How close were we to an actual stolen election — stolen by Trump?

  
Via:  Devangelical  •  2 months ago  •  32 comments

By:   Aaron Blake (MSN)*

How close were we to an actual stolen election — stolen by Trump?
Disclosures in recent weeks about John Eastman's memo and Trump's Justice Department plot lead to a question: What if Pence and the Justice Department had gone along with it?

Leave a comment to auto-join group Mike Hunt's Taco Stand

Mike Hunt's Taco Stand

meh, it might've been more interesting if the maga terrorists would've actually followed thru with a few threats (hi mike) and given the national guard a valid reason to complete their worst case scenario mission that day.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



The picture of Donald Trump's scheme to get the Justice Department to help him overturn the 2020 election has been significantly filled out in recent weeks. First came the disclosure that conservative lawyer John Eastman had authored a memo outlining the steps by which this would take place on Jan. 6. Then came a major report from the Senate Judiciary Committee detailing Trump's pressure campaign to get the Justice Department to lay a predicate for that Jan. 6 plot.

e151e5.gif© John Minchillo/AP An image of then-President Donald Trump filled large screens as supporters participate in a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, before the Capitol riot.

So just how close did we come to an actual stolen election — stolen by Trump?

a8a064.gif

One thing has become pretty clear in recent weeks: This plot was foiled in large part because the Justice Department and Vice President Mike Pence opted not to go along with it. But what if they had? Or what if Trump had followed through on firing acting attorney general Jeffrey A. Rosen and replacing him with the Justice Department official who was willing to do his bidding, Jeffrey Clark?

It's worth walking through some scenarios (with an assist from our trusty timeline).

First, here's what we know: The idea was pretty clear. Courts had routinely rejected Trump's claims of fraud or misdeeds in states' administration of their elections, so he and the White House turned to the Justice Department to legitimize the claims so Congress might have a reason to overturn the election on Jan. 6.

They barraged top Justice Department officials with wild claims they wanted investigated. And while that was taking place, Clark cooked up a draft letter stating that the Justice Department had "significant concerns" about the election results in Georgia, where Joe Biden was declared the winner. The letter would call on the state to convene a special legislative session to consider the matter. Clark also wanted to push for similar things in other states won by Biden.

Clark's effort was rejected out of hand. And as Justice Department officials continued to resist, Trump and Clark floated the idea that Trump would replace Rosen with Clark just ahead of Jan. 6. Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, testified that there was a connection between installing Clark and getting his letter out. But Rosen and Donoghue held fast, threatened mass Justice Department resignations, and Trump backed down, complaining that the whole thing wasn't going to work anyway.

Turning Point No. 1: The Justice Department refuses to legitimize Trump's claims

There is no reason to believe that Rosen and Donoghue ever truly considered releasing Clark's letter, but what if the pressure had got to them? What if they had offered even a watered-down version — similar to what many administration officials had done in the name of pacifying Trump?

At that point, Republicans (many of whom were already planning to object to the election results in certain states based upon basically nothing) would suddenly have had something more to grab hold of — rhetorically, at least.

Or maybe Rosen and Donoghue would have continued to resist, and Trump would have pushed forward with firing Rosen and installing Clark. There would have been mass resignations at the Justice Department — triggering another Saturday Night Massacre-esque controversy — but at least the letter would have gone out. Perhaps the transparency of the plot would have been revealed at that point (that this was about getting that letter out), but we've seen plenty of Republicans turn a blind eye to or rationalize such things before.

Which brings us to Pence.

Turning Point No. 2: Pence refuses to use his ceremonial role to reject certain states' electors

Pence's refusal to go along with Trump's entreaties and the ideas later detailed in Eastman's memo made him, in the eyes of some Trump administration critics, somewhat of an unlikely hero of Jan. 6.

But we've since learned that Pence agonized over this decision more than we previously knew. "You don't know the position I'm in," he told former vice president Dan Quayle in a conversation about it in late December, according to a new book by The Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. Quayle told Pence that he had no choice, that he didn't have the power to unilaterally set aside electors from certain states — a vital element of Eastman's plan. Pence relented.

