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Politics: Trump worked the phones with top allies in the early hours of January 6 to try to stop Biden from taking office, report says

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Then-President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File © AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File Then-President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File
  • Trump called allies to strategize in the early hours of January 6, the Guardian reports.
  • Trump and his associates strategized on ways to halt Congress from affirming Biden's victory.
  • The former president's communications are a key focus of the House committee probing January 6.

Former President Donald Trump worked the phones late at night on January 5 and in the early hours of January 6 strategizing with allies on how to stop Congress from affirming his election loss, the Guardian reported on Tuesday, adding more detail to Trump's actions on January 6.

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Trump placed several calls to top associates who had convened in a war room at the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington, DC, including his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, legal scholar John Eastman, unofficial Trump advisor and podcast host Steve Bannon, and Boris Epshteyn, the Guardian reported.

Later that day, Trump and several of the people working out of the Willard spoke at the "Save America" rally at the Ellipse, where Trump continued to pressure Congress — and Vice President Mike Pence — to reject states' slates of electoral votes for President Joe Biden.

The strategy calls came after an unsuccessful pressure campaign, led by Trump and Eastman, to convince Pence to reject slates of electoral votes from states that voted for Biden and send them back to the states.

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Journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa revealed in their book "Peril" that Eastman had drafted multiple memos arguing that Pence could disregard the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and appoint himself arbiter of which electoral votes to count that day.

Pence's team concluded, however, that the VP lacked the power to unilaterally accept or reject slates of electors in his largely ceremonial role presiding over Congress' joint session to count the 2020 Electoral College votes. Both chambers of Congress voted down objections to accepting slates of Biden electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

The Guardian reported that in the calls before the rally at the Ellipse, Trump and his associates discussed alternatives, including floating the idea that Pence could simply delay the joint session to give Republican state legislatures time to send alternative slates of presidential electors to Congress to trigger a more formal dispute.

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A spokeswoman for Trump, Liz Harrington, said the Guardian's reporting on Trump's calls was "totally false."

Trump's communications and actions leading up to and on January 6 are a key focus of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

On Tuesday, a panel of a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. is hearing arguments in Trump's lawsuit attempting to block the committee from obtaining hundreds of pages of White House records from the National Archives. Trump is specifically aiming to stop the committee from accessing 750 pages that he and his lawyers argue are protected under executive privilege, Politico reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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