Tuesday Reads: Trump Crime SpreePosted: February 1, 2022
Donald Trump is a rolling crime wave. Will anyone stop him? I hate to join in the bashing of Merrick Garland, but honestly, wtf is going on with the Department of Justice? Will Trump ever be held accountable for staging a coup against the United States government? Does Garland read the newspapers? More is leaking out about Trump’s crime spree every single day.
Former President Donald Trump‘s advisers drafted two versions of an executive order to seize voting machines — one directing the Department of Defense to do so and another the Department of Homeland Security — as part of a broader effort to undermine the 2020 election results, multiple sources tell CNN.
The idea of using the federal government to access voting machines in states that Trump lost was the brainchild of retired Col. Phil Waldron and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, the sources said. Both Army veterans spread misinformation about the election being stolen from Trump.
While advisers publicly floated the idea at the time, revelations that two draft executive orders were actually drawn up for different agencies to carry out the job underscores the extent to which the former President’s allies wanted to weaponize the powers of his lame-duck administration to overturn the election.
Any operation for the military or federal agents to seize voting equipment for political purposes would have been unprecedented in US history….
It’s unclear who drafted the executive orders, and neither was issued.
But Flynn and Trump’s former attorney Sidney Powell advocated for the idea during a now-infamous Oval Office meeting in mid-December 2020. The meeting devolved into screaming matches as some of the President’s advisers pushed back on various proposals, including invoking martial law and naming Powell special counsel to investigate voter fraud claims, CNN reported at the time.
The House select committee is now looking into the effort to draft an executive order and how it began, including the roles of Flynn, Waldron and Powell as well as another Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Bernie Kerik, who worked alongside Giuliani after the election to find any evidence of voter fraud.
Six weeks after Election Day, with his hold on power slipping, President Donald J. Trump directed his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to make a remarkable call. Mr. Trump wanted him to ask the Department of Homeland Security if it could legally take control of voting machines in key swing states, three people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Giuliani did so, calling the department’s acting deputy secretary, who said he lacked the authority to audit or impound the machines.
Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Giuliani to make that inquiry after rejecting a separate effort by his outside advisers to have the Pentagon take control of the machines. And the outreach to the Department of Homeland Security came not long after Mr. Trump, in an Oval Office meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr, raised the possibility of whether the Justice Department could seize the machines, a previously undisclosed suggestion that Mr. Barr immediately shot down.
The new accounts show that Mr. Trump was more directly involved than previously known in exploring proposals to use his national security agencies to seize voting machines as he grasped unsuccessfully for evidence of fraud that would help him reverse his defeat in the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the episodes.
The existence of proposals to use at least three federal departments to assist Mr. Trump’s attempt to stay in power has been publicly known. The proposals involving the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security were codified by advisers in the form of draft executive orders.
But the new accounts provide fresh insight into how the former president considered and to some degree pushed the plans, which would have taken the United States into uncharted territory by using federal authority to seize control of the voting systems run by states on baseless grounds of widespread voting fraud.
As everyone knows by now, Trump publicly confessed to several crimes at his hate rally in Texas over the weekend. This piece by Will Bunch explains in plain English.
For a nation that’s awakened every morning for nearly two years to a Groundhog Day of pandemic and paranoia, the scenes from Donald Trump’s latest comeback rally on Saturday at a fairground in the East Texas flatlands of Conroe could certainly numb the American mind with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.
The mile-long line of Trump fanatics, braving the January prairie chill to see the twice-impeached ex-president and passing rows of vendors, including the occasional Confederate flag. Then the viral clips of the true believers — the woman in her Trump 2024 hat expounding that the “Joe Biden” currently in the White House is fake and that the real one was assassinated at Gitmo in March 2019, another woman peddling a book containing all of Trump’s tweets before he was banned from Twitter, and the guy peddling doses of the quack COVID-19 cure ivermectin while lashing out at anyone wearing a mask for trying to “save Grandma.”
