The more we learn, the worse it gets. The New York Times has now reported that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has been even more active than known to provide justifications for the cancellation of the vote that would remove Trump and his allies from power. It was already known that Meadows was involved in Trump's efforts to get Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes in the state that would undo Joe Biden's election victory there. He was also obviously deeply involved in Republican attempts to advance bizarre conspiracies rather than admit Trump's loss.
The Times received emails in which Meadows had repeatedly asked then Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to investigate open conspiracy theories promoted by Trump allies.
"This included a fantastic theory that people in Italy had used military technology and satellites to remotely manipulate voting machines and change votes in the United States," the Times reported from Trump on Biden.
For the history books, that's one thing that happened. A Republican chief of staff in the White House has urged the government's attorney general to investigate immediately whether Italy stole the election by satellite; You can drive any other nation and technology crazy on that phrase, and you'd likely find a junk-littered internet alley that also offered this as the reason for the "stolen" election, but this was the White House themselves the Justice Department asked one Team to bring on the case.
Apparently Rosen didn't take the bait. But the White House had good reason to believe he might have played ball; As the Times notes in the same piece, Trump called Rosen to the White House just a day after Rosen was identified as William Barr's new successor. At that mid-December meeting, Trump himself urged Rosen to appoint a special investigator to investigate the Dominion Voting System, which Trump propaganda said was one of countless orchestras plotting against him.
The White House acted in open corruption from the moment the vote numbers became known. It would culminate in a White House-planned, Trump-led "march" on Jan. 6 to directly sabotage certification of the election, but at that point the White House had been working for weeks to cast down votes in Georgia, new government-led ones To initiate "investigations" intended to confirm pro-Trump hoaxes and to delegitimize the structure of our democracy itself, instead of relinquishing power.
It wasn't just Trump. That was Mark Meadows. They were other White House figures. It was Rudy, who had been a propaganda clerk for years. It was a large part of the Republican faction of the House of Representatives, a faction that for years had condensed into a center of conspiracy promotion and defender of maximum party-based corruption.
We don't know the full role of each player as, months after the violence, the Republicans of the House and Senate almost unanimously objected to any investigation into which people played which roles. Senator Mitch McConnell found it useful to ask Senators to block such an investigation as a personal "favor". Anyone still confused about why Republican lawmakers block such investigations so severely is indescribably gullible.
That being said, it's worth considering how similar the behavior of Mark Meadows here was to the players in a previous Trump scandal – in fact, the previous Trump scandal where he was first indicted. When Trump and his top strategists identified Joe Biden as the most likely and dangerous Democratic presidential candidate, false reports emerged claiming that a Russian enemy, Ukraine, was the real actor behind the 2016 election campaign, which US intelligence agencies unanimously identified as that Factory of Russia. New hoaxes arose to claim that a Biden son was somehow related; Rudy Giuliani, a top Republican Republican who was hired, worked feverishly to fend off all the peddlers he could muster. The endpoint was a pressure campaign to force the Ukrainian government to recognize an "investigation" into the Trump-urged Republican-organized anti-Biden conspiracy; To that end, Trump and his cabinet officials have illegally withheld military aid to the nation until the government complies.
The goal then was for Ukraine to "announce" an investigation into the Biden family business. There was no question of how extensive the investigation would be, or whether it would even exist, except in name. The demand was that Ukraine announce an investigation.
Fast forward to last December and Trump's White House actions, we're seeing something strikingly similar. Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows "repeatedly" urged the Justice Department to investigate Republican conspiracy theories. Trump himself called for an investigation into the new mortal enemy, a voting machine manufacturer that Republicans on television claimed sabotaged the election so Trump would lose. The idea that Italy is using "satellites" to somehow manipulate US voting machines is almost performatively silly – but Meadows wanted an official investigation.
The aim was "investigations" that Trump and his allies could point out. That the results did not show Italian satellite hacking was irrelevant; the point was that the "investigation" was announced to legitimize the pro-Trump hoax. They didn't have to be very legitimized. It only required sowing doubts that Trump's team, Republican officers, and Republican lawmakers could use as a justification for wiping a state's vote count.
It was about the same then. Trump's allies produce ridiculous-sounding propaganda; Trump and his top officials insist that the joke Trump spread be recognized by the government so that it sounds more plausible; whether the push brazenly crosses the line between legitimate governance and the use of government as a partisan tool makes no difference.
So Mark Meadows has to at least drag his butt into a chair, any chair that has an attached oath to tell the truth, what he knows about the White House's efforts to question the election results. There are probably more actors involved in the whole story than we know, and it is very clear that the White House itself, many weeks before the January 6 climax, took steps to falsely undermine the election results.