ruin of oneself and one’s family?”

“We are closer to that point today than we have ever been, yet we continue to drift toward dictatorship, still hoping for some intervention that will allow us to escape the consequences of our collective cowardice, our complacent, willful ignorance and, above all, our lack of any deep commitment to liberal democracy. As the man said, we are going out not with a bang but a whimper.”

 Robert Kagan, November 30, 2023

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/11/30/trump-dictator-2024-election-robert-kagan/

 

“. . . he decided to become a prince and to hold with violence and without obligation to anyone else that which had been conceded to him by agreement.”

 – Machiavelli, The Prince

 

“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”  

– George Orwell

 

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”

– Donald Trump,  January 22, 2016

 

“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

– Donald Trump, October 2005

 

“There was an unwritten rule” [to not prosecute former presidents and political rivals.]

“I will appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of America, Joe Biden, and go after the Biden crime family.”

– Donald Trump, June 2023

 

Conservative author and Republican Ann Coulter:

“Who are these people still supporting Trump and this nonsense ‘stop the steal’?”

“I don’t understand why.”

“Why are you doing this for Trump when he doesn’t give a crap about you?”

“These poor, working-class Americans, hanging on by their fingernails!” 

thedailybeast.com, Jan. 6, 2021

 

“I’m telling you the single biggest issue, as bad as the border is and it’s horrible, horrible what they’re doing, they’re destroying our country — but as bad as that is, the single biggest issue — the issue that gets the most pull, the most respect, the biggest cheers — is talking about the election fraud of the 2020 presidential election.”

 Donald Trump, October 10, 2021

 

“A continuing pattern of misuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisans and diverts resources from those who have suffered actual legal harm.”

– U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, January 18, 2023

“With Trump, there are no alms for the addled. He doesn’t spare his friends the kind of humiliation that he visits upon his foes. His favors are contingent not on your past servitude but on your present utility.”

– Frank Bruni

 

[Tucker] Carlson asked Trump if he felt the country was moving toward “civil war,” which prompted the former president to invoke Jan. 6, when rioters stormed the Capitol to try and halt the certification of the 2020 election results.

“There’s tremendous passion and there’s tremendous love. You know, Jan. 6 was a very interesting day because they don’t report it properly. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken before,” Trump said.

Trump said a “very small group” went down to the Capitol, but argued there was “love and unity” in the crowd.

“I have never seen such spirit, and such passion, and such love, and I’ve also never seen, simultaneously and from the same people, such hatred of what they’ve done to our country,” Trump said.

 

“There’s hostility to lying, and there should be.”

– Bob Woodward

 

“Power provides psychological compensation: it impels a person who cannot rule himself to rule others.”

– Richard Pipes

 

“History will judge the complicit. Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles in support of an immoral and dangerous president?”

Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic Magazine (July/August 2020 issue)

Applebaum’s haunting premonition and questions from the summer of 2020: 

“First Trump’s enablers accepted lies about the inauguration; now they accept terrible tragedy and the loss of American leadership in the world. Worse could follow. 

Come November, will they tolerate—even abet—an assault on the electoral system: open efforts to prevent postal voting, to shut polling stations, to scare people away from voting?

Will they countenance violence, as the president’s social-media fans incite demonstrators to launch physical attacks on state and city officials?”

In January 2021, Applebaum’s prescient questions were answered in the affirmative:

The assault of U.S. Capitol was the culmination of years of Trump and enablers selling the “Big Lie” of voter and election fraud.

The objective of the “Big Lie”? To subvert the 2020 electoral system, a failed attempt at the unforgivable cost of lives and incalculable damage to our democratic republic and world leadership position.

And, immediately after Joe Biden’s inauguration, the National Republican Committee, with an instrumental assist by The Heritage Foundation, delivered on a promise – to use constituents’ consternation of a lost election and the false premise of election and voter fraud to establish state voter suppression laws nationwide, notwithstanding the determination of Trump’s own Justice Department that there was no evidence of such fraud.  

How Far would Trump Go?
Eric Cortellessa
Explore these topics:

 

 

A Brief History of Trump’s “Big Lie” & Concerted Attempt to Upend our Republic

 

2012: 

Thinking of it as foreshadowing.

Our friend, Christian Vanderbrouk reminds us that Donald Trump has a long career of election denialism and lies. And, I admit, I’d forgotten this, because back in 2012, we couldn’t imagine where this would lead us.

“He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election,” he tweeted [inaccurately]. “We should have a revolution in this country!”

Over the next half hour, he continued.

The phony electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. The loser one! We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!

Let’s fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us. More votes equals a loss … revolution! This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy! Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble … like never before. The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.

2016: In the run-up to the 2016 election, Trump falsely claims that the 2016 election is “rigged”,  and large-scale voter fraud rampant. Shortly after his election, he falsely claims he would have won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”. He repeats these false assertions after he was sworn into office. brennancenter.org, July 18, 2017​

2017: President Trump signs an executive order creating the “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity”. The president’s invented legions of illegal voters are the most extreme such claims in recent memory. His statements have been almost universally rejected. brennancenter.org, July 18, 2017​

2018: President Trump dissolves the “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity”, having failed to find any evidence of the electoral and voter fraud he alleged.  npr.org, Jan. 4, 2018​

2019: “More Voter Fraud Misinformation from Trump”  factcheck.org, Jan. 30, 2019​

2020: “The President’s Trumped-Up Claims of Voter Fraud” factcheck.org, July, 30, 2020. ​

“The ‘Voter Fraud’ Fraud”: Heritage Foundation statistics contradict its own arguments of the risks of mail-in ballots. thehill.com, Apr. 25, 2020  ​

2021Special Report: Stolen election? Republican lawmakers paralyzed by Trump’s false fraud claims: 147 Republican lawmakers voted to overturn Trump’s election loss, after months of Trump’s baseless claims that the election had been stolen. 

While the vast majority of these Republican lawmakers never believed Trump’s outlandish fraud allegations, their support of his bid to overturn the election played a crucial role in perpetuating the stolen-election myth that has become a central flashpoint in American politics. The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll on the subject, taken Jan. 20 and 21, shows that 61% of Republicans still believed Trump lost because of election-rigging and illegal voting.  reuters.com, Feb. 4, 2021

July 2021: Trump Pressed Justice Dept. to Declare Election Results Corrupt, Notes Show

“Leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, the former president is said to have told top law enforcement officials.

By Katie Benner

 

July 2021: Trump told DOJ officials to ‘just say that the election was corrupt’ and ‘leave the rest to me,’ new documents show

Eliza Relman, Sonam Sheth  

 [Excerpt:]

Despite Trump’s continued insistence that the election was “rigged” and stolen from him, nonpartisan experts and election officials concluded that the 2020 election was the safest and most secure in US history.

 

August 2021:  Jan. 6 Panel Takes Sweeping Steps

The Weekender from TPM, Issue No. 14

By Josh Kovensky

The House Jan. 6 Committee launched its first big volleys of investigative requests this week, demanding records from a host of federal agencies on Wednesday and from fifteen separate social media companies

The federal agency requests shed light on where lawmakers are looking in the probe.

Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed.

December 22, 2022.

[Excerpt:]

The findings of the Committee include the following:

1. Beginning election night and continuing through January 6th and thereafter, Donald Trump purposely disseminated false allegations of fraud related to the 2020 Presidential election in order to aid his effort to overturn the the election and for purposes of soliciting contributions.

2. Knowing that he and his supporters had lost dozens of election lawsuits, and despite his own senior advisors refuting his own election law claims and urging him to concede his election loss, Donald Trump refused to accept the the lawful result of the 2020 election.

3. Despite knowing that such an action would be illegal, and that no State had or would submit an altered electoral slate, Donald Trump corruptly pressured Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes during Congress’s joint session on January 6th.

4. Donald Trump sought to corrupt the U.S. Department of Justice by attempting to enlist Department officials to make purposely false statements and thereby aid his effort his effort to overturn the Presidential election. After that effort failed, Donald Trump offered the position of Acting Attorney General to Jeff Clark knowing that Clark intended to disseminate false information aimed at overturning the election.

5. Without any evidentiary basis and contrary to State and Federal law, Donald Trump unlawfully pressured State and legislators to change the results of the election in their States.

6. Donald Trump oversaw an effort to obtain and transmit false electoral certificates to Congress and the National Archives. 

7. Donald Trump pressured Members of Congress to object to valid slates of electors from several states.

8. Donald Trump purposely verified false information filed in Federal court.

9. Based on false allegations that the election was stolen, Donald Trump summoned tens of thousands of supporters to Washington for January 6th. Although these supporters were angry and some were armed, Donald Trump instructed them to march on the Capitol on January 6th to “take back” their country.

10. Knowing that a violent attack on the Capitol was underway and knowing that his words would incite further violence, Donald Trump purposely sent a social media message publicly condemning Vice President Pence at 2:24 p.m. on January 6th.

11. Knowing that violence was underway at the Capitol, and despite his duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed, Donald Trump refused repeated requests over a multiple hour period that he instruct his violent supporters to disperse and leave the Capitol, and instead watched the violent attacks unfold on television. This failure to act perpetuated the violence at the Capitol and obstructed Congress’s proceeding to count electoral votes.

12. Each of these actions by Donald Trump was taken in support of a multi-part conspiracy to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 election.

 

August 1, 2023: Trump Indictment: Jan. 6 Riot Was ‘Fueled by Lies’ From Trump, Special Counsel Says

Former President Donald J. Trump was charged with four counts in connection with his efforts to subvert the will of voters in 2020. “Despite having lost, the defendant was determined to remain in power,” prosecutors wrot

Trump attorneys guided false electors in Georgia, GOP chair says

In Tuesday’s filing, Shafer underscored that the strategy was driven almost entirely by lawyers acting on Trump’s behalf.  The false electors were later used by Trump allies to attempt to foment a conflict on Jan. 6, 2021 and derail the transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Shafer is among the 18 defendants indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, alongside Trump as part of a conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election.

The Trump Georgia Indictment, Annotated

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/08/15/us/politics/trump-georgia-indictment-annotated.html

A grand jury in Fulton County, Ga., on Monday unveiled the fourth criminal indictment of former President Donald J. Trump. Like a federal indictment earlier this month, this one concerns Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. But it differs in that it charges 18 other defendants who are alleged to have taken part in the scheme.

The 41 Counts in the Georgia Indictment

22 counts
Related to forgery or false documents and statements
8 counts
Related to soliciting or impersonating public officers
3 counts
Related to influencing witnesses
3 counts
Related to election fraud or defrauding the state
3 counts
Related to computer tampering
1 count
Related to racketeering
1 count
Related to perjury

The New York Times is annotating the document.

Download the full PDF.

 

Donald Trump and His Allies in Georgia

As Trump and his 18 co-defendants surrendered to Fulton County authorities, they were processed like anyone else

By Kyler Alvord and Virginia Chamlee

https://people.com/donald-trump-18-allies-mugshots-georgia-election-interference-case-7644240

[Excerpt:]

As the candidate whose 2020 loss in Georgia was not accepted, former President Donald Trump finds himself at the center of Fulton County’s election interference case. Trump was indicted three times previously, but this is the first time he was asked to show up at a jail to answer to the charges — and the first mug shot taken of a U.S. president.

Trump is charged with 13 felony counts: violating the Georgia RICO Act, three counts of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, conspiracy to commit filing false documents, filing false documents, and two counts of false statements and writings. He was granted the highest bond of the defendants, set at $200,000.

 

____________

 

Why Millions Think It Is Trump Who Cannot Tell a Lie

Is there a tipping point for Trump supporters to stop backing him? Here’s what the science says

The Conversation

May 18, 2023

In a new article for The Conversation Psychology Professor Geoff Beattie discusses the psychology behind support for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has had some bad days recently, objectively speaking. A jury in New York found found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a civil case brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll. This came on top of criminal charges related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, and allegations of mishandling of classified documents. The shame of it all.

Just imagine what a die-hard Trump supporter might feel about this. Surely they must be having some second thoughts?

The night after the New York court case, Trump was back in action in a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. What would the reaction be? Some held their breath.

Trump stepped on stage to rapturous applause and a standing ovation. He mouthed, “Thank you,” and applauded them back. There was no hint of shame or embarrassment, from either side.

In his first presidential campaign, there was a focus on what Trump could do for his white working-class supporters. Now it was all about what was being done to him. But he brought them into his paranoid world – they were all in this together.

“When they go after me, they’re going after you,” Trump told supporters during a rally in Waco, Texas in March 2023. “Either the deep state destroys America, or we destroy the deep state.”

Psychologists Steve Reicher and Alex Haslam, writing in Scientific American in 2017, presented an insightful analysis of Trump’s “masterful” use of psychological techniques to manipulate his supporters. They noted that:

A rally would start long before Trump’s arrival. Indeed, the long wait for the leader was part and parcel of the performance. This staged delay affected the self-perception of the audience members: “If I am prepared to wait this long, this event and this leader must be important to me.”

The audience sees others waiting (“it must be important to them”) and this establishes a norm of connectedness and devotion in the crowd – the wait for the leader, their applause (spontaneous and in unison, with no delay), their laughing at his jibes and put-downs. Connected behaviours, emotions intertwined.

Sociologist Max Atkinson has written about charisma, stating that isn’t necessarily a gift but rather, behavioural manipulation that produces a demonstrable effect on audiences. Trump supporters all react in the same way, at the same time, and feel as one (many football supporters have similar “spiritual” experiences at matches).

It’s about devotion and destiny, and how the benign leader will look after you, no matter what. In the New Hampshire town hall meeting, Trump called the violent riot on the Capitol on January 6 2021 “a beautiful day”. He said that if he wins the next presidential election, he will pardon a large proportion involved in the riot – even those Proud Boys convicted of seditious conspiracy.

Investing in support

Other politicians lose their backing, so what’s different here? Well, Trump fans have invested a lot more in their support – including, in a relatively small number of cases, marching on the Capitol, risking their reputations and even a criminal record.

The theory of cognitive dissonance, developed by American social psychologist Leon Festinger in the mid-1950s, might help explain this.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when one’s beliefs and actions conflict with each other. For example, the belief that the US needs a strong and moral leader to make America great again, conflicting with the action of supporting a man who has committed a serious sexual assault.

Festinger wrote that: “Dissonance produces discomfort and, correspondingly, there will arise pressures to reduce or eliminate the dissonance.”

This conflict might constrain people from acquiring new information that will increase the existing dissonance – for instance, accepting that Trump’s court case suggested poor morals.

However, seeking new information (from whatever source, including conspiracy theories) that confirms your beliefs – such as about the dark powers behind the supposed election fraud and the “victimisation” of Trump – would clearly help reduce the dissonance, and make his supporters feel better.

End of their world?

Festinger also analysed an end-of-the-world cult in Chicago in the 1950s that might be particularly relevant here.

This cult was waiting for a great flood, scheduled for midnight on December 21 1954. Many respectable citizens had given up their jobs and families to join the cult. But on that night, the world did not end.

So, how did the cult deal with the cognitive dissonance between their expressed beliefs (“The world is going to end with a great flood tonight, but our small group of believers are going to be transported to a distant planet by spacecraft,”) and the observable real-world events (sitting in a front room waiting patiently, checking the clock)? Festinger wrote:

The dissonance would be largely eliminated if they discarded the belief that had been disconfirmed, ceased the behaviour which had been initiated in preparation for the fulfilment of the prediction, and returned to a more usual existence … But frequently, the behavioural commitment to the belief system is so strong that almost any other course of action is preferable.

He went on to identify an important way in which the remaining dissonance can be reduced: “If more and more people can be persuaded that the system of belief is correct, then clearly it must, after all, be correct.”

This is an interesting argument which suggests that if someone commits wholeheartedly to Trump, they may well experience dissonance as they watch the news from that Manhattan courthouse. But they don’t necessarily stop supporting him.

Instead, they might seek yet more information about the “deep state” and how it’s persecuting Trump, or preach more about his positive attributes and the witch hunt against him. Both are sometimes more immediate ways of dealing with the psychological discomfort than changing support for him.

That’s what happened in the case of the end-of-the-world cult, and that’s what might well happen here. If so, we can expect to see more conspiracy theories and more proselytising from the hardcore supporters going into 2024 and beyond. Donald Trump may not be finished just yet.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Trump’s violent rhetoric echoes the fascist commitment to a destructive and bloody rebirth of society

Mark R. Reiff

https://theconversation.com/trumps-violent-rhetoric-echoes-the-fascist-commitment-to-a-destructive-and-bloody-rebirth-of-society-215138

Trump as Jesus? Why he casts himself as a martyr, and why fans go along.

The former president has been saying for decades that he’s a victim and portrayed himself as a martyr. But Trump’s messianic rhetoric is mainly about feeling sorry for himself, analysts say.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/10/11/trump-jesus-why-he-casts-himself-martyr-why-fans-go-along/

[Excerpts:]

“To protect his incredibly fragile ego, he needs to create this victimization,” said Cohen. “The problem can’t be him, so who else can it be? That’s where the martyrdom comes in: He has to shift the blame on someone else, and then he can say, ‘The only one standing in between them and you is me.’”

With each new charge, Trump sent out fundraising letters in which he presented himself as a perpetual victim of the authorities’ attacks. “[N]o matter what our sick and deranged political establishment throws at me, no matter what they do to me, I will endure their torment and oppression, and I will do it willingly,” he said in a fundraising appeal last fall. “Our cruel and vindictive political class is not just coming after me — they are coming after YOU.”

When Trump was arraigned in New York in April, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a Trump acolyte, said he was “joining some of the most incredible people in history” who “have been arrested and persecuted by radical corrupt governments …, including Nelson Mandela and Jesus.”

 

“Why Tribalism Took Over Our Politics”

WSJ:

Ahead of his arrest on Thursday in Georgia, Donald Trump repeatedly told his supporters about the legal peril he faced from charges of election interference. But the danger wasn’t his alone, he said. “In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you,” he told a campaign rally.

It was the latest example of the Republican former president employing a potent driver of America’s partisan divide: group identity. Decades of social science research show that our need for collective belonging is forceful enough to reshape how we view facts and affect our voting decisions. When our group is threatened, we rise to its defense.

The research helps explain why Trump has solidified his standing as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination despite facing four indictments since April. The former president has been especially adept at building loyalty by asserting that his supporters are threatened by outside forces. His false claims that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 election, which have triggered much of his legal peril, have been adopted by many of his supporters.

Democrats are using the tactic, too, if not as forcefully as Trump. The Biden campaign criticized Republicans in Wednesday’s presidential debate as “extreme candidates” who would undermine democracy, and President Biden himself has accused “MAGA Republicans” of trying to destroy our systems of government. 

The split in the electorate has left many Americans fatigued and worried that partisanship is undermining the country’s ability to solve its problems. Calling themselves America’s “exhausted majority,” tens of thousands of people have joined civic groups, with names such as Braver Angels, Listen First and Unify America, and are holding cross-party conversations in search of ways to lower the temperature in political discourse.

Yet the research on the power of group identity suggests the push for a more respectful political culture faces a disquieting challenge. The human brain in many circumstances is more suited to tribalism and conflict than to civility and reasoned debate.

The differences between the parties are clearer than before. Demographic characteristics are now major indicators of party preference, with noncollege white and more religious Americans increasingly identifying as Republicans, while Democrats now win most nonwhite voters and a majority of white people with a college degree.

“Instead of going into the voting booth and asking, ‘What do I want my elected representatives to do for me,’ they’re thinking, ‘If my party loses, it’s not just that my policy preferences aren’t going to get done,’ ” said Lilliana Mason, a Johns Hopkins University political scientist. “It’s who I think I am, my place in the world, my religion, my race, the many parts of my identity are all wrapped up in that one vote.”

Why Republican voters believe Trump
August 22, 2023
Enjoying this newsletter? Forward to a friend!
Questions? Comments? what.matters@cnn.com
I wanted to hand a large portion of today’s newsletter over to an analysis by CNN’s Ronald Brownstein, who writes the Fault Lines column.
His analysis today was particularly good as it smartly dissected why it will be so hard for the Republican presidential candidates who want to replace Trump to attack him at their debate on Wednesday.
Brownstein: Former President Donald Trump has solidified his lead in the GOP race by convincing most Republican voters to view his four criminal indictments as a politicized “witch hunt” aimed not only at him, but them.
Trump’s success in selling that argument to GOP voters has some immediate causes, key among them the choice by all of his leading competitors in the race, as well as most prominent voices in conservative media, to echo rather than challenge his contention. 
But the inclination of so many Republican voters to dismiss all of the charges accumulating against Trump also reflects something much more fundamental: the hardening tendency of conservatives to believe that they are the real victims of bias in a society irreversibly growing more racially and culturally diverse.
Trump’s ability to sour Republicans on the justice system, Brownstein argues, is something reverberating across other elements of society.
Brownstein: The broad rejection of the charges against Trump within the GOP base marks a milestone not only in its personal allegiance to him, but also in those voters’ systemic alienation from the major institutions in American life. In the Republican coalition, it is a moment that has culminated decades of change – and one that points to years of turbulence ahead.
Overwhelming majorities of Republican voters dismiss the charges against Trump. In a comprehensive recent national survey by Bright Line Watch, a collaborative of political scientists studying threats to American democracy, 15% or fewer of Republicans said Trump had committed a crime either in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, his actions on January 6, 2021, or his hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016; only one-in-four thought he had broken the law in his handling of classified documents. And in the hush money and classified document cases, over four-fifths of Republicans agreed that “Trump would not have been prosecuted…if he were someone else.” 
CBS/YouGov poll released Sunday recorded similar attitudes and produced one more head-turning finding: a bigger share of GOP voters said they trusted Trump to tell them the truth than any other source tested, including not only conservative media figures and religious leaders, but even their own “friends and family.”

 

Poll Shows Persistent Effect of Trump’s Big Lie

The Hill: “A Monmouth University poll found 30 percent think Biden won because of voter fraud, a result that “has been a nearly constant percentage” in the polling since the presidential election in November 2020. That figure includes 68 percent of Republicans. … Conducted May 18 to 23 among 981 U.S. adults, the Monmouth University Polling Institute results have a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.”

[Excerpt:]

Lying and conspiratorial thinking might seem to be two different problems, but they turn out to be related. I study political rhetoric and have tried to understand how populist politicians use language to develop a cult-like following, divide nations, create culture wars and instill hatred. This pattern goes back to antiquity and is seen today in leaders including former President Donald Trump, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. These leaders are capable of using words and speeches to whip people into such an emotional tempest that they will do things like march on the seat of Congress or invade a neighboring country.

 

There’s No Escaping the Truth About Trump

The former president has imprinted his moral pathologies and will-to-power ethic on the Republican Party.

By Peter Wehner

About the author: Peter Wehner is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum, and the author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/09/trump-republicans-authoritarian-tendencies

[Excerpts:]

Karen stenner, a political psychologist and the author of the groundbreaking The Authoritarian Dynamic, argues that about a third of people across 29 liberal democracies seem to have a psychological predisposition toward authoritarianism. The tendency exists on both ends of the political spectrum, though it’s more prevalent on the right.

Stenner defines authoritarianism, which she believes is about 50 percent heritable, as a deep-seated psychological predisposition to demand obedience and conformity—what she calls “oneness and sameness”—over freedom and diversity. Authoritarians have an aversion to complexity and diversity. They tend to be intolerant on matters of race, politics, and morals; to glorify the in-group and denigrate the out-group; and to “reward or punish others according to their conformity to this ‘normative order.’”

The danger, Stenner says, arises when that tendency, which is often latent, is activated by “normative threats,” a deep fear of change, and a loss of trust in our institutions. She also made this point to my colleague Helen Lewis: In normal, reassuring, and comforting conditions, people with authoritarian tendencies could be your best neighbor. But those predispositions “are activated under conditions of threat and produce greater intolerance to differences.”

Donald Trump has made his supporters feel “permanently panicked,” according to Stenner. He “never got past the constant-rage-and-fear stage.”  And it doesn’t help that modern life’s complexity is overwhelming for many people.

For those with authoritarian tendencies, Stenner says, there’s a need “to reassure them and calm them down.” Her goal is “to help authoritarians live in peace with liberal democracy.” We need to reintegrate, rather than triumph over and banish, the authoritarians. Demeaning and dismissing a significant part of the country won’t turn out well. And so the focus of her work is to find practical ways to bring “activated authoritarians” back from the brink, including by means of normatively reassuring messages. The key, she believes, is to reduce the feelings of being threatened and to find the right language—language that is less alienating to those with authoritarian tendencies—to talk about things such as diversity and immigration. She and the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt point out that moral elevation, the response we have when we witness virtuous acts, can also be helpful.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

September 6, 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

And, today, New Mexico judge Francis J. Mathew ruled that Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump, must be removed from his office as Otero County commissioner for participating in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In a lawsuit brought by New Mexico citizens, Mathew ruled that Griffin is disqualified for office under the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits from holding office anyone who had engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the country. This is the first time this clause has been enforced since 1869, and the first time a court has found the attack on the Capitol was an insurrection.

It Didn’t Start with Trump: The Decades-Long Saga of How the GOP Went Crazy

The modern Republican Party has always exploited and encouraged extremism.

By David Corn

September-October 2022 Issue

These Disunited States
It is time to consider a radical solution to stave off the prospect of political violence and even civil war in the US.

Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson
September 22, 2022 issue

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2022/09/22/these-disunited-states-steven-simon-jonathan-stevenson/

Trump vows pardons, government apology to Capitol rioters if elected
The comments came on the same day President Biden was delivering a prime-time address warning of the threat to democracy from “MAGA Republicans” and election deniers.
Mariana Alfar>
September 1, 2022
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/01/trump-jan-6-rioters-pardon

 

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT BIDEN ON THE CONTINUED BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE NATION

Independence National Historical Park
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

September 1, 2022

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/09/01/remarks-by-president-bidenon-the-continued-battle-for-the-soul-of-the-nation/

Live Updates: Biden Calls on Americans to Resist Threats to Democracy

The president condemned Trump-led extremism and cast the midterm elections as a “battle for the soul of the nation.”

PHILADELPHIA — President Biden traveled to Independence Hall on Thursday to warn that America’s democratic values are under assault by forces of extremism loyal to former President Donald J. Trump, using a prime-time address to define the midterm elections as a “battle for the soul of this nation.”

The speech was intended to deliver a dark message about threats to the fabric of the country’s democracy. But aides said Mr. Biden sought to strike a balance just two months before elections that will determine control of Congress, seeking to offer a sense of optimism about the future and urging Americans to fight back against extremism.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic,” Mr. Biden said, noting that not all Republicans follow Mr. Trump’s ideology. “But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.”

Citing the “extraordinary experiment of self-government” represented by the American Constitution, Mr. Biden said that “history tells us a blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy.”

The stakes are high for the president and his political advisers, who believe they must cast the midterms as nothing less than an existential choice for voters between Mr. Biden’s agenda and a return to the extremism of “MAGA Republicans” who have enabled Mr. Trump’s ideology. Mr. Biden plunged into the cultural issues that his party believes could help galvanize Democratic voters, by bringing up reproductive rights and fears that Supreme Court could undo gay marriage.

Read More

 

Trump’s Second Term Would Look Like This

The former president and his allies have explained their plans quite clearly.

About the author: Jonathan Rauchis a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/08/trump-2024-reelection-viktor-orban-hungary/671264/

[Excerpt:]

Today, however, we can do more than just speculate about how a second Trump term would unfold, because the MAGA movement has been telegraphing its plans in some detail. In a host of ways—including the overt embrace of illiberal foreign leaders; the ruthless behavior of Republican elected officials since the 2020 election; Trump allies’ elaborate scheming, as uncovered by the House’s January 6 committee, to prevent the peaceful transition of power; and Trump’s own actions in the waning weeks of his presidency and now as ex-president—the former president and his allies have laid out their model and their methods.

Begin with the model. 

 

‘You are more powerful than you think.’ Why one man says it’s too soon to write off democracy in America

Updated August 28, 2022

[Excerpt:]Liu, 54, is CEO and co-founder of Citizen University, a nonprofit group based in Seattle, Washington, that teaches people how to cultivate civic power. He also is an evangelist for democracy, a charismatic writer and speaker whose philosophy could be distilled in this observation from the late historian Howard Zinn: “Democracy is not what governments do; it’s what people do.”

Democrats see the once unthinkable: A narrow path to keeping the House

While Democrats acknowledge they still face major hurdles, there has been an unmistakable mood shift, according to interviews with candidates, strategists and officials

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/08/27/democrats-republicans-house-midterms/

Don’t Succumb to MAGA Fatalism

Three strategies to cope with Trump-induced gloom.

THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY IS NOW AT THE TOP OF MIDTERM VOTERS’ MINDS

According to a new poll, “threats to democracy” have overtaken the cost of living as the chief issue facing  American voters, most of whom believe that Donald Trump should remain under legal investigation over his failed plot to subvert the election.

 

Mr. Linker, a former columnist at The Week, writes the newsletter “Eyes on the Right.”

Down one path is the prosecution of the former president.

That would set an incredibly dangerous precedent. 

We wouldn’t even avoid potentially calamitous consequences if Mr. Trump somehow ended up barred from running or his party opted for another candidate to be its nominee in 2024 — say, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida.

How long do you think it would take for a freshly inaugurated President DeSantis to pardon a convicted and jailed Donald Trump? Hours? Minutes? And that move would probably be combined with a promise to investigate and indict Joe Biden for the various “crimes” he allegedly committed in office.

That’s why it’s imperative we set aside the Plan A of prosecuting Mr. Trump. In its place, we should embrace a Plan B that defers the dream of a post-presidential perp walk in favor of allowing the political process to run its course. If Mr. Trump is the G.O.P. nominee again in 2024, Democrats will have no choice but to defeat him yet again, hopefully by an even larger margin than they did last time.

There is an obvious risk: If Mr. Trump runs again, he might win. But that’s a risk we can’t avoid — which is why we may well have found ourselves in a situation with no unambivalently good options.

 

Democratic senator says that Arizona GOP has ‘dangerous ideas’

[Excerpt:]Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) said on Sunday that members of his state’s Republican Party have “dangerous ideas.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” anchor Jake Tapper asked Kelly about his thoughts on the state’s GOP with regard to candidates running for office who have denied that President Biden was legitimately elected or suggested that their political opponents be jailed.

“Well, unfortunately, I think right now that the folks you mentioned have some really dangerous ideas, and they’re not consistent with most Arizonans, even most Republicans in Arizona,” Kelly told Tapper. 

“So I’m hoping we can move away from that. My Republican colleagues that I talk to in the United States Senate, I mean, these are good, good people, by and large, who are working really hard,” Kelly added. “And they don’t need those dangerous ideas in the United States Senate.”

Kelly’s remarks come after a new Fox News poll showed that the lawmaker has an 8-point lead over his Trump-backed challenger in his state’s Senate race. Fifty percent of respondents said they support Kelly, while 42 percent said they back Masters. 

 

How Trump’s Endorsements Elevate Election Lies and Inflate His Political Power

The former president’s 220 endorsements have been guided more by self-serving impulses than by unseating Democrats.

[Excerpt:]

The unifying thread through the majority of Mr. Trump’s endorsements has been a candidate’s willingness to help him spread the lie that he won the 2020 presidential race. Many of these candidates either took concrete actions to subvert the election, such as voting in Congress or state legislatures to delay certification of the vote, suing to overturn results or backing partisan reviews of the ballot count. Others made clear public statements in political ads, social media posts or on the campaign trail that expressed doubts about the 2020 election. [Boldface added]

 

Beto O’Rourke’s book spotlights Texans’ struggles for voting rights

[Excerpt:]

O’Rourke has listed both “The Odyssey” and Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” as his favorite books. (He named his first son Ulysses.) This Ur-story of a long and winding journey infuses the book. Of course, in his picaresque travelogue of Texan political activism, O’Rourke is also telling his own story — as a careful listener and tireless avatar of all those who have fought against injustice, past and present.

But of all the injustices, the contemporary assault on the right to vote stands front and center. Like many Republican-controlled state legislatures, Texas passed laws in 2021 that curtailed access to voting methods favored by Democratic-aligned constituencies (especially voters of color) under the guise of “election integrity.” Since 2013 (following the Shelby County v. Holder decision, which substantially weakened the Voting Rights Act), Texas has closed 750 polling stations.

 

The Arizona Republican Party’s Anti-Democratic Experience

First, it turned against the establishment. Now it has set its sights on democracy – the principles, the process and even the word itself.

By Robert Draper

August 15, 2022

 

‘Stop the Steal’ Is a Metaphor

The scholar Theda Skocpol—renowned for her research on the Tea Party movement a decade ago—explains how American politics has evolved since then.

