The mind reels when contemplating how close we came last January 6 to a full blown coup d’etat in the nation’s capitol. Donald Trump carefully planned and staged a bloody battle, starting with the march to and subsequent attack on the Capitol. The plan was that his supporters would engage with leftists, as had happened in the past, the fighting would escalate, and Trump would invoke the insurrection act. Then his thugs, who were massing at different locations, including a hotel in Virginia, would come out blazing and you would have seen armed combat in the streets of Washington, D.C., not just the handful of deaths that did occur.
A bombshell report has come out this past weekend showing the disgraced NYC Police Commissioner and pardoned felon, Bernie Kerik, to be in possession of a number of interesting documents which his lawyer delivered to the January 6 Committee on Friday. They included a 22-page document entitled “STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS PLAN—GIULIANI PRESIDENTIAL LEGAL DEFENSE TEAM.” Its subtitle was “We Have 10 Days To Execute This Plan & Certify President Trump!”
The ten days described a pressure campaign directed at “SWING STATE REPUBLICAN SENATORS—AZ, GA, MI, NV, PA, WI,” “REPULBICAN [sic] MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE, and “REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF THE SENATE.” One of the interesting things it provided, according to Politico, was a list of outlets and influencers to use, including the House “Freedom Caucus” members. It called for protests around the country, including at “weak Members’ homes.” Fancy that. This was the beginning of the intraparty feud, or at least an escalation of it, in addition to an attempted coup d’etat.
Kerik’s lawyer also delivered a list of documents Kerik is withholding on the grounds that they are “attorney work product.” One of those is a three-page letter with an eye-popping title: “DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS.” This was dated December 17. You may recall that at that time Strike Force Rudy cobbled together the plan to declare martial law, confiscate the Dominion and Smartmatic voting machines and “rerun” Election 2020.
Now, while all these machinations are going on with Strike Force Rudy, John Eastman and the other denizens of the Willard Hotel, on the ground MAGA troops were being assembled waiting for the invocation of the insurrection act.
One year ago at this moment: Accused OathKeeper conspirator allegedly sent message recommending a Ballston, Virginia hotel. Feds say that hotel was where some defendants stashed guns for a "quick reaction force", if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act on jan 6 pic.twitter.com/lUqyS1nIzW
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) January 1, 2022
Here’s the text in readable form:
What were Meadows, the Guard, Trump’s embedded allies in the Pentagon, and the Oath Keepers all waiting for? Presumably what they’d seen throughout 2020, peaking with mayhem in D.C. streets during a kind of trial run on Dec. 12, 2020 — violent clashes between Trumpists and left-wing counterprotesters. But leftists smartly stayed home on Jan. 6, egged on by a social media hashtag #DontTakeTheBait. Lacking the expected trigger for invoking the Insurrection Act and perhaps declaring a “national emergency,” both Trump and the Pentagon-led National Guard both were AWOL for hours.
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. 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.
And evidence that Trump himself was an active participant in a plot that saw the disruption of Congress, and its Electoral College certification, on Jan. 6 as its ultimate goal would also, legal experts argue, place the ex-president in the middle of a felony conspiracy scheme. Indeed, a key figure on the House Select Committee — the rogue Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming — recently pointed specifically to Trump’s known or potential actions on Jan. 6 in the context of the federal law against impeding Congress.
This shows why 2022 looks to be such a critical year in the history of the United States. Trump and his associates are planning to spend the next 12 months hoping to obstruct Congress — much as Trump became skillful in blocking probes of his shady real estate or financial practices, with a web of lawsuits and outrageous claims. Although sitting presidents have the justified right to shield some of their sensitive White House communications, the current claims by Trump hangers-on — like Kerik, for example — who weren’t even part of the administration are absurd.
In the landmark, unanimous 1974 ruling in the United States v. Richard Nixon that started the chain of events that led to the 37th president’s resignation, the Supreme Court weakened the power of executive privilege claims in matters like a criminal trial when the desired secrecy doesn’t serve the wider public interest. That ruling is credited with steering America through a perilous moment. In 2022, the high court will likely be called on again, but decades of politicization feeding into Trump’s naming of three of the nine justices makes confidence more shaky.
I don’t want to be overly melodramatic, and God knows there are other ongoing crises in America — COVID-19, climate change, gun violence — but whether the Supreme Court ultimately allows the public to see what the former president knew about Jan. 6, and when he knew it, could decide whether we’ll keep the republic for much longer.
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. 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.
Secrecy is not an option. We are at a turning point and we’re either going to hold the line here and reinforce the guard rails of democracy or we are going to be living in an autocracy.
I call your attention to a post I wrote December 17, reporting that a think tank used by intelligence agencies no longer rates the United States as a democracy. We are labeled an “anocracy.” That is the midpoint between an autocracy and a democracy. We are at our lowest point in this nation since the 1800’s. We can go either direction. We can return to democracy or we can continue along the path to Hell and become a government of autocrats and kakistocracrats. If you’re not familiar with the word “kakistocracy” it means government by the least suitable citizens of a state. Look at what’s in Congress these days, tell me I’m paranoid.
It’s Monday morning. Buckle up, we’re in for a hell of a ride this week.