Rudy’s Coup

ABC, which was the first outlet to report on a split within the Trump camp over strategy going forward, called it a coup (meaning, within the campaign).

As President Donald Trump’s legal efforts challenging the election results continue to hit dead ends, his campaign and legal teams have descended into chaos behind the scenes as many brace for the end of the post-election fight, multiple sources tell ABC News.

Since launching a long-shot effort to overturn the election results through baseless claims of voter fraud, President Trump has suffered a dizzying barrage of court losses and setbacks around the country, leading him late last week to install Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, to lead the legal efforts going forward.

But Giuliani’s ascent has led to an explosion of infighting and disillusionment among the president’s longstanding legal team and top campaign officials, resulting in dueling factions emerging from inside the president’s dwindling campaign, multiple sources tell ABC News.

Over the weekend, Giuliani and his own team of lawyers, which also includes Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis, attempted what was described to ABC News as an internal campaign “coup”— an attempt to wrestle power away from the current longstanding Trump campaign leadership by claiming the president had given them full control moving forward, multiple sources said.

Giuliani’s team has taken over office space in the Trump campaign’s Arlington, Virginia, headquarters and Ellis, who White House aides have previously expressed concern about, began telling Trump campaign staffers they now report to her.


Advisers fear that Giuliani and Ellis’ heightened influence over Trump will continue to result in the president giving in to his worst impulses, sources said.

In one story alluding to Rudy’s take-over of the legal fight, the WaPo reports that Boris Epshteyn is involved, along with the DiGenova and Toensing and Sidney Powell dead-enders from the Russian investigation and impeachment fights. (According to the SSCI Report, Epshteyn pitched Trump on a third Trump Tower Moscow deal during the election.)

Referring to the withdrawal of former Trump attorneys in Pennsylvania, an official said, “Rudy wants to make arguments in court that other lawyers are not willing to make. It’s not that they weren’t willing to represent us. When they intersect with Rudy’s world, they don’t want to make those arguments that Rudy wants to make.”

Two campaign officials said Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, attorney Justin Clark and others were barely involved anymore in the legal fight, with it all being “Rudy all the time,” in the words of one.

“Rudy is calling the shots, and we are following,” one senior Republican involved in the campaign said. “I wouldn’t have organized it this way, but that’s the way the president wants it.”

One Republican lawyer close to the campaign said they too quickly jumped to accusations without proof of fraud and instead should have asked for examinations in states to glean evidence first.

This Republican said the campaign also should have engaged higher-power lawyers earlier on, instead of hiring “TV show lawyers.”

“The lawyers on the outside, none of them are supportive of the Rudy strategy,” this person said. “Rudy is not advancing the cause of the law.”

Giuliani is seeking to orchestrate a large news conference at the RNC headquarters on Capitol Hill for later this week, but Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel is unlikely to attend, officials said. He is working with Boris Epshteyn, who in between stints as a campaign aide worked as a Sinclair TV commentator and appeared with him in court on Tuesday.

Robert Costa has noted that Rudy doesn’t actually think he’ll win any of these. He claims to want to force this decision to the House.

The ploy is probably even better understood as disinformation affecting all sides. Actual lawyers know that Rudy can’t legally win. They dismiss his apparently futile efforts as a bid to get rich and not a serious effort to undermine a democratic election. Telling that story allows them to play along — it’s just crazy Rudy leading crazy Donald astray, not any serious attempt to end American democracy. Their inaction facilitates Rudy’s efforts.

All the while, Trump’s supporters grow more and more certain that Trump is being denied his rightful victory by cheating, effectively convincing them that Trump isn’t the one who is trying to cheat, but rather Biden is. At the very least, that will ensure that Republicans in Congress will have no leeway to work with the Biden Administration. Given past events, it’s likely it will lead to violence.

So long as Rudy claims to be pursuing something, anything, it’ll delay the peaceful transfer of power and allow Trump to take steps — installing loyalists at DOD, firing the guy in charge of protecting the Georgia run-off, possibly even firing the FBI Director — that will make any further efforts at consolidating power still easier. Republicans, thus far, have played along (though they may be balking at Acting Secretary Christopher Miller’s plan to drawn down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq). Republicans are okay harming the country to ensure that Biden is weaker when he does finally start the transition.

And if Trump somehow manages to hold on to power, the Republicans will happily blame the coup on Trump, even while benefitting from the roll-back of democracy.

That leaves all options for something more aggressive on the table.

