Coup Plotting II: The Giuliani Boogaloo
Via the NYT comes further examples of Oval Office level discussion about actions that would constitute a coup, which I will quote below. But I would note that the headline should have focused on this fact rather than Trump Weighed Naming Election Conspiracy Theorist as Special Counsel.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea that headline is referencing is, without a doubt cuckoo for coco-puffs (to use the political science term), deserves attention:
President Trump on Friday discussed naming Sidney Powell, who as a lawyer for his campaign team unleashed conspiracy theories about a Venezuelan plot to rig voting machines in the United States, to be a special counsel overseeing an investigation of voter fraud, according to two people briefed on the discussion.
It was unclear if Mr. Trump will move ahead with such a plan.
But the idea that Mr. Trump would try to install Ms. Powell in a position to investigate the outcome sent shock waves through the president’s circle. She has repeatedly claimed there was widespread fraud, but several lawsuits she filed related to election fraud have been tossed out of court.
Setting aside the fact that there is no evidence of the need for a special counsel to look into this election, the bottom line is that Sidney Powell has demonstrated herself to be utterly incompetent. So much so that team Trump had distanced themselves from her quite publicly. Of course, if she is getting White House meetings, we know how seriously to take that prior move to distance.
As crazy as all of this, the real piece of truly important reporting in the piece is as follows:
Part of the White House meeting on Friday night was a discussion about an executive order to take control of voting machines to examine them, according to one of the people briefed on the discussion.
Mr. Giuliani has separately pressed the Department of Homeland Security to seize possession of voting machines as part of a push to overturn the results of the election, three people familiar with the discussion said. Mr. Giuliani was told the department does not have the authority to do such a thing.
The conversation between Mr. Giuliani and Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the acting deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, took place in the past week, according to the people familiar with the discussion, who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to describe the conversation.
This should have been its own story and it is big-font-headline-worthy. If the president’s lawyer is trying to persuade DHS to seize voting equipment as a means of overturning electoral outcomes, that again puts in the realm of coup attempts. It is a truly outrageous suggestion that should never be uttered by someone working for the President of the United States.
Mr. Cuccinelli is said to have told Mr. Giuliani that there is no authority by which the agency, which spent the year working with state election officials to prepare for the election, could assert control over voting machines in those states.
Good for Cuccinelli, but really this is the kind of thing that should cause him to immediately hold a press conference to reveal this conversation. It is, in my view, his constitutional duty.
It was unclear whether Mr. Trump facilitated the phone call.
Mr. Giuliani called Mr. Cuccinelli this week to push the department to re-examine the machines to find evidence of what the Trump campaign has called widespread fraud, two of the people briefed on the discussion said.
The effort by Mr. Trump’s campaign to use the cybersecurity agency in the push to overturn the results of the election comes after the president last month fired the head of that agency, Christopher C. Krebs. Before he was ousted, Mr. Krebs joined other top election officials in calling the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”
State and local governments take the lead in managing elections in the United States while the cybersecurity agency primarily provides support, guidance and intelligence with the local leaders on potential threats to the voting system.
All of these anonymous sources are simply being cowardly at this time. For one thing, the administration is almost done, so what jobs are they protecting at this point? Anyone who has witnessed any of this has a moral obligation to speak, else they are accessories to an attempted coup (a word and an accusation that I do not use lightly).