But imagine a situation in which the Justice Department has suddenly legitimized claims about fraud or irregularities. Might that have given the agonizing Pence what he needed to take an extraordinary and unprecedented step? Maybe he could even have reasoned that he wasn't unilaterally overturning the election.

This is where Eastman's memo comes in. The idea was not to get Pence to overturn the election himself — that's the straw-man defense used by Eastman's employer this week — but rather to declare the outcome in doubt and kick the decision to the House.

We won't dwell too much on the details of the Eastman memo here, but basically Pence was to set aside certain states' electors and maybe try to declare Trump the winner of a majority of a smaller amount of electoral votes. At that point, Democrats would predictably cry foul, and Pence would cite the constitutional process of the House deciding an election in which no candidate has a majority of electors, with one vote per delegation.

And as Eastman's memo noted: "Republicans currently control 26 of the state delegations, the bare majority needed to win that vote. President Trump is re-elected there as well."

Turning Point No. 3: What the House would have done

Despite Eastman's breezy assertion, there is a real question about whether even a House vote in which the GOP controlled more delegations would have gone according to plan.

Let's break down the numbers. After members were sworn in to the new Congress on Jan. 3, the GOP had a majority in 26 of 50 delegations, while Democrats had a majority in 20. The other four were tied.

Those numbers look favorable for the GOP — and they are, or at least certainly more favorable than the actual election results or the House as a whole (where Democrats have a majority).

But some of those delegations were close calls. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was one of the earliest members to criticize Trump's fraud claims, as far back as November, and as the only member in Wyoming's delegation, she would have controlled her state's one vote. Eight other GOP-majority delegations would no longer have had a majority if even one Republican chose Biden. And the four tied states included Michigan, where Republican congressmen Fred Upton and Peter Meijer wound up supporting Trump's impeachment, with Upton also criticizing Trump's fraud claims in November.

The process requires the winner to get a majority of states, not just the most states. (It took 36 ballots for the House to decide the 1800 election because neither Thomas Jefferson nor Aaron Burr got a majority of delegations.) And Trump couldn't afford losing even one delegation in which the GOP had a majority.

Critics of the Trump-era GOP will believe the Republicans would eventually have gone along — especially if the Justice Department had finally, supposedly legitimized Trump's claims. Republicans had fallen in line through so many other things, after all.

But, as Philip Bump wrote last week, it would matter just how much controversy there was over what the Justice Department did. If Trump forced mass resignations, and then, just as quickly, a politically convenient letter was suddenly released on the eve of Jan. 6, still without any real evidence? If Pence took this highly extraordinary step with the transparent goal of trying to reinstall Trump?

"Eastman waves this off in his initial memo as partisan 'howls,' but it's obvious that such an overt attempt to undercut the will of the electorate would face enormous opprobrium and outcry," Bump wrote.

Turning Point No. 4: The alternate-elector problem

One thing hasn't been dwelt upon enough in all of this. And that's that even Eastman's plan relied upon something come Jan. 6 that the Trump team didn't have: alternate slates of pro-Trump electors in the states at issue.

"7 states have transmitted dual slates of electors to the President of the Senate," Eastman's initial two-page memo begins.

As Teri Kanefield wrote in The Post recently, though: "Even if Pence had agreed to go along with this scheme — which he didn't — the plan would have gone off the rails right there because, in fact, no states put forward alternate slates of electors. The 'alternate electors' were Trump allies claiming, without authority, to be electors."

Here we get into that statement from Eastman's employer, the Claremont Institute. While defending Eastman from the straw man that he asked Pence to unilaterally overturn the election (the point is that Eastman's plan involved Pence facilitating a potentially overturned election), the statement describes Eastman's advice on electors.

"John advised the Vice President to accede to requests from state legislators to pause the proceedings of the Joint Session of Congress for 7 to 10 days, to give time to the state legislatures to assess whether" to do something about the complaints.

It adds: "If the state legislatures had found sufficient illegal conduct to have altered the results, and as a result submitted a second slate of electors, John advised the Vice President that … the Vice President should regard Congress, not the Vice President, as having the authority to choose between the two slates."

Again, straw man. It's also not clear Pence would necessarily have deemed those alternate slates of electors necessary to throw the results into question and kick it to the House.

