Trump DOJ Meatballs ... Actually Refused To Do Coups!
Oversight is back, baby! And as long as they control the House, Democrats are going to conduct it, with or without Republicans.
Toward that end, House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney sent Attorney General Merrick Garland a letter on May 21 demanding information about the Trump White House pressuring the Justice Department to interfere in the 2020 election. And lo! Instead of a big middle finger with a snarky letter saying everything that happens in the executive branch is privileged, they actually coughed it up! And while most of this stuff already appeared in prior news reporting, it's pretty shocking to see evidence in black and white of Trump trying to weaponize the DOJ to keep himself in office.
The president of the United States of America literally tried to get every vote from Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada tossed out — about one in five votes cast nationwide. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that is some crazy banana republic shit! To their minimal credit, however, the vast majority of Trump's DOJ lawyers held the line and refused to play along. Good job, fellas!
The drama really got going in mid-December. With Bill Barr out as attorney general, and Jeffrey Rosen in charge of the DOJ, Trump forwarded to Rosen a gobbledygook memo of "Antrim County Talking Points," full of widely debunked lies about Michigan's election. Remember how there was that blip in one county caused by human error on election night, and the administrators caught it immediately and fixed it? This memo pretends that this was actually a deliberate FRAUD baked into all the machines, and estimates the same error rate for every county in the state. Because if you keep poking that dead squid, it might just come back to life as a magical Kraken to slay all your enemies.
Rosen ignored this little love note, but soon found himself dogged by an attorney named Kurt Olsen, who worked on the mindfuckingly stupid Texas lawsuit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, seeking to have the Supreme Court toss out their electoral votes.
In a December 29 email to multiple high-ranking DOJ officials, including Jeffrey Rosen and Solicitor General Jeff Wall, Trump's assistant forwarded a draft of a Supreme Court case cribbed from the dismissed Texas suit, repeating the same allegations and demanding that the court toss out those seven states' electoral votes "to ensure that the U.S. Constitution does not become simply a piece of parchment on display at the National Archives." Alleging that state officials used COVID "as an excuse to unconstitutionally revise or violate their states' election laws," it asks that the Court just grant Trump a second term by fiat.
The same day, Olsen deluged Rosen with a dozen calls and emails insisting that they had to meet immediately, at the president's request.
"The President of the United States has seen this complaint, and he directed me last night to brief AG Rosen in person today to discuss bringing this action," he wrote. "I have been instructed to report back to the President this afternoon after the meeting."
He didn't get the meeting, and the case was never filed. But that wasn't the end of the matter, with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows using his official account to spam Rosen with an increasingly bizarre series of conspiracy theories — from a Pennsylvania legislator's ramblings about his state's elections being UNLEGAL (a theory which had been rejected by multiple federal and state courts), to the Italian Space Laser conspiracy.
There's also confirmation that the White House did push out BJay Pak, the US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, because he refused to initiate an investigation in service of Trump's cockamamie election fraud lies.
And remember that plot to oust Rosen and replace him with Jeffrey Bossert Clark, who was hot to trot on Trump's plan to use the DOJ to stop the election certification? Well Clark makes an appearance here in an email reaching out to some guy at the Heritage Foundation about the election. So bookmark this dude Dustin Carmack, 'cause you can bet your bottom dollar that he's going to come up in the Oversight hearing on this clusterfuckery.
Last but never least, no election hijinks would be complete without an appearance by America's favorite derp lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Ol' Crazy Eyes was all in on the Italian hacking conspiracy, natch, and demanded that he and Brad Johnson, the chef of this spicy rancid meatball, be granted an audience with high-ranking law enforcement officials.
"I was asked to have FBI meet with Brad Johnson, and I responded that Johnson could call or walk into FBI's Washington Field Office with any evidence he purports to have," Rosen wrote in a January 1 email. "On a follow up call, I learned that Johnson is working with Rudy Giuliani, who regarded my comments as 'an insult.' Asked if I would reconsider, I flatly refused, said I would not be giving any special treatment to Giuliani or any of his 'witnesses,' and re-affirmed yet again that I will not talk to Giuliani about any of this."
Womp, womp. Well, good on all of these guys, many of whom were up to their asses in the Ukraine cover up, but who did manage to fend off a coup by studiously ignoring their inboxes. Looks like the new administration has a slightly different understanding of executive privilege than the previous guy. Anyway, have fun testifying to Congress!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.