Take, for example, the events of Dec. 14 at the Georgia State Capitol. On that date, Democratic electors met in the state Senate chambers to formally commit the state's 16 electoral votes to Joe Biden. The event was ceremonial in nature, yet required under the U.S. Constitution.
Largely overlooked at the time – there was a lot going on – was a second meeting held that day in a committee room at the Capitol, this one convened by Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer. In that meeting, Shafer and his fellow Republicans approved a fake second slate of pro-Trump electors to be sent to Washington, on the grounds that Trump had really carried Georgia and that Biden's victory was based on fraud.
There was, is, and never will be any evidence whatsoever of that claim, as multiple recounts, investigations and court cases have demonstrated. But as we'll see, the legitimacy of that fake slate of electors didn't really matter. What mattered was the ability to claim that the competing slate existed.
We know that because of last week's publication of a memo from John Eastman, a now discredited constitutional law professor who also served as a top legal advisor to Trump. It's pretty much a how-to booklet on ending American democracy.
In that memo, Eastman lays out a step-by-step scheme by which Vice President Mike Pence could single-handedly overturn the results of the presidential election and ensure that Trump stayed in office, despite having lost the election. Trump embraced the strategy wholeheartedly, as subsequent events have proved.
A 'majority of the electors appointed' would therefore be 228. There are at this point 232 votes for Trump, 222 votes for Biden. Pence then gavels President Trump as re-elected.
– John Eastman, a top legal advisor to former President Donald Trump
The key to that scheme was the creation of “competing slates of electors" in Georgia and six other supposedly “disputed" states. Again, it didn't matter whether those competing slates were legitimate. All that mattered was that a useful fiction was created, that those slates could be said to exist. According to the plan laid out by Eastman, Pence would unilaterally announce to a joint session of Congress on January 6 that “because of the ongoing disputes in the seven states, there are no electors that can be deemed validly appointed in those states." Using that excuse, all votes cast in those states would be canceled and their electoral votes would not be counted, thus reducing the total number of available electoral votes from 535 to 454.
As Eastman explains in that memo:
“A 'majority of the electors appointed' would therefore be 228. There are at this point 232 votes for Trump, 222 votes for Biden. Pence then gavels President Trump as re-elected."
They also had a Plan B, and even a Plan C and D.
If their attempt to manipulate the electoral math somehow failed, Plan B called for Pence to then declare that since no candidate had a majority of electoral votes, the question of our next president would be decided by the House, with each state's congressional delegation getting one vote. The candidate who had the most state delegations would be our next president.
“Republicans currently control 26 of the state delegations, the bare majority needed to win that vote," Eastman wrote. “President Trump is re-elected there as well."
And if that didn't work, if we still didn't have a president, Eastman writes, “That creates a stalemate that would give the state legislatures more time to weigh in to formally support the alternate slate of electors, if they had not already done so."
In other words, by illegally and unconstitutionally delaying the electoral count, and putting pressure on Republican legislators to reverse the voters' decision, Trump wins yet again.
And Plan D? We saw that play out on live TV on January 6, when a mob of protesters summoned to Washington by Trump attacked Congress to try to stop the counting of electoral votes. Even if the insurrectionists couldn't force Congress to anoint Trump to another term, they could delay the official counting of votes and again give sympathetic GOP legislatures more time to toss the certified slate of electors and replace them with Trump electors. Indeed, even in the midst of the riot, as members of Congress were taking shelter in undisclosed hiding places, Trump and Rudy Giuliani were calling Republican senators, plotting how to delay the vote.
This is not all behind us; it is not merely history.
As recently as last Friday, Trump again called upon Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to decertify the 2020 election, calling Biden an “illegitimate president" and urging Raffensperger to “announce the true winner." And in a recent CNN poll, 59% of Republicans said that believing Trump won the 2020 election was central to being a Republican.
Trump is also working hard to ensure that when 2024 rolls around, he has people in place to do his bidding. Under Shafer's leadership, for example, the Georgia GOP lost the 2020 presidential race in Georgia as well as two U.S. Senate seats, which is an astonishingly poor performance. But when Shafer ran for re-election as party chair, that didn't matter. “No one in Georgia fought harder for me than David!" Trump announced. “He NEVER gave up! He has my Complete and Total Endorsement for re-election." Shafer won easily.
