Trump may have planned to join supporters at the Capitol — and the Secret Service could prove it: Stephanie Grisham
Donald Trump may have planned to march to the U.S. Capitol with his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, and his former press secretary directed the House select committee to the documents that could prove it.
Grisham, who was Melania Trump's chief of staff when she resigned on the day of the insurrection, gave an interview the first week of January before the select committee, where she told House investigators that the former president's intentions would be memorialized in documents provided to the U.S. Secret Service, two sources told The Guardian.
The panel was already seeking documents from the Secret Service about security plans for Trump and then-vice president Mike Pence, but Grisham suggested to House investigators that Trump was determined to speak at the "Save America" rally once he heard about it and oversaw the event's optics in frequent phone calls.
Grisham told the select committee that the White House, Secret Service and "Save America" organizers would have coordinated Trump's appearance at the event at the Ellipse, the sources said.
Trump never went to the Capitol and instead watched the Capitol riot on television after the Secret Service told them his security could not be guaranteed if he marched with his supporters, and House investigators may be looking into why the presidential line-by-line, which could reveal discussions about security concerns, was not disseminated further.
Donald Trump hosted secret meetings in the White House residence in the days ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to statements from his former press secretary to the the House select committee.
Stephanie Grisham also told House investigators that documents provided to the U.S. Secret Service would memorialize whether Trump actually intended to march himself with supporters to the Capitol after his speech at the "Stop the Steal" rally at the Ellipse, two sources told The Guardian.
The sources said Grisham, who was Melania Trump's chief of staff when she resigned on Jan. 6, 2021, was more significant than the select committee expected, saying that she gave House investigators an overview of the former president's chaotic last weeks in office and the days leading up to the Capitol riot.
Only a small number of aides knew about the off-the-books meetings in the White House residence that were mostly scheduled by former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and she also said former chief usher Timothy Harleth would permit participants to go upstairs.
The former president tried to fire Harleth, a former top employee at the Trump International Hotel before joining the White House in 2017, after he aided Joe Biden's transition team, but Melania Trump stepped in to keep him until Inauguration Day.
Grisham said she wasn't sure who Trump met with in the White House residence, where other officials have said he conducted private business in his presidency's final days, but told House investigators that Harleth and other individuals would likely know.
And oh yeah – they also want to address the fact that in this country we have too few guns readily available to irresponsible, untrained and unvetted people. Their so-called “constitutional carry” provision ought to fix that problem quick as a bullet fired in a road-rage incident.
Honestly, though, it’s a neat trick, especially in an election year. Fake problems are infinitely more susceptible to fake solutions by fake leaders than are real problems, which tend to be complicated and bring the risk of potential failure to those who dare try to fix them.
You know what else is a neat trick? Swooping in to take credit for somebody else’s accomplishment.
In his State of the State address last week, Gov. Brian Kemp bragged that as recently as 2019, “Georgia had only four health insurance carriers offering plans in the individual market. Today, we have nearly tripled that number with eleven carriers offering plans for 2022.”
He went on to point out that “in 2019, only 26 percent of Georgia’s counties had more than one carrier offering insurance on the individual market. Now, in 2022, 98 percent of all counties have more than one carrier – which means expanded choice and lowered costs for hardworking Georgians.”
If your hypocrisy alarm is blaring, it ought to be. Without saying the “O word,” Kemp is basically embracing and taking credit for the success of Obamacare, the health insurance program that he and every other Republican predicted would destroy the American health care system, produce ruinously high insurance premiums resulting in the dreaded “death spiral,” and in the process turn us all into Communists. Here in Georgia, GOP officials tried hard to ensure that the program failed, with then-Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens at one point pledging to do “everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”
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None of that happened. Last year, Georgia had the fifth highest enrollment total in the country, with 517,000 signing up for Affordable Health Care Act plans. That was up 11% from 2020. Enrollment in 2022 has jumped to 654,000, an increase of 26.5%. Despite all attempts to kill it, Obamacare is working and working well.
And while Kemp wants to credit his 2019 “Patients First Act” for that success, much of his legislation has yet to take effect and probably never will, and the improvements in rates and availability that he cites as the product of his leadership are being experienced in states all over the country, not just in Georgia.
That’s why you no longer hear Republicans pledging to repeal Obamacare. They don’t because it is a success, and because it is popular, so popular that Kemp wants credit for it. It turns out Nancy Pelosi was right when she told voters they needed to wait to see how the legislation worked before condemning it.
Despite that progress, however, Georgia still has the third highest rate of uninsured in the country, because under Republican rule it has steadfastly refused federal offers to expand Medicaid for the state’s working poor. Four years ago, when Kemp first ran for governor, 17 states, including Georgia, still refused Medicaid expansion dollars. Now it’s down to 12. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 452,000 additional low-income Georgians would become eligible for coverage if Georgia took that step.
But it won’t, because our leaders are more interested in fake solutions to fake problems than in actually making life better for the people who pay their salaries.
Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.