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The RNC is suing its email vendor in a clear act of desperation

The Republican National Committee wants a court to bar Salesforce from complying with a Jan. 6 committee subpoena. It should worry about what we'll learn.


The Republican National Committee is suing its own email vendor, Salesforce, in an effort to block the company from complying with a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee

Salesforce helped the RNC to send out mass emails to its followers, including some from then-President Donald Trump's campaign that urged Americans to fight the 2020 election results. 

The RNC’s desperation shows how damning the subpoena could be for Team Trump.

On Tuesday, lawyers for the RNC added Salesforce to its complaint against the Jan. 6 committee. They said Salesforce officials plan to turn over the documents requested by the Jan. 6 committee unless a court blocks them from doing so.

In a letter to Salesforce last month, the committee said it’s seeking information about “whether and how the Trump campaign used Salesforce’s platform to disseminate false statements about the 2020 election in the weeks leading up to the January 6th attack.” The RNC claimed the committee's subpoena "tramples on core First Amendment rights of the RNC and millions of Americans."

There’s no evidence these concerns are legitimate, but the RNC’s desperation shows how damning the subpoena could be for Team Trump. The committee is looking to determine the impact of Trump’s incessant lies about election fraud.

“These emails encouraged supporters to put pressure on Congress to keep President Trump in power,” Jan. 6 committee spokesman Tim Mulvey said in a statement last week.

Pro-Trump protesters break through barriers onto the grounds of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Pro-Trump protesters break through barriers onto the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.Jon Cherry / Getty Images, file

The information Salesforce can provide about those emails is extensive. The committee would not only be able to see who received the emails — as the RNC fears — but it could also match those recipients with people who stormed the Capitol. Some of the Jan. 6 rioters testified they were motivated to storm the Capitol by Trump’s lies

The committee would be able to see how many people opened the emails, which would be critical in proving their impact. Ironically, this means the RNC, which often touts Trump’s popularity, could soon have an incentive to downplay it. 

The committee could also see who in the RNC or the Trump campaign drafted the emails. Those responsible for doing so could be legally culpable if criminal charges are filed in this case.

And the committee could see what time the emails were sent and determine whether they appeared to be coordinated responses to unfavorable court rulings, for example, or unflattering news coverage about Trump’s election lies. 

The RNC’s pleas for a judge to halt the subpoena should signal to the rest of us just how vital it might be in exposing Team Trump's intricate plot to overthrow America’s duly elected government.