[Excerpt:]
“‘Stop the Steal’ is a metaphor,” Skocpol said, “for the country being taken away from the people who think they should rightfully be setting the tone.” 
[E]vidence remains secondary when what you’re really doing is questioning whose vote counts—and who counts as an American.
Liz Cheney, the Republican From the State of Reality

She isn’t really fighting to keep her seat in Congress. She’s fighting Donald Trump.

August 12, 2022

 

The Absurd Argument Against Making Trump Obey the Law
MICHELLE GOLDBERG

What has strengthened Trump has not been prosecution but impunity, an impunity that some of those who stormed the Capitol thought, erroneously, applied to them as well. Trump’s mystique is built on his defiance of rules that bind everyone else. He is reportedly motivated to run for president again in part because the office will protect him from prosecution. If we don’t want the presidency to license crime sprees, we should allow presidents to be indicted, not accept some dubious norm that ex-presidents shouldn’t be.

The question is how much deference the rest of us should give to this belief. No doubt, Trump’s most inflamed fans might act out in horrifying ways; many are heavily armed and speak lustily about civil war. To let this dictate the workings of justice is to accept an insurrectionists’ veto. The far right is constantly threatening violence if it doesn’t get its way. Does anyone truly believe that giving in to its blackmail will make it less aggressive?

 

I’m a Conservative, and I Don’t Know What the GOP Stands For

KNOW NOTHINGS

Free markets? Nope. Limited government. Uh-uh. Strong foreign policy? No, America first. Rule of law? LOL.

Dick Cheney ad to air on Fox News, bringing stinging critique to Trump’s favorite shows

By Tom Howell Jr.

The Washington Times

August 10, 2022

“It’s important not only for Fox News viewers, but for the network’s hosts and top executives, to hear former Vice President Cheney‘s warning about the ongoing danger Donald Trump and his lies pose to our constitutional republic,” Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler told the outlet.

If Trump broke a law on the removal of official records, would he be barred from future office?

Aug. 8, 2022

[Excerpt:]

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/08/us/politics/donald-trump-president-criminal-law

Early reports that the F.B.I. search of former President Donald J. Trump’s residence in Florida related to an investigation into whether he had unlawfully taken government files when he left the White House focused attention on an obscure criminal law barring removal of official records. The penalties for breaking that law include disqualification from holding any federal office.

Because Mr. Trump is widely believed to be preparing to run for president again in 2024, that unusual penalty raised the prospect that he might be legally barred from returning to the White House.

Specifically, the law in question — Section 2071 of Title 18 of the United States Code — makes it a crime if someone who has custody of government documents or records “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies or destroys” them.

If convicted, defendants can be fined or sentenced to prison for up to three years. In addition, the statute says, if they are currently in a federal office, they “shall forfeit” that office, and they shall “be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”

On its face, then, if Mr. Trump were to be charged and convicted of removing, concealing or destroying government records under that law, he would seem to be ineligible to become president again.

But there was reason for caution: The law briefly received a close look in 2015, after it came to light that Hillary Clinton, then widely anticipated to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, had used a private email server to conduct government business while secretary of state. [Boldface added]

Some Republicans were briefly entranced with whether the law could keep Mrs. Clinton out of the White House, including Michael Mukasey, a former attorney general in the administration of George W. Bush. So was at least one conservative think tank.

But in considering that situation, several legal scholars — including Seth B. Tillman of Maynouth University in Ireland and Eugene Volokh of the University of California, Los Angeles — noted that the Constitution sets eligibility criteria for who can be president, and argued that Supreme Court rulings suggest Congress cannot alter them. The Constitution allows Congress to disqualify people from holding office in impeachment proceedings, but grants no such power for ordinary criminal law.

Mr. Volokh later reported on his blog that Mr. Mukasey — who is also a former federal judge — wrote that “upon reflection,” Mr. Mukasey had been mistaken and Mr. Tillman’s analysis was “spot on.” 

State Legislatures Are Torching Democracy

Even in moderate places like Ohio, gerrymandering has let unchecked Republicans pass extremist laws that could never make it through Congress.

 

[Excerpt:]A Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released this week found that, without Trump on the ballot, DeSantis would lead his closest rival, former Vice President Mike Pence, by a 15-point margin.

“I do think that voters are going to have a hard time choosing between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis because they are so similar in what they offer,” Schilling said. “I don’t think there is a DeSantis without Donald Trump opening that huge door for him . . . .” 

 

The Different Potential Versions of Any “Independent State Legislature Doctrine”

In my testimony on the independent state legislature theory (ISLT) to the House Administration Committee, I identified seven different potential versions of such a doctrine, should the Court endorse it at all.  That highlights the fact that the question is not just whether the Court endorses such a doctrine, but what the scope of that doctrine would be.  I thought it might be helpful to list those different potential versions here.

In my testimony, I address the practical consequences of each of these different versions, as well as the historical evidence, for or against, any of these versions.  Here, I will just list these versions without elaborating upon them.  One can find endorsements of each, or at least suggestions of support for them, either in statements individual Justices have issued or in well-informed commentary.  Also, if the Court endorses the doctrine, that doctrine could include more than one of these specific versions. 

I’ve listed them more or less in order of how wide-ranging the consequences would be of each version, with the most sweeping versions listed first:

1. State constitutions.  State constitutions cannot impose substantive constraints on state legislation regulating national elections

2. Voter-initiated laws.  Voter-initiated legislation cannot impose substantive constraints on state legislation regulating national elections

3. General v. Specific State Constitutional Provisions.  State constitutions or voter-initiated laws can impose substantive constraints on such legislation, but cannot transfer permanently transfer entirely out of the legislature’s hands a fundamental function involving state regulation of national elections (such as redistricting)

4. Regulating v. Permanently Displacing State Legislatures. State constitutions can impose substantive constraints on state legislation regulating national elections if those constraints are specific enough, but state courts cannot enforce more general state constitutional provisions against state legislation regulating national elections.

5. Direct Conflicts with State Election Laws in the Administration and Interpretation of State Election Laws.  State executive officials and courts cannot invoke general principles or canons of interpretation that generate a result which directly contradicts or conflicts with a provision in state election law regulating national elections.

6. Straying ”Too Far” from State Election Laws in Administration and Interpretation of State Election Laws.  Even if executive action or state judicial interpretation does not generate a result that directly conflicts with state election law, the ISLT precludes executive action or state judicial interpretation that strays too far from the text of state election laws that regulate national elections.

7. Limits on State Court Remedial Relief.  State courts can enforce substantive provisions in state constitutions or voter-initiated enactments, but if the courts find a violation, they must give the legislature the first opportunity to decide how to remedy that violation, at least absent urgent time constraints.

Note that I do not include on this list a version in which state legislation regulating national elections could not be subject to gubernatorial veto.  I’m not aware of any major defender of the ISLT who argues for that version.

 

Why Garland Should Go Big

He shouldn’t bring a pen to the gun fight

August 2, 2022

 

Republicans’ next big play is to ‘scare the hell out of Washington’ by rewriting the Constitution. And they’re willing to play the long game to win.

  • The conservative movement isn’t done reshaping the Constitution from the ground up.
  • Conservatives are now pushing an unprecedented convention to re-write the US bedrock text since 1788. 
  • So far, 19 GOP states have joined a rapidly-growing conservative movement to call a new convention.  

 

“How Six States Could Overturn the 2024 Election”

Barton Gellman in The Atlantic on the potential implications of Moore v. Harper for presidential elections (if, a big if, any independent state legislature holding in the congressional election context extends to presidential elections, too).

To understand the stakes, and the motives of Republicans who brought the case, you need only one strategic fact of political arithmetic. Six swing states—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina—are trending blue in presidential elections but ruled by gerrymandered Republican state legislatures. No comparable red-trending states are locked into Democratic legislatures. . . .

If you give the legislature a blank check on the manner of appointing presidential electors, then a Republican majority could—in the most muscular version of ISL—simply disregard a Biden victory in the state’s popular vote and appoint Trump electors instead. . . .

But if the Supreme Court adopts the ISL doctrine in Moore, the argument that Texas made will become a model in 2024. The conditions that Texas cited in its argument are almost always present in contemporary elections. Legislatures pass laws on the conduct of the vote, but election administrators have to interpret those laws and set implementing rules such as precinct locations, polling times, and counting procedures. State courts sometimes mandate changes in the rules to comply with their state constitutions. It’s all but impossible to conduct an election without making rules or choices that the legislature did not specifically authorize.

The pernicious threat of ISL, wrote Richard L. Hasen, an election-law expert at UCLA, is that “a state legislature dominated by Republicans in a state won by Democrats could simply meet and declare that local administrators or courts have deviated from the legislature’s own rules, and therefore the legislature will take matters into its own hands and choose its own slate of electors.”

 

[Excerpt:]

The 65 Project, a bipartisan group dedicated to disbarring lawyers who filed frivolous cases related to the 2020 election, or who otherwise participated in the coup attempt, has been very busy in recent months. It filed a series of complaints against advisers of defeated former president Donald Trump, including Jenna Ellis, Boris Epshteyn, Cleta Mitchell, John Eastman and Joseph diGenova, as well as two lawyers who signed on to be fake electors and two lawyers who participated in the events of Jan. 6, 2o21.

Now, the group is making its most ambitious move yet: It is filing a specific demand with the Supreme Court to kick Eastman, the chief architect of the coup plot, out of the elite Supreme Court Bar (lawyers eligible to argue in the highest court). And it has requested that Justice Clarence Thomas recuse himself from the disciplinary proceeding because of the role that Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, played in the 2020 scheme.

 

The Youth Voting Rights Act Would Transform Access for Young Voters

In this op-ed, a lawyer who helped write the Youth Voting Rights Act explains why it’s so crucial.

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/youth-voting-rights-act-what-is

The Youth Voting Rights Act, introduced this month by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Nikema Williams (D-GA):

1) establishes a national standard of review for 26th Amendment legal challenges;

2) expands voter registration services at public colleges and universities;

3) allows young people in every state to preregister to vote before turning 18;

4) requires institutions of higher education to have on-campus polling places, with waivers available as appropriate;

5) codifies the right to vote from a college address;

6) guarantees that states accept student IDs to meet voter-identification requirements;

7) creates a grant program that supports youth involvement in elections, including paid fellowships for young people to work with state and local election administrators to engage their peers; and

8) gathers data on registration and voting based on age and race.

 

Most third parties have failed. Here’s why ours won’t.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/07/27/forward-party-new-centrist-third/

David Jolly is a former Republican congressman from Florida and is executive chairman of the Serve America Movement. Christine Todd Whitman is a former Republican governor of New Jersey and co-founder of the Renew America Movement. Andrew Yang is a former Democratic presidential candidate and is co-chair of the Forward Party.

 

Trump Just Told Us His Master Plan

If he gets in next time, he won’t be dislodged by any means.

Trump’s first term was mitigated by his ignorance, indolence, and incompetence. Since the humiliation of his 2020 defeat, however, Trump has been studying how to use a second chance if he gets one. The one abiding interest of his life, revenge, will provide the impetus. Next time, he will have the wholehearted support of a White House staff selected to enable him. Next time, he will have the backing in Congress of a party remade in his own image. Next time, he’ll be acting to ensure that his opponents never again get a “next time” of their own.

He may not succeed, but he’ll know what he’s trying to do.

 

The Forgotten Constitutional Weapon Against Voter Restrictions

A former Justice Department lawyer thinks he’s found a way to penalize states that undermine voting rights.

The Trailer: How DeSantis and other GOP candidates are ditching ‘legacy media’ for friendly outlets

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/07/26/trailer-how-desantis-other-gop-candidates-are-ditching-legacy-media-friendly-outlets

[Excerpts:]

As the number of local media outlets shrink, and as alternative media outlets boom, Republicans are finding less use for what they disparagingly call “fake news” — or, more diplomatically, the “legacy media.” Social media, and decades of investment in conservative outlets, have made it easy to reach voters outside of the “legacy” filter.

In Pennsylvania, four Republicans running for governor briefly demanded a Republican debate moderator as a condition for facing off; Doug Mastriano, who won the nomination, kept media outlets out of his closing rallies. In Missouri, two leading candidates in the GOP’s U.S. Senate primary avoided televised debates; one of them, ex-Gov. Eric Greitens, only committed to a debate run by two conservative news sites.

“Donald Trump might be the last president to be elected with a majority of CNN hits,” said Matt Schlapp, the president of the American Conservative Union and its CPAC conferences. “There is just so much hostility within legacy media toward people with our point of view that you do have to ask yourself — after all these experiences, is it even worth it to try?”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who had selected Levin to moderate two of the debates, presided over an “invite-only” conference at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. While a few more outlets were permitted to cover his dinner speech on Saturday, DeSantis talked proudly about keeping them out of the day-long conference — the debates, speeches from legislative and statewide GOP leaders, and talks by prominent conservative pundits.

“We in the state of Florida are not going to allow legacy media outlets to be involved in our primaries,” DeSantis reportedly told the crowd of more than a thousand conservatives, who had paid at least $100 to attend the summit. “I’m not going to have a bunch of left-wing media people asking our candidates gotcha questions.”

“I have friends across the country,” DeSantis reportedly told his audience. “They say all they do is watch Florida, because they figure three months later, their state may get around and doing what we’re doing.

 

Strongest Evidence of Guilt: A Chart Tracking Trump’s Knowledge and Intent in Efforts to Overturn the Election By Ryan Goodman, Justin Hendrix and Clara Apt Just SecurityJuly 11, 2022

 

The insurrectionists’ clubhouse: Former Trump aides find a home at a little-known MAGA hub

Nearly two dozen alleged members of the Jan. 6 plot are connected to a single Capitol Hill address.

[Excerpt:]

The network has broad reach and keeps an eye on future elections: CPI helped found and support the election monitoring nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell, along with roughly a dozen other dark money and advocacy groups, virtually all of which share the address of the CPI town house on official reporting. Mitchell did not respond to inquiries from Grid for this story.

These organizations employ or assist at least 20 key operatives, reportedly involved in Trump’s failed effort to subvert the 2020 election, including Mitchell, ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who was the subject of both a recent Jan. 6 hearing and an FBI raid. And they help raise millions for Trump-aligned members of Congress — more than $38 million over the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

The House Freedom Caucus, whose members were allegedly involved in planning and executing strategies to derail the certification of 2020 election results to help Trump retain power, keeps its PAC at CPI’s headquarters and holds meetings at the brownstone. The Senate Conservatives Fund also calls the building home. The group has backed Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who, according to text messages obtained by the Jan. 6 congressional committee, was involved in a pressure campaign directed by Trump attorney John Eastman to get state legislators to change election results in key states. When the effort failed, Lee voted to certify the election. The fund also supports Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, who both promoted vote fraud lies and voted against certifying the election results.

Caroline Wren, a key organizer for the “Stop the Steal” rally preceding the Capitol riot, was invited by CPI to speak at an event last year. The group made Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media guru, a CPI digital fellow and asked him to speak about “Winning Communications Strategy” at a recent conference. According to the Jan. 6 committee, Scavino wrote many of Trump’s postelection posts falsely alleging vote fraud and promoting his rally on Jan. 6. Jenna Ellis, a Trump lawyer who wrote memos attempting to justify overturning the election, records her podcast, “The Jenna Ellis podcast,” at CPI. Requests for comment to Wren, Scavino and Ellis went unanswered.

CPI and its affiliates are more than just a safe harbor: The network and its employees are a continued source of false vote fraud allegations, and produce and amplify defensive messaging in conservative circles responding to the major revelations of the Jan. 6 hearings.

“They’ve got a lot of money, and they’re willing to use that money in any way to advance their goals,” said Norm Ornstein, election expert and emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “And their goals are radical goals about voter suppression, overturning election results if they don’t like them and trying to keep any Democrat who’s in office from governing.” [Boldface added]

 

DOJ Challenges AZ Voter Registration Law

From the press release:

The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the State of Arizona challenging voting restrictions imposed by House Bill 2492 (2022), a recently-enacted law set to take effect in January 2023. The United States’ complaint challenges provisions of House Bill 2492 under Section 6 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) and Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964….

The United States’ complaint contends that House Bill 2492 violates the NVRA by requiring that applicants produce documentary proof of citizenship before they can vote in presidential elections or vote by mail in any federal election when they register to vote using the uniform federal registration form created by the NVRA. This requirement flouts the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Ariz., Inc., 570 U.S. 1 (2013), which rejected an earlier attempt by Arizona to impose a similar documentary proof of citizenship mandate on applicants seeking to vote in federal elections. The United States’ complaint also contends that House Bill 2492 violates Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act by requiring election officials to reject voter registration forms based on errors or omissions that are not material to establishing a voter’s eligibility to cast a ballot.

Tuscon.com has this story, and the Hill this one.

 

Election fraud claims from 2020 are widespread on talk radio, contributing to the belief that the midterm results cannot be trusted.

Stuart Thompson writes about online information flows.

 

Despite rebukes, Trump’s legal brigade is thriving

Their claims were dismissed as baseless, but many attorneys have never faced discipline and have found new business as go-to MAGA lawyers.

Former President Donald J. Trump has weathered scandals by keeping his intentions under wraps, but recent testimony paints a stark portrait of a man willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/03/us/politics/new-insights-into-trumps-state-of-mind-on-jan-6-chip-away-at-doubts

 

DIANE REHM: ON MY MIND | 

A Strengthening Case Against Donald Trump

After the last two weeks of testimony at the January 6th committee hearings, she says the answer is tilting toward yes on both counts in the case of former President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson served up new details about President Trump’s behavior before, during, and after the attack on the Capitol. Her testimony filled in some of the blanks legal experts said might prevent the Department of Justice from indicting the former president.

The committee has now issued a subpoena for the former White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, who opposed plans to overturn the 2020 election – and is seen as a critical witness in establishing criminal liability.

Barbara McQuade joined Diane to help explain the strengthening case against Donald Trump.

GUESTS

Barbara McQuade, Former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; professor, University of Michigan Law School

 

Supreme Court Will Hear Moore v. Harper, the Independent State Legislature Theory Case from North Carolina; This Case Could Severely Curtail the Ability of State Courts to Protect Voting Rights and Stop Partisan Gerrymandering

The Supreme Court today just agreed to hear Moore v. Harper, an “independent state legislature” theory case from North Carolina. This case has the potential to fundamentally rework the relationship between state legislatures and state courts in protecting voting rights in federal elections. It also could provide the path for election subversion.

The issue presented in this case has been a recurring one in recent years. Two parts of the Constitution, Article I, Section 4 as to congressional elections and Article II as to presidential elections give state “legislatures” the power to set certain rules (in the Art. I, section 4 context, subject to congressional override). The Supreme Court has long understood the use of the term legislature here to broadly encompass a state’s legislative process, such as the need for a governor’s signature on legislative action (or veto override) about congressional elections. See Smiley v. Holm. As recently as 2015, the Supreme Court held that the voters in Arizona could use the initiative process to create an independent redistricting commission to draw congressional districts even when the state legislature objected. See Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission v. Arizona Legislature.

But that latter case was 5-4 with a strong dissent by Chief Justice Roberts, who believed the legislature could not be cut out of the process. Most of the Justices in the majority in that case are now off the Court.

There’s a more radical version of the idea that the Legislature has power, standing on its own as a body and not part of the general structure of state government, in the independent state legislature theory.

Take the facts of the Moore case. The North Carolina Supreme Court, interpreting a provision of the state constitution protecting the right to vote, held that partisan gerrymandering violated the state constitution and required drawing fairer lines, including in Congressional districts. That state court is majority-Democrat and the NC General Assembly is majority Republican. The Republican legislature argued that this holding usurped its sole and plenary power to choose the manner for drawing congressional districts.

Pause on that for a moment: the theory in its extreme is that the state constitution as interpreted by the state supreme court is not a limit on legislative power. This extreme position would essentially neuter the development of any laws protecting voters more broadly than the federal constitution based on voting rights provisions in state constitutions.

And this theory might not just restrain state supreme courts: it can also potentially restrain state and local agencies and governors implementing rules for running elections.

And this kind of argument shows how the ISL theory, if taken to its extreme, could help foment election subversion. How so? Suppose a state agency interprets state rules to allow for the counting of certain ballots, and doing so favors one candidate. If the leaders of the legislature are from the other party, and they say that the interpretation does not follow the views of the legislature, it’s impermissible and the results need to flip.

Now there may be many responses to such arguments, including arguments like laches—you can’t start raising these arguments after an election when things don’t go your way.

This was in fact the theory that Trump allies tried to raise after the PA Supreme Court extended the time to receive absentee ballots in the 2020 elections because of covid, relying on voter protective provisions in the State constitution. Trump allies argued this usurped the power of the state legislature to set deadlines, and Justice Alito at the time (Circuit Justice for the Third Circuit) put the counting of such ballots on hold. There were about 10,000 such ballots, far fewer than the 80,000 vote victory of Biden in the state. But if it had been closer, a radical reading of ISL could have led to a flipping of results.

Now may be more limited ways of reading the ISL theory, such as to apply only when a state court or agency decision very strongly deviates from legislative language about how to run federal elections.

There are also strong originalist arguments that might persuade some of the Justices not to adopt such a radical reading of these constitutional provisions.

But buckle up! An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great mischief.

[This post has been updated]

 

The People v. Donald Trump

The evidence for a possible criminal case against the former president is piling up.

JUNE 29, 2022

 

Federal prosecutors and congressional investigators are documenting how the former president’s “Be there, will be wild!” post became a catalyst for militants before the Capitol assault.

 

The Supreme Court has chipped away at the Voting Rights Act for 9 years. This case could be the next blow.

The diminished Voting Rights Act has already played a key role in the 2022 elections via redistricting.

 

Trump’s legal exposure may be growing – and 4 other takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing

The Jan. 6 committee has a narrow but priceless opening

[Excerpt:]

Lies about the 2020 election are an animating force for an entire faction of the GOP and have been mobilized as a pretext for corrupting the electoral system to smooth the way for a more successful assault on majority rule in the next presidential election. Even in the face of all our other challenges, protecting democracy is our nation’s most important task. The Jan. 6 committee has a narrow but priceless opening to sound the call to battle.

 

https://www.brennancenter.org/about/staff/will-wilder

 

To Trust Election Results, We Must Trust The People Administering Them

By Amber McReynolds and Heather Balas|

[Excerpts:]It isn’t only in Georgia that our nation faces these challenges. Every state’s top election official, as well as at least 60 percent of their local counterparts, enters office with ties to a political party — making the U.S. an outlier among advanced democracies. Canada, Great Britain and Australia, for example, pick equivalents of secretaries of state by appointment based on qualifications and without regard to political party.

The situation is not hopeless. Policy options include: 1) Selecting election officials using impartial appointment models; 2) Electing these officials in nonpartisan races that remove all party affiliations from the ballot; or 3) Requiring election experience for people running for the posts. 

Many election officials support such reforms. Secretaries of state have told us that a law prohibiting political endorsements would help them say no to such requests. County clerks in states like Washington support reforms to make election administration nonpartisan. And local election officials, including in Virginia, are raising alarms over the increasingly partisan role of party-selected county election boards.

To be clear, our nation is blessed with many election officials who serve tirelessly. We absolutely must protect them from harm or coercion. At the same time, we must insist that election officials’ integrity remain beyond reproach. States must, at minimum, pass ethics codes for elected officials requiring political and financial neutrality, and they must do it right away. 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson
June 2, 2022
[Forcefully conveying the concertedly anti-democratic efforts of Trump enablers – including Eastman, Giuliani, Pence, Brooks, Mitchell, Bannon and the Republican National Committee -to overturn election 2020 and beyond, with this admonition to all Americans from Nick Penniman, founder and CEO of wthe nonpartisan election watchdog group Issue One:  “This is completely unprecedented in the history of American elections that a political party would be working at this granular level to put a network together…. It looks like now the Trump forces are going directly after the legal system itself and that should concern everyone.”][See profiles of Eastman, Giuliani, Pence, Brooks, Mitchell, Bannon and the Republican National Committee in our Card Deck featuring 54+ Trump enablers]
Read the Trump-world legal memo that a judge ruled was likely part of a criminal effort to overturn the election
An attorney sketched out a plan for then Vice-President Mike Pence to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
Kyle Cheney
June 1, 2022

‘It’s going to be an army’: Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest elections

Placing operatives as poll workers and building a “hotline” to friendly attorneys are among the strategies to be deployed in Michigan and other swing states.

States’ Concerted Efforts to Curb Election Misinformation

Cecilia Kang, N.Y. Times, reports on efforts in several states to combat election misinformation in advance of November.

 

Senate candidate Oz shows how Trump still threatens democracy

 

Trump loyalist who lost Georgia governor primary with just 3.4% of the vote is refusing to admit defeat

Gerrymandering, a legal form of vote stealing, more entrenched now than ever

Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He is the co-author (with Stuart Blumin) of “Rude Republic: Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century.”
Telling Our Story: An Elections Communication Guidehttps://www.electionsgroup.com/telling-our-story-guide

Election officials have an extremely important and wonderful story to tell. They oversee and administer one of the best voting systems in the world, one that gives millions of Americans a voice in determining their future and the future of their country.

 

Wisconsin: “Republican state elections commissioner Dean Knudson abruptly resigns, rebuking his party’s embrace of Trump’s false election claims”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

A Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission under fire from members of his own party for refusing to entertain 2020 election distortions stunned his colleagues Wednesday by announcing his resignation from the oversight board and blasting the GOP’s continued focus on former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.

 

Election Deniers Thrive Even as Trumpism Drifts: 5 Primary Takeaways

May 18, 2022

 

DeSantis taps self-described ‘Florida gun lawyer’ to oversee elections

(CNN) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has put in charge of the state’s election systems a deeply conservative state lawmaker who has championed legislation to ban so-called sanctuary cities and calls himself the “Florida gun lawyer.”

Byrd takes over the Florida Department of State at a critical juncture in the agency’s history: For the first time, the office will oversee a new election security force with unprecedented authority to hunt for election and voting violations in the state. The new election force was a top priority for DeSantis, who signed a law to create the Office of Election Crimes and Security earlier this year.
The change in leadership comes amid a busy midterm election cycle where DeSantis will be on the ballot, and with the Department of State embroiled in multiple lawsuits over Florida’s new congressional map and a 2021 law that put new restrictions on mail-in voting and other election measures. On Thursday, a state judge called the new DeSantis-backed congressional boundaries unconstitutional because they diminish the power of Black voters in northern Florida, but an appellate court on Friday stayed the lower court’s ruling.

 

Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper agreed with an interviewer that President Trump posed “a threat to democracy.” Other former administration officials have expressed similar concerns.

In his new book “A Sacred Oath,” released earlier this week, Mark T. Esper, the former defense secretary, revealed that President Donald J. Trump in 2020 had floated the idea of launching missiles into Mexico to “destroy the drug labs” and asked why the military could not “just shoot” racial justice protesters in Washington in the legs.

Mr. Esper also described his concerns that Mr. Trump might misuse the military during the 2020 election, for example by asking soldiers to seize ballot boxes. On Monday, when a Fox News host asked if he thought President Trump “was a threat to democracy,” Mr. Esper was blunt.

“I think that given the events of Jan. 6, given how he has undermined the election results, he incited people to come to D.C., stirred them up that morning and failed to call them off, to me that threatens our democracy,” he said.

[Boldface  added]

In the last year, the Republican Party has transformed

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

May 11. 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-11-2022?s=r


2020 ELECTION: TRUMP LAWYER JOHN EASTMAN LITERALLY TOLD A LAWMAKER TO TOSS ABSENTEE VOTES, UNSEAT BIDEN ELECTORS

Newly revealed emails show the inner-workings of Eastman’s extreme plan to overturn 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.

BY ERIC LUTZ

MAY 11, 2022

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/05/john-eastman-pennsylvania-2020-election-plan?

 

Inside Mark Meadows’s final push to keep Trump in power

The former congressman played a key role in Trump’s effort to overturn the election, according to his texts, congressional investigations and interviews

 

How 6 GOP candidates shifted their tones on ‘stolen election’ claims

 

DHS watchdog says Trump’s agency appears to have altered report on Russian interference in 2020 election in part because of politics

A Reuters Special Report: Trump Allies Breach U.S. Voting Systems in Search of 2020 Fraud ‘Evidence’

Chasing proof of vote-rigging conspiracy theories, Republican officials and activists in eight U.S. locales have plotted to gain illegal access to balloting systems, undermining the security of elections they claim to protect.

By ALEXANDRA ULMER and NATHAN LAYNE

Filed April 28, 2022

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-election-breaches?

Building the “Big Lie”: Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth — ProPublica

Internal emails and interviews with key participants reveal for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the rigged election theory touted evidence they knew to be disproven, disputed or dismissed as dubious.

 

How Bad Could Things Get for the Voting Rights Act? The Supreme Court Just Gave Us a Preview.

APRIL 13, 2022

by  and 

 

Trump should be charged. Don’t let the House pass the buck.

So now it is up the select committee and the Justice Department, which both seem to be caught in a cycle of hand-wringing. They worry about the “taint” of a referral and agonize over fears that Trump and the GOP will discredit any investigation as a partisan witch hunt.

But here’s a reality check: No matter what they do, no matter how cautiously they act, Trump will react with bad faith and demagoguery.

The Justice Department could hire an avatar of respectability and integrity to handle the prosecution (see: Robert Mueller) — and it wouldn’t matter. Whatever it does, Trump will let loose the dogs of disinformation, deceit and obstruction.

Knowing it can’t control the reaction, maybe the select committee should just do the right thing — and finally, finally end the cycle of timidity, self-deterrence and buck-passing.

 

Mark Meadows removed from North Carolina voter rolls

[Excerpt:]

Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been removed from North Carolina’s voter rolls, according to the State Board of Elections.

Meadows is also being investigated for allegations of voter fraud, the State Bureau of Investigation said.

The decision to remove the former North Carolina congressman and Trump adviser from the state’s voter rolls came after it was revealed that Meadows was registered to vote in September 2020 at a mobile home in Scaly Mountain, N.C., despite not residing there.

Days before Jan. 6, a onetime aide to Roger J. Stone Jr. told Trump backers to make lawmakers meeting to finalize the 2020 election results feel that “people are breathing down their necks.” 

Amid the current crisis, Fiona Hill and other former advisers are connecting President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine to Jan. 6. And they’re ready to talk.

 

Jan. 6 Panel Has Evidence for Criminal Referral of Trump, but Splits on Sending

Despite concluding that it has enough evidence, the committee is concerned that making a referral to the Justice Department would backfire by politicizing the investigation into the Capitol riot.

How the GOP learned to stop worrying and love ‘stolen election’ claims

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/04/11/how-gop-learned-stop-worrying-love-stolen-election-claims/

 

Lesson plan: An experiment in misinformation

April 5, 2022

PBS NewsHour Classroom

Lesson plan: An experiment in misinformation

OVERVIEW

Students will be introduced to Birds Aren’t Real, a satirical conspiracy theory, then create connections to mis- and disinformation while watching a PBS NewsHour Classroom video lesson.

OBJECTIVES

    • Students will learn to understand and apply concepts of mis- and disinformation in context.
    • Students will construct knowledge around conspiracy theories, mis- and disinformation using a satirical conspiracy theory as an example.
    • Students will evaluate how Birds Aren’t Real operates and create connections between how mis- and disinformation is spread.

 

Opinion: Is Trump crazy — or calculating? His opponents have to decide.

By Jason Willick, Columnist

[Excerpt:]

Opinion: Hey, Tucker Carlson, are you still rooting for Russia over Ukraine?

Call it a stealth coup

April 7, 2022

https://www.tribdem.com/news/editorials/columns/leonard-pitts-jr-call-it-a-stealth-coup/

 

Opinion: The fool’s gold of Trump’s decertification plan

[Excerpts:]

As Donald Trump flails about trying to “rescind” the 2020 presidential election and castigating Republicans who point out the Constitution doesn’t allow that, here is a heads-up for state legislators considering doing his bidding: You were elected to office by the same voters using the same ballots on the same day.

If somehow Joe Biden’s victory was fraudulent, so was yours.

It is worth asking all secretary of state candidates some questions: Would they have certified the 2020 election? And under what circumstances, with what hard evidence, would they refuse to certify future elections? Do they recognize that invalidating a vote for one office means invalidating the votes for all offices on a ballot? Their answers will be revealing, and Republican officials whose elections may be called into question should pay attention.

These issues spotlight the crucial role of election officials — the people charged in our democracy with calling balls and strikes. When umpires or referees call a game so that the team they favor wins, we recognize that as an “illegal fix.”

When they make claims that betray a basic lack of knowledge of how elections work, we should call them what they are: unqualified for the office.