As darkness fell and the crowd swelled to the thousands, the sound system blared the late Laura Branigan’s “Gloria,” the same tune that had electrified Trump’s most diehard followers at the D.C. Ellipse on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. Over at the zealously pro-Trump One America News Network, or OANN, analysts awaited the 45th president as their antidote to what they called “the divisiveness” of President Biden’s first year, insisting in the words of Liz Harrington that “Trump will unite us.” But more mainstream outlets like CNN were busy obsessing on the possible retirement of football’s Tom Brady, having decided — wisely — after Jan. 6 not to cover Trump’s words live, but to only revisit his rallies if he actually makes any news.
Hey, guys … Trump made some news! Unfortunately.
More from Will Bunch’s piece:
In fact, the man who’d occupied the White House little more than one year ago delivered one of the most incendiary and most dangerous speeches in America’s 246-year history. It included an appeal for all-out mayhem in the streets to thwart the U.S. justice system and prevent Trump from going to jail, as the vise tightens from overlapping criminal probes in multiple jurisdictions. And it also featured a stunning campaign promise — that Trump would look to abuse the power of the presidency to pardon those involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
It’s impossible for me to understate or downplay the importance of this moment, and I hope that my colleagues in the media — who too often over the last year have craved or even pretended about a return to the politics of “normal,” when we are nowhere near normal — will wake up and see this. Of course, Biden’s presidency deserves our full scrutiny, with praise for what’s gone right (an economic boom) and criticism for what’s gone wrong (broken promises on climate and student debt). But while Biden is seeking to restore democratic norms, a shadow ex-president — unpunished so far for his role in an attempted coup on Jan. 6 — is rebuilding a cult-like movement in the heartland of America, with all the personal grievance and appeals to Brownshirts-style violence that marked the lowest moments of the 20th century. On the 89th anniversary of the date (Jan. 30, 1933) that Adolf Hitler — rehabilitated after his attempted coup — assumed power in Germany, are we repeating the past’s mistakes of complacency and underestimation?
Amid the predictable reiterations of the Big Lie that Biden’s legitimate 2020 election was stolen and his other narcissistic blather, Trump’s lengthy speech in Conroe contained three elements that marked a dangerous escalation of his post-presidential, post-Jan. 6 rhetoric. Let’s digest and analyze each of them:
— For the first time, Trump — if somehow elected again in 2024 and upon returning to the White House in January 2025 — dangled pardons before people convicted of crimes in the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill. “If I run and I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly,” he told the rally, adding: “And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.” The statement raises as many questions as it answers — for example, was he including many or all of the more than 700 mostly low-level insurrectionists, or sending a message to his higher-up friends like Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, and others who could be subject to criminal probes?
Predictably, Trump has been paying off potential witnesses to his crimes.
Former President Donald Trump’s political action committee donated $1 million to the conservative nonprofit organization where his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is a senior partner, according to a campaign finance report filed Monday night with the Federal Election Commission.
In December, the House voted to recommend that the Justice Department pursue contempt of Congress charges against Meadows over his refusal to cooperate with an investigation into the Trump-inspired Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The tax-deductible seven-figure contribution to the Conservative Partnership Institute is by far the largest chunk of $1.35 million in donations Trump’s “Save America” PAC made to political allies over the last six months of 2021, according to the campaign finance report….
The contribution to Meadows’s nonprofit stands out both for its size and for its timing. On July 1, the House voted to establish a select committee to investigate the Capitol attack. Trump’s PAC donated to the Conservative Partnership Institute, which bills itself as a training ground for conservative staff and elected officials, on July 26.
“CPI is proud to have the support of President Trump, along with tens of thousands of Americans across the nation, for our work to build and unite the conservative movement,” CPI chief operating officer Wesley Denton said in a statement to NBC News.
Trump’s message to Meadows: zip your lips.
I have no doubt we’ll learn more about Trump’s constant criming today, but will we ever hear anything about it from Merrick Garland?
What are your thoughts? What stories are you following?