Joker Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ), Ardent “Stop the Steal”/Fake Elector advocate

 

Let Us  Hear No More about the Conscience of this Arizona Conservative 

 

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution . . . .”
— U.S. Constitution, Article VI, clause 3

 

 

A Trump ally is ready to come clean on Georgia’s fake electors. You listening, Kris Mayes?

Opinion: Prosecutors in Georgia and Michigan are putting the screws to their fake electors and election schemers. AG Kris Mayes should follow their lead.

Laurie Roberts

Arizona Republic
October 20, 2023
Well, well, well.

A key figure in the fake elector scheme took a plea deal in Georgia on Friday, agreeing to come clean about his part in the conspiracy to try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Are you seeing this, Attorney General Kris Mayes?

Trump-aligned lawyer Kenneth Chesebro wrote memos detailing how Republicans could send false slates of presidential electors to Congress in an attempt to give Donald Trump the win or at least delay the Jan. 6, 2021, certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

According to his Fulton County, Ga., indictment, one of his memos “provides detailed, state-specific instructions for how Trump presidential elector nominees in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would meet and cast electoral votes” for Trump, even though he lost the election in those states.

Chesebro, who is pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit filing false documents, on Friday agreed to testify at any future trials of his fellow co-conspirators. He also agreed to turn over all emails and text messages to the district attorney’s office.

What does Chesebro know about Arizona?

[Boldface added]

Have got your plane ticket to Atlanta yet, AG Mayes?

It might be interesting to see what light Chesebro can shed on Arizona’s 11 fake electors.

Specifically, how they came to be meeting at state Republican Party headquarters on Dec. 14, 2020, signing documents falsely claiming to be “duly elected and qualified” to cast Arizona’s electoral votes for the guy who didn’t win.

How these “patriots” — including two who are now state senators (Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern), the now-former chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party (Kelli Ward) and a top executive with Turning Point USA (Tyler Bowyer) — came up with the same wild idea that just coincidentally occurred to Republicans in six other swing states won by Biden.

Or how, even as those phonies were meeting in Phoenix to cast their non-existent votes for Trump, across town a group of Republican legislators were signing a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Congress urging them to accept those “alternate” electoral votes.

Or how then-Rep. Mark Finchem, one of the state’s loudest stop the stealers, hand carried the lawmakers’ request to Washington on Jan. 5, 2021, putting it into the hands of one of Trump’s strongest acolytes on Capitol Hill, Rep. Andy Biggs.

Or how Biggs, along with Reps. Paul Gosar and Debbie Lesko, then voted the next day to reject Arizona’s legitimate electoral votes.

[Boldface added]

Where does Mayes’ investigation’ stand?

This wasn’t just 11 local Arizona rubes who decided on a whim to protest Biden’s win by casting a symbolic electoral vote for Trump.

This was a carefully planned scheme, meticulously coordinated — from the seeds of doubt deeply planted to erode trust in our elections to the fake electors who were part of a plot to steal the vote in Arizona and other swing states to the storming of the nation’s Capitol to stop Joe Biden from becoming president.

And certain Arizonans appear to be in on it up to their eyeballs.

Fake electors:Had a cast of characters helping them

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear what Chesebro might know about that?

Mayes vowed during last year’s campaign to investigate Arizona’s fake electors. She reportedly assigned a team of prosecutors to the investigation in May. Dan Barr, Mayes’s chief deputy, in July told the Washington Post the investigation was in the “fact-gathering” phase.Since then, we’ve heard nothing.

Michigan is bringing charges. What about us?

Meanwhile, in Michigan, one of that state’s 16 fake electors this week agreed to testify against his fellow phonies in return for dismissal of eight felony counts, including forgery and conspiracy to publish a false statement.

The Michigan 16, just like the Arizona 11, met at their state GOP headquarters and signed documents stating they were the state’s “duly elected and qualified electors.”

“That was a lie … and each of the defendants knew it,” Michigan prosecutors said, in their charging documents.

The Michigan fake elector whose charges were dismissed has agreed to “cooperate fully” with the AG’s office, agreeing to testify at trial and key hearings and provide investigators with “any and all relevant documents.”

Michigan in July became the first state to bring charges against the fake electors.

It shouldn’t be the last.

Simply put, Arizona’s fake electors and their co-conspirators tried to steal our vote.

There should be a penalty for that.

AG Mayes, I hear Atlanta is nice this time of year.

 

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.