Judge Rules Parts of Florida Voting Law Are Unconstitutional

The ruling against a major Republican election law, issued by a federal judge in Tallahassee, is likely to be overturned either by a higher appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court.By Reid J. EpsteinPatricia Mazzei and Nick Corasaniti

March 31, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/31/us/politics/florida-voting-law.html?referringSource=articleShare

[Excerpt:] 

A federal judge in Florida ruled on Thursday that sections of the state’s year-old election law were unconstitutional and racially motivated, and barred the state from making similar changes to its laws in the next decade without the approval of the federal government.

The sharply worded 288-page order, issued by Judge Mark E. Walker of the Federal District Court in Tallahassee, was the first time a federal court had struck down major elements of the wave of voting laws enacted by Republicans since the 2020 election. Finding a pattern of racial bias, Walker in his ruling relied on a little-used legal provision to impose unusual federal restrictions on how a state legislates.

“For the past 20 years, the majority in the Florida Legislature has attacked the voting rights of its Black constituents,” Walker wrote in the decision, which frequently quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Walker argued that the attacks were “part of a cynical effort to suppress turnout among their opponents’ supporters. That, the law does not permit.”

Judge Walker’s decision is certain to be appealed and is likely to be overturned either by the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which tends to lean conservative, or the Supreme Court, which has sharply limited the federal government’s power to intervene in state election law.

Frank Bruni

 

The Bulwark: Morning Shots with Charlie Sykes

March 30, 2021

Trump’s Treason

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/trumps-treason?s=r

 

March 28, 2022: Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power

The Texas senator’s effort alienated some allies and sparked questions about ties to John Eastman, a longtime friend and author of key legal memos in Trump’s efforts.

By Michael Kranish

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/28/ted-cruz-john-eastman-jan6-committee/

[Excerpt:]

An examination by The Washington Post of Cruz’s actions between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, shows just how deeply he was involved, working directly with Trump to concoct a plan that came closer than widely realized to keeping him in power. As Cruz went to extraordinary lengths to court Trump’s base and lay the groundwork for his own potential 2024 presidential bid, he also alienated close allies and longtime friends who accused him of abandoning his principles.

 

Under Trump, DHS directed to probe bogus claims about voter fraud

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/mark-meadows-voter-registration-investigation/

In late April of 2020, a top political appointee in the Trump administration called for Department of Homeland Security officials to scrutinize an unusual topic for a national security agency: possible voter fraud in the upcoming election. A subsequent directive included a focus on mail-in voting, according to a document reviewed by POLITICO.

That guidance came as then-President Donald Trump fomented claims that the expansion of mail-in voting would corrupt the 2020 election — which later fed his unsubstantiated assertions that the election was stolen.

DHS’ intelligence office did not release any materials substantiating the president’s claims. But it did find that the Kremlin spread lies about mail-in voting.

The issuance of a directive involving voter fraud to the DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis, which has not been previously reported, casts a new light on the extent of Trump World’s efforts to use government resources to investigate spurious claims about U.S. elections.

It also raises new questions about how a domestic political complaint found its way onto the intelligence community’s to-do list.

 

Ginni Thomas Admits She Attended January 6 Stop the Steal Rally

She says she left before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

NOAH Y. KIM

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/03/ginni-thomas-january-6-clarence-admits-she-supreme-court-stop-the-steal-rally/

 

Texas mail ballot rejections soar under new restrictions

By PAUL J. WEBER and ACACIA CORONADO

March 16, 2022

https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-elections-texas-voting-only-on-ap-45ba51fe9dd951a0f82015bd6bd9ff41

 

The Trumpist Ukraine Blame Game

After the invasion, there may or may not be room for Putin apologists in the Republican Party, but there is certainly room for Trump apologists.

By Amy Davidson Sorkin

March 13, 2022

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/03/21/the-trumpist-ukraine-blame-game?

 

2020 Was a Banner Year for U.S. Election Administration

MIT’s Election Performance Index shows improvement across the board.

https://elections-blog.mit.edu/articles/2020-was-banner-year-us-election-administration

 

Thank God Trump Isn’t President Right Now

Biden isn’t perfect, but he beats the alternative.

byMONA CHAREN

MARCH 9, 2022

HTTPS://WWW.THEBULWARK.COM/THANK-GOD-TRUMP-ISNT-PRESIDENT-RIGHT-NOW-RUSSIA-PUTIN-UKRAINE/

 

Judge denies Fox News motion to dismiss defamation suit by election-tech company Smartmatic

By Jeremy Barr

March 9, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2022/03/09/smartmatic-fox-lawsuit-not-dismissed/

 

Pressing for Evidence, Jan. 6 Panel Argues That Trump Committed Fraud

March 8, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/08/us/politics/jan-6-panel-trump-fraud.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

Democrats are Fighting like Hell for Voting Rights

Republicans didn’t like the way the last election went, so they are trying to make it harder for folks to vote. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

Jaime Harrison

Published Mar. 04, 2022 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/democrats-are-fighting-like-hell-for-voting-rights

 

New evidence shows Trump was told many times there was no voter fraud — but he kept saying it anyway

The House Jan. 6 panel aims to prove that Trump was acting corruptly by continuing to spread misinformation about the election long after he had reason to know he had legitimately lost

By Rosalind S. HeldermanJacqueline AlemanJosh Dawsey and Tom Hamburger

March 3, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/03/trump-election-jan-6/

 

Jan. 6 Committee Lays Out Potential Criminal Charges Against Trump

By Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer

Published March 2, 2022Updated March 3, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/02/us/politics/trump-criminal-charges-jan-6.html

[Excerpt:]

In a court filing in a civil case in California, the committee’s lawyers for the first time laid out their theory of a potential criminal case against the former president. They said they had accumulated evidence demonstrating that Mr. Trump, the conservative lawyer John Eastman and other allies could potentially be charged with criminal violations including obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the American people.

The filing also said there was evidence that Mr. Trump’s repeated lies that the election had been stolen amounted to common law fraud.

 

CHARLES M. BLOW

Open Letter to President Biden From a Dispirited Black Voter

March 2, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/02/opinion/biden-black-voter.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

She Defended Democracy. Do Voters Care?

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs might wind up the only person standing between Arizona and the triumph of the Big Lie.

FEBRUARY 28, 2022

[Excerpt]

At this particular moment, the people who are most likely to become Arizona’s next governor are two 52-year-old women who have planted their flags on opposite sides of the battlefield for American democracy. If Lake or another Big Lie–endorsing candidate wins, a 2024 election-subversion scenario is not difficult to conjure: In two years, Donald Trump runs again for president. He is defeated again, and again, instead of conceding, he accuses Democrats of fraud. This time, though, the system works in his favor. Trump calls on his allies, newly installed in key election-administration positions in states and cities across the country, to contest the results. In Arizona, the new Republican secretary of state, Mark Finchem, chooses not to certify the election, and Governor Lake refuses to sign a certificate of ascertainment appointing the winning candidate’s electors. Instead, she suggests a different slate of electors who will vote for Trump, and they do, sending a certificate of that vote to Congress. In spite of a wave of legal challenges brought by Democrats, Republican political leaders in other swing states follow suit, setting off a chain of events in which Trump, despite losing, is declared the next president. Distrust in America’s institutions reaches new heights. Some question whether America remains a democracy. Others cheer.

These are the stakes of Katie Hobbs’s campaign for governor. She’d better hope that Arizona voters understand them.

 

Democracy May Depend on a New Partisan Battleground: Races for Secretary of State

The once-sleepy,down-ballot elected office has suddenly become one of themost vital roles of the nation.

By David Montgomery

FEBRUARY 28, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2022/02/28/secretary-of-state/

 

Frustrated Michigan clerks call for election reforms: ‘Now is the time’

By Craig Mauger

February 28, 2022

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2022/02/28/voting-reforms-now-michigan-clerks-frustrated/9322783002/

[Excerpt:]

Lansing — Two organizations that represent hundreds of Michigan clerks called on state lawmakers Monday “to set aside their agendas” and make bipartisan improvements to voting policies ahead of the November statewide election. 

Mary Clark, president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, and Marc Kleiman, president of the Michigan Association of County Clerks, made the request in a two-page letter addressed to “state and legislative leaders.”

 

Shame On Those Who Defended Trump’s “Perfect Call”

Never forget that as president Donald Trump led an organized campaign to withhold military aid and blackmail the Ukrainians. And that Republicans let him get away it.

FEBRUARY 27, 2022

 

The war against democracy finds allies in America First

By Philip Bump

National correspondent

February 27, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/27/war-against-democracy-finds-allies-america-first/

What does “America first” mean?

This tagline generally associated with former president Donald Trump seems self-obvious, which is the heart of its utility. “America first” means putting America first, which … sure. But how? In what context?

OPINION

MICHELLE COTTLE

Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

While U.S. leaders are dealing with war in Europe and disruption of the global order, the leading lights of MAGA America are in central Florida this week for that annual bacchanal of right-wing pageantry and passion known as the Conservative Political Action Conference.

 

McCarthy endorses Cheney’s primary rival in rebuke of Republican incumbent who has denounced Trump

Mariana Alfaro

February 17, 2022|Updated February 18, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/17/mccarthy-cheney-jan-6/

[Our favorite excerpt:]

Upon hearing the news of Trump’s endorsement of Hageman for the at-large seat, Cheney quipped a quick answer: “Bring it.”

 

States of Denial: A Guide to Some of the GOP’s Most Brazen Attacks on Voting Rights and Elections

The Republican playbook: gerrymander, suppress, subvert.

ARI BERMAN Senior Reporter

February 16, 2022

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/02/guide-republican-attacks-on-voting-rights-and-elections-gerrymandering-suppression-subversion/

 

A running list of who the January 6 committee has subpoenaed or requested to appear

 

The Conservative Case for Avoiding a Repeat of Jan. 6

Feb. 14, 2022

By J. Michael Luttig

Mr. Luttig, a former judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, has been advising a number of senior Republican senators on the Electoral Count Act.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/14/opinion/electoral-count-act.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

Don’t bet on the GOP coming to its senses just yet

By Stuart Rothenberg

Posted February 8, 2022

https://rollcall.com/2022/02/08/dont-bet-on-the-gop-coming-to-its-senses-just-yet/

[Excerpts:]

Will a growing percentage of Republican voters come to recognize Trump’s lies and reject his assertion that the election of 2020 was stolen? Will they be shocked and upset that he surrounded himself by so many advisers who said he could simply change the outcome of the 2020 election? And will more Republicans start to recognize Trump’s lies and see him as a bully who is intent on winning, even if that means undermining key democratic institutions? 

I remain skeptical.

That may change, of course. But most Republicans who find Trump repugnant have already signaled their opposition to him, and the party apparently lacks a large contingent of people — in the grassroots, in elective office and in the national party’s leadership — for whom character, integrity and the truth are important.

 

Along with attention, GOP House firebrands attract primary fights

Opponents question effectiveness of Greene, Boebert and Cawthorn

By Stephanie Akin

Posted February 8, 2022

https://rollcall.com/2022/02/08/along-with-attention-gop-house-firebrands-attract-primary-fights/

[Excerpt:]

Now the MAGA axis of the House freshman class is attracting Republican challengers who say that, with the GOP in position to win control of the House majority, Republican voters in Georgia, North Carolina and Colorado deserve representatives who want to pass laws rather than pick fights on Twitter. 

That’s a direct attack on their high-profile opponents. It’s also a version of a conversation taking place in Republican primaries across the country as the GOP struggles to determine how much of former President Donald Trump’s in-your-face political style to adopt into the party’s DNA

 

Voting Rights Lab: The Markup

A Weekly Election Legislation Update
February 7, 2022

Today is Monday, February 7. We are tracking 1,953 bills so far this session, with 458 bills that restrict voter access or election administration and 926 bills that improve voter access or election administration. The rest are neutral or mixed or unclear in their impact.

 

Trump was advised by ‘snake oil salesmen,’ former Pence chief of staff says

“I think unfortunately the president had many bad advisers,” Marc Short said.

By MYAH WARD

02/06/2022

[Excerpt:]

“I think unfortunately the president had many bad advisers, who were basically snake oil salesmen giving him really random and novel ideas as to what the vice president could do,” Short told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But our office, you know, researched that and recognized that was never an option.”

Short said he wasn’t sure if Trump’s beliefs could be fully attributed to bad advisers or if the president was seeking the bad advice to produce the result he wanted.

 

What the January 6th Papers Reveal

The Supreme Court ruled to give the House Select Committee access to a trove of documents detailing election-negating strategies that Donald Trump and his advisers entertained—including a military seizure of voting machines—but he continues to peddle a counter-narrative in which he’s the victim.

By Amy Davidson Sorkin

February 6, 2022

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/02/14/what-the-january-6th-papers-reveal?

 

‘Taking the Voters Out of the Equation’: How the Parties Are Killing Competition

The number of competitive House districts is dropping, as both Republicans and Democrats use redistricting to draw themselves into safe seats.

Reid J. Epstein and 

February 6, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/06/us/politics/redistricting-competition-midterms.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

There’s new evidence showing the lack of fraud in 2020 that Trump’s base will never see

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/02/theres-new-evidence-showing-lack-fraud-2020-that-trumps-base-will-never-see/

By Philip Bump, Staff writer

February 2, 2022

[Excerpt:]If you started counting every ballot cast for president in the state of Ohio in 2020, one each second, it would on average take you about two days, five hours and 10 minutes before you came across one that the state thought might have been cast illegally. That’s one every 191,000 seconds. 

On Tuesday, the state reported that its review of voting in the most recent federal election had, predictably, uncovered isolated examples of apparent illegal voting. Those suspect votes — not yet proved to be illegal, mind you — totaled 31 ballots. That’s out of 5.9 million ballots cast for president, meaning that 0.0005 percent of cast ballots were even suspect.

President Donald Trump won Ohio by 476,000 votes. Safe to say that his victory was not tainted by rampant fraud.

 

Trump’s latest claim that election could have been ‘overturned’ looms over electoral count debate in Congress

By Mike DeBonis

February 1, 2022 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/01/trump-electoral-count-act/

 

Mr. Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a senior fellow in global democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford.

January 25, 2021

[Excerpt:]

So far, the Republican leaders of the Senate and House, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, have expressed openness to Electoral Count Act reform. Beyond such a bill, Republican senators such as Mitt Romney have also signaled an openness to considering some reforms on voting rights.

We can’t know what might be possible through bipartisan negotiations, but we do know that the Democrats’ two voting rights bills have not gotten passed this year.

 

Special report: How Stefanik won power and support for spreading Trump’s ‘Big Lie’

BY ZACH HIRSCH (REPORTER)

January 25, 2022

“You dance right up to the line and then you back away. That’s what she does,” McGuire said.

https://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/45237/20220125/special-report-how-stefanik-won-power-and-support-for-spreading-trump-apos-s-apos-big-lie-apos

 

Ann Coulter Is Rooting for a Trump-DeSantis Throw-Down. She’s Not Alone.

Jan. 23, 2022

Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

Ann Coulter has a gift for pushing just the right buttons to inflict maximum irritation. She has been a top-tier troll since Donald Trump was little more than a failed casino magnate.

Which makes Ms. Coulter’s recent attacks on the former president — her onetime political idol — at once delectable and illuminating. Take her contrarian assessment of Mr. Trump’s chokehold on the Republican Party.

“No one wants Trump,” she asserted in a column last week. “He’s fading faster than Sarah Palin did — and she was second place on a losing presidential ticket.”

Parsing recent polling data, Ms. Coulter made the case that high approval for Mr. Trump among Republicans is less about his enduring appeal than about the G.O.P. having been boiled down to a Trumpian rump. Increasingly, she contended, “the only people calling themselves ‘Republicans’ these days are the Trump die-hards.”

 

Why Millions Think It Is Trump Who Cannot Tell a Lie

ByThomas B. Edsall

Jan. 19, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/19/opinion/trump-big-lie.html?referringSource=articleShare

Why is Donald Trump’s big lie so hard to discredit?

This has been a live question for more than a year, but inside it lies another:

Do Republican officials and voters actually believe Trump’s claim that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election by corrupting ballots — the same ballots that put so many Republicans in office — and if they do believe it, what are their motives?

 

Read the never-issued Trump order that would have seized voting machines

The Jan. 6 select panel has obtained the draft order and a document titled “Remarks on National Healing.” Both are reported here in detail for the first time.

Among the records that Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to shield from Jan. 6 investigators are a draft executive order that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines and a document titled “Remarks on National Healing.”

POLITICO has reviewed both documents. The text of the draft executive order is published here for the first time.

 

Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum

BY JORDAIN CARNEY – 01/21/22 

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/590718-effort-to-overhaul-archaic-election-law-wins-new-momentum

Multiple groups on Capitol Hill are working on reforms to the Electoral Count Act, which lays out how the Electoral College results are counted. And in a rare area of overlap, GOP leaders in both chambers and President Biden are opening the door to changes to the 1887 law. 

Though talks on the law have been quietly happening behind the scenes on Capitol Hill for weeks, they are moving to the forefront as lawmakers try to figure out what, if anything, can be done in the election space after a separate, Democratic attempt to pass a sweeping voting rights bill unraveled. 

 

Rudy Giuliani, oversaw fake electors plot in 7 states

By Marshall CohenZachary Cohen and Dan Merica, CNN

Updated January 21, 2022

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/20/politics/trump-campaign-officials-rudy-giuliani-fake-electors/index.html

[Excerpt:]

Washington (CNN)Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, oversaw efforts in December 2020 to put forward illegitimate electors from seven states that Trump lost, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the scheme.

The sources said members of former President Donald Trump’s campaign team were far more involved than previously known in the plan, a core tenet of the broader plot to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory when Congress counted the electoral votes on January 6.

 

DeSantis’ proposed election police force alarms voting rights advocates

By Steve Contorno and Fredreka Schouten, CNN

Updated  January 20, 2022

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/19/politics/ron-desantis-pushes-election-police-force/index.html

 

Opinion: Finally, some moral clarity in the voting rights debate

ByJennifer Rubin, Columnist

January 20, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/20/finally-some-moral-clarity-voting-rights-debate/

[Excerpt:]

Democrats cannot force Republicans to do the right thing. But Democrats did force Republicans and their two Democratic cohorts to reveal the paucity of their arguments and the puniness of their consciences.

 

Democrats brace for likely defeat of voting rights push due to GOP filibuster

ByMike DeBonis

Janaury 19, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-brace-for-likely-defeat-of-voting-rights-push-due-to-gop-filibuster/2022/01/19/2f9a734c-792d-11ec-bf97-6eac6f77fba2_story.html

 

Trump Soft-Launches His 2024 Campaign

The former president’s message at his Arizona rally was as clear as it was dishonest: He didn’t lose to Joe Biden in 2020, and he’ll spend the next year working to elect Republicans who agree.

By Elaine Godfrey

January 15, 2021

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2022/01/trump-arizona-rally-2024-election/621244/

 

The Voting Rights Conundrum, Part I

Stephen Griffin

January 14, 2022

https://balkin.blogspot.com/2022/01/the-voting-rights-conundrum-part-i.html 

 

Democrats Face a Dilemma on Voting: Compromise or Keep Pressing?

With their broad voting rights push nearing a dead end, Democrats must soon decide whether to embrace a far narrower bipartisan effort to protect vote counting and administration.

By Jonathan Weisman

Jan. 14, 2022

 

What’s Next In The Push To Protect The Vote

FRIDAY, JAN 14 2022

The fight over voting rights has taken center stage in Washington. Election law expert Richard Hasen explains what’s at stake and why he’s looking beyond Congress to preserve free and fair elections in the United States.

https://dianerehm.org/shows/2022-01-14/whats-next-in-the-push-to-protect-the-vote

Listen

By not calling off the rioters, Trump may be held liable for the attack and the lawsuits demanding damages. 

BY BESS LEVIN

January 10, 2022

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/01/donald-trump-january-6-lawsuits-liability?

December 4, 2021

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/pope-francis-arrives-greece-highlight-migrants-plight-2021-12-04/

 

Voting Battles of 2022 Take Shape as G.O.P. Crafts New Election Bills

Republicans plan to carry their push to reshape the nation’s electoral system into next year, with Democrats vowing to oppose them but holding few options in G.O.P.-led states.

By Nick Corasaniti

 

Identifying and Minimizing the Risk of Election Subversion and Stolen Elections in the Contemporary United States

Harvard Law Review Forum, forthcoming 2022

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2021-50

33 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2021 Last revised: 8 Oct 2021

Richard L. Hasen, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Part I of this Essay describes the path to this unexpected moment of democratic peril in the United States.

Part II explains the three potential mechanisms by which American elections may be subverted in the future.

Part III recommends steps that can and should be taken to minimize this risk. Preserving and protecting American democracy from the risk of election subversion should be at the top of everyone’s agenda. The time to act is now, before American democracy disappears.

The attacks on the 2024 election are already underway

 

Democrats Can Save Voting by Bringing Back the Mr. Smith Filibuster

A reckoning is coming: They don’t want the Senate to fiddle while democracy burns.

Jonathan Alter

https://www.thedailybeast.com/democrats-can-save-voting-by-bringing-back-the-mr-smith-filibuster

TRUMP’S CAPACITY TO STEAL THE 2024 ELECTION IS ONLY GROWING

The former president‘s desperate scheme to overturn his 2020 defeat and incessant “fraud” lies were just the beginning, as loyalists are angling for key jobs overseeing future elections.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/11/donald-trump-capacity-to-steal-the-2024-election-is-only-growing?

 

What happens when the administration is hinged on the unhinged?

By Mary Ellen Curtin
November 26, 2021 
[Excerpt:]
Everyone ­expected the defeated president to eventually concede, but Donald Trump refused. Instead, as ABC newsman Jonathan Karl explains in “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” Trump chose to launch a violent insurrection that upended the peaceful transfer of power. Karl’s sobering, solid, account of Trump’s last year in office sheds new light on how the man who lost the presidency nearly succeeded in overthrowing the 2020 election. Anyone who thinks that “it can’t happen here,” ought to read this book.
OPINION

MICHELLE COTTLE

 

The Global State of Democracy 2021

Building Resilience in a Pandemic Era

November 22, 2021

 

Nov. 21, 2021

[Excerpt:]

We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy writing in support of the Freedom to Vote Act, the most important piece of legislation to defend and strengthen American democracy since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This bill would protect our elections from interference, partisan gerrymandering, dark money, and voter suppression. We urge all members of Congress to pass the bill, if necessary by suspending the Senate filibuster rule and using a simple majority vote.

This is no ordinary moment in the course of our democracy. It is a moment of great peril and risk.

 

Steve Bannon indicted by federal grand jury

 

At the Willard and the White House, the Jan. 6 Panel Widens Its Net

 

Senate GOP blocks latest Dem push for voting reform

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to join Democrats on the bill named for the late Rep. John Lewis.

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/11/03/senate-republicans-voting-reform-block-519082

 

Georgia secretary of state: Trump ‘had no idea how elections work’

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/579511-georgia-secretary-of-state-trump-had-no-idea-how-elections-work

 

The findings of The Washington Post’s Jan. 6 investigation (and former President Trump’s response):

October 31, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/10/31/response-trump-jan-6-insurrection/

https://washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/jan-6-insurrection-capitol/?no_nav=true#key-findings

Download The Washington Post app.

 

From: CNN Opinion <cnnopinionfeedback@newsletters.cnn.com>
Date: October 31, 2021 at 9:40:09 AM EDT

Beloved is banned.
Please report infractions. 
Signed your future Guv. 

Ahead of Tuesday’s election for governor of Virginia, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin released an ad starring an activist, “Laura Murphy, who campaigned against the teaching of (Toni) Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, ‘Beloved,’ on the grounds the story’s grueling depiction of racial violence gave her son — then a high school senior — nightmares,” wrote Peniel E. Joseph.

The Nobel laureate’s “work calls upon all Americans, but especially our young people, to interrogate the past to create a better democratic future,” Joseph observed. “Censoring the American past does not make White students less vulnerable to feelings of despair about the challenges of racial inequity, discrimination and violence we face as a nation.”

 

Joe Manchin’s Deep Corporate Ties

An underexamined aspect of Manchin’s pro-business positions in the Senate is his early membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council.

By Dan Kaufman

October 26, 2021

 

End Of The Line For Congressional Voting Rights Legislation?

by Matt Shuham, THE FRANCHISE FROM TMP,

October 25, 2021

OCTOBER 25, 2021 || ISSUE NO. 24

 

EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff

Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a “blanket pardon” from the Oval Office

BY Hunter Walker

October 24, 2021 

 

Democrats look for plan B on filibuster

Democrats are struggling with their inability to reform the legislative filibuster, as intense pressure from activists meets dug-in opposition from within the caucus.

The latest frustration over the Senate rule comes after Republicans blocked a revised election reform bill Wednesday, marking the latest Democratic priority to fall victim to the chamber’s 60-vote requirement for most legislation.

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/577703-democrats-look-for-plan-b-on-filibuster

 

Hill: Trump reelection would spur ‘one constitutional crisis after another’

BYMORGAN CHALFANT10/20/21 

Fiona Hill, the former White House national security official who testified against former President Trump during his first impeachment, says that the prospect of Trump running for election again in 2024 represents a threat to the country and the Constitution.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/577495-fiona-hill-trump-reelection-would-spur-one-constitutional-crisis

 

Trump allies eye election law push should he be reelected

The president has made claims of fraud the centerpiece of his post-presidency. It would be a legislative feature of a second term too. 

By MERIDITH MCGRAW

10/15/2021

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/10/15/trump-allies-election-law-reelection-516077

 

Trump Tells GOP: Back My Big Lie or I’ll Burn the Party Down

After costing his party the Senate, along with the White House, he’s looking ahead: Nice elections you got there. Be a shame if something happened to them. 

Matt Lewis Senior Columnist

Updated Oct. 15, 2021 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-tells-gop-back-my-big-lie-or-ill-burn-the-party-down?ref=scroll

 

The Constitutionalist

October 13, 2021

Voting Rights Lab Report: A THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY: ELECTION SUBVERSION IN THE 2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

 

Most Senate Republicans don’t want to see Trump run again 
By Alexander Bolton
Senate Republicans, with a few exceptions, are hoping that former President Trump does not announce his intention to run again for president.

These GOP senators definitely don’t want to see Trump announce a bid before the 2022 midterm elections, fearing that could sink their hopes of winning back the Senate.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/#inbox/FMfcgzGlkZBXZpWklbMcNHHHwCTdLcQZ

 

The Memo: New Trump revelations bolster critics while fans shrug

 

Rep. Cori Bush Questions Gowri Ramachandran About Election Subversion and the Cyber Ninjas Fake Arizona Audit at House Hearing

 

John Eastman tried to help Donald Trump subvert American democracy. He should be shunned

 BY ERWIN CHEMERINSKY SPECIAL TO THE SACRAMENTO BEE

[Erwin Chemerinsky is dean and professor of law at the UC Berkeley School of Law.]

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

 

Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here

Opinion by Robert Kagan

Contributing columnist

Sept. 23, 2021

 

Special Report: Backers of Trump’s false fraud claims seek to control next elections

By Tim Reid and Nathan Layne, Jason Lange

Sept. 22, 2021

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/backers-trumps-false-fraud-claims-seek-control-next-us-elections-2021-09-22/

 

Opinion: The survival of U.S. democracy may hinge on this decision by Pa.’s next governor 

by Will Bunch | Columnist

Sept. 26, 2021

 

Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American

September 25, 2021

“Through voter suppression, gerrymandering, the filibuster, and the Electoral College, and now with new election laws in 18 states, they have guaranteed that they will retain control no matter what voters actually want. Their determination to keep Democrats from power has made them abandon democracy.”

“For their part, Democrats are trying to protect the voting rights at the heart of our democracy, believing that if all eligible Americans can vote, they will back a government that works for the people.”

 

Senate Democrats unveil new voting rights bill

BY REBECCA BEITSCH AND MARTY JOHNSON – 09/14/21 

 

Democrats see consequences from redistricting reform push

By NICHOLAS RICCARD

September 5, 2021

 

Just days after Texas’ unprecedented, restrictive anti-abortion law took effect, Republicans around the country are looking to import it. “GOP officials in at least seven states, including Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and South Dakota, have suggested they may review or amend their states’ laws to mirror Texas’s,” write WaPo’s Meryl Kornfield, Caroline Anders and Audra Heinrichs.

We can’t help but notice that many of those states have something in common: Republican governors with 2024 ambitions.

 

Cleta Mitchell Helped Set Up Escrow Account to Funnel $1 Million to Support Sham Arizona Audit

September 3, 2021, 4:04 pmchicaneryfraudulent fraud squadRICK HASEN

Arizona Republic:

From: Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American <heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>
Date: September 1, 2021

Today, the Texas legislature passed SB1, the sweeping voter suppression bill Democrats had tried to stop by walking out of the legislature to deny the Republicans a quorum. The new measure is a microcosm of voter suppression bills across the nation in Republican-dominated states.

It bans mail ballot drop boxes and gets rid of drive-through voting and extended hours. It criminalizes the distribution of applications for mail-in ballots and permits partisan poll watchers to have “free movement” in polling places, enabling them to intimidate voters. Texas is just 40% white and has 3 million unregistered voters, the vast majority of whom are Black or Latino. The new measure is designed to cut young people of color, whose numbers are growing in Texas and who are overwhelmingly Democrats, out of elections. In debates on the measure, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan asked members not to use the word “racism.”

 

Justice Department releases Voting Rights Act mapmaking guidance

States warned against diluting voting power of minorities

By Michael Macagnone

Posted September 1, 2021

https://www.rollcall.com/2021/09/01/justice-department-releases-voting-rights-act-mapmaking-guidance/

 

Which Senators And Representatives Vote In Favor Of Democracy?

Filed under Democracy

Published Sep. 1, 2021

 

Election-fraud conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell pressed by Australian reporter: ‘Do you ever hear yourself and think that it sounds ridiculous?’

Aug 31, 2021

 

Trump’s political operation paid more than $4.3 million to Jan. 6 organizers but questions remain about the full extent of its involvement

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/08/trumps-political-operation-paid-more-than-4-3-million-to-jan-6-organizers-questions-remain-about-full-involvement/

 

After A Bitter Fight, The Texas House Passes A Restrictive Voting Bill

Benjamin Swasey

August 27, 2021

https://www.npr.org/2021/08/27/1031154177/after-a-bitter-fight-the-texas-house-passes-a-restrictive-voting-bill?utm_campaign=politics&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_term=nprnews

 

How a Defunct Federal Provision Helped Pave the Way for New Voting Restrictions

Curbs on drop boxes, tougher ID requirements and purges of voter rolls would have been weakened, or never even passed, if a federal oversight system had been in place.

By Nick Corassaniti

Aug. 26, 2021

 

“Rucho v. Common Cause—A Critique”

Emmet Bondurant has written this article for the Emory Law Journal. Here is the abstract:

Once upon a time, the right to vote was held by the Supreme Court to be among the most precious of the rights protected by the Constitution, on which all other rights were dependent for their existence. Protection of the right to vote was not a partisan issue. Some of the leading defenders of the right to vote—including Justices Brennan, Powell, Stevens, and Kennedy—had all been appointed by Republican Presidents.

As the confirmation process of federal judges by the Senate has become increasingly partisan, so have the decisions of the Supreme Court. The partisan divide has been particularly evident in the Court’s campaign finance and election law cases, which have, to an increasing degree, been decided along partisan lines of the Supreme Court. These cases illustrate that the United States is very much a government of men (and women) and not of laws, and that Chief Justice Roberts’ claims that the Justices of the Court are impartial umpires and that there are no Republican Justices or Democratic Justices are myths. No case is a better illustration of the partisan trend in the Supreme Court’s election law decisions than Rucho v. Common Cause.

In a 5-4 party-line vote, the Court disregarded thirty years of Supreme Court precedent and held for the first time that partisan gerrymandering is a political question beyond both the competence and the jurisdiction of the federal courts. The majority opinion was authored by Chief Justice Roberts, whose entire opinion was based on a misrepresentation of the constitutional basis of the plaintiffs’ claims. The Chief Justice also misrepresented the Court’s prior precedents and disregarded the factual findings and undisputed evidence of the effectiveness of partisan gerrymandering in favoring candidates and dictating electoral outcomes. The majority opinion is both contradictory and hypocritical. 

 

Georgia election board to review Fulton County votes setting up possible takeover

By Jane C. Timm and Teaganne Finn

Wed, August 18, 2021,

[Excerpts:]

Georgia’s Republican-controlled State Election Board took a step Wednesday toward a possible takeover of elections in Fulton County, the latest example of Republican efforts to exert control over the administration of elections at the most local of levels.

In Georgia, the board took aim at Fulton County, which delivered key wins for the Democratic party during the 2020 election cycle and has long been a target of Republican lawmakers. An independent monitor found no evidence of fraud or impropriety, but Republican lawmakers in the state nonetheless requested another review of the county’s election processes last month.

