INDIANAPOLIS - As a prelude to Donald Trump’s presidency, his adviser Steve Bannon said in 2016, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

A week before Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection – which ended up as the first violent encroachment of the U.S. Capitol since the British burned Washington in 1814, costing five lives, three police suicides, 150 cop injuries, and more than 500 criminal charges of sedition – Steve Bannon had President Trump’s ear.

According to the Bob Woodward and Robert Costa book “Peril”, Bannon told Trump on Dec. 30, “You’ve got to return to Washington and make a dramatic return today. You’ve got to call Pence off the f------ ski slopes and get him back here today. This is a crisis. We’re going to bury Biden on Jan. 6. We’re going to kill it in the crib. Kill the Biden presidency in the crib.”

The roadmap to this conspiracy to violently take away Joe Biden’s 81 million vote to 74 million vote victory (306 to 232 Electoral College) was a memo by “legal scholar” John Eastman who laid out the “Jan. 6 scenario” that claimed that seven states had transmitted dual slates of electors to the president of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah sought and could find no evidence of any dual elector slates.

According to Eastman, Pence would disqualify those seven states, leaving 454 instead of 538 electors. “There are at this point, 232 votes for Trump and 222 votes for Biden. Pence then gavels President Trump reelected.” If Democrats insisted that the threshold was 270 votes, Pence would send it to the House, where Republicans controlled 26 of the 50 state delegations, with each delegation getting one vote to determine the next president.

The problem with this cornerstone to what has become “The Big Lie” is that there were not seven states with dual elector slates. Georgia had conducted three recounts, each verifying Biden carried that state. Forbes Magazine reported on Dec. 8 that the Trump campaign had lost 50 post-election lawsuits, many determined by Trump-appointed judges.

In Pennsylvania, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann rejected a Trump suit. “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” Brann wrote. “That has not happened.”

Conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito rejected a Trump injunction, saying in a terse statement, “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the court is denied.”

On Dec. 15, the Electoral College voted for Biden, prompting Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to state, “The Electoral College has spoken, so today I want to congratulate President-Elect Joe Biden.” When Trump protested, McConnell told him, “Mr. President, the Electoral College has spoken. That’s the way we pick a president in this country. You lost the election. The Electoral College has spoken.”

Since Pennsylvania put Biden over the 270 vote threshold on the Saturday after the election, Trump and Bannon had fomented a coup d’etat. Insiders like Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway had tried to dissuade Trump on Nov. 10. “You have a huge amount of goodwill. We can’t squander it,” Hicks told Trump. Conway tried to explain to Trump that he had lost the election: It was the mail-in ballots. COVID. Your campaign running out of money, the debates, she said.

Trump responded to Hicks: “If I lose, that will be my legacy. It’s not who I am to give up. It’s not in me to do that. My people expect me to fight, and if I don’t, I’ll lose ‘em.”

Trump had reached for many levers to change the will of the voters. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley feared a “Reichstag moment,” and took steps to wall off the nation’s nuclear arsenal from whom he considered a mentally ill president. Trump fired Defense Sec. Mark Esper and installed loyalists at the Pentagon. Trump attempted to fire the acting attorney general after Attorney General Bill Barr had resigned in mid-December, but was deterred by the threat of mass resignations at DOJ.

On Dec. 1, according to Woodward and Costa, Attorney General Barr told AP reporter Mike Balsamo that as the result of DOJ’s review of the election, “To date we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome of the election.”

Barr was subsequently summoned to the White House by a furious Trump. A few weeks before, Barr tried to reason with his boss. “Mr. President, you did a great job there at the end and it’s too bad it had to work out the way it did.”

“Well, we won,” Trump told Barr. “We won by a lot. And, you know, it’s fraud. Bill, we can’t let them get away with this. This is stealing an election. “

Barr ordered DOJ to do a preliminary analysis and assessment in five states where the presidential election was close: Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania. “It’s all b-------,” Barr told Trump in an account in the Woodward/Costa book. “The allegations are not panning out.”

When Trump asked about vote boxes arriving in Detroit early in the morning, Barr explained, “Mr. President, did you go and check that against what happened in 2016? You actually ran stronger this year than you did in Detroit last time. Mr. President, there are 503 precincts in Detroit. In Michigan, it is the only county where the votes are not counted in precincts. They go to a central counting station, and so all night these boxes are moving in. That’s what they do.”

Conservative Republican Michigan State Sen. Ed McBroom, who chairs the Senate Oversight Committee, said of that committee’s exhaustive analysis: “Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan. There is no evidence presented at this time to prove either significant acts of fraud or that an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters.”

Meanwhile Republican operative Karl Rove was in Georgia helping the two GOP Senate candidates gear up for the Jan. 5 special election. Rove told Woodward and Costa, “The machines are reliable and safe. They’re not connected on the internet and they tabulate the votes by taking a thumb drive, encoded to a specific machine in a specific precinct and taking that to a central local to transfer the votes and count them.”

And in Arizona late this summer, an “audit” in Maricopa County by the firm Cyber Ninjas hired by Senate Republicans there found Biden’s lead was actually larger than the official count. In a conversation with former vice president Dan Quayle, Pence mentioned Arizona irregularities. “Mike, I live in Arizona,” Quayle said. “There’s nothing out here.”

On Jan. 5, Vice President Pence met with Trump in the Oval Office. “I personally believe there are limits to what I can do. So if you have a strategy for the 6th, it really shouldn’t involve me because I’m just there to open the envelopes,” Pence told Trump. “You’re not going to be sworn in on the 20th. There is not a scenario where you can be sworn in on the 20th.”

Trump responded, “You’ve betrayed us. I made you. You were nothing. Your career is over if you do this.”

At 1 p.m. on Jan. 6, just minutes before the insurrection encroached the U.S. Capitol, Pence released a statement saying that it was “my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.” He ended it saying, “So help me God.”

After the Jan. 6 mob that sought to “hang Mike Pence” was contained, Pence and members of Congress completed their constitutional duty in counting the Electoral College votes, resulting in the certification of Biden’s victory.

As Pence left the Capitol around 3:45 a.m. Jan. 7, he received a text from his chief of staff Marc Short: “2Timothy 4:7.” In the King James Bible, the verse reads: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Last Saturday, Trump and many Republicans are still claiming the election was stolen. “They used COVID in order to cheat and rig,” Trump said at a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. “Remember this is not about me being robbed of an election. This is about the American people having their country taken away from them.”

There is no question that Donald J. Trump commands the Republican Party now. A Politico/Morning Consult Poll revealed him having 47%, with Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 12%. Whereas past Republican presidential election losers – John McCain, Mitt Romney, Bob Dole – never recovered their power, Trump rules the GOP, despite being the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose the House, Senate and White House in a four-year span.

Trump’s message that the election was rigged – something he claimed in his Iowa primary loss to Sen. Ted Cruz – is now spreading across the GOP. 

In the view of Steve Bannon, the fact that many Republican voters no longer believe in certified election results, believe the election was stolen, and are willing to throw away the cornerstone of American democracy – the peaceful transfer of power – is how Leninism is transforming one of the two major American political parties.

Conservative former radio host Glenn Beck was unnerved by Bannon’s rhetoric in 2017. “Steve Bannon wants to burn it down,” said Beck. “He’s a nightmare, and he’s the chief adviser to the president of the United States now.”