 

 

Tuberville Aiming To Be The Senate’s Paul Gosar?

Talking Points Memo

David Kurtz

May 15, 2023

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) enhanced his extremist cred Wednesday with an interview in which he was asked whether white nationalists should serve in the military: “They call them that. I call them Americans.”

He tried doing – damage control? – with reporters on Thursday in the Capitol. It went great!

Via the WaPo:

“You think a white nationalist is a Nazi? I don’t look at it like that. I look at a white nationalist as a Trump Republican,” Tuberville said, placing himself within their camp. “That’s what we’re called all the time, a MAGA person.”

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

May 15, 2023

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

[Excerpt:]

Last night, Hunter Walker of Talking Points Memo broke the story that the digital director for right-wing representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) appears to be Wade Searle, a devoted follower of white supremacist leader Nick Fuentes. Fuentes has openly embraced Nazism and Russian president Vladimir Putin’s authoritarianism, and he is one of those to whom the alt-right Groypers look up. Boldface added.

Although Fuentes calls the Groypers “Christian conservatives,” historian of the far right in the U.S. Nicole Hemmer told Walker: “The Groypers are essentially the equivalent of neo-Nazis…. They are attached to violent events like Jan. 6. Nick Fuentes, as sort of the organizer of the Groypers, expresses Holocaust denialism, white supremacy, white nationalism, pretty strong anti-women bigotry, he calls for a kind of return to Twelfth Century Catholicism. They’re an extremist group that is OK with violence.”

Walker has also identified an intern in Gosar’s office as another Fuentes follower.

A February study by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research on religion, culture, and public policy, found that the so-called Christian nationalism at the heart of those like Fuentes is closely linked with a willingness to commit violence to make the U.S. a white Christian nation. The PRRI poll showed that nearly 20% of those who sympathize with Christian nationalism agreed they were “willing to fight” to take the nation back to what they incorrectly believe it always was.

 

Staffer Is A Prominent Follower Of Neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes

Evidence shows Congressman Paul Gosar’s digital director is behind an online persona that Fuentes called one of his “strongest soldiers.”
|
May 14, 2023 

[Excerpt:]

TPM has uncovered an extensive digital trail of interconnected Groyper social media pages using variations of the “ChickenRight” and “Chikken” handles that can be linked to Wade Searle, who works as the digital director for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), one of the most extreme, far-right members of Congress. ChickenRight’s posting on far-right websites and Searle’s alleged involvement with Fuentes occurred before and after he started working in Gosar’s Capitol Hill office. Gosar, his chief of staff, his press secretary, and Searle have not responded to multiple detailed requests for comment.

 

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

May 8, 2023

[Excerpt:]

Last week, on May 4 and 5, the Conservative Political Action Conference met in Budapest for the second time, and once again, Orbán delivered the keynote address. The theme was the uniting of the radical right across national boundaries. “Come back, Mr President,” Orbán said of Trump’s 2024 presidential bid. “Make America great again and bring us peace.” Orbán claimed his suppression of LGBTQ+ rights, academic freedom, and the media is a model for the world. 

Plenty of the people there from the U.S. seemed to agree. “Hungary,” Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said, “is a beacon.” 

In a recorded message, Trump said conservatives were “freedom-loving patriots” who are “fighting against barbarians.” “We believe in tradition, the rule of law, freedom of speech and a God-given dignity of every human life. These are ideas that bind together our movement,” he said. He called for the audience to “stand together to defend our borders, our Judeo-Christian values, our identity and our way of life.”

While conference organizers were celebrating Hungary as the only truly free country in Europe, they were taking advantage of Hungary’s suppression of the media to permit only hand-picked journalists to cover the event. Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake said that “truth-tellers and peacemakers” were being destroyed by “fake news,” as they call every journalist who criticizes them.  

Jacob Heilbrunn of the National Interest was one of those barred from the conference. He watched from his hotel room and wrote in Politico, “Throughout, the idea was clear: Liberalism is synonymous with tyranny.”

This ideology is behind the right-wing attacks on immigrants, LGBTQ Americans, the media, reproductive rights, and education. Florida, led by governor Ron DeSantis, has been out front on these issues, but other Republican-dominated states are following suit. Eager to stay at the head of the “movement,” Trump recently claimed that universities are “dominated by marxist maniacs & lunatics” and vowed to bring them under control of the radical right. “He will impose real standards on American colleges and universities,” his website says, “to include defending the American tradition and Western civilization.” 

