A new report from The Washington Post reveals even more information regarding the planning of the January 6th “Stop the Steal” rally in the weeks leading up to the eventual attack on the Capitol. While it’s been previously reported that several members of Congress participated in the planning during sessions going back to December at the Willard Hotel, it wasn’t clear until now just how the meetings were funded.
The WaPo says it was Fox News host Jeanine Pirro who orchestrated campaign payments for ‘command centers’ at several DC hotels, including the Willard. According to legal experts, those payments could undermine Trump’s claims of executive privilege over documents and testimony related to the U.S. Capitol riots sought by the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection.
The article breaks down just how they followed the money: Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and the city’s former police chief Bernie Kerik had been paying for hotel rooms and travel related to their efforts to overturn Trump’s election loss, but expected to be reimbursed. They allegedly grew concerned by early December as the bills piled up, with Kerik telling the WaPo that he knew Giuliani hadn’t been reimbursed for his expenses or paid for his services and worried over getting his money back. Kerik turned to their mutual friend Jeanine Pirro, who remains one of the few Fox News hosts still beloved by the twice-impeached one-term Trump. Pirro called Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and asked her to help them out.
No thanks. 😅🤡 pic.twitter.com/IWfsYGvhh8
— lc 🎃🏈🌰🍂🍁🥧☕️🦃🌅🔥 (@lcatboonies) October 29, 2021
McDaniel refused to give them any money, the article details, and suggested they ask the Trump campaign for reimbursements, and the campaign cut its first check to Kerik in mid-December with Trump’s approval, according to a former senior campaign official. The Trump campaign eventually paid more than $225,000 for hotel rooms and suites at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., that served as the main “command center” for efforts to overturn the election results ahead of the January 6th riots.
22/ So his team—indeed, he *specifically*—turned to Alexander, who knew how to get that done. But he also turned to his Willard Hotel "war room," and OAN, and his allies at the Pentagon, in ways that make how all this played out between January 2 and January 6 incredibly complex.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) November 3, 2021
The WaPo quotes Former Justice Department official John Yoo, who advised former vice president Mike Pence’s staff that there was no legal basis to deny the certification of Joe Biden’s election win, agreed that the payments could upend Trump’s defense. “If he acts as a president, he gets these things we talk about — executive privilege and immunity,” Yoo said. “But if he’s acting as a candidate, he’s deprived of all of those protections.”
— Tara Dublin (@taradublinrocks) November 3, 2021
Read the full report at The Washington Post (subscription required).