Trump has also endorsed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who remains a rabid, irrational advocate of overturning the election, to replace Raffensperger as secretary of state. If Hice wins in 2022, he would oversee the 2024 election. Trump has also endorsed state Sen. Burt Jones, who last year demanded a special session of the state Legislature to officially replace Biden electors with Trump electors, in his race for lieutenant governor.
So no, this is not a storm that has passed. This is at best the eye of the hurricane, the deceiving pause before the storm resumes.
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.
Donald Trump Jr. dismisses mass shootings as 'statistically very insignificant' in call to fight Biden agenda
During remarks at a gun mega-store in Georgia on Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. said parts of the Biden agenda that are "being pushed on us" show "why the Second Amendment is so important."
Trump Jr. also dismissed mass shootings as "statistically very insignificant," and criticized the treatment of Capitol insurrectionists who remain in jail.
"Asked about defending gun rights in the wake of mass shootings, Trump Jr. said that gang violence and movements to rein in police cause many more deaths," according to a report from the Marietta Daily Journal.
"In terms of, as a percentage of crime, it's like nothing, right? ... It's statistically very insignificant," Trump Jr. said. "That's not saying that we want to allow those things to happen. Obviously, that's not the case. But they're (the left) able to manipulate the data."
Referring to himself as a "Fifth Avenue redneck," Trump Jr. reportedly addressed about 50 people at Adventure Outdoors, a "massive" gun store and firing range, prior to attending a rally with Georgia Lt. Gov. candidate Burt Jones.
Speaking without notes at Adventure Outdoors, Trump Jr. focused mostly on gun rights, according to the report.
Detailing his gun-rights activism in the first year of the Biden administration, Trump Jr. said: "As I see the other parts of the agenda that are being pushed on us, you realize and understand why the Second Amendment is so important."
While he steered mostly clear of "big lie" conspiracy theories, Trump Jr. said in response to a question about "election integrity" that "we need people in the state legislatures, people in those positions of power in government, that have the guts to actually stand up."
Trump Jr. told the crowd that he personally underestimated Biden, claiming his father's successor has "destroyed" America in only eight months.
"America may have to hit rock bottom to realize that maybe (former president Trump's) tweets weren't so bad," Trump Jr. said, prompting laughter.
Maine's bombastic former governor Paul LePage has returned to the state in hopes of winning back his old job, and both Democrats and Republicans are unhappy about it.
The foul-mouthed former governor retired to Florida after term limits ended his tenure in 2018, but LePage -- who called himself "Donald Trump before Donald Trump" -- launched a challenge to Democratic incumbent Gov. Janet Mills, who handily defeated his hand-picked successor three years ago, reported Politico.
Even some Republicans are worried about his return to Main politics.
"There was nothing in his background that would have led a thinking person to think he would be good for the state of Maine, other than his rhetoric about lower taxes and less government intrusion," said GOP political consultant Lance Dutson. "All of us jerks who thought we knew everything laughed behind our hand at him."
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has already endorsed LePage, who declared her political career finished in 2016 for insufficiently loyalty to Trump, and his newly launched campaign has quickly energized the right-wing GOP base.
"LePage needs to shore up his base, and it's made up of white supremacists, anti-vaxxers, QAnon believers and hardcore conservatives who believe the 2020 election was stolen and are pushing for some sort of authoritarian rule," said former journalist Andy O'Brien, who now tracks and exposes extremist groups, "and Paul LePage is a very authoritarian person. I don't think this next year is going to be pretty."
The state's Republican Party has changed dramatically since LePage was first elected in 2010, and after four years of Trump -- and the Waldo County GOP banned two former state legislators from running for office because they had turned against the former president before the 2020 election.
"The party has been almost completely replaced from what I recognize, or have ever known, as the Republican Party," said former state Senate president Kevin Raye, one of the lawmakers who was banned. "Many of the people who were involved, and activists who worked in the trenches for years, are no longer even involved in the party."
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month