That formulation is also what enables the very people who are taking away others’ rights to claim that they are the ones being persecuted. The reference to right-wing death squads on Garcia’s vest refers to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, whose goons murdered thousands of political opponents, often by tossing them from helicopters. Since the 2016 Trump campaign, modern right-wing activists in the U.S. wear T-shirts offering “free helicopter rides,” and saying “Pinochet did nothing wrong.” 

These ideas are embraced only by a minority in the United States, but that minority is working hard to cement its power by gaming the system. Election lawyer Marc Elias recently warned that “we cannot out-organize voter suppression” and that the myth that we can “minimizes the real world effects of repeated, targeted suppression laws. It shifts the burden from the suppressors to the voters. It suggests that victims of voter suppression simply need to be better ‘organized.’” 

He notes that Ohio, Arkansas, South Dakota, Idaho, and Florida have all passed voter suppression laws this year and that the new laws put in place after 2020 have worked. Minority and youth voting have dropped significantly. Since 2008, Black voting in states dominated by Democrats has increased by 1.8 points; in Republican-dominated states it has dropped by four points. In Georgia, Black participation rates dropped from 47.8% to 43.2% between 2018 and 2022. Hispanic participation dropped from 27.6% to 25.1%, and the youth vote dropped from 33% to 26%.

Voter suppression is not “campaign tactics,” Elias warns. It is “the illegal and immoral deprivation of constitutional rights.”

 

 

 

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?

 

Morning Shots with Charlie Sykes
January 18, 2022https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/mlk-deserved-better-hes-not-alone[Excerpt:]As recently as 2019, Republicans were able to draw lines. After Iowa’s notorious Steve King publicly embraced white supremacy, the GOP hesitated only momentarily before kicking him off committees and, ultimately, consigning him to political oblivion.What a difference a few years makes. Via NBC:
The GOP Steering Committee, which doles out committee gavels and seats, voted to give Greene and Gosar spots on the Oversight and Accountability Committee, which plans to launch numerous investigations into President Joe Biden and his administration
Greene also won a seat on the Homeland Security Committee, which Republicans will use to focus on border security and to investigate Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The folks at the Defend Democracy Project remind us who we’re talking about here:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Is A Far Right Conspiracy Theorist Who Was Part Of The January 6 Plot And Now Serves On The Homeland Security And Oversight Committees... In addition to her other conspiracies, racist remarks, and wild accusations, Greene relentlessly spread lies about the 2020 election being “stolen” and was a key figure working in Congress to overturn the results in Donald Trump’s favor….

Rep. Paul Gosar Plotted With Trump To Overturn The 2020 Election.  Rep. Paul Gosar was a ringleader in the plot to overturn the election far beyond his vote not to certify electors on January 6….

Gosar has a long history of collaborating with white nationalists and far right extremists, and several of his own estranged siblings have referred to him as a “traitor to his country” and called for his removal from the House.

 

Mark Meadows Exchanged Texts With 34 Members Of Congress About Plans To Overturn The 2020 Election

The Messages Included Battle Cries, Crackpot Legal Theories, And ‘Invoking Marshall Law!!’
[Excerpts:]

Meadows’ exchanges shed new light on the extent of congressional involvement in Trump’s efforts to spread baseless conspiracy theories about his defeat and his attempts to reverse it. The messages document the role members played in the campaign to subvert the election as it was conceived, built, and reached its violent climax on Jan. 6, 2021. The texts are rife with links to far-right websites, questionable legal theories, violent rhetoric, and advocacy for authoritarian power grabs.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is another member of Congress who texted Meadows outlandish conspiracy theories about the election. According to the log, shortly after 11 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2020, Gosar wrote in with his own completely inaccurate concerns about Dominion.

When is the 45 days up? What date starts the clock ?? Nov 3rd? If it is, then that is December 18!!! China bought Dominion in October for $400 million. If that’s not interference, then should have a report with details and specifics that would validate that either way. And if they didn’t…… Call me I have some fireworks coming out of AZ early tomorrow. Call me anytime, I’m up.

Paul GosarPG

The claim made by Gosar reportedly originated with far right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ website, InfoWars. Gosar also included a link to an executive order signed by Trump in 2018 that called for the director of national intelligence to “conduct an assessment of any information indicating that a foreign government” attempted to interfere with the election within 45 days of ballots being cast. Gosar also sent Meadows a link to a fringe blog called “Some Bitch Told Me” and a since-deleted set of files that he said showed “Massive fraud coming out of AZ.” In total, the log shows Gosar sent Meadows 13 messages, nearly half of which came between Dec. 16-17, 2020. Based on the log, Meadows did not respond to any of them. 

