Update from the Nut House

From The Washington Post:

President Txxxx has intensified efforts to overturn the election, raising a series of radical measures in recent days, including military intervention, seizing voting machines and a 13th-hour appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Sunday, Txxxx said in a radio interview that he had spoken with Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) about challenging the electoral vote count when the House and Senate convene on Jan. 6 to formally affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

“He’s so excited,” Txxxx said of Tuberville. “He said, ‘You made me the most popular politician in the United States.’ He said, ‘I can’t believe it.’ He’s great. Great senator”. [Note: Tuberville is not yet a senator.]

Tuberville’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Txxxx’s statement, which the president made in an interview with Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on New York’s WABC radio station.

The next day, Flynn was in the Oval Office to discuss the idea. Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, who has promoted outlandishly false claims about this year’s election, including a disproved allegation that Venezuelan communists programmed U.S. voting machines to flip votes for Biden, was also at the meeting.

Officials inside the White House said Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone pushed back “strenuously” on the idea of martial law. Two officials, who like others for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private matters and conversations, said that there have been no efforts inside the White House to actually deploy the military and that the idea was quickly dismissed at the meeting.

Experts also agree the president does not have the authority to order such an action.

Meadows and Cipollone did not respond to requests for comment.

Txxxx also suggested naming Powell as special counsel on voter fraud, an appointment that appeared to be a non-starter.

“The fact that she’s in there, it’s totally nuts,” a senior campaign official said, referring to Powell. A second official noted that Matt Morgan, a lawyer for the Txxxx campaign, told employees Saturday that they should preserve records related to Powell. Dominion Voting Systems has threatened to sue Powell and the Txxxx campaign for what it described as “wild, knowingly baseless and false accusations.”

At the meeting, Txxxx again suggested that homeland security officials should seize state voting machines and investigate alleged fraud.

Acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf and other homeland security officials have previously told the White House they have no authority to do so unless states ask for inspections or investigations, and they have not.

DHS officials were not present for Friday’s meeting and have not had subsequent conversations with the White House. Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of homeland security, also told Giuliani in a call last week that they could not take the machines, said officials.

In recent days, Txxxx has expressed frustration that his Cabinet is not doing more to assist. At a Cabinet meeting last week at the White House, Txxxx vented about the election and made unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, officials said, but did not give Cabinet members specific orders. The president has said Wolf should have moved more quickly to fire Christopher Krebs, the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, after Krebs countered Txxxx’s claims of widespread election fraud.

Additionally, some of Txxxx’s advisers have convinced him that Attorney General William P. Barr has not done enough to investigate the claims of voter fraud, and the president has increasingly complained about him, they said.

On Sunday, the Txxxx campaign said it was filing another suit with the Supreme Court over Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting rules. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice declined to take up challenges to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the state’s voting procedures. Generally, the court does not get involved in state court decisions on state law. 

Efforts to persuade Txxxx to do a valedictory tour for some of his accomplishments [Note: Accomplishments?], or focus on the coronavirus vaccine [but not the virus], have been futile, said two advisers. Advisers say they hope Txxxx going to Mar-a-Lago this week will calm his anger about the election, but Txxxx has shown no signs of pulling back.

Public officials and military leaders have refused to be drawn into Txxxx’s post-election maneuvering. On Friday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Gen. James C. McConville, the Army’s top officer, released a joint statement that said: “There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election.”

Acting defense secretary Christopher Miller, who was installed after the post-election firing of Mark T. Esper, was not present at the meeting Friday night at the White House, a senior U.S. official said. Neither was Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was traveling in the Middle East last week.

In recent days, Milley has stressed that the U.S. military will follow U.S. law, without directly criticizing the president or his most partisan supporters.

“We are unique among militaries,” Milley said in a Nov. 12 speech at the new National Museum of the United States Army. “We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual. No, we do not take an oath to a country, a tribe or a religion. We take an oath to the Constitution.”

Peter D. Feaver, a former member of George W. Bush’s presidential administration who now studies civil-military relations at Duke University, said it was “extraordinarily distressing” that Flynn, a former national security adviser, would recommend to Txxxx that he do something “manifestly illegal and manifestly unconstitutional.”

“To invoke the Insurrection Act now to prevent that from coming to full fruition, there is just not basis for it,” he said. “The professional military ethics of it are pretty clear: The military is trained to not carry out illegal orders.”

The Justice Department also has not acquiesced to Txxxx’s pressure campaign to appoint special counsel to explore his unfounded claims of fraud, though officials say privately they are worried about what might transpire in coming weeks, as the president becomes increasingly desperate. . . .

