Opinion: Why Trump Jr. started pushing for a coup before Biden won the 2020 election

There are many alarming, and even chilling, aspects of Trump Jr.’s November 5, 2020 text message.

But the most amazing thing is that the text was sent just two days after the 2020 elections, when the result was still too close to announce. The fact that Trump Jr. was already pushing various strategies, from pressuring Republican state lawmakers to come up with fake “Trump voters” lists, to firing the director of the FBI and replacing him with a loyalist who would do Trump’s bidding, reveals the level of preparation and dogged determination within Trump’s inner circle to keep him in power, no matter the outcome.

On November 5, 2020, two days before the media finally projected that Biden won, votes were still being counted in key states like Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania. However, Trump Jr. was texting Meadows: “We have operational control. Full leverage. Morale High Ground POTUS must start second term now.”

How was Trump supposed to start a second term when no election had been called and he was still trailing Joe Biden by 40 electoral votes? The complete disregard for the will of American voters is on full display in these texts.

Of course, President Trump began lying about the specter of voter fraud in the spring of 2020, an insurance policy he likely planted because he was trailing in the polls and desperately feared losing. But there was no credible evidence of widespread voter fraud at the time, and none has been found since. Even Trump’s own attorney general, Bill Barr, said in December 2020: “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have had a different outcome in the election.”

Let’s be clear: There was never a credible argument behind the attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. It was all a lie to keep Trump in power.

Reading some of the contents of Trump Jr.’s text is literally astounding. He called for firing FBI Director Christopher Wray and making Trump loyalist Richard Grenell, a former acting Director of National Intelligence, acting head of the FBI.

The text called for politically arming the Justice Department by asking Attorney General Bill Barr to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the “Biden crime family.” This is not something that should happen in our nation; on the other hand, the same can be said for the January 6, 2021 attack on our Capitol and Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The text also made reference to filing lawsuits and advocating for recounts in swing states to avoid certification of results, a strategy the president and his allies used in the months after the election.

In a statement to CNN, Trump Jr.’s attorney, Alan S. Futerfas, said: “After the election, Don received numerous messages from supporters and others. Given the date, this message likely originated from someone else and was forwarded”. Even if it were true, here was the president’s son sending the president’s chief of staff ways to change the election results and abuse the power of the presidency in Trump’s remaining months in the White House.

Just last week, US District Court Judge David Carter wrote an opinion in response to Trump’s former attorney, John Eastman, who asked the judge to withhold certain documents requested by the House select committee. of January 6. In it, Carter wrote that Trump and Eastman had “launched a campaign to nullify a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history.” But there is one line in particular that really resonates when reading Trump Jr.’s text messages: “It was a hit in search of a legal theory.”

Thanks to the newly revealed text message, we now know that the seeds for a coup were planted even before the election results were announced. Would Trump have continued to insist on electoral fraud if he had been declared the winner of the 2020 elections? Of course, no. It was never about electoral fraud, nor about any fact. His goal was simple: reinstate Donald Trump and end our democracy.

If we hope to maintain our democratic republic, every person involved in this attempted coup must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Anything less will only encourage Trump and others to engage in the same conduct, and given how close they came this time, they may succeed next time.

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