And on Wednesday morning, the board voted to appoint three people to conduct a performance review of Fulton County. Members include Republican Ricky Kittle, chairman of the Catoosa County elections board; Democrat Stephen Day, a member of the Gwinnett County elections board; and Ryan Germany, general counsel for Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

They’ll conduct an investigation of equipment, registration, processes, and compliance with state law. The overall process — from lawmakers’ initial request to a complete takeover — could take nearly a year, Georgia Public Broadcasting reported.

 

The bill would restore crucial protections that have been removed from the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Brennan Center

August 17, 2021

 

The Brennan Center testified before the House about the congressional action needed to restore the Voting Rights Act to full strength.

The Brennan Center

August 16, 2021

 

Voting Rights Activists Cling To Hope In ‘Race Against Time’

By Kate Riga 

August 13, 2021 

 

Evaluating Look Ahead America’s ‘The Georgia Report’ on Illegal, Out-of-State Voting in the 2020 Election

Justin Grimmer, Hoover Institution and Stanford University Andrew B. Hall, Stanford University †
Daniel M. Thompson, UCLA‡

August 11, 2021

Note: On July 30th the authors of the Georgia Report posted a revised version of their report online in response to a draft of this memo we sent them. The revised version quibbles unconvincingly with the three arbitrarily chosen example cases we use for expository purposes below while doing nothing to respond to the core methodological issues we have identified. As such, the Georgia Report remains fatally flawed and unreliable.

 

By Choice and Circumstance, Democrats Put Voting Rights on the Ballot

Limited in their options and in disagreement about how far to go to pass federal legislation, Democrats are approaching voting rights as an issue to be won in future elections.

By Marc Tracy

Published July 13, 2021Updated Aug. 11, 2021

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/13/us/politics/democrats-for-the-people-act.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

Opinion: Norman Lear: As I begin my 100th year, I’m baffled that voting rights are still under attack

 July 27, 2021 

[Excerpt:]

To legislators getting between people and the ballot box, and to senators who are standing in the dishonorable tradition of those who filibustered civil rights legislation, I say this: You may pass some unjust laws. You may win elections by preventing or discouraging people from voting.

But you will not in the end defeat the democratic spirit, the spirit that animated the Tuskegee airmen to whom I owe my life, the spirit that powers millions of Americans who give of themselves to defend voting rights, protect our environment, preserve peaceful pluralism, defeat discrimination, and expand educational and economic opportunity.

The right to vote is foundational to addressing all these issues. It is at the heart of everything I have fought for in war and in peacetime.

To senators who are willing to sacrifice the right to vote to some outdated notion of bipartisanship and Senate tradition, I almost do not know what to say. On the scale of justice, this is not even a close call. Do what’s right.

Protecting voting rights should not be today’s struggle. But it is. And that means it is our struggle, yours and mine, for as long as we have breath and strength.

 

 

Trump Pressed Justice Dept. to Declare Election Results Corrupt, Notes Show

“Leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, the former president is said to have told top law enforcement officials.

By Katie Benner

Updated: July 31, 2021

[Excerpts:]

The exchange unfolded during a phone call on Dec. 27  in which Mr. Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, on voter fraud claims that the Justice Department had found no evidence for. Mr. Donoghue warned that the department had no power to change the outcome of the election. Mr. Trump replied that he did not expect that, according to notes Mr. Donoghue took memorializing the conversation.

“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, Mr. Donoghue wrote in summarizing Mr. Trump’s response.

After the departure of Mr. Rosen’s predecessor, William P. Barr, became public on Dec. 14, Mr. Trump and his allies harangued Mr. Rosen and his top deputies nearly every day until Jan. 6, when Congress met to certify the Electoral College and was disrupted by Mr. Trump’s supporters storming the Capitol, according to emails and other documents obtained by Congress and interviews with former Trump administration officials.

The conversations often included complaints about unfounded voter fraud conspiracy theories, frustration that the Justice Department would not ask the Supreme Court to invalidate the election and admonishments that department leaders had failed to fight hard enough for Mr. Trump, the officials said.

The Justice Department provided Mr. Donoghue’s notes to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is investigating the Trump administration’s efforts to unlawfully reverse the election results.

The department found that the error rate of ballot counting in Michigan was 0.0063 percent, not the 68 percent that the president asserted; it did not find evidence of a conspiracy theory that an employee in Pennsylvania had tampered with ballots; and after examining video and interviewing witnesses, it found no evidence of ballot fraud in Fulton County, Ga., according to the notes. [Emphasis added]

 

Trump told DOJ officials to ‘just say that the election was corrupt’ and ‘leave the rest to me,’ new documents show 

Eliza Relman, Sonam Sheth   July 30, 2021

Despite Trump’s continued insistence that the election was “rigged” and stolen from him, nonpartisan experts and election officials concluded that the 2020 election was the safest and most secure in US history. [Emphasis added.]

 

Anne Applebaum

July 29, 2021

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/07/mike-lindells-plot-destroy-america/619593/

In the time I spent with Mike Lindell, I came to learn that he is affable, devout, philanthropic—and a clear threat to the nation.

[Excerpt:]

In the cases of Aschberg and Ford, this had tragic, real-world consequences. Lindell hasn’t created Ford-level havoc yet, but the potential is there. Along with Bannon, Giuliani, and the rest of the conspiracy posse, he is helping create profound distrust in the American electoral system, in the American political system, in the American public-health system, and ultimately in American democracy. The eventual consequences of their actions may well be a genuinely stolen or disputed election in 2024, and political violence on a scale the U.S. hasn’t seen in decades. You can mock Lindell, dismiss him, or call him a crackhead, but none of this will seem particularly funny when we truly have an illegitimate president in the White House and a total breakdown of law and order.

 

Democrats Brace for a Narrower Path to Challenge New Voting Laws

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday involving Arizona voting laws appeared to limit the options for voting rights groups to mount legal challenges to restrictive new measures being passed in Republican-controlled states.

By Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein

Published July 1, 2021Updated July 19, 2021

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/01/us/politics/voting-rights-act-laws.html?referringSource=articleShare

  

What’s on the Horizon for Remote Voter Identity Verification?

By Rachel Orey and Collier Ferneckes

July 13, 2021

[Excerpt:]

The 2020 election was the most secure in our nation’s history. Yet in response to false claims of rampant voter fraud, some state legislatures have introduced strict identification requirements for mail voting. These identification requirements too often hamper voter access without addressing the most pressing security threats facing our elections system: sustained underfunding and outdated cybersecurity. Our desire to explore identification measures in this paper is born out of a desire to expand voters’ access to the ballot while protecting against ever-evolving future threats. An election system which is free, fair, and accessible must not be static; an election system that truly meets voters’ needs must be flexible and responsive. This paper is just the beginning of scoping out what a modernized remote voter identity verification system might look like.

As the nation trends towards a wider reliance on convenience voting methods, this report explores how states and localities can ensure that their voter verification policies achieve the nexus of accuracy, accessibility, equity, and practical feasibility. This paper is not intended to provide specific recommendations about how election officials should be conducting identity verification. Rather, it provides a survey of the major benefits and drawbacks of the policy alternatives in use today, as well as the methods that might gain traction down the road.

 

The Briefing

Michael Waldman, Brennan Center for Justice

[Excerpt:]

As my colleague Sean Morales-Doyle told Congress on Friday, this will undermine free and fair elections.

“The reality is that state legislatures are not hacking, but slicing away at voting rights from every angle,” he testified. “They shave away access to mail voting, they cut back on in-person voting, they trim voters from the rolls through faulty purges. While any one slice might appear minor, the end result is death by a thousand cuts.”

 

Loneliness Is Breaking America

July 19, 2021

MICHELLE GOLDBERG

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/19/opinion/trump-covid-extremism-loneliness.html?referringSource=articleShare

” . . . after reading an article adapted from “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost” by Michael C. Bender, a Wall Street Journal reporter, I changed my mind and picked it up. What caught my attention wasn’t his reporting on White House disarray and Trump’s terrifying impulses — some details are new, but that story is familiar. Rather, I was fascinated by Bender’s account of the people who followed Trump from rally to rally like authoritarian Deadheads.

Bender’s description of these Trump superfans, who called themselves the “front-row Joes,” is sympathetic but not sentimental. Above all, he captures their pre-Trump loneliness.

“Many were recently retired and had time on their hands and little to tie them to home,” writes Bender. “A handful never had children. Others were estranged from their families.” Throwing themselves into Trump’s movement, they found a community and a sense of purpose. 

There are many causes for the overlapping dysfunctions that make contemporary American life feel so dystopian, but loneliness is a big one. 

A socially healthy society would probably never have elected Trump in the first place. As Daniel Cox, a senior fellow in polling and public opinion at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote in FiveThirtyEight shortly after the 2020 election, the “share of Americans who are more socially disconnected from society is on the rise. And these voters disproportionately support Trump.”

 

July 21, 2021

Excerpt:

The story that grabbed headlines today was that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected two of the five people House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) chose to put on the House select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection. McCarthy immediately withdrew all of the five people he had appointed, accusing the Speaker of partisanship.

But let’s call this like it is. The Republicans killed a bill to create a bipartisan select committee to investigate the insurrection. Then, when Pelosi set up a select committee instead on the exact same terms that Republicans had used to set up one of their many Benghazi committees, McCarthy tried to sabotage the process by naming as three of his five picks men who bought into former president Trump’s Big Lie and challenged the votes on the night of January 6.

 

Republicans unite on “election integrity” message for coming elections

By Caitlin Huey Burn and Adam Brewster

UPDATED ON: MARCH 22, 2021 / CBS NEWS

Upon losing an election, political parties usually search their souls – with the help of operatives poring over polling and data – to plot their resurgence. Democrats are embarking on such a mission after losing a startling number of House seats, even though Joe Biden won the presidency and they won control of the Senate, if just barely.. But Republicans this year are forgoing the traditional election post-mortem, despite their losses, and instead are pursuing a hardliners’  “election integrity” message that resonates with their base and unites factions within the party.

Although the Republican Party has otherwise been divided on its future in the post-Trump era, on the issue of election laws, the Republican National Committee, state legislatures, conservative outside groups, and federal lawmakers appear to be singing the same tune. 

Read More

“So it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. It’s more important to be on the right side of history.”

— Henry “Grant” Lewis, brother of the late Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis

Karen stenner, a political psychologist and the author of the groundbreaking The Authoritarian Dynamic, argues that about a third of people across 29 liberal democracies seem to have a psychological predisposition toward authoritarianism. The tendency exists on both ends of the political spectrum, though it’s more prevalent on the right.

Stenner defines authoritarianism, which she believes is about 50 percent heritable, as a deep-seated psychological predisposition to demand obedience and conformity—what she calls “oneness and sameness”—over freedom and diversity. Authoritarians have an aversion to complexity and diversity. They tend to be intolerant on matters of race, politics, and morals; to glorify the in-group and denigrate the out-group; and to “reward or punish others according to their conformity to this ‘normative order.’”

The danger, Stenner says, arises when that tendency, which is often latent, is activated by “normative threats,” a deep fear of change, and a loss of trust in our institutions. She also made this point to my colleague Helen Lewis: In normal, reassuring, and comforting conditions, people with authoritarian tendencies could be your best neighbor. But those predispositions “are activated under conditions of threat and produce greater intolerance to differences.”

Donald Trump has made his supporters feel “permanently panicked,” according to Stenner. He “never got past the constant-rage-and-fear stage.”  And it doesn’t help that modern life’s complexity is overwhelming for many people.

For those with authoritarian tendencies, Stenner says, there’s a need “to reassure them and calm them down.” Her goal is “to help authoritarians live in peace with liberal democracy.” We need to reintegrate, rather than triumph over and banish, the authoritarians. Demeaning and dismissing a significant part of the country won’t turn out well. And so the focus of her work is to find practical ways to bring “activated authoritarians” back from the brink, including by means of normatively reassuring messages. The key, she believes, is to reduce the feelings of being threatened and to find the right language—language that is less alienating to those with authoritarian tendencies—to talk about things such as diversity and immigration. She and the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt point out that moral elevation, the response we have when we witness virtuous acts, can also be helpful.

Midterm Stakes Grow Clearer: Election Deniers Will Be on Many Ballots

May 18, 2022

Republican voters in this week’s primary races demonstrated a willingness to nominate candidates who parrot Donald J. Trump’s election lies and who appear intent on exerting extraordinary political control over voting systems. The results make clear that the November midterms may well affect the fate of free and fair elections in the country.

In Pennsylvania, Republican voters united behind a nominee for governor, Doug Mastriano, who helped lead the brazen effort to overturn the state’s 2020 election and chartered buses to the rally before the Capitol riot, and who has since promoted a constitutionally impossible effort to decertify President Biden’s victory in his state.

In North Carolina, voters chose a G.O.P. Senate nominee, Representative Ted Budd, who voted in Congress against certifying the 2020 results and who continues to refuse to say that Mr. Biden was legitimately elected.

And in Idaho, which Mr. Trump won overwhelmingly in 2020, 57 percent of voters backed two Republican candidates for secretary of state who pushed election falsehoods, though they lost a three-way race to a rival who accepts Mr. Biden as president.

The strong showings on Tuesday by election deniers, who have counterparts running competitively in primaries across the country over the coming months, were an early signal of the threat posed by the Trump-inspired movement.

“It’s a big problem,” said former Representative Charlie Dent, a Pennsylvania Republican, who added that the G.O.P. needs “to show an alternative vision for the party. I don’t think we’re seeing enough of that right now.”

 

Jan. 19, 2022

Why is Donald Trump’s big lie so hard to discredit?

This has been a live question for more than a year, but inside it lies another:

Do Republican officials and voters actually believe Trump’s claim that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election by corrupting ballots — the same ballots that put so many Republicans in office — and if they do believe it, what are their motives?

 

Trump Supporters Explain Why They Believe the Big Lie

For many of Trump’s voters, the belief that the election was stolen is not a fully formed thought. It’s more of an attitude, or a tribal pose.

By Sarah Longwell, executive director of Republicans for the Rule of Law, publisher of The Bulwark, and host of the Focus Group podcast.

 
 
[Excerpt:]
 
These voters aren’t bad or unintelligent people. The problem is that the Big Lie is embedded in their daily life. They hear from Trump-aligned politicians, their like-minded peers, and MAGA-friendly media outlets—and from these sources they hear the same false claims repeated ad infinitum.

Now we are at the point where to be a Republican means to believe the Big Lie. And as long as Republicans leading the party keep promoting and indulging the Big Lie, that will continue to be the case.

If I’ve learned anything from my focus groups, it’s that something doesn’t have to make sense for voters to believe it’s true.

 

More Consequences of the “Big Lie”
  1. The Big Lie Spawns the First of Many Red State Voter Suppression Laws.

This is how lies turn into laws that make it harder for people to vote. The same week that a major backer of former President Donald Trump’s false election fraud narrative admitted it was unreasonable, Republican lawmakers in Georgia turned legislation inspired by the false narrative into law.

Republicans didn’t like the election results in 2020, so in Georgia they’ve changed the rules to try to keep it from happening again. It’s the first presidential battleground to change voting laws since the election but it’s unlikely to be the last, with Arizona and others already considering their own restrictions. “How Trump’s election fraud lie turned into law in Georgia” edition.cnn.com, Mar. 26, 2021
   2. The Big Lie Drives the Arizona State Senate to Conduct a flawed partisan review (dubbed and “audits” of the state’s previously certified electoral results of the 2020 election. Pennsylvania and other states efforts may be following suit.  These dramas co-star the chair and members of the always contentious Republican Freedom Caucus, with special guest appearances by  mini-Trump Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida and Majorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

   3.  Legal Jeopardy  awaits Trump and a number of his Enablers-in-chief.

The Card Deck notes legal challenges facing those who have amplified Trump’s Big Lie, including elected and appointed officials, Trump family members, lobbyists and lawyers, media companies and celebrities.

Local prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia have indicated that Trump and his team could be facing even more serious charges: solicitation of election fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering. As part of that effort,

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has even hired the attorney who literally wrote the book on state RICO charges, John E. Floyd. And at the core of that inquiry is Trump’s appeal to the state’s top elections official on his Jan. 2 call.

“So look,” Trump told Raffensperger. “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”Biden beat Trump in Georgia by 11,779 votes. The ex-president’s comment could be plainly understood to mean that he asked a Georgia state official to change the results of an election—which is specifically listed as a first-degree crime – it is illegal to solicit someone to engage in fraud. The punishment is up to three years in prison. Then again, that kind of behavior also breaks federal law—as former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder quickly pointed out when that call went public. That one’s five years. thedalybeast.com, Mar. 24, 2021

4. The Big Lie spans a school of  Mini-Trumps Aspiring for Ever-higher Elected Office (many of whom are described in the profiles accompanying our Card Deck).

 

What So Bedevils the Trump Psyche?  
  • Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, who has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, describes the “narcissistic injury” that Trump will suffer if he is rejected at the polls, in addition to the financial and legal problems he would face. “Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose”, newyorker.com, Nov. 1, 2020
  •  She writes that for her uncle Donald, “nothing is ever enough” and that the president exhibits all the characteristics of a narcissist. “This is far beyond garden-variety narcissism,” his niece, writes of Mr. Trump.
  • “Donald is not simply weak, his ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be.”  bbc.com, July 14, 2020
  • “Why Trump Fears Leaving the White House: Losing the presidency leaves him vulnerable to financial and legal danger.”  Timothy L. Obrien, Bloomberg Opinion, bloomberg.com, November 8, 2020
  • “Devoid of empathy, incapable of humility and unfamiliar with what it means to suffer consequences, [Trump] behaved and spoke in ways most would never dare.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/22/books/review/insurgency-jeremy-w-peters.html, Feb. 22, 2022

 

“Where’s my Roy Cohn?”
  • Mr. Trump then asked, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?”,  referring to his former personal lawyer and fixer, who had been Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s top aide during the investigations into communist activity in the 1950s and died in 1986. nytimes.com, Jan. 4, 2018
  • During Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, President Trump was famously quoted as complaining about the quality of the lawyering he was getting. For him, the notorious Roy Cohn had set the gold standard: “a very loyal guy” who had been “vicious to others in his defense of me.” https://www.lawfareblog.com/white-house-counsel-and-trumps-attack-2020-election
  • “My cousin Roy Cohn taught Donald Trump the art of denying, deflecting and distracting. While Trump mastered all those, he failed to learn Roy’s most important lesson: A lifetime of bullying and cheating has a way of catching up with you.” David L. Marcus, usatoday.com, Jan. 21, 2021
  • “I hear Roy in the things Donald Trump says quite clearly,” said Peter Fraser, who as Mr. Cohn’s lover for the last two years of his life spent a great deal of time with Mr. Trump. “That bravado, and if you say it aggressively and loudly enough, it’s the truth — that’s the way Roy used to operate to a degree, and Donald was certainly his apprentice.”  nytimes.com, Jun. 20, 2016
  • “Another thing [he] learned from Cohn (this from Politico a while back): ‘Deflect and distract, never give in, never admit fault, lie and attack, lie and attack, publicity no matter what, win no matter what,’ all underpinned by a deep, prove-me-wrong belief in the power of chaos and fear.” shepherdexpress.com, Oct. 1, 2020
  • Trump fancies himself a New York City tough guy.” He mocks the disabled at campaign rallies. He said John McCain wasn’t a real war hero because he was captured. “The Undefeated Today, June 8, 2018.  
  • “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump said at a campaign rally here. Edition.cnn.com, Jan. 24, 2016
  • Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen: “I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.  He is a racist.  He is a conmanHe is a cheat.”

 

‘This to Him Is the Grand Finale’: Donald Trump’s 50-Year Mission to Discredit the Justice System

The former president is in unparalleled legal peril, but he has mastered the ability to grind down the legal system to his advantage. It’s already changing our democracy.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2024/01/12/donald-trump-indictments-legal-system-00135151

[Excerpt:]

Trump and his allies say he is the victim of the weaponization of the justice system, but the reality is exactly the opposite. For literally more than 50 years, according to thousands of pages of court records and hundreds of interviews with lawyers and legal experts, people who have worked for Trump, against Trump or both, and many of the myriad litigants who’ve been caught in the crossfire, Trump has taught himself how to use and abuse the legal system for his own advantage and aims. Many might view the legal system as a place to try to avoid, or as perhaps a necessary evil, or maybe even as a noble arbiter of equality and fairness. Not Trump. He spent most of his adult life molding it into an arena in which he could stake claims and hunt leverage. It has not been for him a place of last resort so much as a place of constant quarrel. Conflict in courts is not for him the cost of doing business — it is how he does business. Throughout his vast record of (mostly civil) lawsuits, whether on offense, defense or frequently a mix of the two, Trump has become a sort of layman’s master in the law and lawfare.

Starting in 1973, when the federal government sued him and his father for racist rental practices in the apartments they owned, Trump learned from the notorious Roy Cohn, then searched for another Roy Cohn — then finally became his own Roy Cohn. He’s exploited as loopholes the legal system’s bedrock tenets, eyeing its very integrity as simultaneously its intrinsic vulnerability — the near sacrosanct honoring of the rights of the defendant, the deliberation that due process demands, the constant constitutional balancing act that relies on shared good faith as much as fixed, written rules. He has routinely turned what’s obviously peril into what’s effectively fuel, taking long rosters of losses and willing them into something like wins — if not in a court of law, then in that of public opinion. It has worked, and it continues to work. Trump, after all, was at one of his weakest points politically until the first of his four arraignments last spring. Ever since, his legal jeopardy and his political viability have done little but go up, together. Deny, delay and attack, always play the victim, never stop undermining the system: Trump has taken the Cohn playbook to reaches not even Cohn could have foreseen — fusing his legal efforts with his business interests, lawyers as important to him as loan officers, and now he’s done the same with politics. He’s not fighting the system, it seems sometimes, so much as he’s using it. He’s fundraising off of it. He’s consolidating support because of it. He’s far and away the most likely Republican nominee, polls consistently show. He’s the odds-on favorite to be the president again.

“He has attacked the judicial system, our system of justice and the rule of law his entire life,” said J. Michael Luttig, a conservative former federal appellate judge and one of the founders of the recently formed Society for the Rule of Law. “And this to him,” Luttig told me, “is the grand finale.”

 

“All Roads Lead to Mar-a-Lago”: Inside the Fury and Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Florida

Roger Stone, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Ben Shapiro—they’ve all made their way to the Sunshine State, fueling and profiting from a tabloid culture that turns politics into spectacle, arguably Florida’s greatest export.

BY JOE HAGAN

AUGUST 10, 2021

[Excerpts:]

But long before Trump, Florida had transformed the modern right, starting with the wrenching battle royale over hanging chads in the 2000 election, the media spectacle that broke the spirit of the previous political age. This was the dawn of Fox News, the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and Ann Coulter, a loud and belligerent new breed of media pugilists that Beltway observers—old media—used to call “the Freak Show” until the freaks multiplied and the term lost all meaning. Roger Stone was in the vanguard, organizing a group of GOP lawyers and party functionaries, dressed in suits, to storm a voting center in Miami-Dade County and disrupt the 2000 recount, claiming fraud, in what became known as the Brooks Brothers Riot. That stunt established a new threshold for political performance art by turning a dull civic event like vote counting into just another spectacle for cable news.

That same year (1988), Stone, in an interview on C-SPAN, argued that Trump, whom Stone met in 1979 through Cohn, would be “a credible candidate” for president of the United States. “What you don’t understand,” Stone recalls saying, “is the political world and the pop culture worlds have fused. It’s all entertainment.”

Trump and the Enquirer were fated for each other. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso Pope Jr., was a childhood friend of Roy Cohn, the Joe McCarthy aide and Nixon lawyer who mentored a young Trump (and Roger Stone) in the art of political warfare and media manipulation. 

Trump, meanwhile, was learning from the Enquirer how to communicate with a mass audience. “We taught Donald Trump how to talk in buzzwords,” Haley  (a craggy 34-year veteran of the Enquirer)  explains. “He was a good student, he paid attention. I was amazed how much attention he paid, because I didn’t have a strong sense of that at the time, except that he seemed amused by it. But he was looking for a way to use buzzwords to get the attention of our readers.”

 

Hired after TV appearances or brief phone calls, lawyers for the former president can come and go, as he demands they defend him first in the court of public opinion.

A Helpful Way to Understand Trump Enablers

Source: “A Definitive Guide to the G.O.P. Insiders Enabling Donald Trump” (vanityfair.com, by Sarah Ellison Jun. 29, 2017)

Ellison identifies six individuals enabling Trump, categorized as follows:

  1. The Opportunist (Paul Ryan). “He said that he had dreamed of cutting Medicaid since his keg drinking days. Having Trump’s digits on the the Resolute Desk —whatever the existential risk to the principles of the country as a whole – is a small price to pay.”
  2. The Cynic (Mitch McConnell)  “Like Ryan, McConnell seems to regard Trump as a man who he hopes can be manipulated—signing the bills that others put before him. Nothing so far suggests the correctness of this view. But a Republican Senate—and McConnell’s tenure—is now inextricably yoked to Trump’s fortunes, so McConnell plays along.”
  3. The Stooge (Reince Priebus) Because “Priebus held the G.O.P. together as a vehicle for Donald Trump,” Priebus was named chief of staff by the president-elect, who in an prior interview had said that “Priebus could be ignored because he was unworthy of respect.”
  4. The Accomplice (Mike Pence, for example, the author citing his “vaulting ambition” and willingness “to vouch for people who say what is not true. Because Trump is a liar, he urgently needs a sidekick who possesses this genial capacity—it has virtually become Pence’s job description. The payoff for Pence will come when Trump leaves office, whatever the circumstances.”)
  5. The Institutionalist (Lindsay Graham) “Gone is the Lindsey Graham who, during the campaign, attacked Ted Cruz on CNN for not condemning Donald Trump and his lack of integrity)
  6. The Gambler (John McCain), based on his assumption “that Trump lacks any true convictions of his own, making McCain [and Graham] feel Trump can be swayed.”

 

Warning: Believing False Claims is Detrimental to your Well-Being
  • A scientific study recently published in the academic journal Research & Politics, conducted the day before and the morning of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, probing attitude changes in 1,000 U.S. voting-age adults, found that exposure to conspiratorial rhetoric about election interference produced a profound psychological effect. In particular, it led to significantly heightened negative emotions (anxiety and anger), and also undermined support for democratic institutions.
  • Narcissists, convinced of their superiority, can never accept losing in any contest. The threat to their ego is too catastrophic. In their eyes, no one can ever beat them fair and square. Accusations of cheating thus make perfect psychological sense. It protects the ego from the threat that losing implies.
  • But followers may not appreciate a leader’s psychological vulnerability. Supporters and leaders can then forge a bond in their denial of an emotionally distressing result.
  • There is a strong link between feelings of powerlessness and conspiracy paranoia. Supporters of the losing side in an election are therefore more likely to suspect scams.
  • When narcissism, emotional distress, and denial combine and go on the march, democracy is in danger of being trampled.

Another recent study published in Political Research Quarterly examined why so many Americans are prone to believe that electoral fraud exists.

  • The study’s authors, led by political scientists Jack Edelson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Joseph Uscinski of the University of Miami, suggested that more deeply embedded conspiratorial thinking may be to blame.
  • They point to a strong link between feelings of powerlessness and conspiracy paranoia. Supporters of the losing side in an election are therefore more likely to suspect scams. Republicans appear especially prone to believing that people are casting votes they should not, whereas Democrats are more concerned about being disenfranchised.  
  • marketwatch.com, Nov. 6, 2020

 

From: “Brent D. Griffiths” <newsletter@insider.com>
Date: October 18, 2021

THE HISTORY OF DENIALISM: America’s struggle with fake news and disinformation campaigns is a lot older than you think. In fact, the roots of this denialism can be traced all the way back to 1943 and the birth of modern smog, Jack Hitt reports in a massive new piece for Insider. 

Here’s a look at how the denialism of the insurrection was fueled years earlier:

An enterprising Dutch immigrant first identified the cause of smog: Arie Haagen-Smit piped Los Angeles air through a series of traps that eventually yielded “several ounces of a vile-smelling brown sludge.” His conclusion — that smog was born of emissions, mostly from refineries and cars, released into bright LA sunlight — answered a long-simmering question.

But pollution-producing industries weren’t happy: The American Petroleum Institute, in what’s become a modern template, started a front group to trash the research. Their effort was poorly executed, and included firing a scientist who confirmed Haagen-Smit’s theories instead of shooting them down.

  • The tobacco industry soon returned to this playbook:But Big Tobacco approached research about cigarette smoke and cancer in a fundamentally different way. It viewed it more as a publicity problem, hiring the PR firm Hill & Knowlton who spawned the message that there was “no proof” that cigarettes could be definitely linked to cancer. Cigarette makers fell back on this message for decades even as evidence grew.
  • Climate deniers broadened this effort again:One of the most successful examples was the amplification of a conspiracy theory based on hacked emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. Initial stories gestured to a potential cover-up that later investigations found never lived up to the hype.

Researchers have found modern denialism has a powerful pull: A small group of well-placed people can amplify false claims about vaccines or the election, sowing a vast amount of distrust in the process.

 

Don’t Succumb to MAGA Fatalism

Three strategies to cope with Trump-induced gloom.

About the author: Peter Wehner is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum, and the author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.

[Excerpts:]

The first thing to do is to remind ourselves that our responsibility is to be faithful, not necessarily successful. All of us would rather be both, and sometimes we are. But the best any of us can do is to act with a reasonable degree of honor and integrity, defending, even imperfectly, what we believe is right and true. None of us controls what happens beyond that. I have found the words of C. S. Lewis to be meaningful. “It is not your business to succeed (no one can be sure of that) but to do right: when you have done so the rest lies with God,” he wrote. If we don’t act when success isn’t guaranteed, then success will always be beyond our reach.

The second thing to bear in mind is that unexpected inflection points—events that change the way we think and act, that alter underlying assumptions and sometimes the trajectory of history—can occur in the life of a nation. Why they happen is not always clear in real time; it’s typically a combination of the right (or wrong) moment, the right (or wrong) individual, the stars aligning in the right (or wrong) way. Sometimes things are one way and then they are another. An appeal may fall on deaf ears in one season but not another.

A third point in the context of the MAGA threat to the American republic: We are still mid-drama. Acts have yet to be written. And in a self-governing nation, “we the people” are the authors. American citizens are not like corks caught in the current of a raging river. We are not powerless, without agency. At this point, nothing is inevitable about the triumph, or the defeat, of right-wing authoritarianism. After all, Joe Biden did defeat Donald Trump, by a comfortable margin, and our institutions—many of them, at least—passed a serious stress test. The battle has been engaged; it hasn’t been resolved.

In an interview with the blog The Art of Association, Caroline Mehl, a co-founder of the Constructive Dialogue Institute, explained that four main levers exist to strengthen American democracy:

  1. Redesigning electoral systems,
  2. strengthening democratic institutions,
  3. improving our media ecosystem, and
  4. revitalizing our civic culture.

None of us can change the entire world. But each of us can change for the better the world we inhabit. Each of us can “live within the truth” rather than within the lie. We can lean into politics rather than withdraw from it. We can be agents of healing to people whose lives are broken. We can support the institutions that civilize our lives and make democracy possible. And we can speak up for veracity and decency when it matters, including challenging people within our political and cultural tribes, even as we listen well to others. These are not heroic requirements, but they are essential ones. Everything hinges on Americans sending forth ripples of hope.

Peter Wehner is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum, and the author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.

 

” . . . power does make a man master of himself if he is imprisoned by the indissoluble chains of wicked lusts; and when high office is bestowed on unworthy men, so far from making them worthy, it only betrays them and reveals their unworthiness.”

– Anicius Boethius, Roman philosopher

Daily Investigative Reporting  – The Facts, and Only the Facts

 

September 2019:

The Final Lesson Donald Trump Never Learned From Roy Cohn

The unrepentant political hitman who taught a younger Trump how to flout the rules didn’t get away with it forever.

 

August 2021:

The House Jan. 6 Committee launched its first big volleys of investigative requests this week, demanding records from a host of federal agencies on Wednesday and from fifteen separate social media companies

The federal agency requests shed light on where lawmakers are looking in the probe.

Namely, they’re looking straight at former President Trump, asking the National Archives to provide all records from his time in the White House that relate not only to the Jan. 6 insurrection itself, but also to a host of insurrectionists. The scope of this probe is sharpening into focus, and its broad: the Jan. 6 committee seems intent on investigating the whole attempt to overthrow the 2020 election, encompassing the Big Lie, the ‘Kraken’ lawsuits, the Capitol insurrection, and everything in between, with Trump right at the center. The Weekender from TPM, Issue No. 14, By Josh Kovensky, August 28, 2021

 

June 2021 

Manhattan prosecutors gave the Trump Organization until this afternoon to state why criminal charges should not be brought regarding the company’s handling of employee perks and finances (The Washington Post).

