It’s been a year and a half since the chaos of the 2020 election, and Former President Donald J. Trump still faces considerable controversy over his potentially criminal attempts to sway votes in various battleground states. Included in the pile of evidence against Trump is a recorded call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where Trump asks Raffensperger to procure votes to contest Biden’s win in the state, along with traces of him instigating the January 6th Capitol riot in 2021. Even now, new pieces of evidence are surfacing surrounding Trump’s attempts to illicitly win the election.
The most recent major development in the investigation came from Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. On November 5, 2020, Donald Trump Jr. sent a series of incriminating text messages to his father’s aide, Mark Meadows. In these messages, he presented “multiple paths” to Meadows by which Trump could still win the election. These paths included raising bogus legal challenges to election results and the use of fake elector slates. Under duress from the investigators, Meadows showed these text messages, which were later released to the public by CNN.
Shortly afterwards, Trump Jr.’s lawyer released a statement, claiming that “after the election, Don received numerous messages from supporters and others. Given the date, this message likely originated from someone else and was forwarded.” Trump Jr.’s mere possession of the messages partially implicates him, however.
In their initial report of the message’s release, CNN said that “the text from Trump Jr. is revealing on a number of levels. It shows how those closest to the former President were already exchanging ideas for how to overturn the election months before the January 6 insurrection – and before all the votes were even counted.” Trump Jr. being involved in the messaging indicates that Trump’s inner circle has some direct responsibility for the illicit activities surrounding the 2020 election.
Another prominent Trump aide, Stephen Miller, was interrogated in hope of locating more information concerning potential election interference. Miller was significantly more defensive than Trump Jr. when pressed for information, invoking executive privilege when asked about certain events surrounding the January 6 riot. Miller was primarily questioned about his role in writing a speech in which Trump ordered his followers to storm the Capitol. During this questioning, he attempted to distance President Trump from the riot itself, saying that the use of the word “we” in the former president’s incendiary speech was simply a standard speechwriting tactic that in no way implicated Trump.
However, the testimony of a former white house official counters this notion. According to Rep. Bernie Thompson, “that former senior official explained that the president genuinely did wish to walk or drive with the protesters to Capitol Hill at the close of his speech on Jan. 6.” The portrait which the official paints stands in sharp contrast to Millers’s, as it paints Trump directly involved in the riot.
Currently, there appears to be a lot of evidence against Trump. Testimonies by close business members have revealed inconsistencies. If Trump were to be convicted for his alleged crimes, he would be unable to run for office again.
By Yasmine Tazi