It’s funny ’cause it’s true.
Hume: If they succeed by staining him such that he is unable for legal or political reasons to run again, they might find out they’ve done the GOP a great service because I think a great number of Republicans think they can’t win with Trump… they’d like him to go away pic.twitter.com/g1JwKtct8w
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 13, 2022
Two different elements of that clip made me laugh. One is the suggestion that, by exposing Trump’s “stop the steal” plot in all its particulars, the committee might embolden Republican *politicians* to declare that it’s time to move on from Trump. I’ll believe that when I see it. A bunch of them, from Kevin McCarthy to Nikki Haley to Nancy Mace, jumped out in front of the “let’s move on from Trump” parade once before in the days after January 6 only to look back and find that Republican voters weren’t following them, imperiling their careers. Virtually everyone apart from Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger scrambled to get back onside and have been obedient puppies ever since. Congressional Republicans will never make that mistake again. If the party is going to move on from Trump, the base will have to lead.
But Hume’s right that the committee’s work will make that more likely. To repeat a point from yesterday, Republican voters will never admit that the evidence produced at the hearings is damning and should disqualify Trump from being president again. To do so would be disloyal. They might, however, point to the hypothetical effect the evidence will have on swing voters and proclaim that Trump is hopelessly damaged goods. I suspect that’s how Ron DeSantis and other Trump rivals will spin the January 6 evidence if and when they face him in a primary. They can’t tout the evidence as proof of a character deficit but they can say that electability matters above all other things and Trump is no longer electable. The “witch hunt” destroyed him.
As a Republican, you’re not allowed to admit that you believe Trump is unfit for office but you are allowed to disguise that belief as worrying that others might find him unfit for office. Of course he’s fit for office! But … we want to play our strongest hand in 2024, don’t we?
The other funny part is Hume’s sense of near-wonder that the committee doesn’t seem to understand that, by damaging Trump, they’re raising the odds that the GOP will nominate a *stronger* candidate in 2024. What if I told you, though, that the committee does understand that? What if I told you that that’s basically the point of the committee, to show American voters in both parties that Trump is so dangerous a figure that he should be kept far from power even if that reduces Democrats’ chances of winning the next election?
They understand that they’re making it less likely that Trump is nominated again. That’s why they’re doing the hearings in primetime, so that more Americans can watch. The odds of him going to prison for what he did are one in a thousand, but if the committee can convince Republicans and swing voters to cut him loose and avert Coup 2.0 in 2024, they’ll take that deal.
Brit finds this wondrous because, admittedly, it’s rare for national politicians to do something for the good of America rather than for their own, or their party’s, good. But all you have to do is watch the hearings or read the newspapers to understand why the members of the committee feel so strongly that we can never, ever give Trump a second chance.
Three days before Congress was slated to certify the 2020 presidential election, a little-known Justice Department official named Jeffrey Clark rushed to meet President Donald Trump in the Oval Office to discuss a last-ditch attempt to reverse the results.
Clark, an environmental lawyer by trade, had outlined a plan in a letter he wanted to send to the leaders of key states Joe Biden won. It said that the Justice Department had “identified significant concerns” about the vote and that the states should consider sending “a separate slate of electors supporting Donald J. Trump” for Congress to approve…
“History is calling,” Clark told the president, according to a deposition from Donoghue excerpted in a recent court filing. “This is our opportunity. We can get this done.”
Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, told Trump that Clark’s proposed letter was “a murder-suicide pact,” according to Donoghue’s deposition. “It’s going to damage everyone who touches it. And we should have nothing to do with that letter. I don’t ever want to see that letter again.” Cipollone declined to comment.
Cipollone and a raft of other lawyers managed to talk Trump out of naming Clark acting Attorney General, threatening mass resignations at the DOJ if he tried to use the department to launder his coup attempt. But what was Clark, a little-known environmental lawyer at the DOJ, doing meeting with the president about voter-fraud conspiracies in the first place? Why was Trump willing to consider making him the country’s highest law-enforcement officer to pursue phantom voter fraud until Cipollone and others intervened?
It was because Clark told him what he wanted to hear. Trump was willing to risk a constitutional crisis to try to cling to power until it was explained to him that the Justice Department would burn itself down if he did so. All the committee wants, ultimately, is for enough Americans to be alarmed by that that they resolve to go in a different direction in 2024.
By the way, for all the hype in MAGA media about how no one’s watching the hearings, TrumpWorld sure does seem to be paying close attention. Trump himself put out a 12-page statement last night laying out his conspiracy claims. Rudy Giuliani took to tweeting indignantly today about the claim that he was drunk on election night 2020:
Rudy Giuliani just deleted these tweets pic.twitter.com/FbtRmgk1R8
— Aaron Fritschner (@Fritschner) June 14, 2022
The revelation that Don Jr’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, reportedly made $60,000 for a two-minute introduction at the January 6 rally also made waves within Trump’s inner circle:
JUST NOW: “People in Trump world are sharing that clip. They are aghast that this is the amount of money she got for a speech to introduce her boyfriend. “
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) June 14, 2022
They’re all watching. They all want to know who knew what, who said what, and most of all who’s been backbiting whom.
By the way, tomorrow’s January 6 hearing has been postponed, surprisingly. Supposedly that’s because the committee’s video editors need more time to get the relevant A/V material ready but I wonder if the committee is trying to avoid being bigfooted by the Supreme Court. The Court announced a few days ago that more opinions will be announced tomorrow morning, coincidentally at exactly the time the hearing was set to begin. Imagine how little media attention would have been paid to that hearing if news broke in the first few minutes that Roe had just been overturned. The committee probably decided to cede the spotlight to SCOTUS, just in case, and then to pick back up on Thursday.