The Hill’s Morning Report, June 28, 2021

 

And the ground seems to be giving way under the Big Lie, as well. Last week, the Republican-led Michigan Senate Oversight Committee threw out claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election and reiterated that President Joe Biden won fairly. A Georgia judge threw out most of the lawsuit calling for another inspection of ballots from Fulton County. And a New York court suspended Trump’s lawyer Rudy Guiliani from practicing law after it concluded that Giuliani made “demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.”

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

June 28, 2021

 

CNN Opinion

By Richard Galant / June 27, 2021

The reverberations of Trump’s big lie — that the election was stolen from him — continue five months after he left the White House. But while he maintains a strong hold on many Republicans, there are some signs of Trump’s flagging influence. His hand-picked vice president, Mike Pence, said he will “always be proud” of playing his constitutional role in presiding over the congressional session that certified Joe Biden’s victory, despite calls from Trump to block it. “If we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections — we’ll lose our country,” Pence said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

 

 CNN Opinion

Truth is playing defense

By Richard Galant / October 3, 2021 

[Excerpts:]

 In a new series on “the poisoned public square,” CNN Opinion is putting a spotlight on the menace of deliberate falsehoods.

Lies about the 2020 election are flourishing, even though every single piece of legitimate evidence affirms Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. The former president is so exercised about Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s refusal to try to overturn Biden’s narrow victory in his state that he suggested Democrat Stacey Abrams would make a better governor.

Trump’s startling words had Dean Obeidallah marveling that he for once agreed with him. “Has hell frozen over? Are pigs now airborne?” wrote Obeidallah. “Trump is 100% correct about Abrams. But his comments … weren’t about the truth that the political powerhouse, who’s the former minority leader for the Georgia House of Representatives, would be excellent in Kemp’s position. It was all about his anger at Kemp — which reveals so much about how dangerous the GOP is to our democracy under Trump’s leadership.”

Geoff Duncan, the Republican lieutenant governor of Georgia, pointed out that “Trump did not lose because of voter fraud or his conservative policies. Biden is sitting in the White House today because voters grew tired of Trump’s erratic behavior, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.” For Republicans, “the upcoming elections cannot be a discussion about the past, unless we want to continue losing.” 

In a book publishing this week, former Trump spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says, “Casual dishonesty filtered through the White House as if it were in the air conditioning system.” In other words, wrote Frida Ghitis, it was a “culture of lies and deceit.” The shelf full of Trump tell-all books carries “enormous weight today as we see Trump and his acolytes laying the groundwork to try to capture the presidency in 2024, apparently at any cost. Viewed in this context, they are dark portents.”

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson, October 1, 2021

And this reminder of the other deadly “Big Lie”, 733,000-plus Covid deaths and counting later:

October 1, 2020: A study of more than 38 million English-language articles about the pandemic between January 1 and May 26 showed that Trump was “likely the largest driver of…Covid-19 misinformation.”

 

The Trump Presidency Is Still an Active Crime Scene

It’s hard to consign the Trump years to the history books when we remain in the middle of the crisis that it sparked.

October 14, 2021

[Excerpt:]

The bottom line is that the story of the Trump Presidency still has important unanswered questions that the forthcoming pile of books cannot answer. And they have an urgency about them that unanswered questions about past Administrations usually don’t, given the ongoing threat to our democracy: Trump is not only preparing to run again but is determined to mold the G.O.P. into a single-issue Party, the ideology of which consists solely of disputing the legitimacy of the election that turned him out of office. The Trump Presidency is not yet, alas, simply a matter for booksellers and book writers; it’s an active crime scene.

 

Fiona Hill: Trump reelection would spur ‘one constitutional crisis after another’

BY MORGAN CHALFANT  10/20/21 

 [Excerpt:]

In an interview with The Hill, Hill accused her former boss of staging a “slow-moving coup” and said that if he were to win election again, his victory would be built “on the back of a big lie.” 

“He could win again. And it will be — if he does, it will be on the back of a big lie and on an awful lot of efforts to suppress the vote and the turnout,” said Hill. “And, you know, I’m sure that any election or electoral count that doesn’t go his way is challenged.”

“Just one constitutional crisis after another,” she continued. “I mean, we’re in for a wild ride. We’re already in it. The slow-moving coup, you know, didn’t really culminate in Jan. 6. I just see this as an episode in one long continuum. It’s just a different kind of coup now because he’s technically out of office but, in his view, he’s not out of power.” 

 

Georgia secretary of state: Trump ‘had no idea how elections work’

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson, November 8, 2021

Excerpts from a new book by ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl say that Trump was so mad that the party did not fight harder to keep him in office that on January 20, just after he boarded Air Force One to leave Washington, he took a phone call from Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, and told her that he was quitting the Republicans to start his own political party.

McDaniel told him that if he did that, the Republicans “would lose forever.” Trump responded: “Exactly.” A witness said he wanted to punish the officials for their refusal to fight harder to overturn the election.

Four days later, Trump relented after the RNC made it clear it would stop paying his legal bills and would stop letting him rent out the email list of his 40 million supporters, a list officials believed was worth about $100 million.

Instead of leaving the party, he is rebuilding it in his own image. 

 

Trump hits Christie after calls for GOP to move past 2020 election claims

Christie’s comments drew the ire of Trump, who has continued to claim more than a year after losing his reelection bid that widespread voter fraud and malfeasance cost him a second term in the Oval Office.
Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson, November 19, 2021

Today began with Republican leadership doubling down on its support for Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ), whom the House censured yesterday for tweeting a cartoon video of himself killing a Democratic colleague, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and attacking the president, Joe Biden. Only two Republicans voted with the Democrats in favor of the censure.

Former president Donald Trump issued a statement praising Gosar and saying the congressman “has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” In addition to the censure, the House stripped Gosar of his committee assignments, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said today that if the Republicans take the majority and he is elected Speaker, he will likely throw Democrats off committees and give Gosar and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was stripped of her committee assignments in February after violent threats against Democratic colleagues, better committee assignments.

 

What happens when the administration is hinged on the unhinged?

By Mary Ellen Curtin
November 26, 2021 
[Excerpt:]
Everyone ­expected the defeated president to eventually concede, but Donald Trump refused. Instead, as ABC newsman Jonathan Karl explains in “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” Trump chose to launch a violent insurrection that upended the peaceful transfer of power. Karl’s sobering, solid, account of Trump’s last year in office sheds new light on how the man who lost the presidency nearly succeeded in overthrowing the 2020 election. Anyone who thinks that “it can’t happen here,” ought to read this book.
2022? More deflection, denial and lying . . .

CAPITOL ATTACK

A FEDERAL JUDGE SUGGESTS TRUMP MIGHT HAVE TO PAY UP FOR JANUARY 6

By not calling off the rioters, Trump may be held liable for the attack and the lawsuits demanding damages. 

BY BESS LEVIN

January 10, 2022

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/01/donald-trump-january-6-lawsuits-liability?

 

Trump slams Biden, voices unsubstantiated election fraud claims at first rally of 2022 

BY JULIA MANCHESTER – 01/15/22 

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/589927-trump-slams-biden-voices-election-fraud-claims-at-first-rally-of-2022

 

POLITICO Playbook: A night at the Trump rally

By TARA PALMERI

01/16/2022

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2022/01/16/a-night-at-the-trump-rally-495742?

TRUMP CARDS

While Trump was in Arizona on Saturday,“2,000 miles to the east in Washington, there are small signs that some Republicans are tiring of the charade,”AP’s Jill Colvin writes, citingthe reaction to South Dakota Sen. MIKE ROUNDS’acknowledgment of “the reality that the election was in fact fair,” among other things.

On the other hand, many Republicansare still clamoring for the former president’s stamp of approval. NBC’s Jonathan Allen and Marc Caputo have the details of Trump’s “sometimes secretive process” for handing out endorsements, as “described in interviews with more than half a dozen people familiar with aspects of the endorsement operation.” 

The golden ticket:“The most common theme of Trump’s endorsements, particularly at the state level, is that he is backing candidates who have voiced support for his lie that the 2020 election was rigged against him. Fifty-nine of the 91 have questioned the 2020 election results, according to an NBC News review, including those who voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s victory in Congress.” 

Introducing the ‘anti-endorsement’: “[Trump] has also become enamored of the anti-endorsement, ripping into Republican incumbents who challenge him or his lie about the election.”

It was cold, dusty and more than an hour south of Phoenix … and yet about 15,000 people showed up Saturday night for DONALD TRUMP’s first campaign rally of 2022. Our roving Trump rally correspondent Meridith McGraw texts in from Arizona:

“The rally was supposed to be about turning people out for the midterms, but I got the feeling they weren’t really there to hear about 2022 — they were way more interested in what happened in 2020. The dozen people I talked to before Trump got on stage really felt like there is a path for overturning the election, even though there is zero chance. And they were most psyched about the possibility Trump could announce another run — if not him, Florida Gov. RON DESANTIS was the clear second choice. 

“In his speech, Trumpgave a boost to his endorsed candidates, slammed [President JOE] BIDEN, the media and his other political enemies. Beyond all that, the most striking feature wasn’t Trump himself, but the people he invited to introduce him. MIKE LINDELL,the MyPillow CEO, was treated like a rockstar and repeated his untrue claims of a rigged election; KARI LAKE, who has Trump’s support in her campaign for governor, said she wanted to lock up ANTHONY FAUCI and anyone involved in the 2020 election; Rep. PAUL GOSARtalked of a ‘storm coming’ — a phrase used by QAnon supporters. And the crowd ate it up.

“One more thing: After talking for weeks about the booster and the vaccine, [Trump] barely mentioned it and focused instead on going after vaccine mandates.”

The Arizona Republic’s Ronald Hansen, Ray Stern and Dan Nowickihave some more highs and lows from the 93-minute speech, which they call an “updated version of Trump’s usual America-first rhetoric, long on personal boasts and lacking in subtlety.”

— He repeated demonstrably false claims about the 2020 election being “rigged,” fumed that news media “refuse to talk about it,” and said that referring to his grand lies about the election as a “Big Lie” is itself “a lot of bullshit.”

— He “decried the treatment of those arrested in connection with the insurrection, calling it an ‘appalling persecution of political prisoners.’ He called their continued confinement ‘brutal lockdowns.’ Trump called the police officer who killed ASHLI BABBITT, the California woman who was climbing through a barricaded door outside House offices, ‘a dope.’”

— He attacked Gov. DOUG DUCEY as a “terrible representative of your state,” and said that the Republican, who is mulling a run against Democratic Sen. MARK KELLY, is “not going to get my endorsement.”

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO AMERICAN CONSERVATISM?

The rich philosophical tradition I fell in love with has been reduced to Fox News and voter suppression.

 

[Excerpt:]

Trumpian Republicanism plunders, degrades, and erodes institutions for the sake of personal aggrandizement. The Trumpian cause is held together by hatred of the Other. Because Trumpians live in a state of perpetual war, they need to continually invent existential foes—critical race theory, nongendered bathrooms, out-of-control immigration. They need to treat half the country, metropolitan America, as a moral cancer, and view the cultural and demographic changes of the past 50 years as an alien invasion.

Yet pluralism is one of America’s oldest traditions; to conserve America, you have to love pluralism. As long as the warrior ethos dominates the GOP, brutality will be admired over benevolence, propaganda over discourse, confrontation over conservatism, dehumanization over dignity. A movement that has more affection for Viktor Orbán’s Hungary than for New York’s Central Park is neither conservative nor American. This is barren ground for anyone trying to plant Burkean seedlings.

 

Trump Soft-Launches His 2024 Campaign

The former president’s message at his Arizona rally was as clear as it was dishonest: He didn’t lose to Joe Biden in 2020, and he’ll spend the next year working to elect Republicans who agree.

January 15, 2021

 

Georgia prosecutor requests special grand jury in probe of Trump’s efforts to overturn state’s election results

January 20, 2022

[Excerpts:]

In her letter Thursday, Willis called Raffensperger “an essential witness to the investigation” and said he “has indicated that he will not participate in an interview or otherwise offer evidence until he is presented with a subpoena.”

Willis pointed to comments Raffensperger made during an October interview with Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“If she wants to interview me, there’s a process for that, and I will gladly participate in that because I want to make sure that I follow the law, follow the Constitution,” Raffensperger told Todd. “And when you get a grand jury summons, you respond to it.”

At one point during his call with Raffensperger, Trump told him: “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

Trump responded on Thursday, saying in a statement that “I didn’t say anything wrong in the call” and repeating his false claims of widespread voter fraud.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

January 25, 2022

Another major story developing today is the story of the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. 

Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis last week asked for a special grand jury to investigate former president Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Willis has said she needs the grand jury because a number of potential witnesses for Trump’s actions refuse to testify without subpoenas, which the grand jury can provide. The judges on Fulton County’s Superior Court agreed to a grand jury to be impaneled May 2.

This is the only investigation we know of that is focusing directly on Trump himself and his part in trying to steal the election. Observers say that he is at risk of being charged with racketeering or conspiracy; Willis hired an outside expert in state racketeering back in March. 

Trump was recorded on January 2, 2021, trying to bully Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to “find 11,780 votes” to override the will of the voters and deliver the state to Trump. A number of people joined then-president Trump on the call, including then–White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and several lawyers, among them longtime right-wing attorney Cleta Mitchell, whose law firm distanced itself from her after Raffensperger made the call public (when she resigned days later, she blamed “left-wing pressure groups” for the need to resign).  

Curiously, Trump released a statement blasting the Georgia investigation and complaining that he is being investigated for “asking an Attorney General…to look for corruption.” But, so far as we know, he was being investigated for pressuring Georgia’s secretary of state. They are two different positions, two different men. Was Trump just confused when he issued the written statement, or was there another conversation? 

 

Trump Jan. 6 comments renew momentum behind riot probe

BY REBECCA BEITSCH – 02/02/22

[Excerpts:]

In recent days, Trump has suggested that, if reelected in 2024, he would pardon those who have been prosecuted for partaking in the riot at the Capitol, and also rehashed his belief that former Vice President Mike Pence could have “overturned” the election. Meanwhile, revelations surfaced that Trump was directly involved in pushing a plan to seize voting machines.

The comments undercut months of messaging from Republicans pegging the panel as a witch hunt against the former president with no legislative purpose – a key feature for committees with subpoena power.

The New York Times on Monday reported that Trump played a much greater role than previously known in pushing for three government agencies to seize voting equipment – repeatedly inquiring about executive orders to mandate such a move despite warnings from Rudy Giuliani.

Trump in a statement on Sunday used a key word in bashing plans to reform the Electoral Count Act, contending Pence could have “overturned” the election when he rejected Trump’s plea to contest some state’s Electoral College counts. Trump said that actually meant Pence had “the right to change the outcome.”

Read More

And earlier this month, member Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) released a report outlining reforms to the 1887 Electoral Count Act that would raise the threshold to object to the certification of state’s election results and remove the vice president’s ceremonial role in the process.

In his statement, Trump referred to the legislative efforts by suggesting that attempts to change the law made the case that Pence did, in fact, have the power to change the 2020 election results on Jan. 6, 2021.

“How come the Democrats and RINO Republicans, like Wacky Susan Collins, are desperately trying to pass legislation that will not allow the Vice President to change the results of the election?” Trump said in the Sunday statement, issued on the same day Collins told ABC’s “This Week” that it was “unlikely” she would support Trump if he ran in 2024.

The pushback from Trump repeats a familiar pattern, where Republicans painstakingly downplay a controversial issue only to have the former president bring it front and center.

Republicans have spent months making a case that the committee’s work should be considered invalid, arguing it has no legislative purpose.

“Pretty much the only people who don’t feel we have a legislative purpose is [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy [R-Calif.] and a couple of people around the former president who lost lawsuits,” Aguilar told The Hill.

\

 

Why Trump Pantsing Graham Once Again Matters in 2022

February 2, 2022 

[Excerpts:]

Trump is focused on himself and his own backward-looking grievances in ways that create problems for other Republicans.

Divisions over Trump’s election-stealing grievances are what helped elect two Democratic senators from Georgia. Those grievances could potentially play a similar role in 2022 and 2024. This is part of why there seems to be more openness among GOP operatives and elites to a different standard-bearer in 2024 . . . .

 

‘He never stopped ripping things up’: Inside Trump’s relentless document destruction habits

Trump’s shredding of paper in the White House was far more widespread and indiscriminate than previously known and — despite multiple admonishments — extended throughout his presidency.

February 5, 2022

[Excerpts:]

One person familiar with the National Archives process said that staff there were stunned at how many papers they received from the Trump administration that were ripped, and described it internally as “unprecedented.”

One senior Trump White House official said he and other White House staffers frequently put documents into “burn bags” to be destroyed, rather than preserving them, and would decide themselves what should be saved and what should be burned. When the Jan. 6 committee asked for certain documents related to Trump’s efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence, for example, some of them no longer existed in this person’s files because they had already been shredded, said someone familiar with the request.

A former senior administration official said Trump was warned about the records act by McGahn, as well as his first two chiefs of staff, Reince Priebus and John F. Kelly, who lamented to allies that Trump would “rip up everything,” according to a person who heard his comments. Passantino also warned other aides about preserving documents.

“He didn’t want a record of anything,” a former senior Trump official said. “He never stopped ripping things up. Do you really think Trump is going to care about the records act? Come on.”

But people familiar with Trump’s conduct said it ran far deeper than occasionally skirting up against the boundaries of the law.

“The biggest takeaway I have from that behavior is it reflects a conviction that he was above the law,” said presidential historian Lindsay Chervinsky. “He did not see himself bound by those things.”

 

What the January 6th Papers Reveal

The Supreme Court ruled to give the House Select Committee access to a trove of documents detailing election-negating strategies that Donald Trump and his advisers entertained—including a military seizure of voting machines—but he continues to peddle a counter-narrative in which he’s the victim.

February 6, 2022

[Excerpts:]

The receipt of the papers has fuelled a burst of revelations about the Trump White House’s involvement in the events leading up to the assault on the Capitol, and about Trump’s desperate efforts to hold on to the Presidency. One of the documents, as Politico first reported, is a draft executive order, which was not issued, directing the Department of Defense to seize voting machines and associated electronic records in various states. That story was followed by reports, in the Times and elsewhere, about how Trump and his advisers debated the order—and whether there might be better ways to overturn the election. (Rudy Giuliani may have been the one to persuade Trump not to go down that military-backed-coup route.) There also seems to have been a draft executive order instructing the Department of Homeland Security to seize those voting machines, and a separate proposal telling the Department of Justice that it should do so, which D.H.S. Secretary Ken Cuccinelli and Attorney General William Barr both resisted. [Boldface added].

One election-negating strategy that Giuliani apparently did like involved manufacturing “competing” slates of Presidential electors. The idea, promoted by John Eastman, a law professor, in a how-to-pull-a-coup playbook, was that Vice-President Mike Pence would use the uncertainty created by such slates as a pretext for cutting short the counting of electoral votes on January 6th. Pence refused, but not before would-be Trump electors from seven states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all of which Joe Biden won—sent certificates to the National Archives claiming that they had cast their states’ votes for Trump on December 14th, the day that electors who had actually been chosen convened around the country.

Among those seven states, there is a significant distinction: in Pennsylvania and New Mexico, local Republicans noted in their submissions that their votes were contingent upon Trump’s winning his challenges to the election results. In the other five, there was no such qualification—the votes were sent in with language proclaiming Trump the winner. As a result, those Trump certificates might, in legal terms, be considered forgeries or falsified election materials. The Justice Department has confirmed that it is investigating the scheme, and the Select Committee has subpoenaed people involved in preparing the certificates from all seven states. One question to be answered is how much pressure the Trump team put on local Republicans to submit the fake certifications.

 

DONALD “LIKE, REALLY SMART” TRUMP MAY HAVE GIVEN PROSECUTORS A REASON TO CHARGE HIM WITH OBSTRUCTION

BY BESS LEVIN\

February 7, 2022

[Excerpt]

As you’ve no doubt heard by now because there is literally no escaping this man, at a rally last month in Texas, Donald Trump devoted a good portion of his remarks to attacking a trio of prosecutors who are currently investigating him.

After referring to Letitia James, Alvin Bragg, and Fani Willis as “vicious, horrible people” and claiming “they’re racists and they’re very sick, they’re mentally sick,” the ex-president then encouraged his supporters to launch “the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta, and elsewhere,” if “these radical racist vicious prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal.”

Note: There is no evidence whatsoever that James, Bragg, or Willis—whom Trump was clearly referring to, though didn’t directly name—are “vicious,” “horrible,” “racist,” or “sick,” but Trump is sure acting like someone hugely panicked about the walls closing in on him, throwing anything against the wall he can think of in the hopes of making it stick.

Anyway, given what happened the last time Trump encouraged his followers to “fight” on his behalf, more than a few people were disturbed by his call to action. Quite reasonably, Willis asked the FBI to provide security around her office and at the courthouse where she is convening a special grand jury to investigate Trump’s attempts in Georgia to overturn the 2020 election. But while Trump seems to believe that convincing his supporters the prosecutors investigating him are crooked will help him in the long run, it looks more likely that his comments will put him in even more legal peril.

The Guardian reports that Trump’s “incendiary call…for his backers to ready massive protests” on his behalf could “backfire legally” and be viewed as grounds for obstruction of justice charges. Former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut told the paper he believes the ex-president “may have shot himself in the foot,” and added: “Criminal intent can be hard to prove, but when a potential defendant says something easily seen as intimidating or threatening to those investigating the case it becomes easier.”

Echoing those comments, Michael Moore, a former U.S. attorney in Georgia, said Trump’s demand that people rise up on his behalf could “potentially intimidate witnesses and members of a grand jury,” and pointed out that that’s a felony in the state of Georgia. Trump “is essentially calling for vigilante justice against the justice system. He’s not interested in the pursuit of justice but blocking any investigations,” Moore told The Guardian. 

And former DOJ attorney Paul Pelletier made the case via The Guardian that: “Trump’s history of inciting people to violence demonstrates that his recent remarks are likely to cause a disruption of the pending investigations against him and family members. Should his conduct actually impede any of these investigations, federal and state obstruction statutes could easily compound Mr Trump’s criminal exposure.”

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson, February 18, 2022

The third story is that U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta rejected Trump’s attempt to dismiss three lawsuits that blame him for inciting the January 6 riot. Eleven members of the House of Representatives (in their personal capacities) and two Capitol Police officers have accused former president Trump, Donald J. Trump Jr., Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL), and right-wing militia groups including the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Warboys, and so on, of conspiring to prevent them from performing their official duties. This is a federal crime thanks to a law first passed in 1871 to stop Ku Klux Klan members from preventing Black legislators and their Republican allies from doing their jobs.

After reviewing the events of January 6 and the days leading up to it, the judge concluded that those launching the lawsuits “establish a plausible conspiracy involving President Trump.” He noted that the president and others worked together to disrupt Congress and stop the counting of the certified Electoral College ballots on January 6. The president undermined faith in the election, falsely claiming it was stolen, and urged supporters to go to Washington, D.C., on January 6, telling them it would be “wild.” He planned the rally, and at it he gave a barn-burning speech that concluded: ““We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Trump’s role in a potential conspiracy was “to encourage the use of force, intimidation, or threats to thwart the Certification from proceeding, and organized groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers would carry out the required acts.” The judge also noted a pattern of “call-and-response” between the president and his militia followers. When he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” for example, one of their leaders tweeted: “Standing by sir.”

The court concluded that it was plausible that Trump was part of a conspiracy to stop the performance of official duties.

Judge rules Trump, children must comply with NY AG’s subpoena for testimony

BY HARPER NEIDIG – 02/17/22 03:18 PM EST

[Excerpts:]

“Today, justice prevailed,” the state attorney general said in a statement. “Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump have been ordered by the court to comply with our lawful investigation into Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization’s financial dealings. No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are. No one is above the law.”

James’s office revealed last month that it had uncovered “significant” evidence that the Trump Organization has for years been falsifying the value of its assets for financial gain, including to win tax breaks and attract investors.

That revelation came as Trump fought to block her efforts in both state and federal court, while painting the investigation as a political witch hunt in the media.

Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, said in a letter sent to the former president’s company last week that it could no longer vouch for the business’s financial statements for the past decade given the revelations from the attorney general’s investigation.

 

Trump Calls Putin’s Ukraine Moves “Genius” Because He’s a Sick Man Who Hates Democracy

He also dubbed the Russian president “very savvy.”

FEBRUARY 22, 2022

[Excerpts:]

During an interview with a conservative radio show, the former president was asked, according to a transcript published Tuesday: “This White House is stating that this is an ‘invasion.’ That’s a strong word. What went wrong here? What has the current occupant of the Oval Office done that he could have done differently?” Naturally, Trump’s initial response was to claim that Biden erred by moving into the White House on January 20, 2021, after stealing the election. “What went wrong was a rigged election,” Trump told hosts Clay Travis and Buck Sexton, “and what went wrong is a candidate that shouldn’t be there and a man that has no concept of what he’s doing.” After getting that out of the way, he proceeded to applaud Putin for his tactical brilliance.

“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine—of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s the strongest peace force. We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy, I know him very well. Very, very well.”

 

 

From: Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American <heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>
Date: February 28, 2022

[Excerpts:] 

That word “enablers” seems an important one, for since 2016 there have been plenty of apologists for Putin here in the U.S. And yet now, with the weight of popular opinion shifting toward a defense of democracy, Republicans who previously cozied up to Putin are suddenly stating their support for Ukraine and trying to suggest that Putin has gotten out of line only because he sees Biden as weak. Under Trump, they say, Putin never would have invaded Ukraine, and they are praising Trump for providing aid to Ukraine in 2019.

They are hoping that their present support for Ukraine and democracy makes us forget their past support for Putin, even as former president Trump continues to call him “smart.” And yet, Republicans changed their party’s 2016 platform to favor Russia over Ukraine; accepted Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria in October 2019, giving Russia a strategic foothold in the Middle East; and looked the other way when Trump withheld $391 million to help Ukraine resist Russian invasion until newly elected Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to help rig the 2020 U.S. presidential election. (Trump did release the money after the story of the “perfect phone call” came out, but the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which investigated the withholding of funds, concluded that holding back the money at all was illegal.)

[Boldface added]

But rather than making us forget Republicans’ enabling of Putin’s expansion, the new story in which democracy has the upper hand might have the opposite effect. Now that people can clearly see exactly the man Republicans have supported, they will want to know why our leaders, who have taken an oath to our democratic Constitution, were willing to throw in their lot with a foreign autocrat. The answer to that question might well force us to rethink a lot of what we thought we knew about the last several years. 

[Boldface added]

 

Jan. 6 Committee Lays Out Potential Criminal Charges Against Trump

In a court filing, the panel said there was enough evidence to suggest that the former president might have engaged in a criminal conspiracy as he fought to remain in office.

Published March 2, 2022Updated March 3, 2022

 [Excerpts:]

In a court filing in a civil case in California, the committee’s lawyers for the first time laid out their theory of a potential criminal case against the former president. They said they had accumulated evidence demonstrating that Mr. Trump, the conservative lawyer John Eastman and other allies could potentially be charged with criminal violations including obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the American people.

The filing also said there was evidence that Mr. Trump’s repeated lies that the election had been stolen amounted to common law fraud.

The evidence gathered by the committee “provides, at minimum, a good-faith basis for concluding that President Trump has violated” the obstruction count, the filing, written by Douglas N. Letter, the general counsel of the House, said, adding: “The select committee also has a good-faith basis for concluding that the president and members of his campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

But the filing contains the clearest indication yet about the committee’s direction as it weighs making a criminal referral to the Justice Department against Mr. Trump and his allies, a step that could put pressure on Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to take up the case. The Justice Department has said little of substance about whether it might ultimately pursue a case.

The court filing stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Mr. Eastman, who is trying to persuade a judge to block the committee’s subpoena for documents in his possession, claiming “a highly partisan” invasion of his privacy. The committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Eastman in January, citing a memo he wrote laying out how Mr. Trump could use the vice president and Congress to try to invalidate the 2020 election results.

As part of the suit, Mr. Eastman sought to shield from release documents he said were covered by attorney-client privilege. In response, the committee argued — under the legal theory known as the crime-fraud exception — that the privilege does not cover information conveyed from a client to a lawyer if it was part of furthering or concealing a crime.

It also made reference to a recent ruling in a civil suit in Washington, D.C., in which Judge Amit P. Mehta of the Federal District Court found that it was “plausible to believe that the president entered into a conspiracy with the rioters on Jan. 6, 2021.”

“In addition to the legal effort to delay the certification, there is also evidence that the conspiracy extended to the rioters engaged in acts of violence at the Capitol,” the filing said.

On Tuesday, the State Bar of California announced an investigation into Mr. Eastman over whether he engaged in conduct that violated California law and ethics rules.

Mr. Eastman’s memo to Mr. Trump suggested that Mr. Pence could reject electors from certain states. Mr. Eastman also participated in a briefing for nearly 300 state legislators, during which he told the group that it was their duty to “fix this, this egregious conduct, and make sure that we’re not putting in the White House some guy that didn’t get elected,” according to the committee.

He met with Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence to push his arguments, participated in a meeting of Trump advisers at the Willard hotel and spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, before the Capitol assault. As violence broke out, he sent a message blaming Mr. Pence for not going along with his plan.

As a mob was attacking the Capitol, chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” Mr. Eastman sent a hostile message to the vice president’s top lawyer, blaming Mr. Pence for the violence.

“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” he wrote to Greg Jacob, Mr. Pence’s chief counsel.

 

From: Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American <heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>
Date: March 2, 2022

In the midst of all the news stories that have taken the headlines, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has continued its work. Today, in a lawsuit, it told a judge that the committee “has a good-faith basis for concluding that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

The filing also said that a “review of the materials may reveal that the president and members of his campaign engaged in common law fraud in connection with their efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.” One of the emails it released to support the filing indicated that Trump legal advisor John Eastman knew those delaying the electoral count were breaking the law.

The January 6th committee is investigating the events of January 6, 2021, to see what changes in the law, if any, should be in place to make sure what happened on January 6 cannot happen again. It cannot charge anyone with a crime, although it can make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice, which the department will then consider. Today’s statement makes it seem likely that the committee will be making such a referral.

Former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal told MSNBC: “This is as deadly serious as it gets, seditious conspiracy.”

 

From: Charlie Sykes – The Bulwark <morningshots@substack.com>
Date: March 4, 2022

Meanwhile…

The former president of the United States called into the show hosted by the Conspiracy Theorist Formerly Known As the Money Honey, and had some thoughts.

“Do you expect China to invade Taiwan sooner rather than later?” asked Maria Bartiromo. “I do because they’re seeing how stupid the United States is run,” TFG guy answered “They’re seeing that our leaders are incompetent. Of course they’re going to do it.

“This is their time.”

I am not making this shit up, people.

 

From: Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American <heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>
Date: March 2, 2022

Closer to home, the Russian war on Ukraine has created a crisis for the Republican Party here in the U.S.

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post reported on Thursday that after Trump won the 2016 election and we learned that Russia had interfered to help him, Republicans’ approval of Putin jumped from about 14% to 37%.

In the Des Moines Register today, columnist Rekha Basu explained how the American right then swung behind Putin because they saw him as a moral crusader, defending religion and “traditional values,” from modern secularism and “decadence,” using a strong hand to silence those who would, for example, defend LGBTQ rights.

Now, popular support has swung strongly against the Russian leader—even among Republicans, 61% of whom now strongly dislike the man. This is widening the split in the Republican Party between Trump supporters and those who would like to move the party away from the former president.

In a tweet today, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) referred to the “Putin wing” of the Republican Party when she shared a video clip of Douglas Macgregor, whom Trump nominated for ambassador to Germany and then appointed as senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense, telling a Fox News Channel host that Russian forces have been “too gentle” and “I don’t see anything heroic” about Zelensky.

Possibly eager to show their participation in Ukraine’s defense, when Zelensky spoke to Congress this morning, two Republican senators—Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Steve Daines (R-MT)—shared screenshots of his Zoom call while it was going on, despite the explicit request of Ukraine’s ambassador not to share details of the meeting until it was over, out of concern for Zelensky’s safety.

In an appearance on Newsmax, Trump’s secretary of state John Bolton pushed back when the host suggested that the Trump administration was “pretty tough on Russia, in a lot of ways.” Bolton said that Trump “barely knew where Ukraine was” and repeatedly complained about Russian sanctions. Bolton said Trump should have sanctioned the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany, rather than letting it proceed, and concluded: “It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians.”

