New revelations betray the depth of Trump’s post-election plans

It is extraordinary that more than 13 months after the US Capitol insurrection, the depth of Trump’s lawlessness and abuse of power is still visible. It will be up to the House committee investigating the attack to paint the full picture and determine whether it believes there was a criminal conspiracy and the extent to which Trump knew about it and directed it. .

Wednesday’s revelations alone underscored the broad scope of the committee’s investigation, the disturbing scale of the subversion effort and what increasingly looks like a cover-up from the Trump world.

  • In another stunning development, the Washington Post reported that former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani asked a Michigan Republican prosecutor to hand over the county’s voting machines, based on a false conspiracy theory of cheating.
  • The committee has now subpoenaed another key former White House official, Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro, who played a major role in spreading false conspiracy theories about a stolen election.
  • And late Wednesday, The New York Times reported that some of the documents improperly brought to Trump’s resort at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified. While a president can declassify any document at any time, history suggests that Trump is guilty of blatant hypocrisy given his criticism of Hillary Clinton over classified documents on his mail server that could having cost the 2016 elections.

New details challenge Trump’s cover-up effort

Wednesday’s torrent of revelations only indicates the scale of the election-stealing effort from Trump’s White House and the House committee’s investigation into the events that culminated in one darkest days in American political history.

If there is any comfort for those who believe in American democracy, it is that all plans have failed – often due to the courage of local and state officials, many of whom are Republicans. But it became increasingly clear on Wednesday that an ex-president and a group of co-religionists were prepared to try to defy the will of voters with heavy-handed measures.

This reality underscores the grave danger facing future elections in the United States. Trump is seeking to insert like-minded activists and candidates into key positions to oversee the election in what looks like an attempt to destroy safeguards that prevented him from stealing the last election. It is also alarming that as American enemies like Russia and China step up their efforts to discredit democracy in the United States and around the world, their goals are shared by Americans who are working to destroy it from inside.

The latest details of the insurgency have emerged despite relentless efforts by Trump and those around him to obstruct the Jan. 6 investigation. The president waged a failed campaign all the way to the Supreme Court to block West Wing documents from reaching the House committee. Some of his aides made false declarations of executive privilege to frustrate the panel, which said Wednesday that he nonetheless conducted 500 interviews. House Republicans had tried to block the inquiry from starting and are sure to close it if they win a majority in November’s midterm elections.

Committee progress draws extreme reactions

The closer the committee seems to uncovering the truth, the more lopsided the reaction from the Trump camp.

Over the weekend, in a resolution censuring two Republicans on the Jan. 6 panel, the Republican National Committee called the insurrection “legitimate political speech.” This was followed on Wednesday by Navarro setting off an undocked outburst after being subpoenaed by the panel to explain alleged efforts to delay certification of the 2020 election results. He accused the committee, which is investigating a unprecedented insurgency aimed at overthrowing a US election, of being “domestic terrorists”.
A running list of people the January 6 committee has subpoenaed or asked to appear

The National Archives’ request to the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records intensifies controversy over one of the committee’s most recent streams of investigation.

A source told CNN the Archives wants a review into whether Trump violated the Presidential Records Act, which requires all paper and other records be turned over to the National Archives at the end of an administration, and other possible violations, including the handling of classified records. information. CNN reported that the former president routinely tore up documents and took some with him to Mar-a-Lago after leaving office. The National Archives recovered 15 boxes from the Florida resort last month. And a person familiar with the case previously told CNN that Archives General Counsel Gary Stern contacted Trump’s team last fall to ask about the documents apparently taken there.

It was unclear on Wednesday whether the Justice Department would open an investigation. Even if this were the case, it seems far that the ex-president could face formal consequences since the law on the presidential archives contains no enforcement mechanism. The Archives’ request, first reported by The Washington Post, follows days of reports of Trump’s habit of tearing up documents. Sources said archivists were forced to try and tape up the torn papers before handing them over to the House Select Committee. The question now is whether Trump will face another legal front – in addition to a criminal probe in Georgia into his attempt to steal votes and investigations in New York into his company’s accounting.

Throughout his personal, professional, and personal life, Trump has shown an incredible ability to evade the consequences of his actions — often because his transgressions are so vast and unprecedented that they defy previous expectations for the behavior of presidents.

Trump triggers a new GOP civil war, jeopardizing the party's medium-term strategy

On the issue of torn and missing documents, Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, suggested that Trump could once again escape legal danger.

“It’s clearly illegal,” he told CNN’s Newsroom on Wednesday. “The question of whether it is a crime is a bit more complicated. If the intent was, for example, to obstruct justice, conceal wrongdoing and/or other illegal activity, it would be a crime. Otherwise it is very wrong, illegal, but there is no enforcement mechanism or obvious criminal sanction.”

The presidency as a personal right

The fact that the president appears to have openly flouted record-keeping laws is the latest example of his disregard for the traditions and laws that have long defined the position he held for four crazy and damaging years.

Records of each president are preserved, providing historians with intricately detailed primary sources that can be used to piece together presidencies decades later.

But Trump always seemed to view the presidency as a personal right with which he could do whatever he wanted rather than a sacred mission meant to advance and defend the national interest. The fact that he appears to be trying to win back the presidency in 2024 – even with all this new evidence of his misconduct – only underscores that the years to come could be even more dangerous for American democratic governance and respect for safeguards. presidential elections than the previous five years. .

Evan Perez, Ryan Nobles, Zachary Cohen, Annie Grayer and Marshall Cohen contributed to this story.

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