COLUMN: GOP ducks legislation to prevent another Jan. 6

Kathy Tibbits

This week, Jim Jordan reiterated that he will duck appearing before the Jan. 6 Investigation. Jordan texted the White House to call sides in the Trump-Pence divorce: “On Jan. 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, should call out all the electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.”

It is the tip of a conspiratorial iceberg in a play to usurp the peoples’ vote for president by throwing out votes simply because people used streamlined quicker and easier voting methods in progressive states.

In his Jan. 5 Town Hall call, Markwayne Mullin hinted that something rare and extraordinary is pending, intimating that Trumpers would be trying to delay so Biden’s votes wouldn’t be counted by Oath Day. While certifying the Electoral College results, state-by-state, an objecting senate plus House member can prompt a recess for two hours of debate, then reconvene for a simple majority vote to table certification.

“It would take a small miracle for that to happen,” Mullin said.

Mullin was among those maneuvering to game the Electoral College. The scheme would have flipped the outcome for Trump in intentional disregard of the wishes of most voting Americans. Biden won 81 million votes and Trump garnered 74 million. Trump lost by 7 million votes.

Essentially, both congressional houses must agree to table a state’s electors. Mullin figured it would take about five hours per objected-to state. Minority Trump Republicans planned in advance to try to throw out 36 Biden Electoral College votes, shrinking the majority to a number with which Trump could hold over. Trump had won in 2016 by strategically gaming the Electoral College disproportionalities, though Clinton had 2.8 million more votes. Republican lawmakers weren’t trying to flip Biden’s 36 Electoral College votes over to Trump. If neither candidate receives 270, the House decides the outcome.

Mullin hoped five states Biden won by a narrow margin would be rejected and sent back in hopes that state legislators would cast their Electoral College votes for Trump instead. The schemers also hoped to delay counting the EC votes in those five states. Remember that Trump’s camp had already filed 62 lawsuits and lost 61 times.

On Jan. 6, 2020, at Donald Trump’s political rally, attendees were asked to go to the Capitol with “pride and boldness to take back our country.” People did so. Lawmakers scrambled for gas masks and were evacuated. Capitol staffers cowered under desks with furniture blocking the locked doors. They heard taunts for Pence and Pelosi. They heard crashes, breaking glass, vandalism and gunshots. Offices were invaded and looted.

Outnumbered law enforcement officers were brutalized. Some rioters made a gallows on the congressional lawn, to hang Mike Pence. Jamie Raskin’s new book, titled “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy,” explains that Trump pressured Pence to go along with the plot. Pence knew the Electoral College certification was mere formality and he lacked any constitutional authority to reject the votes. Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done …”

Many Republicans as well as Democrats called on Trump to end the siege. Trump finally addressed the rioters, saying, “We love you. You’re very special.” He ordered his fans to go home in peace. The Capitol invasion lasted five hours. It was 3:42 a.m. when the Electoral College results were certified.

There are two bills pending in the Senate that would prevent this from happening again, but Republicans are filibustering them so the only way to pass them would require a change in Senate rules enabling Democrats to pass them by simple majority. Whether the change should be a “carve-out” or a return to the “talking” filibuster will have to wait for another column. But the change will have to happen soon.

Kathy Tibbits is a Cherokee citizen, attorney, and artist living at Lake Tenkiller.

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