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Anatomy of an American Coup

Ed Shaffer, Letter to the Editor, 02/16/2022


Recent reports have revealed that former president Trump and his extremist Republican accomplices plotted a detailed coup attempt designed to use false claims of widespread election fraud in the key swing states to overturn the will of the people in the 2020 election.

The planned coup attempt would have required former vice-president Pence to declare that the January 6th certification of the election could not proceed. This was to be followed by Republican-controlled state legislatures certifying Trump electors instead of the duly elected and certified Biden electors, which would have forced the election to the House of Representatives, where Trump would have won.

Another part of the coup attempt was Trump putting pressure on the Justice department and the Defense department to seize voting machines in every swing state as a means of furthering the false claim of widespread election fraud.

If protests against the coup were to follow at federal facilities, the plan was for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act so he could “restore law and order” militarily. Mike Flynn, Trump’s disgraced former national security advisor, gave an interview to the far-right Newsmax calling on Trump to “seize every single one” of the voting machines “around the country,” and “take military capabilities” in the key states to “basically rerun an election.”

Fortunately, the coup was foiled due to the refusal of the Justice department, the Defense department, state election officials, and former vice-president Pence to go along with the plot. Former Attorney General Barr finally found a line he would not cross for Trump, and told him that his assertions of fraud were “BS.” Greg Jacob, general counsel for Vice President Pence, informed him that if he obeyed Trump he would “betray his oath to uphold our laws and the Constitution of the United States. That was a fool’s errand.”

Trump continues to actively promote the big lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. He threatens to run for re-election in 2024 and says that if elected he will consider giving pardons to the violent insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.

History shows that Trump will do anything to gain and hold onto power.

Therein lies great danger for our democracy.

Ed Shaffer



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