Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certification

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Dec 05, 2022 10:13 pm

Trump calls for ‘termination’ of election rules in Constitution to overturn 2020 election
by Jared Gans
The Hill
12/03/22 2:18 PM ET

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Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump

So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great "Founders" did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!

De 03, 2022 at 7:44 AM


Former President Trump called for the termination of the Constitution’s rules regarding elections to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election following the release of more detailed information about Twitter’s role in suppressing a story about Hunter Biden.

“A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump said in a Truth Social post.

“Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!” he continued.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates disagreed with this call to terminate Constitutional rules, saying, “Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to soul of our nation, and should be universally condemned.”

“The Constitution brings the American people together — regardless of party — and elected leaders swear to uphold it. It’s the ultimate monument to all of the Americans who have given their lives to defeat self-serving despots that abused their power and trampled on fundamental rights,” Bates said.

Trump’s post comes after the first of the “Twitter files” on “free speech suppression” were posted on Twitter on Friday. The posts focused on the controversy surrounding President Biden’s son Hunter Biden and Twitter’s reaction limiting the spread of posts about it.

The New York Post published a story in October 2020, less than a month before Election Day, alleging that Hunter Biden used his influence to connect a Ukrainian businessman with his father while he was serving as vice president.

A laptop that allegedly was dropped off at a Delaware computer repair shop included evidence demonstrating Hunter Biden’s actions, former Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the Post.

There were widespread concerns about the authenticity of the laptop’s contents at the time, and Twitter took steps to block users from sharing the link to the story on its platform.

The Federal Election Commission ruled last year that Twitter did not break any election laws when it blocked users from sharing links to the story, saying that it was for a valid commercial reason and not a political one.

Major news organizations were later able to verify some of the emails on the laptop.

Trump said the revelations show “MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION” from Big Tech, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party, asking if the 2020 election results should be thrown out and he should be declared the winner or if a new election should be held.

The posts on Twitter’s response to the Hunter Biden story do not show evidence of a widespread conspiracy to limit the content but some chaos, confusion and disagreement among Twitter employees about the platform’s reasoning for censoring it.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates responded to Trump’s comments on Saturday by say that “attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation, and should be universally condemned.”

“You cannot only love America when you win,” Bates told The Hill.

Updated 12/4/2022 at 6:15 a.m.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Thu Dec 08, 2022 2:43 am

Trump search team finds at least 2 classified documents outside of Mar-a-Lago
Dan Mangan
@_DANMANGAN
CNBC
PUBLISHED WED, DEC 7 20223:30 PM EST UPDATED 4 HOURS AGO

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KEY POINTS

**A team hired by Donald Trump discovered more records marked classified outside of his Mar-a-Lago residence.

** The Washington Post first reported that a team hired by Trump found at least two items marked classified in a West Palm Beach, Florida, storage unit used by the former president. Those items were immediately turned over to the FBI.

**Trump is under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice for his removal of government records from the White House when he left office in January 2021.

A team hired by Donald Trump discovered more records marked classified outside of his Florida residence, which was raided in August by the FBI searching for such documents, NBC News confirmed Wednesday.

The Washington Post first reported that a team hired by Trump found at least two items marked classified in a West Palm Beach, Florida, storage unit connected to the former president. Those items were immediately turned over to the FBI, according to the Post.

The New York Times later published a similar report about the search and discovery.

“People close to Mr. Trump had said earlier on Wednesday that no classified material had been found during the searches, a claim that was later proved incorrect,” the Times reported.

Two people familiar with the matter later confirmed that two documents marked classified were found in a federal storage facility containing Trump’s possessions. The storage unit is run by the General Services Administration and Trump has never been inside it, one of the people told NBC.

The search of other Trump-linked properties outside of his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach was conducted after a federal judge urged the former president’s lawyers to confirm they had fully complied with a grand jury subpoena requiring them to surrender any material marked classified.

In addition to the storage unit in Florida, Trump’s golf club in Bedminister, New Jersey, and Trump Tower in New York City, also were reportedly searched.


Trump is under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice for his removal of government records from the White House when he left office in January 2021, as well as for possible obstruction of justice in connection with efforts by federal authorities to recover those documents.

An FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 discovered thousands of pages of government documents, more than 100 of which were marked classified or highly classified.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC about the reports.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Dec 12, 2022 9:41 pm

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Jan. 6 ‘joke’ has been building for a long time
Analysis by Aaron Blake
Staff writer
Updated December 12, 2022 at 12:40 p.m. EST|Published December 12, 2022 at 12:35 p.m. EST

An early high water mark in the GOP’s efforts to minimize the events of Jan. 6, 2021, came in early February 2022: The Republican National Committee not only voted to censure two members who had joined the committee investigating the insurrection, it decided to insert a phrase into the censure resolution practically dripping with provocation: “legitimate political discourse.”

Supporters of the measure quickly sought to assure that the phrase didn’t refer to those who stormed the U.S. Capitol and got violent, but the resolution itself made no such distinction. And it was little mystery why: Republicans had spent the past year downplaying the events of that day and trying to rewrite a story that didn’t reflect particularly well on the party. The resolution invited those who believed this attack on the seat of government wasn’t that bad, or even that it was justified — that is, a significant portion of the GOP — to go right on believing that.

This weekend saw another such event: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) making a “joke” about how Jan. 6 could have turned out differently had she been in charge, while mocking those who have cast blame on her and Trump ally Stephen K. Bannon.

“I want to tell you something: If Steve Bannon and I had organized that, we would have won,” Greene said. “Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.”

Terrence Daniels (Captain Planet)
@Terrence_STR
Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Jan 6th comments at Gala:
“I got to tell you something, if Steve Bannon and I had organized that, we would have won. Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.”

Reckon there would be a lot more people doing a lot more prison time if ya were

The following media includes potentially sensitive content.
5:44 PM · Dec 11, 2022


The statement carries with it all the plausible deniability that the RNC resolution did, since Greene was telling jokes onstage at an event for young Republicans in New York. (Her office issued a statement criticizing those who were “trying to weaponize a sarcastic joke I made.”) The provocateur congresswoman is inviting journalists to write this up as if it were an entirely serious comment, at which point she can claim persecution — a valued commodity.

But consider the game Greene is playing. She’s making Jan. 6 a punchline and inviting extremists in her party to believe that there’s more than a hint of truth in her quip — even that she’s expressing common cause with the insurrectionists (“we would have won”). And given her priors, it’s no secret what the intent is, no matter how much she’ll claim otherwise.

It’s a remarkable moment, but also one that’s been a long time coming.

The night of Jan. 6 and in the days and weeks afterward, GOP leaders lamented and almost universally condemned it as a particularly dark day in our nation’s history. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took the House floor a week later to say President Donald Trump bore “responsibility” — and even that he should be censured.

“Of all the days here, last Wednesday was the worst day I’ve ever seen in Congress,” McCarthy said. “Our country is deeply hurt. So where do we go from here? After all the violence and chaos of the last week, it is important to remember that we’re still here to deliver a better future for all Americans. It does not matter if you are liberal, moderate or conservative. All of us must resist the temptation of further polarization.”

Within months, though, GOP members not only cast doubt on the “insurrection” label — which is, in fact, apt — but they lodged conspiracy theories seeking to absolve their supporters of blame. Along the way, their media allies like Fox’s Tucker Carlson offered baseless and later-debunked suggestions that this was the product of FBI instigation.

When Republicans declined to sign off on a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, they effectively admitted that they were doing so because they didn’t want to keep talking about that day. But to make the case that it wasn’t worth probing, of course, they had to imply that it wasn’t that big a deal.

By early 2022 came the RNC censure resolution, which was condemned by some members of the party for its reference to “legitimate political discourse.” But the die was cast. As Trump has pushed the idea of pardons for those accused of wrongdoing on Jan. 6, the party has drifted more and more into believing that the L-word applied.

A Monmouth University poll in July showed not only that many more Republicans labeled Jan. 6 a “legitimate protest” than an “insurrection,” but that more Republicans also labeled it a “legitimate protest” even than a “riot.”

[x]
Republicans' shifting views on labels for Jan. 6. Percentage of Republicans who believe each is an appropriate term for Jan. 6

Against that backdrop, a particularly extreme congresswoman from Georgia has decided that a quip like this might land with a certain crowd of young Republicans in New York.

But also consider the substance of the quip. While Greene hasn’t been linked to organizing the insurrection, she did tell people on the eve of Jan. 6, “You can’t allow it to just transfer power ‘peacefully’ like Joe Biden wants and allow him to become our president, because he did not win this election.”

Bannon was even more forthright in predicting chaos that day, after whipping his listeners into a frenzy over false allegations of a stolen election. “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” he said on Jan. 5. “Just understand this: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It’s going to be moving. It’s going to be quick.”

And despite the narrative that is often spun by Republicans, there is plenty of evidence that insurrectionists were armed. To what extent? We’ll never fully know because the vast majority of them weren’t apprehended at the time.

But comments downplaying the events of that day are key to the effort to retcon it. And Greene arguably has more power than ever to do so, thanks to how important she is to McCarthy’s chances of becoming speaker next month. So despite GOP leaders, including McCarthy, having initially made such stark statements about just how dark that day was, you can bet they’ll have relatively little to say about someone turning it into a punchline and inviting listeners to imagine a more successful insurrection.

The effect, though, is that the next provocation will be even more dramatic, and the events of that day will continue to be legitimized in the minds of a significant number of Americans.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Tue Dec 13, 2022 8:19 am

GOP Congressman Wanted Trump to Invoke ‘Marshall Law’ to Stay in Office: Leaked Texts
by Charisma Madarang
Rolling Stone
Mon, December 12, 2022 at 7:37 PM·4 min read

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was forced to hand over 2,319 text messages to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The trove of text messages were obtained by Talking Points Memo, which on Monday reported on the extent to which Meadows was communicating with members of Congress about overturning the 2020 election.

While CNN previously reported that Meadows was kept informed of efforts to seize voting machines and other schemes to overturn President Biden’s win by Trump allies in contested states, the TPM report identifies a startling message from Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) to Meadows, sent on Jan. 17, 2021, just three days before Joe Biden was scheduled to take office.

In the text, Norman appears to propose that then-President Trump impose martial law — or, as Norman put it, “Marshall Law” — during his final hours of office to overturn the election in his favor.


“Mark, in seeing what’s happening so quickly, and reading about the Dominion law suits attempting to stop any meaningful investigation we are at a point of � no return � in saving our Republic !! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!” [-- Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.)]


Norman wrote.

Judd Legum
@JuddLegum

Wow. @RepRalphNorman urged the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, to convince Trump to DECLARE MARTIAL LAW and stay in office

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/feature/m ... 0-election
3:58 PM · Dec 12, 2022
Read the full conversation on Twitter


The series also shows that Meadows was at the center of hundreds of incoming discussions among 34 members of Congress about plans to help Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Several members of Congress were also identified as leading players in the effort to undo Trump’s loss and messaged Meadows about plans to challenge the election results including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).

Rep. Brooks texted Meadows on Dec. 21, 2020, referring to plans to hold a “White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies.” Soon after, Meadows messaged Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade, confirming the meeting happened.

“The President and I met with about 15 members of Congress to discuss the evidence of voter fraud in various states as well as discuss the strategy for making the case to the American people,” Meadows wrote to Kilmeade later that day.

Among those members identified by the Jan. 6 committee as having participated in the meeting were Reps. Jordan, Brian Babin (R-Texas), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and then-Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).


Prior to the midterms, Rep. Greene faced a legal challenge to disqualify her from running for Congress due to her alleged role on Jan 6.

“Good morning Mark, I’m here in DC. We have to get organized for the 6th,” Greene wrote to Meadows on Dec. 31, CNN reported. “I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long. Also anyone who can help. We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state.”

By Jan. 17, Greene told Meadows that several Republicans in Congress wanted Trump to declare martial law. She, too, appeared to think giving power to the military was named after a person named Marshall. “In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law,” Green wrote. “I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him. They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!”

More recently, Greene told the New York Post‘s Zach Williams that if she and Steve Bannon had organized the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, they would have executed a successful coup, and would have “been armed.”

As previously reported by Rolling Stone, organizers of the Jan. 6 riots in Washington, D.C., said they participated in “dozens” of planning meetings with White House staff and members of Trump’s team, including Meadows. “Meadows was 100 percent made aware of what was going on,” said an organizer. “He’s also like a regular figure in these really tiny groups of national organizers.”
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Wed Dec 14, 2022 4:32 am

‘Utterly Deranged Logic’: Reporter On Meadows And Members Of Congress Texting To Overturn 2020
MSNBC
Dec 13, 2022

New reporting from politics news outlet Talking Point Memo on more than 450 text messages shared between Mark Meadows and at least 34 members of Congress allegedly depict their plotting to overturn the election starting on election night and going through to President Biden’s inauguration. A lead TPM reporter covering this story, Hunter Walker, and Rep. Madeleine Dean join Joy Reid to discuss.



*********************

A TPM EXCLUSIVE SERIES
THE MEADOWS TEXTS

Mark Meadows Exchanged Texts With 34 Members Of Congress About Plans To Overturn The 2020 Election: The Messages Included Battle Cries, Crackpot Legal Theories, And ‘Invoking Marshall Law!!’

by Hunter Walker, Josh Kovensky and Emine Yücel
December 12, 2022 5:34 p.m.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows exchanged text messages with at least 34 Republican members of Congress as they plotted to overturn President Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.

Those messages are being fully, publicly documented here for the first time.

The texts are part of a trove Meadows turned over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack that was obtained by TPM. For more information about the story behind the text log and our procedures for publishing the messages, read the introduction to this series. Meadows’ exchanges shed new light on the extent of congressional involvement in Trump’s efforts to spread baseless conspiracy theories about his defeat and his attempts to reverse it. The messages document the role members played in the campaign to subvert the election as it was conceived, built, and reached its violent climax on Jan. 6, 2021. The texts are rife with links to far-right websites, questionable legal theories, violent rhetoric, and advocacy for authoritarian power grabs.

One message identified as coming from Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) to Meadows on January 17, 2021, three days before Joe Biden was set to take office, is a raw distillation of the various themes in the congressional correspondence.
In the text, despite a typo, Norman seemed to be proposing a dramatic last ditch plan: having Trump impose martial law during his final hours in office.

Ralph Norman

Mark, in seeing what’s happening so quickly, and reading about the Dominion law suits attempting to stop any meaningful investigation we are at a point of � no return � in saving our Republic !! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!


The text, which has not previously been reported, is a particularly vivid example of how congressional opposition to Biden’s election was underpinned by paranoid and debunked conspiracy theories like those about Dominion voting machines. Norman’s text also showed the potentially violent lengths to which some congressional Republicans were willing to go in order to keep Trump in power. The log Meadows provided to the select committee does not include a response to Norman’s message.

Reached via cell phone on Monday morning, Norman asked TPM for a chance to review his messages before commenting.

“It’s been two years,” Norman said. “Send that text to me and I’ll take a look at it.”

TPM forwarded Norman a copy of the message calling for “Marshall Law!!” We did not receive any further response from the congressman.

Based on TPM’s analysis, Meadows received at least 364 messages from Republican members of Congress who discussed attempts to reverse the election results with him. He sent at least 95 messages of his own. The committee did not respond to requests for comment. Some of Meadows’ texts — notably with Fox News personalities and a couple members of Congress — have already been made public by the committee, media outlets, and in the book “The Breach.” However, the full scope of his engagement with congressional Republicans as they worked to overturn the election has not previously been revealed.

Meadows’ text log shows what the scheme to reverse the election results looked like behind the scenes, revealing new details about which members of Congress helped spearhead the efforts and the strategies they deployed. The members who messaged Meadows about challenging the election included some of the highest-profile figures on the right flank in Congress, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), all of whom are identified as playing leading roles in the effort to undo Trump’s defeat.

One message that was dated Dec. 30, 2020 and was identified as coming from Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller described Brooks as a “ringleader” of the effort to block the electoral certification.

Jason Miller

FYI…So I asked Ali Pardo from our press shop to get in touch with Rep. Mo Brooks’ office since he seems to be the ringleader on the Jan 6th deal. They say they will have as many as 50 members on board 1/6…but we won’t have a list of names until Sunday or Monday. This may not surprise you, but no one from the legal team has made contact with them at all. They request examples of fraud, numbers, names, whatever supporting evidence can be provided. We’ve now supplied that, but our legal squad isn’t exactly buttoned up. I bring this up for a simple reason – if we’re hoping to move real numbers on the 6th, I think we need to quickly start mobilizing our real-deal allies. I’m ready to go, I have bodies to help, will follow your lead.


Mark Meadows

Thanks Jason. You are the best. I will bring it up with potus and I plan to meet with them on Saturday.


Miller declined to comment on this story. Brooks, who spoke with TPM on Monday morning, agreed that he played a leading part in the objection. The congressman, who is set to leave office when the next term begins on Jan. 3, 2023, suggested his case for objecting to the election result was based on a bipartisan 2005 report co-authored by former President Jimmy Carter and James Baker III, who served in multiple Republican administrations.

“There are a number of different people who took leadership roles,” Brooks said of the election challenge, adding, “I was certainly the leader with respect to the arguments that centered on arguments related to the 2005 report and on non-citizen voting.”

While the Carter-Baker report identified risks for “potential fraud” and instances where there was some malfeasance, it also concluded that “there is no evidence of extensive fraud in U.S. election.” Nevertheless, the document has since been exaggerated and mischaracterized by Trump and others to justify election-related conspiracy theories. Nevertheless, Brooks argued the Carter-Baker report and other prior studies showed “massive voter fraud” and suggested anyone who was not familiar with the reasoning behind those conclusions was unqualified to discuss American elections.

“That’s like claiming you’re a Christian but you don’t read the Bible,” Brooks said.

When pressed on conclusions from experts and from Trump-appointed officials that there was no significant fraud in the 2020 election, Brooks hung up the phone.


Based on the log, some of the election objectors saw themselves as participating in an epic battle. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) sent at least 21 messages to Meadows and received at least four responses. On November 6, he dramatically urged Meadows to refuse to give up.

Brian Babin

Mark, When we lose Trump we lose our Republic. Fight like hell and find a way. We’re with you down here in Texas and refuse to live under a corrupt Marxist dictatorship. Liberty! Babin


Babin and his office did not respond to requests for comment.

