[guest post by Dana]
ProPublica has obtained new details about the Trump White House’s knowledge of the gathering storm, after interviewing more than 50 people involved in the events of Jan. 6 and reviewing months of private correspondence. Taken together, these accounts suggest that senior Trump aides had been warned the Jan. 6 events could turn chaotic, with tens of thousands of people potentially overwhelming ill-prepared law enforcement officials.
Rather than trying to halt the march, Trump and his allies accommodated its leaders, according to text messages and interviews with Republican operatives and officials.
Katrina Pierson, a former Trump campaign official assigned by the White House to take charge of the rally planning, helped arrange a deal where those organizers deemed too extreme to speak at the Ellipse could do so on the night of Jan. 5. That event ended up including incendiary speeches from Jones and Ali Alexander, the leader of Stop the Steal, who fired up his followers with a chant of “Victory or death!”
The record of what White House officials knew about Jan. 6 and when they knew it remains incomplete. Key officials, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, declined to be interviewed for this story.
The second impeachment of President Trump focused mostly on his public statements, including his Jan. 6 exhortation that the crowd march on the Capitol and “fight like hell.” Trump was acquitted by the Senate, and his lawyers insisted that the attack on the Capitol was both regrettable and unforeseeable.
Rally organizers interviewed by ProPublica said they did not expect Jan. 6 to culminate with the violent sacking of the Capitol. But they acknowledged they were worried about plans by the Stop the Steal movement to organize an unpermitted march that would reach the steps of the building as Congress gathered to certify the election results.
What is also of concern is that the former president still has no intention of letting his election loss go. In fact, he’s taking his bitter grievances on the road in a continued effort to “fight like hell”:
Former President Donald Trump is bronzed, rested and politically bloodthirsty.
Having spent months in semi-retirement after his election loss in 2020, Trump is set this weekend to kick off a series of political events. Aides and confidants say the goal is to boost his standing in anticipation of a possible future run and to scratch that never-soothed itch he has for publicity. But it’s also to exact some revenge.
On Saturday, Trump will hold a Make America Great Again rally outside Cleveland, Ohio in support of longtime aide-turned-Republican congressional candidate Max Miller, who is vying for the seat held by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, a Cleveland native who voted for the second impeachment of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
“The fact that his first rally is targeting Max’s campaign tells you a lot about where the focus is,” said Taylor Budowich, a senior adviser to Miller’s campaign. “[Gonzalez] didn’t just betray President Trump but he betrayed his constituents.”
Saturday’s rally — the first of a MAGA tour that Trump’s aides have teased for months — is expected to draw out diehards longing to be taken back to an era when they were less bitter about the turns life took: one when Trump was in the White House. And the president is likely to indulge them, increasingly eager to push the falsehoods that his reelection was deprived of him through nefarious attempts to doctor the vote.
His roster of attendees includes conspiracy theorists Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mike Lindell, as well as Rep. Jim Jordan, who confirmed Trump’s role in the Republican Party:
“I think when the president comes out-and-about talking, that’s just good for Republicans,” Jordan said. “It’s going to help us in ’22. He’s going to talk about lots of issues.”
“It’s great for us. I mean, he’s the leader of the party,” said Jordan.
If there was still any question about the heart and soul of today’s Retrumplican Party, consider this:
At least for now. Trump has continued to tease a run in 2024, and his team continues to portray him as if he’s still in the Oval. In a survey emailed to supporters on Wednesday, Trump’s Save America PAC asked respondents who they thought was “a better fit to lead our Nation?”
Trump, when listed, got the title of President. Biden merely went by his first and last name.