Still, the sudden attempt of the Republicans to rewrite history cannot erase the fact that every Republican in the House of Representatives voted against impeaching Trump when he withheld $391 million in aid for Ukraine that Congress had appropriated, offering to release it only on the condition that President Zelensky announced an investigation into Hunter Biden. That is, they were willing to look the other way as Trump weakened Ukraine in an attempt to rig the 2020 election by creating a scandal he hoped would sink his chief opponent.

Democrats supported impeachment, though, and the case went to the Senate to be tried. And there, every single Republican senator except Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), who voted to convict him for abuse of power, acquitted Trump of the charges stemming from his attempt to hamstring Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.

 

Pressing for Evidence, Jan. 6 Panel Argues That Trump Committed Fraud

The argument was a response to a lawsuit filed by John Eastman, who is seeking to shield his communications with former President Donald J. Trump.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/08/us/politics/jan-6-panel-trump-fraud.html?referringSource=articleShare

By Luke Broadwater

March 8, 2022

[Excerpts:]

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Tuesday laid out its theory for potential criminal charges against former President Donald J. Trump, arguing before a federal judge that he and the conservative lawyer John C. Eastman were involved in a conspiracy to perpetrate a fraud on the American public as part of a plan to overturn the 2020 election.

They also form the core of the panel’s strategy for potentially holding Mr. Trump and his allies criminally liable for what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, one that turns on the notion that they knowingly sought to invalidate legitimate election results.

 

Democrats are Fighting like Hell for Voting Rights

Republicans didn’t like the way the last election went, so they are trying to make it harder for folks to vote. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

Jaime Harrison

Published Mar. 04, 2022 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/democrats-are-fighting-like-hell-for-voting-rights

 

New evidence shows Trump was told many times there was no voter fraud — but he kept saying it anyway

The House Jan. 6 panel aims to prove that Trump was acting corruptly by continuing to spread misinformation about the election long after he had reason to know he had legitimately lost

By Rosalind S. HeldermanJacqueline AlemanJosh Dawsey and Tom Hamburger

March 3, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/03/trump-election-jan-6/

 

Jan. 6 Committee Lays Out Potential Criminal Charges Against Trump

By Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer

Published March 2, 2022Updated March 3, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/02/us/politics/trump-criminal-charges-jan-6.html

[Excerpt:]

In a court filing in a civil case in California, the committee’s lawyers for the first time laid out their theory of a potential criminal case against the former president. They said they had accumulated evidence demonstrating that Mr. Trump, the conservative lawyer John Eastman and other allies could potentially be charged with criminal violations including obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the American people.

The filing also said there was evidence that Mr. Trump’s repeated lies that the election had been stolen amounted to common law fraud.

 

Judge Slams Trump for Delay Tactics in Rape Defamation Case

Updated March 12, 2022

 

Trump White House aide was secret author of report used to push ‘big lie’

Report on Dominion voting machines produced after 2020 election was not the work of volunteer in Trump’s post-election legal team

 

Weeks after the 2020 election, at least one Trump White House aide was named as secretly producing a report that alleged Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden because of Dominion Voting Systems – research that formed the basis of the former president’s wider efforts to overturn the election.

Weeks after the 2020 election, at least one Trump White House aide was named as secretly producing a report that alleged Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden because of Dominion Voting Systems – research that formed the basis of the former president’s wider efforts to overturn the election.

The Dominion report, subtitled “OVERVIEW 12/2/20 – History, Executives, Vote Manipulation Ability and Design, Foreign Ties”, was initially prepared so that it could be sent to legislatures in states where the Trump White House was trying to have Biden’s win reversed.

But top Trump officials would also use the research that stemmed from the White House aide-produced report to weigh other options to return Trump to the presidency, including having the former president sign off on executive orders to authorize sweeping emergency powers.

The previously unreported involvement of the Trump White House aide in the preparation of the Dominion report raises the extraordinary situation of at least one administration official being among the original sources of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The publicly available version of the Dominion report, which first surfaced in early December 2020 on the conservative outlet the Gateway Pundit, names on the cover and in metadata as its author Katherine Friess, a volunteer on the Trump post-election legal team.

But the Dominion report was in fact produced by the senior Trump White House policy aide Joanna Miller, according to the original version of the document reviewed by the Guardian and a source familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

he original version of the Dominion report named Miller – who worked for the senior Trump adviser Peter Navarro – as the author on the cover page, until her name was abruptly replaced with that of Friess before the document was to be released publicly, the source said.

The involvement of a number of other Trump White House aides who worked in Navarro’s office was also scrubbed around that time, the source said. Friess has told the Daily Beast that she had nothing to do with the report and did not know how her name came to be on the document.

It was not clear why Miller’s name was removed from the report, which was sent to Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani on 29 November 2020, or why the White House aide’s involvement was obfuscated in the final 2 December version.

Miller did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Dominion report made a number of unsubstantiated allegations that claimed Dominion Voting Systems corruptly ensured there could be “technology glitches which resulted in thousands of votes being added to Joe Biden’s total ballot count”.

Citing unnamed Venezuelan officials, the report also pushed the conspiracy theory that Dominion Voting Systems used software from the election company Smartmatic and had ties to “state-run Venezuelan software and telecommunications companies”.

After the Dominion report became public, Navarro incorporated the claims into his own three-part report, produced with assistance from his aides at the White House, including Miller and another policy aide, Garrett Ziegler, the source said.

Ziegler has also said on a rightwing podcast that he and others in Navarro’s office – seemingly referring to Trump White House aides Christopher Abbott and Hannah Robertson – started working on Navarro’s report about two weeks before the 2020 election took place.

“Two weeks before the election, we were doing those reports hoping that we would pepper the swing states with those,” Ziegler said of the three-part Navarro report in an appearance last July on The Professor’s Record with David K Clements.

The research in the Dominion report also formed the backbone of foreign election interference claims by the former Trump lawyer and conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell, who argued Trump could, as a result, assume emergency presidential powers and suspend normal law.

That included Trump’s executive order 13848, which authorized sweeping powers in the event of foreign election interference, as well as a draft executive order that would have authorized the seizure of voting machines, the Guardian has previously reported.

The claims about Venezuela in the Dominion report appear to have spurred Powell to ask Trump at a 18 December 2020 meeting at the White House – coincidentally facilitated by Ziegler – that she be appointed special counsel to investigate election fraud.

Miller’s authorship of the Dominion report was not the last time the Trump White House, or individuals in the administration, prepared materials to advance the former president’s claims about a stolen election and efforts to return himself to office.

The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack revealed last year it had found evidence the White House Communications Agency produced a letter for the Trump justice department official Jeffrey Clark to use to pressure states to decertify Biden’s election win.

 

The Bulwark

Morning Shots with Charlie Sykes

March 30, 2021

Trump’s Treason

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/trumps-treason?s=r

Trump asks Putin for a favor (again)Donald Trump has exhausted our vocabulary of outrage and I’m trying to cut down on my use of obscenities for Lent. So, it is difficult to describe the sheer revolting awfulness of this:Amid widespread criticism of his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin, former President Donald Trump publicly called on Putin on Tuesday to release any dirt he might have on Hunter Biden, the president’s son.

This was not taken out of context, nor was it a gotcha take. His own spokeswoman enthusiastically tweeted out his plea to Putin.

It is as if he is recapitulating all of his most egregious scandals — from “Russia, if you’re listening” to “I would like you to do us a favor” — multiplied by a factor of genocide.

And daring us to do something about it.

Trump, writes Aaron Blake, continues to play his greatest hits. “And the hits apparently include seeing just how long his party and supporters will tolerate his treating a man they hate as a legitimate political ally. Because, as always, the point is winning.”

In the interview, Trump focused on allegations that Hunter Biden received millions of dollars from the wife of Moscow’s late mayor, Yury Luzhkov.

Trump complains that Ukraine won’t dish the dirt on Biden — “Now, you won’t get the answer from Ukraine,” he says — but thinks that Putin might.

“She gave him $3.5 million, so now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it,” Trump said. “I think we should know that answer.”

Even as Trump spoke, Putin was waging a war of unremitting terror that has killed thousands of Ukrainians. The West has rallied to oppose him, and nearly every American political figure — from both parties — has denounced the Russian thug.

And it is at this moment, amidst a brutal war of aggression, that Trump once again reached out for Putin’s help in attacking the sitting American president and, by extension, this country.

Here’s where we come to the treasonous smoking gun: Trump explicitly frames his request to Putin as an act of retaliation not just against Biden, but against the United States itself.

Some accounts leave out the key phrase that Trump uses when he explains why Putin might help him.

“As long as Putin is not exactly a fan of our country… I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it… you won’t get the answer from Ukraine… I think Putin now would be willing to probably give that answer.”

As long as Putin is not exactly a fan of our country… said the former and perhaps future president at a time of international conflict.

Now commenceth my rant.

  • Republicans, defend this. Go ahead. Try. Don’t dodge or hedge. Defend your leader’s partnership in slime and blood with Vladimir Putin.
  • Tell me again that he learned his lesson.
  • Explain again that you think the whole Russia thing was a hoax.
  • Justify putting this defeated, disgraced, twice-impeached deplorable back in the Oval Office.
  • And make the case for giving the nuclear codes back to this scabrous traitor.

 

 


Trump Is Guilty of ‘Numerous’ Felonies, Prosecutor Who Resigned Says

By William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Jonah E. Bromwich

March 23, 2022

[Excerpt:]

One of the senior Manhattan prosecutors who investigated Donald J. Trump believed that the former president was “guilty of numerous felony violations” and that it was “a grave failure of justice” not to hold him accountable, according to a copy of his resignation letter.
The prosecutor, Mark F. Pomerantz, submitted his resignation last month after the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, abruptly stopped pursuing an indictment of Mr. Trump.
Mr. Pomerantz, 70, a prominent former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer who came out of retirement to work on the Trump investigation, resigned on the same day as Carey R. Dunne, another senior prosecutor leading the inquiry.

 

Exclusive: Two key tech execs quit Truth Social after troubled app launch

[Excerpt:]
The departures followed the troubled launch of the company’s iPhone app on Feb. 20. Weeks later, many users remain on a waiting list, unable to access the platform. Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) Chief Executive Devin Nunes, a former Republican congressman, said publicly that the company aimed to make the app fully operational within the United States by the end of March.
Charlie Sykes – The Bulwark <morningshots@substack.com>
Date: April 4, 2022 

The Trump joke

There is a widely circulated, but likely apocryphal, story that Trump was inspired to run for president after he was mocked and humiliated by Barack Obama¹ at the 2011 White House correspondent’s Dinner.

That night, wrote The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik, “the President took apart Donald Trump, plastic piece by orange part, and then refused to put him back together again.”

“On that night, Trump’s own sense of public humiliation became so overwhelming that he decided, perhaps at first unconsciously, that he would, somehow, get his own back — perhaps even pursue the Presidency after all, no matter how nihilistically or absurdly, and redeem himself.”

Ah, well, perhaps not. The story is thinly sourced and likely an exaggeration. But Trump is a narcissist, and it’s fair to say that very few narcissists enjoy being laughed at, or made the butt of jokes. Whatever the political fallout from the night, it is not unreasonable to assume that a good time was not had by The Donald as he was repeatedly skewered not only by the sitting president of the United States, but also by comedian Seth Meyers, who wielded a scalpel that was unusually sharp for such events.

Indeed, Meyers joked about Trump being a joke, (“Donald Trump has been saying he will run for president as a Republican — which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke”)… which in retrospect is both ironic and morbidly funny.

I mention all of this as background for this weekend’s interlude of Trump-based humor. ICYMI: New Hampshire’s Republican Governor Chris Sununu roasted Trump at Saturday’s Gridiron Dinner in Washington D.C., although ‘roasted” may too tepid a word.

“You know, he’s probably going to be the next president,’ Sununu said of Trump, before going on to sarcastically comment on the ex-president’s ‘experience’ and ‘sense of integrity.’

‘Nah, I’m just kidding!’ Sununu broke out and was met with laughter before saying’ ‘He’s f***ing crazy!’

‘Are you kidding?! Come on. You guys are buying that? I love it,’ he continued. ‘He just stresses me out so much.

‘I’m going to deny I ever said it,’ Sununu said of his comments about Trump.

He also clarified: ‘I don’t think he’s so crazy he should be in a mental asylum. But if he’s in one, he’s not getting out.’ 

Unlike the 2011 dinner, Trump was not in attendance. But I think it’s fair to assume that he’ll hear about it. And this:

Also at the dinner, Sununu told a story about a time Trump visited his state of New Hampshire and invited him for a ride in The Beast.

During their discussion, Trump stopped talking and pointed out the window at people lining the road holding American flags.

He said: ‘They love me,’ according to the GOP governor.

Sununu said the only problem was that the man the then-president was pointed at was holding a sign that read, ‘F*** TRUMP.’ 

Exit take: It was just a joke, right? But, if history is any guide, the Orange God King, will be not amused.

As for Sununu and Trump? In the immortal words of Taylor Swift: “We Are Never Getting Back Together Again.”

Trump should be charged. Don’t let the House pass the buck.

So now it is up the select committee and the Justice Department, which both seem to be caught in a cycle of hand-wringing. They worry about the “taint” of a referral and agonize over fears that Trump and the GOP will discredit any investigation as a partisan witch hunt.

But here’s a reality check: No matter what they do, no matter how cautiously they act, Trump will react with bad faith and demagoguery.

The Justice Department could hire an avatar of respectability and integrity to handle the prosecution (see: Robert Mueller) — and it wouldn’t matter. Whatever it does, Trump will let loose the dogs of disinformation, deceit and obstruction.

Knowing it can’t control the reaction, maybe the select committee should just do the right thing — and finally, finally end the cycle of timidity, self-deterrence and buck-passing.

Judge dismisses Trump’s lawsuit against Twitter

The former president accused the social network of violating the First Amendment by suspending his account after Jan. 6

[Excerpt:]

In the ruling, U.S. District Judge James Donato rejected Trump’s argument that Twitter was operating as a “state actor” when it suspended his account in January 2021, calling it not plausible. Trump had claimed that Twitter was constrained by the First Amendment’s restrictions on government limitations of free speech because it had acted in cooperation with government officials.

The judge also dismissed Trump’s call for a declaratory judgment that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says Internet platforms generally are not responsible for what their users post, is unconstitutional.

 

Trumpism versus Reaganism

Bill Schneider is an emeritus professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and author of “Standoff: How America Became Ungovernable” (Simon & Schuster).
[Excerpts:]

The Trump phenomenon is more autocratic than its predecessors.

Its highest principle is personal loyalty to Trump, who attacks anyone who defies him — even if they are on the same side politically. He publicly called Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Republican Senate Leader, a “dumb son of a bitch” and a “stone cold loser” for not doing more last year to block certification of Joe Biden’s electoral vote victory. 

This year, Trump is on a personal vendetta to wreak vengeance on his perceived enemies. He is campaigning to defeat Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) because she voted to impeach him for incitement of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump met with a wall of resistance in Georgia last week when his endorsed candidate for governor got crushed in the GOP primary and the secretary of state — who refused Trump’s demand that he “find” votes for Trump after the 2020 polls closed — got reelected.

Ronald Reagan held fast to his conservative beliefs but was tolerant of those who disagreed with him. His “Eleventh Commandment” was “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.” Yet no one ever accused Reagan of being a wuss. 

In a recent CBS News poll, a majority of Americans describe Trump’s Republican Party as “extreme.”

 

Woodward and Bernstein thought Nixon defined corruption. Then came Trump.

[Excerpts]

Donald Trump not only sought to destroy the electoral system through false claims of voter fraud and unprecedented public intimidation of state election officials, but he also then attempted to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to his duly elected successor, for the first time in American history.

Both Nixon and Trump have been willing prisoners of their compulsions to dominate, and to gain and hold political power through virtually any means. In leaning so heavily on these dark impulses, they defined two of the most dangerous and troubling eras in American history.

As Washington warned in his Farewell Address more than 225 years ago, unprincipled leaders could create “permanent despotism,” “the ruins of public liberty,” and “riot and insurrection.”

 

Trump, two adult children scheduled to testify July 15 in New York AG investigation

CONGRESS

The Jan. 6 select committee makes a criminal referral — its own way

For all the quibbling over whether they should ask DOJ to investigate Donald Trump, panel members effectively did so on Thursday.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/16/jan-6-committee-doj-trump-00040320

Former President Donald J. Trump has weathered scandals by keeping his intentions under wraps, but recent testimony paints a stark portrait of a man willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.

[Excerpt:]

“He learned from Dad, Norman Vincent Peale and especially Roy Cohn that you can get away with almost anything if you never back down and insist long enough and loud enough that you’re right, and he held onto that right up to the final ride” back to the White House, said Gwenda Blair, his biographer, referring in turn to Fred Trump; the author of “The Power of Positive Thinking”; and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting chief counsel, who became a mentor to Mr. Trump. For Mr. Trump, “he was being completely consistent with the way he has acted his entire life.”

Anthony Scaramucci, a longtime associate who served briefly in the White House before breaking with Mr. Trump, has talked in the past about Mr. Trump’s power to interpret reality in whatever way suited him. But Mr. Scaramucci said he had concluded that Mr. Trump understood perfectly well that the election was not stolen and that his actions on Jan. 6 to overturn it were illegitimate.

 

DOJ alerted after Trump called unseen Jan. 6 witness, says Cheney

 

Justice Dept. investigating Trump’s actions in Jan. 6 criminal probe

People familiar with the probe said investigators are examining the former president’s conversations and have seized phone records of top aides

 

Trump Just Told Us His Master Plan

If he gets in next time, he won’t be dislodged by any means.

Yesterday, an ex-president who had tried to overturn a democratic election by violence returned to Washington, D.C., to call for law and order. Again and again, the speech reversed reality. The ex-president who had spread an actual big lie against the legitimacy of the 2020 election tried to appropriate the phrase big lie to use against his opponents. The ex-president who had fired an acting FBI director days before that official’s pension was due to be vested lamented that police officers might lose their pension for doing their job.

Yet scrape aside the audacity, the self-pity, and the self-aggrandizement, and there was indeed an idea in Donald Trump’s speech at a conference hosted by the America First Policy Institute: a sinister idea, but one to take seriously.

Trump sketched out a vision that a new Republican Congress could enact sweeping new emergency powers for the next Republican president. The president would be empowered to disregard state jurisdiction over criminal law. The president would be allowed to push aside a “weak, foolish, and stupid governor,” and to fire “radical and racist prosecutors”—racist here meaning “anti-white.” The president could federalize state National Guards for law-enforcement duties, stop and frisk suspects for illegal weapons, and impose death sentences on drug dealers after expedited trials.

Much of this may be hot air. All of it would require huge legal changes, and some of it would require the 6–3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court to overturn established precedents. You should listen to Trump’s speech less as an agenda of things to be done, and more as an indication of the direction of Trump’s thought.

The Trump Republican Party faces a strategic problem and a constitutional opportunity. The problem is that under Trump, the Republican Party is a minority force in American life. The opportunity is that an ever more unbalanced federal structure can enable a minority party based in many small states to control the majority population that lives in fewer big states. Abortion rights are one area where Republicans can use this opportunity, but that is not an area that especially interests Donald Trump.

Instead, and as always, the opportunity that most fascinates Trump is the opportunity to use the law as a weapon: a weapon to shield his own wrongdoing, a weapon to wield against his political opponents.

Trump’s first term was mitigated by his ignorance, indolence, and incompetence. Since the humiliation of his 2020 defeat, however, Trump has been studying how to use a second chance if he gets one. The one abiding interest of his life, revenge, will provide the impetus. Next time, he will have the wholehearted support of a White House staff selected to enable him. Next time, he will have the backing in Congress of a party remade in his own image. Next time, he’ll be acting to ensure that his opponents never again get a “next time” of their own.

He may not succeed, but he’ll know what he’s trying to do.

One of the last federal prosecutors to lead an investigation into Donald Trump discussed the challenges of bringing charges against him in the Jan. 6 case.

 

Trump says temperature ‘has to be brought down’ after FBI search, then repeats attacks

BY ZACH SCHONFELD

08/15/22 

Former President Trump on Monday said his aides have reached out to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to offer “whatever we can do to help,” saying the “temperature has to be brought down” after a spike in threats against law enforcement following the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago estate.

“Whatever we can do to help — because the temperature has to be brought down in the country,” Trump told Fox News. “If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.” 

At the same time that he talked about taking the temperature down, however, Trump repeated attacks on the FBI over the search for classified documents that took place at his Florida estate last week.

Trump defended his supporters’ attacks in the interview, saying they are “not going to stand for another scam” and describing the FBI’s past investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as a “witch hunt.”

“People are so angry at what is taking place,” he said.

Read More

The FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago one week ago in connection with its investigation into whether Trump violated the Espionage Act and other federal statutes. Agents seized 11 sets of classified documents from the estate, although Trump has claimed he declassified the material.

The search has set off waves of criticisms of the FBI and DOJ from Trump and his allies, who argue the investigation is politically motivated. Some have called to defund the agency.

A new intelligence bulletin reportedly warned of a spike in threats against federal law enforcement following the Mar-a-Lago search, referencing an incident on Thursday at the FBI’s Cincinnati field office in which an armed man tried to breach the building and later died in a standoff with law enforcement.

The Hill has requested comment from the DOJ.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that a person close to Trump reached out to a DOJ official to convey a message from the former president on Thursday.

“The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?” stated the message Trump wanted conveyed to the attorney general, the Times reported.

Trump told Fox News he has not yet heard back from the department on his offer for help but added he thinks “they would want the same thing.”

Yet the former president himself has been one of the most vocal critics of the FBI and DOJ since the search, repeatedly denouncing the investigation as being politically motivated and at times suggesting an unproven conspiracy that the FBI was planting evidence to hurt him.

Trump as recently as Sunday evening called the search “abuse in law enforcement” and a “sneak attack on democracy” on TruthSocial.

“There has never been a time like this where law enforcement has been used to break into the house of a former president of the United States, and there is tremendous anger in the country — at a level that has never been seen before, other than during very perilous times,” Trump told Fox News.

His allies have echoed that sentiment, but Trump’s offer to DOJ comes after Democrats and some Republicans called for Trump to tamp down his rhetoric amid the increased threat level.

Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called Trump’s rhetoric “inflammatory” during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. 

“I don’t want to put any law enforcement in the bull’s-eye of a potential threat,” McCaul said. “And that’s someone who’s worked with law enforcement most of my career.”

Despite declining to comment on the investigation itself, the White House has pushed back on notions that DOJ is making decisions for political gain.

“This is not about politicizing anything,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on ABC “This Week” on Sunday.

“That is not true at all,” she continued. “And I would remind our folks on the other side that the FBI director was appointed by the president’s predecessor.” 

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday delivered remarks announcing he personally approved the search while similarly condemning attacks against DOJ and the FBI.

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” Garland said.

Updated: 11:35 a.m.

 

Why Garland Should Go Big

He shouldn’t bring a pen to the gun fight

August 2, 2022

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/why-garland-should-go-big?

 

Trump Invokes Fifth Amendment, Attacking Legal System as Troubles Mount

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/10/nyregion/trump-james-deposition-fifth-amendment

SURPRISE: THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE APPEARS TO BELIEVE TRUMP MIGHT HAVE COMMITTED A CRIME ON JANUARY 6

A grand jury subpoena has been issued for “records from the files of Mr. Trump’s top aides, his daily schedule and phone logs, and a draft text of the president’s speech that preceded the riot.”

The Donald J. Trump Guide to Getting Away With Anything

The former president has a knack for avoiding consequences for his misbehavior.

 

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2022

How Trump’s Endorsements Elevate Election Lies and Inflate His Political Power

The former president’s 220 endorsements have been guided more by self-serving impulses than by unseating Democrats.

[Excerpt:]

The unifying thread through the majority of Mr. Trump’s endorsements has been a candidate’s willingness to help him spread the lie that he won the 2020 presidential race. Many of these candidates either took concrete actions to subvert the election, such as voting in Congress or state legislatures to delay certification of the vote, suing to overturn results or backing partisan reviews of the ballot count. Others made clear public statements in political ads, social media posts or on the campaign trail that expressed doubts about the 2020 election.
[Boldface added]

Truth Social faces financial peril as worry about Trump’s future grows

By Drew Harwell
August 27, 2022
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/08/27/trump-truth-social-mar-a-lago-fbi/

 

Trump vows pardons, government apology to Capitol rioters if elected

The comments came on the same day President Biden was delivering a prime-time address warning of the threat to democracy from “MAGA Republicans” and election deniers.

 

Geoffrey S. Berman, who headed the Manhattan office, says in a book the Justice Department pushed cases, against John Kerry and others, to help Mr. Trump.

A book by a former top federal prosecutor offers new details about how the Justice Department under President Donald J. Trump sought to use the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan to support Mr. Trump politically and pursue his critics — even pushing the office to open a criminal investigation of former secretary of state John Kerry.

The prosecutor, Geoffrey S. Berman, was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York for two and a half years until June 2020, when Mr. Trump fired him after he refused a request to resign by Attorney General William P. Barr, who sought to replace him with an administration ally.

A copy of Mr. Berman’s book, “Holding the Line,” was obtained by The New York Times before its scheduled publication Tuesday.

The book paints a picture of Justice Department officials motivated by partisan concerns in pursuing investigations or blocking them; in weighing how forthright to be in court filings; and in shopping investigations to other prosecutors’ offices when the Southern District declined to act.

The book contains accounts of how department officials tried to have allusions to Mr. Trump scrubbed from charging papers for Michael D. Cohen, his former personal lawyer, and how the attorney general later tried to have his conviction reversed. It tells of pressure to pursue Mr. Kerry, who had angered Mr. Trump by attempting to preserve the nuclear deal he had negotiated with Iran.

And in September 2018, Mr. Berman writes, two months before the November midterms, a senior department official called Mr. Berman’s deputy, cited the Southern District’s recent prosecutions of two prominent Trump loyalists, and bluntly asserted that the office, which had been investigating Gregory B. Craig, a powerful Democratic lawyer, should charge him — and should do so before Election Day.

“It’s time for you guys to even things out,” the official said, according to Mr. Berman.

The book comes as Mr. Trump and his supporters have accused the Biden administration and Attorney General Merrick Garland of using the Justice Department as a weapon after a judge authorized FBI agents to search his Florida house for missing classified records. Mr. Trump, who is a likely presidential candidate in 2024, has suggested without evidence that President Biden is playing a role in that investigation.

However, Mr. Berman’s book says that during Mr. Trump’s presidency, department officials made “overtly political” demands, choosing targets that would directly further Mr. Trump’s desires for revenge and advantage. Mr. Berman wrote that the pressure was clearly inspired by the president’s openly professed wants.

For Donald Trump, Information Has Always Been Power

People have wondered why the former president collected classified intel, speculating that he is just a packrat. But he has a long history of gathering and wielding sensitive info to help himself.

 

Trump openly embraces, amplifies QAnon conspiracy theories

Donald Trump is increasingly embracing and endorsing the QAnon conspiracy theory, even as the number of frightening real-world events linked to the movement rises

 

Haberman’s New Book Details Trump’s Transphobic and Anti-Gay Behavior

Maggie Haberman lays out a number of scenes that stunned Trump aides and showed off the former president’s transphobia and homophobia, including his penchant for hate words.

THE INEVITABLE INDICTMENT OF DONALD TRUMP

Merrick Garland hasn’t tipped his hand, but it’s clear to me that he will bring charges against the former president.

In a rambling, 14-page restatement of false claims and conspiracy theories, the former president did not indicate whether he would testify before the House panel investigating the Capitol riot.

Luke Broadwater and 

Trump likely committed felony obstruction, federal judge rules

A federal judge ruled that former President Donald Trump “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress.

A federal judge ruled Monday that former President Donald Trump “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress as part of a criminal conspiracy when he tried to subvert the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote.

Carter’s sweeping and historic ruling came as he ordered the release to the House’s Jan. 6 committee of 101 emails from Trump ally John Eastman, rejecting Eastman’s effort to shield them via attorney-client privilege.

Eastman used the email account of his former employer, Chapman University, to discuss political and legal strategy related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election and had sued the select committee to prevent them from obtaining the emails from the school.Chapman University spokesperson Cerise Valenzuela Metzger said the university would comply with the court order, and Eastman said in a statement through his attorneys he would also comply.

Carter, who sits in federal court in California, said that the plan Eastman helped develop was obviously illegal and that Trump knew it at the time, but pushed forward with an effort he says would have effectively ended American democracy.

“If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution,” Carter wrote. “If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself.”

The remarkable ruling may be the first in history in which a federal judge determined a president, while in office, appeared to commit a crime. The decision has no direct role in whether Trump will be charged criminally but could increase pressure on the Justice Department and its chief, Attorney General Merrick Garland, to conduct an aggressive investigation that could lead to such charges.

Thus far, Garland has promised to probe legal violations related to Jan. 6 “at any level,” but there have been virtually no outward signs that the Justice Department is investigating Trump or his top advisers over their roles in instigating the Capitol attack or otherwise scuttling or delay the electoral-vote-tallying session.

Justice Department spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment on the ruling.

Asked about the decision, a spokesperson for Trump pointed to a statement the former president issued late Monday that did not directly address Carter’s ruling but inveighed against the House Jan. 6 panel.

“So the Radical Left Democrats in Congress and the Unselect Committee continue to seek the destruction of lives of very good people, but have no interest in going after the criminals and thugs who cheated like mad dogs on the 2020 Presidential Election,” Trump said. “All the evidence is in and conclusive, but they, and the Fake News Media, refuse to look at or report it.”

Eastman’s strategy centered on pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to single-handedly overturn the election when Congress convened on Jan. 6 to count electoral votes. Eastman urged Pence to simply declare the election in dispute and send the process back to GOP-controlled state legislatures, who could then replace Joe Biden’s electors with Trump’s. Pence resisted that push, and his aides argued fiercely that the plan was plainly illegal.

Carter ruled that the efforts by Trump and Eastman were obviously contrary to a federal law, the Electoral Count Act, which has governed the counting of electoral votes since 1887. Eastman premised his plan on a belief that the 135-year-old law was unconstitutional and urged Pence to simply ignore aspects of it he viewed as inconvenient. Carter said the recourse to oppose the Electoral Count Act was in court, not “a last-ditch attempt to secure the Presidency by any means.”

“Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections,” Carter wrote in a 44-page ruling. “Ignoring this history, President Trump vigorously campaigned for the Vice President to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election. With a plan this ‘BOLD,’ President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle.”

The decision also helps shore up a theory increasingly embraced by members of the Jan. 6 select committee: that Trump seized on legal strategies he knew were meritless in order to subvert the transfer of power to Joe Biden — an effort that contributed to the violence that unfolded at the Capitol. Trump allies have long assailed the select committee as a political effort led by Democrats, but Carter’s analysis now gives the committee the imprimatur of a federal court.

Among the emails Carter ordered released included documents prepared for members of Congress. Seven senators are named as the recipients of some of the documents, though they were created to persuade lawmakers, not in preparation for litigation.

Eastman had claimed attorney-client privilege over nine emails and attachments, but none of the emails listed Trump as a sender or recipient, Carter noted, and two of them blind copied a close Trump adviser. Other emails included discussion of state-level efforts about election fraud allegations.

Perhaps the most important email in the newly disclosed batch is a memo to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, which was forwarded to Eastman, sketching out a series of scenarios surrounding the Jan. 6 session.

“This may have been the first time members of President Trump’s team transformed a legal interpretation of the Electoral Count Act into a day-by-day plan of action,” Carter noted. “The memo is both intimately related to and clearly advanced the plan to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”

Carter indicated that the memo “maps out potential Supreme Court suits and the impact of different judicial outcomes.” Though the memo was clearly related to potential litigation, Carter determined that it warranted disclosure because of the “crime-fraud exception” to attorney-client privilege.

In his ruling, Carter agreed that 10 of Eastman’s emails should remain shielded by attorney-client privilege. But he said none of the 10 appeared “pivotal” to the select committee’s investigation. Nine of them, he wrote, were about potential litigation, and the tenth captured Eastman’s “thoughts on the evening of January 6 about potential future actions.”

Carter, who sits in Santa Ana, Calif. and is an appointee of President Bill Clinton, acknowledged long-shot arguments by Eastman that the 1887 law governing the tallying and certification of electoral votes was at odds with the Constitution. However, the judge said that did not permit Trump the right to defy the statute or to seek to persuade Pence to circumvent it.

“Believing the Electoral Count Act was unconstitutional did not give President Trump license to violate it,” Carter wrote. “Disagreeing with the law entitled President Trump to seek a remedy in court, not to disrupt a constitutionally-mandated process. And President Trump knew how to pursue election claims in court — after filing and losing more than sixty suits, this plan was a last-ditch attempt to secure the Presidency by any means.”

