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Monday, January 4, 2021

The Felonious Trump Phone Call: Day 2

On Sunday, I posted below outraged responses to the Trump phone call to Georgia official Brad Raffensperger demanding that he "find" about 12,000 votes to overturn Biden's win in that state--or else!  Today I will continue to cover this crime, as demands grow for some sort of Democratic or legal response that will promise more trouble for Trump sooner or if need be, later. 

4:10  Dominion overall.   Axios: “Dominion Voting Systems plans to sue attorney Sidney Powell ‘imminently’ for defamation, and is continuing to explore similar suits against President Trump and others, company founder and CEO John Poulos told the Axios Re:Cap podcast on Monday.” 

4:00 Fat chance.  Isaac Chotiner makes this funny: 
"My advice to President Trump regarding his speech tonight in Georgia: Stick to the issues, explain the governing visions of Perdue and Loeffler, and avoid personal attacks & factual inaccuracies."

3:10  GA Presser underway.   Looks like Raffersperger or Sterling will go point by point on Trump charges, as he has a Claim vs. Fact poster up already.   Update: Sterling, who ends up handling the full debunking, going out of way to tell voters to vote, overcome doubts, which clearly aimed to drive GOP turnout now.

2:40 Mini-Cooper   For those disappointed that Sarah Cooper has not yet weighed in with her treatment of the phone call, she has tweeted:    "Sorry everyone, my New Years resolution was to try to not make criminals hilarious."

2:20  The U.S. attorney in Atlanta abruptly departed his post Monday, TPM reports. The reason for U.S. Attorney Byung ‘BJay’ Pak’s change of plans are not clear. Pak cited only “unforeseen circumstances” as the reason he was leaving Monday rather than Jan. 20.

2:10 Heather Cox Richardson weighs in here.  Worries about military action.

1:40  Presser:   Raffersperger taking questions at 3 pm today, oh boy.    My old colleague and voting expert Ari Berman:  "Raffensperger has rightly been praised for defending integrity of Georgia election from Trump attacks. But he’s still backing sweeping GOP restrictions on mail voting to prevent Dems from winning future elections."

12:05  Katie does not lie:   Former Rep. Katie Hill declares: "It is completely clear that Trumpism is a cult that’s not going away any time soon. We need to figure out what to do about that, or our political system is bound for demise.

11:35  When that Schiff sailed:  Recalling Rep. Adam Schiff's closing warning back on Feb. 3 at end of Trump impeachment:  "What are the odds if left in office that he will continue trying to cheat?  I will tell you: 100 percent. A man without character or ethical compass will never find his way."

11:05  Raffersperger explains:   In new interview he says he never felt it apt to speak with Trump previously due to various litigations.   When asked what he was thinking, Raffensperger said “for the last two months, we’ve been fighting a rumor whack-a-mole. It was pretty obvious very early on that we debunked every one of those theories that have been out there, but President Trump continues to believe them.”  Asked if he intended to open up a criminal investigation into whether Trump violated state laws,  Raffensperger told ABC News this:  “I understand that the Fulton County district attorney wants to look at it. Maybe that’s the appropriate venue for it to go.”

11:00  State in play:    NY Times analysis indeed upholds idea that even if Trump selfppardons he could be prosecuted under Georgia law.  

10:50  Charlie Daniels, prophet:  From his classic song:

The Devil went down to Georgia 

He was lookin' for a soul to steal 

He was in a bind 'cause he was way behind 

And he was willin' to make a deal......

10:40    The 37 Steps:  Wash Post compiles the wackiest, or scariest, lines in the Trump phone call.  

10:10 Even scarier:   Yes, their plea came out of nowhere.  David Frum asks, "That letter from 10 former SecDefs warning against Trump using the military to hold onto power causes me to wonder: Has Trump been making calls to US generals like that he made to Georgia secretary of state, demanding/threatening they help him overturn the 2020 election?"  And Joe Lockhart asks:  "If Trump would make that call to Georgia, why do we all laugh off the idea that he would invoke the insurrection act? Mentally stable people making predictions about the mentally unstable is not something i'd bet on."

10:00  Perdue for a Loss  David Perdue on Fox calls phone call "disgusting" --well, the fact it was leaked. "Shocked."   Then  says lot of substance to what Trump and "no different from what he has said the past two months."  Claims will have no effect on the runoffs. 

9:45:  Why call was recorded:  Not a surprise, knowing the background, but this morning came this report  from Politico and a Raffensperger aide: 

It started on Saturday when Trump and his team reached out to talk to Raffensperger, who, according to an adviser, felt he would be unethically pressured by the president. Raffensperger had been here before: In November he accused Trump ally and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham of improperly exhorting him to meddle in the election to help Trump win Georgia. Graham later denied it.

So why not record the call with the president, Raffensperger’s advisers thought, if nothing else for fact-checking purposes. “This is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs,” one of them told Playbook. “So if he’s going to try to dispute anything on the call, it’s nice to have something like this, hard evidence, to dispute whatever he’s claiming about the secretary. Lindsey Graham asked us to throw out legally cast ballots. So yeah, after that call, we decided maybe we should do this.”

9:30  Just Eighteen    Peter Alexander reports that the Saturday call came after the WH made 18 earlier  attempts  over last two months.   So this was the first time Trump & Raffensperger spoke directly.



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