Daily Mail, Nov 4, 2021
Mike Pence is the ‘Brutus’ figure in an internecine ‘war’ among advisors over former President Donald Trump’s election overturn effort, writes former top trade advisor Peter Navarro ( Thailand 1972-75) in his new memoir.
Navarro who helped design Trump’s China tariffs writes of battling factions inside the White House and the Trump campaign between ‘Swamp creatures’ who wanted to concede defeat and those who rallied behind a plan to rely on Republican support in the House to try to delay the counting of electoral votes.
Trump was an ‘American Caesar,’ Navarro told DailyMail.com in an interview, while Pence, ‘his erstwhile most loyal person in the White House winds up sticking him in the back.’
Former top White House trade official Peter Navarro describes a ‘war’ among White House factions over whether to contest the 2020 election
Navarro’s forthcoming book, Trump Time, A Journal of America’s Plague Year, calls out ‘DC Legal Swampists’ and ‘unforgivably incompetent’ Trump campaign officials – while smacking down figures on the inside who wanted to stress Trump’s legislative accomplishments and move on following election defeat. The book comes out Tuesday.
He believes Trump’s campaign was ‘caught with its legal pants down’ by failing to staff up with legal eagles.
One top firm, Jones Day, wouldn’t join the legal effort to contest the election, in what Navarro writes was a ‘big F-U’ from firm partner and former White House counsel Don McGahn.
That left the operation relying on fringe lawyers like ‘Kraken’ lawyer Sidney Powell. Navarro calls her ‘highly counterproductive.’
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who both were at the Willard Hotel ‘war room’ Jan. 5th, ‘did the best they could under very bad circumstances,’ says Navarro.
Navarro says he and Bannon had a plan called the ‘Green Bay Sweep’ that would have resulted in Trump prevailing
Navarro writes that ‘war’ broke out between the Jared ‘Kushner-led Trump campaign’ and the Rudy Giuliani faction over contesting the election
Inside the White House, Navarro would ‘almost gag’ at Ivanka Trump’s ‘defeatist rhetoric’ on a conference call two days after the election where she and a policy official ‘prattle on’ about accomplishments of the last four years.
But there was a faction of bitter-enders including Navarro and former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon – along with Trump himself – who wanted to do what it took to contest the election through Jan. 6th and beyond.
The riot helped defeat the plan, according to Navarro. It also helped spark the second Trump impeachment.
‘The last three people on God’s good Earth who want to see violence erupt on Capitol Hill this sixth day of January are Stephen K. Bannon, myself, and President Donald J. Trump,’ he writes.
He says his account makes House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) ‘look like an idiot.’ Impeachment managers sketched a narrative where rioters were frontline troops in the overturn effort, rather than those who led to its undoing by preempting maneuverings to reject votes from Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and other states.
Navarro was an eccentric figure in the Trump White House. A former high school athlete who served in the Peace Corps and earned a Ph.D in economics at Harvard, he commuted to the White House by bicycle. Despite his economic lane, he penned long memos on the ‘Art of the Steal’ alleging a massive voter fraud involving multiple states after the 2020 election. He also wrote a key early memo calling for more action to confront the coronavirus, which he refers to as the Chinese Communist Party Virus. Navarro writes about taking a daily 10-minute cold-plunge bath in 50-degree water ‘like some Mad Russian.’
He uses a football analogy to the post-election plan hatched with Bannon – and which he says Trump knew about – calling it the ‘Green Bay Sweep’ – based on a Packers’ formation that has a running back running behind powerful blockers.
‘Yet its success or failure will all hinge on Quarterback Mike,’ he writes of Pence. (Earlier efforts to try to toss votes had been rejected in the courts, prompting state election boards to certify the counts).
Bannon is among the officials subpoenaed by a House select committee investigating Jan. 6th. The House voted to hold him in contempt last month for failure to comply with it.
The idea was to get lawmakers to object to counting votes in six states that certified the vote for Joe Biden – forcing a legislative delay running 24 hours – and then have Pence refused to accept votes, sending the matter back to the states on Jan. 6th.
It was all to play out when Congress met to count the electoral votes Jan. 6th, weeks after the conclusion of the November elections that gave Biden a win with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 and a 7 million vote lead over Trump in the popular vote.
Pence helped undermine that plan with a memo he released the morning of Jan. 6th stating he did not have the authority to send back the votes. Pence reached it along with top aides including former chief of staff Marc Short.
‘Mike is a useful idiot,’ Navarro said in an interview. In another Shakespearian analogy, Navarro refers to Short as the manipulative Iago from Othello.
He described a moment that he also recounts in the book where Trump after meeting him in the Oval Office after complaining of difficulties getting in touch with Pence to discuss the overturn strategy.
Trump had ‘reached out to the Vice President’s office and said call me. And I got the call. I mean, I’m sitting there, and I get a call from the Situation Room,’ according to Navarro.
An operator told him: ‘We have the Vice President on last and great. And then then it’s then it’s crickets. And I call the [situation] room back and say you know what happened? And they said: “Well, the vice president says he’ll have to do it another time.”‘
Pence never called back. Navarro suspects Short was involved in spiking the conversation.
‘And that’s got Short’s paw prints all over it,’ he said.
He said after Short joined Pence, the VP became a ‘prisoner of the [billionaire] Koch brothers. And that was a betrayal. That was a flat-out betrayal.’
Navarro had anxiety over ‘Pence’s possible disloyalty.’
Pence wrote in a Jan. 6th letter to lawmakers that: ‘It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.’
Navarro says Pence was fed a ‘bad legal brief.’ When Pence preemptively put out the statement, ‘it was just a pure violation of process,’ he said. ‘He should have gone to the president and shared that memo with the president’s lawyers.’
‘But, “Et tu, Brute. Fall Caesar,”‘ he added.
‘The Green Bay sweep was … it was a beautiful strategy that we began to execute flawlessly that day at 1pm. I mean, we had over 100 congressmen ready to support what we were doing. The idea was to call into question the results in the six battleground states which would yield us 12 hours of televised hearings about all the election irregularities,’ he said.
Navarro said the hearings would have ‘galvanized the American public behind the reality that this election is likely stolen and all Pence had to do was say there’s enough uncertainty here that we need to send this back to the States and to look at this and then we’ll come back in two weeks and make the decision. That’s all he had to do.’
‘Pence had the authority as the VP not to certify. He would not certify. And basically, his discretion or recommendation would be to send it back to the states so we could look at election irregularities and gather evidence’ before the Jan. 20th inauguration,’ he said.
Navarro also writes about ‘fifth columnists within the White House’ who were pressuring Trump to drop his election challenge.
But it was the violence of a mob that overran Capitol Police to take the Capitol who would deal a final blow to the plan.
Congressional GOP leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy would ‘use the excuse of the violence on Capitol Hill to halt any further attempt to challenge the election results,’ he writes.
The play designed by Bannon and Navarro would end in a fumble, a sack or interception – ‘choose your own football metaphor.’
‘But any way you phrase it, Michael Richard Pence will have secured his place in history as the Brutus most responsible both for the final betrayal of President Trump and the unceremonious burial of election integrity,’ he writes.
Asked what Trump knew about the Green Bay Sweep, Navarro responded: ‘Call the play, run the play. That’s the Green Bay Sweep. What Trump knew was about how it was going to work.’