A coup room

They had a plan.

On the night before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. CapitolWashington Post reporter Robert Costa walked through the streets of D.C., surrounded by a throng of Trump supporters. He says he remembers a particular energy in the crowd that night.

Costa’s new book Peril, which he co-wrote with journalist Bob Woodward, centers on President Trump’s final days in office — specifically the events leading up to and following the Capitol siege.

As the crowd agitated outside, Costa says, inside a “war room” at the nearby Willard hotel, Trump lawyers and allies, including Rudy GiulianiSteve Bannon and Jason Miller, were laying out a strategy to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

In other words to carry out a coup.

According to Costa, Trump attorney John Eastman drafted a memo suggesting that an alternate slate of electors be used as a tactic to stop the certification of the election results.

“They were trying to get [Vice President] Pence and others to move the election to the House of Representatives to block Biden from taking office,” Costa explains.

Costa says that Pence declined to go along with the plan — mostly because there were no alternate slates of electors on hand. But, Costa adds, “Imagine if in January 2025, Republicans are much more organized and they have alternate slates of electors ready in many states. What happens then?”

I vote we don’t find out. I vote we prevent that.

The campaign released a statement on January 5th saying Pence agreed with their cunning plan.

It was a campaign statement on Trump campaign letterhead saying, in Donald Trump’s words, that Mike Pence fully agrees with me. The quote that stunned the Pence people was “Mike Pence is in total agreement that on Jan. 6, the election should be overturned and he should move it to the House.” It was issued on a formal statement.

This is where you start to see the crack in the American democratic system — when the vice president and president are not in sync, and the president starts to speak for other constitutional officers. This is where Pence and his team really go into a bunker mode and they don’t even share the letter Pence ultimately releases on Jan. 6, explaining his decision to not try to do anything crazy on Jan. 6. They don’t even share it with the White House counsel or with Trump. That was the level of tension between the president and the vice president.

So it may be that it was only Mike Pence who stood between those thieves and a successful coup. Next time there won’t be any Mike Pence.

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