Legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein said Sunday that a newly reported memo by another Donald Trump loyalist on how to overturn the presidential election was part of Trump’s “blueprint” for his planned “authoritarian coup.”
“What we are seeing in these memos particularly are blueprints for a coup — the actual blueprints in document form in which the president of the United States, through his chief of staff, is sending to Mike Pence’s … staff a blueprint to overturn an election, a blueprint for a conspiracy led by a president of the United States to result in an authoritarian coup in which the election is stolen,” Bernstein told CNN’s Jim Acosta.
“Of course there was a conspiracy,” he added. It was a “conspiracy led by the president of the United States to overturn the duly elected president … by thwarting the Electoral College process.”
Jenna Ellis, an attorney for Trump’s failed reelection, outlined a strategy after his loss for Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes so select states could amend their counts to ultimately serve Trump, according to the upcoming book “Betrayal,” by ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.
It was one of other infamous “coup memos,” including those written by right-wing attorney John Eastman, who also urged Pence to dump electoral votes for Joe Biden. Both Ellis and Eastman were subpoenaed last week by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Bernstein said the nation still needs a detailed “narrative of everything that Donald Trump did and said, especially on January 5th and 6th, to undermine the Constitution of the United States” amid plans to “go ahead with the coup that would have resulted in the most grievous undermining of our Constitution in the history of the United States.”
Trump, meanwhile, is desperately “engaged in a massive cover-up through executive privilege and other instruments to keep us from finding out what he did to do this illegal, unconstitutional, authoritarian act such as we’ve never seen,” Bernstein said.
The danger, Bernstein warned, is that Republicans take back the House in midterm elections and shut down the investigation which could be the last chance to save free elections.
Trump relentlessly pressured Pence to toss out electoral votes to overturn the results. In an interview with Trump for his book, Karl repeated a report that he called Pence the morning of Jan. 6 to warn him that he “could be a patriot or a pussy” — by failing to reject electoral votes. Trump did not dispute saying it, Karl reported.
Trump also told Karl he could understand why people were calling for Pence to be hanged. “It’s common sense … people were angry,” he told Karl.
Eastman continued in emails on Jan. 6 to pressure Pence’s counsel Greg Jacob even as Jacob was huddled under guard with Pence as rioters surged through the Capitol calling for Pence’s “hanging” because he refused to subvert Americans’ vote.
Jacob later wrote in an unpublished column obtained by The Washington Post that Eastman and Trump’s former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were part of a “cadre of outside lawyers” who had “spun a web of lies and disinformation” in an attempt to pressure Pence to “betray his oath to uphold our laws and the Constitution” by rejecting electoral votes.
Check out Bernstein’s interview in the video clip up top.