But, again, this would have been quite helpful to the effort. Congress overturning an election is one thing; Congress overturning an election in which the given state legislatures hadn't even designated alternate slates of pro-Trump electors or legitimized the controversies in their states would be quite another. And while most of the states at issue have GOP majorities in their legislatures, there again would have been a massive outcry — especially if the legislatures all suddenly took this step after not having done so before Jan. 6.

Eastman in recent interviews explaining himself emphasized that the plot would have been "foolish" without those state legislatures designating alternate electors. That's certainly convenient for him to say now, as he's downplaying just how brazen the plot was. But it does reinforce how many pieces needed to fall into place for the plot to work.

We'll never know how close we came to that being truly tested. But as we continue to sort through what became of Jan. 6, it's worth taking stock of what a few more pieces falling into place might have meant — and the pressure points in our democracy they reveal.

trolling, taunting, and off topic comments may be removed at the discretion of group mods. NT members that vote up their own comments or continue to disrupt the conversation risk having all of their comments deleted. please remember to quote the person(s) to whom you are replying to preserve continuity of this seed.


Article is LOCKED by author/seeder
 

Tags

jrGroupDiscuss - desc
[]
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1  seeder  devangelical    2 months ago

I watched the maga insurrection play out live on television. I can't help but pity people that fucking stupid.

please help keep christo-fascism and white supremacy off the NT front page by commenting and voting up seeds like this one - thank you

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
1.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  devangelical @1    2 months ago

I can't help but pity people that fucking stupid.

No pity here.  There should have been more Ashley Babbitt treatments imo.  If LE hadn’t been intentionally hamstrung in personnel there probably would have been.  Such obvious threats to the bedrock of our democracy need to be obliterated.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  devangelical  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @1.1    2 months ago
There should have been more Ashley Babbitt treatments imo.

undoubtedly.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Tessylo  replied to  devangelical @1.1.1    2 months ago

Oh yeah, they've made this domestic terrorist Babbitt into some kind of heroine.  More folks should have gotten that same justice that day.  

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
1.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  devangelical @1    2 months ago

I can pity a person unintentionally doing something that will come back to bite them in the ass because I think most of us have been there.  I did tonight and am completely mortified.  But the seditious traitors knew exactly what they were going to do so they get no pity from me what so ever.

 
 
 
Veronica
Senior Guide
2  Veronica    2 months ago

Bump

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3  Kavika     2 months ago

We came with a whisper of losing it all.

 
 
 
Veronica
Senior Guide
4  Veronica    2 months ago

I have to wonder if the Republicans (excluding Trump) is playing the Trump followers by pretending to support him at this juncture.  If not - this country is truly screwed.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
4.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Veronica @4    2 months ago

That would imply that they are organized and thoughtful, rather than the gutless lemmings that we see day in and day out.  That’s hard to believe.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5  TᵢG    2 months ago

There is no way Trump would be sworn in for a second term.   The absolute worst-case situation would be a constitutional crisis which would have been resolved by the SCotUS who would absolutely NOT rule in Trump's favor since he was dead wrong (lying) and the facts of the case prove it.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Principal
5.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  TᵢG @5    2 months ago

Thank you. Been saying much the same for months now but there are those who still shudder at the thought and think he could have done it. Wasn't gonna happen.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
5.1.1  MrFrost  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @5.1    2 months ago

Thank you. Been saying much the same for months now but there are those who still shudder at the thought and think he could have done it. Wasn't gonna happen.

I agree, but the fact that effort was made is the problem. 

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
5.1.2  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  MrFrost @5.1.1    2 months ago
the fact that effort was made is the problem.

Boom.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.2  Tessylo  replied to  TᵢG @5    2 months ago

Yet some folks seem to think that just because it didn't turn out like whatshisname had planned, that it should all be dismissed, forgotten, ignored.  

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
5.3  Jack_TX  replied to  TᵢG @5    2 months ago
There is no way Trump would be sworn in for a second term.   The absolute worst-case situation would be a constitutional crisis which would have been resolved by the SCotUS who would absolutely NOT rule in Trump's favor since he was dead wrong (lying) and the facts of the case prove it.

