Even in the last days there will be lawfare aside from the threat to 50 statehouses. Rudy is likely bargaining for his pardon as the final list should be a doozy.

“Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

President Trump was almost shouting. He directed his son-in-law and his senior strategist from his private quarters at the White House late on election night. He barked out the names of top Fox News executives and talent he expected to answer to him.

“And anyone else — anyone else who will take the call,” he said. “Tell these guys they got to change it, they got it wrong. It’s way too early. Not even CNN is calling it.”

As the clock ticked over into the first minutes of Nov. 4, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani ranted to top campaign aides: “There’s no way he lost; this thing must have been stolen. Just say we won Michigan! Just say we won Georgia! Just say we won the election! He needs to go out and claim victory.” Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien later told associates: “That was fucking crazy.”

For weeks, Trump had been laying the groundwork to declare victory on election night — even if he lost. But the real-time results, punctuated by Fox’s shocking call, upended his plans and began his unraveling.

Trump had planned for Americans to go to bed on Nov. 3 celebrating — or resigned to — his re-election. The maps they saw on TV should be bathed in red. But at 11:20 p.m. that vision fell apart, as the nation’s leading news channel among conservatives became the first outlet to call Arizona for Joe Biden. Inside the White House, Trump’s inner circle erupted in horror.


A US army cyber attorney has expressed confusion at apparent plans among Trump allies to place him in a senior national security role, as part of a mooted move to impose martial law and reverse the president’s election defeat.

A day after his name and location appeared in notes carried into the White House by the My Pillow founder, Mike Lindell, Frank Colon told New York magazine he was “just a government employee who does work for the army” at Fort Meade, in Maryland.

Reporter Ben Jacobs added that Colon “seemed befuddled [over] why he would be floated to the president in any senior role and said that he never met Lindell”, although he said he had “seen him on TV”.

More significant for the party’s future than the 10 who voted to impeach was the fact that — in the face of an insurrection at the Capitol that resulted in the death of a police officer and four rioters, that threatened lives of lawmakers and their staffs and that came after Trump had whipped up a rally with rhetoric inveighing against weakness in trying to overturn the election — there were still 197 Republicans who voted not to impeach. However uncomfortable they were with Trump’s role in the mob action, as some expressed, they nonetheless marched in lockstep as they have for four years.
If that vote were not evidence enough of Trump’s hold on the party, what about the day the Capitol was ransacked? After the building had been secured and lawmakers had gone back to work on the night of Jan. 6, 147 Republicans in the House and Senate, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, still supported one or both of the objections to the electoral college counts in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

And if all that weren’t evidence enough of the party’s incapacity to break with Trump, what about the 126 Republicans who in December joined the Texas lawsuit that sought to overturn the results of the election in four states after repeated efforts, legal and otherwise, to claim fraud had evaporated under scrutiny.

Republicans will need leadership to move them beyond Trump — and a willingness to face up to the damage Trump has done. Romney told his GOP colleagues that one necessary step must be to tell the truth to all those who believed the president’s lies. Reckoning with the white supremacist sentiment that Trump has allowed to spread across the country is also part of expunging the toxicity of what Trump brought to politics.
The restoration of the Republican Party could begin at noon Wednesday. The question is whether it will happen at all.

  • January 16, 2021
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