By all reports, Rudy Giuliani looked like a crazy old man arguing a facetious case in Williamsport, PA. He doesn’t care though. He’s got criminal exposure for all the sleazy influence peddling with mobbed up Ukrainians to fight off, and keeping Trump in power is the easiest way to do that. Rudy Giuliani has nothing to lose.

114 replies
  1. Alan Charbonneau says:

    “Giuliani is seeking to orchestrate a large news conference at the RNC headquarters on Capitol Hill for later this week…” Is Four Seasons Total Landscaping already booked? :)

  2. BobCon says:

    The rest of the campaign had better be thinking of their own legal exposure if they go along. There are a lot of restrictions on how money can be used and the rank and file have to know this gang is going to do their best to have patsies in place to take the blame if anything is misspent, unreported, or goes missing.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Indeed, that is the key lesson of Orwell’s “1984”: the purpose of power is power.

      So, when looking toward 2022 and 2024, we can expect more of these kinds of assaults upon democracy which will require Ds to take it seriously now. Start with resurrecting the Howard Dean 50-state strategy to rebuild the down-ballot infrastructure (it worked very well in 2006 and 2008). Reinstate the rules against corporate media ownership in any given market, because competition with all voices present works.

      As for Rudy and his successors, the demographics as time goes on work against them, but only if the Ds reach out like in GA, WI, MN and MI as opposed to how the Ds did in FL (where the Spanish language ads calling Biden a socialist weren’t even challenged).

    • gmoke says:

      “The GOP are the UN-patriots.”

      Hmmm, the GOP are actually for the UN and One World Government and the New World Order of the Trilateral Commission?! I can see that. All that guff about USA sovereignty and the sanctity of the Constitution is just a smokescreen to get more power for the wealthiest. /snark – though not quite snark

      • Chris.EL says:

        …dear smart people here…

        ‘twould make my mind “sing with joy” if someone would sum up what *precisely* is meant by protecting and defending the Constitution.

        I have a rudimentary concept, but the words are tossed around so much, very grateful if someone could spell it out…

        Every now and then Trump will throw verbiage about the Constitution into a Tweet; I sincerely doubt he could even begin to describe what he means.

        That’s a good question for “that loudmouth White House” correspondent for Playboy magazine to ask Trump in a news conference — for Trump to walk out on…

  3. dc says:

    This is tinfoil hat speculation: Could the installation of Trump Toadies at the highest reaches of the defense administration and the urgent repatriation of troops from Germany, S. Korea and Afghanistan have anything to do with the cancellation of our election they are trying to pull off? Those stationed abroad are a small proportion of total troops (70k?), but what proportion of our special operations forces are engaged in this withdrawal zone? Why is Special Ops reporting to a toady SecDef for the last 60 days of the Trump administration? Will a significant proportion of Special Ops troops in the field be returning to US soil *at this moment in history* for reasons other than weakening the country for Putin? Or are they planning to redeploy these troops abroad for some other shenanigans?

    • Rugger9 says:

      Nowhere near enough troops to do the job, and I doubt the troops would go for it either. I would be more concerned that they would be redeployed for ops against Iran’s Natanz facility.

      • Peterr says:

        The troop drawdown in Europe is mostly Trump feeding his own ego, as well as his America Alone mentality. Trump has long whined about NATO not paying enough, and when Angela Merkel told him that she wasn’t going to come to a COVID-19 infested US last May for a G7 meeting, that pushed him over the edge. “If that’s how you feel, I’ll take my troops and go home.”

      • dc says:

        Iran is what I was thinking wrt shenanigans. Like I said, total paranoia, I just have felt like a frog in warming water for so long these past 4 years. They are gonna do what they are gonna do. I am just along for the boil, I guess.

      • dunnydone says:

        Bingo. war powers to nth degree, cancel xmas, tail wags dog until dog finally bites off its own tail… mar a lago missile crisis. Jesus donny, we have come along way since you were just a FNG ivan recruit in vegas that really likes it weird… all this so his russkie friends’ cash can be freshly laundered right across the street from our WH… as dr. phil opined to jimmy kimmel… they gave this idiot a credit card with nuke codes on it???? wont be any SS agents around to stop him, with them all on bench with rona

    • subtropolis says:

      Moving troops around takes quite a lot of logistics and time. They aren’t just marching onto a transport and flying back stateside. Not that something like that would even help in a coup attempt.

      As for Special Ops, note that both Admiral McRaven and General McChrystal are prominently on Biden’s transition team.

      • harpie says:

        Marcy retweeted:
        9:15 AM · Nov 18, 2020

        Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, himself a former Green Beret, announces that he has directed the Special Operations civilian leadership to report directly to the SecDef. This puts Special Operations command “on par with the military services for the first time.”