Meadows’ messages also provide an indication of the support the election objection received from right-wing dark money groups. The text log shows how the Republican efforts to fight the electoral certification at the Capitol became more organized and gained steam in the days after Biden’s victory. On Nov. 9, Edward Corrigan, the president and CEO of the Conservative Partnership Institute, wrote Meadows to say Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) would be holding a meeting about legal strategies with his colleagues at the organization’s Capitol Hill townhouse.

“Mike Lee has about a dozen Senators coming over to CPI tonight and they wanted to hear from a legal expert on what’s going on with the campaign,” Corrigan wrote. “Any suggestions who would be good for that?”

CPI, which would go on to employ Meadows after Trump left office, is a dark money group that has been described by NPR as “among the most powerful messaging forces in the MAGA universe.” It hosted meetings for the far- right House Freedom Caucus and, according to Meadows’ log, served as something of a headquarters for members of Congress working to overturn the election. Corrigan did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to Lee’s meeting, Babin sent a text to Meadows in late December 2020 describing plans for an “objector meeting” at CPI. Babin was apparently concerned other members of Congress could try to thwart the efforts to object to the electoral certification and seemingly hoped former Vice President Mike Pence — who Trump and many of his allies felt had the power to certify alternate slates of pro-Trump electors — was on their side.

Brian Babin

Mark, Looks like objectors will be meeting this Saturday, 6pm at the CPI facility. We would like to have you there. B PS. Probably need to keep our ears open to any machinations by Senate Dems and Republicans who want to change rules. Would you reach out to the VP and see if he will help prevent that?


Many of the Republican efforts to overturn the election played out in the public eye. During the period between the election and Jan. 6 multiple Republican members of Congress participated in rallies where they amplified violent rhetoric and spread false claims of fraud to question the results. The attack on the Capitol interrupted the electoral certification, but it continued that evening and 147 Republicans still voted to overturn the results as they were surrounded by National Guard troops and broken glass.

While some of the more than 450 texts that Republican members of Congress exchanged with Meadows indicate they were disturbed by the violence of Jan. 6, the messages also show in colorful detail how the same members of Congress played a direct role in ratcheting up opposition to the election result and in stoking Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. (Officials at every level of government including Republicans and members of the Trump administration have confirmed there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election.)

Based on Meadows’ text log, overheated battle cries began streaming into his phone as the votes were still being counted on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. Texts the committee identified as coming from members of Congress declared “our Trump team is kicking ass today” and “Fight until hell freezes over than fight them on the ice.”

On Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election, Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) wrote Meadows claiming he was personally aware of two instances of alleged fraud where people voted twice in Nevada. Based on this claim, he urged Meadows to push for a review of the race in that key state.

“I know of at least 2 people who told me they mailed in their ballots and voted in person so you can tell them they might be interested in going over all votes in Nevada,” Long wrote.

“Ok,” Meadows replied.

Long did not respond to a request for comment.

On the evening of Nov. 4, 2020, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) wrote Meadows to suggest, “John James should lead the challenge in Michigan,” an apparent reference to the 2020 GOP nominee for Senate in that state who would go on to lose his race after disputing the results without providing evidence. Last month, James won election to represent Michigan’s 10th House district. James, who, at the time, was baselessly claiming “there is enough credible evidence to warrant an investigation” into the election in Michigan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Davidson did not respond to a request for comment.

Shortly after the message from Davidson, the log contains one identified as coming from Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), who offered a profane description of his support for the suits against the results in his home state. Meadows responded indicating he appreciated Kelly’s work.

Mike Kelly

We’re in Philadelphia suing Pa. Sec. of State for her illegal meddling in this election and will continue to expose fraudulent actions. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to fight these MF’ers in Pa.? Our President is heroic !! Thank you for all you’ve done and please let the President know just how much he’s loved and appreciated in Pennsylvania! Sincerely, Mike Kelly


Mark Meadows

I will. Thanks mike


Kelly did not respond to a request for comment.

President Joe Biden wouldn’t ultimately be declared the winner of the election by major media outlets until Nov. 7, 2020. In the four days between the election and the projection of Biden’s win, votes were being counted in key battleground states.

On Nov. 5, as the numbers began to look bleak for Trump, congressional Republicans wrote Meadows with offers to help fight against the results. Among them was Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) who said, “We have no tools / data / information to go out and fight RE: election / fraud. If you need / want it, we all need to know what’s going on.”

“Thanks so much. Working on it for surrogates briefing,” Meadows replied, indicating the Trump team was preparing to help organize congressional opposition to the vote.

Later that same day, Babin also suggested he and his colleagues were eager to prevent Trump’s impending loss. Without evidence, he described it as a “theft” and indicated GOP leadership was trying to focus on their election victories rather than Trump’s defeat.

Brian Babin

Dear Mark, Many of us as Republican House members want to help the President in any way we can to prevent the outright theft of this presidential election. So far I’ve only heard our leadership talk about us picking up five new diverse members while the Presidency is at stake. We need some guidance as to what we should be saying and doing. Please let some of us know what you would suggest. In earnest prayer for POTUS and our Republic. Brian Babin


The text messages show Republican members of Congress strategizing in real time to reverse the results. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) piped in with an offer to “put some cash together for the defense fund.” In a conversation with TPM on Monday, Cramer confirmed he offered to help with a defense fund, however, he said the conversation did not go anywhere.

“What I recall is I probably did offer to help if they were raising money for a defense fund or something,” Cramer explained. “I never got a response.”

Cramer, who ultimately was not among the 147 Republicans who objected to the electoral certification, also said all of his messages were “proper” and efforts to “be helpful” to “friends” in the White House.

“None of the text messages from me are condemning in any way other than to just try to get all the information again, be as helpful as you can,” Cramer said.

Other members of Congress sent Meadows questionable legal theories and wildly undemocratic plans to have the vote overturned at the state level. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) pointed to a segment on the far-right cable network Newsmax where the political operative Dick Morris argued Republican state legislatures had the power to “declare” Trump the winner based on unproven allegations of fraud.

Mark Green

Dick Morris is saying State Leg can intervene and declare Trump winner.�NC, PA, MI, WI all have GOP Leg. �


Mark Green

https://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/995477/220


The text log does not include responses from Meadows to these texts from Babin, Cramer, and Green. Green’s communications director, Rachel del Guidice, provided a statement to TPM that suggested his ideas came from people in his district rather than the congressman himself.

“Congressman Green was passing along what constituents were sending him to keep the White House informed on the sentiments of his constituents,” del Guidice said. “He wasn’t advocating for any specific course of action.”

The next day, Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) sent Meadows a couple of texts with another version of the state legislature strategy gleaned from the far-right website Revolver, which is run by Darren Beattie, a former Trump White House speechwriter who was fired from that post in August 2018 after it was revealed he participated in a 2016 conference with a high-profile white nationalist. Murphy’s text was largely copied and pasted from a Revolver article that claimed “The Vote Has Been Hopelessly Contaminated. Republican State Legislatures Must Now Move to Appoint Pro-Trump Electors.”

“Why are we not pursuing this strategy?” Murphy asked before sharing text from the Revolver article, and adding, “Please pay close attention to the very last paragraph.”

The text logs did not include any response from Meadows. Murphy did not respond to a request for comment.

On Nov. 7, shortly after news outlets called the election for Biden, Norman sent a message encouraging Meadows to set up a “game plan” and “FIGHT.”

Ralph Norman

Guys, if there was ever a time to stand with our leader who has strengthened our military, stood for life for the unborn, supported Israel, built the wall , appointed conservative judges ect. And we lay down and abandon him JUST BECAUSE THE BIASED MEDIA HAS CALL THE ELECTION?? Now is the time to fight and ADVOCATE for a recount in GA, AZ, Pennsylvania!! What our delegation is doing in SC is gathering on the statehouse steps on Tuesday to advocate for standing with our president and other arguments/options that are at our disposal. For anyone willing to discuss our game plan let me or anyone else know and let’s get on a conference call with concrete plans of action. I will go anywhere anytime to help our cause. Bottom line, it’s time we FIGHT FOR THE ONE PERSON WHO HAS CHANGED THIS COUNTRY!! WAY TOO SOON TO GIVE IN NOW!!


As Trump’s allies were trying to come up with a plan on Capitol Hill, far-right activists were also gathering to protest the election around the country. The text log shows Meadows was in communication with Amy Kremer, who organized a “March For Trump” bus tour and ultimately helped plan the Jan. 6, 2021, rally on the White House Ellipse where the former president spoke and urged the crowd to “fight like hell” before many of them marched to the Capitol as it was being stormed. Messages in the log also highlight how Republican members of Congress were participating in a series of pre-Jan. 6 election protests around the country. On the afternoon of Nov. 7, Kevin Brady (R-TX) wrote Meadows to let him know that he had spoken at a “Defend the President Rally” in his home state.

“Asked the crowd to cheer for our President. They are still in the fight!” Brady wrote.

“I will pass it to potus. Thank you and thank them,” Meadows replied.

A spokesperson for Brady provided a statement to TPM that suggested he was simply trying to be helpful and encouraging.

“On the fourth day after the election, before all votes had been reported and prior to the later election contest strategy by the Trump campaign, Congressman Brady sent Mr. Meadows a photo of a local rally for the President and a single general inquiry on how he might help. There was no response from Mr. Meadows,” the spokesperson said.

Brady’s spokesperson also emphasized that he was not one of the 147 Republicans who objected to the election results.

Conspiracy theories are a major theme of Meadows’ messages with Republican members of Congress following Trump’s defeat. On the evening of Nov. 7, Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) shared a message claiming there were links between Dominion Voting Systems and billionaire George Soros. Dominion was a focus in many 2020 election conspiracies that were thoroughly debunked. In some messages to associates, Meadows, who expressed openness to other wild theories, indicated that the Dominion theories were too far-fetched even for him. Soros has long been a fixture of far-right conspiracy theories that blend overheated analysis of the financier’s funding of progressive causes with anti-Semitic tropes.

“Praying for your health! FYI Dominion Voting Systems is owned by State Street Capital, which are Carlyle (Rubenstein alums), Rubenstein is a longtime co-investor with Soros Capital,” wrote Budd.

Budd’s message seemed to be a misspelling of Staple Street management, a private equity firm that owns Dominion, coupled with a series of claims that there were some kind of ties between various other investors. Budd did not respond to a request for comment. Last month, Budd earned a promotion when he was elected to one of the Senate seats in his home state. He is set to take office next month.

CPI was not the only conservative dark money group that aided the push to overturn the election. On Dec. 2, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) wrote Meadows and indicated he was participating in Georgia rallies organized by Club For Growth. While those events were focused on that state’s Senate runoff race, Gohmert and Greene reportedly brought up the presidential race in their remarks. In his text to Meadows, Gohmert was hoping for a ride on Air Force One or a White House visit.

Louie Gohmert

Mark, Club for Growth wanted me to help in GA Dec 11& 12 on their bus tour, I’ve also been asked to help this wkend (while I’m still trying to spur people to get REAL winner of Pres recognized since without the Pres OFFICIALLY re-elected, we’re done). Would it be possible to ride AF One to GA Saturday? I’d only need a ride down since I’d stay there longer. Also if Pres had anytime I could drop by today, would love to see u both. Thanks. Louie


Gohmert had previously texted Meadows asking to visit the White House and been rebuffed by the chief of staff. Based on the log, Meadows did not respond to his message about a ride on the presidential plane. Gohmert did not respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is another member of Congress who texted Meadows outlandish conspiracy theories about the election. According to the log, shortly after 11 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2020, Gosar wrote in with his own completely inaccurate concerns about Dominion.

Paul Gosar

When is the 45 days up? What date starts the clock ?? Nov 3rd? If it is, then that is December 18!!! China bought Dominion in October for $400 million. If that’s not interference, then should have a report with details and specifics that would validate that either way. And if they didn’t…… Call me I have some fireworks coming out of AZ early tomorrow. Call me anytime, I’m up.


The claim made by Gosar reportedly originated with far right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ website, InfoWars. Gosar also included a link to an executive order signed by Trump in 2018 that called for the director of national intelligence to “conduct an assessment of any information indicating that a foreign government” attempted to interfere with the election within 45 days of ballots being cast. Gosar also sent Meadows a link to a fringe blog called “Some Bitch Told Me” and a since-deleted set of files that he said showed “Massive fraud coming out of AZ.” In total, the log shows Gosar sent Meadows 13 messages, nearly half of which came between Dec. 16-17, 2020. Based on the log, Meadows did not respond to any of them.

Despite Gosar seemingly gleaning his assertions from InfoWars and “Some Bitch Told Me,” Anthony Foti, a spokesperson for the congressman insisted, “at no time did he share a conspiracy theory.”

“Congressman Gosar filed objections to certification from Arizona under the Electoral Count Act,” Foti wrote in an email to TPM, adding, “His comments were based on factual occurrences.”

Meadows did entertain some of the conspiracy theories forwarded along by the Republican members of Congress — and in at least one case, he acted on them.

On Dec. 29, 2020, Babin sent Meadows a link to an article describing claims by Republican legislators in Pennsylvania that the state’s election results didn’t “add up.” The article included a statement from Pennsylvania’s Department of State that noted in detail how the lawmakers’ claims were “uninformed” and called them a “so-called analysis [that] was based on incomplete data.” Nevertheless, Meadows seemed to take Babin’s article seriously and indicated he sent it on to the Justice Department.

“Yes. Already forwarded it to DOJ,” Meadows replied to Babin’s message with the link.

On Dec. 30, 2020, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), who had just been elected, wrote Meadows and suggested the debunked Pennsylvania analysis convinced her to object to the electoral certification.

Cynthia Lummis

Dear Mark, In light of the forensic accounting report by Pennsylvania legislators, I have reached out to Sen. Josh Hawley’s staff to serve as a �wingman� to him on Jan. 6. Please include me in the loop as you gain access to equally persuasive evidence from other states. Thank you, Cynthia Lummis


In a text to TPM, Lummis provided an explanation for her message to Meadows.

“I voted against the Pennsylvania electors because Pennsylvania conducted its 2020 election in violation of its own Pennsylvania Constitution. Sen. Hawley had publicly expressed the same concern about Pennsylvania. That explains the text to Mark Meadows,” wrote Lummis. “I did not vote against the Arizona electors. I do not know how Sen Hawley voted re: Arizona’s electors.”

Meadows’ log also shows certain congressional Republicans playing key roles in the effort to overturn the election. In a Dec. 19, 2020, message, Rep. Jody Hice claims to be “leading the GA electoral college objection on Jan 6.” In a phone call with TPM, Sarah Selip, a spokesperson for Hice, noted he was outspoken in his opposition to the election results in his home state.

“Our boss did lead the electoral objection for Georgia. I mean that’s just how it is,” said Selip.

Ted Cruz, meanwhile, seems to have played a major part in heading up objections in the Senate. On Jan. 2, he sent Meadows a link to a statement he released with Lummis and nine other colleagues vowing to “vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed.” Meadows had a one-word response to Cruz.

“Perfect,” said Meadows.

The following day, Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller wrote Meadows that Trump himself was pressing Georgia’s senators to “to get on board with the Cruz effort.” A spokesperson for Cruz declined to comment.

Brooks wrote Meadows on Dec. 21, 2020, about plans to have a “White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies.” Later that day, Meadows sent a message to Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade later that day indicating the meeting took place.

“The President and I met with about 15 members of Congress to discuss the evidence of voter fraud in various states as well as discuss the strategy for making the case to the American people,” Meadows wrote to the cable news host. (Eleven of those members — including Babin, Biggs, Gaetz, Gosar, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Hice, Jordan, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Rep.-elect Marjore Taylor Greene (R-GA) — were later identified by the Jan. 6 Committee, citing White House visitor logs. Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) also attended the meeting.)

As the electoral certification approached, members of Congress sent Meadows messages expressing concern and anger that some Republicans were not backing their efforts. On the evening of Jan. 5, 2021, Norman wrote Meadows about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

“Mark, I hear McCarthy is giving equal time to let those who are opposed to the challenge of the electoral votes which is LUDICROUS!! Trump needs to call Kevin!!” Norman wrote.

Later that same night, Jordan presented a plan for Pence to throw out the results as he presided over the certification.

Jim Jordan

On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all — in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence. �No legislative act,� wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, �contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.� �The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: ��That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion.� �226 F. 135, 137 (SDNY 1915), appeal dismissed, 242 U.S. 654 (1916). � Following this rationale, an unconstitutionally appointed elector, like an unconstitutionally enacted statute, is no elector at all.


Trump would later rage at Pence for not taking this approach. Meadows responded to Jordan on the morning of Jan. 6 indicating the vice president was not on board.

“I have pushed for this. Not sure it is going to happen,” Meadows said.

Jordan’s communications director, Russell Dye, told TPM that the message outlining the strategy to object to the electoral certification had been forwarded to the congressman by Joseph Schmitz, a former Department of Defense inspector general.

“In other words, the idea mentioned in the text was not crafted by Mr. Jordan. It was a legal theory developed by a former DOD Inspector General,” Dye said.

Asked about the other texts that indicated Jordan played a leading role in the effort to challenge the election by Republican House members, Dye suggested it was part of the congressman’s duties.

“Mr. Jordan was carrying out his Constitutional duties as a Member of Congress when he objected to electors on January 6, 2021 — just like Democrats did in 2001, 2005, and 2017,” said Dye.

In the wake of the attack on the Capitol, some members wrote to Meadows and offered encouragement for Trump. One of them was Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA). On Jan. 9, he had an idea for Trump to return to social media after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook for his part in fomenting the violence.

Andrew Clyde

Mark, This is Rep Andrew Clyde GA-09. I would like to pass to POTUS that we are still with him, I believe in him and I want to encourage him. I will do my best to continue to fight for election integrity too. Jody Hice suggested this was a good way to reach President Trump with encouragement. I truly hope he does create a new platform to complete with Twitter and I hope he calls it �Trumpet� and then we can send out �notes� to each other! Jennifer and I pray for POTUS daily, and FLOTUS too.


As ever, Meadows was on board with the plan.

“I will share it with him,” Meadows said. “Thanks Andrew”

Below is a list of all of the members of Congress identified in Meadows’ text message log. We have also included details about whether we were able to verify the contact information associated with their names and our efforts to include their comments on this story.

1. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) – Biggs’ number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. Biggs did not respond to a request for comment.
2. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) – Kelly’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. Kelly did not respond to a request for comment.
3. Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) – Long’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. Long did not respond to a request for comment.
4. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) – Davidson’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. Davidson did not respond to a request for comment.
5. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) – Roy, who ultimately did not vote to object to the election results, previously confirmed he sent the texts Meadows provided to the committee when CNN reported on his messages. When asked about this story, a Roy spokesperson directed TPM to an earlier response.
6. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) – Babin’s number was identified by committee investigators. TPM was unable to independently verify that the number belongs to him. Babin did not respond to a request for comment.
7. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) – Cramer, who ultimately did not vote to object to the election results, spoke to TPM for this story and his comments are included above.
8. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) – Green’s number was identified by committee investigators and confirmed by TPM. His office provided a statement which was included in the story above.
9. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) – Gohmert’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. Gohmert and his office did not return requests for comment.
10. Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) – Murphy’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. Murphy and his office did not return requests for comment.
11. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) – Committee investigators identified Gosar as using multiple phone numbers and an email address to text Mark Meadows. TPM has independently verified one of the numbers as well as the email. Gosar’s office provided a statement for this story, part of which is included above.
12. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) – Norman’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. He spoke to us for this story and his comments are detailed above.
13. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) – Lee, who ultimately did not vote to object to the election results, has confirmed he sent the texts Meadows provided to the committee that were identified as coming from his phone. Lee and his office did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
14. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) – Brady’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. In a response that is included in this story, a spokesperson for Brady stressed that he did not vote to object to the election results.
15. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) – Perry’s number was identified by committee investigators. TPM was unable to independently verify that the number belongs to him. Perry and his office did not respond to a request for comment.
16. Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) – Budd’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. Budd and his office did not return requests for comment.
17. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) – Emmer’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. He ultimately did not vote to object to the election results. Emmer and his office did not return requests for comment.
18. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) – Jordan’s number was identified by committee investigators. TPM was unable to independently verify that the number belongs to him. Jordan’s communications director provided a comment, which is included in the story above.
19. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) – Hudson’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. A spokesperson requested to see the texts identified as coming from Hudson in the Meadows log. They did not respond to subsequent requests for comment.
20. Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) – Hice’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. A spokesperson provided a comment, which is included in the story above.
21. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) – Loudermilk’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. He did not respond to a request for comment.
22. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) – Committee investigators identified Johnson, who ultimately did not vote to object to the election results, using an email address that was confirmed by TPM. A Johnson spokesperson also issued a statement saying, “that he saw no scenario in which any of Biden’s electors would be disallowed. He also believes it is indisputable that there were a number of election irregularities that need to be addressed.”
23. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) – Perdue’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. Perdue, who left office on January 3, 2021 and was not present for the electoral certification, declined to comment on record.
24. Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) – Allen’s number was identified by committee investigators. TPM was unable to independently verify that the number belongs to him. Allen and his office did not respond to a request for comment.
25. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) – Gibbs’ number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. Gibbs and his office did not respond to a request for comment.
26. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) – Brooks’ number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. He defended his actions in a phone interview that is included in the story above.
27. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) – Johnson’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. Johnson and his office did not respond to a request for comment.
28. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) – Cruz’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. A spokesperson for Cruz declined to comment on this story.
29. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) – Lummis’ phone number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. She sent us a text message that is included in the story above.
30. Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) – Greene’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. Her office did not respond to a request for comment.
31. Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL) – Moore’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently verified through public records by TPM. Moore and his office did not respond to a request for comment.
32. Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA) – Keller’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. Keller and his office did not respond to a request for comment.
33. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) – Bishop’s number was identified by committee investigators and confirmed by TPM. He provided a statement defending his objection to the election results: “My analysis of the tactics, purposes and possible impacts of the Democrats’ national litigation campaign to disrupt 2020 election operations remains 100% factual and accurate. Consequently, I have no regrets about publishing it,” Bishop said.
34. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) – Clyde’s number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. His office responded to a request for comment by pointing out some of his messages were reported by CNN. They did not respond to questions about the substance of his remarks.

Update: This post has been updated to provide additional details about rallies in Georgia, and comment from Rep. Jim Jordan’s office.

Hunter Walker (@hunterw) is an investigative reporter for Talking Points Memo. He is an author and former White House correspondent whose work has appeared in a variety of publications including: the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and New York Magazine. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

Josh Kovensky is an investigative reporter for Talking Points Memo, based in New York. He previously worked for the Kyiv Post in Ukraine, covering politics, business, and corruption there.

Emine Yücel is a national political reporter for TPM. A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Emine has worked as a politics production assistant for PBS’ Washington Week and NewsHour Weekend and a news assistant for NPR’s Investigations Team. She double majored in African American studies and Neuroscience at Northwestern University, where she also competed on the varsity fencing team. She later received her master’s degree in Social Justice and Investigative Reporting from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern.


***********************************

A Plot To Overturn An American Election: TPM Has Obtained Explosive Evidence Uncovered By The January 6 Select Committee
by Hunter Walker
December 12, 2022 3:31 p.m.

The messages you are about to read are the definitive, real-time record of a plot to overturn an American election.

TPM has obtained the 2,319 text messages that Mark Meadows, who was President Trump’s last White House chief of staff, turned over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Today, we are publishing The Meadows Texts, a series based on an in-depth analysis of these extraordinary — and disturbing — communications.

The vast majority of Meadows’ texts described in this series are being made public for the very first time. They show the senior-most official in the Trump White House communicating with members of Congress, state-level politicians, and far-right activists as they work feverishly to overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 election. The Meadows texts illustrate in moment-to-moment detail an authoritarian effort to undermine the will of the people and upend the American democratic system as we know it.

The text messages, obtained from multiple sources, offer new insights into how the assault on the election was rooted in deranged internet paranoia and undemocratic ideology. They show Meadows and other high-level Trump allies reveling in wild conspiracy theories, violent rhetoric, and crackpot legal strategies for refusing to certify Joe Biden’s victory. They expose the previously unknown roles of some members of Congress, local politicians, activists and others in the plot to overturn the election. Now, for the first time, many of those figures will be named and their roles will be described — in their own words.

Meadows turned over the text messages during a brief period of cooperation with the committee before he filed a December 2021 lawsuit arguing that its subpoenas seeking testimony and his phone records were “overly broad” and violations of executive privilege. The committee did not respond to a request for comment on this story. Since then, Meadows has faced losses in his efforts to challenge the subpoena in court. However, that legal battle is ongoing and is unlikely to conclude before next month, when the incoming Republican House majority is widely expected to shutter the committee’s investigation. Earlier this year, Meadows reportedly turned over the same material he gave the select committee to the Justice Department in response to another subpoena. These messages are key evidence in the two major investigations into the Jan. 6 attack. With this series, the American people will be able to evaluate the most important texts for themselves.

Meadows has not, thus far, responded to multiple requests for comment. The texts Meadows provided to the select committee encompass the period from election night in 2020 through President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. It is not clear which, if any, texts Meadows withheld from the committee, but the text message log offers multiple hints it is only a partial record of his conversations. There are discussions that clearly lack prior context and messages where participants indicate there is further communication taking place on encrypted channels.

But despite the seeming gaps, Meadows’ text record is still incredibly revealing. Some of the contents of the log were published in “The Breach,” a book about the Jan. 6 attack that I co-wrote with Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congressman and senior technical adviser to the committee. In our book, Riggleman described how he and his fellow committee investigators dubbed Meadows’ text log “the crown jewels” because they served as the “road map to an insurrection.” Along with the text messages that appeared in “The Breach,” some of Meadows’ messages have also been revealed by media outlets. The Washington Post published his exchanges with Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Some of Meadows’ conversations with Fox News personalities and other members of the media were disclosed by the select committee. CNN and I have published Meadows’ conversations with some Republican members of Congress including; Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Additionally, CNN has published Meadows’ texts with Fox News personality Sean Hannity and his messages from the period directly surrounding the Jan. 6 attack. However, there’s more. So much more.

TPM is kicking off this series with an exclusive story showing that the log includes more than 450 messages with 34 Republican members of Congress. Those texts show varying degrees of involvement by members of Congress, from largely benign expressions of support for Trump to the leading roles played by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Jody Hice (R-GA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the plot to reverse Trump’s defeat. We reached out to all these legislators, and will be detailing their roles and responses to our questions in the first installment of the series, which is coming later today.

Committee investigators received the text messages from Meadows’ legal team without names associated with the individual texts, only phone numbers. They tied phone numbers to individuals based on law enforcement databases of public records and their own intelligence work. For these stories, we are relying on the identifications of those texting with Meadows that were made by the committee’s investigators. We have indicated where we were able to independently confirm their work through our own public records searches and reporting. The text message contents received by the committee contained tokens that replaced emojis and certain punctuation. They also include many typos and grammatical errors. Other than replacing tokens where they seemed to clearly be standing in for apostrophes, we have strived to present these texts in their original format as received by the committee. TPM has conducted an in-depth review of Meadows’ entire text log with a team of reporters and editors working over five weeks.

Much of the undemocratic attempt to reverse Trump’s defeat played out in the public eye. Lawyers allied with Trump and his campaign launched a failed legal blitz that sought to challenge the election results based on questionable evidence. Republican politicians and activists staged months of rallies around the country to protest the vote. It all culminated on Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump appeared at a rally on the Ellipse and urged his die-hard supporters to “fight like hell” as his loss was being certified at the U.S. Capitol. Thousands of Trump supporters, including many who marched directly to the Capitol from Trump’s speech, stormed into the building, smashed windows, and fought brutally with law enforcement, leading to multiple deaths and a brief interruption in the electoral certification. That evening, surrounded by National Guard troops and broken glass, 147 Republicans voted to overturn the results

Meadows’ text log shows what the scheme to subvert the 2020 election looked like behind the scenes. It reveals the roots of the violence and its key enablers in Washington. The messages show the plot began well before Jan. 6 and continued afterward. They are essential documentation of a dark day in American history.

Hunter Walker (@hunterw) is an investigative reporter for Talking Points Memo. He is an author and former White House correspondent whose work has appeared in a variety of publications including: the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and New York Magazine. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Wed Dec 14, 2022 4:56 am

A TPM Exclusive Series: The Meadows Texts Part 2 of __

Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry’s Work To Overturn 2020 Election Included A ‘Cyber Team’ And An Italian Job
by Hunter Walker and Josh Kovensky
December 12, 2022 6:48 p.m.

It had been one week since the 2020 presidential election and three days since news outlets called the race, and Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) was frantically working to reverse President Trump’s loss.

Perry had an aggressive plan. Based on the text log obtained by TPM, Perry wrote Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about his efforts to set up a “cyber team.” It would seize voting machines around the country and put them under “lock and key.”

Scott Perry

Mark, these are instructions are from the cyber forensic team. Please ensure widest dissemination and action. Plz tell every state senior that they need to: 1. Preserve the specific voting machines (scanners) used at the polling places where the glitch occurred. (Put them under lock and key – nobody touches them) 2. Preserve the machines at the precinct or tally location that were used to total the votes and upload them to the Internet or state counting facility. (Put them under lock and key – nobody touches them ) 3. Preserve all email communications with the officials responsible for the software updates, authorization software updates, and deploying software updates to the voting machines. 4. Preserve all non-email communications by the officials related to the same (text messages, imessages, whatsapp, etc) – and fact of phone calls (date/time stamps) 5. Preserve all communications (as listed in 3 and 4) by the voting machine technicians or corporate officials responsible for the creation and deployment of software updates. 6. Preserve all software logs, source code, continuous deployment/continuous integration logs, associated with the software updates process that resulted in the glitch. 7. Preserve the technicians, laptop, ipad, phone, or any other device used in the official execution of their duties to update voting machines


Perry, who later became the chairman of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, was one of 34 members of Congress who exchanged more than 400 texts with Meadows about efforts to overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election. Those texts were included in the log that Meadows turned over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. For this series, The Meadows Texts, we are relying on the identifications of those texting with Meadows that were made by the committee’s investigators. To read more about the story behind that text log and our procedures for publishing the messages, check out the introduction to this series. Perry and his office did not respond to a request for comment.

The log may only be a partial record of Meadows’ communications, but Perry was one of the chief of staff’s most frequent correspondents included in it. The pair exchanged at least 62 messages in the period from Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020, through Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. CNN has previously published some of Perry’s messages with Meadows.

The texts between Perry and Meadows show the congressman attempting to involve himself in nearly every aspect of the campaign to block Biden’s win. They also reveal Perry to be someone who appeared to sincerely buy into outlandish conspiracy theories that the election was stolen by an array of shadowy international cyber warriors — and who was willing to use his position and influence in government to sow doubt and subvert the vote based on those deeply paranoid convictions.

Officials at every level of state and federal government — including multiple high-level members of Trump’s own administration — have confirmed there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Voting machines were central to the many thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories espoused by Trump and his allies in Pennsylvania and other key states. Pennsylvania counties each have different election procedures; however, they all complied with a 2018 directive from Trump’s Department of Homeland Security that called on local jurisdictions to use voting systems that include paper ballots that can be audited and verified by hand. The only notable issue reported in the state during the 2020 election was a man who used the names of dead relatives to cast multiple votes for Trump.

On Nov. 8, 2020, the day after Biden was projected as the winner of the election, Perry texted Meadows and urged him to connect with Sidney Powell, the firebrand far-right attorney. Powell would go on to pin Trump’s defeat on a communist conspiracy masterminded by deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. In messages with other contacts, Meadows, who entertained some conspiracy theories about the vote, indicated that Powell’s ideas were too far-fetched even for him. Perry seemingly had no such doubts and pressed Meadows, “please do not delay in speaking” with Powell.

The next day, Perry relayed a request from Cleta Mitchell, another right-wing attorney who worked on the Trump campaign’s failed legal blitz to challenge the election results in multiple states. According to Perry’s text, Mitchell was eager to set up a 501(c)(4) non-profit to support her efforts.

“Cleta asked if she should set up a C4 to deal with raising money and paying for the cyber portion. She offered to do it if necessary,” Perry wrote.

The text message log did not include responses from Meadows to Perry’s missives about the lawyers. However, in multiple messages, Perry indicated he was also communicating with Meadows on Signal, an encrypted messaging platform, and urged the chief of staff to check the Signal app.

By Nov. 10, Perry was working on the “cyber team.” In a series of texts that day, Perry said he was attempting to contribute to efforts in three key swing states: Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona.

After sending Meadows the “instructions” from the “cyber forensic team” about locking down voting machines, Perry passed along a link to a conspiracy theory about the vote count in Pennsylvania posted by the Epoch Times, a far-right pro-Trump newspaper affiliated with the Falun Gong religious movement. Perry also asked Meadows for “a point of contact in Wisconsin and Arizona,” and for other people associated with “the cyber effort.” Meadows appeared to direct Perry to Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), although Trump’s chief of staff misspelled the congressman’s first name as “Cip.”

“Roger, thank you. I will contact him now,” Perry wrote.

Roy’s text messages with Meadows were previously reported by CNN in April. When asked for comment on this series, a spokesperson for Roy pointed to a statement he issued at that time declaring, “​​No apologies for my private texts or public positions.”

As time went on, Perry appeared to become increasingly consumed by conspiracy theories related to the election. On the morning of Nov. 12, he sent a flurry of messages to Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). Perry’s download to the pair began with a rambling 501-word, six-part strategy for challenging the vote in Pennsylvania that Perry said he was forwarding from a legislator in the state. Perry described the missive as a “a reasonable assessment,” but it was filled with easily debunked election delusions.

“People think Dominion software was hacked,” the lengthy text said, referencing a voting machine company that was central to many 2020 conspiracies. Multiple Trump administration officials have testified that the claims about Dominion had no merit. In some of his text messages, Meadows actually indicated he was skeptical of the theory. Dominion ultimately filed a series of defamation lawsuits against Trump allies who pushed the theory publicly. While some of those cases are ongoing, the company has had some success in initial court decisions.

Perry followed that message up by sending Meadows and Jordan what he described as a tip received “from an intel friend.”

“DNI needs to task NSA to immediately seize and begin looking for international comms related to Dominion – was china malware involved?” Perry wrote.

One minute later, he added that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — run at that time by a former House colleague of his — needed to “audit their overseas accounts at CIA” and also take a look at the National Endowment for Democracy, a grantmaking organization for foreign NGOs. It’s not clear how the endowment was supposed to be involved. The organization’s board of directors includes prominent Trump allies: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Elliott Abrams, a Trump administration diplomat. Meadows’ text logs do not show any reply to Perry’s messages from Meadows or Jordan. Nevertheless, he persisted.

“This whole situation was seen coming a hundred miles away and they did nothing,” Perry wrote, adding, “And Gina is still running around on the Hill covering for the Brits who helped quarterback this entire operation.”

Perry’s message is seemingly a reference to a massive cover-up being orchestrated by Trump CIA director Gina Haspel and the United Kingdom. While the log doesn’t contain any response from Meadows or Jordan to these messages. Jordan and his office did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

On the afternoon of Nov. 12, Meadows wrote Perry asking if one of his contacts would be “willing to sign an affidavit,” presumably detailing claims about the election. Perry was, of course, eager to make the connection and also shared another series of conspiracy theories about the vote in his home state.

Scott Perry

Believe me, I’m going to do everything I can including putting you on the phone with her. Also, apparently, our dept of state shut down all its systems on Oct 2/3 and lost all its data requiring them to replace all their hard drives. Don’t know yet if it matters but the state legislative auditors are holding that for their subpoenas next week.


One week later, on Nov. 19, Perry let Meadows know he was working with “Rudy’s folks in Philly,” an apparent reference to the legal effort being run by Trump’s personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Over the next few days, Perry communicated with Meadows about connecting Pennsylvania lawmakers both with “Rudy’s folks” and Trump. Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Perry also expressed a desire to push U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bill McSwain, a Trump appointee, to investigate the vote. McSwain’s decision not to challenge the results was apparently a source of frustration for Trump. Earlier this year, as McSwain mounted an unsuccessful bid for governor, Trump attacked him for doing “absolutely nothing on the massive election fraud that took place in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth.”

Scott Perry

Thanks for doing that. Talking with Rudy’s folks in Philly, they want the PA legislative leaders invited ASAP for Sunday or Monday. They are in all day tomorrow passing the budget so that’s out. Let me know if you want to discuss it.


Mark Meadows

As long as you are coordinating. That is fine


Scott Perry

The call will have to come from The White House.


Mark Meadows

Can you send me the number for the speaker and the leader of PA Legislature. POTUS wants to chat with them


Scott Perry

Yes sir


Scott Perry

What will it take for Bill Mcswain to open an investigation?


