How Trump Planned to Overthrow the Election
Category: News & PoliticsVia: john-russell • 3 weeks ago • 53 comments
By: Charlie Sykes
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| Charlie Sykes
Lordy, there was a memo.
Simultaneously audacious and absurd, the document laid out a scheme to have Donald Trump declared the winner of the presidential election on January 6.
And the former president loved it.
Here's the six-point plan that prominent conservative lawyer John Eastman sketched out for the Trumpian coup:
In today's Bulwark, Philip Rotner describes the scenario by which Mike Pence and the GOP would overturn the 2020 election. It was, he writes, "an exquisitely Trumpian plan."
Pence should lie.
Then he should leverage his lie in order to take the election out of the hands of American voters through the exercise of an authority he doesn't have under the Constitution.Eastman's alleged plan is laid out in a two-page memo marked "PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL." According to CNN and the Washington Post , which published it on Monday, the memo was sent on January 2 to Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who was "shocked" by what he saw.
"Shocked," but evidently not shocked enough to actually say anything in public.
All of this is beyond parody. But it was no joke.
"This 'plan' is laughable, but we shouldn't laugh," notes David French. "If carried out, it would have led to the country's greatest political crisis since April 1861. And Eastman was no mere internet crank. He was a law professor and close to POTUS in the final days."
In case this hasn't sunk in quite yet, the former president was all-in on the attempt to overthrow the election.
The plan was first proposed to Pence when Eastman was with Trump in the Oval Office on January 4, during one of Trump's attempts to convince Pence that he had the authority to stop the certification of the election. "You really need to listen to John. He's a respected constitutional scholar. Hear him out," Trump said to Pence at that meeting, Woodward and Costa write in "Peril."
Here are several things to keep in mind:
First, Eastman's plan to overturn the presidential election involved throwing out the electoral votes of seven states, effectively disenfranchising tens of millions of voters.
Those votes would have been nullified on January 6 — without any evidence at all that that the results were bogus in any way. In Eastman's scenario, there was no need to wait for more court cases, or "forensic audits."
Pence would either use his (non-existent) power to gavel Trump's re-election, or a lockstep GOP House would muscle him back into office. A third option was to have state legislatures nullify their state's popular votes.
But it all turned on Mike Pence, who refused to play along. Trump's rage was transferred to the mob. It was not a random coincidence that protesters chanted "Hang Mike Pence" as they stormed the Capitol.
Some quick takes:
It is always risky to delve into the mind of the Orange God King, but it seems increasingly likely that the former president woke up on the morning of January 6 believing that he would, in fact, be reinstated as president.
Trump green-lit the coup as he hectored Pence to execute an Eastman-like maneuver, and thought that he and his mob might pressure both the VP and congressional Republicans into going along.
The violent attack on the Capitol was both (1) part of Trump's conspiracy to hold onto power, and (2) a spasm of anger at his failure to get Pence to go along with the scheme.
To Trump's intense disappointment, congressional Republicans did not fully embrace the plot.
Trump is in the process of creating and reshaping a GOP that just might go along in the future.
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