Friday, December 2, 2022

The Trump Revelations

A seriously divided nation is confronting what to do as evidence shows that a mob attack on the Capitol Building on January 6 this year was but one aspect of a multi-faceted plan to destroy the peaceful transfer of power between political parties in the United States.

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By Kenneth Tiven in Washington

The evidence of a planned coup against itself by Donald Trump’s government grows almost daily. We learn this because an elaborate PowerPoint document outlining multiple approaches to stop Biden’s installation as president was created and circulated by then chief of staff Mark Meadows. Initially agreeing to testify before the committee, Meadows had included the PowerPoint with hundreds of requested documents.

The January 6 insurrection attack following incendiary speeches by Trump and lawyers Guiliani and Eastman outside the White House that morning was designed to be a symbolic cover for all of what Meadows and Trump felt they needed to do to prevent Biden taking office. There has never been anything like this in 250 years of American political life. The PowerPoint is the “Rosetta Stone” that unlocks many things, especially the revolutionary proclamations of Steve Bannon, a former Trump advisor and self-proclaimed disrupter of political life in a January 5 podcast:

“(Sen,) Mitch McConnell’s got to start taking care and focusing on these senators—because this is going to be very controversial. We are going into uncharted waters. We’re going into something that’s never happened before in American history. Tomorrow it’s going—we’re pulling the trigger on something that’s going to be, it’s going to be minute by minute, hour by hour, what happens. The stakes couldn’t be higher right now.”

“It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen …Okay, it’s going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can say is, strap in…. You made this happen and tomorrow it’s game day. So strap in. Let’s get ready… It’s all converging, and now we’re on the point of attack tomorrow.”

While that language encouraged the angriest right wing supporters, it also is clear now that Bannon was also talking about the plans laid out in that PowerPoint presentation which included some rather chilling recommendations that detail to what was undeniably a coup attempt. When he said, “We are going into uncharted waters. We’re going into something that’s never happened before in American history,” he wasn’t kidding.

Meanwhile, the PowerPoint also recommended that Trump brief Congress on alleged foreign interference in the election, deem all electronic voting in the states invalid, declare a National Security Emergency and put the National Guard on standby. ( reported that Chief of Staff Mark Meadows did order the guard to be available to protect pro-Trump people). The presentation suggested that Mike Pence had multiple ways to overturn the election. None of the recommendations were remotely constitutional.

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The afternoon before the insurrection effort, Trump and Pence were in the Oval Office watching the gathering mob on the National Mall. “If these people say you had the power, wouldn’t you want to?”

“I wouldn’t want any one person to have that authority,” Pence tells Trump as quoted in the book Peril. “But wouldn’t it almost be cool to have that power?” Trump asked.

“No,” Pence said. After four years of doing everything for the boss, Pence was clearly not willing to fall on a fatal sword.

While he didn’t, dozens of Republicans in Congress went along with the Trump charade, and have continued to do so for the past year. How does Trump World dismiss reality, if so many of the facts upheld by the nation’s courts and now with the meticulous knitting together of electronic data indicate who talked to whom, where and when. Research into propaganda suggests that the more often we hear something, the more likely we are to believe it especially if it has tribal aspects. It worked for the fascists in World War-II with far less media sophistication than today. Debunking a claim helps hammer it in. Personal biases can be so strong that they can fool us even when we’re aware of them says Jonathan Rauch a senior fellow at Brookings Institution. He has created web-based organization called Persuasion to focus on these aspects.

Trump, like most demagogues, exploits this cognitive quirk by incessantly repeating catchy slogans: NO COLLUSION! RUSSIA HOAX! After a while, even if we think we know better, we become acclimated to the lie. It becomes part of our cognitive furniture. This writer receives at least three emails a day from the Trump organisation reminding me of all of this at the hands of leftist Democrats. All emails have wanted larger sums of money as the years has gone on. The fact that key Fox News anchors were texting Meadows to urge Trump to call off the hard attackers—the Bannon faction if you will—this suggests not everyone was aware of how sweeping, if badly managed, was the PowerPoint plan to make him the leader again.

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What stands out is the intransigence and disrespect for the Constitution on the part of the Republican Party leadership and too many of its members of Congress. Throughout that day it was a plan to see what was brewing and people with access to Meadows, Trump’s official chief of staff, made clear their unhappiness but he did nothing. In refusing to testify before the committee, he has earned a criminal indictment in a 9-0 committee vote. Wyoming Congress woman Liz Chaney was scathing in reading of some of the evidence the committee has in asking for Meadows’ criminal indictment.

Former trade negotiator Peter Navarro refused a sub­poena from a House Committee probing the corona virus response, doing so with the same rushed over-confidence he displayed working for Trump. Navarro’s letter called the committee, chair representative James Clyburn (D-SC), “Representative Rayburn”. (The committee works out of the Rayburn House Office Building.)

Trump characteristically confirmed his opposition to subpoenas and criminal indictments, saying,

“The Communist Democrats are engaging in yet another Witch Hunt, this time going after my administration’s unprecedented and incredible coronavirus response…. The Witch Hunts must end!”

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—The writer has worked in senior positions at The Washington Post, NBC, ABC and CNN and also consults for several Indian channels

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