        Another report:
        9:14 AM · Nov 18, 2020

        Acting SecDef Chris Miller speaking at Fort Bragg right now: [link]
        Miller drops another surprise announcement: Special Operations civilian leaders will report directly to him, as opposed to the traditional chain of command.

        3] [Link in next comment]
        9:54 AM · Nov 18, 2020

        This probably means Ezra Cohen-Watnick is now in charge of BOTH intel *and* covert ops at DOD, no supervision but Acting SECDEF. Cohen-Watnick is the former Nunes staffer who was in the thick trying to debunk Mueller and accuse Obama admin of outlandish conspiracies


        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Chris Miller knows he will be the first to be fired in January. This move is NOT about implementing a long-held desire, not when it can be undone within weeks. It’s about what he and Trump have planned for the next 63 days.

          Given his timeline, this is an irresponsible move by a SecDef, an acting one at that. His willingness to do shit like this might be one reason Trump leap-frogged him over five ranks to put him in that job.

          And Cohen-Watnick is a Forever Trumper. His early training aside, he is an office-bound thirty-something, who likes to play spy-soldier. I say again, something wicked this way comes – and it ain’t Rudy’s lawyering.

        • John Lehman says:

          *Conspirators in place
          *Stir up more shit causing more domestic chaos
          *Declare emergency powers
          *Consolidate coup by arresting and prosecuting political enemies

          Hopefully this war game has been played and planned out by the powers that be and we’re inoculated against such a dark scenario.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Whether it is Iran (bigger but not going to be done) or Venezuela is the question. I think Venezuela, because of the damage an Iranian strike would do to literally the entire West. Vlad and Xi would love us to get bogged down in Iran, though.

          The fact the Special Ops is being run as a personal Varangian Guard for DJT means almost anything is possible. There is no good reason to separate them from their theater commands otherwise since integration with the other services is critical for them.

  4. greengiant says:

    What is up with the key GOP state and local players not following the Ellis Rudy Trump game plan?
    Was there a criminal offer on the table and they are now cooperating with the FBI? Blago can teach so much.

    • P J Evans says:

      They don’t want Rudy ruining their plans. After yesterday’s showing in PA, he should be persona non grata in a lot of states.

      • BobCon says:

        I agree that they are gaming out scenarios and not seeing the upside.

        I think the Democrats have a lot of weaknesses and need a lot of work on their foundations, but I think it is jumping to conclusions that 2021 will be a rerun of 2009. I am not convinced the GOP base will be as predictable or steady, for better and for worse.

    • subtropolis says:

      Talk of cooperation with the FBI is baselessly speculative. More likely, they see anti democratic criminality for what it is. Not to mention a lost cause. Not every Republican is in thrall to Giuliani, Powell, and the other asshats.

    • greengiant says:

      What was the Wayne county board of canvassers flip all about? If I recall correctly in 2016 Michigan law was that if a precinct had any discrepancy between the poll register and the ballot count then the whole precinct results were thrown out.

      • P J Evans says:

        They were trying to throw out all the votes for Detroit (80% black) while ignoring the problems with, frex, Livonia (90% white).

        • greengiant says:

          I know what they started to do. I predicted it. Why did they flip for an “independent” audit nothing burger?

        • P J Evans says:

          I think part of it is that people found the FB posts of the two GOP-T members, and it blew up. One of them is now in legal trouble.

        • Rayne says:

          One was already in hot water for campaign finance violation(s) — Monica Palmer. She had a serious conflict of interest which should have resulted in her removal as canvasser. Wayne County Board of Ethics only voted Wednesday this week to investigate a complaint filed the last week of October about her role in a PAC. Her refusal to certify/back pedal came just about the time the ethics board was taking up the complaint.

          Nice change of subject she pulled off.

      • firedancer says:

        In testimony to Michigan Oversight committee 11/19, both Kent and Ingham county clerks report this “out of balance” happens regularly and is in the nature of a small accounting error rather than any indication of fraud. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said (this) is a common clerical issue when there is high turnout. Indeed, the same Board had certified the August primary even though the same minor issue occurred then. There was no reference to the existence of such a law.

    • Eureka says:

      Well the PA GOP has not failed to disappoint you / America.

      Somewhere around 2pm ish:

      Rep. Kevin J. Boyle: “PA House Republicans just advanced in committee an absolutely unnecessary & unconstitutional audit of the 2020 election. As the minority Democratic Chair I argued this initiative had nothing to do with any legit report of fraud. Rather this is purely about appeasing Donald Trump.”

