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Tom Cotton and Mitch McConnell secretly plotted against Trump to undermine his election-fraud claims, book says

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Senators Tom Cotton and Mitch McConnell.
Sens. Tom Cotton and Mitch McConnell. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
  • A new book says Tom Cotton and Mitch McConnell plotted to undermine Trump's election-fraud claims.

  • David Drucker wrote that both privately maneuvered to ensure Trump didn't overturn the election.

  • Cotton had brought forward a plan to announce that he opposed Trump's efforts, Drucker said.

Mitch McConnell secretly plotted with Sen. Tom Cotton in December and January to prevent other senators from working with President Donald Trump to reverse Joe Biden's election victory, a new book says.

McConnell, then the Senate majority leader, and Cotton, a vocal Trump supporter, publicly objected to Trump's efforts to overturn the election at the time. But the book, "In Trump's Shadow" by the journalist David Drucker, an excerpt of which Vanity Fair published on Monday, described how they tried behind the scenes to maneuver against the president.

According to Drucker, Cotton and McConnell realized that Trump wanted to try to win enough support from Republican lawmakers to object to the certification of electoral votes in swing states on January 6, thereby overturning Biden's victory.

Cotton ordered aides to investigate and prepare a memo, which made clear that Vice President Mike Pence did not, as Trump had claimed, have the power to overturn the Electoral College results, Drucker said. Cotton had planned to publish an op-ed article in a local Arkansas paper detailing why he would not oppose certification over Trump's election-fraud claims, Drucker said.

But "Cotton's strategy was derailed" when Sen. Josh Hawley, who had associated closely with Trump's political agenda, announced in late December that he would support Trump and oppose Biden's election certification, Drucker said.

Reports at the time said about a dozen congressional Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz, also indicated they would oppose certification - a situation that McConnell later warned would lead US democracy to "enter a death spiral."

Drucker wrote that "after some discussion, McConnell urged Cotton to speed up his timeline for announcing his opposition."

On January 3, Cotton released a statement saying he would not oppose the certification of the results on January 6. The move was politically risky, as Cotton knew he would anger both his and the president's base, the book said.

Capitol attack riot
A pro-Trump mob broke into the US Capitol on January 6 to disrupt the certification of electoral votes. Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images

After the violence at the Capitol on January 6, some GOP lawmakers who'd planned to object to certification changed their minds. Ultimately, only seven GOP senators voted against certifying Pennsylvania's electoral votes, and six voted against certifying Arizona's.

McConnell's team, at least, believes Cotton's announcement helped stop Trump from enlisting further Republican support, Drucker wrote. Two members of McConnell's leadership team told Drucker that Cotton played a "very important role" in preventing more Republicans from opposing the result.

Cotton's and McConnell's offices did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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