Despite Gosar seemingly gleaning his assertions from InfoWars and “Some Bitch Told Me,” Anthony Foti, a spokesperson for the congressman insisted, “at no time did he share a conspiracy theory.

 

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

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/15/magazine/arizona-republicans-democracy

[Excerpt:]

The most telling among Trump’s Arizona endorsements is that of the secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, whom Trump has described in an official statement as “a true warrior” who took an “incredibly powerful stance on the Massive Voter Fraud that took place in the 2020 Presidential Election Scam.” Indeed, Finchem, as a state representative, was one of Arizona’s first public officials to baselessly claim that the state’s voting machines had been corrupted in Biden’s favor. At a candidate forum I attended in mid-July, Finchem disclosed to the audience that he had charged $5,000 to his personal American Express card to rent out a Phoenix hotel conference room where, on Nov. 30, 2020, he and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani staged a multihour presentation to Finchem’s fellow state legislators of supposed fraud in Arizona, even as state officials were certifying the election for Biden a few miles away. As secretary of state, Finchem would be Arizona’s top election official during a potential rematch of Trump and Biden in 2024 and could work to invalidate the results, which the current secretary of state, the Democrat Katie Hobbs, now running for governor, refused to do in 2020.

The enmeshment of Finchem and other Arizona Republicans in the tumultuous final weeks of Trump’s presidency is remarkable in its depth and complexity. On Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election, Representative Paul Gosar conceived the first protest of the results anywhere in the United States, marching to the Maricopa County recorder’s office in Phoenix, where the ballots were still being tallied. Joining Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell in a post election lawsuit seeking to invalidate Arizona’s results, on the factually unsupported grounds that “old-fashioned 19th-century ballot stuffing” had occurred there, was the Phoenix lawyer Alexander Kolodin, who on primary night won a seat in the State Legislature (no Democrat will oppose him in the general election). As the flurry of Arizona lawsuits failed one by one, the state’s G.O.P. chairwoman, Ward — who had also filed an unsuccessful election lawsuit — maintained a weeks long pressure campaign against the Republican-controlled Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to throw out the results, saying in one ominous text message (among many that were obtained by The Arizona Republic), “I know you don’t want to be remembered as the guy who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election.”

Two weeks after the Nov. 30 election-fraud hearing convened by Finchem and Giuliani, while state officials were certifying the Arizona results, the official state G.O.P. Twitter account posted a video of Ward and 10 other Republicans signing documents falsely proclaiming themselves to be the state’s electors and declaring the election results illegitimate. Among the phony electors were three Republicans who would later appear on the 2022 primary ballot: the U.S. Senate candidate Jim Lamon and the State Senate candidates Anthony Kern and Jake Hoffman. (Lamon was defeated by Masters; Kern and Hoffman won.) This fake-elector scheme had been in the works for over a month and involved Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who in emails obtained by The Washington Post urged two Arizona lawmakers, Speaker Rusty Bowers and State Representative Shawnna Bolick, to “take action to ensure that a clean slate of electors is chosen.”

When that maneuver also failed to bear fruit, several Arizona Republicans joined with Trump in attempting a final desperate postelection measure. On Dec. 21, 2020, Gosar and his fellow Arizona congressman Andy Biggs, then the head of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, were among a group of G.O.P. House members who met with Trump in the White House to discuss actions including calling on Vice President Mike Pence to decertify the election results unilaterally. Two weeks later, on Jan. 5, 2021, 16 Arizona legislators — Bolick, Kern and Finchem among them — signed a letter to Pence that was also signed by Republican legislators in four other contested states, urging him to delay certifying the election results for 10 days. Pence refused to do so, and on Jan. 6, Kern and Finchem were among the Arizonans who descended on the Capitol. Finchem photographed the riotous mob and posted it on Twitter with the caption, “What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”

As a result of their involvement in Trump’s efforts to steal back the presidency, Finchem, Ward, Biggs and other Arizona Republicans have been issued subpoenas by the Jan. 6 committee. (Though Ward taunted Democrats last year for their resistance to the State Senate audit in Arizona — “What are they hiding?” she demanded at the time — she has since sued to block the committee from obtaining her cellphone records.) Back home in Arizona, however, they have faced no reprisals within their party. Far from it: Their willingness to assist Trump in overturning the 2020 election was rewarded across the boards on primary night.

