Even months before election day, Donald Trump was peddling the “big lie” that “the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.”
It was that either/or fallacy that helped gin up thousands of armed Trump supporters who flocked to the Capitol on January 6 to violently subvert the constitutional process of certifying states’ electoral votes.
Although this act of domestic terrorism, as FBI Director Christopher Wray defined the attack, did not elicit the outcome Donald Trump and his sycophants intended, it successfully demonstrated how fragile our republic is.
We now have more evidence to prove that near-overthrow of our democracy was the objective a lawyer working with Trump’s legal team cooked up to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn election results.
According to the new book Peril by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, attorney John Eastman is cited in a two-page memo attempting to persuade Pence to discard electors from seven states.
That way, according to the Constitution, the election would be thrown into the House of Representatives’ hands.
As CNN reported:
“Under Eastman’s scheme, Pence would have declared Trump the winner with more Electoral College votes after the seven states were thrown out, at 232 votes to 222. Anticipating ‘howls’ from Democrats protesting the overturning of the election, the memo proposes, Pence would instead say that no candidate had reached 270 votes in the Electoral College. That would throw the election to the House of Representatives, where each state would get one vote. Since Republicans controlled 26 state delegations, a majority could vote for Trump to win the election.”
As nefarious as this sounds, it’s actually constitutional.
The 12th Amendment, an arcane yet vital provision provision in the Constitution, states:
“If no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.”
The 1887 Electoral Count Act (ECA) reserves individual House and Senate members the right to submit challenges to any state’s electoral votes.
Citing a September 2020 article former Obama administration official, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, wrote, Eastman asserted:
“This reading of the 12th Amendment has also been advanced by Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe.”
Of the myriad scenarios, Eastman banked on two paragraphs in Tribe’s report that, according to Business Insider, “detailed a reported attempt by Trump to get Pennsylvania Republicans, before the election, to appoint another pro-Trump slate of electors that would back the former president irrespective of voters’ intent.”
Tribe, though, was not pleased his piece was referred to in this way.
This Eastman memo pretends to be based on my analysis but in fact takes snippets of my work wholly out of context and spins a totally fake web of “law” that no halfway decent lawyer would take seriously. No wonder it couldn’t fool even Mike Pence. https://t.co/EOBRRz3Ze5
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) September 21, 2021
And fool Mike Pence it did not.
Although a Trump toadie to his core, Pence broke with Trump and certified the votes as his oath to defend the Constitution required.
That’s when Trump turned on him by unleashing his goon squad, who marched to the Capitol on Trump’s orders, chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” which they intended to do with the gallows they erected in front of the Capitol before storming it.
It isn’t “he said, she said” anymore.
It’s in writing.
The coup to overthrow the government to keep Donald Trump in power was plotted right in the White House.
There is no more evidence the Dept. of Justice needs.
As another election nears, threats to poll workers and other elections officials increase.
If Trump’s band of amateur grifters get to fly away to some third-world country with no extradition treaty, we risk seeing a successful version of January 6 again.
Image credit: Wikipedia