DOJ Will Show that Trump’s Campaign Intended to Cause a Riot at TCF Center in Detroit

Jack Smith’s team has submitted a 404(b) notice — evidence that may not be intrinsic to the case but that describes Trump’s criminal propensity and helps prove his motive — in Trump’s DC case.

Along with providing examples where Trump continued to target someone (in this case Ruby Freeman) long after his prior targeting of her had resulted in threats and Trump’s celebration of insurrectionists like Enrique Tarrio, DOJ includes a heavily-redacted passage describing a Trump campaign employee’s attempt to cause a riot at the TCF Center, where election workers were counting the votes of Detroiters.

The Government also plans to introduce evidence of an effort undertaken by an agent (and unindicted co-conspirator) of the defendant who worked for his campaign (“the Campaign Employee”) to, immediately following the election, obstruct the vote count. On November 4, 2020, the Campaign Employee exchanged a series of text messages with an attorney supporting the Campaign’s election day operations at the TCF Center in Detroit, where votes were being counted; in the messages, the Campaign Employee encouraged rioting and other methods of obstruction when he learned that the vote count was trending in favor of the defendant’s opponent.

[seven lines redacted]

The Government will also show that around the time of these messages, an election official at the TCF Center observed that as Biden began to take the lead, a large number of untrained individuals flooded the TCF Center and began making illegitimate and aggressive challenges to the vote count. Thereafter, Trump made repeated false claims regarding election activities at the TCF Center, when in truth his agent was seeking to cause a riot to disrupt the count. This evidence is admissible to demonstrate that the defendant, his co-conspirators, and agents had knowledge that the defendant had lost the election, as well as their intent and motive to obstruct and overturn the legitimate results.

This is may be a reference to Mike Roman. Roman — Trump’s Director of Election Day Operations and a key ratfucker in other ways — posted a video falsely claiming that the challengers were being ejected improperly from the counting center.

According to the Election Integrity Project, Roman was also one of the most efficient spreaders of disinformation during the post-election period, wildly out of proportion to his number of Twitter followers (suggesting he had offline ways to help make things go viral).

Trump’s effort to make it harder to count the votes of Black voters has never gotten enough attention — not even though this specific tactic is a replay of Roger Stone’s Stop the Steal efforts in 2016, in some of the very same cities, as well as the Florida Brooks Brother’s riot. But it’s a key part of proving not just that Trump tried to throw out Joe Biden’s votes, but specifically the votes of Joe Biden’s Black supporters.

45 replies
  1. Rugger_9 says:

    I still don’t see Stone’s name on this list, and FWIW I can’t imagine Stone would not have a guiding hand in this particular op. It has his stench about it. Did I miss something?

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Many thanks for your tireless work.

    These are pages from the hymnal from which hundreds of like-minded ratfuckers will be singing, should Trump be on the ballot on election day 2024.

  3. Patrick Derkacz says:

    I was there (at the TCF center fka Cobo Hall) as a volunteer poll monitor when this all went down. It got a little dicey when the protestor’s outside the counting room starting yelling and banging on the windows. Republican poll challengers got very aggressive with the poll workers.

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        Brooks Bros 2.0 for sure, the biggest diff being that MI was under firm Dem leadership, the kidnap plot against Whitmer having been scuttled just a month before the election and the emminently qualified Benson in the SoS position.

        Still, 23 years on from that FL debacle, we’re still fighting many of the same battles wrt voting restrictions and intimidation tactics, not to mention the inherent vicious insanity of the mega-fraud that is branded “Stop The Steal” stubbornly extant and harbored by millions of voters.

        Voting machinery today, at least, is a quantum leap beyond what was prevalent in 2000, and that’s what ultimately saved our bacon in ’20, full hand recounts of tight races proving their accuracy. Still, the various states’ election auditing processes, while also far beyond the wasteland of 2000, are a hodge-podge that ranges from no audits in 5 states, to very sophisticated systems in several states that still don’t see any reason to audit races that are decided by wide margins (if you’re going to hack election machinery, why not go for a landslide?), and a significant number of states don’t allow the public to view the process.

        A national election machinery audit standard should be instituted for all federal races, imo. Stop laughing, please.

    • Rayne says:

      This 20-minute documentary — — does a nice job explaining what happened though I don’t think it included the point at which protesters started banging on windows.

      While the first few minutes explains why no one should have had an expectation Trump was going to win Metro Detroit, it doesn’t do an effective job of saying clearly that the GOP’s challengers attempted to deny Black voters their votes.

      I have wonder how much of this was intended to redirect attention to Detroit and away from other parts of the state — like Antrim County.

