With each passing day, it seems, new revelations come to light that suggest how intimately involved then-President Donald Trump and his advisers were in the coup attempt leading up to the events of January 6, 2021.
The latest bombshell came Thursday night when CNN reported that Trump lawyer and confidant Rudy Giuliani, as well as other Trump campaign aides, spearheaded the efforts to gather alternate electors in seven swing states in an attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
As CNN’s Marshall Cohen, Zachary Cohen and Dan Merica write:
“Giuliani and his allies coordinated the nuts-and-bolts of the process on a state-by-state level, the sources told CNN. One source said there were multiple planning calls between Trump campaign officials and GOP state operatives, and that Giuliani participated in at least one call. The source also said the Trump campaign lined up supporters to fill elector slots, secured meeting rooms in statehouses for the fake electors to meet on December 14, 2020, and circulated drafts of fake certificates that were ultimately sent to the National Archives.”
The goal of these efforts? To have Vice President Mike Pence declare a dispute about which electors to seat from those seven key states, throwing the matter to the House where a Republican majority of state delegations would vote to recognize the pro-Trump electors rather than the rightful electors.
That plot was laid out in a two-page memo by John Eastman, a conservative lawyer working for Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 election. As CNN wrote of the Eastman memo late last year:
“The Eastman memo laid out a six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election for Trump, which included throwing out the results in seven states because they allegedly had competing electors. In fact, no state had actually put forward an alternate slate of electors – there were merely Trump allies claiming without any authority to be electors.”
As all of that was going on, Trump himself was actively pressuring Pence to throw the election back to the House despite there being no constitutional backing for such a move. On January 5, just hours before the Electoral College certification, Trump and Pence met at the White House. Here’s how CNN described that meeting:
“Pence came under intense pressure from Trump to toss out the election results during a meeting that lasted hours in the Oval Office. The vice president’s chief of staff, Marc Short, was banned by Trump from entering the West Wing, the source said, as the President repeatedly warned with ‘thinly veiled threats’ to Pence that he would suffer major political consequences if he refused to cooperate.”
The picture of all this reporting makes clear: Publicly and privately, Trump and those close to him were actively working to not only undermine public confidence in the 2020 election, but also to put in motion a plan to overturn a free and fair election.
It’s damning stuff. And, if the past few months have taught us anything, it’s the more of this picture we see, the worse things look for Trump. His role in the scatter-shot, legally suspect effort only seems to grow larger with each passing week. While the report from the January 6 House select committee will be the definitive word on all of this, we can already see just how big a role Trump and those closest to him played in the attempted coup.
What’s even scarier than a sitting president actively trying to bend laws for his own personal gain? The fact that he is the current frontrunner to be the Republican Party’s nominee in 2024.