Donald Trump cost his party the House, White House and Senate in a single presidential term, and now his coup attempt in his path has ensnared the Republican National Committee in state and federal criminal investigations.
Six months after the party excommunicated the two GOP members of the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol for serving on that panel, a series of subpoenas and search warrants, as well as videotaped testimony from recent public hearings, offer a clearer explanation for the RNC’s actions: fury at having revealed its role in Trump’s plot.
“Everything I hear about the activities of people, from the president down, was misguided at best,” said an RNC member attending the group’s closed meeting in Chicago this week, speaking as covered with anonymity.
“If you’re one of the RNC members who participated in it, at the very least, it’s expensive,” said Steve Duprey, a former RNC member from New Hampshire who lost his seat for being insufficiently loyal. to Trump. “It’s a great cautionary tale.”
RNC officials declined to answer questions from HuffPost on the matter.
But even in January, on the eve of the committee’s unprecedented resolution censuring longtime Republican Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, of Wyoming and Illinois, respectively, one senior RNC member told HuffPost that the committee was upset that its own members were caught up in the House probe.
“They’re going after RNC members and staff, and they’re going to have to bring in lawyers,” the member said on condition of anonymity. “There’s a lot of anger built up.”
Details of the RNC’s involvement were vague at the time, but became clearer when the January 6 committee’s public hearings began two months ago. The June 21 hearing – which focused on the bogus election scheme Trump and his campaign pushed as part of his illegal and unconstitutional bid to retain power – featured a clip from RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, in which she revealed that Trump himself asked for her help with the fake voters and she honored his request.
“He passed the call to Mr. Eastman, who then spoke about how important it was for the RNC to help the campaign bring these contingent voters together,” McDaniel says in the committee’s clip of his videotaped deposition, referring to Trump’s outside advocate and coup supporter. John Eastman. “We were just helping them.”
McDaniel claimed in his testimony that Trump’s voter rolls were only being prepared in case legal challenges in those states went Trump’s way. However, the committee showed an excerpt from one of Eastman’s emails in which he made clear his plan was for Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president, to cite the existence of “competing” slates. in order to simply declare Trump the winner.
“The fact that we have several lists of voters demonstrates the uncertainty of one or the other. That should be enough,” Eastman’s email read.
The committee then showed testimony from Trump campaign staff and outside allies who said they felt misled.
Andrew Hitt, one of Trump’s fake voters from Wisconsin and a former RNC member, said he and others would never have agreed to the plan, had they been told the truth. “It would have been to use our constituents in a way that we hadn’t been told about and that we wouldn’t have supported,” he told committee investigators.
Since those hearings, it has become apparent that prosecutors are also interested in the bogus voter scheme.
The FBI obtained search warrants for the phones of Nevada State GOP Chairman Michael McDonald and State Committee Member James DeGraffenreid. And federal prosecutors have issued subpoenas for Georgia State President and RNC member David Shafer, as well as others associated with the bogus voter scheme in that state, Michigan and Arizona. . Shafer also received notification from Georgia prosecutors that he is considered the target of their investigation in Fulton County.
“You don’t want to get a subject letter, but you definitely don’t want to get a target letter,” Duprey said.
A total of six current RNC members and two former members are among 59 Trump “voters” who have falsely claimed on official documents that they are “duly certified” voting members of the Electoral College. In fact, they didn’t qualify to vote because Trump lost those five states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin. (The RNC consists of three members from each state, the District of Columbia and five overseas territories: the chairman of each local party and one male and one female committee member.)
Trump voters in Pennsylvania and New Mexico also filled out electoral ballot certificates and sent them to the National Archives, but their documents included language indicating they would only be voters if a court order or other process official made Trump the winner of their states.
The RNC continues to pay some of Trump’s legal bills relating to New York State’s investigation into his business practices, but it’s unclear whether the group intends to pay the bogus voters’ legal costs. including the half-dozen current members of the RNC.
One of those six, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was unaware of any such effort.
Trump, despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first US president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His instigation of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol — his last attempt to stay in power — killed five people, including a police officer. It also injured 140 other police officers and led to four police suicides.
Nonetheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly talking about running for president again in 2024.
In statements on his personal social media platform, Trump continued to lie about the election and the work of the Jan. 6 committee, calling it a “hoax” similar to previous investigations into the acceptance of Russian aid. by his 2016 campaign and his attempt to extort Ukraine into helping his 2020 campaign.
The Huffington Gt