Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally protesting the...

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally protesting the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden on Jan. 6, 2021. Credit: AP/Evan Vucci

Newly published emails show President Donald Trump’s circle of enablers knew they were recruiting people to serve as fake Electoral College members.

Of course.

From his start to his finish in the White House, Trump rolled out a constant stream of crude deceptions aimed at delegitimizing others and glorifying himself.

Barack Obama wasn’t necessarily a citizen, he said. Let’s have Ukraine target Joe Biden for investigation if they want more U.S. assistance, he said. Pin a counterfeit conflict of interest on Robert Mueller to keep him from doing his job, he urged underlings.

They’re working to steal the 2016 election, he warned. They’re going to take away your Second Amendment, he bellowed. They’re stealing the 2020 election, he lied. Look, the news stations are turning off the cameras, he’d tell rally goers — even as viewers still watched at home. Let’s spitball fake cures for COVID-19, which is just like the flu, he said on TV — after acknowledging privately it was a serious scourge.

The fake-elector plan, among other strategies, was true to form — degrading, devious, and ultimately a failure.

One-and-a-half years after Trump left office, his trail is still traveled, his story unfinished.

This is a crossroads: America will either move past this massive scandal, or we won’t. Trump's party will either stop cowering or it won’t. His successor's administration will prosecute him for crimes yet to be named, or it won’t.

Take a step back and see it all at once. This is the true state of the union.

The story is as bleak as it is redundant.

Vice President Mike Pence let Trump down — by showing up at the Capitol and carrying out the ministerial task of certifying the vote. Sen. Mitt Romney let him down — by voting his conscience on a well-justified impeachment. Marie Yovanovich, the respected Ukraine ambassador, would indeed “go through some things” — for doing her job and ignoring Trump-friendly Kremlin canards about cyberhacking and corruption.

So many targets of Trump's McCarthyism didn’t even meet the definition of political rivals. All merely stood slightly in the way of his fakery.

Then there are those who boldly served him. One was the late Ashli Babbitt, who clearly believed she was acting as a patriot. She died a martyr for his election lie while storming the Capitol. Trump owes her family an apology they will likely never receive.

Criminal convictions for Trump’s propagandists and sycophants keep piling up. Last week, Steve Bannon was convicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for dodging a subpoena related to the Capitol riot. Did Bannon’s actions show any less disdain for legal authority than those of his patron?

There is scarce mystery left. Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, convicted of perjury but pardoned by Trump, got involved with militant right-wing extremists at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Some of the militant agitators in the lethal riot still stand charged with seditious conspiracy.

And then there is the garden-variety swamp corruption still to be answered for. Last month, Tom Barrack, a wealthier and more successful Trump friend, who ran his inauguration committee, learned he will face trial for illegally trying to shape White House policies on behalf of the United Arab Emirates by failing to register as a foreign agent.

Is this whole unspooling carnival of abuse, deceit and subversion still enraging? Sure it is.

Should any turn on this dishonorable trail surprise us after all we've seen? Come on.

Columnist Dan Janison's opinions are his own.


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