Sunday, October 2, 2022

‘Smoking rifle’: Trump Jr texted Meadows strategies to overturn election – report | Donald Trump Jr.

Two days after the 2020 election, Donald Trump Jr texted the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, with strategies for overturning the result, CNN reported.

“This is what we need to do please read it and please get it to everyone that needs to see it because I’m not sure we’re doing it,” Trump Jr reportedly wrote, adding: “It’s very simple … We have multiple paths[.] We control them all.”

One leading legal authority called the text “a smoking rifle”.

CNN said the text was sent on November 5, 2020, two days before Joe Biden was declared the winner of the election and the next president.

Two months after November 5, on January 6, 2021, Trump supporters told to “fight like hell” in his cause attacked the US Capitol. A bipartisan Senate report connected seven deaths to the riot.

According to CNN, in his texts to Meadows, Trump Jr laid out strategies the Trump team went on to pursue as they disseminated lies about election fraud and pressured state and federal officials.

Such tactics included lawsuits in swing states, the overwhelming majority of which were rejected, and “having a handful of Republican state houses put forward slates of fake ‘Trump electors’”.

CNN also said Trump Jr suggested that if such measures didn’t work, lawmakers in Congress could dismiss the electoral results and vote to keep Trump in office.

In the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot, 147 Republicans in Congress voted to object to results in key states.

Trump Jr’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, told CNN: “After the election, Don received numerous messages from supporters and others. Given the date, this message likely originated from someone else and was forwarded.”

CNN said the Trump Jr text had been obtained by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack. This week, the committee interviewed Trump Jr’s sister, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, both former senior White House advisers. Their testimonies are the closest lawmakers have come to the former president.

Spokespeople for Meadows and the House January 6 committee did not comment to CNN.

In political circles, the subject of criminal culpability for both the attempt to overturn the election and the assault on the Capitol is a raw one.

Around 800 people have been charged over the Capitol attack but so far only Steve Bannon among close Trump advisers has faced a criminal charge.

The former White House strategist pleaded not guilty to criminal contempt of Congress, after refusing to co-operate with the January 6 committee. This week, the House voted to recommend the same charge for Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media aide, and Peter Navarro, a trade adviser who became the president’s bulldog on election subversion, describing the scheme in detail.

A contempt charge for Meadows was recommended to the Department of Justice. No charge has been forthcoming.

Last month, a federal judge said Trump appeared to have committed multiple felonies.

“Based on the evidence the court finds that it is more likely than not that President Trump and Dr [John] Eastman [a law professor who advised Trump] dishonestly conspired to obstruct the joint session of Congress on January 6 2021,” Judge David Carter ruled.

Carter also described Trump’s scheme as “coup in search of a legal theory”.

Responding to news of Donald Trump Jr’s communication with Meadows, Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor, said on Twitter: “This text is a smoking rifle.”

Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor now an analyst for NBC, went further.

“The ‘subject’ line of Don Jr’s email might as well have been, ‘I’m a member of my father’s criminal conspiracy to overturn the election.’ How long do we have to endure this open, treasonous criminality by Trump and company before someone gets indicted?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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