There is still no word about whether officials have commenced a federal investigation that would bring to justice plotters involved in an attempted coup d’état against the United States government but documents show that in late 2020, then-President Donald Trump pressured senior Justice Department officials to declare the election ‘corrupt’ even as those government lawyers warned him that many of the claims he was making about voter fraud were false.
The disclosure adds to already seemingly insurmountable evidence that Trump participated in a conspiracy to commit sedition, a federal crime per 18 U.S.C. § 2384, which culminated in an attempted coup d’état at the Capitol on January 6.
The revelation was disclosed in notes taken by an aide who participated in the discussions that were released to Congress this week and made public on Friday — further evidence of the pressure Trump brought to bear as he sought to throw out President Joe Biden’s election victory.
The Washington Post revealed the existence of the notes last month, reporting previously undisclosed details of the former president’s personal efforts to enlist the Justice Department in his battle to undo the 2020 election results.
In one Dec. 27 conversation, according to the written account, acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen told Trump the Justice Department “can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election.”
Trump replied that he understood that, but wanted the agency to “just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” according to notes of the conversation taken by another senior Justice Department official, Richard Donoghue.
The Coup D’etat Project at the University of Illinois’ Cline Center for Advanced Social Research— has made a determination that the storming of the U.S. Capitol and the baseless accusations about the presidential election results that led up to it fit the definition of an “attempted dissident coup.”
Experts warn that a failed coup is generally followed by a successful one.
Congressional Democrats’ action to combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America has been lacking, fueling dissatisfaction with the sane party while Republicans, who consider themselves patriotic, have almost universally subscribed to Trump’s dictatorial leadership.
Trump wondered on Twitter in April 2020 whether it was “Time for a military coup?” and he clearly — even if incompetently — plotted to overthrow the government when he lost the vote for re-election.
Nine in 10 coups against democratic leaders indeed lead to the death of democracy, according to the Colpus data set, a survey of coups built by scholars John Chin, David Carter and Joseph Wright.
Trump’s behavior constitutes a self-coup since he has sought to undermine the integrity of the November 3 election and has sought to overturn the results of an election. A ‘self-coup’ is the term for efforts by sitting executives to enhance or retain power by overturning electoral outcomes or by unconstitutionally gutting the power of other branches of government.
He urged voters to illegally vote twice; he sought to disenfranchise voters; he sought to coerce officials to alter the vote results.
On January 6, Trump explicitly urged the mob to “walk down to the Capitol,” to “demand that Congress do the right thing,” to “show strength,” and to “take back our country.”
Trump’s efforts have failed but they reveal the vacuity of American exceptionalism. Of course, the United States has never been immune to the historical rise and fall of great powers, and its support for antidemocratic leaders abroad belie its vocal global advocacy of democracy.
“America’s 2021 self-coup will only deepen this crisis of democracy. It signals that fighting electoral outcomes is possible anywhere — and perhaps easy,” said Charles T. Call, a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings.. “It vividly shows that large numbers of people are happy to discard democratic institutions and processes even in the world’s oldest and most powerful democracy.”
The events reveal the fragility of America’s institutions and of its democracy, and its vulnerability to political violence and threats. The Munich Putsch, a failed coup d’état in 1923 by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, was followed ten years later by the dictatorship that reigned from 1933 to 1945, and the horrors of World War II.
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