Perry’s correspondence with Meadows, as recorded in the log, thinned out in Dec. 2020. However, the congressman was clearly still on board with the effort to challenge Trump’s loss. On Dec. 19, Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), who was playing a leading role organizing the objection to the electoral certification that was set to take place at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, wrote Meadows a message where he indicated he was confident Perry would back the effort. Perry was ultimately one of the 147 congressional Republicans who objected to the electoral certification in the hours after the Capitol was stormed by Trump supporters.

On Christmas Eve 2020, Perry tried to connect with Meadows.

“Mark, let me know if we can talk some strategy. Just a few minutes,” he wrote.

There was no reply in the logs. Perry texted Meadows again after the holiday. His tone was decidedly urgent.

“Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down. 11 days to 1/6 and 25 days to inauguration. We gotta get going!” Perry wrote.

Just over a half hour later, Perry was pressing Meadows to install Jeffrey Clark, the assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s natural resources section, as acting attorney general.

Clark became the central figure in a bizarre episode where Trump essentially tried to launch a coup through the DOJ, attempting to enlist federal law enforcement in his campaign to reverse his defeat.

As the linchpin of that plan, Trump wanted Clark, a longtime environmental lawyer and staunch loyalist, installed as acting attorney general. On his Twitter page, Clark has described himself as someone who was simply “concerned about the 2020 election” and as “one of the top targets of the politically motivated J6 Committee.”

Per a Senate Judiciary Committee report released last year, if he was placed atop the Justice Department, the plan was for Clark to send letters to multiple swing states informing them the DOJ had concluded that their election results were indeterminate. That report identified Perry as the one who introduced Clark to Trump.

The texts show Perry was pressing Meadows to speak with Clark over and over again.

Scott Perry

Mark, you should call Jeff. I just got off the phone with him and he explained to me why the principal deputy won’t work especially with the FBI. They will view it as as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done.


Mark Meadows

I got it. I think I understand. Let me work on the deputy position


Part of what Clark was meant to do once in power was tee up the White House to make use of an executive order that Trump signed in 2018. That order, which was nominally aimed at combating foreign interference in American elections, granted broad power to the president and his Cabinet to impose sanctions if law enforcement officials declared there had been foreign meddling. In the wake of his loss, various Trump allies fixated on the order and the idea that a declaration of outside interference in the election could trigger all manner of responses, including the seizure of voting machines and martial law.

Perry appeared to be convinced there had been foreign interference. Per the texts, he was fixated on what later became known as “ItalyGate.” This conspiracy theory posited that Trump’s loss was really due to a hacking effort masterminded by an Italian defense contractor that used military-grade satellites to zap voting machines and steal the election for Biden. A House committee found last year that Meadows urged senior DOJ officials to investigate the theory, while the Jan. 6 committee found that a Trump appointee got the Pentagon to examine it. Per the Senate report, on both Dec. 29 and Dec. 30, 2020, Meadows urged DOJ officials to investigate ItalyGate.

On Dec. 30, Perry texted Meadows that “US 18-95” had been poorly explained at a meeting the previous day — an apparent reference to the U.S. statute that governs the activities of foreign agents on American soil.

On New Year’s Eve, shortly before midnight, Perry had another idea that he texted to Meadows.

“Why can’t we just work with the Italian government?” Perry asked.

He followed that message up with a link to a YouTube video outlining the conspiracy. Days later, on Jan. 2, 2021, Perry was juggling both the alleged Italian menace and the fate of Jeff Clark, whose bid to become attorney general was imploding as senior DOJ and White House legal officials threatened Trump with mass resignations were he to be appointed AG.

Perry pressed Meadows to get Trump on the phone with Rome. According to the log, Perry sent Meadows a message that seemed to suggest Trump should reach out to former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose name was misspelled in Perry’s text.

“Also,has POTUS been able to have a conversation with Conti? Can he move the ball today?” Perry asked.

The log does not include any responses from Meadows to Perry’s various messages about ItalyGate. However, it seemed Perry was aware Meadows was in communication with Clark.

“Please call me the instant you get off the phone with Jeff,” Perry wrote on the evening of Jan. 2.

Clark’s quest to become the country’s top federal law enforcement officer crashed and burned that very evening when DOJ officials spent hours persuading Trump to drop him as attorney general, putting an end to the scheme.

But it wasn’t the only plot afoot. The most dramatic of Trump’s efforts to stay in power came on Jan. 6 as the former president urged the thousands of his supporters who had converged on Washington to “fight like hell” as they stormed the U.S. Capitol. Perry, the texts show, was not done with the Trump White House after that fateful day. On Jan. 7, he sent Meadows one more message.

“Mark, please call when you can,” Perry wrote.

Rep. Scott Perry
A selection of key texts between Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Mark Meadows.


11/8/20 at 2:32 p.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, please do not delay in speaking with him or Sydney Powell.

11/9/20 at 10:25 p.m.

Scott Perry
Cleta asked if she should set up a C4 to deal with raising money and paying for the cyber portion. She offered to do it if necessary.

11/10/20 at 10:11 a.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, so you're read in on what I've done I just sent this text to Josh Steinman. It is his contact in Michigan who I got from Ronna Mcdaniel. Her name is: Kim Jornes. Josh, this is Kim from Michigan. She will be your initial contact for your cyber team there. She is loading signal and will await your correspondence regarding team contact and instructions. Acknowledge receipt please.

11/10/20 at 8:49 p.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, these are instructions are from the cyber forensic team. Please ensure widest dissemination and action. Plz tell every state senior that they need to: 1. Preserve the specific voting machines (scanners) used at the polling places where the glitch occurred. (Put them under lock and key - nobody touches them) 2. Preserve the machines at the precinct or tally location that were used to total the votes and upload them to the Internet or state counting facility. (Put them under lock and key - nobody touches them ) 3. Preserve all email communications with the officials responsible for the software updates, authorization software updates, and deploying software updates to the voting machines. 4. Preserve all non-email communications by the officials related to the same (text messages, imessages, whatsapp, etc) - and fact of phone calls (date/time stamps) 5. Preserve all communications (as listed in 3 and 4) by the voting machine technicians or corporate officials responsible for the creation and deployment of software updates. 6. Preserve all software logs, source code, continuous deployment/continuous integration logs, associated with the software updates process that resulted in the glitch. 7. Preserve the technicians, laptop, ipad, phone, or any other device used in the official execution of their duties to update voting machines

11/10/20 at 8:57 p.m.

Scott Perry
https://www.theepochtimes.com/pennsylva ... 4zmZyT7oEs

11/10/20 at 9:02 p.m.

Scott Perry
I still need a point of contact in Wisconsin and Arizona.

11/10/20 at 9:17 p.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, I need the contact for a guy named Alex who is supposed to be handling the cyber effort.

11/10/20 at 9:40 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Cip Roy

11/10/20 at 9:43 p.m.

Scott Perry
Roger, thank you. I will contact him now.

11/11/20 at 7:09 a.m.

Scott Perry
I spoke with Alex and things are more clear now. I'm going to keep working it but if I sense my involvement is impending, I will bail out.

11/12/20 at 1:08 p.m.

Scott Perry
Can you tell me who is in charge of the Wisconsin recount?

11/12/20 at 3:17 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Let me know if she is willing to sign an affidavit

11/12/20 at 3:29 p.m.

Scott Perry
Believe me, I'm going to do everything I can including putting you on the phone with her. Also, apparently, our dept of state shut down all its systems on Oct 2/3 and lost all its data requiring them to replace all their hard drives. Don't know yet if it matters but the state legislative auditors are holding that for their subpoenas next week.

11/19/20 at 10:11 p.m.

Scott Perry
Thanks for doing that. Talking with Rudy's folks in Philly, they want the PA legislative leaders invited ASAP for Sunday or Monday. They are in all day tomorrow passing the budget so that's out. Let me know if you want to discuss it.

11/20/20 at 6:29 a.m.

Mark Meadows
As long as you are coordinating. That is fine

11/20/20 at 7:44 a.m.

Scott Perry
The call will have to come from The White House.

11/21/20 at 9:30 a.m.

Mark Meadows
Can you send me the number for the speaker and the leader of PA Legislature. POTUS wants to chat with them

11/21/20 at 2:16 p.m.

Scott Perry
Yes sir

11/21/20 at 10:25 p.m.

Scott Perry
What will it take for Bill Mcswain to open an investigation?

12/24/20 at 10:16 p.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, let me know if we can talk some strategy. Just a few minutes.

12/26/20 at 7:24 p.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down. 11 days to 1/6 and 25 days to inauguration. We gotta get going!

12/26/20 at 7:55 p.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, you should call Jeff. I just got off the phone with him and he explained to me why the principal deputy won't work especially with the FBI. They will view it as as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done.

12/26/20 at 8:04 p.m.

Mark Meadows
I got it. I think I understand. Let me work on the deputy position

12/26/20 at 8:05 p.m.

Scott Perry
Roger. Just sent you something on Signal

12/27/20 at 7:07 p.m.

Scott Perry
Can you call me when you get a chance? I just want to talk to you for a few moments before I return the presidents call as requested.

12/28/20 at 11:23 a.m.

Scott Perry
Did you call Jeff Clark?

12/29/20 at 10:32 a.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, I sent you a note on signal

12/30/20 at 12:50 a.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, need to re-visit US 18-951. It was not explained well yesterday. I think can add important context.

12/30/20 at 1:25 p.m.

Scott Perry
Check your signal please.

12/31/20 at 11:44 p.m.

Scott Perry
Why can't we just work with the Italian government?

12/31/20 at 11:44 p.m.

Scott Perry
https://youtu.be/YwtbK5XXAMk

1/2/21 at 11:37 a.m.

Scott Perry
This is what I sent to Jim: I suspect we will be operating under the two-hour rule for limiting debate plus the rule that each member can speak only once for five minutes or less (3 USC 17).

1/2/21 at 11:37 a.m.

Scott Perry
Can we conclude this does not preclude the ability of the President of the Senate�Vice President Pence�to admit testimony before commencing the debate?

1/2/21 at 11:37 a.m.

Scott Perry
�admit testimony� means Senate or House convenes as committee of the whole and hears sworn statements from persons who are willing to offer evidence and views but who are NOT members of Congress.

1/2/21 at 11:38 a.m.

Scott Perry
�Debate� takes place in House solely between members of the House. And �debate� takes place in Senate solely between members of the Senate.

1/2/21 at 11:39 a.m.

Scott Perry
Also,has POTUS been able to have a conversation with Conti? Can he move the ball today?

1/2/21 at 10:51 p.m.

Scott Perry
Please call me the instant you get off the phone with Jeff.

1/5/21 at 4:28 p.m.

Scott Perry
Please check your signal

1/7/21 at 3:35 p.m.

Scott Perry
Mark, please call when you can


Hunter Walker (@hunterw) is an investigative reporter for Talking Points Memo. He is an author and former White House correspondent whose work has appeared in a variety of publications including: the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and New York Magazine. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

Josh Kovensky is an investigative reporter for Talking Points Memo, based in New York. He previously worked for the Kyiv Post in Ukraine, covering politics, business, and corruption there.


***************************

As The 2020 Election Slipped Away, Andy Biggs And Mark Meadows Schemed To Reverse The Vote In Arizona
by Kate Riga and Hunter Walker
December 12, 2022 8:31 p.m.

The election-night exchanges between Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Nov. 3, 2020, read like any other conversation between a campaign stakeholder and his ally in a battleground state.

They were watching the returns, hyper-focused on ballot batches and voting patterns. Biggs, who at the time was the chairman of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, was confident the election was going Trump’s way in Arizona.

“This is the first hour voting trend,” Andy texted Meadows. “Republicans voting at three times Dems.”

“Outstanding,” Meadows glowed in response.

But the record of texts between the two took a darker turn over the next few weeks as other networks followed the early projection from the Fox News decision desk and called the Grand Canyon State for Joe Biden. Even as Meadows and Biggs both seemingly acknowledged that the numbers looked grim for their man, they schemed together to put pressure on Arizona officials and to devise plans to challenge the election results.

Meadows’ conversations with Biggs during the period from Election Day until Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021, are part of a tranche of communication Meadows turned over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. TPM has obtained the text log, which includes messages exchanged between Meadows and at least 34 members of Congress discussing efforts to overturn Trump’s election loss. For this series, The Meadows Texts, we are relying on the identifications of those texting with Meadows that were made by the committee’s investigators. To read more about the story behind that text log and our procedures for publishing the messages, check out the introduction to this series.

Based on the log, Biggs was one of Meadows’ most frequent congressional correspondents, with the pair exchanging 63 messages. Biggs’ number was identified by committee investigators and independently confirmed by TPM. He did not respond to a request for comment. Biggs’ communications with Meadows paint a picture of two increasingly desperate men, grasping at fantastical conspiracy theories when the real votes did not produce a Trump win.

As Arizona slipped further from Trump’s reach, their texts became increasingly frantic. Late on election night, Fox News called the state for Biden. It was the first network to do so, and its decision prompted outrage on the right. While that projection eventually proved correct, other major decision desks were not yet ready to call the state. Biggs messaged Meadows with a plea: “Whatever happens no one can concede.”

Andy Biggs

So, Fox called bu this is the situation that has been reported to me: outstanding ballots are600-700K statewide. Those are dropped off and day of votes. Fox doesn’t know what they are doing. Too many votes. Probably one more report tonight.


Andy Biggs

Mark they will start counting in Maricopa county tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM and they will go and release only one report at the end of the day. Whatever happens no one can concede because the president will win the state. After you and I talked another 10,000 votes came the presidents way so please make sure no one in the campaign or press office says anything about conceding in Arizona because I am very confident that as this thing goes President Trump is going to win


On Nov. 6, as the votes were still being counted, Meadows wrote Biggs looking for any reason to be optimistic.

“Any hope for Az,” Meadows asked.

“I’ve been trying to get hold of our legal and party teams in Arizona,” Biggs replied, before scratching off his calculations of how much of the outstanding vote Trump had to win to come back. “So still doable,” he concluded.

But things were bleak for Trump and his allies. The Associated Press made its call several hours after Fox and the other major broadcast networks caught up in the next few days. By Friday, when Meadows was looking for a silver lining in Arizona, NBC, ABC and CBS had all projected Biden as the state’s victor.

Less than eight hours after he indicated an Arizona victory was still “doable” for Trump, Biggs had begun cooking up a plot to challenge the results in the state.

Andy Biggs

I’m sure you have heard of this proposal. It is to encourage the state legislatures to appoint a look doors in the various states where there’s been shenanigans. If I understand right most of those states have Republican Legislature’s. It seems to be comport with glorified Bush as well as the Constitution. And, well highly controversial, it can’t be much more controversial than the lunacy that were sitting out there now. And It would be pretty difficult because he would take governors and legislators with collective will and backbone to do that. Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?


Through the typos, Biggs seemed to be floating a variation of the fake electors scheme, a gambit where Trump allies would put their names to an alternate slate of electors that could be approved by Republican lawmakers in states Biden won. Versions of the plot became popular among members of the Trump camp as legal avenues to overturn the 2020 election dwindled, and the idea that Trump electors could be swapped in for Biden electors was key to Trump allies’ growing interest in the day when electoral votes would be counted and certified, Jan. 6. The fake electors schemes have led to multiple investigations.

On Nov. 6, Meadows was succinct in response:

“I love it,” he wrote.

While the two continued to track the numbers and tried to calculate the outstanding vote share in the state, it was clear that the door was closing. Even as they seemed to acknowledge the real results, the pair took a turn toward the tin foil-hatted and set aside the vote counts in favor of increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories that could help Trump clinch Arizona anyway. Biggs’ initial text with the “highly controversial” idea was previously published by CNN.

However, it is just one of several messages where Biggs proposed last-ditch, conspiracy-theory-fueled schemes to wrench back the state. Most of those messages are being reported here for the first time.

On Nov. 7, the day after he suggested the plan to have Republican-controlled state legislatures essentially throw out the results, Biggs sent Meadows another text urging Trump not to give up.

“Please don’t let the President concede. We must exhaust all options,” he wrote.

Trump — and Biggs — then set their sights on Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who had been an ally of the former president. On Nov. 8, Biggs indicated he had spoken directly with Trump, who had asked him to reach out to Ducey. The plan was apparently not a success.

Andy Biggs

Hey Mark the president asked me to call Governor Ducey I did and Ducey won’t talk to me he will only let me talk to his Chief of Staff. But based on hints that were given to me looks like the governor wants to punch this to county board of supervisors. I did talk to the legal team and as a result I’ve placed some calls to the board of supervisors without connecting so far. I’ll keep trying


Ducey famously resisted — and literally ignored — calls from Trump about refusing to certify Biden’s victory.

In the days after Biggs’ effort to contact the governor, as he continued monitoring and expressed frustration about the pace of returns, Biggs also seemed to acknowledge there were not enough real votes for Trump to win.

Mark Meadows

How many total ballots left


Andy Biggs

We think there’s still around 55-60k


Mark Meadows

Ok


Andy Biggs

Wait all day for 5k ballots… This is inexcusable.


Andy Biggs

Not enough


Andy Biggs

Still more than 40k provisional ballots and about 7.5k other ballots. Question is how many provisionals are valid


With the numbers going against them, Biggs dashed down the conspiracy rabbit hole. On Nov. 12, he wrote Meadows to advise him of a contact who wanted “to talk about dominion software.” Dominion Voting Systems and its beleaguered employees found themselves at the center of a MAGA-fueled firestorm when Trump’s allies and acolytes baselessly hypothesized that the voting hardware and software company had provided machinery that flipped Trump votes to Biden. Employees received floods of death threats, and the company ultimately lodged a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News, and separate lawsuits against other far-right news networks and Trump allies, for giving the lie life.

That same afternoon, Meadows seemingly set his sights on another local Republican to press for help. He asked Biggs to pass along contact information for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Biggs was happy to oblige.

Mark Meadows

Can you get me the attorney general of Arizona phone number


Andy Biggs

Yes


Mark Meadows

Thanks


The following day, Biggs suggested a new scapegoat in the form of undocumented immigrants, proposing to challenge the totals on the premise that immigrants had somehow fraudulently voted in great enough numbers to swing the election.

Andy Biggs

So one of the remedies that may still be left is to enjoin the certification of the election based on the Fed only ballots. If we can’t get the investigation done in time for that, we should make sure we have it done in time and can demonstrate that a significant number of illegal aliens votes in the election so that the legislature, when called into certify the electors, can reject them based on fraud. What do you think?


