The Republican National Committee chairwoman is far from what you would consider a “Never Trumper.” In fact, she has shown more fealty to the former president than just about anyone you can imagine.
But when all is said and done, she also may have played one of the larger roles than just about anyone if former President Donald Trump ultimately faces criminal charges.
This possibility became clear Monday during the House Jan. 6 committee’s final public meeting, which laid out criminal referrals for Trump over his effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Thanks to previous hearings, we already knew some of the details McDaniel told the committee’s investigators about Trump’s role in organizing people nationwide to submit false Electoral College slates to Congress declaring Trump the winner in their states.
In this video, for example, you’ll see her testify that Trump put her on the phone with John Eastman to discuss obtaining assistance from the RNC, on a call made from the White House switchboard.
As my colleague Chris Geidner noted for MSNBC’s live blog during Monday’s meeting, the committee’s executive summary of its findings laid out the evidence the committee used for its various referrals. And the report makes clear that McDaniel’s interview was key in establishing proof for the committee that Trump conspired to make a false statement in the fake electors plot. The phone call she described, the committee concluded, was “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
As a reminder: The committee’s referrals carry no legal weight and can’t force any agency or disciplinary body to act.
But the evidence against Trump on this accusation seems overwhelming — and seemingly useful for the federal Jan. 6 investigation, as well as the criminal investigation Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has launched into Trump’s effort to overturn Georgia’s election results.
All of this is particularly interesting given that McDaniel is currently bidding to become RNC chair for an unprecedented fourth term. My colleague Steve Benen over at MaddowBlog wrote Monday that the race is beginning to get a little ugly.
McDaniel is seeking to corral enough support behind the scenes to win re-election against two fellow Trump lovers: former Trump legal adviser Harmeet Dhillon (the most viable challenger) and conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell.
Trump, for what it’s worth, declined to pick a favorite between McDaniel and Dhillon in an interview published over the weekend. And he didn’t mention McDaniel’s name during a tirade responding to the criminal referrals.
One must wonder if he’s having some second thoughts about her now.
What a difference a year makes.
McDaniel, as RNC chair, kicked off the year excusing and obscuring some of Trump’s worst election misconduct. At year’s end, he could be facing criminal charges — and McDaniel is one of the reasons why.