Carl Bernstein: Memos telling Mike Pence to overturn election were ‘blueprint’ for a coup
Watergate veteran Carl Bernstein speaks to CNN. Image via screengrab.

A tape from an interview between former President Donald Trump and ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl revealed that the former president "wouldn't dispute" that he told Mike Pence that if he doesn't stop the 2020 election certification, he's a "p*ssy."

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, however, legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein said that he thinks "there is a lot more involved than Trump's comments."

"I think what we are seeing in these memos particularly are blueprints for a coup," he said. "The actual blueprints in document form in which the president of the United States, through his chief of staff, is sending to Mike Pence's, the vice president's, staff a blueprint to overturn an election, a blueprint for a conspiracy led by a president of the United States to result in an authoritarian coup in which the election is stolen."

He went on to say that there's nothing in American history even remotely close to what happened in 2020 and that all of these things were documented in writing.

"These are the actual documents that show what was going on," Bernstein continued. "But we need a lot more. We need a complete and thorough narrative of everything that Donald Trump did and said, especially on January 5th and 6th, to undermine the Constitution of the United States and to go ahead with the coup that would have resulted in the most grievous undermining of our Constitution in the history of the United States. And already the fact that he did what he did shows that he engaged in the most grievous conduct by a president of the united states in our history."

CNN host Jim Acosta called it not only unpresidential but "it was unamerican."

"It sounds like they were weighing multiple coup options. Do we have to draw people a picture?" asked Acosta, shocked by the seeming lack of concern by the American public. "It's more evidence, it almost sounds like there was a conspiracy."

"Of course there was a conspiracy!" said Bernstein. "It was a conspiracy led by the president of the United States to overturn the duly elected president, incoming president of the United States, Joe Biden, by thwarting the Electoral College process.

Acosta asked why it isn't a crime, but Bernstein explained it's certainly a constitutional crime, and it might also be a criminal act for which a normal American citizen can be tried and convicted. But he asked to keep an eye on the larger picture.

"We know that Trump tried to overturn the election through lies and through actual acts to inhibit the count of the vote, to keep the Electoral College from casting its votes," said Bernstein. "That's what these memos are about. They show multiple attempts and blueprints how to manipulate the process in such a way that there would not be a free election in this country for the president of the United States."

There are now two things going on, he continued: the House Select Committee, which is examining the documents, and a one-year timeline for Democrats to finish the investigation before Republicans end the committee.

If Republicans take back Congress, the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 will be shut down by the GOP members swiftly.

"We have one year to find out what happened in this most grievous act by a president of the United States since the Civil War," he went on. "And it's up to the press particularly. We know that these acts occurred and we know that Donald Trump is engaged in a massive cover-up through executive privilege and other instruments to keep us from finding out what he did to do this illegal, unconstitutional, authoritarian act such as we've never seen."

He went on to say that the media must use the next year to ensure that they are doing the research necessary to hold leaders accountable across both parties.

See the full conversation below:

Trump's conspiracy