Last week, [Attorney General William] Barr submitted a resignation letter to Txxxx, revealing he would be leaving the department on Dec. 23. . . .Barr had wanted to stay on in a second term if Txxxx had won.

Starting on Wednesday, leadership of the department will fall to Jeffrey Rosen, who had been Barr’s top deputy. Rosen had been serving as a deputy transportation secretary before he was tapped to be the No. 2 Justice Department official under Barr. He had not worked at the Justice Department before, and some lawmakers questioned whether he had adequate experience for the job.

Rosen declined to answer questions in a recent interview with Reuters about whether he would name special counsels to investigate voter fraud or Hunter Biden.

Txxxx’s efforts to persuade congressional Republicans to question the legitimacy of the vote seem to be gaining traction.

Some current and incoming Republican members of the House, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Reps.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Barry Moore (Ala.), have suggested they will join Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) in using an 1880s law that allows members of Congress to dispute a state’s results and make the House and Senate vote on the challenge to the electoral vote tally on Jan. 6.

The effort is certain to fail in the Democratic-led House and will meet resistance in the Senate, where several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have dismissed the idea. Both chambers would have to vote in favor of any challenge for it to succeed.

Last week, while campaigning for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue (R-Ga.) in Georgia, Tuberville suggested he would support an electoral vote challenge.

“You see what’s coming. You’ve been reading about it in the House. We’re going to have to do it in the Senate,” Tuberville said, according to a video posted online by liberal activist Lauren Windsor.

Tuberville did not say whether he would bring such a challenge himself. But in a speech to conservative activists Sunday, Gaetz said he had spoken with Tuberville and confirmed that the Alabama Republican plans to challenge the results.

“He says, ‘We are done running plays from the establishment’s losing playbook. It is time to stand and fight,’ ” Gaetz said at an event in West Palm Beach, Fla., sponsored by Turning Point USA, a conservative youth organization. “The odds may be tough, it may be 4th and long, but we’re going for it on January 6.”

Unquote.

Before being elected to the Senate by Alabama voters last month, Mr. Tuberville was a football coach for 40 years. This qualifies him to say things like “it may be 4th and long, but we’re going for it”. More on the senator-elect:

In 2014, Tuberville founded the Tommy Tuberville Foundation, which aimed to help American veterans. In 2020, the Associated Press reported that tax records showed the foundation spent only about one-third of the money it raised on charitable giving. . . .

On November 13, 2020, Tuberville wrongly stated in an interview with the Alabama Daily News that the European theater of World War II  was fought to stop socialism and that the three branches of the US federal government are the House, the Senate, and executive, garnering him considerable negative attention and criticism. He has also said that he was looking forward to raising money from his Senate office, a violation of federal law [Wikipedia].

Would It Be Inappropriate to Call It the Nut House?

Predictions that, given his warped psychology, the president will become even more erratic as he gets closer to the end of his presidency are coming true. He held a meeting at the White House yesterday. From Axios:

Senior Txxxx administration officials are increasingly alarmed that President Txxxx might unleash — and abuse — the power of government in an effort to overturn the clear result of the election.

Why it matters: These officials tell me that Txxxx is spending too much time with people they consider crackpots or conspiracy theorists and flirting with blatant abuses of power.

  • There are 32 days until President-elect Biden’s inauguration.

The big picture: Their fears include Txxxx’s interest in former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s wild talk of martial law; an idea floated of an executive order to commandeer voting machines; and the specter of Sidney Powell, the conspiracy-spewing election lawyer, obtaining governmental power and a top-level security clearance.

A senior administration official said that when Txxxx is “retweeting threats of putting politicians in jail, and spends his time talking to conspiracy nuts who openly say declaring martial law is no big deal, it’s impossible not to start getting anxious about how this ends.”

  • “People who are concerned and nervous aren’t the weak-kneed bureaucrats that we loathe,” the official added. “These are people who have endured arguably more insanity and mayhem than any administration officials in history.”

At Friday’s meeting, first reported by The New York Times, Txxxx discussed making Powell a special counsel for election fraud.

  • The ideas included commandeering voting machines, with Powell as a special counsel to inspect the machines, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
  • White House counsel Pat Cipollone and chief of staff Mark Meadows “pushed back strenuously and repeatedly against the ideas put forth by Sidney Powell,” the source said.
  • The meeting included Flynn, who was pardoned by Txxxx in November and is a celebrity with election-denying Txxxx supporters.

Unquote.

Nobody knows how unhinged the president will become in the next four weeks, but it shouldn’t surprise us if he issues orders to insert Flynn, Giuliani, Jared or Ivanka in the military chain of command.