Meadows was also amenable to this scheme.

“I like it,” he replied.

As the month wound down, the pair mused over the “number of native Americans in Arizona.” Meadows also asked Biggs to get him Ducey’s cell phone. On Nov. 22, Biggs offered one more idea to reverse Trump’s loss: a plan to “audit” ballots, an idea he indicated he was exploring with Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward.

Andy Biggs

Also I am talking with Kelly Ward about the so-called adjudicated ballots. That’s the 130,000 ballots she’s talking about. I’m trying to get to the bottom of the process and see if there’s a way we can audit those


“Ok,” Meadows responded.

At this point, even Biggs seemed to realize their chances were slim.

“Don’t hold out false hope on that,” Biggs added. “But there is a glimmer potentially there but we shouldn’t get overhyped on it.”

By the end of the month, all that was left was the Trump legal team led by Rudy Giuliani, en route to Arizona for a rally. In a Nov. 29 message to Meadows, Biggs derisively referred Giuliani and his colleagues as “the circus.” But Biggs was clearly willing to join the sideshow.

“Hey Mark, the circus is coming to town tomorrow and I wanted your input. Giuliani and company will be in downtown Phoenix,” Biggs wrote. “I’m planning on being there. Anything I should look out for your address when I speak to the crowd?”

The following day, Nov. 30, Giuliani and his team held what they dubbed a “hearing” at a hotel in downtown Phoenix. In a recap of the session, the Arizona Republic newspaper noted that, despite the title, it was “not an official legislative event” and that Biggs and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) were seated behind Giuliani as various witnesses cast doubt on voting machines and ballot counting. Meanwhile, a few blocks away, as Giuliani’s “hearing” was underway, Ducey and Brnovich were together at the state’s Capitol certifying the election results. When Trump called the governor during that ceremony, he did not pick up.

Rep Andy Biggs

A selection of key texts between Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Mark Meadows.


11/3/20 at 10:08 a.m.

Andy Biggs
this is the first hour voting trend. Republicans voting at three times Dems.

11/3/20 at 10:10 a.m.

Mark Meadows
Outstanding

11/3/20 at 6:35 p.m.

Andy Biggs
This is the latest. We've expanded our leader Democrats to well over 30,000 votes. Also I called my consultants again and they tell me that the independence are probably breaking even better than two or 3% for Trump because they're so active today. And that an independent voting for Biden would've already done it through mail in ballot because they don�t trust the Covid. Ha ha

11/3/20 at 11:31 p.m.

Andy Biggs
So, Fox called bu this is the situation that has been reported to me: outstanding ballots are600-700K statewide. Those are dropped off and day of votes. Fox doesn't know what they are doing. Too many votes. Probably one more report tonight.

11/4/20 at 2:59 a.m.

Andy Biggs
Mark they will start counting in Maricopa county tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM and they will go and release only one report at the end of the day. Whatever happens no one can concede because the president will win the state. After you and I talked another 10,000 votes came the presidents way so please make sure no one in the campaign or press office says anything about conceding in Arizona because I am very confident that as this thing goes President Trump is going to win

11/4/20 at 9:14 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Still about 340k Maricopa County ballots. And 180k additional statewide

11/4/20 at 9:15 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Ok

11/4/20 at 9:19 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Not enough to help us get there

11/4/20 at 9:20 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Well he won by 59% of the 75,000 some odd votes today. He needs to win by 56% of everything to win so I think there's plenty of boats there provided the ratio stay strong

11/4/20 at 9:20 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Ok

11/6/20 at 12:52 a.m.

Mark Meadows
Any hope for Az

11/6/20 at 12:54 a.m.

Andy Biggs
I've been trying to get hold of our legal and party teams in Arizona. By my calculations president needs to win about 59 1/2% of the outstanding balance to win. There are 225,000 statewide balance (140,000 Maricopa county ballots left ). So still doable

11/6/20 at 8:48 p.m.

Andy Biggs
I'm sure you have heard of this proposal. It is to encourage the state legislatures to appoint a look doors in the various states where there's been shenanigans. If I understand right most of those states have Republican Legislature�s. It seems to be comport with glorified Bush as well as the Constitution. And, well highly controversial, it can't be much more controversial than the lunacy that were sitting out there now. And It would be pretty difficult because he would take governors and legislators with collective will and backbone to do that. Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?

11/6/20 at 8:56 p.m.

Mark Meadows
I love it.

11/7/20 at 2:51 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Please don't let the President concede. We must exhaust all options

11/8/20 at 4:17 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Hey Mark the president asked me to call Governor Ducey I did and Ducey won't talk to me he will only let me talk to his Chief of Staff. But based on hints that were given to me looks like the governor wants to punch this to county board of supervisors. I did talk to the legal team and as a result I've placed some calls to the board of supervisors without connecting so far. I'll keep trying

11/10/20 at 8:24 p.m.

Mark Meadows
How many total ballots left

11/10/20 at 8:25 p.m.

Andy Biggs
We think there's still around 55-60k

11/10/20 at 8:25 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Ok

11/10/20 at 9:22 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Wait all day for 5k ballots... This is inexcusable.

11/11/20 at 10:19 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Not enough

11/12/20 at 11:49 a.m.

Andy Biggs
This guy is the one that wants to talk about dominion software Thanks

11/12/20 at 3:44 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Can you get me the attorney general of Arizona phone number

11/12/20 at 3:50 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Yes

11/12/20 at 3:57 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Thanks

11/13/20 at 1:50 p.m.

Andy Biggs
So one of the remedies that may still be left is to enjoin the certification of the election based on the Fed only ballots. If we can't get the investigation done in time for that, we should make sure we have it done in time and can demonstrate that a significant number of illegal aliens votes in the election so that the legislature, when called into certify the electors, can reject them based on fraud. What do you think?

11/13/20 at 2:13 p.m.

Mark Meadows
I like it

11/17/20 at 6:56 p.m.

Andy Biggs
I'm speaking to the Arizona GOP executive board tonight. Anything you'd like me to tell them in particular

11/18/20 at 7:40 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Mark the total number of native Americans in Arizona is an excess of 425,000. I'm waiting for the number of voters to come back

11/22/20 at 6:55 p.m.

Mark Meadows
What is gov Ducey cell phone

11/22/20 at 6:57 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Also I am talking with Kelly Ward about the so-called adjudicated ballots. That's the 130,000 ballots she's talking about. I'm trying to get to the bottom of the process and see if there's a way we can audit those

11/22/20 at 6:59 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Ok

11/22/20 at 7:00 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Don't hold out false hope on that but there is a glimmer potentially there but we shouldn't get overhyped on it

11/22/20 at 7:00 p.m.

Mark Meadows
Ok

11/29/20 at 7:14 p.m.

Andy Biggs
Hey Mark, the circus is coming to town tomorrow and I wanted your input. Giuliani and company will be in downtown Phoenix I'm planning on being there. Anything I should look out for your address when I speak to the crowd?


Kate Riga (@Kate_Riga24) is a D.C. reporter for TPM and cohost of the Josh Marshall Podcast.

Hunter Walker (@hunterw) is an investigative reporter for Talking Points Memo. He is an author and former White House correspondent whose work has appeared in a variety of publications including: the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and New York Magazine. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Wed Dec 14, 2022 5:37 am

Experts say a Trump-backed charity is pushing the boundaries of tax law
Tom Dreisbach
NPR
August 31, 2022

5:06 AM ET

[x]
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, right, and former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, left, attend a summit organized by the America First Policy Institute on July 25. Meadows and DeMint have both been involved with the Conservative Partnership Institute, a nonprofit raising concerns among tax experts. Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA via Reuters

In a Washington, D.C., townhouse just blocks from the U.S. Capitol, multiple figures connected to the failed plot to overturn the 2020 election have coalesced around an increasingly influential organization: the nonprofit Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI).

Among those at the center of the group are former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Trump campaign lawyer Cleta Mitchell. Both Meadows and Mitchell have been subpoenaed by a grand jury as part of a Georgia district attorney's investigation into former President Donald Trump's effort to overturn the election.

An NPR review of social media accounts, campaign finance records and leaked audio suggests that CPI may be risking legal trouble as well over its tax-exempt status. Experts in tax law told NPR that the nonprofit group appears to be pushing the boundaries of charity law by closely entwining itself with explicitly Republican and pro-Trump political organizations.

"If I was looking at this as an IRS agent or as an outside lawyer for that matter, I would say there's enough here that I want to do some digging," said Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, an expert in nonprofit law at the University of Notre Dame School of Law. "There are definitely yellow flags here."

As an IRS-recognized charity, CPI is exempt from certain federal, state and local taxes. That status also gives CPI's donors the lucrative benefit of deducting their contributions at tax time. But, as Mitchell herself has noted, those benefits come with some strings attached by federal law.

"We are a nonpartisan, educational, charitable organization," Mitchell told the audience for a CPI "Election Integrity Summit" in March. "We don't endorse candidates. We don't endorse political parties."

Mitchell's comment that day about CPI remaining nonpartisan was conspicuous given the event's programming, which involved a collaboration between CPI, the Republican National Committee and other conservative groups.

The IRS has an "absolute" ban on charities from participating — both "directly" and "indirectly" — in any political candidates' campaigns. In general, these groups are allowed to comment on political issues. Charities can even get involved in nonpartisan voter registration, but are more tightly restricted when it comes to candidates and campaigns. The IRS also prohibits charities from working significantly for a non-charitable "private benefit," as opposed to the public good. In one landmark case, the IRS revoked a group's nonprofit status for providing benefits to a political party. Organizations that violate the law can also be hit with tax penalties.

At CPI's event in Pennsylvania, according to leaked audio obtained by the investigative watchdog organization Documented, two RNC "election integrity" officials told the audience about how to enlist in the party's poll watching efforts in the 2022 midterms. Those efforts, they said, could help with the Republicans' election-related legal challenges.

The room also buzzed with support for Trump's past and possibly future campaigns.

"Donald Trump did not lose Pennsylvania!" said a Republican county commissioner. (President Biden defeated Trump in Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes in 2020.)

"I was on Trump's campaign in 2016, I was on in '20. Hopefully, I'll be on in '24 if he hires me," said another speaker, Mike Roman.

A local Tea Party leader asked the crowd, "How many of you would like to see Trump run again?"

After some applause, he added, "Why would Trump run again? Because he loves America."

Twitter accounts from CPI have also explicitly discussed political candidates.

The account for CPI's Election Integrity Network has retweeted the campaign accounts of U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., as well as Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor.

[x]
The Election Integrity Network, a project of the nonprofit Conservative Partnership Institute, amplified a tweet from the campaign account for Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for Arizona governor. "That's no different than CPI handing out copies of the campaign's campaign literature," said Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. Screenshot via Twitter

"That's no different than CPI handing out copies of the campaign's campaign literature," argued the University of Notre Dame's Mayer. "That violates the prohibition on campaign intervention."

The Election Integrity Network also tweeted an article that criticized the campaign of Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney ahead of her primary election, which she ultimately lost to a Republican rival.

"That's also across the line," asserted Mayer, who noted the law has "zero tolerance" for charities and political campaign activity.

Another official CPI Twitter account also promoted an op-ed from its chairman, former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, about what congressional Republicans should do to win the 2020 election. (DeMint's advice: "be more like Trump.") After NPR contacted CPI for comment and asked about that post, every tweet from CPI from before March 2022 was deleted.

CPI declined to answer specific questions for this story on the record. In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for CPI said, "the Conservative Partnership Institute fully complies with the IRS rules on tax-exempt organization activity. CPI does not engage in any political campaign activity."

The IRS declined to comment.

What is CPI?

The Conservative Partnership Institute has rapidly staked out territory in Washington, D.C., as a central hub for the pro-Trump wing of the Republican Party.

The staunchly conservative DeMint founded CPI in 2017 after a stint at the head of The Heritage Foundation. DeMint ascended in the Republican Party around the time of the 2010 Tea Party-backed wave election, and was widely considered a conservative "kingmaker." On paperwork filed with the IRS, CPI defined its mission as providing "the conservative movement with the tools, tactics, resources, and strategies to help make it successful in advancing conservative policy solutions." Charities are allowed to advocate and discuss issues from an ideological perspective, even if that perspective is more closely aligned with one political party or another, as long as they tread carefully when discussing specific candidates or groups of candidates.

In addition to Meadows, other members of the Trump administration also joined CPI and its connected entities, including former White House speechwriter Stephen Miller and former Department of Justice lawyer Jeff Clark. Like Mitchell and Meadows, Clark has also faced investigation for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election, and FBI agents executed a search at his home earlier this year.

CPI has dramatically increased its fundraising since its inception, and raised nearly $20 million in 2021, according to their annual report. As a nonprofit, CPI does not have to publicly disclose its donors. Federal Election Commission records, however, indicate that Trump's "Save America" political action committee gave CPI $1 million in 2021, and Trump has promoted CPI's work.

In addition to "election integrity" events held around the country, CPI says it has provided media, marketing, accounting and legal services for conservative members of Congress. The organization has compared itself to a "WeWork" space for conservatives, where they have access to TV and podcast recording studios. CPI boasts in its 2021 annual report that it hosted multiple Republican lawmakers' podcasts, including Rep. Ken Buck's "Shootin' Straight with Ken Buck" and Rep. Andy Biggs' "What's the BIGGS Idea?" The group also said it provided training to dozens of conservative members of Congress and more than 200 congressional staffers in 2021.

CPI has played a key role in developing plans to fire tens of thousands of career federal workers in a second Trump administration, according to reporting from Axios.

Many of the legal restrictions on CPI's activity comes from its status as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. Different kinds of tax-exempt nonprofits have much more freedom to get involved in politics. 501(c)(4) "social welfare" organizations like the National Rifle Association and the League of Conservation Voters, for example, have become key players in political contests.

But 501(c)(3) groups have a key advantage that 501(c)(4) organizations lack: Their donors can deduct their contributions.

"You can provide long-lasting support for the Conservative Partnership Institute while enjoying financial benefits for yourself," CPI says on its website. The site includes information on how people can include CPI in their wills and get a deduction on the estate tax, for example, or donate stock to reduce their capital gains tax. The Election Integrity Network project of CPI also separately solicits "tax-deductible" contributions. And CPI has reportedly received donations from some mega-rich individuals.

Campaign finance records and leaked audio raise more concerns for CPI

Campaign finance records have indicated that three Republican candidates --Colorado's Boebert, Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, — paid CPI thousands of dollars for "campaign events" and "fundraising events" in 2021.

[x]

If those records are accurate, Mayer said, they could raise serious concerns for CPI.

"CPI can't be hosting campaign events for anybody," said Mayer, "unless they were, for example, hosting them for anybody across the political spectrum."

FEC records do not indicate any Democratic campaign has paid CPI for any purpose.

After NPR asked about those records, the Lee campaign amended its FEC filing to state that it paid CPI for "food and beverage" rather than "fundraising events."

"Upon review, the filing has been amended to reflect the more accurate nature of the payment which was to cover the cost of food and catering for dinners attended by various U.S. Senators related to their official duties," said Lee campaign adviser Matt Lusty. "These funds were not disbursed to facilitate fundraising events."

The Boebert and Braun campaigns did not respond to NPR's requests for comment. FEC disclosure forms state that there are potential legal penalties for filing "false, erroneous, or incomplete" information.

Leaked audio from another CPI "election integrity" event in March 2022 raised other potential concerns.

At that event, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told a crowd that Republicans had recently made big progress in registering more voters than Democrats. Then, DeSantis said to cheers from the audience, "We need everybody to come out and really, really have a huge, huge November in the state of Florida. I think there's gonna be opportunities to do a lot of great things across the country — House, Senate, governors' races."

DeSantis is currently running for reelection. DeSantis' press secretary, Bryan Griffin, told NPR that, "this was not an official event," as part of his duties as governor.

Philip Hackney, a former lawyer in the IRS' office of general counsel, said if he was CPI's attorney, DeSantis' appearance "would give me heartburn."

Charities can invite political candidates to their events in a non-candidate capacity. But, in those cases, the IRS says the charity must then maintain "a nonpartisan atmosphere" and ensure "no campaign activity occurs in connection with the candidate's attendance."

Mitchell has tried to get ahead of scrutiny of CPI's nonprofit status by suggesting the group would also provide a platform for Democrats at its election integrity events, even though the events are largely premised on the false claim that Trump won the 2020 election. One event even featured an activist who promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory.

"I've written letters to the Democratic Party saying, 'would you like to participate with us in our sessions?'" Mitchell said at an event in Pennsylvania earlier this year. "I have not yet gotten a response."

Representatives of the Democratic National Committee and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party said they were unaware of receiving any invitation from Mitchell to that event, but said they needed more information to be certain — especially if an email was sent to, for example, a general inbox.

NPR called and emailed Mitchell multiple times and asked about whom she might have contacted without receiving a response. When Mitchell eventually answered her phone, she said she was out of the country, and added, "I'm not going to talk to you anyway," before hanging up. CPI declined to provide documentation or answer questions about Mitchell's assertion.

Is CPI providing a "private benefit" to Republican Party groups?

In addition to the concerns about overlapping with political campaigns, tax experts told NPR the group is risking additional scrutiny about whether it's operating for the benefit of Republican Party entities.

Mayer and Hackney both pointed to the facts in a case from the 1980s, which bears striking similarities to the situation with CPI.

In 1986, staffers with the National Republican Congressional Committee incorporated the American Campaign Academy as a charity with the mission of training people to work on political campaigns.

The IRS and the U.S. Tax Court found that American Campaign Academy was acting "more than incidentally" for the private benefit of the Republican Party, in part because trainees were on to work for predominantly Republican candidates and officials. As part of its analysis, the court noted that the American Campaign Academy "had significant ties to the Republican party."

In addition to podcast and media services for Republican elected officials, CPI has also spent tens of thousands of dollars to fly dozens of conservative Republican members of Congress to policy retreats hosted at luxury resorts.

A February 2021 retreat took place at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla. A year later, CPI also paid for representatives' flights and lodging for a retreat at the oceanfront Ritz-Carlton resort on Florida's Amelia Island. Nearly all of the invitees were members of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus, including Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.

CPI's collaboration with the RNC on "election integrity" events is also reflected in the group's downloadable "Citizens Guide To Building An Election Integrity Infrastructure." The guide asserts that it is nonpartisan, but also specifically references how people can work with "the local GOP."

