Trump Tries to Overturn Election Results
Rioters Entering the Capitol
President Trump lost his election to former Vice President Joseph Biden. Trump thought his opponent was way too old even to run and was someone he felt confident he would triumph over in a heartbeat. Trump's defeat had come as a shock to him. He began a campaign to claim the election was stolen, a claim that had no basis in fact but which his supporters believed. This plan reached a crescendo on January 6, the day the Congress certified the electoral votes and the day that Trump held a rally in Washington, in which he called on his supporters to march on the Capitol. They stormed the Capitol, forcing the Congress members to flee. They stopped the votes in Congress for several hours until the National Guard could clear the building. In the wee hours of the morning of the 7th, the Congress affirmed the election of Biden.
President Trump had believed he would be able to defeat Former Vice President Biden in an election. The fact that Trump was out on the trail having large enthusistic rallies and Biden due to Covid-19 was primary campaigning from his home further convinced Trump that he would win.
Despite his confidence, Trump had tried to create an insurance policy. For months, he had been attacking the idea of mail-in votes, armed with the knowledge that amid a pandemic, his opponent's supporters would be too afraid to go the polls en masse on election day. In contrast, his supporters, whom Trump had convinced there was no real pandemic, he knew they would come out on election day to vote. So, he thought he had a clear "Plan B," in the unlikely event the election did not go as well as he would have liked. Trump was poised to claim "fraud," to insist Democratic votes in a crucial swing state be discarded, and that way, he would win. Over the previous five years, he had been so successful in bending the Republican party members to his will that he was confident he could intimidate some Trump officials in a critical state or two into doing his bidding to make sure he won.
Election night for Trump had gone as planned; his supporters came out in masses. He had convinced the legislators in key states to make sure mail-in ballots were not opened until election day, so in the first hours after the election, it indeed looked like Trump had won the election by a landslide. In the three key states considered the most critical swing states, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, Trump was ahead. Of course, he knew that his lead might not hold up in all of these "purple" States since the mail-in votes would eventually be counted. Nevertheless, Trump remained convinced he only needed to win one of the three swing states to win the election. The first sign that his plan might be in trouble came when there were indications that mail-in votes were projected to tip the vote against him in two states he had counted on to win: Georgia and Arizona. He had hoped to declare victory early and thus create a narrative that he had one, but Fox News dashed those hopes when they called Arizona for Biden, long before any other network did. Fox was furious, but they would not back down. But still, Trump had coaxed himself into believing that the Republican officials in those states would ensure that he won … Surely, they would not let their fearless leader down.
As the days of ballot counting continued, Trump tried to start a movement to stop the count, claiming they counted "illegal ballots"; his minions of supporters amplified his call. However, the counting continued. The Republican and Democratic election officials continued to take their job and their oath to their office seriously. These steadfast patriots executed their responsibilities with consummate professionalism.
On Saturday morning, after the election that had taken place on Tuesday, the states that had not previously been called had finally counted enough ballots to guarantee a Biden victory. The national media announced Biden as the winner. Every modern President to date called his opponent and conceded the election. Still, Trump did not believe in admitting defeat, so he never made that call, instead attacked his favorite target — the media. He was asked who gave them the right to call an election? His minions repeated his claim, and soon millions of his supporters all started repeating the lie —Trump had not lost. He would be declared the winner. And they all believed it.
Now it was time for Plan-B, time for legal action to throw out the ballots that had come in by mail and given Biden the election victory. Trump had a problem; however, his claim of election fraud was so outrageous that none of the top-notch lawyers that usually represent the Republican party was willing to represent him. Instead, he was forced to turn to an old friend, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who tried to help him in Ukraine. The problem was that while his old friend might have had a first-rate legal mind forty years ago, today, his obsession with conspiracies and his fealty to Trump resulted in loss-after-loss in court when the court threw out the suits for lack of evidence.
