Last week’s Trump bombshell should shock us all
We’re so used to Donald Trump’s proto-fascism that we’ll barely blink our eyes when we learn that he attempted to manipulate the 2020 election. Yet the most recent revelation should scare all Americans deep in their hearts. to be.
Friday, the House Oversight Committee published notes from a December 27 phone call from Trump to Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, in which Trump told Rosen, “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and members of Congress R.” The notes were taken by Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s deputy, who was also on call.
The release of these notes barely made much noise. The weekend news was filled with more immediate things – infrastructure! The Delta strain! Inflation! Forest fires ! In light of all the rest, Trump’s bizarre efforts in the last few weeks of his presidency seem irrelevant. Didn’t we already know how desperate he was?
In short, no. This revelation is extremely important.
Rosen obviously rejected Trump’s request. But what if Rosen had obeyed Trump and told the American public the election was corrupt – and then “left the rest” to Trump and the Republican Congressmen? What would have been the next actions of Trump and the Republicans? And which Republican MPs were in cahoots with Trump in this attempted coup?
Make no mistake: this was an attempted coup.
Trump knew it. Weeks earlier, then Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results.
And days after Trump’s call to Rosen – Jan. 2 – Trump asked Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to change the election result. He berated Raffensperger for not doing more to overturn the election.
Emails released last month also show that Trump and his allies in the last few weeks of his presidency pressured the Justice Department to investigate completely unfounded allegations of widespread electoral fraud – passing them on to them. conspiracy theories and even a draft legal brief they hoped would be filed with the Supreme Court. to research.
Some people, especially Republican officials, think we should just forget about these sordid details. We should not.
For the first time in the history of the United States, we have not had a peaceful transition of power. For the first time in American history, a president refused – still refuses – to concede, and continues to claim, without any basis, that the election was “stolen” from him. For the first time in history, a president actively plotted a coup.
It would have been bad enough if Trump was just a nutcase acting on his own pathetic stage – a potential dictator who accidentally became president and then, when he lost his reelection, went mad – after which he was thrown in the trash can of history.
We could then be content to regret this momentary failure in American presidential history. At best, Trump would be seen as a jerk and the whole affair would be an embarrassment for the country.
But Trump wasn’t an accident and he’s not in any trash. He made one of the two great American parties his own cult. He presented the major political divide in the United States as a clash between those who believe him about the 2020 election and those who disbelieve him. He encouraged Republicans in the state to carry out the most brazen attack on voting rights since Jim Crow. Most senators and Republican representatives dare not meet him. Some of his supporters continue to threaten violence against the government. By all accounts, he is running for president again in 2024.
Donald Trump’s protofascism poses the greatest internal threat to American democracy since the Civil War.
What to do about it? Fight it, and the sooner the better.
This latest revelation – Trump’s Dec. 27 appeal to the Acting Attorney General in which he pleads “Just say the election has been corrupted + leave the rest to me” – should trigger Article 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone from holding a position in “insurgency” against the United States. Current United States Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to issue an advisory opinion making this clear. If Trump wants to take the case to the Supreme Court, fine.
Republished with permission from Robert Reich’s blog