A cautionary note — grab yourself a fresh cup of coffee and take a “comfort break” before you go further because reading this might take a while.
I have a ton of preparatory remarks that I want to make before I get to the lying sacks of sh!t in the media who covered this story on Sunday.
I wrote a story Sunday afternoon before I was able to listen to the recording itself. I was writing in reaction to a dozen or more “stories” that had hit the ‘net from mainstream media outlets far and wide, reporting on the Saturday telephone call. The reporting was consistently negative in terms of the characterization of the call, the President’s comments during the call, and the context the authors ascribed to the conversation. I was a bit surprised by the amount of expert “commentary” that seemed to have been gathered in a very short time period. Most of it was some form of condemnation of the President’s comments as an abuse of power, and grounds for impeachment. Someone wrote the recorded call was the equivalent of the Nixon tapes being told to “hold my beer”. But the Nixon tapes included conversations between a President and his close aides discussing criminal activity and how it might be covered up. In addition, there was an 18-minute segment of the tapes that had been recorded over so the conversation at that point in the recording would never be known.
Saturday’s call??? Not only is it not in the same ballpark, it’s not even part of the same game.
To me, it was a firing offense the way the media mischaracterized the call, the purposes for the call, the comments of Pres. Trump, the comments of the officials from Georgia, and the comments of the President’s attorneys.
If we are in the final two weeks of the Presidency of Donald Trump, this recording and the media coverage of it are the perfect encapsulation of the level of dishonest hackery and the outright fraudulent manner in which Pres. Trump has been covered by the press.
A couple of caveats about the President’s conduct on the call before I get into the details. First, Pres. Trump can be intemperate in spoken remarks, he can tend towards being hyperbolic in expressing certainty, and he doesn’t speak like a lawyer might with regard to distinguishing between facts, conclusions, opinions, and allegations. The President forms beliefs about events based on the information he has been presented, and he forcefully asserts the veracity of what he believes to be true. I’m the offspring of a CEO of a family-owned business — nothing like Trump Inc., but the personality type is quite recognizable. They take in information, form conclusions, make decisions, and say “make it happen” to those whom they pay to “make it happen.” They don’t look back much, and it can be hard to change their mind.
The President being the President, and the President being Donald Trump means that in calls such as the one which took place yesterday, he’s going to advance his position and he’s not going to take any steps backward in response to what he hears.
Before listening to the tape, and not yet having read anything about how the call came about, I was possessed by questions about “Why?” Why would the President of the United States take time on a Saturday, maybe in the final hours of his Presidency, to talk to an inferior elected official in the State of Georgia for an hour? I had swallowed whole the false narrative fed by the early Sunday reports that this was some kind of nefarious effort by the President to corruptly persuade the Georgia official to produce some fraudulent vote totals ahead of Wednesday’s joint session of Congress.
How would that ever be something done one-on-one between a President and Secretary of State — of a State — when whatever the subject matter of the call might have been, subordinate officials in the White House could have easily tended to the matter.
But then I saw a report that the call was part of a “confidential settlement discussion” concerning the litigation pending in Georgia courts.
I had published an article earlier on Sunday calling attention to the fact that there remained a legitimate and valid election contest pending in Georgia state court filed by the Trump Campaign, and if the Campaign prevailed in the matter the outcome of the Georgia vote would be invalidated. Under Georgia law, the remedy to the successful plaintiff in that situation is a new election — which is pointless when it comes to a Presidential election since the calendar for the meeting of the Electoral College and the transition under the 20th Amendment makes a “do-over” election physically impossible to accomplish.
The fundamental meaning of that reality is that there is NO basis under Georgia law by which a Presidential candidate can follow Georgia law to contest the outcome of a general election contest. That is a fact that future Presidential contestants and parties need to keep in mind — or at least the GOP needs to keep it in mind, as the Democrat Party seems to understand it well, i.e., that there is no remedy involving the reversing of an election outcome secured by cheating.
But, even with the new circumstances for why the call took place, I was still perplexed by the commentary in the media reports about President Trump’s comments which were portrayed as him urging the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” votes for him and to explain things by saying they had just “recalculated” the outcome.
The context presented was so juvenile and cartoonishly improper from an objective point of view, there had to be more to the call than was being reported.
And there was.
Late on Sunday, I was able to listen to the recording. It begins with Mark Meadows, the President’s Chief of Staff, advising the President that everyone is on the line. Meadows’s voice is clear and without distortion, and my first reaction is that it is Meadows who is recording the call on his phone. He quickly informs the President who is on the call, using first names only for some. But from what I could discern, the President was on the call, along with Meadows, two attorneys representing the President in Georgia litigation, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and one other person I who I wasn’t sure of but I think might have been the Georgia Attorney General.
President Trump was the first to speak and went on uninterrupted for about 12 minutes — about 20% of the total call. It was not made clear at the outset what the purpose of the call was, as the conversation immediately went to the basis for the election dispute lawsuit in Georgia and the position of the Trump Campaign as expressed in the complaint it has filed.
Much later in the call, closer to the end, Meadows comments on a possible follow-up meeting which would be considered part of further efforts to reach a settlement, “just like the call” — or words to that effect.
That was the first confirmation that I heard that the reason for the call taking place was to look for a settlement or narrowing of issues in dispute in the matter pending in state court in Georgia. From that perspective — which every IDIOT journalist whose stories I read failed to mention or understand that as part of providing context for the call — the President’s comments and Raffensperger’s responses made perfect sense.
These were adverse parties in pending litigation on the call, along with their counsel and advisors. Each side was arguing the facts and stating the case from their respective points of view. The President was not trying to “coopt” Raffensperger, he was trying to convince Raffensperger that the facts as alleged in the complaint filed were correct, and the Trump Campaign had the evidence to back them up.
The President — as well as Meadows and his attorneys — were urging the Georgia officials to look at the evidence the Campaign had, and the Georgia officials were resisting. The position of Raffensberger and the other official was that they have looked at the allegations — not the Campaign’s evidence — and they have done their own investigation of the allegations and found them to be unsubstantiated.