Trump had counted on the Supreme Court to intervene on his behalf. After all, he thought to himself (and even said publicly) — he had nominated especially Amy Barret. Therefore, they would stand with him. Unfortunately, his lack of understanding of history and the courts had led him astray. Perhaps if he had a half cogent argument, and if the case had been close, his Supreme Court picks might lean in towards him. However, Trump's judicial selections were conservatives, who take the Constitution's interpretation seriously and want no part in the scheme Trump was attempting to pull off— the stealing of the election.
When Trump's legal options came to a close, Trump had one more plan up his sleeve. Although the states had certified the results, and the Electoral College had met and given their stamps of approval, the election outcome was not official until the Congress met in joint session to count those electoral votes. That would take place on January 6 h.
Inciting a Riot
Trump developed a plan. He would call on his supporters throughout the United States to come to Washington and protest. His goal was to use those demonstrators to intimidate Congress – first and foremost, his Vice President Biden – demanding they throw out the votes that would make Biden President. While that idea might have seemed preposterous, Trump had an overall plan in mind. According to the Constitution, if the Electoral College fails to select a winner of the election, that determination would go to the House of Representatives, where the House would vote by State. And if the House were to vote by State, the Republicans controlled more House delegations than the Democrats.
Trump tweeted at the end of December."
Trump was very insistent that it was necessary to fight, tweeting on December 12 h "WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT."
Initially, Trump and his supporters were under the mistaken impression that if there were objections to states' electors, Congress's two chambers would deliberate separately with the House voting by State. They were convinced that this was a path to overturn the election results. It was soon pointed out that the House would vote in a regular vote, and since the Democrats were a majority of the House, this plan would not work.
That did not stop his callouts to the Republicans: Trump tweeted on December 188 Senators have to get tougher, or you won't have a Republican party anymore. We won the Presidential Election by a lot. FIGHT FOR IT. don't let them take it away!"
December 26 h, Trump tweeted The Justice Department & the BI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Fraud, the biggest SCAM in our nation's history, despite overwhelming evidence. They should be ashamed. History will remember. Never give up. See everyone in DC on January 6 h.
Trump now developed a dual last-ditch plan; the first part relied on his compliant Vice President Pence, and then a backup plan to use the demonstrators to pressure the Congress to stop counting the Electoral College vote.
Trump continued his pressure on Pence, telling his supporters at a Georgia rally on the evening January 4 h "I hope that our great Vice President comes through for us. He's a great guy. Of course, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him quite as much."
Trump supporters came to Washington ready to fight. Many came armed.
Trump had been convinced that Pence would come through for him and would unilaterally declare votes invalid. However, Pence early on January 6h made it clear that he had no such power under the Constitution. Despite his fidelity to the President, he would not act beyond the bounds of the Constitution.
Trump was down to one play — send his supporters into the Capital, and stop the count. He addressed the crowd of thousands of supporters standing not far from the White House and once again told them the story of how the election was stolen, and it was their job to "Stop the steal."He said, "When you catch somebody in fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. You'll never take our country back with weakness.
He said he would go with them to Congress and stop them from stealing the election and stealing the country from him.
What was their mission? Some no doubt were there caught up in the moment. However, others had a very clear goal in mind to capture key members of Congress, hold them hostage, and possibly seize the states' certified votes. If they could accomplish that and create a national crisis, he could achieve his goal, delay the vote, and force the House of Representatives to vote.
The Riot Begins
Before Trump had even ended speaking, a crowd had already gathered at the Capitol to protest. The Congress had begun meeting in Joint session to certify the electoral vote. At 1 PM, they overwhelmed the police, who were manning the outer barriers.
At 1:11 PM, Trump ended his speech, and the whole crowd of 10,000 or so headed to the Capital. They were soon overwhelming the capital police.
At 1:30 DC Mayor ask for Federal help in putting down the insurrection. She is told the request must come from the Capitol Police, who make that request at 1:49.