"If you simply work for one party or the other, you are likely stepping over the line," said Hackney, who is now a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Lax IRS enforcement generally

Groups like CPI may be more willing to push the boundaries of charity law because of an overall lack of IRS enforcement.

[x]

"There's very little enforcement at all in the IRS in general, much less among the [tax] exempt organizations part of it," said Ellen Aprill of Loyola Law School.

Between 2010 and 2018, the IRS lost 15,000 enforcement employees, which, unsurprisingly, led to less enforcement.

Nearly 1.5 million tax-exempt organizations filed tax returns in 2019, according to a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Of that large group, only about 2,000 — or 0.13% of the total — were even examined by the IRS.

In the last two decades, the IRS has also faced significant blowback when it looked into whether tax-exempt groups were violating rules around political campaign activity.

In 2004, the IRS launched an audit of the NAACP in response to a speech that criticized then-President George W. Bush and his handling of the Iraq War. The NAACP and Democrats angrily denounced the IRS action, and the NAACP was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing.

In 2013, the IRS faced even more criticism from conservatives for allegedly improperly targeting conservative Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status. The IRS official at the center of the controversy, Lois Lerner, resigned under pressure. A subsequent bipartisan Senate investigation and an investigation from a Treasury Department inspector general found that the IRS had acted improperly with both liberal and conservative-leaning groups, by screening for keywords linked to Occupy Wall Street as well as the Tea Party. Republican and Democratic congressional investigators ultimately split on the question of whether the IRS singled out conservative groups due to political bias.

"The IRS was so hammered during the Tea Party controversy that you're just not seeing enforcement in these cases," said Hackney.

Aprill agreed, saying that the controversy, "seems as if it has burned their fingers some."

Before joining CPI, Cleta Mitchell worked as a lawyer for conservative groups that accused the IRS of targeting. She said the agency was illegitimate, and called for a radical solution: amend the Constitution to eliminate federal income tax, and "abolish the IRS."

"It has too much power, too much money, too many employees and it needs to be absolutely jerked out at the roots," Mitchell told Congress in 2014.

After losing staff and resources over the last several years, however, the IRS has recently received a major infusion of funding from the Inflation Reduction Act recently passed by Democrats and signed by President Biden. The IRS has said "it will take time" to implement the law, and it remains to be seen whether more funding will lead to additional scrutiny of groups like CPI.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Dec 19, 2022 6:40 am

Why Fanone thinks GOP lawmakers that defied subpoenas should be arrested
CNN
Dec 18, 2022

CNN law enforcement analyst and former officer who defended the Capitol on January 6, Michael Fanone, discusses potential criminal referrals by the January 6th House select committee to the Justice Department for former President Trump's role in the insurrection. #CNN #News



Transcript

The other big story we are
0:06
following this afternoon, the
0:07
house investigating January
0:11
6th.
0:11
In less than 24 hours the panel
0:13
is expected to make criminal
0:15
referrals to the justice
0:15
department, recommending the
0:18
prosecution former president
0:19
Donald Trump.
0:20
The referrals are expected to
0:22
include charges of insurrection,
0:24
obstruction of an official
0:26
proceeding, and conspiracy to
0:28
defraud the federal government.
0:29
It will be the culmination of
0:30
almost a year and a half of
0:32
investigations into the former
0:33
president, his allies, and the
0:34
attempt to overturn the 2020
0:35
election.
0:36
>> As a former prosecutor, I
0:42
think there is sufficient
0:43
evidence to charge the
0:43
president.
0:44
>> To get a conviction, though?
0:46
>> I don't know what the
0:47
justice department has, what in
0:49
the public record.
0:50
It seems pretty plain to me.
0:52
This is someone who in multiple
0:55
ways trying to pressure state
0:57
officials to find votes that
0:59
didn't exist, this is someone
1:01
who tried to interfere with a
1:03
joint session, even inciting a
1:05
mob to attack the capitol.
1:07
If that's not criminal, then I
1:10
don't know what is.
1:11
>> Joining me now, one of the
1:15
officers who defended the
1:16
capitol on January 6th, law
1:18
enforcement analyst and former
1:19
D.C. Metropolitan police
1:20
officer, Michael pinon.
1:22
He's the author of the book,
1:23
hold the line.
1:24
The insurrection and one cops
1:26
battle for America's soul.
1:27
Mike, thanks again for being
1:29
with us.
1:29
As always, we appreciate it.
1:30
We are at the end of a 17 month
1:34
congressional investigation
1:34
into everything that happened
1:36
that day.
1:36
You and I have talked about
1:38
this several times.
1:38
I know you've been pessimistic
1:40
about any kind of prospect of
1:41
trump being brought up on
1:43
charges, ultimately, for his
1:44
role in what happened on
1:46
January 6th.
1:46
Does the committee offering up
1:48
these criminal referrals to the
1:50
justice department, do you
1:51
think it moves us in that
1:53
direction of seeing charges,
1:55
real criminal charges, a
1:57
prosecution brought against the
1:58
former president?
1:58
What do you think?
1:59
>> I mean, I don't know if this
2:05
is going to have any influence
2:07
on the department of justice.
2:09
Obviously, at that executive
2:13
level of government agencies,
2:16
politics does play a part in
2:18
their decision-making, despite
2:18
them saying it does not.
2:21
I think it is appropriate that
2:25
this is the way the select
2:26
committee concludes the 17
2:30
month investigation.
2:31
Although for me, I don't need a
2:34
piece of paper referring
2:35
criminal charges for
2:39
individuals that were the
2:40
target of that investigation.
2:43
The investigation, and the
2:46
evidence that it turned up in
2:47
and of itself, to me, is the
2:51
criminal referral.
2:54
>> And as we just mentioned,
2:55
the committee is expected to
2:56
urge the department of justice
2:58
to prosecute trump on three
2:59
charges, including insurrection.
3:02
The referral of criminal
3:04
charges, the president will be
3:06
a moment in American history.
3:07
Icing will close out the day
3:10
tomorrow with that headline, in
3:12
every newspaper across the
3:13
country, on every television
3:14
network across the country.
3:17
Will that feel like any measure
3:19
of justice for you?
3:20
>> For me, personally, no.
3:24
There's a lot of people that I
3:26
have spoken to, specifically in
3:28
Washington, that are like, well,
3:30
he was twice impeached.
3:30
That's a big deal.
3:31
Well, I think for the average
3:33
American, that doesn't mean
3:34
anything.
3:36
There were no consequences as a
3:38
result of that.
3:39
And quite frankly, I don't
3:41
believe political
3:42
accountability is real
3:44
accountability.
3:45
This is a person who, there is
3:49
a significant amount of
3:50
evidence that has been turned
3:52
up that he committed criminal
3:54
acts, as well as many of his
3:57
allies.
3:58
Some of whom are still in power
3:59
today.
4:00
And so I think that the only
4:05
accountability is criminal
4:05
accountability.
4:07
Donald Trump should be indicted,
4:10
as should his coconspirators
4:13
and allies that have supported
4:15
the crimes that he committed,
4:17
and he committed crimes
4:20
themselves.
4:20
Those individuals should be put
4:22
on trial for America, and as
4:25
I've said before, we should
4:26
accept the results of that
4:28
trial, even if they are in fact
4:33
a conviction, which leads
4:35
Donald Trump to serve time in
4:36
prison.
4:37
>> And what would that charge
4:40
be?
4:40
What should be indicted on, do
4:41
you think?
4:43
>> Obviously, I believe he is
4:47
guilty of obstruction, and I do
4:51
believe that he, along with
4:53
members of his administration
4:56
and his allies not engaged in
5:00
efforts to defraud the American
5:00
people.
5:02
By lying about the results of
5:05
the 2020 election, which was
5:09
proven to have been free and
5:11
fair, and that as a result of
5:14
those lies, and the pressure
5:17
campaign that he and his allies
5:22
engaged in, that we saw the
5:25
violence that played out on
5:27
January 6th at united's
5:28
capital.
5:28
>> The committee is also
5:33
considering whether to hold
5:35
Republican lawmakers
5:36
accountable for defying their
5:37
subpoenas during the
5:39
investigation.
5:39
Mike, as you saw throughout the
5:40
investigation, up on capitol
5:42
hill, several members of
5:43
congress were able to thumb
5:46
their nose at the committee and
5:47
not participate.
5:48
What do you think should happen
5:48
there?
5:50
>> I mean, listen, I was a cop
5:56
for 20 years.
5:57
And if you defied a subpoena,
6:00
you were arrested.
6:02
That's it.
6:03
I know that there has been talk
6:06
about --
6:08
there may not be any official
6:12
mechanism to do so, other than
6:16
I guess the United States
6:18
police, or maybe it's the house
6:20
and senate sergeant at arms.
6:22
But listen, they need to --
6:24
if you are going to restore the
6:26
credibility of congress in
6:28
leading these kinds of
6:31
investigations, people that
6:32
defy subpoenas should be
6:33
arrested.
6:34
Subpoenasand, talent Kinzinger, our key
6:39
member of the January six
6:40
committee.
6:41
He is leaving congress and in
6:42
his farewell speech on the
6:44
floor, he reflected on the cost
6:45
that came with pursuing the
6:47
truth.
6:48
Let's listen to that.
6:48
>> Had I know that standing up
6:51
for truth would cost me my job,
6:55
friendships, and even my
6:57
personal security I would --
7:00
without hesitation, do it all
7:02
over again.
7:04
>> I can rest easy at night,
7:06
knowing that I fulfilled my all
7:09
oath to the office.
7:10
I know many in this institution
7:12
cannot do the same.
7:15
>> What do you think about that,
7:17
Mike?
7:17
>> I suppose you probably can
7:20
relate to what he just said
7:21
there.
7:22
>> Oh, absolutely.
7:25
Adam is one of the few members
7:27
of congress that I have
7:31
considerable considerable
7:32
amount of respect for and also
7:33
the privilege to call a
7:35
personal friend of mine.
7:37
There are a lot of parallels
7:39
between his experiences and my
7:42
experience, especially when it
7:44
comes to the amount of threats
7:46
that have been leveled against
7:49
our families.
7:50
That being said, I kind of
7:55
developed this saying when I
7:59
speak to people that the truth
8:00
will set you free from in
8:02
employment.
8:05
Unfortunately, that seems to be
8:09
the way of the world.
8:10
At least in regards to here in
8:12
America, at this point in time.
8:15
>> But you and other officers
8:18
were awarded the congressional
8:20
gold medal for your response to
8:22
the riot, to the insurrection.
8:24
Have you had some time to
8:29
reflect on that moment?
8:30
>> I'm --
8:32
I mean, in a way, I guess.
8:36
I don't want to take away from
8:38
the experience that these other
8:42
officers that had that.
8:44
Many of whom, it was the first
8:46
that they were recognized for
8:50
what they did on January 6th,
8:52
which was nothing short of
8:55
incredibly courageous and
8:57
selfless.
9:01
And fortunately, I got to see
9:04
how the sausage is made in
9:06
regards to that awards so it
9:11
lost a lot of its significance
9:13
and meaning for me personally.
9:15
Also, all timidly, I paid a
9:18
high price to advocate --
9:23
advocating for acknowledgment
9:25
for all of those other officers
9:30
that I saw fight so bravely on
9:34
January 6th.
9:34
>> Mike, there are so many
9:38
Americans around the country so
9:40
thank here for what you did on
9:41
that day, and rest of the
9:42
officers, as you mentioned who
9:44
defended the capitol on January
9:45
6th.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 2:54 am

Trump spreads holiday jeers with Truth Social rant directed at ‘Radical Left Marxists,’ ‘Department of Injustice’
by Mark Moore
New York Post
December 25, 2022 12:16pm Updated

[x]
Former President Donald Trump took to Truth Social over the holidays to blast the media, the Jan. 6 committee and the Justice Department, among others. AFP via Getty Images.

‘Twas the night before Christmas at Mar-a-Lago and not a creature was stirring — except for the former president, who was ranting.

Donald Trump expressed his version of goodwill to all in a Christmas Eve posting on his Truth Social platform, directing tidings to the “Radical Left Marxists,” the “Department of Injustice,” and the “LameStream Media.”

“Merry Christmas to EVERYONE, including the Radical Left Marxists that are trying to destroy our Country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation that is illegally coercing & paying Social and LameStream Media to push for a mentally disabled Democrat over the Brilliant, Clairvoyant, and USA LOVING Donald J. Trump, and, of course, The Department of Injustice, which appointed a Special ​’​Prosecutor​’​ who, together with his wife and family, HATES ​’​Trump​’​ more than any other person on earth​,” he said in a series of Christmas messages.

“LOVE TO ALL!​” he added bizarrely. ​

Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump 14h
Merry Christmas to EVERYONE, including the Radical Left Marxists that are trying to destroy our Country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation that is illegally coercing & paying Social and LameStream Media to push for a mentally disabled Democrat over the Brilliant, Clairvoyant, and USA LOVING Donald J. Trump, and, of course, The Department of Injustice, which appointed a Special ​’​Prosecutor​’​ who, together with his wife and family, HATES ​’​Trump​’​ more than any other person on earth​. LOVE TO ALL!

Dec 24, 2022, 6:14 AM

Donald Trump’s Christmas Eve greeting to those who he’s not a fan of.

On Christmas morning, he continued to spread the holiday jeer.

“On this very cold but beautiful Christmas Day, look at our Nation NOW on the Southern Border compared to only a short time ago during the Trump Administration,” he wrote in a posting Sunday.

“We had the most SECURE Border in our history, versus the ‘horror show’ that that is happening now, with record setting numbers of people, many of them hardened Criminals (including Killers, Human Traffickers and Drug Dealers), POURING INTO OUR COUNTRY at a rate the likes of which we have never seen before,” Trump said, adding “The USA is dying from within!!!”

On this very cold but beautiful Christmas Day, look at our Nation NOW on the Southern Border compared to only a short time ago during the Trump Administration. We had the most SECURE Border in our history, versus the 'horror show' that is happening now, with record setting numbers of people, many of them hardened Criminals (including Killers, Human Traffickers and Drug Dealers), POURING INTO OUR COUNTRY at a rate the likes of which we have never seen before. The USA is dying from within!!!"


Christmas morning at his Florida resort was a time of reflection for the former president.

[x]
The House select committee in its final report blamed former President Donald Trump for instigating the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. AP

“Just two years ago we were Energy Independent, had almost Zero Inflation, there was no war with Russia and Ukraine (would NEVER have happened!), ISIS was defeated, our Military was rebuilt and respected (before the disaster of Afghanistan), our Border was Strong, the Economy was GREAT, the China Virus was in retreat (Operation Warp Speed was considered a modern day ​’​miracle​’​), and we weren’t the laughing stock of the World​,” he wrote before going into all-caps mode.​

Just two years ago we were Energy Independent, had almost Zero Inflation, there was no war with Russia and Ukraine (would NEVER have happened!), ISIS was defeated, our Military was rebuilt and respected (before the disaster of Afghanistan), our Border was Strong, the Economy was GREAT, the China Virus was in retreat (Operation Warp Speed was considered a modern day 'miracle'), and we weren't the laughing stock of the World. TODAY, LIKE NEVER BEFORE, WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION!​


“​TODAY, LIKE NEVER BEFORE, WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION!​” he said in holiday wishes to the nation. ​

For Trump​ on Christmas Eve​, there were no visions of sugar plums dancing in his head, just ​the nagging reminder ​that the House select committee ​wrapped up its investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot ​by blaming him for the violence in its final report.

[x]
A mob of pro-Trump supporters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Getty Images

“The Unselect Committee’s January 6th Report is a Hoax, no different than RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA, and all of the other Scams that the Disinformation laden Democrats have been planting for years​,” he said in a Christmas Eve message, continuing to claim he won the 2020 election and absolving himself of guilt for Jan. 6.

“I had almost nothing to do with January 6th. FREE SPEECH!​” he said. ​

**********************

Donald Trump Spends Christmas Raging on Truth Social
by Ewan Palmer
Newsweek
12/26/22 AT 5:32 AM EST

Former President Donald Trump spent his Christmas Day posting on social media about his grievances and pushing false claims about the 2020 Election.

Throughout the course of December 25, Trump posted a total of seven times on his Truth Social account, touching on a number of topics such as immigration, Mike Pence, and the midterms.

Trump started his festive posting with a message asking people on this "very cold but beautiful" Christmas Day to look at how the administration of President Joe Biden has been dealing with illegal immigration on the southern border and contrasting it with the actions of his administration.

"We had the most SECURE Border in our history, versus the 'horror show' that is happening now, with record setting numbers of people, many of them hardened Criminals (including Killers, Human Traffickers and Drug Dealers), POURING INTO OUR COUNTRY at a rate the likes of which we have never seen before. The USA is dying from within!!!" Trump wrote on Christmas Day morning.

[x]
Former president Donald Trump uses his cellphone as he holds a roundtable discussion in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on June 18, 2020. Trump spent Christmas Day posting on social media about his grievances and pushing false claims about the 2020 Election. SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Trump soon followed up this post with another attacking Biden's performance as president and listing a number of examples explaining why the U.S. is currently a "failing nation" now he is no longer in the White House.

"Just two years ago we were Energy Independent, had almost Zero Inflation, there was no war with Russia and Ukraine (would NEVER have happened!), ISIS was defeated, our Military was rebuilt and respected (before the disaster of Afghanistan), our Border was Strong, the Economy was GREAT, the China Virus was in retreat (Operation Warp Speed was considered a modern day 'miracle'), and we weren't the laughing stock of the World," Trump said.

A few hours later, Trump re-shared a Truth Social post he wrote on December 24 in which he wished a merry Christmas to everyone except the "Radical Left Marxists that are trying to destroy our Country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation that is illegally coercing & paying Social and LameStream Media to push for a mentally disabled Democrat over the Brilliant, Clairvoyant, and USA LOVING Donald J. Trump."

The former president re-shared the message with the added line: "Our Country is under attack by the Radical Left Democrats. They are truly seeking to DESTROY AMERICA!!!"

Trump was still not done with his Christmas Day social media posts, and once again attacked the "radical left Democrats" in a subsequent post, accusing them of having "WEAPONIZED THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AT A LEVEL NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN THE USA. WITH NO BORDERS AND CROOKED ELECTIONS, OUR COUNTRY IS IN THIRD WORLD TROUBLE!!!"

The post arrived just days after the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack recommended that the Department of Justice charge the former president with offenses including assisting an insurrection and conspiring to defraud the United States over his role in the Capitol riot.