You're doing it wrong.

Here you are spouting reason and reality, when clearly you should be joining the rest of the barnyard in declaring that the sky is falling.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.4  seeder  devangelical  replied to  TᵢG @5    2 months ago

I was disappointed in the lack of CPD defensive gunfire once the capitol had been breached.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
5.5  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @5    2 months ago
There is no way Trump would be sworn in for a second term.   The absolute worst-case situation would be a constitutional crisis which would have been resolved by the SCotUS who would absolutely NOT rule in Trump's favor since he was dead wrong (lying) and the facts of the case prove it.

That's correct.  The other two branches of the Federal government would not have accepted the legitimacy of Trump overturning the election.  Trump overturning the results in Georgia and Arizona could not have changed the outcome, either.  There really wasn't any way for Trump to steal the election and remain in office.  But that's not the biggest worry.

If Trump had refused to leave office then states would have asserted their authority to reject the legitimacy of the Federal government.  That would have been de facto secession.  That outcome would have required a lot more effort to correct than simply locking Trump behind bars.

Whether intended or not, 'stop the steal' has highlighted that the Presidency has been given too much power and that party politics isn't serving the country very well.  The 'stop the steal' effort was a direct threat to the status quo.  The establishment political house of cards was close to collapsing.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
5.6  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  TᵢG @5    2 months ago
The absolute worst-case situation would be a constitutional crisis which would have been resolved by the SCotUS who would absolutely NOT rule in Trump's favor since he was dead wrong (lying) and the facts of the case prove it.

If history tells us anything, it might be that leaders of a successful coup care little about the previous government's policies and procedures.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.6.1  TᵢG  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @5.6    2 months ago

Those idiots could not pull off a coup of the US government if their lives depended on it.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
5.6.2  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  TᵢG @5.6.1    2 months ago

Trial run:  Noun  A test of the operation of a new system or product.

Test drive:  Transitive verb  To use or examine something in order to evaluate performance.

Third date cop-a-feel:  Although a plebian example, if one can get away with a little side boob caress on the third date, right or wrong, the sky's the limit on the fourth date.

My point:  The fact that Trump won in 2016 was an indication that anything is possible.  9/11 was an indication that anything is possible.  That those idiots were successful in breaching the Capitol was an indication that anything is possible.  The one thing these examples have in common is arrogance.    

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.6.3  seeder  devangelical  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @5.6.2    2 months ago
Third date cop-a-feel

... third date?

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
5.6.4  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  devangelical @5.6.3    2 months ago
... third date?

You were different.  We were young and impulsive, and your parents were out of town.  jrSmiley_20_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.6.5  seeder  devangelical  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @5.6.4    2 months ago

I had some really good weed, and a perpetual boner for 2 decades.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
5.7  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  TᵢG @5    2 months ago

I have heard that the 14th amendment may preclude him from ever running again.  I plan to do further research on that.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.7.1  TᵢG  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @5.7    2 months ago

My guess is this:

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
 
 
 
Drakkonis
Masters Guide
6  Drakkonis    2 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Masters Guide
6.1  Drakkonis  replied to  Drakkonis @6    2 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Masters Guide
6.1.1  Drakkonis  replied to  Drakkonis @6.1    2 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
6.1.2  GregTx  replied to  Drakkonis @6.1.1    2 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
7  MrFrost    2 months ago

Ultimately, trump would have been removed from the WH, by force if necessary. When Biden was sworn in, he could have easily ordered the military to take back the government by force if need be. There are some things in our government that simply cannot be stopped. The swearing in of a new POTUS is likely one of those things. 

At the end of the day, trying to overthrow the government was nothing more than screaming at the wind, but, it was still illegal in many ways and it shows that a segment of our society simply cannot accept reality.  

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
Sophomore Expert
8  al Jizzerror    2 months ago

Many Retrumplicans are advocating a new Civil War.

They are conspiring to commit SEDITION.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
8.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  al Jizzerror @8    2 months ago

Their mistake is thinking that the people they declare war on don't have firearms also.

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online

Drakkonis
Raven Wing
zuksam


24 visitors