By:
November 15, 2021

It has been 313 days since the truly horrific events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

We’ve seen the disturbing videos and read the unbelievable stories and heard the chilling first-hand accounts and we think we know all there is to know about one of the darkest days in the history of our country.

But then it, somehow, gets worse.

Now there’s another big revelation from Jonathan Karl’s book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show.” The ABC News chief Washington correspondent writes that Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows emailed Vice President Mike Pence’s top aide on New Year’s Eve with a plan for undoing Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. The memo was authored by former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis.

The plan was for Pence, on Jan. 6, to reject the Electoral College votes from states that Biden won, but Trump wrongly claimed he won. Those states would then have until Jan. 15 to send in new votes.

According to ABC News’ Libby Cathey, “Then, Ellis wrote, if any state legislature missed that deadline, ‘no electoral votes can be opened and counted from that state.’ Such a scenario would leave neither Biden nor Trump with a majority of votes, Ellis wrote, which would mean ‘Congress shall vote by state delegation’ — which, Ellis said, would in turn lead to Trump being declared the winner due to Republicans controlling the majority of state delegations with 26.”

Of course, we all remember the events of Jan. 6 as Trump continued to put pressure on Pence to overturn the election. During his Jan. 6 speech before rioters stormed the Capitol, Trump told a Washington crowd, “​​If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country.”

Why keep writing about this stuff? Because it’s not over. The Big Lie, the threat against our democracy, all of it. It’s not over, and we could see a repeat of it in the future. Keep reading …

An ominous warning

Republican Ohio Congressman Anthony Gonzalez was a guest on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. He told anchor Jake Tapper that Trump “led us into a ditch on Jan. 6.” And he’s worried about what might happen again.

Gonzalez told Tapper, “It looks to me — and I think any objective observer would come to this conclusion — that he has evaluated what went wrong on Jan. 6. Why is it that he wasn’t able to steal the election? Who stood in his way? Every single American institution is just run by people. And you need the right people to make the right decision in the most difficult times. He’s going systematically through the country and trying to remove those people and install people who are going to do exactly what he wants them to do, who believe the Big Lie, who will go along with anything he says. And, again, I think it’s all pushing towards one of two outcomes. He either wins legitimately, which he may do, or, if he loses again, he will just try to steal it. But he will try to steal it with his people in those positions. And that’s then the most difficult challenge for our country. You ask yourself the question, do the institutions hold again? Do they hold with a different set of people in place? I hope so. But you can’t guarantee it.”

Gonzalez said he received death threats after he voted to impeach Trump, but said, “It’ll sound flippant, but I always expected death threats in this job. So, that wasn’t a surprise.”

Gonzalez had much more to say. Here’s the interview.

The pillow guy

No one is pushing the Big Lie (well, other than Trump) more than MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell. He goes on his online network “Lindell TV” and drowns viewers in conspiracy theories and wild promises that the election is still going to be overturned.

It all seems silly and funny, until you realize how many people actually believe this junk. As CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter said Sunday on air, “It’s a dangerous thing.”

And it could get even more dangerous as Lindell is teasing a 40-minute interview with Trump that will run over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Daily Beast’s Zachary Petrizzo told Stelter that much of right-wing media has to pay attention to Lindell because Lindell advertises his products with those outlets. But Petrizzo added that Lindell believes what he says and is “all in” on the Big Lie.

MSNBC’s bench

I wrote about MSNBC’s future a couple of times last week, wondering who might fill the spots left open by Brian Williams, who announced he is leaving the network, and Rachel Maddow, who is expected to give up her nightly prime-time show for other projects sometime in 2022.

During an appearance on “Reliable Sources,” NPR TV critic Eric Deggans talked about what’s next for MSNBC and smartly pointed out how on-air personalities such as Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell used to get reps as fill-in hosts before eventually getting their own shows.

“They haven’t really been developing talent like that in recent years,” Deggans said. “And I think it’s left them in a position where they don’t have any anchor who is sort of a successor to Brian Williams, at least. … They don’t really have a great farm team or a sense of who is next in line to step up for these big jobs and I think that might be their challenge right now.”

Latest poll is a mixed bag for Biden

President Joe Biden walks to his motorcade vehicle with Col. David D. Bowling in Washington on Sunday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll has a little bit of good and quite a bit of bad news for President Joe Biden. It shows most Americans support Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and pending bill that would spend nearly $2 trillion on social and climate programs. That’s the good part.

The bad part for Biden: His approval rating is down to a new low. His approval rating is 41%, with 53% saying they disapprove of the job he is doing. Biden’s approval rating was 50% in June and 44% in September. So it has gone down despite the infrastructure package.

There are many reasons, which you can check out in the poll, but a factor is that 80% of Republicans polled disapprove of Biden.

The Post’s Dan Balz, Scott Clement and Emily Guskin write, “White House officials have said that they recognize the challenges ahead for Biden and the Democratic Party; however, they’ve said that they are optimistic that conditions in the country, including the economy and the pandemic, will gradually improve next year and that, as general frustrations ease, the president’s standing will rise. At this point, however, Democrats acknowledge that they are at significant risk of losing their narrow majorities in the House and Senate in next November’s elections and that, under current conditions, the losses could be substantial.”

History at Harvard

Raquel Coronell Uribe has been elected the first Latina president of The Harvard Crimson — the oldest college newspaper in the country. The paper was founded in 1873 and became the Crimson in 1875.

Coronell Uribe told The Washington Post’s Adela Suliman and Christine Armario, “I want to make sure people feel and know there is a place for them at this organization.”

Journalism is in Coronell Uribe’s blood. According to The Post, she is the daughter of two well-known Colombian journalists. She fled to the U.S at age 6 after her family received death threats in response to her father’s investigative reporting. The family escaped with the help of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Coronell Uribe told The Post, “The Committee to Protect Journalists is an organization that quite literally saved my life.”

Her father, Daniel Coronell, went on to become president of Univision News.

The Rittenhouse trial

Closing arguments are today in the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. Then the case goes to the jury. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Molly Beck writes that “Gov. Tony Evers puts 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops on standby for Rittenhouse verdict.”

Here are some of the pieces to catch you up:

Media tidbits

(Courtesy: NBC News)

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Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
Tom Jones

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