The panel also released its 845-page report on the January 6 attack that accused Trump of being the leading figure in a "multi-part conspiracy" to overturn the 2020 election results and being the "central cause" of the insurrection at the Capitol.

In further Truth Social posts on Christmas Day, Trump simply wrote "SAVE AMERICA" and defended his endorsements in the midterm elections. The former president and his losing MAGA and election denying candidates have been blamed for the GOP not taking control of the Senate and only just achieving a majority in the House in the November elections.

While quoting an unknown source, Trump wrote: "'PRESIDENT TRUMP WAS 233-22 IN THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS. HE IS ALSO LEADING, BY A LOT, ALL REPUBLICANS, AND BIDEN, IN ALMOST EVERY POLL.' This, despite the horrendous and never ending FAKE NEWS—Incredible statistics that people just don't want to talk about!"

Trump ended his Christmas Day Truth Social posts by once more falsely suggesting that Pence, his former vice president, had the power to reject the electoral votes on January 6, 2021 and keep Trump in power despite his purely ceremonial role as president officer of the Senate.

"The Vice President did indeed have the power to send Electoral Votes back to State Legislatures for reapproval despite the constant drum from Democrats and RINOS that he 'ABSOLUTELY DID NOT,'" wrote Trump. "BUT, they just put CLARIFYING language in the disgraceful 'OMINOUS' BILL, making sure that A V.P. DOESN'T DO WHAT THEY ALL SAID COULD NOT BE DONE. So why the new language? Because it was just another political Con Job!"

Trump was referring to the House approving efforts to change the wording of the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to clarify that a vice president's role in certifying the election results is merely ceremonial, and that they do not have the power to determine who actually won an election.

The false suggestion that Pence could have stopped Biden becoming president by rejecting some state's election results was frequently pushed by Trump before the January 6 attack. As the violence at the Capitol was unfolding he tweeted that Pence "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done" by preventing the 2020 election results from being certified.

During the riot at the Capitol, Trump supporters were heard chanting "hang Mike Pence."

In comparison, Biden kept his December 25 social media posts brief, tweeting: "Jill and I wish you a very Merry Christmas. We hope you and your loved ones are surrounded by love, happiness, and cheer this holiday season."
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 3:54 am

The Final Campaign Inside Donald Trump’s sad, lonely, thirsty, broken, basically pretend run for reelection. (Which isn’t to say he can’t win.)
by Olivia Nuzzi
New York’s Washington correspondent
Dec 23, 2022
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article ... -2024.html

[x]
Party of One

[x]
THE POWER TRIP DEC. 23, 2022 Illustration: Zohar Lazar for New York Magazine

I.

Donald Trump was calling from Mar-a-Lago. It was a Monday afternoon in the middle of December. He was at his desk in what is known as 45 Office, a room on the second floor, above what is known as the Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom, 20,000 square feet festooned with 16 sedan-size crystal chandeliers and what he claims to be $7 million of gold leaf.

Members of the Mar-a-Lago Club, who pay $200,000 initiation fees and annual fees of $14,000, may use the space, at an additional cost, for “important occasions that inspire, enchant, and exceed every expectation.” At the galas and bat mitzvahs and weekend weddings, Trump often wanders in. How could he resist a room like this? He smiles and waves. He joins groomsmen for photos. He steps onto the dance floor with the bride. Dark suit jacket, no tie, shirt unbuttoned, red MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hat on his head. He tilts his face to the strobe lights and pumps his fists in the air. Sometimes he grabs a microphone and gives a speech. He knows what the people who show up here want.

ON THE COVER


Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times/ Redux
It was in that optimistic spirit, 28 days ago, that the former president, impeached and voted out of office and impeached again, amid multiple state and federal investigations, under threat of indictment and arrest, on the verge of a congressional-committee verdict that would recommend four criminal charges to the Feds over his incitement of a mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol and threatened to hang his vice-president in a failed attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results, announced his third presidential campaign. Since then, he has barely set foot outside the perimeter of Mar-a-Lago. For 28 days, in fact, he has not left the state of Florida at all.

He is sensitive about this. He does not like what it suggests. So he does not accept the premise. “Sometimes I don’t even stay at Mar-a-Lago,” he told me. What do you mean you don’t stay there, I asked. Where do you stay? “I stay here,” he said, “but I am outside of Mar-a-Lago quite a bit. I’m always largely outside of Mar-a-Lago at meetings and various other things and events. I’m down in Miami. I go to Miami, I go to different places in Florida.”

What he means when he says “Miami” is that his SUV rolls down the driveway, past the pristine lawn set for croquet and through the Secret Service checkpoint at the gate, for the two-hour trip to another piece of Trump real estate, the Trump National in Doral, about eight miles from the airport in Miami-Dade County. There, he meets regularly with an impressive, ideologically diverse range of policy wonks, diplomats, and political theorists for conversations about the global economy and military conflicts and constitutional law and I’m kidding. He goes there to play golf. “He just goes, plays golf, comes back, and fucks off. He has retreated to the golf course and to Mar-a-Lago,” one adviser said. “His world has gotten much smaller. His world is so, so small.”

He is sensitive about smallness. His entire life, he has rejected smallness. Tall buildings, long ties, big head, big mouth, big swings, big league. “When he was in New York in 2016, the whole world was coming to him. Now we’ve got the Villages, and it shows,” the adviser said, referring to the famous Central Florida retirement community.

He had wanted to be in the movie business. It’s important to never forget this about him. He watches Sunset Boulevard, “one of the greatest of all time,” again and again and again. A silent-picture star sidelined by the talkies, driven to madness, in denial over her faded celebrity. When he was a businessman, he showed it to guests aboard his 727. When he was president, he held screenings of it for White House staff at Camp David.

He once showed it to his press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who later described how “the president, who could never sit still for anything without talking on the phone, sending a tweet, or flipping through TV channels, sat enthralled.” And he once showed it to Tim O’Brien, the biographer, who wrote that when Norma Desmond cried, “Those idiot producers. Those imbeciles! Haven’t they got any eyes? Have they forgotten what a star looks like? I’ll show them. I’ll be up there again, so help me!,” Trump leaned over O’Brien’s shoulder and whispered, “Is this an incredible scene or what? Just incredible.”

A washed-up star locked away in a mansion from the 1920s, afraid of the world outside, afraid it will remind him that time has passed … Well, he does not like the way it sounds for Trump. He still talks that way, in the third person. “This was the same thing in 2016. They said first, ‘Oh, Trump is just doing it for fun,’ and then they learned that wasn’t true,” he told me. “And then they said, ‘Well, he won’t win.’ And they learned that wasn’t true.”

He bought Mar-a-Lago in 1985 during a creditor-funded acquisition spree that included a new hotel, a new casino, a hospital, and the abandoned freight yard between West 59th and 72nd Streets, where he threatened to build his own Hollywood above the Hudson River on a 76-acre expanse that in surface area amounted to 0.5 percent of the Island of Manhattan. Over the next three years, he registered as a Republican (he would later switch to the Independence Party, then the Democratic Party, then back to Republican, then independent, then the Republican Party again) and began commenting on matters of foreign policy in the press. He offered to negotiate with the Russians. He began, whenever possible, to encourage the idea that others were encouraging him to run for president.

When he and Ivana Trump divorced, she was blamed for her attention to the fussy business of high society, something that had never been of much interest to her husband. “Mar-a-Lago had been Ivana Trump’s idea,” Marie Brenner wrote in Vanity Fair, because it was she who aspired for the Trumps to become the new Vanderbilts. Trump didn’t give a shit about “Palm Beach phonies,” he said. But the settlement with Ivana, who fell to her death down the staircase of her Upper East Side townhouse this summer and is buried on the first hole of Trump’s New Jersey golf course, told a different story. He had given her the $30 million mansion in Greenwich. He kept Mar-a-Lago for himself.

The truth was that the symbolic value of the historic Mar-a-Lago estate, built by General Foods owner and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post, was impossible to quantify. If Trump Tower was a monument to the awesome scale of Trump’s ambitions, Mar-a-Lago was a venue for the mythmaking required to support their expanding scope. It was not the Villages, and it was not Sunset Boulevard. Not to Trump. Really, the sun does not set on Mar-a-Lago. In fact, on South Ocean Boulevard, the two-lane road that zigzags along the barrier island’s terrain of Mizner-style estates (“Bastard-Spanish-Moorish-Romanesque-Gothic-Renaissance-Bull-Market-Damn-the-Expense,” as the writer Alva Johnston once put it) and Atlantic coastline, the sun rises.

II.

The plan in 2016 was to prove the haters wrong by running, to poll well enough to be able to say he could have won, and to return to the fifth floor of his building where he filmed The Apprentice, his NBC reality show. But NBC killed his contract over his comments about Mexico sending rapists across the border. He no longer had a vehicle for the attention he required. He had to keep going. The fifth floor became campaign headquarters. Trump was always his most Trump when he was in a bind. “That’s the Trump you want: You want him defensive, you want him belligerent,” a member of the current campaign staff told me. But that’s not how Trump sounded now. He sounded old all of a sudden. Tired. There was a heaviness to him. A hollowness, too. He will turn 77 in June.

As president-elect on the 26th floor of Trump Tower, he entertained everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Bill Gates. Post-presidency, on the second floor of Mar-a-Lago, he has welcomed QAnon believers and Holocaust deniers. Once, the question was, How could this be? He was the boy who cried campaign, a bullshit artist, a camp act. And when he landed in Iowa, when he circled cornfields in his TRUMP chopper, when he told Evangelicals his favorite Bible verse was “2 Corinthians,” the question became, Will this work? We couldn’t look away then. Now we can’t bear — or can’t be bothered — to look. The people who remain at his side, well, let’s just say Trump 2024 is not sending its best. And that’s by the standards of 2020. And 2016.

Why is he doing this now? And Why is he doing this at all? And What is his fucking problem? Few people are certain of the answers. “It seems like a joke,” said one ex–Trump loyalist, a former White House official. “It feels like he’s going through the motions because he said he would.” One month in, the campaign exists more as a half-formed idea than a nomination-securing operation. The $99 NFTs it’s selling as contributions are the most honest advertising Trump has ever engaged in.

If you’re looking for an indication of how bad things are going, it’s Brick Man not just being there but being in the VIP section.
On the phone, I told him what people who know him well had told me about the popular theories of why he would begin running in place for the presidency now, two years after he lost the election in disgrace, a few days after he lost the midterms for the Republican Party, more than a year before the nominating contests, and two years before the general election.

First, there is his need for attention, which is tied up with his fear of boredom. “He doesn’t have anything else to do,” one adviser told me. “What else can he do? Why did he see Kanye? He wants to be relevant and wants the limelight. He’s thirsty.”

Trump did not like this. “I think I’ve always been relevant. Like, I’ve been relevant from a very young age. I’ve been in the mix, to be honest,” he said.

The second is his fear of arrest. The prior time we talked, in July, this was already out there, the idea that his lawyers had advised him it was worth a shot to run as soon as he could as fast as he could in the direction of the White House, with or against the political winds, on the thinking that prosecutors, worried already about accusations of political persecution, might be spooked by an active presidential campaign. And that was before the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. Before we knew about the stolen classified material stashed in the basement. The appearance of legal pressure has only mounted in the past month. In the span of 24 hours, the January 6 committee announced referrals for criminal charges (obstruction of an official proceeding; conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to make a false statement and to “incite,” “assist,” or “aid or comfort” an insurrection), and the House Ways and Means Committee announced it would release six years of his tax returns, information he had fought bitterly to keep private throughout his earlier campaigns and presidency.

“That didn’t play into it,” Trump said. He did not like this, either. “I did nothing wrong,” he said. Had his lawyers given him that advice, as some of his advisers told me they had? “No,” he said. “I don’t know how you get indicted if you’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

He repeated that phrase, “I’ve done nothing wrong,” nine times in 30 minutes. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong.

Then there was the matter of Ron DeSantis. “I’ve always gotten along with him,” Trump said. He went on about how DeSantis had been “losing by a tremendous margin” when he “came and asked for my endorsement” during his 2018 bid for governor. This is essential to understand. DeSantis came to him. He applies the Meisner technique. He recites the story over and over. DeSantis recognized the power of Trump just as everyone else did. But the story was getting less believable. In his most recent campaign, DeSantis did not pay him any such visit and won in a landslide. National polls had changed. Two days after we spoke, The Wall Street Journal had DeSantis beating Trump 52 to 38 percent.

I started to ask his opinion, as a Florida resident, of DeSantis as a governor. I used the phrase “governed by.” He flinched. He did not like the sound of that. “Well, I live in Florida,” he said, “but you know, when you say ‘governed by’ him …” He paused. He was annoyed. He did not like the idea that he was in any way under the rule of another person. Nor that the person was another clueless sonofabitch standing on Trump’s shoulders thinking he was really 20 feet tall. “You know, these people forget,” he said. “Politicians tend to forget.”

The very Establishment that had run the Republican Party into the wilderness before his improbable primary and general-election victories in 2016 was trying to cleave him from the herd once again. Now, when they were winning, they thought it was because people liked them, when really they won because they were with Trump, and people liked Trump, and those people liked people Trump liked. The Republican Party didn’t know what it had with Trump, as Trump saw it. They were losers when he came along and did them the favor of making people care, of giving them something to believe in. He was the winner.

“Guys like Mitch” — as in McConnell — “who is, I think, not good,” Trump said, “he was getting creamed. If I didn’t endorse him, he wouldn’t be a senator right now.” And Mitt Romney, who said Trump’s endorsement was the kiss of death for Republicans in the midterms? “The kiss of death was when Mitt Romney ran for president and got obliterated by Obama in a race that he should have won. That was the kiss of death,” Trump said. So no, he isn’t afraid of DeSantis, he said. He isn’t afraid of anyone. “I don’t think anybody can beat me in a primary.”

He said the whole truth about why he was running was this: “I wanted to put my cards on the table, and I did that. I think we did that very strongly.” He was talking now about the announcement itself in the Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom. “It was considered to be a very successful announcement,” he said.

III.

On the day he announced his candidacy this past November, the air was heavy with oleander and snipped greenery and sea mist colliding with mold and wood polish and hotel soap and the metallic vapor of Diet Coke and the alcoholic ferment of generations of cougars in Chanel No. 5. The floor was staged for something between a rally and a cocktail party. Rows of tables and chairs formed a press filing in the back, then the risers for the TV networks, then the red velvet rope. “The room was packed,” Trump told me. “Sold out.” Tickets were not sold at all. Guests were invited. The room was full, but it was not at capacity. Chairs remained empty, some more glaringly than others.

“There was a lot of media there. We maxed out,” Trump told me. “We had so many from the media we were not able to let them come into the room. They were outside on the lawn.” At MAGA rallies in recent years, and since the end of his presidency in particular, the press pen has been an odd sight. The identifiable faces from the major networks and mainstream publications show up here and there but not en masse as before. Still a zoo, different captives. The area behind the metal barricades is full of far-right celebrities. When Trump asks his fans to turn around and boo the fake news, they are yelling at themselves. In the Grand Ballroom, Sebastian Gorka stood tall on the press riser, his hair sprayed to the high heavens, arms outstretched, phone angled just so. He flashed a hideous grin and moved slowly in a circle. An epic panoramic selfie. A few feet away, Mike “the MyPillow Guy” Lindell filmed a stand-up.

A short blonde woman who identified herself as Sidney, part of the advance team, grabbed at the hem of my dress and yelled. She threatened to remove me from the premises for standing too far outside the perimeter of the press area. The MAGA personalities, meanwhile, hopped right over the rope, moving back and forth from the VIP guest area. One man, coughing and sweating, asked me if I knew where to find a personality from One America News Network. He was there on OAN’s invitation, he said. He kept coughing. I got him a bottle of water from the back. He said he would pray for me.

Trump emerged to the sounds of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Misérables and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” which, along with “Memory” from Cats and the theme from Air Force One and “Tiny Dancer” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “YMCA,” form the foundation of the idiosyncratic MAGA score. “We always have known that this was not the end,” he said. “This was the beginning of our fight to rescue the American Dream, and it’s a word you don’t use — two words, I don’t want to be Joe, that’s two words, American Dream.” He went on a brief tangent to mock President Biden for the way he misspeaks. “That was not good what he did. There are a lot of bad things, like going to Idaho and saying, ‘Welcome to the state of Florida, I really love it.’” Then, abruptly, he returned to the point: “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.” It felt like nothing when he said that. It felt like he didn’t mean it, didn’t care. People in the audience checked their watches. Secret Service agents yawned. Trump looked out and paused. Everyone could sit down, he said. He didn’t want to make them stand for so long.

As he continued his speech, 64 minutes total, Hannity cut away. “The energy, and I felt the energy in the ballroom, was fantastic, actually,” Trump said. I told him he had seemed bored and disengaged. “No, I’m not bored. I’m not bored,” he said. “I thought it should be a calm, solid speech. It wasn’t a rally … I thought the demeanor should be much calmer. And I think that’s what was portrayed, which is maybe what you’re referring to … Weren’t you there?” I was, I said. “Yeah, didn’t you think there was a great energy in the ballroom?” He answered himself. “I did. People were going rather wild, to put it mildly,” he said.

It was like watching Elvis at the end if he was completely relegated to just piano bars.
Across the ballroom, I saw a familiar figure. It was Roger Stone, lingering in the back with “you maggots in the media,” as he called us. I’d met Stone for the first time eight years earlier when he was shopping opposition research on the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who was expected to seek the Republican presidential nomination despite a convoluted political scandal back home that had made the improbable leap to a national media fixation. If he bounced back, he would be in Trump’s way. Another charismatic, loudmouth East Coast RINO skilled at attracting the fickle attentions of the press. Stone and his protégé Sam Nunberg wanted Trump to run for president, so they would need to kill off Christie.

They were an odd pair, dopey and a little frightening, but interesting. I didn’t bite on the Christie oppo, but I kept in touch. In politics, I was learning, there were a lot of crazy characters or people pretending to be crazy to exert control or promote crazy ideas to achieve their desired outcomes, and every once in a while, the crazy characters really did know something useful, or someone useful, if you figured out how to listen to them in such a way as to filter out the bullshit, or at least the irrelevant bullshit. Later that year, I was working on a story about the Christie administration’s dealings in Atlantic City, pegged to the closure of the Trump Taj Mahal. I asked Nunberg if he could arrange an interview for me. Within minutes, a Trump Tower secretary was patching me through.