      [^ reporters were looking in on this last week, and the PA House GOPers never got it off the ground — the scheme had sort of stalled then. But reinvigorated today…]

      Then, in the three o’clock hour (thread via Marcy):

      Brad Heath: “The Republican leaders of Pennsylvania’s state House want to join President Trump’s lawsuit challenging the election he lost there. They say allowing voters to fix defective absentee ballots “compromised the electoral process and the secrecy” of secret ballots.[screenshot; thread links filing]”

      As to Trump’s PA suit today, there are too many shit-show tweets to round up.

      • greengiant says:

        Oregon has been completely vote by mail (or dropoff ) since 1996. Voters have 2 weeks to correct an “invalid” signature.
        This is how bad this PA GOP disenfranchisement effort is.

      • Eureka says:

        **squints in “How many fewer meals on wheels will be delivered, or feet of crumbling, ancient infrastructure will be fixed because we are, and have been for months, paying to defend against these vexatious litigants?”**

        Heath just completed a long thread on the PA suit’s claims today (and if you question my use of ‘vexatious’, see the highlights):

        “Here’s the campaign’s whole argument: [doc link]”

        • Eureka says:

          OK this was my favorite abhorrence — it’s in the Heath thread as well, but southpaw via Marcy has better screenshots:

          southpaw: “The Trump campaign’s proposal–literally I am not making this up–is that *THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN* will obtain and count all or a subset of the Pennsylvania mail ballot envelopes and, based on the formula in footnote 3, let the judge know if he should declare them the winner. [read it and weep]”

          I saw separately that Judge Brann granted them an extension until tomorrow for that which was due today. I hope that means this will be dispensed with on Friday.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Persuading people to underestimate him – and to let down their guard – has brought Trump a lot of victories. It’s how predators work a mark, and that includes Rudy as much as Trump.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The range of reaction in response to Trump’s growing list of wrongs runs the gamut from A to B. Laughing at Rudy’s lawyering and a few sound bites from Senators over the firing of Chris Krebs is tut-tutting over a hot toddy. It’s not “immediate pushback.” Pushback would involve imposing hard consequences that Trump would have to overcome before moving forward with whatever he plans.

    The eggs won’t hatch for another two months, but Democrats already seem to be counting their chickens, even while they hear the coyotes singing. They might, instead, close the coop door, add fencing and a couple of guard llamas. They might also pour in volunteers and money to help the Democratic contenders win their Senate races in Georgia. After that, electoral reform should be high on their agenda.

    • Eureka says:

      Yes, I’ve heard tell about the donkeys. (And of course goats are only dangerous to small children; too bad that energy couldn’t be differently directed because it would work here.)

      Meanwhile, GSA Admin Emily Murphy has come down with some light allergies to our farm friends. Imagine if it were hay fever season, to boot (House Dems just re-elected mostly, if not entirely — didn’t see the full results — the same leadership. As an aside):

      Jeremy Herb: “NEW: People who have spoken to GSA Admin Emily Murphy say she’s struggling with the weight of the election on her shoulders, feeling like she’s in a no-win situation trying to follow what she sees as precedent to wait to ascertain, w/ @KristenhCNN [CNN link; thread]”

      “She’s facing pressure from all sides and even death threats. Sources who spoke to CNN couldn’t say if she’d been in touch w/ the WH. “She absolutely feels like she’s in a hard place. She’s afraid on multiple levels. It’s a terrible situation,” one friend and former colleague said”

      “”My experiences with Emily have led me to believe she is an ethical and moral person, but…she’s absolutely making the wrong decision. Biden clearly won. And there really is no question about that,” said a former admin official and colleague who’d spoken to her in recent days.”

    • Raven Eye says:

      A new code phrase for CISA is “Honored to serve” tweeted by Chris Krebs…similar to the “it has been an honor and a privilege to serve” from another senior CISA departee seen on LinkedIn.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    GSA administrator Emily Murphy is not some middling overworked bureaucrat in over her head. Nor is she “struggling” with “apparently certifying” Biden’s victory, which would allow the USG to work with Biden’s transition team. She is a Smith and UVa Law grad, and an ambitious hard right politician with twenty years’ government service.

    She previously OK’d the controversial lease for Trump’s DC hotel, and prohibited the FBI from moving from its outdated HQ building just down the street, which prevented the site from being used to compete with Trump’s hotel. Murphy knows exactly what she’s doing for Trump and where she wants to go with it.