Eastman could try to appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and, from there, to the Supreme Court.

 

Trump signed statement alleging voter fraud knowing it was false, judge says

Document was part of lawsuit challenging results of 2020 election in Georgia

Donald Trump signed a legal statement alleging voter fraud in the 2020 election despite being told the numbers underpinning the case were false, a federal judge said on Wednesday.

The disclosure was made by the US district judge David Carter, who ordered John Eastman, a former Trump lawyer, to provide more emails to the congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Eastman was one of Trump’s attorneys when the former president and his allies challenged his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.

The legal document was part of a lawsuit by Trump’s team challenging the results in Georgia, a state Trump narrowly lost to Biden, in which they claimed a Georgia county had improperly counted more than 10,000 votes of dead people, felons and unregistered voters.

In an 18-page opinion, Carter said that the former president had “signed a verification swearing under oath” that the inaccurate fraud numbers were “true and correct” or “believed to be true and correct” to the best of his knowledge.

“The emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public,” the judge wrote, adding: “The Court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Carter previously ruled that Eastman and Trump had probably committed a felony by trying to pressure his then vice-president, Mike Pence, to obstruct Congress.

The ruling was made in a lawsuit filed by Eastman to block disclosure of the emails to the January 6 select committee, following a congressional subpoena.

Carter previously ordered Eastman to provide over 200 emails to the committee, after the lawyer resisted the subpoena and claimed that the communications were privileged.

The judge said on Wednesday that the vast majority of emails still being sought by congressional investigators should not be handed over, as legal protections given to attorneys and their clients apply to the records.

He said eight emails that would normally be shielded under those protections must be given to the committee, after he found that the communications were in furtherance of a crime – one of the few times those legal safeguards can be lifted.

Carter found that four emails show that Eastman and other lawyers suggested that the “primary goal” of filing lawsuits was to delay Congress’s certification of the 2020 election results.

The judge said four other emails “demonstrate an effort by President Trump and his attorneys to press false claims in federal court for the purpose of delaying the January 6 vote”.

At one point, Eastman wrote that although the former president had signed documents related to a lawsuit in Georgia on 1 December, “he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate. For him to sign a new verification with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate.”

Carter wrote: “President Trump and his attorneys ultimately filed the complaint with the same inaccurate numbers without rectifying, clarifying, or otherwise changing them.”

Trump and his allies filed over 60 lawsuits challenging the 2020 election, with some complaints alleging voter fraud without evidence to support those claims. Those cases were overwhelmingly rejected by judges, some of which Trump appointed to the federal courts.

The January 6 select committee last week voted to subpoena Trump in its investigation. It is expected to issue a report in the coming weeks on its findings.

Exclusive: DOJ mulling potential special counsel if Trump runs in 2024

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/03/politics/doj-trump-investigation-expansion-special-counsel/index.html

 

Trump blasts Maricopa County after Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly defeats Blake Masters: ‘Do Election over again!’

Trump specifically mentioned Maricopa County, where votes were still being counted days after polls closed

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-blasts-maricopa-county-after-arizona-sen-mark-kelly-defeats-blake-masters-election-over-again

 

CNN Opinion 

December 4, 2022 

Trump’s dinner

Former President Donald Trump’s announcement of his candidacy for the 2024 GOP nomination was soon overshadowed by another event at his Florida home — Trump’s dinner with the increasingly extreme rapper Kanye West, who has spread antisemitism, and Nick Fuentes, a White nationalist and Holocaust denier.

Trump’s former Middle East envoy, Jason D. Greenblatt, was among many Republicans asked for their reaction to the Mar-a-Lago dinner. “I think it’s a straightforward answer — it should not have happened. Period.” Greenblatt wrote for CNN Opinion, “I hope President Trump condemns Fuentes, West and their ilk for what they are — haters of Jews and haters of the foundations of the United States of America. People like Fuentes are dangerous to the United States. The President Trump that I know would recognize that and issue this condemnation.

“Regardless of how or why the dinner happened, haters such as Fuentes and West should not be given a platform or seat at the table by anyone.”

For more:

Dean ObeidallahTrump hosting a bigot at Mar-a-Lago’s not surprising. Here’s what is

 

Fact Check

Did Trump Say Election Fraud Allows for ‘Termination’ of US Constitution?The former president continued to push 2020 election conspiracy theories in late 2022.

Published Dec 5, 2022

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-termination-us-constitution/

In early December 2022, former U.S. President Donald Trump continued his election denialism push and called for the termination of the Constitution, among other “rules and regulations,” in order to reinstate him to power. Trump’s controversial comments were posted on Truth Social on Dec. 3, after a report came out detailing Twitter’s deliberations leading up to its decision to suppress links to a 2020 article in the New York Post describing emails allegedly found on a laptop computer belonging to Hunter Biden, then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son. 

In a post made on his verified Truth Social account, Trump wrote: 

So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great “Founders” did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!

Following Trump’s statement, numerous politicians across both parties criticized him, but many Republicans continued to express loyalty towards Trump, who had announced in November that he would make another bid for the presidency in 2024. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had not commented on Trump’s statement as of this writing. 

“Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation and should be universally condemned,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney wrote on Twitter: “Donald Trump believes we should terminate ‘all rules, regulations and articles, even those found in the Constitution’ to overturn the 2020 election. That was his view on 1/6 and remains his view today. No honest person can now deny that Trump is an enemy of the Constitution.”

 

Today, one of former president Trump’s messages on the struggling right-wing social media platform Truth Social went viral. 

In the message, Trump again insisted that the 2020 presidential election had been characterized by “MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION,” and suggested the country should “throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or…have a NEW ELECTION.” 

Then he added: “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!” 

In other words, Trump is calling for the overthrow of the Constitution that established this nation. He advocates the establishment of a dictator. 

This outrageous statement seems to reflect desperation from the former president as his political star fades and the many legal suits proceeding against him get closer and closer to their end dates. 

The midterm elections, in which the high-profile candidates he backed lost, prompted some members of his party to suggest it’s time to move on to new candidates. At the same time, lawsuits are heating up. The Department of Justice continues to investigate Trump’s role in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election, an attempt that led to the events of January 6, 2021.

Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the Washington, D.C., District Court recently rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege and ordered Trump’s White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and deputy counsel, Patrick Philbin, to provide additional testimony to a federal grand jury. On Friday, they each testified for several hours. On November 29, Trump advisor Stephen Miller, who worked with Trump on his speech at the Ellipse, also testified before the grand jury, 

The Department of Justice is also investigating Trump’s theft of documents when he left the White House. The December 1 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit declaring that Judge Aileen Cannon had no authority to allow Trump a special master to review the materials the FBI took when they searched Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022, had a very clear, concise rundown of what the government has so far recovered from the former president, and the list was damning. 

In the first group of documents Trump returned to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), after significant pressure to do so, included “184 documents marked at varying levels of classification, including twenty-five marked top secret.” After a subpoena, Trump’s lawyers returned another 38 classified documents, seventeen of which were marked top secret. Trump’s team declared that a “diligent search” had turned up only these items, and there were no more left.

But the FBI learned that there were, in fact, more documents still at Mar-a-Lago and obtained a search warrant. On August 8, FBI agents retrieved about “13,000 documents and a number of other items, totaling more than 22,000 pages of material…. [F]ifteen of the thirty-three seized boxes, containers, or groups of papers contained documents with classification markings, including three such documents found in desks” in Trump’s office. Agents found more than 100 documents marked confidential, secret, or top secret.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith to oversee these two investigations after Trump announced an early candidacy for president in 2024. Smith got down to work immediately, sending out a letter on Thanksgiving Day itself. It seems likely there is good reason for Trump to be concerned.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, and South Carolina’s Supreme Court has ordered Trump’s White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows to testify to that grand jury, another reason for the former president to be concerned.

And the Trump Organization’s trial for tax evasion is reaching a verdict, while the House Ways and Means Committee has finally received six years of Trump’s tax returns after years of attempts by the former president to keep them out of Congress’s hands. At Lawfare, Daniel J. Hemel says that as a matter of law, the committee can make the returns public. He counsels against it for a number of reasons (although he says they should be made public) but notes that the Senate Finance Committee, which will remain in Democratic hands, can now get access to the material easily and will be able to release it. If his attempt to hide his taxes was anything other than principled, there is reason for Trump to be concerned about this as well. 

So, the former president has reason to try to grab headlines with an outrageous statement about overthrowing the Constitution.

But the real story here is not Trump’s panic about his fading relevance and his legal exposure; it’s that Trump remains the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party in 2024. The leader of the Republican Party has just called for the overthrow of our fundamental law and the installation of a dictator. 

White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement: “The American Constitution is a sacrosanct document that for over 200 years has guaranteed that freedom and the rule of law prevail in our great country. The Constitution brings the American people together—regardless of party—and elected leaders swear to uphold it. It’s the ultimate monument to all of the Americans who have given their lives to defeat self-serving despots that abused their power and trampled on fundamental rights. Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation, and should be universally condemned. You cannot only love America when you win.”

But Republicans, so far, are silent on Trump’s profound attack on the Constitution, the basis of our democratic government. 

That is the story, and it is earth shattering.

 

 

 

 

In a scathing ruling, the judge said the suit against Hillary Clinton and dozens of the former president’s perceived political enemies was “brought in bad faith for an improper purpose.”

He said Mr. Trump was trying to brandish a “political manifesto” against political rivals, masquerading as a lawsuit.

Michael S. Schmidt and 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/19/us/politics/trump-clinton-lawsuit-fine

[Excerpts:]

In a scathing ruling, a federal judge in Florida on Thursday ordered Donald J. Trump and one of his lawyers together to pay nearly a million dollars in sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit against nearly three dozen of Mr. Trump’s perceived political enemies, including Hillary Clinton and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey.

The ruling was a significant rebuke of Mr. Trump, who has rarely faced such consequences in his long history of using the courts as a weapon against business rivals and partners, as well as former employees and reporters.

“This case should never have been brought,” U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks wrote in a 46-page ruling. “Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim.”

While Mr. Trump has often blamed his lawyers for his problems, the judge, in his ruling on Thursday, addressed Mr. Trump’s history of using the courts as a cudgel, going back decades in his business career.

“Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries,” Judge Middlebrooks wrote. “He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer. He knew full well the impact of his actions.”

Judge Middlebrooks said Mr. Trump’s suit had been “brought in bad faith for an improper purpose” and had “needlessly harmed” the 31 individuals and organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, he had sued “in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative.” The judge added that Mr. Trump’s use of the courts had helped to undermine the public’s confidence in them.

“A continuing pattern of misuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisans and diverts resources from those who have suffered actual legal harm,” he wrote.

The conspiracy-minded racketeering suit was filed with hyperbole and exaggerations, and made claims easily shown to be false. In the ruling on Thursday, Judge Middlebrooks broke down how the suit’s claims — including that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey had conspired to take down Mr. Trump — were “implausible” and “categorically absurd.”

Mr. Trump’s claims were “a hodgepodge of disconnected, often immaterial events, followed by an implausible conclusion,” the judge wrote, adding, “This is a deliberate attempt to harass; to tell a story without regard to facts.”

Judge Middlebrooks, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1997, threw out the suit in September, saying that “most of plaintiff’s claims are not only unsupported by any legal authority but plainly foreclosed by binding precedent.” The judge said that what the suit “lacks in substance and legal support, it seeks to substitute with length, hyperbole, and the settling of scores and grievances.”

Trump team struggles to consolidate support ahead of S.C. event

Two prominent South Carolinians are considering a run, complicating the picture for the former president

[Excerpt:]

“The Trump campaign is trying to consolidate support. But I don’t think it is going to be as quick as they think,” said one state lawmaker, who has so far resisted the appeals of the Trump team and heard mutterings of support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). “Right now my constituency is as excited about Ron DeSantis as Donald Trump, if not more.”

Revealed: Trump secretly donated $1m to discredited Arizona election ‘audit’

Funding for controversial review of state’s vote count in 2020 election can be traced to former president’s Pac

‘The money had reached its destination, with no Trump fingerprints anywhere in sight.’

One of the enduring mysteries surrounding the chaotic attempts to overturn Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential battle has been solved: who made a secret $1m donation to the controversial election “audit” in Arizona?

The identity of one of the largest benefactors behind the discredited review of Arizona’s vote count has been shrouded in secrecy. Now the Guardian can reveal that the person who partially bankrolled the failed attempt to prove that the election was stolen from Trump was … Trump.

An analysis by the watchdog group Documented has traced funding for the Arizona audit back to Trump’s Save America Pac. The group tracked the cash as it passed from Trump’s fund through an allied conservative group, and from there to a shell company which in turn handed the money to contractors and individuals involved in the Arizona audit.

Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based company that led the Arizona audit, disclosed in 2021 that $5.7m of its budget came from several far-right groups invested in the “stop the steal” campaign to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential victory. It was later divulged that a further $1m had supported the audit from an account controlled by Cleta Mitchell, a Republican election lawyer who advised Trump as he plotted to subvert the 2020 election.

But who gave the $1m to Mitchell? In September 2021, as Cyber Ninjas was preparing to deliver its findingsthe New York Times reported that unnamed “officials” had denied that Trump had played any part in securing the funds.

Republican leaders of the Arizona senate who asked Cyber Ninjas to carry out the audit also publicly denied that Trump was involved, saying “this absolutely has nothing to do with Trump”.

Documented’s analysis pierces through that denial. Basing its research on corporate, tax and campaign finance filings, as well as emails and text messages obtained by the non-partisan accountability group American Oversight through public records requests, the watchdog has followed the money on its circuitous journey from the former US president’s Pac to the Arizona review.

‘Highly hypocritical’

Cyber Ninjas’ widely lambasted inquiry was focused on Maricopa county, Arizona’s most populated area. Biden won the county by 45,109 votes.

The purported investigation was suffused with wild conspiracy theories, including the claim that bamboo fibers found in ballot sheets proved they had been printed in Asia. The review was decried even by local Republicans as a “grift disguised as an audit”.

Bill Gates, the Republican vice-chair of the Maricopa county board of supervisors at the time of the Cyber Ninjas audit, said he was “disappointed, but not surprised” by the Guardian’s revelation that Trump had helped to pay for it. “I have no problem with audits,” Gates said.

“What I have a problem with is an audit that is undertaken with a goal in mind, and that is literally being funded by one of the candidates. This is absolutely what we do not want to happen.”

Gates pointed out that under Arizona law, electoral candidates are not allowed to fund vote recounts which have to be financed with taxpayer dollars. Though the Cyber Ninjas review was technically not a recount, it served a similar purpose.

“At the very least, it is highly hypocritical for the Arizona state senate to have allowed the audit to be funded in this fashion,” Gates said.

Ten days later, on 26 July 2021, Trump’s Save America Pac made its $1m transfer to CPI, according to Federal Election Commission records. Two days after that, on 28 July, a new group called the American Voting Rights Foundation (AVRF) was registered as a corporation in Delaware.

Tax filings obtained recently show that CPI in turn gave $1m to AVRF in 2021 – the only known donation that the group has ever received. The date of CPI’s donation to AVRF is not a matter of public record, but other details – including CPI’s relationship with AVRF, the timing and amounts of the known transfers, and the discussion among Trump allies about the former president’s plans to give $1m to the audit 10 days before Trump gave $1m to CPI – clearly indicate that it was the money that came from Trump’s Pac.

The money trail exposed by Documented begins with Trump’s loosely regulated leadership Pac, Save America, which raised millions in the wake of Trump’s 2020 defeat on the back of the false election fraud narrative. In its final report released in December, the bipartisan January 6 committee investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol highlighted how Save America Pac gave $1m to the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI).

The committee did not say what the money was for, or where it ended up.

Top CPI officials include Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, along with other senior Trump insiders after they left the White House. The organization is developing a political infrastructure to sustain the former president’s Make America Great Again (Maga) movement.

Documented’s research shows that discussions around a possible payment from Trump to the Arizona audit began in June 2021. Records obtained by American Oversight reveal that on 27 June, the retired army colonel and arch election denier Phil Waldron texted the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, saying: “Kurt is going to talk to 45 today about $$.”

The “45” in the text is a reference to Trump – the 45th president of the US – and “Kurt” may have been a reference to the election-denying lawyer Kurt Olsen. Waldron added: “Mike L talking to Corey L” – alluding to Mike Lindell, chief executive of MyPillow who is a devotee of Trump’s stolen election lie, and the former Trump presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

On 16 July 2021, Waldron asked Logan if he had received “a 1mil [payment] from Corey Lewendowsk [sic]”. He went on: “Supposedly Kurt talked to trump and they got 1 mil for you,” but that “I couldn’t verify who sent and who received.”

Logan responded that he had not yet received payment from Trump.

Records obtained by American Oversight showed that AVRF was connected to Mitchell, the former Trump lawyer who is now a senior fellow at CPI. She is best known for having taken part in the infamous phone call in January 2021 that is now being weighed by an Atlanta prosecutor, in which Trump tried to pressure Georgia’s top election official to “find 11,780 votes” needed for him to win.

Documented has discovered that the ties between CPI and AVRF went even deeper. CPI entities effectively controlled AVRF.

Tax records show that AVRF’s “direct controlling entity” is America First Legal, the CPI-launched project led by Trump’s former speechwriter Stephen Miller. Tax records also show that another CPI project, the Center for Renewing America, lists AVRF as one of its “related organizations”.

The final stage in the money’s journey was from AVRF to Cyber Ninjas and the audit itself. The same day that AVRF was registered in Delaware – 28 July 2021 – Mitchell sent an email connecting the Cyber Ninjas CEO Logan, together with the spokesman of the audit Randy Pullen, to AVRF’s treasurer, Tom Datwyler.

The email, contained in the documents obtained by American Oversight, spelled out that money was about to be transferred from AVRF to Arizona contractors approved by Cyber Ninjas.

The last step was recorded in an email sent the following day, 29 July, in which Mitchell itemized $1m split into three separate payments going to two entities supporting the audit and to individuals “working at the audit site”. CPI’s president, Ed Corrigan, is cc’ed on the email.

The money had reached its destination, with no Trump fingerprints anywhere in sight.

The Guardian has invited both Save America Pac and CPI to comment but they did not immediately respond.

‘Counter to transparency’

A final mystery remains: why would Trump and his inner circle go to such lengths to keep the former president’s bankrolling of the audit secret? One theory is that Trump might have been worried that the audit would look less credible should he be seen to be funding it.

Another possible scenario is that he feared that the review might prove to be such a shambles that he wanted to keep his distance.

On Thursday, the Arizona Republic reported further fresh evidence that despite the denials Trump was intimately involved in the audit. New records obtained by the newspaper show that Trump was being directly informed about the progress of the audit as it was being conducted.

Newly released messages from the Cyber Ninjas chief Logan also show that he discussed the need for any Trump donation to be made in secret. “I told them there was no way I could take funds directly,” he said in a private digital chat.

In the end, the Cyber Ninjas audit not only lacked credibility, it also spectacularly failed to meet its goal. In September 2021, the firm released the results of its investigation and found that Biden had indeed won Maricopa county by 360 more votes than the official count.

No conclusive evidence of fraud was uncovered, and the claims raised by the audit were thoroughly debunked in a 93-page report. Cyber Ninjas went out of business in January 2022.

Gates, the Maricopa county supervisor, said that a large portion of the $1m that ended up with the Arizona audit would have come from small donations to Trump’s Pac.

“It’s sad that so many small donors had their money used for this effort, and Trump’s attempt to hide that was certainly counter to transparency.”

This article was produced in partnership with Documented, an investigative watchdog and journalism project. Brendan Fischer is a campaign finance specialist with Documented

A Guide to the Possible Forthcoming Indictments of Donald Trump

Despite all of the uncertainty, the information already available makes it possible to know what to watch for.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/01/indictment-donald-trump-fulton-georgia-mar-a-lago-documents-january-6/672800/

Letters from an America, Heather Cox Richardson

Jan. 24, 2023

heathercoxrichardson@substack.com

Today, Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the grand jury investigating Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential vote in Georgia, heard arguments about whether to release the grand jury’s report. Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis urged McBurney not to release the report, for which many media outlets have been clamoring. “In this case, the state understands the media’s inquiry and the world’s interest. But we have to be mindful of protecting future defendants’ rights,” Willis said. She went on to say that decisions about charging individuals in that case are “imminent.” 

That is, Willis signaled that her office is likely to indict certain people, and she worries that releasing the report will taint the trials. 

 

Cyber Ninjas’ ties to Trump during Arizona election ‘audit’ revealed in messages

Ryan RandazzoRobert Anglen

Arizona Republic

and

Published Jan. 26, 2023; Updated Jan. 26, 2023
Former President Donald Trump publicly kept his distance from the review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election. But inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, his influence loomed over critical aspects of the “audit,” according to messages sent and received by the man leading the ballot recount.
New records show Trump received direct updates from people at the coliseum, his allies pressured the lead contractor on when to report findings, and that contractor asked people close to the former president if he could help pay for it. This all happened as leaders of the state Senate publicly denied Trump had any involvement in their effort.
While messages from those working on the audit indicate they intentionally kept the president at arm’s length to avoid the appearance of his influence, behind the scenes they sought Trump’s approval — and money.
In April 2021, four days before the election review began, Cyber Ninjas founder Doug Logan used a private messaging system to discuss taking a donation from Trump and his team surreptitiously.
“I told them there was no way I could take funds directly,” he said in the chat.
Once the audit concluded and the now-defunct Cyber Ninjas was millions of dollars in debt, Logan would lament that Trump never did directly fund his work.
“It’s my understanding that our underfunded status is known all the way up to 45,” Logan wrote to a subcontractor in a conversation about how to pay everyone. “Never talked with him, but I’ve been told the message has been received.”
Logan has released tens of thousands of personal messages he sent to supporters and subcontractors involved in the audit in response to ongoing lawsuits from The Arizona Republic and a left-leaning watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., called American Oversight.
The messages reveal for the first time how Logan worked with Trump allies to help finance the work, shape media coverage and manage day-to-day operations as teams worked to hand count 2.1 million ballots cast by county voters.
Logan for months fought the release of his personal messages, which The Republic first sought through state Public Records Law. But after a $50,000-a-day sanction for noncompliance and exhausting all appeals, Logan’s lawyer has turned over many — but not all — text and Signal messages Logan sent and received while working on the audit.
Logan on Tuesday declined to comment on the pleas for money he made through extensive communication with Christina Bobb, a former Trump lawyer and conservative broadcaster who served as a go-between for the former president.
Arizona Senate Republicans hired Cyber Ninjas to recount and inspect ballots, and the so-called “audit” confirmed President Joe Biden’s win in the state and made no concrete findings of wrongdoing by election officials. But for months it served as a marketing tool for politicians who campaigned on unproven accusations that the election was compromised.
Senate Republicans said from the outset that Trump did not push for the audit and did not provide any assistance for it, financial or otherwise.
Former Senate President Karen Fann, a Prescott Republican who hired Cyber Ninjas, repeatedly said the effort was not done to put Trump back in the White House.
“This absolutely has nothing to do with Trump,” Fann wrote in an email to a constituent days after the audit began in 2021. “The election cannot be overturned. This audit is ONLY about election integrity, answering their questions, and hopefully proving there was nothing wrong with the election.”
She reacted with surprise Jan. 19 to the newly released messages when contacted about them by a reporter. When the audit began, she said, she did not know the extent to which Trump allies were involved.
“I did not know,” she said. “Since then I have now connected the dots. … Obviously, in the subsequent months, it was very apparent.”

Trump was watching, chatting with broadcaster

Several references in Logan’s messages indicate people in Trump’s circle were closely watching Maricopa County and reporting back to the former president, who they sometimes referred to as “45.” Trump was the nation’s 45th president.
Logan in the messages discussed Trump’s interest in the work with Bobb, who was given broad access to the election review while working as a personality for the right-wing OAN Network.
Bobb worked in the Trump administration as an appointee in the Department of Homeland Security. She left in early 2020 to join OAN. But after Trump lost the 2020 election, Bobb volunteered to help his legal team challenge the results and was with his team until the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to her testimony to the congressional committee that investigated the attack.
Shortly after Trump’s loss, she helped coordinate a meeting in Arizona at which Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani suggested the election was compromised.
Bobb continued to work as a personality for OAN and began covering the Arizona audit, where she messaged frequently with Logan. She also helped raise money for the audit through her connections to Trump and his organization.
Other media were restricted to a small press box in Veterans Memorial Coliseum — when they could get into the building at all.
Bobb at one point told Logan she would ask the Trump organization for recommendations for a lawyer to help with the audit because Logan didn’t like the lawyer recommended to him at the time.
On June 19, 2021, Logan asked Bobb if Trump would pressure Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward to donate some of the money she was raising off the audit to the actual work, which he said she had not done. Bobb said Trump liked Ward because she was an “outspoken media personality” and was unlikely to push her to fund the audit.
In this series of messages, Doug Logan talks about audit funding with Christina Bobb. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits.
In this series of messages, Doug Logan talks about audit funding with Christina Bobb. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan followed up, asking if Trump could press people to donate to the nonprofits set up to fund the audit.
“I will ask him. He shies away from publicly supporting the audit. I will raise the money issue with him next time we talk,” Bobb responded.
Then on June 25, Bobb discussed funding with Logan, telling him that a wire would come from “Sidney” from Defending the Republic. Trump lawyer Sidney Powell raised money after his loss through a nonprofit by that name.
“I reached out to her and she didn’t take my call. I’ll try again. If she doesn’t answer, I’ll have Trump call,” Bobb wrote to Logan.
Months later, Logan would report that Powell’s group donated $550,000 to his work.
Bobb said in a recent interview with The Republic that she didn’t officially join the Trump team until April 2022. But she did communicate with Trump about the audit.
“I knew that he was very interested in the audit,” she said. “I was never officially communicating anything on behalf of anybody.”
Often, Trump just wanted more detail than what she had shared in her news stories, Bobb said.
She said she never received funding for the audit from Trump or any organization affiliated with him.
“He was not involved in funding. I did ask. It was a no,” she said.

Messages sought updates on counting, funding

In May 2021, as the work passed the one-month mark, Logan messaged with a man named Patrick Weaver who worked on the audit. Weaver was affiliated with The America Project, one of the groups that funded Logan’s work beyond the $150,000 paid by the state.
“Any total count numbers you can give me for Abby to give to Trump?” Weaver wrote to Logan on May 25, 2021. The identity of “Abby” is unclear.
In this message, Patrick Weaver asks Doug Logan for an audit update to provide Donald Trump. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits.

In this message, Patrick Weaver asks Doug Logan for an audit update to provide Donald Trump. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan responded with an update on the counting.
In July, Logan messaged with Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel who worked with President Trump’s chief of staff after his 2020 defeat to concoct ways Trump might stay in office.Waldron said Trump had planned to send $1 million to the audit, but Logan said he had not received it.“Payment – 1 mil – supposedly Kurt talked to trump and they got 1 mil for you,” Waldron wrote to Logan. The identity of “Kurt” is unclear.
How we got here:An Arizona election audit timeline

Fann unaware of some connections to Trump

Fann acknowledged that Bobb and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani “called several times” before the audit began as part of an effort to call the election into question. But said she did not “know anything else that was going on in the background” of the ballot count.
Arizona needed the audit to assure voters there was no chicanery in the numbers, Fann said.
“My job was to make sure we had an honest election in Arizona,” she said.
She confirmed Trump called her “a couple of times” to discuss the audit as it unfolded. She said she didn’t recall him trying to exert influence over the process, but rather he asked about it.
“He told me, ‘Thank you for doing this,'” she said.
Even as Bobb reported on and raised funds for the election review — and her network was selected to livestream camera footage from the coliseum — Fann said she believed Bobb was acting only in her capacity as a news host, not a Trump surrogate.

‘Is God really going to come through?’

Logan’s lawyer has redacted several messages between him and Bobb sent during this time, despite clear orders from Arizona courts to turn over everything. Still, some of the unredacted messages show Bobb held out her connection to Trump as a way to influence Logan, who was desperate for money.
“Is God really going to come through in funding this thing?” Logan wrote to Bobb on June 26, 2021.
She replied: “I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I know in the end we win. I don’t know how we get there. But yes, in the end it will all workout.”
Logan told her that day he needed about $4.8 million more to complete the audit.
“I’ll raise with 45 again next time we talk,” Bobb replied.
The next day, Bobb messaged Logan asking if the Senate would issue a news release with his preliminary findings. Contractors had finished counting and inspecting ballots at the coliseum a few days before. It would be months before Logan made a final report.
“I’m getting a lot of concerned people calling me saying the audit will lose credibility if there isn’t some type of announcement tomorrow,” she wrote.
In this text message, Christina Bobb asks Doug Logan about a potential announcement about the audit.

In this text message, Christina Bobb asks Doug Logan about a potential announcement about the audit. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan didn’t want to issue preliminary findings. He pushed back.
“That wouldn’t be the case if there wasn’t so much fake news that a number was expected tomorrow,” he told the reporter.
Bobb lashed out.
“I strongly suggest you don’t blame me for fake news,” Bobb wrote. “I STRONGLY suggest that.”
Bobb didn’t pretend to be an independent observer about the ballot review.
“Remember we’re on the same side,” she wrote to Logan. “If you want to fight me, we both will lose.”
Bobb said in an interview Jan. 19 she was pressuring Logan as a reporter, not on behalf of Trump.
“They needed to release the numbers. I remember that,” Bobb said. “I was holding him to the same standard that I was holding the election officials. Why don’t we have a result on election night? My personal opinion is when you are done counting, if you don’t release the numbers that looks sketchy. I’m not accusing anybody of doing anything wrong, but it raises a lot of questions.”
Asked whether she thought Logan did a good job on his final report, she said, “I don’t have a comment on that. I like Doug Logan. I think he’s great.”

 

How The Fake Electors Scheme Explains Everything About Trump’s Attempt To Steal The 2020 Election

New materials illustrate why Fani Willis and Jack Smith have focused on this esoteric part of Trump’s plot.

Josh Kovensky

February 10, 2023

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/how-the-fake-electors-scheme-explains-everything-about-trumps-attempt-to-steal-the-2020-election?

 

“Jack Smith, Special Counsel for Trump Inquiries, Steps Up the Pace”

NYT:

Did former President Donald J. Trump consume detailed information about foreign countries while in office? How extensively did he seek information about whether voting machines had been tampered with? Did he indicate he knew he was leaving when his term ended?

Those are among the questions that Justice Department investigators have been directing at witnesses as the special counsel, Jack Smith, takes control of the federal investigations into Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss and his handling of classified documents found in his possession after he left office.

Through witness interviews, subpoenas and other steps, Mr. Smith has been moving aggressively since being named to take over the inquiries nearly three months ago, seeking to make good on his goal of resolving as quickly as possible whether Mr. Trump, still a leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, should face charges….

The intensified pace of activity speaks to his goal of finishing up before the 2024 campaign gets going in earnest, probably by summer. At the same time, the sheer scale and complexity and the topics he is focused on — and the potential for the legal process to drag on, for example in a likely battle over whether any testimony by Mr. Pence would be subject to executive privilege — suggest that coming to firm conclusions within a matter of months could be a stretch.

“The impulse to thoroughly investigate Trump’s possibly illegal actions and the impulse to complete the investigation as soon as possible, because of presidential election season, are at war with one another,” said Jack Goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general and current Harvard Law professor. “One impulse will likely have to yield to the other.”

In looking into Mr. Trump’s efforts to hold onto power after his election loss and how they led to the Jan. 6 riot, Mr. Smith is overseeing a number of investigative strands. The subpoena to Mr. Pence indicates that he is seeking testimony that would go straight to the question of Mr. Trump’s role in trying to prevent certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the election and the steps Mr. Trump took in drawing a crowd of supporters to Washington and inciting them.

McCarthy gives Tucker Carlson exclusive access to Jan. 6 riot video

Tom Jackman contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/02/21/tucker-carlson-kevin-mccarthy-jan-6-insurrection/

[Excerpts:]

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has provided exclusive access to a trove of U.S. Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has played down the deadly violence that occurred that day and claimed it was a “false flag” operation.

Carlson, the network’s most-watched prime-time host, has repeatedly cast doubt on official accounts of what happened on Jan. 6 shared last year by the House select committee. Instead, he has repeated baseless theories that the federal government instigated the attack and blasted the committee, even giving airtime to former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon hours after he had been convicted of contempt. Carlson produced a three-part documentary, “Patriot Purge,” advancing a false claim that FBI operatives were behind the assault and arguing that the Jan. 6 rioters were innocent.

Shortly after the Axios report, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a McCarthy ally who has called those facing charges for the Jan. 6 attack “political prisoners,” hailed the decision to provide the footage solely to Carlson while taking credit for her backing of McCarthy. 