I remember I was in a cab. “I made a lot of money in Atlantic City,” Trump told me. “I want you to write in your story that Mr. Trump made a lot of money in Atlantic City.” At the end of the conversation, he paused expectantly. I picked up that he was waiting for me to ask the question that his promotion of birtherism, the racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, was designed to invite. I was not especially interested in the answer, but asking it seemed only fair since he had entertained rather politely all the questions I’d wanted to ask. Was he going to run in 2016? He exhaled with a single note of laughter, like, Of course, this question again, this question I am not actively dying for people to ask me. “Well, I’m certainly looking at it,” he said. He would make a judgment based on whether the trajectory of the country turned around in the coming months. Lots of people, he added, wanted him to run.

Depending on whom you asked, Stone had either been fired or quit the 2016 campaign amid a feud with a rival faction of staffers, but he never fully left Trump’s grasp. He didn’t go on the record to insult or criticize him, even when, frustrated by the perception that Stone had been instrumental in his success, Trump insulted or criticized him. To Trump, Trump was the only one responsible for Trump’s success. Inclined to conspiratorial thinking, Stone aligned himself with Alex Jones, and over time, after he was frog-marched from his Fort Lauderdale home by the police and charged with lying to Congress amid the Russia investigations, he seemed to earn back Trump’s appreciation. In one of his final acts as president, Trump offered Stone a pardon. Stone made his way out of the ballroom before the speech was over. “I saw it as controlled and disciplined and on message,” he told me later. “Some of your colleagues are disappointed that he did not self-destruct out of the gate.”

Nunberg was not in the ballroom. He had been kicked out of Trumpworld early, fired over old social-media posts in which he used racist slurs. He had taken a much different path after the events of 2016. Amid the investigations, he began to appear often on cable news to needle Trump. He was still drinking then, and he went on an infamous bender during which he gave chaotic interviews to CNN and New York. Then he got sober. He left New York. He now has a girlfriend. So the morning after the announcement, when I reached him by phone, he drew in a sharp breath through his teeth. He hates Trump. In his view, Trump had fired and rehired and fired and betrayed and maligned him. In theory, as the kind of still-a-little-Trumpian character who loves revenge, he should take only pleasure in observing his old boss’s accumulating failures. But this? It was almost too pathetic. “It was sad to watch,” Nunberg said. “It was like watching Elvis at the end.” On second thought, it was worse than that: “It was like watching Elvis at the end if he was completely relegated to just piano bars.” He laughed a sad laugh. “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”

“It’s not there. In this business, you can have it and have it so hot and it can go overnight and it’s gone and you can’t get it back. I think we’re just seeing it’s gone. The magic is gone,” an adviser said. “When Seb Gorka and Raheem Kassam and Kash Patel and Devin Nunes are your stars, that’s the D-list. It was D-list MAGA. When Brick Man — that freak, Brick Man — is in the VIP seating, we’ve got a problem.” Brick Man is a man who wears a suit made of fabric with — you guessed it — a brick pattern. The bricks symbolize the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He wandered around the ballroom offering interviews to reporters. I have a high tolerance for this kind of shit, obviously, and I could not. “If you’re looking for an indication of how bad things are going,” the adviser added, “it’s Brick Man not just being there but being in the VIP section. Don Jr.’s not there!”

IV.

It was true.

Three days earlier, Mar-a-Lago had been crawling with Trumps. On the lawn after a hurricane, Tiffany Trump, the only child from Trump’s second marriage, to Marla Maples, wed Michael Boulos, a 25-year-old heir to a billion-dollar motorcycle-distribution company. Tiffany’s older sister, Ivanka, dressed as Grace Kelly in powder blue, served as matron of honor. It was convenient timing. In 2015, when Trump announced his first presidential campaign, he was joined by all of his children in the atrium of Trump Tower. Ivanka was the opener. Don Jr., Eric, and Tiffany stood off to the side with their father’s third wife. They were a powerful tool on the campaign trail, a way for Trump to respond to the general impression that he was an asshole. How bad could he be if his children were functional adults who still loved him?

By November 15, on the night of the announcement, half the Trumps were gone.

Something about the chandeliers’ light reacting to the alleged $7 million of gold leaf made the whole room a little fuzzy. I squinted from the top of a riser near a C-Span camera. There was Eric, tall and blond, hard to miss; his wife, Lara, with her narrow frame and distinct trot; Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, pale with dark hair and a cold stare detectable at any distance; and Don Jr.’s fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News personality once married to California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom. That was it.

Minutes after her father’s announcement, Ivanka released a statement to the press: “I love my father very much. This time around I am choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family. I do not plan to be involved in politics. While I will always love and support my father, going forward I will do so outside the political arena. I am grateful to have had the honor of serving the American people and I will always be proud of many of our Administration’s accomplishments.” Tiffany never explained her absence. Don Jr., meanwhile, said he’d been caught in bad weather on a hunting trip.

“There’s nobody around him who wants him to do it,” an adviser said. “Forget Jared and Ivanka — Don Jr. doesn’t want him to do it! The only person who wants him to do it is Eric’s wife, Lara, because she’s so ambitious.” Lara led buses emblazoned with WOMEN FOR TRUMP through swing states in 2020. She considered her own campaign for Senate in North Carolina but opted instead for Fox News, where she was a paid contributor until that evening in the ballroom; network rules dictate that paid contributors cannot be campaign consultants.

Melania had trailed her husband into the ballroom with Barron, the couple’s teenage son. After the midterms, the New York Times reported, Trump blamed his wife for his decision to endorse Dr. Oz, the reality-TV personality who lost an important U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania for the Republican Party. “He’s like, ‘She has no political instincts!’” a second former White House official said. Whatever else is true of the former First Lady, she is beautiful. She never looks bad. But you can tell when she’s trying and when I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U? On this occasion, she lacked her distinct polish. Not for the first time, she looked, also, unhappy.

Before a wall of American flags, each kept in place by a gold screw in the shape of an eagle, Trump was alone. He is sensitive about this, too. He does not like how it looks. “I’m seeing people all the time. I have congressmen outside right now waiting to see me. I have many people from Congress coming to see me, I have senators coming to see me, I have a lot of people. I’m not isolated,” he told me. I said, “But at the announcement, Ivanka was not there, and Don Jr. was not there — ”

He cut in. “Don was going to be there! Don was going to be there!” he said. “But there was a very tremendous storm, and he called up. He said, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘Don’t. Just relax and stay where you are.’ But Don was going to be there.” And Ivanka? “Jared was there, I believe,” he said. “I think that all members of my family are with me. It doesn’t mean that they’re going to work on the campaign, but they’re always 100 percent with me.” He couldn’t blame Ivanka, he said. “She did a very good job, and she was treated unfairly, and I don’t want to see that happen, you know? It’s a nasty business.”

V.

The new campaign is registered with the Federal Election Commission from a P.O. box in northern Virginia near the sleek nerve center of the failed 2020 reelection. The web address listed on the paperwork redirected to a domain seller. DJTFP24.com is just for campaign officials to create email addresses, the campaign told me. The actual website launched in mid-December. There is less clarity about the headquarters.

First, I was told headquarters are — present tense — in the “Palm Beach area.” That’s according to Steven Cheung, a veteran of the 2016 campaign and the administration who departed amid a purge of suspected West Wing leakers and is now communications director of Trump 2024. According to another campaign official, there are no headquarters. Not yet. The campaign plans to rent a space in the Palm Beach area. This is the new Trump campaign, same as the old Trump campaigns, so who knows whom to trust? For now, campaign business is conducted by phone, over Zoom, in the lobbies of the Marriotts and Holiday Inns in West Palm Beach, and, only as it relates to meetings with the candidate himself, at Mar-a-Lago. The candidate does not provide work space to his staff at his private club. Unless they have $200,000 to spare.

“A bunch of campaign staffers have moved down to Palm Beach already,” Cheung said. Whoever they are. The first FEC reports for campaign expenditures will not be filed until the end of the year, and the candidate is reluctant to get into specifics before he is legally required to do so. “We’re doing structure, and we’re doing people. We’ve hired some great people, who will be announced,” Trump told me. “A lot of money is coming in … How much did I raise? How much did I raise?” A muffled voice, high in pitch, answered the question. Who was that? “Just, uh, a person,” Trump said, “uh, who’s giving me the information.”

The person was Susie Wiles, a veteran Republican operative who has worked for everyone from Ronald Reagan to Jack Kemp to George H.W. Bush to, in this century, Ron DeSantis. Her résumé lists 15 “SPECIALTIES” in the following order and capitalization: “Critical Thinking; Creative Solutions; Creating Order from Chaos; Building Relationships; Managing Perceptions; Campaigns; Political Strategy; Lobbying; Legislative Strategy; Public Policy; Crisis Communications; Strategic Communications; Media Relations; Public Relations; Community Outreach.” An odd fit for Trump, she is a grandmother and, according to CNN, an avid bird-watcher. She follows Ina Garten and Martha Stewart on Instagram.

Wiles has been around Trump since 2016, when she managed the campaign to victory in Florida. She did it again in 2020 and by a wider margin, even as other swing states that had once broken Trump’s way flipped for Biden. But she did not become Trump’s top adviser until the past two years, after everything fully went to shit. It’s a similar story with the handful of others who make up the campaign.

For many people inside, the first half of the administration was about staying there. The second half was about getting out, about how and when and whether they could or would, about what that would be like. On his way to defeat and isolated by the pandemic, the president started to scare even those who had been willing for years to forgive anything.

“I think that really fucked up his head,” the first former White House official said. “He was already on that path, he was so desensitized and emboldened, and then during COVID, his interactions with real people were so cut off. During this tragic time where horrible things were happening, he wasn’t experiencing any of it. It was an ugly cocktail of the pandemic and race — after George Floyd — these things that activated his worst features. He lost touch with what was real, whatever limited ability he had before to connect was just gone.” He was more inclined to crack than others. “Here’s a person who is so untethered as it is, who largely escapes accountability, and there were always weird people around him, but the more the normal people disappeared, and all he’s surrounded by are the cuckoo birds,” the official trailed off. “His brain was vulnerable too because I think he was probably whatever his version of depressed is.”

“I don’t want to excuse it,” the official continued. It wasn’t like working for Trump had ever been defensible. But it was easy to live in the fantasy world he had created. It encouraged fantasies of your own. “I always wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt,” the official said, “to see the good things, and I think a lot of that was just giving myself a reason to be there.”

Among Trumpworld’s known regulars who did not flee in an outright panic, this early period of the new campaign is a time for self-interested planning. Some are reluctant to make their participation official for financial reasons; some are waiting for things to get even worse to swoop in and save the day; some are waiting to see if it does get worse so they can pretend they were never going to get involved. The people who swear they will never be dragged back sometimes do seem to mean it, but sometimes it seems they are just trying to convince themselves.

“It’s a campaign that’s always done historically questionable shit,” said one staffer who would know. “A normal campaign will announce in May or June, but him coming out early is like, Yeah, I’m doing this, you don’t have to worry. Just worry about winning. It’s what his people needed. He fucking needed to. This country’s in a shit place. He’s been beat the fuck up for years, and the last two years especially have been really, really rough.” Nobody cares, this staffer said, that it looks dead from the outside. “It’s not like we’re sitting here and doing nothing.” And the small circle is a nice change for the moment. Life is less about office politics when there is no office. “No one’s really trying to knife each other, praise be to God. That will be changing, though, I’m sure.” The idea that people wouldn’t crawl back to Trump once the “frenzy” sparked up again went against the basic laws of Trumpian gravity. Soon, this staffer believes, “the whole chorus will start singing.”

The second former White House official said, “I think if he’s even our nominee, we may lose our country. Even if I don’t believe he can win a general again, I think he could burn down the country. I think it’s that dangerous. I’m terrified.” The current staff, this person said, reflects this. “No decent people want anything to do with him,” the former official said. “I think he knows he’s got a fucking F-team and he’s embarrassed by it.” Still, this person admitted, the F-team may have a point: “There are so many gross opportunists, the minute it looks like he’ll win, they’ll all be back.”

Cheung sent over a list of events and endorsements, all campaign activity to date. In written communications, the campaign refers to the candidate as POTUS, the acronym that pertains to sitting presidents. Bill Clinton’s staff refers to him now as WJC; Barack Obama’s, BHO. But Trump clings to his dream that he could never be a loser. And so, to his staff, he’s POTUS.

Trump’s campaign schedule, described to me as “busy,” involved 11 events over the course of the month. One event was the announcement itself. Five events took place at Mar-a-Lago. Four events were not events at all but taped videos that were aired at events where Trump was not physically present. The endorsements were just as impressive: Kari Lake, Matt Gaetz, Elise Stefanik, Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Max Miller, the New York Young Republicans, the Texas agriculture commissioner. The most high-profile Trump-endorsed candidate to win in the midterms, J. D. Vance, was not on this list. Neither was Trump’s former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, now governor-elect of Arkansas. I asked her why she hadn’t endorsed him. She didn’t respond.

Not on the official record of campaign activity was the event on November 22, exactly one week after the announcement, which spoke to just how much Trump is operating without meaningful staff or advice. That evening, Kanye West arrived for dinner with white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes in tow.

In the past, the dinner with Ye and Fuentes would have become the responsibility of Ivanka and Jared. They were there when Trump hesitated to condemn David Duke, and when he shared an offensive image of a six-pointed star alongside a pile of cash, and when he repeatedly told a Jewish group, “I don’t want your money.” Melania may have gone on record to say, “He’s not Hitler,” but it was Ivanka and Jared, the only Jewish members of the family, who could actually help him wriggle out of trouble.

But this time, Ivanka and Jared were in the Middle East, touring the pyramids and climbing on the backs of camels with their three children on their way to Qatar for the World Cup, where there was business to tend to. They were joined there by an employee from Affinity Partners, the investment firm Kushner founded in 2021, for which he has raised a reported $3 billion — a majority, $2 billion, from the Saudi public-investment fund.

When calls began to come in looking for help, looking for public support, even looking for a response, Kushner refused. Trump’s Nazi associations and overtures are his problem now. Kushner has also started giving out his father-in-law’s number to people who call with the usual asks, whereas in the past he would have positioned himself as a go-between. “He was like, ‘Look, I’m out. I’m really out,’” a person with knowledge of the situation said. So why was he at the announcement? “I realize it’s complicated because Jared is there,” this person said. The “mixed message” was “a combination of having respect for a family member and drawing clear lines for your life.” Another person, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that perhaps Kushner felt a sense of “familial obligation.” Nunberg, liberated to speak as Nunberg, had a different explanation. “Jared was there for the Saudis,” he said, only half-joking.

Ivanka has been careful since the January 6 insurrection. She has said very little in public. After her mother died, she retreated further. Her father’s explanation for her absence, that she was sick of negative press, channels his own mentality in the wrong way. When Trump was a child, his minister was Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking. More than anything else, this was Ivanka’s biggest nonmaterial inheritance. There are things about the campaigns and the White House, about problems with her father, that are “so bleak,” according to the first former White House official, and a “struggle” for her to acknowledge. To do so would be both a betrayal of her family and an act of manifestation. It would infect her every moment. “It’s not that she doesn’t see it; it’s that she’s trying not to look,” the official said. “She chooses to focus on things that make her happy.”

While the couple wait for contractors to finish their Indian Creek Island estate, they live in a condo in Surfside, Florida. Jared’s new office is a few minutes away in an open-concept loft. At home, Ivanka takes calls from the balcony overlooking the water. When her father entered politics, she was building a lifestyle brand inside the Trump Organization. She had completed two high-profile real-estate-development deals that confirmed she was first in the line of succession. She knew her place in the world.

In seven years, almost everything about the world and her place in it has changed. Those who know her well, and know her now, say the idea that she is sitting around desperate to get invited back to the Met Gala isn’t right. That she is not in denial the way her father is. She doesn’t necessarily think charitable deeds will earn her reentry to New York society, though she is documenting those deeds on social media and on sympathetic media outlets. (Before all this, “sympathetic media outlet” meant Vogue; today, it means Fox News.) She spends her time with her children, mostly, and when alone, she tries to figure out who she is now. She learned guitar. She surfs. She practices meditation. The child tax credit, paid family leave, workforce development — when Ivanka thinks about her time in the White House, she chooses to think about the policy areas where she feels she had a real impact, whether or not anyone will ever give her credit. She decided she’s no longer the kind of person who must serve at her father’s side when her father is who her father is and he doesn’t listen to her anyway.

Without his daughter and son-in-law to turn to in the wake of dinner with Ye and Fuentes, Trump was left to defend himself on his preferred platform, Truth Social. To me, he said, “Kanye West called me up, and he wanted to know if I could meet him because he has a lot of problems. And I did that. He brought some people that I didn’t — Nick Fuentes — who I didn’t know at all. We sat down, we had a very quick meal. It wasn’t two hours, as somebody said. It was a very quick meal, it went very fast. It was pleasant. There was nothing said of any great import. And that was the end of that. All of a sudden, the press made a fake story out of it.”

On the phone, he was defensive about Ivanka and Jared. “I don’t need anybody’s advice! I don’t need any advice! I’m pretty good. I think I’m pretty good at doing advice,” he said. If he was so good, why did he have dinner with an anti-semite? “I had dinner with a very troubled man who was asking for help, and I didn’t know his views on Israel because I don’t study Kanye. I didn’t know that Kanye said anything negative about Israel because it’s not exactly something that I would be in a position to know.”

If he had better people around him, wouldn’t they have known? Wouldn’t they have prevented that? Trump and Wiles talked over each other. West had “always been very good to me,” Trump said, “and I believe he wanted advice. And I do that for people, sometimes at my own risk, I guess. But I do that for people. I like helping people that have difficulties in life. And I think, you know, from that standpoint, I did the right thing.” So the problem, he implied, was that he was simply too generous for his own good? “I believe I am overly generous, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. But sometimes it can make life a little bit more difficult,” he said. “I am overly generous.”

Do you remember how Sunset Boulevard ends? Norma Desmond shoots and kills the writer, a fraudster who has fallen under the spell of her charisma, just as he summons the courage to walk away. Her sycophantic butler flips. There are no enablers left to protect her. A final fantasy, a fake movie set, is staged in the mansion’s entryway. The lights go on, and she is lured before the cameras, where the police are waiting to haul her away.

Want more stories like this one? Subscribe now to support our journalism and get unlimited access to our coverage. If you prefer to read in print, you can also find this article in the January 2, 2023, issue of New York Magazine.
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