The title of this article sounds like the latest thriller-chiller novel from Tom Clancy. It is not. It is all too frighteningly real, and it came six chilling words from working.
Trump’s machinations to steal the election became increasingly desperate and illegal. It started with over 60 frivolous court challenges, all of which lost and lost badly. The attorneys behind them suffer continued ramifications from defamation lawsuits, court sanctions and disciplinary action against their licenses to practice law.
From there it moved on to often illegal efforts to pressure states to invalidate their own elections. Legislatures were pressured to do so, as were Secretaries of State. Trump threatened Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, with criminal prosecution unless Raffensperger found him the exact number of votes he needed. Trump pressured his Department of Justice to falsely tell states that it had found widespread election fraud saying, “Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me.” This was combined with forging false electoral college certificates and presenting these counterfeits as authentic.
These efforts failed. The legislatures did not go along, the Secretaries of State did not go along (including Raffensperger), and the DOJ ultimately did not go along even when Trump fired his Attorney General to install a more accommodating replacement. But what if just one of these had gone along?
A less corrupt President, say Nixon, might have given up, but not this one. The next effort was to attack the very core of our Constitutional Republic by using his own administration to simply throw out electoral college votes. A full court press was instituted to convince Trump’s Vice President that he had the unilateral power to simply not count the electoral college votes from states the President did not want counted.
Alas there was a fly in the ointment. The Vice-President refused to go along. The VP read the 12th Amendment, and all the “shalls” therein and correctly stated that his duty was ceremonial, that he did not have the unilateral authority to keep his own President (and himself) in power.
There remained but one option for the plan to succeed, remove the Vice President from the plan by physically removing him from his role in counting the electoral college votes. According to January 6 committee member Jamie Raskin that plan was implemented.
First, Raskin insists that the committee has proof “there was coordination among then-President Donald Trump and his inner circle and his supporters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.” So the planning for the assault on the Capitol included Trump, and others, who coordinated with those who did it.
The purpose of the assault was to get Pence out of the Capitol, after which he would be kept out. Due to the assault on the Capitol and the danger to him, the Vice President was hurriedly removed from the Senate floor and taken to an underground location in the Capitol where a car was waiting to whisk him away to whereabouts unknown.
Raskin says that he believes Pence’s secret service coordinated with Trump’s secret service to this end. Pence’s secret service was rather insistent that he get in the car to evacuate the Capitol. The fly in the ointment buzzed again, and Pence refused.
In what Raskin describes as “the six most chilling words of this entire thing,” Pence told the Secret Service in no uncertain terms, “I’m not getting in that car.”
In the words of Raskin, Pence “knew exactly what this inside coup they had planned for was going to do.” Our democracy hung by that thin thread, in that short moment. For whatever else may be said about former Vice President Pence, he passed that test to preserve it. Another may have done differently, and the American experiment with democracy would have ended.
However, let’s be clear about what happened, for this should chill the heart of every American patriot.
The President of the United States conspired to have his secret service kidnap the Vice President, under the pretense of protecting him from an insurrection the President inspired.
To remove all doubt as to the breadth of this plot, and its premeditated nature, the day before, on January 5th, Senator Grassley publicly stated that he did not expect Pence to be present for the electoral college count. Realizing he had potentially exposed the plot, Grassley quickly backpedaled, but given what happened that is a bell that can no longer be un-rung. We see now why Grassley voted against an independent commission to investigate the events of January 6th.
This incredible abuse of power was done to stay in power, and it almost worked. But there was a fly in the ointment.