Enemies Of The State

It’s hard to describe the feeling of knowing the most powerful people in the country are preparing to attack you for your political views. Knowing the tremendous power of the White House and the Department of Justice would give any American pause.

On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows emailed Attorney General of the United States, Bill Barr, a document titled “Lincoln Project Harassment,” writing, “This is all the Lincoln project info.” (When, where, how, and by whom this information was compiled, we don’t yet know.) The document called out Rick Wilson, Stuart Stevens, me, and others by name. The memo was complete with copies of our tweets and commentary. You can read the PDF here, beginning on page 9.

We’re trying to discover if Barr responded or acted against us. We will soon begin the process of determining if Trump’s DOJ followed up Mark Meadows’ prompts. Meadows’ missive was the second time in just over six months that either Donald Trump himself or his highest advisors had called us out by name.

This attack wasn’t the campaign or just Trump himself raging at the Lincoln Project. This was Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff.

Why did Meadows want DOJ to investigate The Lincoln Project? Because we’d led a successful effort to convince Trump’s only reputable law firms that taking bogus election fraud claims into court was bad for business.

It’s important to understand the timeline that led to the Meadows attack: The media called the election for Joe Biden on Saturday, November 7, 2020. Following the typical chain of events, the Biden campaign swiftly transformed from a political operation to a presidential transition. What it also created, though, was a vacuum in the national political fight that the Trump campaign immediately moved to fill.

Sidenote: Given how quickly the Trump campaign and his allies moved following the election, it appears more and more likely that some (perhaps many) in his orbit were planning to call 2020 “rigged” and “stolen” in the event of Trump’s defeat. It is hard to believe that they could have moved so quickly, or so far and wide, without advanced planning. I’d bet the 1/6 Committee and DOJ will illustrate this further.

That’s where The Lincoln Project came in. We recognized on Sunday, November 8th, that Trump’s operation was moving pieces around the board as they attempted to hold onto power. Their first efforts? Ordering their white-shoe law firms such as Jones-Day and Porter Wright, file objections and/or suits in state and Federal court asking for delays in certification or recounts of votes. They focused specifically on places like Pennsylvania, where they attempted to disqualify tens of thousands of African American ballots.

By Monday morning, November 9th, TLP was on the move. We publicly called out Trump’s lawyers and law firms by name, and asked Americans to call and ask why officers of the court would so brazenly attempt to overturn the Constitution of the United States. Some of our friends and allies objected to these tactics, claiming everyone is entitled to representation.

We disagreed. First, none of these lawyers was John Adams. Second, lawyers don’t have to take a case if they don’t want to. Third, these law firms had to know that Trump’s claims of election fraud and theft were specious at best. Regardless, they moved forward. The effort caught fire with a reporter remarking he’d never ‘seen a firm receive this level of scrutiny in the past.”

Our efforts were swift, efficient, and effective. By Saturday, November 13th, Porter Wright withdrew from Trump’s Pennsylvania litigation and Jones Day said they were through with cases related to litigating the 2020 election in court.

This left Trump, Meadows, and the White House super-glued to the likes of Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Jenna “Couldn’t Get Me Out of a Parking Ticket” Ellis as their legal representation in election-related matters. Meadows, knowing the damage done, moved to up the ante. How? By declaring The Lincoln Project, and three of its senior members Enemies of the State. His decision to forward a document created somewhere in Trumpworld (we don’t yet know its origins, but will have more to say about that soon) to the Justice Department for further review and follow-up.

To what end?

To punish those Trump and his cronies saw as their prime political antagonists going back to late 2019 when we launched TLP as a Republican-led effort to dethrone the President of the United States. It was payback for the days, weeks, and months of crawling inside Trump’s brain and keeping him angry, distracted, and disjointed from the campaign before him. Attempted retribution for calling out the likes of Brad Parscale, Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump for their misdeeds. Vengeance – in the name of the Federal Government and its chief law enforcement agency (and officer), for helping take from them the most powerful position humanity has ever created.

Steve Bannon had seen the threat such an organization posed. He knew that if TLP was able to peel off Republican voters, it would be the death knell of Trump’s reelection bid. In the end, in places like Wisconsin and Arizona, Trump didn’t lose because Joe Biden got more votes (though he did, freely and fairly) but because tens of thousands of Republicans left the presidential line blank or crossed the line to vote for a Democrat. It was this undervote, as compared to other Republican candidates, that helped send Trump into retirement.

After the January 6th insurrection, Trump knew he was finished. But his goons weren’t through with their revenge campaign: In fact, it continues to this day. In the weeks following Trump’s departure from office, slanderous and horrific mailers showed up at the homes of our families, friends, neighbors, and donors. It would have been easy, even reasonable to quit, but we did not.

And we will not.

In the wake of 1/6, 10 Republican House Members voted to impeach Trump for his actions. They have been the subjects of death threats and pressure campaigns. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio decided being a Congressman wasn’t worth the pain to his family. Rep. Liz Cheney is now the Keyser Soze of Trump’s world – facing a primary challenge at home in Wyoming and myriad other threats as a result of her role as Vice Chair of the House Select Committee on January 6th.

This week, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who’s district was erased during redistricting in Illinois, posted a three minute recording of the threats he and his family have received. His wife previously received a letter at their home threatening her life and that of her children. Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers noted that trolls arrive on his lawn every weekend. Brad Raffensberger detailed how Trump’s brownshirts threatened his daughter-in-law and critically ill daughter. Cassidy Hutchinson, who provided explosive testimony, will need personal security for the foreseeable future.

Those much less in the public eye, brave election workers like Shea Moss and her mother Lady Ruby Freeman, have seen their lives turned upside down for being patriots. School board members are resigning rather than dealing with the ugliness of their counterparts and local meatheads. Innocent grocery shoppers and parade-goers are now the fallen victims of the political hatred and vitriol Trump and his ilk have unleashed on the country.

On social media, one commenter intimated that it was because we’d provoked Trump’s ire that we were the subject of such behavior. This is a dangerous viewpoint. The forces of authoritarianism count on silencing dissent and debate. They want us scared, and silent, cowering in our homes, hoping it will all pass us by. It never passes you by.

If Republicans regain control of the US House, US Senate, and key state offices, these actions will accelerate as officeholders begin systematically using state power to silence political opponents. It begins with harassment. It ends in a far darker, more dangerous place.

As we told John Heileman of Showtime in October 2020: “They will not stop. We will not stop.”

– Reed Galen


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