‘They’re Going To Try Again’: How Trump Almost Stole An Election“It was not for lack of trying that Donald Trump did not steal the election,” says Chris Hayes. It was due to “a combination of a few islands of integrity…some dumb luck, and the incompetence of the faction attempting to sabotage American democracy.”
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Chris Hayes delivers the biggest news and political stories of the day with a commitment to in-depth reporting that consistently seeks to hold the nation's leaders accountable for their actions. Drawing from his background as a reporter, Hayes at times reports directly from the scene of a news event as it occurs to provide a firsthand account, digging deep and speaking with people who represent different points of view. Hayes brings the nation's officials, legislators, policymakers, and local activists to the table to address key issues affecting communities across America.
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I’ve said it before and I’m sure I will say it again. It was not for lack of trying that Donald Trump did not steal the election. The reason that the will of the American people was respected, that we had a transition of power, albeit not a peaceful one, was because of a combination of a few islands of integrity. Officials and judges, and folks like that, some dumb luck, and the incompetence of the faction attempting to sabotage American democracy. We have more evidence of this today, but it’s just the latest example. It has been clear since last November, Donald Trump would bully, badger, and intimidate anyone he could in an attempt to install himself in, essentially, an auto coup. We heard his phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Ravensburger when he said, “I just want to find 11780 votes which is one more than we have because we won the state later,” and found out that was Trump’s second call to a Georgia elections official. He also informed the chief investigator, the Secretary of State’s office, telling her something bad happened. He called Republican members of the Wayne County Michigan Board of canvassers. Remember that after they initially refused to certify the election results in the county with the largest population of black residents in the state, he even summoned the Republican leaders of the Michigan State Legislature. So the White House tried but could not convince them to change the outcome of the election in their state. And as a former president, he was doing all this to try to overturn the election. It was fair to assume he was also probably trying to use one of the most powerful tools at his disposal, the Department of Justice, for a few sort of obvious, but I’d say circumstantial, clues at the time. Right? First, remember that Attorney General William Barr just left abruptly, announced on December 14th and effective December 23rd, which seemed really strange and suspicious because, who leaves with one month left on the job? And it, of course, prompted the question, What was Trump getting up to with Barr’s replacement, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen? In fact, Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia asked that very question recently at an Oversight Committee hearing prior to January 6, “Were you asked or instructed by President Trump to take any action at the department to advance election fraud claims or to seek to overturn any part of the 20/20 election results?” Well, Congressman it is just as you alluded to in your prior question. I can tell you what the actions of the department were. Well, sir, Mr. Rosen. I cannot tell you, Mr. Rosen, consistent with my obligations today about private conversations with the President one way or the other.” Oh, ‘consistent obligations one way or the other.’ Now, at the time, this seemed like a dodge. I mean, obviously, if the answer to that question is, no, you just say no. Well, now, we have a new trove of documents unearthed by the house Oversight Committee that proved he did, of course, repeatedly attempt to pressure the Department of Justice to overturn the election results. This is an email sent from Trump’s assistant to incoming acting Attorney General Rosen an hour before he announced Bill Barr would be stepping down. In case, you’re wondering what the point of all is. This was with the subject line from POTUS. It contains talking points and a forensics report about entirely fictitious election fraud in Michigan claiming quote, “This is the evidence that Dominion voting machines can and are being manipulated and Michigan cannot certify.” For there are also emails from Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, who by the way, was instrumental in this attempted coup and should be a pariah everywhere he goes and should be seen as essentially a traitor to the country’s Democratic principles. That man should be remembered henceforth, for pushing utterly deranged Infowars-level conspiracy theories. Meadows centro’s in this email on January, 1st, containing a link to a YouTube video about, wait for it, a theory that claimed Italians were using satellites to change the election results. Rosen forwarded that to his Deputy who replied quote, and I would say accurately, “Pure insanity.” Rosen wrote back quote, “Yes. After this message, I was asked to have the FBI meet with Brad Johnson. That would be the man pushing this conspiracy. I responded that John could call or walk into the FBI’s Washington field office with any evidence he purports to have on a follow-up call. I learned that Johnson is working with Rudy Giuliani who regarded my comments as an insult. Asked if I would reconsider, I flatly refused and said I would not be giving any special treatment to Giuliani or any of his quote, unquote “witnesses” and reaffirmed yet again, I will not talk to Giuliani about any of this. So when you read these emails, and there’s a bunch of them, okay? They bring, I would say, additional clarity to what was already pretty clear. I mean we watched it happen, right? Donald Trump and his allies, people like Mark Meadows, for example, again, Mark Meadows, right?, tried to overturn the election. They did everything in their power and they failed because of how clumsy and vulgar and plodding the entire thing was. I mean, obviously the Department of Justice cannot get behind a video that says Italians are using satellite technology to change votes. It’s too embarrassing, it’s to bonkers. Okay, if you’re going to overturn the election, you need a more professionalized version. A laundered version of a plausible, legal story to tell. And keep in mind, there were people working hard at that, like, Republican Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, right? Who led the charge of objections to Electoral College results on January 6th, voted against them after the mob stormed the capital. And, of course, Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton filed a case in the Supreme Court to block the certification of electoral results in other states. Not because the Italians were switching votes via satellite, right? This became a Republican tact across the board. Taking the cringe-inducing insanity of President Trump’s conspiracy mongering and then trying to turn it into some kind of plausible constitutional theory. They could use, oh, the states change their voting laws too late and the Constitution says that the state supreme court can’t do that. That’s why we’re objecting, not the satellite theory. Again though, the aim was the same, all oars were rowing in the same direction, right across the spectrum. Overturn, a democratic election, and spell the end of the American experiment, as we know it, I mean that’s it. Put the loser in power over the winner in contravention of the popular will. That’s a coup. They were trying to drive a stake through the heart of this country, they just missed barely. They’re going to try again. All of these people are still out there. They’re still dressing up attempts to subvert democracy and legal arguments using their Supreme Court clerkships using plainly pretextual legislation to make it harder to vote in several states, attempting to take power away from key election officials who might stand in their way. The next time they want to do this. It’s the very essence of American democracy they’re trying to destroy. I know that sounds so dramatic, but it’s true. That’s the story. They were crying then in public and private using all the means at their disposal, luckily they failed. They are trying now. They will try again.