On Monday, writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer, columnist Will Bunch highlighted a new development in the congressional investigation of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — in the form of a claim made by a close ally of former President Donald Trump.
Specifically, a letter from former New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik allegedly shows evidence Trump was considering invoking the Insurrection Act to use the military to overturn the presidential election — an unprecedented action some of his allies were advocating.
"According to a letter from Kerik’s attorney, the document is called 'DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS' — and it’s believed to have been written on Dec. 17, 2020," wrote Bunch. "Here’s the catch: While Kerik, a longtime close associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani, last week turned over some election-related materials to the House Select Committee tasked with getting to the bottom of Jan. 6, the draft letter from Trump is on a list of records that Kerik is refusing to turn over — claiming that the document is shielded by the concept of executive privilege."
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"Until now, little has been made public that would tie these schemes to invoke the Insurrection Act directly to Trump — instead connecting allies like Meadows and ad hoc advisers like the ex-Army colonel and psyops specialist Phil Waldron, likely author of the PowerPoint," noted Bunch. "That’s why the draft letter described last week by Kerik should be seen as a potential 'smoking gun,' because it would prove that Trump was personally involved in the planning for a scenario that could have shut down the Capitol on Jan. 6."
Obtaining this letter, argued Bunch, is essential for the committee and for the public interest — and the law is on their side to do so.
"In 1974, the Supreme Court’s bipartisan resolve allowed the public to finally hear Watergate’s “smoking gun” — a White House tape confirming what had been long suspected, that Nixon abused his power as president over the CIA and FBI to rein in probes of that affair," wrote Bunch. "In 2022, whether the public can read 'DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS' will again decide whether the president is completely above the law, and whether planning for what amounts to a 2024 version of the coup can proceed. For the sake of our democracy, secrecy is not an option."
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