Another Perfect Call

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

When Trump called the Ukrainian president Zelensky on July 25th 2019 to blackmail him into starting an investigation of Hunter and Joe Biden, Alexander Vindman was listening in and blew the whistle on the president’s criminal behavior, and having learned a lesson, when last Saturday Trump called Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger he and his lawyer were prepared and recorded the call.  After the president tweeted some falsehoods about their ‘conversation’ the secretary released the recording to the press, and soon thereafter the whole world could listen to Trump threatening, lying, cajoling and blackmailing to have the result of the election reversed in his favor.  His reasons were that 18,000 fraudulent ballots were brought into a polling place, that there were no poll watchers, that close to 5,000 dead people and 4,925 out-of-state people voted, that some ballots were entered multiple times in voting machines and many ballots were burned in Fulton County.  Some of these ‘arguments’ came from the darkest corners of the web, where QAnon followers manufacture and spread their conspiracy theories for simpletons like the president to believe.

After Raffensperger and his lawyer calmly rebuked Trump’s preposterous claims and told him that his data were simply wrong and that Dominion voting machines had not been removed or altered there was nothing left for the president than to ask the secretary to find him 11,800 votes, one more than he needed to win the state.  The request is a federal crime, although the statute allows for its own version of an insanity defense if the perpetrator doesn’t know that his ‘facts’ are false, and it’s also a violation of Georgia state law, which doesn’t have a similar back door. Trump didn’t seem to be deterred by the prospect of another state lawsuit without protection from a pardon and repeated the same gibberish last night at a rally for the two GOP senators who were in a runoff in Georgia, where he really was supposed to talk about those senators, who both lost, but barely mentioned them.  Also not deterred by the phone call are 140 Republican House members and 12 senators who stand ready to challenge the outcome of the election in possibly six states when the Electoral College votes are presented to Congress today, potentially forcing an all-night debate.

Neither that debate nor flipping Georgia will give Trump the presidency and there is speculation that he is just pissed off about having lost Georgia, traditionally a red state, but his effort is more nefarious.  He has called on the Republican governors of Georgia and Arizona to intervene, and put pressure on legislative leaders in Pennsylvania and Michigan to have the election results in their states reversed.  And those are only the actions we know about, but considering that he tried 18 times to get Raffensperger on the phone God knows how many other politicians he has called.

The president seems to realize that objections from a minority of House members and senators won’t keep him in the White House, but he is delusionally convinced that Mike Pence, who has an entirely ceremonial role prescribed by the Constitution in receiving the Electoral College votes, can still change those votes and declare him the winner of the election.  Apparently Pence told him that he cannot do that but Trump put out a statement that he and the VP agree he can.

For weeks Trump has urged his cult members to come to Washington, DC, today and the city has been filling with sizable contingents of QAnon crazies and white supremacist hoodlums like the Proud Boys. The latter had to leave their artillery at home and without it they won’t try to get into the Capitol but more serious rioting can be expected after Trump speaks to them at the Ellipse.

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