At times it seems as though there are two camps within the Democratic left combined with the Never Trumpers. One camp heard what it wanted from Merrick Garland, knows that DOJ doesn’t advertise its investigations, and has faith going forward. The other camp is furious that Garland is so far behind with respect to the organizers of January 6th and did not say a thing about the administration’s crimes against state officials, crimes that put lives in danger, and crimes that must be addressed if we are to have any hope for a functioning Democracy again.
Fortunately, while the Select Committee’s work against top officials in Washington garners most of the headlines, they have made at least as much progress on the state level.
The administration targeted four states (no surprise) with what was previously unthinkable pressure. Readers can likely name them off the top of their head, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, four states that would have led to a Trump victory.
According to Politico, there is no shortage of evidence. The administration acted recklessly and without fear of any repercussions:
The voluminous documents state election officials have sent the Jan. 6 committee, obtained by POLITICO through open records requests, underscore the depth of Trump’s pressure campaign directed at the typically lower-level administrators of presidential balloting. The emails, texts and phone recordings also add consequential context to previously reported incidents, such as Trump’s call to Georgia’s top elections investigator and Mark Meadows’ outreach to Georgia election officials.
The select panel asked states for any scrap of evidence to justify allegations of election fraud that Trump baselessly promoted, focusing much of its efforts on officials in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Those states found virtually no evidence of fraud, according to Thompson.
The Select Committee has each document, which means it is taking these crimes every bit as seriously as the one on January 6th, an element missing in the DOJ press conference.
Some of the documents retrieved are simply shocking. The Trump administration forged documents for Michigan and Arizona declaring him the winner:
As Trump’s team pushed its discredited voter fraud narrative, the National Archives received forged certificates of ascertainment declaring him and then-Vice President Mike Pence the winners of both Michigan and Arizona and their electors after the 2020 election. Public records requests show the secretaries of state for those states sent those certificates to the Jan. 6 panel, along with correspondence between the National Archives and state officials about the documents.
The paragraph above isn’t particularly well-written in the sense that it is confusing as to whether the states first sent the forged documents to the national archives or did so after it sent the documents to the committee. But the point remains clear. The committee has documents, forged by somebody, presumably with the Trump team because they were in the National Archives, that could only have been sent as a means to declare Trump the winner of the state.
Would the American public know about these documents without Politico’s public record’s request and the Committee’s subpoenas? We don’t know the answer, but the answer is both highly encouraging and extremely discouraging. First, the documents are out and will be used against the Trump administration. But those documents also represent a crime by their very existence (forgery, bribery), or are, at the very least, critical evidence of a crime, and have been sitting in a file available for over a year. They sat in files during a year in which state workers feared for their lives, and while “MAGA” secretary of state candidates began running on platforms of “accurate elections.”
Without some kind of criminal penalty for tampering or attempting to tamper with votes and election integrity, there is nothing stopping these new MAGA secretaries of states from adhering to the Trump requests.
Yes, it all takes time. But this country is in a literal war – without guns, yet – for democracy itself. As each month passes, it represents ground won by the far right. We are coming up on primaries soon, these states have passed draconian voting laws, and there has been evidence of fraud at every level, simply waiting to be discovered and used as evidence.
The Committee may yet save democracy. Where is law enforcement?
Last, speaking of law enforcement, we have one last example of what some consider to be the most obvious law enforcement failure to date. Lindsey Graham has yet to be arrested for a phone call that was exponentially worse than that which Trump tried. The Politico article (finally) addresses the issue again in mentioning the pressure on Georgia officials:
Also included in the document dump are emails between Sen. Lindsey Graham’s and Raffensperger’s offices, which shows how a previously reported call between the two officials came about roughly two weeks after the 2020 election.
“Hope you are doing well. Senator Graham has requested a call w/ Sec. Raffensperger at his earliest convenience,” a Graham staffer told two of Raffensperger’s top aides on Nov. 12, 2020. The call between the two men ended with Graham indicating to Raffensperger some ballots should be tossed out, the Georgia official said later.
Politico leaves out the unbelievable recorded phone call between Graham and Raffensberger, in which Graham crossed a line. Below is from a Politico article dated November 16, 2020:
….Sen. Lindsey Graham implicitly proposed he toss out legally mailed ballots in the state, as Republicans seek ways to sway election results in President Donald Trump’s favor.
…[T]he South Carolina Republican asked whether he could check signatures on mail-in ballots during Georgia’s recount and use a high frequency of mismatches to justify throwing away mail-in ballots in certain counties. Raffensperger said he took Graham’s comments as “an implication of look hard and see how many ballots you could throw out.”
The points above, the ease with which Politico obtained the documents, the fact that some of the evidence was already in the public domain, the forged documents, and the Committee’s concentration on the states, as well as what happened on January 6th all represent a tremendous law enforcement failure – in the opinion of some – that endangers democracy in 2022 and certainly 2024.
An entire year has slipped by. We haven’t heard anything about DOJ serving subpoenas, impaneling grand juries, or charging even the low-level players Garland referenced in his news conference, the same news conference during which he did not make one reference to the crimes committed leading up to January 6th, nor the lives or process threatened.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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