Like a Road Runner cartoon, Donald Trump’s chase is endless, loud, and repeatedly runs off the edge of a cliff.
The January 6 committee concluded its hearings in July with a resounding failure to present any of the long-promised evidence that Trump had committed a crime. But then another box of Acme explosives arrived in the form of Justice Department subpoenas from the Biden administrations, just in time to fill the papers, the airwaves and the internet with reports of this time coming. -we have it.
An online headline check on Thursday found CNBC trumpeting Trump likely to face criminal charges in DOJ election probe along with other former White House officials, and CNN splashing, Exclusive: Trump lawyers in talks with the Department of Justice about the January 6 investigation. Alongside the story was a video clip of Rep. Liz Cheney with the caption I think he’s guilty.
CNN cited sources familiar with the matter for its report that Trump’s legal team was communicating with Justice Department officials, the first sign of talks between the two sides as the Jan. 6, 2021, criminal investigation winds down. accelerated.
CNBC’s story that Trump is likely to face criminal charges had no source other than pure speculation from former attorney general Eric Holder, who made the comments on a Sirius satellite radio show. . I think at the end of the day, you’re probably going to see the president, a former president of the United States indicted, the former Obama administration official said, while admitting he hadn’t yet seen any evidence that would justify it. However, Holder was convinced that as more and more evidence is obtained, you will see people start making deals.
A week earlier, the New York Times had breathlessly reported that the Justice Department’s investigation into a central part of the bid to keep Mr. Trump in power, the plan to name lists of pledged voters to Mr. Trump in battleground states won by Mr. Biden now appears to be picking up speed as prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington interview witnesses about Mr. Trump and members of his entourage. The report was provided to a person familiar with the testimony.
But here’s where the story goes wrong: Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin introduced a bill to reform the Voter Count Act of 1887, the Electoral College Procedures Act that was the basis of the teams’ plan. Trump. The fact that senators are proposing to change the law to prevent what Trump tried to do is in itself proof that what Trump tried to do is within the law.
It’s not the proof that Liz Cheney promised to show everyone, but it’s there.
The Voter Count Reform and Presidential Transition Enhancement Bill follows months of work by majority staff of the House Administration Committee. In January, the staff produced a dense 35-page report containing 191 footnotes on the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and proposals for reforming it. Among the recommendations: reduce the role of the vice-presidents during the counting.
Here’s another one: limiting states’ ability to nominate voters after Election Day.
There are other recommendations for changes, such as enacting new counting rules and increasing the minimum number of lawmakers required to oppose the counting of a state’s electoral votes. The staff report concludes: Taken together, these reforms would end any ambiguity about the timing of presidential elections, clarify the role of Congress in the counting process, and bind Congress to future controversies.
The Electoral Count Act of 1887 is extremely complicated, as is the history of its creation. But you don’t need to know the intricacies of the safe harbor provision to see that if Congress is trying to change the law so that nobody can do what President Trump tried to do, then what the President Trump did was not a crime.
It was not illegal to look up other voters lists, or to talk to members of Congress and U.S. senators to raise objections to the acceptance of votes from certain states, or to talk to state officials the number of ballots that could have been counted illegally because they were cast. too early or too late.
President Trump’s campaign argued that 3 USC Section 1 [setting a single, uniform Election Day] prohibits states from undertaking certain election-related acts before or after Election Day, such as receiving or processing mail-in ballots, says the committee staff report, Congress should clarify that Section 1 of 3 USC does not prevent states from authorizing such acts and procedures.
Until Congress actually clarifies it, there’s nothing criminal about questioning the legality of mail-in ballots that have been accepted after a state legal deadline (like in Pennsylvania) or in an illegal drop box (as in Wisconsin). It was not criminal to have a rival voters list in case a state legislature could be persuaded to appoint them, or to have the vice president do what the newly revised law would prohibit in the future. .
Nevertheless, the show must go on. On Thursday, Liz Cheney posted a video of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, denouncing former President Trump with the ridiculous statement, In our nations 246-year history, there has never been an individual who has been a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump.
Staring at the camera with a hatred that would melt steel, Cheney vowed his daughter would lead the effort to ensure Donald Trump was never in the Oval Office again.
This coyote is off the cliff. Beep beep.
Susan can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Susan_Shelley
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