Old News: The Insurrection

I’m about halfway through the New York Times’s deep dive report, 77 Days: Trump’s Campaign to Subvert the Election. Sorry if it’s behind a firewall for you. If you can’t get to the New York Times even in an incognito window, a good alternative read is the “Off the Rails” series at Axios. They just published a bonus episode, Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency. Hysterical.

But back to 77 Days. One piece of information I did not know involves the Supreme Court suit against the Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin elections filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. According to the NY Times, the suit itself was written by some lawyers aligned with the White House. Kris Kobach, of voter suppression fame, was involved.

Then the suit was “shopped” to Republican state secretaries of state, because only a secretary of state can file a suit in the Supreme Court against a state, apparently.  Paxton was not the Trumpers’s first choice, but he was the one willing to take it on. Note also that Bill Barr refused to have anything to do with it.

The Trumpers also networked through the Republican Attorneys General Association to get other AGs to sign on or file amicus briefs. There was huge pressure applied to state attorneys general offices to get on board. Many refused. Even some of the ones who did join the suit were extremely skeptical of the whole thing.

“The decision whether we join this amicus is more political than it is legal,” James E. Nicolai, North Dakota’s deputy solicitor general, wrote to his boss.

“I still think it is most likely that the Court will deny this in one sentence,” Mr. Nicolai wrote in a follow-up email, which was also sent to the attorney general, Wayne Stenehjem.

Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

Other tidbits: The permit for the January 6 rally was for the elipse only, not a march. The event originally was organized and promoted by a group called Women for America First, but a couple of days before the event the White House took it over and turned it into a White House production. Many in the original lineup of speakers were rescheduled to speak at a smaller rally the day before.

The NY Times also tells us that Mitch McConnell was led to believe Trump was just blustering about the election being stolen. He didn’t want to mess with Trump before the January 5 runoff in Georgia. But he was also being given assurances that Trump wouldn’t really burn down the house, so to speak.

Mr. McConnell had had multiple conversations with the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and the senator’s top political adviser, Josh Holmes, had spoken with Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Both West Wing officials had conveyed the same message: They would pursue all potential avenues but recognized that they might come up short. Mr. Trump would eventually bow to reality and accept defeat

I bet Kushner and Meadows knew good and well they were lying.

On to the impeachment trial. Briefs have been filed by both sides.  I have only skimmed them, but note that the Dem brief is 77 pages long, and Trump’s is only 14. Trump’s new lawyers are mostly arguing that the impeachment is unconstitutional, that Trump didn’t incite violence, that he had a right to say whatever he said. They don’t appear to be arguing that the election was actually stolen. (Update: On closer reading, yeah, they did, in a kind of passive-aggressive way.) Axios is reporting that Trump’s first legal team walked because Trump blew up at their $3 million estimate for their services, even though he’d raised $170 million for his defense fund.

Lindsey Graham and Trump’s new head lawyer David Schoen are double daring the Dems to call witnesses.

Former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is set to begin in a week’s time. And judging by a couple of interviews Monday, his side is focused on delivering a not-so-veiled threat: You might want to be careful about calling witnesses.

But the threat, as enunciated, is rather strange and illogical.

Trump’s new lawyer David Schoen and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) both issued such warnings Monday night on Fox News. They suggested that holding a lengthy trial including witnesses could open up “Pandora’s box,” in Graham’s words, because Trump’s team could then call its own.

I’d say Pandora’s Box is already wide open, Senator, and your buddy Trump opened it. What we’re doing now is cleaning up the mess.

Graham wants to call witnesses who would testify that a lot of people who attacked the Capitol had decided to do so before they came to Washington. Therefore, they couldn’t have been incited by Trump’s speech at the rally. However, the Democrats’s brief accuses Trump of inciting people over many weeks with baseless claims of a stolen election. It’s not limited to what he said on January 6. Graham’s witnesses might actually help make the Dems’s case.

Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson along with House Sergeant-at-Arms Tim Blodgett lead the Democratic House impeachment managers as they walk through Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill to deliver to the Senate the article of impeachment alleging incitement of insurrection against former President Donald Trump, in Washington, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

10 thoughts on “Old News: The Insurrection

  1. From the time I could comprehend the point, I was told that while we're all free to speak at any time on any subject we want without prior government approval, and free from government punishment afterwards, we still can't do something like this classic example: "You can't yell 'fire' in a crowded movie theater!"

    Ok, got it!

    But apparently, it's ok if the presiDUNCE say he wants a fire at a particular movie theater at a predetermined date and time.

    And it's ok to then meet the gathering of his arsonists near that theater; tell the arsonists how important that fire will be; light their torches; point the crowd of his arsonists at the movie theater, while telling them he'll march with them for the fire lighting – but instead of going, the presiDUNCE chickens-out, takes his limo home, and watches the theater start burning, hoping his arsonists accomplish what he's too weak and stupid to do himself, which is overturn an election without the help of violence.

    So, in reality, it depends on who's yelling 'fire,' and the presiDUNCE IS above the law.

    Ok, got that, too.

    • c u n d…

      Hope you don't mind but I am going to cut & paste this into an email to one of my rePuke senators.

  2. Maha – that first link "77 Days.." goes to some other NYT article (about how the economy is better under Democrats). Would love to read "77 Days.."

  3. Is Senator Graham channeling B'rer Rabbit? "Please, B'rer Schumer, don't make me call witnesses!" Could it be that he's done with being Trump's remora?

  4. Why is it that Kris Kobach's name keeps appearing in all the wrong places?  I did check and his middle initial is W, though he could have it legally changed.  I was kind of shocked to find it wasn't a K.  

    I did check out the 77 days link, and also it's comments.   The graphic is pure Sherlock Homes with pictures and string and all that deductive reasoning type paraphernalia.  I have more to read, but this comment from johnr of Brooklyn got high honors.

    The impeachment trial is the GOPs last chance to retain some integrity before going down in flames. If they vote to exonerate Trump as expected, I don't think the party will ever recover. It will essentially become a zombie political party able to wreak havoc but unable to substantively participate in any policy decision concerning the welfare of the American people which is a terrible situation for our political system. Move forward with your plans Mr. Biden without worrying about bipartisanship. There is no other side with which to negotiate.

    I concur with that comment wholeheartedly.  The link below should work.

    77 Days: Trump’s Campaign to Subvert the Election – The New York Times (nytimes.com)


  5. The events we see as leading to "the GOP going down in flames" they see as positive steps on the desired path towards anti democratic, fascist, authoritarian control.  Steps that, for the McConnells of the party, remain the quiet parts not to be said out loud. Not so for the ascendant MTG wing. If the attempted Trump coup had succeeded, ending with the GOP in total, undemocratic control, as intended, none of 'em wouldn't have had a problem with it, as long as it ended with them in power.

    To paraphrase W, “is our democrats learning?”

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