There was no mystery as to why. According to a state survey of Arizona voters last year, 61 percent of Republicans believed the 2020 election “was stolen from President Trump.” Perhaps not by coincidence, the G.O.P. primary candidates who spoke the most vociferously about fraud in the 2020 elections were those like Kari Lake and Blake Masters, who were not in Trump’s trenches back then and now had to work overtime to prove themselves fit for combat against the enemy.

 

Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Condemned for “Pure Nazi Speech” at Home, Is Still Set to Get an Audience at CPAC Texas

The hardline anti-immigration leader, who has become a favorite of the American right, is scheduled to speak at the conservative gathering, which is also set to feature appearances from Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, and Ted Cruz.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/07/viktor-orban-nazi-speech-cpac?

 

New details show extent of GOP effort to unwind Trump’s loss

Documents and texts stemming from the House investigation into Jan. 6, 2021, offer new details about the extent House Republicans, particularly members of the Freedom Caucus, were involved in plans to unwind the 2020 election — even as lawyers at the White House warned them their proposals could be illegal.

The content — released in the committee’s court battle against Mark Meadows and in a trove of texts to the former chief of staff obtained by CNN — outlines a lengthy list of Republicans involved in conversations with the White House about planning for the rallies on Jan. 6 and efforts to oppose the certification of votes that day.

Taken together, the messages show how early the White House reached out to lawmakers in its effort to keep former President Trump in office.

They also show a consistent effort by various members to strategize over how to keep Trump in office after his election loss.

That effort ranged from selecting alternate slates of electors from swing states ahead of the Electoral College vote to directing the crowd to the Capitol after the Jan. 6 rallies to discussing the possibility that Trump declare martial law days before he was set to leave office. 

Testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president and Meadows, relays that Meadows, a former Freedom Caucus chairman, was the one to make “outreach” to members of the conservative caucus, including then-Rep-elects. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Hutchinson identified those four as being involved in the earliest stages of efforts to unwind the election.

Texts to Meadows as early as three days after Election Day 2020 show lawmakers rallying around the idea of alternate electors.

“I’m sure you have heard of this proposal,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) texted to Meadows on Nov. 6. “Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?”

As early as the first or second week of December, the White House’s own counsel was pushing back against the idea.

“Hey, this isn’t legally sound, we have fleshed this out internally, it’s fine that you think this but we’re not going to entertain this in an official White House capacity on behalf of the President, we’re putting a stop to this,” Hutchinson characterized the White House Counsel’s Office as saying.

That message was relayed to at least Perry, Jordan, and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), according to Hutchinson.

By Dec. 21, a larger group was meeting at the White House with Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani, where the focus had shifted to the ways former Vice President Mike Pence could buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election results.

That group attending that meeting included Jordan, Brooks, Biggs, Gaetz, Greene, Gohmert, Perry, and Reps. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), Hutchinson said.

“They felt that he had the authority to — pardon me if my phrasing isn’t correct on this, but — send votes back to the States or the electors back to the States, more along the lines of the Eastman theory,” Hutchinson said, referring to John Eastman, who crafted two memos for the Trump campaign outlining how to challenge the election.

“I don’t recall anybody speaking out and definitively expressing disagreement with that theory,” she said of the lawmakers, adding that “the vice president’s team appeared slightly skeptical.” 

Later that day, Brooks suggested to Meadows they try to frame the meeting as being both positive and productive after being contacted by reporters.

“Media is contacting my office about this afternoon’s White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies,” Brooks wrote to Meadows. “Does the White House want me to reply or be mum? Also, it is one thing to discuss (in general terms) our meeting beforehand. It is another to discuss afterwards.

“If you believe discussion is a positive, I suggest message should be: 1. Progress is being made. 2. More are joining our fight. 3. We can’t allow voter fraud & election theft occur if we are going to be a republic. Your choice. Let me know,” he concluded.

About a week after the meeting, Greene complained to Meadows they didn’t get enough time to chat with Giuliani about the strategy.

“We have to get organized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long. Also anyone who can help. We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state,” she texted Meadows on New Year’s Eve.

While lawmakers were coordinating with the legal team through the White House, Perry was involved with Trump’s pressure campaign at the Department of Justice (DOJ), texting Meadows on both Dec. 26 and Dec. 28 to encourage him to make contact with Jeffrey Clark. Trump would later weigh installing Clark, a mid-level DOJ official who primarily worked on environmental issues, as acting attorney general in order to forward investigations into his baseless election fraud claims.

