INDIANAPOLIS — As a prelude to Donald Trump’s presidency, his adviser Steve Bannon said in 2016, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
A week before Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection – which ended up costing five lives, three police suicides, 150 cop injuries, and more than 500 criminal charges – Steve Bannon had President Trump’s ear.
According to the Bob Woodward and Robert Costa book “Peril”, Bannon told Trump, “You’ve got to return to Washington and make a dramatic return today. You’ve got to call Pence off the f------ ski slopes and get him back here today. This is a crisis. We’re going to bury Biden on Jan. 6. Kill the Biden presidency in the crib.”
The roadmap to this conspiracy to take away Joe Biden’s 81 million vote to 74 million vote victory (306 to 232 Electoral College) was a memo by John Eastman who laid out the “Jan. 6 scenario” that claimed that seven states had transmitted dual slates of electors to Congress. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah sought and could find no such evidence.
According to Eastman, Pence would disqualify those seven states, leaving 454 instead of 538 electors. “There are at this point, 232 votes for Trump and 222 votes for Biden. Pence then gavels President Trump reelected,” Eastman wrote. If Democrats insisted that the threshold was 270 votes, Pence would send it to the House, where Republicans controlled 26 of the 50 state delegations, with each delegation getting one vote to determine the next president.
The “steal” was a fallacy. Georgia had conducted three recounts, each verifying Biden carried that state. Forbes Magazine reported on Dec. 8 that the Trump campaign had lost 50 post-election lawsuits, many rejected by Trump-appointed judges. Michigan conservative Republican State Sen. Ed McBroom wrote in a Senate Oversight report, “There is no evidence presented at this time to prove either significant acts of fraud or that an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters.”
In Pennsylvania, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann rejected a Trump suit, writing, “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption. That has not happened.”
Conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito rejected a Trump injunction: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the court is denied.”
On Dec. 15, the Electoral College voted, prompting Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “congratulate President-Elect Joe Biden.” When Trump protested, McConnell told him, “Mr. President, the Electoral College has spoken. That’s the way we pick a president in this country. You lost the election.”
Since Pennsylvania put Biden over the 270-vote threshold on the Saturday after the election, Trump and Bannon had fomented a coup d’etat. Insiders like Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway had tried to dissuade him, with Conway explaining to Trump, that it was the mail-in ballots. COVID. Your campaign running out of money, the debates.
Trump responded, “If I lose, that will be my legacy. It’s not who I am to give up. It’s not in me to do that. My people expect me to fight, and if I don’t, I’ll lose ‘em.”
According to Woodward and Costa, Attorney General William Barr ordered DOJ to do a preliminary analysis and assessment in five states where the presidential election was close: Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania. He told the AP on Dec. 1, “To date we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome of the election.”
“It’s all b-------,” Barr told a furious Trump. “The allegations are not panning out.”
Meanwhile Republican operative Karl Rove was in Georgia helping the two GOP Senate candidates gear up for the Jan. 5 special election and found the voting systems “reliable and safe.”
In Arizona late this summer, an “audit” in Maricopa County by the firm Cyber Ninjas hired by Senate Republicans there found Biden’s lead was actually larger than the official count. In a conversation with former vice president Dan Quayle, Pence mentioned Arizona irregularities. “Mike, I live in Arizona,” Quayle said. “There’s nothing out here.”
On Jan. 5, Pence met with Trump in the Oval Office, telling him, “I personally believe there are limits to what I can do. So if you have a strategy for the 6th, it really shouldn’t involve me because I’m just there to open the envelopes. You’re not going to be sworn in on the 20th. There is not a scenario where you can be sworn in on the 20th.”
In the view of Bannon, the fact that many Republican voters no longer believe in certified election results, believe the election was stolen, and are willing to throw away the cornerstone of American democracy – the peaceful transfer of power – is how Leninism is transforming one of the two major American political parties.
Conservative former radio host Glenn Beck was unnerved by Bannon’s rhetoric in 2017. “Steve Bannon wants to burn it down,” said Beck. “He’s a nightmare, and he’s the chief adviser to the president of the United States now.”
Brian Howey is publisher of Howey Politics Indiana. Follow him on Twitter @hwypol. The opinions are the writer's.