While the Democratic leadership of the House and the Senate is working on a plan to present the articles of impeachment filed against Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate for a trial and vote, Republican senators are looking at the pluses and minus of abandoning their support of the former president.
With former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) opening the door to possibly siding with the Democrats against the former president now residing down in Florida, the Guardian is reporting that there are a multitude of reasons for GOP lawmakers to follow suit including the dread of having Trump as the face of their party again.
As the Guardian's Tom McCarthy wrote, "If convicted, Trump could be banned from ever again holding public office. If not, Trump, who won the votes of 74 million Americans just two months ago, might simply run for president again in 2024," before conceding that it is highly unlikely 17 Republicans would vote to convict.
But, as he points out, the "political landscape" where Republicans reflexively supported the president has changed since the election and even more so before supporters of the president stormed the U.S. Capitol and threatened lawmakers' lives.
"Disgust at the fatal sacking of the Capitol has only grown since 6 January, creating pressure on Republicans to condemn Trump, who appeared in person to speak to the mob before the attack and encouraged them to march on the building," he explained. "Some Republicans might be eager to condemn Trump for other reasons, blaming him for their loss of the Senate majority, which happened because Republican candidates lost two runoff elections in Georgia in January, in a huge double upset."
Add to that, at least six Republican members of the Senate have indicated they are eyeing a presidential run in 2024, and having the ex-president sidelined might be in their best interests.
According to the columnist, it is "unclear how many Republicans might follow McConnell if he indeed tips toward convicting Trump," after only 10 GOP House members voted in favor of Trump's second impeachment, but there is a powerful incentive for senators to convict the president who has already vowed to help oust incumbents who did not support him.
"Up for election only once every six years versus every other year for House members, senators are more insulated from political tides. Anger at how Trump has divided their party could tempt some Republicans toward banishing him, as could fear of what Trump will do if he is permitted to run for office again," McCarthy wrote.
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Two sources involved in the planning of the Jan. 6 rally are naming names about Republican elected officials, White House officials and Donald Trump campaign advisers who participated in the organization of the events that day.
"Both sources also describe Trump's White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, as someone who played a major role in the conversations surrounding the protests on Jan. 6," said Rolling Stone in an exclusive report. "Among other things, they both say concerns were raised to Meadows about Ali Alexander's protest at the Capitol and the potential that it could spark violence.
Meadows is among those who have been subpoenaed by the House Jan. 6 Select Committee for records about their activities on that day. He joins Steve Bannon, who the House voted to hold in contempt of Congress last week.
"Meadows was 100 percent made aware of what was going on," one of the organizers told Rolling Stone. "He's also like a regular figure in these really tiny groups of national organizers."
A third source, who has already spoken to the committee and was also involved in the Ellipse rally said that Kylie Kremer, daughter to Women for Trump founder Amy Kremer, was bragging that she was going to meet with Meadows at the White House before the rally's kickoff. Amy Kremer's name appeared on all of the documents asking for permits for Jan. 6.
The man who began the organizing for the "Stop the Steal" rally, Ali Alexander, agreed that his event that day wouldn't be a "wild protest," and that the Ellipse would be the only event. He is now in hiding.
The organizers said that "when Alexander seemed to be ignoring that arrangement, both claim worries were brought to Meadows."
"Despite making a deal … they plowed forward with their own thing at the Capitol on Jan. 6 anyway," the organizer explained of Alexander and his group. "We ended up escalating that to everybody we could, including Meadows."
The report also said that sources claimed the members of Congress and their staff told them to hold rallies in specific states to specifically target top Republican Senators and put "pressure" on anyone "we considered to be persuadable."
"We had also been coordinating with some of our congressional contacts on, like, what would be presented after the individual objections, and our expectation was that that was the day the storm was going to arrive," the organizer claimed. "It was supposed to be the best evidence that they had been secretly gathering. … Everyone was going to stay at the Ellipse throughout the congressional thing."
What they had discussed with the organizers ahead of the event, however, was only about the rally at the Ellipse to hear "evidence" and the president speak. There was no plan for them to walk to the Capitol, despite Trump's request for them to do so from the podium, they said.
"It was in a variety of calls, some with Gosar and Gosar's team, some with Marjorie Taylor Greene and her team … Mo Brooks," the organizer told Rolling Stone.