But new testimony released by the committee shows DOJ staff pushed back as Clark tried to get a memo directly to Pence to encourage him to not certify the election results on Jan. 6.

“Mr. Clark suggested that OLC provide a legal opinion to the Vice President with respect to his authority when it comes to opening the votes as the President of the Senate on Jan. 6,” Steven Engel, who served as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ under Trump, told the committee.

“And I shot down that idea, but I said — I said: That’s an absurd idea. The — you know, the Vice President is acting as the President of the Senate. It is not the role of the Department of Justice to provide legislative officials with legal advice on the scope of their duties. And — you know, and — not to mention it was 3 days from the date. OLC doesn’t tend to provide the legal opinions, you know, in those cases, you know, in that short timeframe,” he added.

As Jan. 6 neared, lawmakers were once again coordinating with the White House about preparations for the day, including a discussion over whether to actively encourage rally goers to march to the Capitol.

“I remember Mr. Perry had said that he had been starting to put tweets that night, Congressman Perry, that he was going to start putting out tweets that night, and he was a primary participant in the call,” Hutchinson said.

“I don’t think there’s a participant on the call that had necessarily discouraged the idea,” she added. “I don’t recall every single participant on the call that night, but I do recall it was a Freedom Caucus call.”

Gaetz would also go on to advertise on Jan. 5 during an appearance on Fox News that there could be “tens of thousands of people potentially marching in the streets in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.”

The same two troves show many GOP lawmakers would text Meadows as the chaos was unfolding at the Capitol, with some pleading for the chief of staff to get Trump to take action.

And other prior reporting shows that some Republicans who were initially involved eventually backed away from White House efforts amid their own doubts.

Still, another text from Greene just days before President Biden’s inauguration shows Greene — and evidently other members — were hopeful Trump might still try to resist any effort to swear in a new president and provide lawmakers tools to go after the new president.

 “In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him,” she texted Meadows on Jan. 17.

“They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!” she added.

[Boldface added]

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.

ProPublica has obtained a trove of internal emails and other documentation that, taken together, tell the inside story of a group of people who propagated a number of the most pervasive theories about how the election was stolen, especially that voting machines were to blame, and helped move them from the far-right fringe to the center of the Republican Party.

Those records, as well as interviews with key participants, show for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the stolen-election theory touted evidence that they knew to be disproven or that had been credibly disputed or dismissed as dubious by operatives within their own camp. Some members of the coalition presented this mix of unreliable witnesses, unconfirmed rumor and suspect analyses as fact in published reports, talking points and court documents. In several cases, their assertions became the basis for Trump’s claims that the election had been rigged.

Our examination of their actions from the 2020 election to the present day reveals a pattern. Many members of the coalition would advance a theory based on evidence that was never vetted or that they’d been told was flawed; then, when the theory was debunked, they’d move on to the next alternative and then the next.

Follow disclosure of Gosar’s promotion of the Big Lie through these news accounts:

 

 

In Conference Call Before Riot, a Plea to ‘Descend on the Capitol’

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.” 

By Alan Feuer

April 12, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/12/us/politics/jan-6-capitol-riot-sullivan-trump.html

[Excerpt:]

As the Justice Department widens its inquiry, federal prosecutors are using a grand jury in Washington to gather information on political organizers, speakers and so-called V.I.P.s connected to a series of pro-Trump rallies after the 2020 election. One prominent planner of those rallies, Ali Alexander, received a subpoena from the grand jury and said last week that he intended to comply with its requests.

In the run-up to Jan. 6, Mr. Alexander publicly discussed a pressure campaign against lawmakers that was meant to stop the final electoral count, saying he was working with Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama and Representatives Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona, all Republicans.

“We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,” Mr. Alexander said in a since-deleted video on Periscope. The plan, he said, was to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside.”

 

Pamela Brown looks at GOP lawmaker’s ties with White supremacy groups

CNN’s Pamela Brown looks at Republican Rep. Paul Gosar’s history of association with White supremacy groups.

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2022/04/11/paul-gosar-ftr-pamela-brown-vpx.cnn

 

Casting themselves as alternatives to a polarizing lawmaker, these candidates could reveal a window into the Republican electorate.