At 1:49 PM Trump tweets and a video of the excerpt of his speech in which he says: "our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that's what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you came up with, we will stop the steal. . . You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong."
At 2 PM, the rioters breached the Capital breaking windows, and enter the sanctuary hall, and from there, they fan out.
At this point, both the Senate and House Chambers begin to be evacuated, with Vice President Pence escorted out by the Secret Service first. The rioters began to climb the stairs to the still unlocked Senate Chamber as a lone Capital Police Officer held them back: Eugene Goodman. He suckered them into following him away from the doors to the Senate, giving the Senators enough time to adjourn and evacuate. Members of the Senate parliamentarian staff took the boxes that held the Electoral College votes off the floor to a secure location. At 2:15, the doors to the Senate were locked.
At 2:24 PM, Trump tweets that Pence "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done." The rioters began chanting, where is Mike Pence and hang Mike Pence.
At 3:26, Two hours after the Mayor requested that the DC National Guard be sent to the Capitol, the Army's Secretary approved the request.
In the meantime, after getting urgent requests for House and Senate Members, both the Virginia and Maryland Governors mobilize their National Guard forces but need federal approval for the guard members to cross into Washington DC. The Defense Department slow-walked their request. Two hours later, after a direct order by the Vice President, the Defense Department gave their permission.
Meanwhile, the rioters roamed the Capital, destroying material and looking for Congress Members and their staff who were hiding some in secure locations, others under their desks.
At 4:17 PM, Trump releases a video saying: "I know your pain, I know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side… It's a very tough period of time. There's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us — from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil."
At 5:40 PM, the first detachment of National Guard arrived at the Capitol, over four hours after they were first requested.
At 6:01 PM, Trump tweets, "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
Congress Returns to Work
At 8 PM, the DC Capital Police declare the Capital Building secure, and at 8:06, Congress resumes its session.
During the session debate before it was interrupted by the rioters, Senate Majority Leader spoke and made clear he would oppose any attempt not to certify the vote.
We're debating a step that has never been taken in American history. Whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election. I've served 36 years in the Senate. This'll be the most important vote I've ever cast. President Trump claims the election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments, to sweeping conspiracy theories. I supported the President's right to use the legal system. Dozens of lawsuits received hearings in courtrooms all across our country. But over and over, the courts rejected these claims, including all-star judges, whom the President himself has nominated. Every election we know features some illegality and irregularity, and of course, that's unacceptable. I support strong State led voting reforms. Last year's bizarre pandemic procedures must not become the new norm.
But my colleagues, nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election. Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence. The Constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a National Board of Elections on steroids. The voters, the courts, and the stage have all spoken. They've all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our Republic forever. This election, actually, was not unusually close. Just in recent history, 1976, 2000 and 2004 were all closer on this one. The Electoral College margin is almost identical to what it was in 2016. This election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We'd never see the whole nation except an election again. Every four years would be a scramble for power at any cost.
When the Congress resumed deliberations, the Senate voted 93-6 to reject the motion to disqualify Arizona's electoral votes. The six Republican Senators were Ted Cruz(TX), Josh Hawley(MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith(MS), John Neely Kennedy(LA), Roger MarshaKS), and Tommy Tuberville(AL). The House rejected the objections 303-121 with all those objecting to Arizona electors Republicans' recognition. It was hoped that this would be the end of it, and indeed the planned objection of the Georgia electors was stillborn when no Senator would agree to object ( it requires a Senator and a House member to oppose. However, when it came to Pennsylvania, both a Senator and House Member objected, so the House and Senate separated once again. In the Senate this time, John Kennedy voted against disqualifying the electors. But joining those opposed to Arizona's votes this time, Cynthia Lummis (WY) and Rick Scott (FL) added their voices to support the motion to disqualify the Pennsylvania votes. In the House of Representatives, the vote was 282-138.
At 3:41 AM, Congress confirmed the electoral College vote and declared Biden President as of noon on January 20 h.