Trump’s latest actions present pressing new questions for a GOP that refused to constrain him

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“I explained that it’s not allowed by the Constitution. He has a different opinion,” Chairman Robin Vos told CNN affiliate WISN.

The commentary didn’t just sum up Trump’s nearly two-year effort to discredit an election he lost. It reflects his whole attitude towards the presidency and disdain for the guardrails around the office. The move of the ex-president, who did not testify before the committee, reinforces the mission of the panel, which seeks to show – in the words of one of its star witnesses, conservative lawyer Michael Luttig – that Trump remains a “clear and poses a danger to American democracy.”

Trump’s call for Vos represents exactly the kind of political pressure on Republican officials that the committee documented in Arizona, Georgia and elsewhere as it sought to overturn the 2020 election. It displays a similar, almost pathological reluctance , to come to terms with the truth he lost to Biden, which the committee has already sketched out in previous televised hearings. And the idea that nearly two years later, Wisconsin would suddenly repudiate its election — or that it would make a difference to the overall outcome — shows that Trump is still indulging in the kind of fantastical thinking that led his crowd to take attack the United States. Capitol in 2021 and that would inform a future campaign.

Trump’s latest attempt to pressure a GOP official to discredit the election also raises pressing new questions for a Republican Party that has consistently refused to coerce Trump. A potential presidential candidate who has been impeached twice proves once again that he is undeterred, that he will accept no limits to his power and would do it again.

A New Wave of GOP Attacks on Democracy

The situation in Wisconsin was precipitated by a recent state Supreme Court ruling that bans the use of most ballot boxes and includes new restrictions on people returning a ballot in someone’s name. ‘other. Vos said he explained to Trump that the decision was not retrospective, meaning it cannot be used to argue that the 2020 election was illegal. Either Trump cannot grasp the complexities of the situation, or he willfully ignores them in his obsession with discrediting the election. Neither possibility bodes well for the presidential campaign he hints he may launch soon, perhaps even before the midterm elections.

Trump’s latest attempt to actually steal an election is part of a larger scheme by the ex-president and his supporters to undermine American democracy, potentially in an effort to win back power. Almost every week, new examples of pro-Trump candidates come forward on his election lies or seek to tarnish the institutions that stood, barely, against his coup attempt.

The Arizona Republican Party’s executive committee censured Rusty Bowers, the conservative State House speaker, on Tuesday after testifying before the House Select Committee that Trump had tried to have him rule out Biden’s victory. Bowers declined to do so, citing his oath to the Constitution. But the speaker has just been told by his own party that he is no longer a Republican in good standing and risks losing his political career for speaking the truth.

In Maryland, meanwhile, Republican primary voters showed growing GOP extremism by selecting outspoken Holocaust denier Dan Cox as their gubernatorial candidate this week. The race was one of many nationwide, including in Pennsylvania, where Democrats have propelled the most pro-Trump extreme primary candidate with blitz ad campaigns in an effort to secure general election opponents that they thought they were easier to beat.

It’s a dangerous tactic when Democratic candidates risk being dragged down in November by Biden’s plummeting approval ratings. David Axelrod, a former strategist for President Barack Obama, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday that the strategy “could be shrewd or it could end disastrously.” Axelrod, now CNN’s senior political commentator, has warned that the “high winds” facing Democrats this year could blow a hard-line Republican out of power – specifically referring to Doug Mastriano, an election denier running for governor in Pennsylvania .

Mastriano and Cox are among dozens of Republican candidates running on a platform of Trump lies about voter fraud that have become a litmus test in the GOP. Trump’s candidates haven’t won everywhere — with notable losses in the Georgia and Colorado primaries, for example — but the success of many of his endorsed primary candidates underscores his continued dominance over the party and the way it stands. went against some of the basic tenets of democracy.

The series of televised hearings held by the House Select Committee convincingly demonstrated that Trump was repeatedly told he had lost the election, but went ahead anyway, ultimately urging the crowd whom he invited to Washington and instigated to march on Capitol Hill on January 6. , 2021. Yet many Republicans and figures in Trump’s orbit still seek to whitewash the truth that is being exposed and punish the committee members.

House Republicans, for example, are already planning to investigate investigators — with hearings targeting Jan. 6 committee members — if they win a House majority in November, CNN reported earlier this month. this.

In another attempt to discredit the committee’s legitimacy, Garrett Ziegler, a former Trump White House aide who met with the committee earlier this week, launched a profane and sexist rant on a live stream after his testimony, have CNN’s Marshall Cohen and Hannah Rabinowitz reported Wednesday.

“They’re Bolsheviks,” Ziegler said in the stream, “so they probably hate American founders and most white people in general. This is an anti-White Bolshevik campaign. If you can’t see that, your eyes are And so, they see me as a young Christian that they can try to scare, right?

Attorney General: ‘No one is above the law’

The Jan. 6 committee is one of many investigations that could hold Trump to account.

Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, who serves on the House Select Committee, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that while Thursday’s event is the last in the current block of hearings, he wouldn’t be surprised if he there were more to come.

And he added that there would also be a hearing to discuss the panel’s recommendations for the “fortification” of American democracy against, coups, violence and attempts to steal elections, “that’s what we saw on January 6 and alas continues with the same forces that were deployed against us that day.”

Even before the House committee completes its work, an effort is underway in the Senate to make it harder to cancel a certified presidential election, driven by alarm over Trump’s near miss attempt to operate the system. A bipartisan group of senators has reached an agreement to modernize the Voter Count Act of 1887, but the measure would require the signatures of 10 Republican senators and there is a long way to go before it becomes law.
What's in the Bipartisan Plan to Stop Insurgency 2.0
Atlanta-area prosecutors, meanwhile, told 16 “bogus voters” who allegedly participated in an attempted Electoral College overthrow that they were the target of a criminal investigation. The investigation was launched after Trump’s infamous phone call with Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger when he asked the GOP official to ‘find’ the votes he needed to overtake Biden in critical condition. .
The investigation is seen by many legal observers as posing the most potential legal danger to Trump because of his election interference. In another development Wednesday, a New York judge ordered former Trump legal adviser Rudy Giuliani to testify before the grand jury in the Fulton County, Georgia, investigation.

And back in Washington, speculation has grown over whether the ex-president could face a Justice Department criminal investigation following Attorney General Merrick Garland’s comments.

‘No one is above the law in this country,’ Garland told a news conference when asked if the political storm that would result from the indictment of a former president would discourage prosecutions. .

The House Jan. 6 committee does not have the power to open a criminal investigation, but it could recommend to the Justice Department that Trump or his associates be charged. The department could also independently decide to launch an investigation into Trump, but as Garland pointed out, it does not conduct its criminal investigations in public.

The possibility of Justice Department action and the Georgia investigation are particularly important to Trump critics because if the Democrats lose the House in November, the Jan. 6 committee will be dissolved by a new Republican majority. In itself, such a decision would show that the fight to save national democracy from a permanent threat is far from won.

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