Legal Effort Expands to Disqualify Republicans as ‘Insurrectionists’

New lawsuits target Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, as well as Mark Finchem, a candidate for Arizona secretary of state, claiming they are barred from office under the 14th Amendment.

By Jonathan Weisman

April 7, 2022

[Excerpts:]

A legal effort to disqualify from re-election lawmakers who participated in events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol expanded on Thursday, when a cluster of voters and a progressive group filed suit against three elected officials in Arizona to bar them under the 14th Amendment from running again.

In three separate candidacy challenges filed in Superior Court in Maricopa County, Ariz., voters and the progressive group, Free Speech for People, targeted Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs and State Representative Mark Finchem, who is running for Arizona secretary of state with former President Donald J. Trump’s endorsement.

In all three suits, the plaintiffs claim that the politicians are disqualified from seeking office because their support for rioters who attacked the Capitol made them “insurrectionists” under the Constitution and therefore barred them under the little-known third section of the 14th Amendment, adopted during Reconstruction to punish members of the Confederacy.

That section declares that “no person shall” hold “any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath” to “support the Constitution,” had then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Ron Fein, the legal director of Free Speech for People, said the effort was putting pressure on the Justice Department and the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack to take action against individual members of Congress — and to find remedies in court.

“Our goal is to reach a ruling by a competent state tribunal, which of course can be appealed to the highest levels if need be, that these individuals are in fact disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment,” he said. “These are even stronger cases. We’re not going after people who have a tenuous connection to the insurrection.”

The legal fight in the cases has come down to two questions: What is an insurrectionist, and did Congress in 1872 not only grant amnesty to those who supported and fought for the Confederacy but also to those who would take part in future insurrections, effectively nullifying Section 3?

In the run-up to Jan. 6, Mr. Gosar and Mr. Biggs repeatedly posted the falsehood that Mr. Trump had won the election. Mr. Gosar organized some of the earliest rallies to “Stop the Steal,” the movement to keep Mr. Trump in office, coordinating with Ali Alexander, a far-right activist, and with Mr. Finchem.

 

‘The most dangerous man in Congress’: how Paul Gosar became a darling of the far right

Once fringe, now dominant in the party, rightwing Republicans are strategizing for minoritarian rule

January 26, 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/26/paul-gosar-far-right-republicans

[Excerpts:]

Gosar has extensive links to white nationalists and Capitol rioters and, many observers say, represents a dangerous new breed of Republican politician, who would have once been considered fringe, but whom Trump is increasingly making central to Republican party politics.

“I’m considered the most dangerous man in Congress,” Gosar told the crowd, briefly touching on popular rightwing talking points – critical race theory in schools, disrespect for the military, and “empty shelves” in stores – before focusing on the central theme of the rally: elections.

In the Arizona desert the fervor among supporters huddled against the wind was a clear sign of the size of a constituency more loyal to Trump than to the party, and even as some lawmakers distance themselves from the former president amid the January 6 fallout, the far right is doubling down.

In his first public appearance since the anniversary of the January 6 attack, Trump’s appearance was marked with a reaffirmation of election denial, conspiracy theories and anti-democratic ruminations. “I ran twice, and I won twice,” Trump told his supporters gathered in the windy Arizona night.

At the rally the “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander moved through the crowd while on stage three members of Congress, who all voted against certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory, gave speeches affirming their support of the “big lie”.

Gosar’s allegiance to Trump and his false claims extends beyond speaking the shibboleth of the big lie: on January 6 Gosar voted against certifying the election even as rioters penetrated the Capitol.

“We no longer have an ability to make a clear delineation between the right and far-right in the Republican party,” said Joe Lowndes, professor of political science at the University of Oregon and co-author of Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity.

“The Trumpist wing of the Republicans isn’t just ascending – it’s the dominant wing of the Republican party. It’s the dominant wing not just in national politics, but in state and local politics as well,” said Lowndes. “The Republican party has committed itself to a party of minoritarian rule, figuring out ways to rule in the long term without having majority support of voters.”

Gosar’s involvement with the January 6 Capitol insurrection has come under scrutiny from lawmakers. A House select committee investigating the deadly Capitol attack has been working for six months, in meetings mostly closed to the public, interviewing more than 300 witnesses and collecting more than 35,000 pages of records, according the Washington Post.

Information has surfaced that link Gosar to one prominent Capitol riot organizer.

