Donald Trump's Saturday rally in Georgia got off to an inauspicious start as multiple factors converged to scuttle the former president's hopes for a triumphant return to the campaign trail.
The former president's troubles exploded on Thursday when the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol issued subpoenas to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel, and former Trump advisor Stephen Bannon.
Trump had hoped the focus on subpoenas would be distracted by the results of the controversial Cyber Ninjas audit in Arizona.
"Interesting that the Unselect Committee of political hacks 'dropped' their subpoena request the night before Arizona is expected to announce its findings from the Forensic Audit on voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election Scam," Trump said in an email sent after 11 p.m. eastern on Thursday evening.
But the results of the audit had already been leaked, and they showed that Trump was an even bigger loser than was announced in November.
Things got even worse on Friday, as even Fox News reported on the Arizona audit confirming Joe Biden won.
Then, on the eve of the rally, the state's Republican lieutenant governor handed CNN an opinion column where he likened Trump to Satan.
"This weekend, former President Trump is hosting a rally in my neck of the woods," Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan wrote. "If the legendary Southern rocker Charlie Daniels were still with us today, his hit song could be re-written as, 'A president went down to Georgia, he was looking for a party's soul to steal.'"
The Republican official worried the rally would be like recent Trump rallies in Alabama, Ohio and Arizona where the former leader of the free world would recite his expansive list of grievances, while pushing long-ago debunked conspiracy theories.
"Republican candidates cannot win general elections around the country if they exert all of their energy in the primary on a litmus test around unfounded election conspiracy theories. When Trump comes to Georgia this weekend, expect him to re-package his 'greatest hits' and once again hijack our great state for his own selfish agenda. It might make for good theater, but it is setting back the conservative movement," Duncan warned.
But Trump doubled-down on Arizona, and announced it would be a focus of his rally.
"I will be discussing the winning results of the Arizona Forensic Audit, which will show 44,000 possibly illegal ballots cast, tomorrow at the Great State of Georgia rally, which will be packed!" Trump said in a statement emailed to reporters.
Weighing heavily over Trump's rally is the fact he's reportedly under criminal investigation in the Peach State for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
As Trump prepared to depart for his Georgia rally, The Washington Post published an op-ed by Norman Eisen, Donald Ayer, Gwen Keyes Fleming, and Joshua Matz of the Brookings Institution titled, "Trump is going back to Georgia. Did he break the law there?"
The four explained a new report their think tank published on "publicly available evidence in connection with the reported ongoing investigation by the Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis."
"The centerpiece of Trump's Georgia interference is his now infamous phone call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which Trump repeatedly insisted that he had won Georgia "by hundreds of thousands of votes" and demanded that Raffensperger "find 11,780 votes" — exactly one more vote than the margin of Joe Biden's 11,779-vote victory in the state. But Trump's actions went far beyond his solicitations and threats on this one call. He also personally contacted other officials in Georgia — including the governor, the attorney general and the secretary of state's chief investigator — to urge them to alter the election outcome," the explained.
They went on to essentially prosecute the former president in the pages of The Post, warning of the risks of not holding Trump accountable.
"Trump has still not gotten over the 2020 election results, and he is still trying to overturn them. Last week, he sent a letter to the Georgia secretary of state again reiterating baseless voter fraud allegations and the secretary to consider decertifying the 2020 election result — now close to a year after the election. By this conduct, Trump is proving that he would do the same things again if given the chance. Investigating and, if justified, prosecuting past crimes may be the best bulwark against future ones," they argued.
Despite it all, Trump supporters are already waiting in line to hear him repeat his greatest hits.
HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher on Friday mocked Republicans for audits of the election President Joe Biden won over ten months ago.
"The crazy never stops," Maher said. "The results from the audit of the election, which was almost a year ago, are in from Arizona. Whoops, they found actually Biden got more votes."
"And this was done by a company with no auditing experience, called Cyber Ninjas, who will now go back to their old job playing Dungeons and Drags in their mom's basement," he explained.
"So a fake company hired to do a partisan recount couldn't produce a bulllsh*t result — and this has really shaken up MAGA nation," he continued.
He went on to ridicule Republicans in Texas who are conducting an audit even though Trump won the state.
"Trump demanded an audit yesterday and the governor, Greg Abbott, ordered it that night," Maher said. "Boy, I thought those Haitian immigrants were whipped."
Marjorie Taylor Green's chief of staff quits — only hours after her public meltdown on the Capitol steps
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) lost her most senior staffer on Friday after she made a scene on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
NBC News reported Greene "instigated a shouting match with a group of House Democrats who were holding an event outside the U.S. Capitol on Friday."
Greene screamed that Democrats support "murder" for supporting abortion rights.
Following the incident, Greene announced that her chief of staff had "advised" her that he would no longer be working in her office.
"I want to thank my Chief of Staff, Patrick Parsons, for helping me take the fight to the Socialist Democrats as I've transitioned into Congress. He's advised me he will be moving back into the political arena to help elect America First conservatives who can fight alongside me," she posted to Twitter.
Republican Rep. @mtgreenee gets into a shouting match with Democrats, incl. @BettyMcCollum04 and @RepDebDingell at… https://t.co/HlTrM8RJyA— bryan metzger (@bryan metzger) 1632498932.0
.@RepMTG started off by yelling at a group of Democratic women, incl. @IlhanMN @Rep_Stansbury @RepDebDingell… https://t.co/xyW6arjIKr— bryan metzger (@bryan metzger) 1632502201.0
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