They called it the “command center,” a set of rooms and suites in the posh Willard hotel a block from the White House where some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal lieutenants were working day and night with one goal in mind: overturning the results of the 2020 election.In seeking to compel testimony from Bannon, the congressional panel investigating Jan. 6 this week cited his reported presence at the “ ‘war room’ organized at the Willard.” The House voted Thursday to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena.
The Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse and the ensuing attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob would draw the world’s attention to the quest to physically block Congress from affirming Joe Biden’s victory. But the activities at the Willard that week add to an emerging picture of a less visible effort, mapped out in memos by a conservative pro-Trump legal scholar and pursued by a team of presidential advisers and lawyers seeking to pull off what they claim was a legal strategy to reinstate Trump for a second term.
They were led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. Former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon was an occasional presence as the effort’s senior political adviser. Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik was there as an investigator. Also present was John Eastman, the scholar, who outlined scenarios for denying Biden the presidency in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4 with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
They sought to make the case to Pence and ramp up pressure on him to take actions on Jan. 6 that Eastman suggested were within his powers, three people familiar with the operation said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. Their activities included finding and publicizing alleged evidence of fraud, urging members of state legislatures to challenge Biden’s victory and calling on the Trump-supporting public to press Republican officials in key states.
The effort underscores the extent to which Trump and a handful of true believers were working until the last possible moment to subvert the will of the voters, seeking to pressure Pence to delay or even block certification of the election, leveraging any possible constitutional loophole to test the boundaries of American democracy.
“I firmly believed then, as I believe now, that the vice president — as president of the Senate — had the constitutional power to send the issue back to the states for 10 days to investigate the widespread fraud and report back well in advance of Inauguration Day, January 20th,” one of those present, senior campaign aide and former White House special assistant Boris Epshteyn, told The Washington Post. “Our efforts were focused on conveying that message.”
The committee has also requested documents and communications related to Eastman’s legal advice and analysis.
Eastman told The Post on Wednesday that he has not yet been contacted by the House select committee investigating the insurrection. Asked about his involvement in the Trump team’s operation at the Willard, Eastman said: “To the extent I was there, those were attorney discussions. You don’t get any comment from me on those.”
Saturday, October 23, 2021
The evidence of the Trump regime's "soft coup" attempt to seize control of the United States after losing to Joe Biden in November continues to pile up, this time with the story of Trump's advisers in a "war room" at the Willard Hotel in DC trying to engineer a way Trump could stay in power past January 20th.
And at the heart of these machinations were Trump's gallery of evil minions: Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani, along with Trump's legal architect, John Eastman. This represents an organized insurrection, to grab the reins of power while the January 6th terrorist attack was happening, and never give them back.
It only failed because VP Mike Pence got cold feet.
The plan was there. The execution of it failed. If people don't end up in prison for this, the next time the execution won't matter.
Neera Tanden, the former president of the Center for American Progress whose nomination as White House budget director was pulled earlier this year, has been named President Joe Biden’s staff secretary, a White House official confirmed Friday.
Tanden has been working in the White House since May as a senior adviser to the president. Her added responsibility as the staff secretary is to control the flow of documents to Biden and other senior staff.
"The Staff Secretary role is the central nervous system of the White House and moves the decision-making process and manages a wide variety of issues for the President," a White House official said in a statement. The role, a senior position, was once held by now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and John Podesta, who later served as then-President Bill Clinton's chief of staff.
Tanden will replace White House staff secretary, Jessica Hertz, who recently planned to leave the position, Politico reported.
As a senior adviser to Biden, Tanden had been tasked with preparing for different contingencies that could result from the Supreme Court’s consideration of Republican lawsuits seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act, NBC News reported in May. She was also assigned to launch a review of the United States Digital Service whose mission is to make government accessible through technology.
A White House official said Friday that Tanden has also been working on the president's Build Back Better agenda. The official said that she will keep her senior adviser title "and will continue to provide leadership on particular projects and initiatives, and will report to the chief of staff."
The White House withdrew her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget in early March after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voiced opposition to confirming her. Manchin and many pointed to what they described as inflammatory statements she had previously made publicly.
It was Joe Manchin who killed Tanden's nomination to OMB. She's now arguably the number 2 person on the WH staff behind Chief of Staff Ron Klain, especially with her keeping the senior advisor portfolio.
Manchin may wish Tanden was relegated to OMB instead, just sayin'.