A lawsuit filed by Alexander to block the release of his phone records, subpoenaed by the House committee, reveals testimony that discloses contacts with Republican members of Congress before the Capitol riot. The lawsuit states Alexander testified that he “had a few phone conversations” with Gosar and spoke to the Arizona congressman Andy Biggs “in person”.

Lawmakers are debating whether sitting members of Congress can be subpoenaed to appear before the committee.

Gosar also has longstanding links to far-right and white nationalist groups.

Last year Gosar was the keynote speaker at an America First Political Action Conference (Afpac) organized by white nationalist Nick Fuentes, whom the Department of Justice in a court filing calls a “white supremacist” and who marched in the deadly Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally. The January 6 committee is also seeking testimony from Fuentes, who has praised Gosar as supporting his agenda.

“There is some hope, maybe, for America First in Congress, and that is thanks almost exclusively to representative Paul Gosar,” said Fuentes in a video message to his supporters last year.

Gosar distanced himself from Fuentes after outcry over his appearance alongside the white nationalist in a promotion for a fundraising event. But he has also appeared to defend him. Gosar once tweeted: “Not sure why anyone is freaking out. I’ll say this: there are millions of Gen Z, Y and X conservatives. They believe in America First. They will not agree 100% on every issue. No group does. We will not let the left dictate our strategy, alliances and efforts. Ignore the left.”

That was not the first time Gosar has incorporated white nationalist themes into his politics.

Last year Gosar and the extremist Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene were linked to an “America First Caucus” that imploded in disarray after planning documents reported by Punchbowl News revealed language that included recruiting people based on “Anglo-Saxon political traditions”.

Gosar was also censured and stripped of his committee posts late last year after tweeting a Photoshopped video of a violent anime sequence depicting him killing congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden.

“I do not espouse violence towards anyone,” Gosar said during the House debate on his censure. “I voluntarily took the cartoon down, not because it was itself a threat, but because some thought it was. Out of compassion for those who genuinely felt offense, I self-censored.”

But Gosar has a history posting of far-right content, including retweeting a QAnon conspiracy theory and a now-deleted tweet of a meme popular in white nationalists circles.

Yet it is now in the area of election integrity that Gosar is becoming most prominent, helping to lead a charge across the US by Republicans claiming that elections in America are vulnerable to fraud and manipulation.

“There’s a comfortable embrace of anti-democratic sentiment,” said Lowndes. “The Republican party hasn’t just opened the door to the far right, but it now relies on the far right.”

At the Arizona rally Gosar told supporters to campaign locally on the election fraud issue. “Take it upon yourself that in your county you go to your county recorder and ask them what your ballot does. Make them walk you through it. That’ll tell them one thing: that you’re watching them. That you’re not going to let this happen, what happened in January of last year.”

Gosar was among the Arizona Republican officials pushing for an audit of the election results of Maricopa county, the state’s most populous county. Before the Trump rally, the Maricopa elections department released a 93-page report rebutting each of the 76 claims about the 2020 elections made by elected Arizona Republican officials.

The report found “the November 2020 General Election was administered with integrity and the results were accurate and reliable.” The report also found “despite all evidence to the contrary, false allegations continue to persist and damage voter confidence.”

But there is at least one group of people close to Gosar who are not fooled – some of his own family.

Three of Gosar’s siblings have publicly called for their brother to be expelled from Congress, the Arizona Republic has reported. “We know him to be an extremist and we took that very seriously,” his sister, Jennifer Gosar, told the newspaper. His brother, Dave Gosar, told NBC News: “I consider him a traitor to this country. I consider him a traitor to his family.” In the 2018 election six of Gosar’s nine siblings endorsed his opponent.

 

Trump endorses Gosar as Republicans rally around the lawmaker who posted an altered anime video with himself killing a colleague

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gosar-house-censure-republican

 

Rep. Gosar censured over anime video that depicted violence against Democrats

November 17, 2021

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/tag/paul-gosar

 

GOP Ignores Its Gosar Problem and Plots to Punish Moderates

For many pro-Trump Republicans in the House Republican Conference, handing Democrats a win on infrastructure amounts to treachery, far more than anything Paul Gosar did.

Three Myths About Viktor Orbán and His Remaking of Hungary

Even commentators who claim to be familiar with Hungary get some big things wrong.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2021

 

 

“The institutional Republican party knows exactly how unfit Donald Trump is and how dangerous are the forces he has unleashed. They simply refuse to say so publicly, due to a combination of vanity, avarice, and cowardice.”

— Jonathan V. Last