It is hard to keep track of all the flying poop, as thoughtful Merrick Garland knits his brow over the facts and the law and how best to follow them, but this model prosecution memo, by Barbara McQuade, lays some of it out — the part about Trump’s plan to coerce Pence to throw out votes that made him lose the election, and the conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding — as clearly as possible. Then she analyzes the legal cases. The actions taken by the conspirators were varied, frenzied and included throwing every possible kind of shit against the wall to see what might stick as a talking point on right wing media to amplify widespread belief in unfounded lies and justify overturning an election lost by the incumbent. Here are a few nuggets (her full memo is linked at the bottom of this post):
In a separate suit, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) brought an action on Dec. 28 to declare Pence had authority to reject the election results. In a response submitted by the Justice Department on Dec. 31, Pence opposed the suit. Pence’s brief said, “A suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction.” The district court and court of appeals dismissed the suit in the following two days. . .
. . . Later on Jan. 2, 2021, Trump and attorneys Rudolph Giuliani and John Eastman conducted a Zoom conference call with 300 legislators from swing states won by Biden. According to Michigan State Sen. Ed McBroom (R), who participated in the call, the Trump team urged the legislators to overturn the choice of voters in their states, but provided no evidence of voter fraud. As McBroom reported: “I was listening to hear whether they had any evidence to substantiate claims” of significant voter fraud that could change the results in Michigan.” “(T)he callers did not provide additional information, he said, and he did not support a delay in the electoral vote count.” . . .
. . . Also on Jan. 5, Eastman met with Short and Jacob at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Eastman argued that Pence should reject the Biden electors, according to two sources. By the end of the two-hour meeting, Eastman had conceded that having Pence reject Biden electors was not a viable plan. Eastman later denied so conceding. . . .
. . . Late on the evening of Jan. 5, Trump issued a false statement that Pence had agreed to take action beyond counting votes on Jan. 6. According to reporting, Trump directed his campaign to issue a statement that he and Pence were in “total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act.” In fact, this statement was false, the exact opposite of Pence’s position, and was issued without consulting with the vice president or his office. Soon after issuing the statement, Trump called Giuliani and then called Steve Bannon who was also at the Willard Hotel. Trump said that Pence had not caved. Pence was “very arrogant,” Trump repeatedly said.
[even fascistic secret torture memo author/professor John Yoo advised Pence he had no legal right to do what Trump had demanded]
“I advised that there was no factual basis for Mike Pence to intervene and overturn the results of the election,” said Yoo, who now teaches law at the University of California at Berkeley. “There are certain limited situations where I thought the Vice President does have a role, for example in the event that a state sends two different electoral results. . . . But none of those were present here.” . . .
. . . At about 2 p.m., protestors broke a window at the U.S. Capitol and climbed inside. The Senate and House of Representatives soon went into recess and members evacuated the two chambers. At 2:24 p.m., Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.” The Capitol would not be secured again until about 6 p.m. . . .
Barbara McQuade concludes that
This evidence is sufficient to obtain and sustain convictions of charges for conspiracy to defraud the United States and for obstruction of an official proceeding.
and lays out the case for each. She acknowledges certain dangers in prosecuting a former president with an angry private army, but concludes the only thing worse than the possibility of deadly violence by his followers is not prosecuting the lawless turd. Merrick?