Trump has tried to blame Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the former speaker, for the Capitol breach, falsely suggesting that the absence of enough security to turn back the mob was her responsibility, not that of the commander in chief. He has also falsely claimed Pelosi rejected his order for 10,000 National Guard troops — something that never happened.Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), who was a member of the Jan. 6 committee, told The Washington Post’s Early 202 newsletter that the videos could be used by Carlson to prop up his misleading allegations.[Boldface added]

“Undoubtedly he’ll be searching for any kind of shot that could support this deranged theory of what happened on January 6th,” Raskin said. “If you want to make tens of thousands of hours publicly available, then it should be available for all media, not for just one propaganda mouthpiece.”

 

‘It’s Not a Short List’: Trump Probe Grand Jury to Recommend Slew of Indictments

“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” the forewoman said when asked if they’ll ask for the former president to be charged

A Georgia grand jury investigating whether Donald Trump and some of his prominent allies meddled in the state’s 2020 presidential election will recommend a series of indictments on various charges, according to a report from The New York Times. “It’s not a short list,” jury forewoman Emily Kohrs said of the list of indictment recommendations, which remains sealed.“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” Kohrs added when asked if the jury would be recommending an indictment against Trump. The names and specific charges being recommended by the grand jury have yet to be made public, but Kohrs indicated to the Times that “if the judge releases the recommendations, it is not going to be some giant plot twist.”The grand jury previously indicated that it suspected several witnesses of having committed perjury throughout the course of their investigation. Since Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis convened the grand jury last year, it has subpoenaed several Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. [Boldface added]

The grand jury also subpoenaed the “fake electors” who participated in the scheme to overturn the election results. Willis informed all 16 of them last year that they are also targets in the investigation. Trump is also a target The former president pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary to flip the state to him. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said just days before the election was certified.

The grand jury’s recommendations are only that, however. It does not possess the power to directly indict individuals. Willis will make the final determination about whom to charge.

 

Trump is poised for a CPAC love fest or face plant. There is no in between.

Many of the other 2024 candidates aren’t showing and the hall is expected to be filled with MAGA fanatics. But what if it’s not a coronation?

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/03/01/cpac-trump-gop

[Excerpts:]

The Republican establishment is down on CPAC. But for Donald Trump and his campaign operation the conservative conference is not just the main event, it’s a crucial early test of his political strength.

Already there are signs that this year’s CPAC might be off to a rocky start. Some Republicans are predicting lower turnout, and at least two attendees said they were contacted this week about purchasing a $375 ticket to the marquee Ronald Reagan Dinner, headlined by Trump acolyte and former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

His likely top rival in a GOP primary, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is skipping CPAC along with other potential 2024 candidates and top Republican officials. Former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott will gather with DeSantis and other GOP presidential hopefuls behind closed doors at The Breakers, a luxury Palm Beach resort, to address donors at a retreat hosted by the anti-tax group Club for Growth. Trump was not invited to attend.

Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, the two other major declared presidential contenders, are the only candidates who will attend both gatherings.

CPAC was once the ground zero for grassroots Republican activists and would attract a broad spectrum of conservative leaders. But during the Trump years, it has effectively morphed into an arm of the MAGA movement, fully reflective of the populist, America First wing of the party. Among the panels at this year’s event are such Trump-themed sessions as “Finish the Wall, Build the Dome,” and “They Stole It From Us Legally,” in reference to the 2020 election.

CPAC’s pull on establishment Republicans appears to have waned not just because the organization has tied itself closely to Trump. The conservative group is also navigating a serious public relations crisis as its chair, Matt Schlapp, faces sexual assault allegations from a GOP campaign staffer. The alleged victim, a former employee of Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign, sued Schlapp and his wife Mercedes in January for nearly $10 million. The couple has denied wrongdoing.

It was CPAC that welcomed Trump back with open arms for his first public appearance in 2021 after he left the White House in disgrace following the Jan. 6 insurrection.

A spokesperson for Trump called CPAC “the embodiment of the conservative movement as well as the Republican Party, and the undisputed political leader here is President Trump.”

“The conference has always represented the ‘springboard’ for the presidential primary season, and President Trump’s outsized influence at this year’s conference combined with recent polling success shows just how dominant his candidacy is as we approach 2024,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

CPAC’s speakers this year include a host of Republican senators allied with Trump, including three who have already endorsed him for president: Sens. Tommy Tuberville, J.D. Vance, and Eric Schmitt.

And notably, the only member of Republican leadership speaking at CPAC this year is Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who was one of the first to endorse Trump’s 2024 run. Right-wing commentator Candace Owens, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, and the former president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro are also listed as featured speakers.

Also skipping out on this year’s CPAC is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, another Republican considered a potential presidential candidate. Carney, who serves as a consultant to Abbott, said the governor is only participating in in-state events until the legislative session concludes in June. Abbott spoke at the start of CPAC’s August convention in Dallas.

And while a cast of Fox News stars have studded conservative conferences in recent months — Sean Hannity at CPAC Dallas in August, and both Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham at Turning Point USA’s year-end conference in Phoenix — none of those high-profile commentators are scheduled to appear this weekend. Nor is Fox Nation, the network’s digital streaming platform, listed as a sponsor this year, as it has been previously.

Donald Trump said he “wouldn’t even think about” dropping out of the race for the White House if he’s indicted. The former president has increasingly used his campaign as a cudgel against investigators.

Several people close to Mr. Trump have said he believes his presidential campaign can be used as a cudgel to hit back against the prosecutors. In his remarks on Saturday, Mr. Trump repeatedly cast the prosecutors as corrupt and politically motivated, citing no evidence. As he has for years, he cast the investigations not as result of his own actions, but as an effort to silence the voices of his supporters.

“I am your warrior. I am your justice,” Mr. Trump told the crowd, before appearing to promise payback if elected to a new term. “And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”

He went on to describe the campaign in stark, nearly apocalyptic terms: “This is it, either they win or we win. And if they win, we no longer have a country.

Mr. Trump’s remarks on Saturday were only his latest attempt to embrace the Capitol riot and his supporters who participated.

Over the summer, Mr. Trump met with Cynthia Hughes, the founder of the Patriot Freedom Project, one of the largest legal defense funds for people charged in connection with the attack, according to three people familiar with the project.

The meeting led to a video statement of support from Mr. Trump that was played at an event the group held in Washington in December. Several people connected to the Patriot Freedom Project were ultimately disappointed that Mr. Trump personally donated only $10,000 to the organization.

Mr. Trump also contributed to a song released this week on streaming services called “Justice for All” that featured several Jan. 6 defendants who were being held in a jail in Washington before their trials. In the song, Mr. Trump can be heard reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance” as the group of 20 or so inmates, calling themselves the J6 Prison Choir, sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which they do nightly at the jail.

 

The Most Disturbing Part of Trump’s Latest Rant

The former president is warning of “death & destruction” if he’s indicted.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/03/trumps-threats-death-and-destruction-if-indicted/673508/

[Excerpt:]

If the intimidation is shocking, the more revealing part of the rant is what it indicates about Trump’s mindset amid the several criminal probes into him, some of which appear to be moving toward indictments. As he once said in a very different context,

“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” And although Trump was referring to groping women then, that was also his philosophy in life: He broke rules and laws left and right, confident that he wouldn’t get called on it, and if he did, he could easily handle whatever was coming with muscular lawyering or, failing that, a quiet fine or settlement. Now Trump is finding that simply being a star is insufficient to get him out of trouble. In fact, his notoriety has attracted extra scrutiny.

 

Trump Sings a Song of Sedition

The January 6 jail anthem was a shocking addition to his repertoire. But our national attention span is so short that we’ve already moved on.

https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2023/03/trump-sings-a-song-of-sedition/673535/

 

“Trump calls on Rupert Murdoch to back false 2020 election fraud claims ahead of Dominion trial”

USA Today:

Former President Donald Trump on Monday called on Rupert Murdoch to back false information about the 2020 presidential election ahead of the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems has pursued against Fox News and its parent company.   

Trump on Truth Social alleged that Fox News is “in big trouble if they do not expose the truth on cheating in the 2020 election.” There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have impacted the outcome of the 2020 race for the White House.  

The former president suggested that the media tycoon and chair of the Fox Corporation “should say that ‘he just didn’t know,’ but that is hard to believe.”  

Trump’s Fake Georgia Electors Are Now Ratting on Each Other

The fake GOP electors Trump recruited in Georgia are now turning on each other, according to new court documents.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-fake-georgia-electors-are-now-ratting-on-each-other
[Excerpt:]

The list is a “who’s who” of Georgia politics. Amick, Consiglio, and Still have been members of the Georgia Republican Foundation, a fundraising group that attends VIP dinners and touts connections to Trump and his associates. Carver is a lobbyist who serves as the GOP’s chairman in Georgia’s 11th congressional district. Brannan is the state’s GOP treasurer. Fisher is the state GOP’s first vice chairwoman. Godwin is an activist who founded Georgia Conservatives in Action. Yadav worked on Kelly Loeffler’s failed Senate bid.

Meanwhile, Latham was previously the top GOP official in a rural Georgia County who coordinated a secret operation to have conspiracy theorists examine local election system computers in early 2021—one that was exposed by The Daily Beast and is now under investigation.

During an hour-long interview last year, she lied repeatedly about her role in putting together the covert mission, which involved having computer forensics experts charter a private plane to the small town and enter a county building to tap into government servers. But text messages and public records revealed she was central to orchestrating the plan.

Now that some of these Republicans seem willing to expose their colleagues’ roles in the fake elector scheme, Debrow’s connections to them “poses a serious risk to the fundamental principle of confidentiality of information,” the DA argued. Willis asked Judge Robert C.I. McBurney to block Debrow “from any further participation” in the case, given that she knows too much already about what others have done.

Willis is leading what is widely considered the most clear-cut criminal investigation of Trump’s Big Lie in 2020, when he used his presidential campaign and lawyers to conduct an all-out assault on the nation’s elections system. Her investigation initially focused on Trump’s menacing Jan. 2, 2021 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he pressured the elections official to “find 11,780 votes.” That investigation has since expanded to review the actions across the state to undermine the 2020 elections there.

Georgia DA says she will announce charging decision in Trump case this summer

 

What Tucker Carlson said about Trump in private texts vs. on Fox News

[Excerpt:]
But his on-air rhetoric was in dramatic opposition to private sentiments he shared with colleagues, in which he professed to “passionately” hate Trump and yearn for the end of his presidency. Those private communications, which were released as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News, showed how Carlson struggled to publicly support the president’s false voter-fraud theories that he privately scoffed at.

Prosecutors are nearing charging decisions after investigating whether former President Donald J. Trump and his allies illegally meddled in Georgia’s 2020 election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/05/us/trump-georgia-election-investigation

More than half of the bogus Georgia electors who were convened in December 2020 to try to keep former President Donald J. Trump in power have taken immunity deals in the investigation into election interference there, according to a court filing on Friday and people with knowledge of the inquiry.

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson
May 11, 2023

Indeed, in the Washington Post, Philip Bump wrote, “The wider House Oversight’s net, the more often it catches Trump.” He noted that the Biden family doesn’t, in fact, have a family business. But, of course, the Trump family does have a business, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) estimates that Trump’s businesses made as much as $160 million when he was president. That doesn’t include the money his children—who, unlike Hunter Biden, were members of the administration—raked in both during his term and afterward, like the $2 billion investment a Saudi fund overseen by Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman made in Jared Kushner’s new private equity firm shortly after he left the White House. 

Twice-Indicted Trump Still Has No Clue What the ‘Rule of Law’ Means

He can cry “Box Hoax” all he wants. There’s good evidence he committed a serious crime and its prosecution is not a political “witch hunt.”

 

House GOP flirts with Jan. 6 extremism

By JORDAIN CARNEY and KYLE CHENEY

Updated: 06/18/2023 

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/06/18/house-gop-jan-6-extremism-00101259

Far-right conservatives have entertained false conspiracy theories about the Capitol attack — but so have some House GOP leaders and key committee chiefs, without outright embracing them.

House Republicans don’t want to talk about Jan. 6. They also can’t stop talking about it.

At times, GOP lawmakers insist they’re uninterested in relitigating an attack that is political poison for the party outside of deep-red areas. But at other times, some Republicans have stoked narratives that falsely pin blame for the attack on police, Democrats or far-left agitators — or downplay the violence at the Capitol. The latter approach has seen a noticeable uptick of late.

And it’s not just far-right conservatives who fall in that group — some House GOP leaders and key committee chiefs have shown they’re willing to flirt with the fringe without an outright embrace. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has shared security video of that day with far-right media figures who have minimized or fed inaccurate portrayals of the attack.

Yet they’re also batting down some of those same false conspiracy theories and preparing to focus on at least one area of bipartisan concern: Capitol security vulnerabilities, many of which remain unresolved since the attack. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who faced scrutiny from the Jan. 6 select committee for a Capitol complex tour he gave on Jan. 5, 2021, is warning allies against automatically accepting certain claims.

“You wouldn’t believe how many experts there are out there on Jan. 6, who know exactly what happened because they read it on the internet,” said Loudermilk, who is leading the GOP’s look back at the attack and at the Democratic-led Jan. 6 panel.

Loudermilk’s comments underscore House Republicans’ reality. While most admit privately, if not publicly, that Jan. 6 was the work of a violent mob, they have a political calculus to consider: A not-insignificant faction of their party is hellbent on rewriting the history of the day.

Hanging over it all is former President Donald Trump’s vociferous defense of the rioters and continued false claims that he won the 2020 election. Federal and Georgia prosecutors are investigating his efforts to subvert the election and could bring charges later this year.

Trump is uninterested in making the balance any easier on Republicans: His pledge to pardon a large number of Jan. 6 defendants is a feature of his commentary on the campaign trail, where he remains the frontrunner for the party’s 2024 nomination.

Still, House Republicans aren’t fully playing to Trump. For now, they’re giving Jan. 6 a side hug more than a bear hug.

McCarthy encapsulates the half-hearted embrace. He angered some allies on the right this year by defending a Capitol Police officer’s decision to shoot a Jan. 6 rioter who was attempting to breach a room adjacent to the House chamber. But he’s also provided exclusive access to thousands of hours of security footage to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who’s used the film to demean and distort police officers’ actions.

“Speaker McCarthy promised that House Republicans would investigate the security failures of that day and provide transparency to the American people. Former Speaker Pelosi and her Select Committee set one bad precedent after another — including releasing select clips for partisan purposes,” a McCarthy spokesperson said in a statement that did not address conference dynamics around Jan. 6.

“For two years, we heard no concerns when footage was used by Democrats, the media, and Pelosi’s daughter for her HBO documentary,” the McCarthy spokesperson added, declining to be identified by name and referring to Nancy Pelosi’s daughter filming her mother and other party leaders on Jan. 6.

Some of McCarthy’s most trusted committee chairs have taken a similar approach to the California Republican, eschewing the most extreme efforts demanded by the far-right flank but still winking at some of their concerns.

For example, no committees have pursued baseless claims that Ray Epps, who rioted on Jan. 6, was acting as an undercover government agent. And GOP leaders have sidestepped a far-right fervor to subpoena and probe Jan. 6 select panel members, to scrutinize distorted allegations about Pelosi’s handling of Capitol security or to dig into judges’ treatment of the 1,000-plus criminal cases stemming from the attack.

Notably, no committee chairs or party leaders participated in the biggest platform House Republicans have given Jan. 6 defendants so far: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), joined by a handful of others from the conference’s right flank, hosted an event last week with former Trump acting assistant attorney general Jeffrey Clark, people charged in relation to Jan. 6, defendants’ family members and allies.

The event featured a veritable kitchen sink of conspiracy theories as well as rehashed false claims, including that the 2020 election was “stolen” and that the Jan. 6 committee “doctored” video.

But Jan. 6 defendants, their advocates and some GOP lawmakers have called for Republicans to push further.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said that probing the Justice Department’s handling of Jan. 6 prosecutions should be one of the “top priorities” for a Judiciary sub-panel tasked with investigating GOP claims of bias against conservatives within the federal government.

She introduced impeachment articles against the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia who has taken the lead on prosecuting members of the mob. Meanwhile, Gaetz introduced a resolution to censure Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who led the now-closed riot select committee. Both efforts have a single-digit number of cosponsors at the moment.

Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) did recently release a wider report that accused the FBI of artificially conflating the number of Jan. 6-related investigations. The report and a subsequent hearing also included testimony from whistleblowers who lost their security clearances due to improper actions related to Jan. 6.

One of the whistleblowers, Steve Friend, and several Freedom Caucus members were invited to speak at a retreat hosted by the conservative Center for Renewing America, where Friend is a senior fellow, shortly before the hearing, according to research by the progressive group Accountable.US that was provided exclusively to POLITICO and confirmed via House disclosure forms.

Jordan also fired off new Jan. 6-related letters, one asking for more information on the FBI’s investigation into pipe bombs found near the Capitol the day of the attack and another expanding a probe into record-sharing with federal investigators.

But those efforts make up a small slice of his collective, sweeping investigations.

The Oversight Committee organized a tour of the D.C. jail to investigate two-year-old claims of “disparate treatment” of the approximately two dozen Jan. 6-related detainees — nearly all of whom were incarcerated or detained for violence against police. But Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) didn’t attend the tour, which was led by panel member Greene.

Democrats who attended said that GOP lawmakers and the detained rioters treated each other as allies and friends.

Some members of the Oversight panel recently raised Jan. 6 during a hearing with testimony from Graves and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser — but the session was billed as about broader crime and governance issues.

There’s a reason behind the conference’s actions to sidestep those issues: A broad swath of House Republicans see spotlighting Jan. 6-related investigations as a terrible political strategy.

Loudermilk has largely conducted the GOP’s most focused dive into Jan. 6 so far. He received a copy of the Capitol Police’s radio transmissions from the day and met privately with former law enforcement officials to discuss security failures. Loudermilk’s sub-panel, according to the McCarthy spokesperson, will also soon be rolling out “additional access” to view Capitol security footage.

Still, Loudermilk set off alarm bells among Democrats when he pushed the D.C. police to disclose how many undercover officers were in the crowd during the attack. The letter dovetails with, but did not specifically mention, claims by some Jan. 6 defendants that plainclothes agents or the government itself might have fomented the riot.

But Loudermilk says he won’t lend his subcommittee’s imprimatur to some of the most egregious false claims.

“We want to just follow the facts, not hyperbole or some kind of conspiracy theory, so our interest is just: What is the truth?” he said.

[Boldface added]

 

Remember When Donald Trump Discussed Seizing Voting Machines and Invoking Martial Law? Special Counsel Jack Smith Sure Does

The prosecutor, who is criminally investigating Trump’s attempt to overturn the election, is reportedly extremely interested in that December 2020 Oval Office meeting.

A New Kind of Fascism

I’ve resisted using the word until now, but something menacing and novel is taking shape with the possibility of a second Trump term.

By Christopher R. Browning

JULY 25, 2023

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/07/trump-second-term-isolationist-fascism

Special counsel scrutinizing February 2020 meeting where Trump praised US election security protections

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/07/24/politics/special-counsel-trump-oval-office-election-security-february-2020

[Excerpts:]

Details from the February 2020 Oval Office meeting are likely relevant to Smith’s election interference investigation because they speak to Trump’s “knowledge and intent” around the security of US elections, said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst.

“Should [Trump] reasonably have known that there was no fraud and he lost?” Honig said, describing the prosecutorial angle. “Or does he have some sort of claim that he was acting in good faith, or acting on the reasonable advice of his advisers in contesting the election?”

Testimony from the February 2020 meeting suggests that at least in the early part of 2020, Trump embraced the notion that the election would be secure and that he was heeding the advice of his own experts.

“It’s one more piece of the larger, ‘[Trump] knew or should have known’ puzzle,’” Honig said. “It’s one more indicator that Jack Smith has looked under every rock.”

 

Former President Donald J. Trump was charged with four counts in connection with his efforts to subvert the will of voters in 2020. “Despite having lost, the defendant was determined to remain in power,” prosecutors wrote.

Judge rules Trump committed fraud in building real estate empire

BY ELLA LEE AND ZACH SCHONFELD 

 

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4224290-judge-rules-trump-committed-fraud-in-building-real-estate-empire

Trump Will Not Seek to Move Georgia Racketeering Case to Federal Court

His decision comes after Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, tried unsuccessfully to move his own case from state to federal court.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/28/us/trump-georgia-state-federal-court
[Excerpts:]

If Mr. Trump ends up going to trial in Fulton County Superior Court, as now seems increasingly likely, the presiding judge will be Scott McAfee, who was recently appointed to the bench.

While attending law school at the University of Georgia, Mr. McAfee was a vice president of the school’s chapter of the conservative Federalist Society. He later worked for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, where his supervisor was Ms. Willis.

Thus far, Judge McAfee has been moving the court proceedings along briskly, but he has not had the opportunity to make many substantive rulings.

“Judge Denies Trump’s Request That She Recuse Herself in Election Case”

NYT:

The judge overseeing former President Donald J. Trump’s trial on charges of seeking to overturn the 2020 election denied on Wednesday his attempt to disqualify her from the case for supposedly being biased against him.

In a strongly worded order, the judge, Tanya S. Chutkan of Federal District Court in Washington, rejected claims by Mr. Trump’s lawyers that she had shown bias against the former president in statements she made from the bench in two cases related to the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021.

In the order, Judge Chutkan not only chided Mr. Trump’s lawyers for putting words in her mouth, but she also asserted that the remarks did not betray any animus or unfairness toward Mr. Trump that would warrant the extraordinary step of removing her from the election interference case.

“The statements certainly do not manifest a deep-seated prejudice that would make fair judgment impossible,” she wrote.

Jonah E. Bromwich and 

Published Nov. 6, 2023; Updated Nov. 8, 2023

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2023/11/06/nyregion/trump-fraud-trial

[Excerpts:]

The judge in the case sought to rein in the former president, who railed against him and New York’s attorney general from the stand, and seemed to undercut efforts to distance himself from the property valuations at the heart of the case.

Here’s what happened with Trump’s testimony.

He was belligerent and brash, unrepentant and verbose — regardless of the courtroom setting, he was the quintessential Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Trump, who was accused by Ms. James of inflating his net worth to defraud banks and insurers, acknowledged helping to assemble annual financial statements submitted to the banks.

“I would look at them, I would see them, and I would maybe on occasion have some suggestions,” said Mr. Trump, who began the day looking tired but soon grew animated.

The judge, who will determine the outcome of the case instead of a jury, repeatedly admonished Mr. Trump for not directly responding to questions from Ms. James’s team.

“You can attack me. You can do whatever you want,” Justice Engoron told him, “but answer the question.”

When the judge turned to Mr. Trump with a simple request — “please no speeches” — his words drew a smirk from the former president, who continued to meander. At one point, Mr. Trump interrupted Kevin Wallace, a state lawyer questioning him, with an “Excuse me, sir,” so that he could opine about what he would have done had he in fact wanted to inflate the value of his assets.

“The net worth of me was far greater than the financial statements,” Mr. Trump scolded Mr. Wallace, later telling him that he should be “ashamed.”

The testimony pushed Mr. Trump far outside his campaign-trail comfort zone to the controlled environs of a courtroom, where lying is a crime and outbursts can land you in contempt of court. The deeply personal nature of the trial for Mr. Trump, 77, whose obsession with his wealth is a defining feature of his celebrity, injected an extra dose of emotion into his testimony.

Even before Ms. James’s case went to trial, Justice Engoron had ruled that Mr. Trump’s financial statements were filled with fraud.

The trial will determine the punishment. Ms. James wants Mr. Trump to pay a $250 million penalty, be ousted from his company and be permanently barred from the world of New York real estate.

Throughout the roughly four hours of testimony, Mr. Trump alternately accepted and avoided responsibility. When Mr. Wallace asked how he ensured that the financial statements were handled properly, he passed the buck to financial lieutenants and outside auditors, saying, “I gave two people total authority to work with a very expensive accounting firm.”

Mr. Trump added, though, that he was not entirely hands-off: “I said, ‘Prepare the statements so that the accounting firm is happy.’”

Frequently, Mr. Wallace drew Mr. Trump in with simple questions about whether he had depended on the banks to rely on his financial statements. Mr. Trump affirmed that he had, without seeming to realize that the question went to intent, a necessary element for Ms. James’s lawyers to show.

He also couldn’t resist exaggerating in exactly the fashion that has left him vulnerable to the attorney general’s claims. When asked how big his triplex in Trump Tower is, he at first provided the accurate answer, 11,000 square feet. Seemingly unable to stop himself, he then said 12,000. Then, he said 13,000.

Mr. Trump also said that he had directed his employees to drop the value of his Westchester County, N.Y., estate, Seven Springs, because he “thought it was too high,” another acknowledgment of his involvement in the financial statements.

Mr. Trump testified that he had an opinion on the worth of his properties, especially his Florida estate. “I thought that Mar-a-Lago was very underestimated, but I didn’t do anything about it,” he said. “I just left it be.”.

In a criminal case, a jury or judge cannot hold a defendant’s refusal to answer questions against him. But this case is civil, and the rules are different: A judge can make what is called a “negative inference” — a damning assumption about why a defendant won’t answer.

At one point Monday, the judge, fed up with Mr. Trump’s nonresponsive responses, threatened to excuse the former president from the stand and assume the worst about why he wouldn’t answer.

Kate Christobek, Maggie Haberman, Nate Schweber, Liset Cruz, Claire Fahy and Susanne Craig contributed reporting.

Trump and allies plot revenge, Justice Department control in a second term

Advisers have also discussed deploying the military to quell potential unrest on Inauguration Day. Critics have called the ideas under consideration dangerous and unconstitutional.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/11/05/trump-revenge-second-term/

“Trump belief that 2020 election was stolen is not a defense, DOJ says”

WaPo:

Special counsel prosecutors said Monday they plan to show at trial that Donald Trump lied repeatedly about the results of the 2020 election as part of a conspiracy to subvert the legitimate results. But they also said they don’t need to prove whether Trump believed he lost the race.

Legal experts have debated the importance of Trump’s state of mind in his federal election subversion case in D.C., with some arguing that to win a conviction the government must pin down the true beliefs of a politician who amassed a long record of making false or misleading claims while president. The Justice Department weighed in on the debate for the first time, saying that what they need to prove is not that Trump believed the “Big Lie” of the election being stolen but that he knowingly spread associated lies in a criminal scheme to stay in power.

Lies will be key to special counsel Jack Smith’s case,as the government indicated by using “deceit” 46 times in the 79-page filing, including saying Trump is guilty of “perpetrating an unprecedented campaign of deceit to attack” the election, Congress’s certification of the vote, and Americans rights to have their votes counted.

“Just as the president of a company may be guilty of fraud for using knowingly false statements of facts to defraud investors, even if he subjectively believes that his company will eventually succeed, the defendant may be guilty of using deceit to obstruct the government function by which the results of the presidential election are collected, counted, and certified, even if he provides evidence that he subjectively believed that the election was ‘rigged,’” the prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors said they will point to several specific claims made by Trump and his unindicted co-conspirators to prove the “deceit” that is necessary to prove fraud against the United States, one of the four charges he faces in D.C. Those include various baseless allegations that dead or ineligible voters cast ballots, that voting machines changed votes from Trump to Biden or that election workers added fake ballots for Biden to vote totals. In each case, prosecutors said in the indictment, Trump and his allies had been informed the claims were false. Prosecutors say deceit can also be shown through co-conspirator Rudy Giuliani’s false assurances to “fake electors” that they would only be deployed if litigation changed the election results.

The government said they would also prove Trump obstructed Congress in part through deceit, but also by threatening a state official with criminal prosecution and by directing an angry mob to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The final charge against Trump, violating a civil rights statute, requires showing only that he had the intent to keep some votes from being counted, the government said.

Trump Says if Jesus ‘Came Down’ He’d Win the Blue States in Unhinged Iowa Speech

The former president went in on the 2020 election during a swing through Iowa on Saturday, even claiming that he still wants to “redo” it</em

ALTHEA LEGASPI

DECEMBER 2, 2023
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/donald-trump-iowa-campaign-caucuses-2024-false-election-claims-1234908453/

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

February 10, 2024

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/february-10-2024

 

Trump’s ties to Russia are deep and well documented, including by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which was dominated by Republicans when it concluded that Trump’s 2016 campaign team had worked with Russian operatives. In November 2022, in the New York Times Magazine, Jim Rutenberg pulled together testimony given both to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and the Senate Intelligence Committee, transcripts from the impeachment hearings, and recent memoirs. 

Rutenberg showed that in 2016, Russian operatives had presented to Trump advisor and later campaign manager Paul Manafort a plan “for the creation of an autonomous republic in Ukraine’s east, giving Putin effective control of the country’s industrial heartland, where Kremlin-armed, -funded, and -directed ‘separatists’ were waging a two-year-old shadow war that had left nearly 10,000 dead.” 

But they were concerned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) might stand in their way. Formed in 1947 to stand against Soviet expansion and now standing against Russian aggression, NATO is a collective security alliance of 31 states that have agreed to consider an attack on any member to be an attack on all.

In exchange for weakening NATO, undermining the U.S. stance in favor of Ukraine in its attempt to throw off the Russians who had invaded in 2014, and removing U.S. sanctions from Russian entities, Russian operatives were willing to put their finger on the scales to help Trump win the White House. 

When he was in office, Trump did, in fact, try to weaken NATO—as well as other international organizations like the World Health Organization—and promised he would pull the U.S. out of NATO in a second term, effectively killing it. Rutenberg noted that Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine looks a lot like an attempt to achieve the plan it suggested in 2016. But because there was a different president in the U.S., that invasion did not yield the results Putin expected. 

 

Evangelicals’ Trump Worship Looks More Like QAnon Every Day

I’ve watched hundreds of hours of Trump rally footage, and it’s clear he’s going full “messiah” in his plea to the evangelical Christian voters who have supported him since 2016.

Must-read WaPo: “Republicans plan blitz of election-related lawsuits, but prospects uncertain”

WaPo:

[Excerpt:]

When Donald Trump installed a new chairman of the Republican Party this month, he explained privately and publicly what he wanted from the GOP: a bigger focus on election-related lawsuits, a more aggressive operation to monitor voting and a vow to make “election integrity” the party’s No. 1 priority.

The party is now striking a more aggressive tone as it recruits poll observers to keep an eye on in-person voting and boasts of positioning thousands of lawyers to challenge ballots and bring lawsuits. The strategy — an outgrowth of the one it used both before the 2020 election and after, when Trump sought to overturn the result — is meant to please Trump, electrify the base and persuade judges to tighten voting rules.

“It’s an extremely high priority for the president,” said the new Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Whatley, referring to Trump.

 

18 People Indicted In Arizona Fake Electors Scheme

A sweeping state indictment in Trump’s 2020 fake electors scheme targets 11 (presumably all in-state) named defendants and seven as-yet-unnamed (and presumably all out-of-state) defendants who haven’t yet been served.

The case was investigated and is being brought by Attorney General Kris Mayes (D).

The 11 named defendants are:

  • Kelli Ward, former chair of the Arizona Republican Party and Trump fake elector
  • Michael Ward, Kelli Ward’s husband and Trump fake elector
  • Tyler Bowyer, Trump fake elector
  • Jacob Hoffman, Trump fake elector
  • Anthony Kern, Trump fake elector
  • James Lamon, Trump fake elector
  • Greg Safsten, former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party and Trump fake elector
  • Nancy Cottle, Trump fake elector
  • Loraine Pellegrino, Trump fake elector
  • Robert Montgomery, Trump fake elector
  • Samuel Moorhead, Trump fake elector

The seven redacted defendants, based on context and outside reporting, appear to be:

  • Mark Meadows
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • John Eastman
  • Boris Epshteyn
  • Christina Bobb
  • Jenna Ellis
  • Mike Roman

The Epshteyn indictment is a big deal given his central role in organizing Trump’s criminal defense team in the numerous cases against him. Bobb is a highly ironic defendant to have in an election interference case since she was just named the RNC’s new “election integrity” chief.

The Charges

  • Count 1: Conspiracy
  • Counts 2-3: Fraud
  • Counts 4-9: Forgery

Because the names of some of the defendants remain redacted in the indictment, it’s not entirely clear if each defendant is charged with all nine counts, but it appears that way based on the formatting of the redactions.

Among the unindicted conspirators in the case: Trump himself, Kenneth Chesebro, state Sen. Kelly Townsend, former state Rep.

Mark Finchem, and former Arizona GOP lawyer Jack Wilenchik.

 

Trump’s vice presidential supplicants toe the line on election fraud

The candidate asks running mates simply to reject the evidence of their eyes and ears.

By Philip Bump

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/06/trump-running-mate-candidates-election-results/

“A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.”

— James Freeman Clarke