It was all a con.
Matt Wuerker (Politico) extracts the most damning revelation from yesterday’s Jan 6 Committee Hearing:
Trump knew he’d lost, he knew there was no chance of an effective appeal, but he pulled the old pigeon drop on his True Believers, conning them with the promise that he’d use their money to counter massive election fraud and return for a second term as president.
He knew it couldn’t possibly work, but so what? He was pulling another con. As an investigator testified:
Between Election Day and January 6, the Trump Campaign sent millions of emails to Trump supporters, sometimes as many as 25 a day. The emails claimed the “left wing mob” was undermining the election, implored supporters to “step up to protect the integrity of the election” and encouraged them to “fight back.”
But, as the Select Committee has demonstrated, the Trump Campaign knew these claims of voter fraud were false, yet they continued to barrage small-dollar donors with emails, encouraging them to donate to something called the Official Election Defense Fund.
The Select Committee discovered that no such fund existed.
People who trusted Donald Trump sent him $250,000,000 based on his phony promises.
That’s how the pigeon drop works.
Deb Milbrath sums up the day’s presentation: Trump was repeatedly told by his attorney general, by his campaign officials, by advisors throughout his administration and by other experts that he had lost, that there was no substantial election fraud and that claims of a rigged election were not simply false but, as Barr said, “bullshit,” and, as he demonstrated in his taped deposition, laughable.
There was more, as Ann Telnaes indicates: On Election Night, Trump was warned by his advisors not to make a claim of victory until the mail-in ballots had been counted, in theory because mail-in ballots always favor Democrats and specifically because he had repeatedly urged his supporters not to vote by mail.
Trump ignored them and took the advice of an apparently inebriated Rudy Guiliani. He not only prematurely announced that he had won but, as video evidence showed, began making outlandish, unsupportable claims of massive voter fraud, not a single shred of which stood up to examination.
Though Trump is a teetotaler, Jack Ohman suggests that Giuliani was not the only drunkard in the room, Trump’s ambition making him open to Rudy’s bad advice and deaf to Ivanka’s cautions.
Which brings to mind the old joke about the fellow who, called an idiot, retorts, “You’re drunk!” to which the answer is, “Yes, but I’ll be sober in the morning and you’ll still be an idiot.”
And Rudy sober proved no more wise an advisor than his client.
But wotthehell: $250 million isn’t a bad haul, as long as those folks from Dominion Voting Machines don’t decide they’d like a taste.
And as long as Laurence Tribe is wrong about the pitfalls of using the Internet to con people across state lines, or, at least, about the idea that the law applies also to the wealthy and powerful.
Dennis Draughon shows how he feels Republicans must be watching these public hearings, though, despite boycotting the committee, they surely knew what it was looking into, who had told it what and what was likely to emerge.
And they likely remain confident that the party faithful — the pigeons — will choose the con man’s slant over the proven facts.
It seems a safe bet: Trump lawyer Lin Wood has just declared his belief that the world is flat, while Herschel Walker, who not only believes that the election was stolen but has claimed that he graduated from college, is the leading Senate candidate in Georgia.
Juxtaposition of the Day
The result being, as Luckovich points out, that Republicans are in the uncomfortable-yet-tenable position of denying testimony which has largely consisted of Republicans explaining the con, while Bennett provides a reminder of why, because of the Civil War, the oath of office was amended to say “foreign and domestic.”
Though, as with Trump’s violation of wire fraud laws, we ought not to stand on one leg waiting for anyone to be charged with violating their oath of office.
Meanwhile, not only have people suggested that things would be different if it had been BLM demonstrators who besieged the Capitol, but there are claims on social media that it was.
Probably coming from people who invested their money in the Official Election Defense Fund and remain convinced that there really is one.
All of which makes me reluctant to believe Graeme MacKay‘s suggestion that Trump is destroying the Republican Party.
He’s already transformed it, and it’s important to note that he didn’t invent the term RINO for those who fail to toe the party line; he simply made it a more damning article of blind faith.
MacKay’s cartoon did send me into the Googles to look up the Whig Party, which was the only example I could think of in which a major political party self-destructed rather than simply modifying and adapting and perhaps changing its name.
But it seems that, although the Whigs did put a few people in the White House, they were never a very solid force to begin with and, rather than being a major party that self-destructed, they seem to have been a party that never quite solidified.
That sort of thing happens with some frequency in parliamentary governments, but it’s an absolute rarity here, and I suspect that, if the Republican Party does part ways with the MAGA crowd, it will be much as the Democrats parted ways with the faction that became the Dixiecrats: Painfully, but over time and with little in the way of major scars when it was over.
I expect the GOP to survive in general, and, specifically, I expect its MAGA faithful to turn out for the midterms, whatever the Jan 6 Committee uncovers.
If November proves me wrong, I’ll be absolutely delighted.
And if I am wrong, inshallah, it will not be because of some arcane inside-baseball political malfeasance but through the direct fury of people whose aged parents were conned into donating their Social Security checks.
As for the pigeons themselves, they rarely even realize, much less admit, that they’ve been plucked.
4 thoughts on “CSotD: The $250 Million Elephant Drop”
OT: I liked the names in today’s Non Sequitur.
Congrats on the Wiley shout out!
I told him that a shout out is fun, but a shout out that people recognize is particularly cool. (And he put me in good company, too!)
“And he put me in good company, too!”
And he put me in the BEST company, too.
There, fixed it for you.
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