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GOP’s Mo Brooks: Trump urged me to take impermissible steps

Hell hath no fury like a pro-Trump congressman scorned? The burgeoning feud between Donald Trump and Mo Brooks is ... unexpected.


Rep. Mo Brooks couldn’t have done much more to curry favor with Donald Trump. The Alabama Republican even appeared at the pre-riot Jan. 6 rally, firing up the right-wing crowd ahead of their insurrectionist attack on the Capitol.

When the GOP congressman launched his Senate campaign last year, echoing Trump’s rhetoric and standing alongside Stephen Miller, it was clear that Brooks was positioning himself as one of the nation’s Trumpiest candidates. An endorsement from the former president soon followed.

But as Brooks’ statewide candidacy lagged, and Trump felt antsy about tying himself to a perceived loser, the former president abandoned his longtime ally this week, un-endorsing the Alabaman.

Brooks soon after issued a written statement, blaming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for “manipulating” Trump, but the congressman also proceeded to add something new:

“President Trump asked me to rescind the 2020 elections, immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, immediately put President Trump back in the White House, and hold a new special election for the presidency. As a lawyer, I’ve repeatedly advised President Trump that January 6 was the final election contest verdict and neither the U.S. Constitution nor the U.S. Code permit what President Trump asks. Period. I’ve told President Trump the truth knowing full well that it might cause President Trump to rescind his endorsement. But I took a sworn oath to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution. I honor my oath. That is the way I am. I break my sworn oath for no man.”

In other words, according to Brooks, Trump asked him to take a series of impermissible steps that lawmakers simply cannot legally take. In effect, the Alabama Republican claimed in writing that the former president urged him to ignore the Constitution and help him claim power Trump failed to earn.

That’s new.

What's more, Brooks soon after told NBC News that the referenced lobbying efforts were relatively recent — after Sept. 1, 2021 — and he found it necessary to explain to the former president that he would not do what is “legally impossible.”

In the same interview, Brooks said Trump pushed for some kind of do-over election. He reiterated similar allegations in a separate interview with a local CBS affiliate yesterday morning, including the idea that Trump wanted to be returned to power before the 2024 election.

A New York Times report noted that the congressman’s comments “marked the first time a lawmaker who was involved in Mr. Trump’s attempts to invalidate his election defeat has said that Mr. Trump asked for actions that, were they possible, would violate federal law.”

Quite right. The allegations also suggest that Trump didn’t just lie about his defeat, he took deliberate steps with at least one elected lawmaker, in the hopes that he’d help transfer power from the rightful winner of the 2020 race to the losing candidate.

My MSNBC colleague Ja’han Jones added, “I don’t imagine Brooks — Kevlar vest and all —was the sole lawmaker Trump asked to ‘rescind’ the election results. As woefully self-assured as Trump is, I suspect he also understands the limitations of what Brooks could accomplish on his own. Does that mean he was making similar requests of other lawmakers? And if so, are there unnamed politicians out there still enabling Trump’s delusions?”

Those need not be rhetorical questions. In fact, I suspect members of the bipartisan Jan. 6 committee would probably like to hear Brooks’ answers.

To be sure, it seems unlikely that the Alabama Republican would volunteer to cooperate with such an investigation, but it also seemed unlikely that Brooks would ever publicly accuse Trump of behind-the-scenes wrongdoing.

Isn’t there some kind of expression, “Hell hath no fury like a pro-Trump congressman scorned”?