Journalist fact-checks Chuck Grassley's outrageous attempt to blame Democrats for Trump's attempted coup

Journalist fact-checks Chuck Grassley's outrageous attempt to blame Democrats for Trump's attempted coup

Major media outlets have been reporting that in late December 2020, one of then-President Donald Trump's loyalists in the U.S. Department of Justice, Jeffrey Clark, pursued a scheme for overturning the presidential election results in Georgia — and Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, to his credit, flat-out refused to go along with it. But Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is finding ways to defend Trump and blame Democrats, and journalist Steve Benen calls Grassley out in an op-ed published by NBC News' website on August 10.

Benen explains, "The recent revelations about the then-president's abuses toward the Justice Department, in particular, point to a profoundly important political scandal — about which congressional Republicans have said effectively nothing. Indeed, as investigations continue and new details emerge, the GOP's silence becomes even more unsettling. The good news is, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee (and its former chairman), delivered floor remarks on the ongoing controversy. The bad news is, the Iowa Republican is taking Trump's side."

When the U.S. Senate rendered its verdict in Trump's second impeachment trial in February, Grassley voted "not guilty." And when he spoke on the Senate floor this week, the veteran senator said, "This country has had to deal with the Democrats' obsession with destroying Trump for much too long. In the process, I fear my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have done and will do lasting damage to our country."

In response, Benen writes, "Oh. So, Trump tried to orchestrate a scheme in which he'd overturn the results of an American presidential election; he tried to use federal law enforcement as a political weapon to achieve his goals; and he dispatched a violent mob to attack the U.S. Capitol in the hopes of disrupting the certification of a legitimate election. But Chuck Grassley is concerned that Democrats might be responsible for doing 'lasting damage to our country.'"

Grassley told fellow U.S. senators, "The president has every right to discuss ideas and strategy with his closest advisors."

But Benen stresses, "In reality, Trump wasn't just kicking around legal concepts in the Oval Office, as if he were a college sophomore in a dorm room after an engaging Philosophy 101 lecture. A sitting American president pressed leading government officials to help him undermine our democracy. It's the sort of thing senators should have a problem with."

Benen notes that Clark, as acting head of the DOJ's civil division, "sketched out a map for Georgia Republicans to follow in which they could try to overturn the will of the state's voters."

"We now know that the radical tactics and partisan extremists failed," Benen writes. "But the fact that such a scheme was hatched in the first place is breathtaking — it looks an awful lot like an attempted coup — and it's worth appreciating the fact that if there were a Republican majority in Congress right now, there would be no investigation into the scandal."

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