The following is a memo prepared by one of Trump’s lawyers, a manifest scoundrel named John Eastman, proposing a legal strategy through which Mike Pence was supposed to put the shiv to American democracy last January, exploiting holes and ambiguities in the ever-craptacular US Constitution and the surrounding, equally flawed legislation governing the certification of federal election results by Congress. Honestly, the audacity. They put it in writing.
This is, make no mistake, the blueprint for a coup, one in which it’s fair to conclude that a sufficient number of Congressional Republicans would have cooperated. It’s only by the grace of God that Pence, who clearly thought long and hard about playing along, got cold feet, in part based on consultations with, of all people, quintessential lightweight and former Veep Dan Quayle, he of the “e” in “potatoe”. Get out of here! Didn’t see that one coming! Dan Quayle is the guy who granted the Republic a stay of execution (albeit, sadly, only a temporary stay)? Crazy!
Prior to this latest revelation, of course, we all saw Donald deliberately incite an insurrection that led to the sacking of the Capitol on January 6, and there was also the “mafioso call” to the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, in which Donald demanded the fabrication of 11,780 votes out of thin air, giving him a retroactive win in a State where recounts had already settled the matter once and for all. We know all about that skullduggery because Raffensperger made a recording; want to bet there were other instances we have yet to hear about? Then there was the plot to get the Justice Department to tell State governments that the election had been rigged. Don’t forget, either, the excerpts press photographers were able to capture of the action plan MyPillow guy Mike Lindell was clutching in his mitts, while he cooled his heels and stood around outside, waiting on a meeting in the Oval. Remember?
That was another coup-by-numbers, involving the Insurrection Act, Cabinet shuffles to install loyalists in key positions, claims of Chinese and Iranian election interference, and all sorts of things that added up to a fever dream that probably fell just short of becoming a wild ride for the entire world.
It’s all so flukey, the way we dodged the bullets, and who knows how many, really – what other plots were bandied about as the clock ran out? Surely there were more, more calls, more machinations, more memos. There’s probably a deck of PowerPoint slides out there titled Overthrowing Democracy and Instituting One Party Rule – An Illustrated Step-By-Step Primer, likely composed mainly of pretty pictures, with captions like Then we call in the Army Men.
Everybody knows all about everything. Yet Trump maintains his death grip on the GOP, the members of which are mum about all this while feigning a hissy fit against the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, for the love of Christ, accusing him of treason for making direct contact with his Chinese counterparts in the waning days of the Trump regime, hoping to reassure them that, all appearances to the contrary, the United States had not devolved into a deranged actor with a crazed President apt to launch a nuclear strike on his way out the door. Seems they were getting nervous over there. Which is bad. Everybody stay calm, Milley told them, and everything was going to be all right – something the General wasn’t even sure he believed himself. That’s how bad it got. Milley didn’t just fear a “Reichstag moment”; he reckoned good odds that Donald would drop the Big One in a fit of rage if he couldn’t get his way.
But nothing’s been done, any more than anything was ever done about the life of crime Donald led before he ever ran for President, or about his hijinks with the Russians during the campaign, or about his manifold corruptions while in office, or his numerous violations of the Constitution outside of the high crimes for which he was twice impeached, for all the good that did. The entire US legal and constitutional apparatus has proved too corrupt, compromised, and feckless to deal with a ham-fisted idiot of a serial criminal whose decades of transparent and flagrantly unlawful schemes, many of them carried out in public and attested to by his own words, should have landed him in the joint long ago. Nothing has ever happened to him, his fellow travellers, or any of the equally sketchy blood relatives in his whole dirty crime family, and it’s hard to believe anything ever will.
Which means it’s hopeless. If still nothing comes of the release of this memo, you can, indeed I’d say must, give up and move on to other interests, because it’s over with the United States. Whatever happens next, you don’t want to see.
This guy Eastman, by the way, is the same faux-scholarly crank who floated the argument, promulgated within Newsweek magazine last year, that Kamala Harris was constitutionally ineligible for high office because her parents were immigrants, despite, you know, being born in Oakland California. Yeah. That guy. A fringe character? Alex Jones with a law degree? Sure, but these days that makes him not an unheeded outcast, shunned from polite society, but a luminary in good standing at the very heart of the US conservative legal establishment. Here, have a look at his Wikipedia bio:
John C. Eastman is an American legal scholar who is a former tenured professor of law and former dean at the Chapman University School of Law. A former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, he is the founding director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm affiliated with the conservative think tank Claremont Institute. Eastman ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for California’s 34th congressional district in 1990, and for the office of California Attorney General in 2010.
His reasoning on all constitutional matters has always, of course, been comprehensively full of shit, but when you think about it he wasn’t a whole lot worse on such matters than former A.G. Bill Barr, with his “unitary executive” theorizing, and, compared to most of the folks who surrounded Trump throughout his Presidency, he’s actually an intellectual colossus. Supreme Court material one day, no doubt.
Like I said. Hopeless.