      • emptywheel says:

        And KENT!! Where Trump was LOSING the DeVos’ home turf.

        It would be very interesting indeed if MI got more attention.

        • Rayne says:

          I laughed watching that 20-minute documentary video by One Detroit because usual suspects’ names showed up — Kelley Sorrelle, Gateway Pundit, Oakland County Republicans *guffaw* Oh please, let’s not look too closely at Oakland and its history of voter suppression aimed primarily at Black voters.

          • Benji-am-Groot says:

            ‘Oakland County republicans’?

            Guffaw indeed…I remember well the fiasco that was L Brooks Patterson. Good riddance.

            A decent county manager but a disgrace as a human being and a bigot for the ages. And his push with Irene McCabe that emboldened the Cohoctah KKK to firebomb the Pontiac school buses? I lived that timeline before relocating to Romeo.

            (edit: apologies SL – that response was to Rayne.)

            • Rayne says:

              Back during the “voter foreclosure” scandal during the 2008 presidential election, it was Macomb County GOP which was busted for admitting they were going to use foreclosure data to cage voters which were presumed to be Democrats. Oakland County is Macomb’s neighbor to the west, and both have been white flight destinations for former Detroiters for decades; what Macomb does, Oakland has likely done and vice versa.

              The Republicans folded like a broken lawnchair when called out for their racist bullshit, settling rapidly after Democrats filed suit in what appeared to be an effort to avoid discovery. I know the journalist who broke the story had excellent notes from interviews of the perps…

              But the speed with which the suit was shut down may not have hinged on the journalistic efforts alone. What wasn’t communicated broadly was that the largest foreclosure mill in Michigan, law firm Trott & Trott, was located in Oakland County in Farmington Hills. Trott & Trott was likely the source of the foreclosure list data, likely handled quite a number of sketchy foreclosures, was making as much as $5 million a week by my estimate on foreclosures at the height of the foreclosure crisis — and Trott & Trott was the landlord for the McCain Campaign that year. Allowing more discovery into this story would have gotten right into the heart of the national GOP’s presidential race.

              David Trott, head of Trott & Trott, would eventually run for a House seat and win, retiring after two terms. Serving in the House was probably much less profitable.

              There’s far more there but good luck getting enough witnesses with corroborating evidence to go on record.

        • chocolateislove says:

          EXACTLY! Trump won Kent County in 2016.
          Romney handily beat Obama in 2012. Obama barely squeaked by McCain in 2008. While Kent is not a deep red county, it’s not purple either. One would have expected Trump to take the county. So, yeah. Why the focus on Detroit?

    • SteveBev says:

      That must have been awful.

      It is also clear from Trump’s recent stump remarks about “guarding the vote” coupled with racist dog whistles specifically mentioning Philadelphia, Atlanta and (I believe) Detroit shows his intent to double down on such misconduct in the 2024 elections.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Exactly what I was thinking, Stevebev. The way he talks about “those places” and how his supporters need to “go in there” and protect *their* votes makes it clear that he is putting the majority-Democratic and–centrally–black and brown voters in these particular cities into an otherized category of subhuman parasites. In other words, they really shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and their votes should not be counted.

        Trump Americans would never live in a city–not after hearing what crime-infested hellholes they are for so long. But it’s up to his “patriots” to clean them up, which translates as erasing their voting power.

      • vinniegambone says:

        Comforting to know Snot-ragTrump thinks he has an action plan for Philadelphia. That news will help drive up the turnout to insure Trump loses the state.

  4. SteveBev says:

    Thanks again for chasing down details so that the rest of us get to see how the puzzle fits together.

    One matter that caught my eye was on pp7-9 re The Proud Boys and other extremists and inferring Trump’s intent and direction that the congressional certification be obstructed by riot

    “As discussed below, after the Proud Boys and other extremist groups participated in obstructing the congressional certification on January 6,
    • the defendant made clear that they were acting consistent with his intent and direction•” [emphasis added]

    “Evidence of the defendant’s post-conspiracy embrace of particularly violent and notorious rioters is admissible to establish the defendant’s motive and intent on January 6—that he sent supporters, including groups like the Proud Boys, whom he knew were angry, and whom he now calls “patriots,” to the Capitol to achieve the criminal objective of obstructing the congressional certification.

    In addition, his statements in this time period agreeing that he then held, and still holds, enormous influence over his supporters’ actions is evidence of his knowledge and intent to obstruct the certification, as he chose not to exercise that influence to mitigate the violence on January 6.

