January 25, 2021

John Avlon's Reality Check segment this morning looked at how Trump's attempted coup was so much worse than we thought.

"With President Biden in office, it's time to deprive Donald Trump of the conversational oxygen he craves, but that doesn't mean we can just turn the page without truth, accountability, and justice. So here's some new Reality Check rules," Avlon said.

"We're only going to focus on Trump going forward when there's an impeachment trial, indictments, or critical new information. And there's going to be a lot of that coming to light over the next few months. Just this weekend, thanks to journalism, we learned more about how close Trump came to abusing the power of the presidency to overturn the election. 'Stop the Steal,' the slogan of his more seditious supporters, turned out to be just another one of President Trump's projections. Because, of course, he was the one trying to steal the election, while playing the victim and encouraging the kind of aggressive defensiveness that resulted in the attack on the Capitol.

"Now, we knew that Trump tried to threaten and pressure the Georgia secretary of state, but we didn't know, until recently, that the U.S. attorney for Atlanta was forced to resign because he refused to prosecute Trump's fictitious voter fraud. We knew that Trump backed the baseless lawsuit pushed by Texas AG Ken Paxton, along with 126 Republican members of Congress, but we didn't know that Trump tried to force the DoJ to appeal directly to the Supreme Court to try to get them to overturn the election on his behalf.

"We knew that Trump loyalist AG Bill Barr resigned as tensions rose for his refusal to endorse Trump's lies about election fraud, but we didn't know that Trump plotted to fire acting attorney general Rosen and replace him with one who wanted to overturn the election. We know that Trump and his top surrogates spoke at the rally before the attack on the Capitol, but we didn't know that former Trump campaign staffers helped organize that rally. And this all came out less than one week after Trump left office and more information is coming.

"If the recent past is prologue, it's going to be damning. We're going to find out more about the pro-Trump anti-government self-styled militias that stormed the Capitol, whether any members of Congress were aware of the plans, and whether Trump backers tried to hide financial support for the protest. All while Trump essentially ignored the deaths of more than 172,000 Americans from covid between Election Day and Inauguration Day. And as more information comes in, it's going to increase pressure on the Senate to convict Trump for his actions after the election, for committing treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors in his attempt to overturn our democracy, which certainly would constitute a violation of his oath to faithfully execute the office of president and preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

"Now, those Republicans who stood up to Trump deserve all of our thanks. They were the bulwark that stopped our country from sliding into autocracy. But those Republicans who enabled, encouraged, or excused his autocratic impulses need to be held accountable for their actions by voters, courts, and history books.

"So the Senate and Republicans are goings to face a reckoning. A final time for choosing, between Donald Trump and democracy. And that's your reality check."

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