By January 6, the Justice Department had thoroughly debunked voter fraud claims. More than eighty jurisdictions from state to federal to the Supreme Court would eventually repudiate Trump’s legal claims as meritless based on insufficient evidence. Republican lawmakers, including secretaries of state who oversaw election results, and state legislators entrusted with confirming the electoral slate to be sent to D.C., weren’t biting.
See, for instance, Arizona House Speaker Rusty “Buzz” Bowers. Mormon grandfather, father of seven, and classically-trained watercolorist with a no-nonsense demeanor, Bowers stated in Day 4 hearing testimony that he had indeed wanted Trump to win the 2020 election but knew the importance of his oath to the Constitution. Under no circumstances could Bowers, in good conscience, go any further than what the law required of him.
When Bowers asked the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for confirmation of election fraud, the former New York mayor stated, “We have lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.” Even under that significant pressure, Bowers refused to convene a quorum of the Arizona House at the behest of Giuliani barring substantial proof that things had indeed been rigged. Despite unrelenting efforts from the White House to create the impression of voter fraud, Bowers stood firm. With no evidence to the contrary, the results of the 2020 presidential election in the State of Arizona would stand.
“In our previous hearings,” Mississippi Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, chair of the committee, intoned with furrow-browed solemnity, “the Select Committee showed that then President Trump applied pressure at every level of government, from local election workers up to his own vice president, hoping public servants would give in to that pressure and help him steal an election he actually lost. [On day 5 of the hearings] we’ll tell the story of how the pressure campaign also targeted the federal agency charged with enforcement of our laws, the Department of Justice.”
The legal philosophical underpinnings for a unitary theory of governance where the president retains outsized power found a strange bedfellow in the legal theoretical effort to involve “fake electors.” The playbook of Trump’s legal adviser Professor John Eastman, Federalist Society and CATO bigwig, stunk of the kind of sophistry you’d find in some sort of attempt to win the scorned love of a constitution whose pure intention can only end in sadomasochistic acts of the most horrible debasements. (We will return to Eastman in due course). Suffice it to say that the theoretical blueprint Eastman was pushing on federal and state officials smacked of “the crown jurist of Nazism” Carl Schmitt’s legal advice to Hitler in the days leading up to the Reichstag Fire.
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