    Perhaps most importantly, the defendant’s embrace of January 6 rioters is evidence of his intent during the charged conspiracies, because it shows that these individuals acted as he directed them to act; indeed, this evidence shows that the rioters’ disruption of the certification proceeding is exactly what the defendant intended on January 6.

    And finally, evidence of the defendant’s statements regarding possible pardons for January 6 offenders is admissible to help the jury assess the credibility and motives of trial witnesses, because through such comments, the defendant is publicly signaling that the law does not apply to those who act at his urging regardless of the legality of their actions”

    • emptywheel says:

      Yup. The specific language Re the Proud Boys is quite interesting, for a lot of reasons.

      But I’m still a Michigan voter, and I’m still sore about that TCF riot.

      • SteveBev says:

        And justifiably so, egregious interference in elections in your home State is properly a cause for righteous indignation and a sense of personal affront.

        The way the SC frames the admissibility of the evidence re the Proud Boys is one interesting point. It is as a particular, if extreme example from which to generalise, and infer the type of hold Trump has over all his most loyal supporters. By specifically embracing PBs, Trump is messaging all his supporters: they need to prove their loyalty to Trump (and their “patriotism” !?!) by taking action against those he and they perceive to be political enemies, and the law should not restrain them. Disorder at the Capitol or at poll counts, or other forms of harassment and intimidation, as deemed necessary, are all part of the “ very different rules” which apply when there’s “fraud”. They were the tip of the spear of the disorder, and the tip of the propaganda spear in Trump normalising political violence and intimidation.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Virtue signaling. Trump has been doing it for years, but he thinks he’s entitled to endless do-overs until he gets what he wants. He will do a lot more virtue signaling in the run-up to 2024. The “virtue,” in his case, is quasi-biblical: whatever his mob does while gathered in his name is holy, regardless of costs or consequences (to them).

  5. brucefan says:

    The average person/reasonable man thinks a person in Trump’s position would (1) try what’s legal to win; (2) if that doesn’t work, try gray area things to win; (3) if that doesn’t work, try illegal things to win. Trump would skate if he can’t be caught going from (2) to (3).

    OSC has shown that Trump was planning step (3) from the git go, and the argle bargle about steps (1) and (2) doesn’t change his criminal exposure.

    Works at the judicial level and the PR level.

    • emptywheel says:

      Please do me a favor and use SCO rather than OSC. The latter has only been used by John Durham and Aileen Cannon for Special Counsel. Normally it refers to the other kind of Special Counsel (about violations of the Hatch Act, for example).

    • RitaRita says:

      I think Trump is more focused on getting what he wants by any and every means possible, whether legal or illegal.

  6. person1597 says:

    “The warden said, “come out with your hands up in the air
    If you don’t stop this riot, you’re all gonna get the chair”
    Scarface Jones said, “it’s too late to quit
    Pass the dynamite ’cause the fuse is lit””

  7. Zinsky123 says:

    Trump has a fixation on Detroit. He uses it as a not-so-subtle dog whistle to signal to his minions he is talking about black voters being dishonest or his belief that black people should not have the right to vote or to have their vote count because they are just such unworthy people. It is a despicable signaling device and he should be called a racist every time he uses it. Thanks again, Marcy, for all of your great investigative. reporting – it is invaluable. I hope someone is held accountable for the perfidy in Detroit in 2020.

    • earthworm says:

      dog whistle = DARVO,
      (it’s mostly GOP who actually perform the election shenanigans — looking at mark meadows)

    • xyxyxyxy says:

      According to his newspaper ad after the rape and accusations of the five Black men, and then when they were cleared, they needed to be executed anyway.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Just like shoplifters. Just shoot ’em on sight when they leave the store.

        One more instance in which Trump is willing to save us from the obsolescence of our constitution.

  8. EGC_06DEC2023_1048h says:

    It’s Election Integrity PARTNERSHIP not Project!

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too short it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. /~Rayne]

  9. Terrapin says:

    It seems to me Mike Roman could be the source here for Jack Smith. If he pleads down in Georgia, I will be convinced he is cooperating with Smith. Or it could be like apparently with Meadows, Smith immunized him and forced Roman to testify to the grand jury. And he trying to brazen things out with Fani Willis.

  10. BreslauTX says:

    I wonder what they have that directly links Trump to the Campaign Official that directed for a riot in Detroit. They would need something definite else Trump would say that the Campaign Official went rogue and he had nothing to do with it.

    Mike Roman (and others) had cell phones and similar seized in September 2022. I don’t think they would have Roman (or similar) onsite at the White House directly talking to Trump about Detroit. Maybe the legal tussle to get Trump’s Twitter DM ties into communications with Mike Roman (or similar).

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