"The Capitol was never in play," one of the event planners said.
A senior staffer to a Republican member of Congress said that the official was engaged in planning, but it was "specifically and fully above board."
"A whole host of people let this go a totally different way," the senior Republican staffer claimed. "They f*cked it up for a lot of people who were planning to present evidence on the House floor. We were pissed off at everything that happened ."
The sources told Rolling Stone they were concerned about Alexander because they'd seen him working with militia groups.
"The two sources also claim to have been concerned about drawing people to the area directly adjacent to the Capitol on Jan. 6, given the anger among Trump supporters about the electoral certification that was underway that day," said the report.
"They knew that they weren't there to sing 'Kumbaya' and, like, put up a peace sign," said a rally planner. "These frickin' people were angry."
Rolling Stone spoke to two organizers of the Jan. 6 rally, according to a new report. In so doing, they outed a slate of Republican officials and revealed that Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) claimed, ahead of the rally, that some protesters would be given a "blanket pardon" from President Donald Trump.
While Republican members of Congress participated in the planning discussions leading into the Jan. 6 attack, top Trump aide Katrina Pierson was a "key liaison between the organizers of protests against the election and the White House." Pierson worked for Trump's campaign in 2016 and 2020. Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows was also named.
The two witnesses in Rolling Stone's story claimed they told the investigators that they would be willing to testify against the Republicans, Pierson and any others involved that they knew about.
"Katrina was like our go-to girl," the organizer told Rolling Stone. "She was like our primary advocate."
Pierson was also one of the speakers at the Jan. 6 rally ahead of the attack. She has been named along with several members of Congress who the sources said participated in the planning meetings.
Read the full Rolling Stone report here.
Pro-Trump activists reveal Republican elected officials who participated in planning of Jan. 6 rallies: report
A slate of Republican members of Congress is being outed by those who attended planning meetings for the protest that resulted in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to a new report in Rolling Stone.
Two sources, according to their story, revealed that Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) were all present on "dozens" of calls with organizers of the group.
"I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically," the organizer told Rolling Stone. "I remember talking to probably close to a dozen other members at one point or another or their staffs."
The former president also spoke to the group, saying that they were going to march to the U.S. Capitol and tell the members of Congress that they needed to hand Trump the election. He promised that he would lead them and walk with them, but that never happened.
"These two sources also helped plan a series of demonstrations that took place in multiple states around the country in the weeks between the election and the storming of the Capitol," said Rolling Stone. "According to these sources, multiple people associated with the March for Trump and Stop the Steal events that took place during this period communicated with members of Congress throughout this process."
"We would talk to Boebert's team, Cawthorn's team, Gosar's team like back to back to back to back," the organizer recalled.
While there have been reports of officials being part of the planning, this is the first report from those involved on the inside, willing to go on the record with investigators and the press.
"Nick Dyer, who is Greene's communications director, said she was solely involved in planning to object to the electoral certification on the House floor," said the report. "Spokespeople for the other members of Congress, who the sources describe as involved in the planning for protests, did not respond to requests for comment."
"Congresswoman Greene and her staff were focused on the Congressional election objection on the House floor and had nothing to do with planning of any protest," Dyer said in an email.
"She objected just like Democrats who have objected to Republican presidential victories over the years," Dyer wrote, which is incorrect. No Democrats have ever attempted to stop certification of election results. Greene's office named a list of Democrats, falsely saying that they attempted to do exactly that when it came to President Donald Trump in 2017.
Dyer went on to say that no one in the U.S. cares about Jan. 6.
"I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and Congressman Andy Biggs," Alexander said in the video. "We four schemed up on putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that — who we couldn't lobby — we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside."
When he organized an event in Phoenix, Gosar was the main speaker. Alexander even referred to him as "my captain" and called him "one of the other heroes has been Congressman Andy Biggs."
"He just couldn't help himself but go on his live [feed] and just talk about everything that he did and who he talked to," one of the planners told Rolling Stone about Alexander. "So, he, like, really told on himself."
"The breaking point for me [on Jan. 6 was when] Trump starts talking about walking to the Capitol," said the organizer. "I was like. 'Let's get the f*ck out of here.'"
"I do kind of feel abandoned by Trump," the planner added. "I'm actually pretty pissed about it, and I'm pissed at him. What the f*ck?"
"I have no problem openly testifying," the planner also said.
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