  8. Mitch Neher says:

    So here goes with the old ask a stupid question routine:

    Why would the Democrats commit something akin to “line-item election fraud” to steal the election for Joe and Kamala, only, but not for any Democratic Senate or House candidates??

    Wouldn’t such line-item election fraud be a lot harder to pull off than good, old-fashioned whole-ballot-stuffing election fraud??

    Is it really possible for any creatures other than Pavlov’s pigeons to believe that the Democrats of all people are sufficiently organized and mentally disciplined as to steal only the presidency and vice-presidency while studiously neglecting to steal any other office on the ballot–not even one Senate race???

    Are there any previous cases of ergot poisoning from yummy millet used to feed pigeons in Pavlovian psych labs????

    And where’s my electro-schock therapy, already? Do I have to lobotomize myself? Again?

    • Eureka says:

      Mitch, we should talk sometime about a descendant of BF Skinner I came to know. Too much time in the Skinner Box for her!

      • Mitch Neher says:

        I know. I know. Pavlov studied dogs. But Skinner wasn’t Russian. And Trump’s worshippers don’t deserve any totem animal higher than pigeons.

        Thanks for the gentle nudge anyhow.

        • Eureka says:

          Right, but: (1) as we are witnessing, sometimes that which is derived — furthered — from a particularly Pavlovian ‘poverty of will’ (sic) may be worse; (2) Skinner was enough of a sociopath (lots of word choices here; that’s the simplest) to raise his own (any, but especially his own) child in a box, thus de-gloving them and their issue of humanity (reminds me of the box Zuck built, if with less intellectual motive or prowess); (3) ergo-ish, today is like a bad, bad, F1 (F2? F3?) cross.

          Russian reflexive control? Americans: Hold. My. Beer!

          Skinner of course would deny you a totem, period, but we don’t want to recapitulate his conditions, so … somebody needs to love the Trumpers — unplugged, re-associated with live humans, deprogrammed — so that they might feel, again, shame. It’s about the only way out, with the caveat that only some can be gathered.

          They’ve pretty much got a fancy version of media addiction, LARP-ing come-ups in GOP World (that seems to be how most of the pols, even, start out. File or join a frivolous suit, stage a reopen rally? That’s a shit-ton of likes and *maybe* an appearance on the tube. More outrageous? More points!).

          Vacuousness of purpose and a need to be famous are some homegrown American soul-holes; our foreign interlopers (from RU to RupertM) are circuits full of sound and fury.

        • skua says:

          You’ve ruined pH meter now!
          It is meant to be fine with acid but these posts have corroded right through the bulb.

  9. Savage Librarian says:

    Circles of trust have a way of twisting and shifting over time, especially in politics. Probably even more so in Trump’s administration. Despite his prominence in the administration, it still feels like Jared has been flying under the radar, in many respects. Especially considering his web of contacts.

    I’m guessing some of the folks in the article below have diminished in relevance and others may have grown substantially (not necessarily in a good way.) Although not named in this list, Giuliani (and others) are also mentioned. And, at least one of these people has an interesting connection to Rudy.

    “Inside Jared Kushner’s circle of trust” – POLITICO, 6/29/17 – Annie Karni

    “THE PATRIARCH – Charlie Kushner


    Newt Gingrich

    THE OLD STEADY – Ken Kurson

    Jamie Gorelick

    SENATOR – Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

    THE BILLIONAIRE – Steve Schwarzman

    THE MEDIA MOGUL – Rupert Murdoch

    Israel Ambassador Ron Dermer

    United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Otaiba”

    • Eureka says:

      Schwarzman was recently described or quoted somewhere as ~ “believing” that Trump had not lost the election. Have wondered if he’s funding any of the recent efforts or if that’s all derived from MAGA donations or what.

      Side-topic but I thought you might be interested in this discussion among librarians of their horror at discovering a Proud Boy in their midst (their talk hints of how he went off the rails over time):

      “Fuckin’ yikes. Former library coworker and past friend IT guy at NCSU outed as Proud Boy president who used his work access to harass students and try to doxx protesters. Dude.”

  10. Mister Sterling says:

    I know we laugh at this, but this is not a laughing matter. We’re in day 12 of something that should not be happening at all. What are we doing? Why aren’t we fighting this? And how ready will we be when it’s a President Cotton, or President Pompeo or some other guy who knows what he’s doing next time?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yes and no.

      Trump always needs to dominate. He’s reptilian in pursuing what he views as either: (1) a threat, or (2) prey.

      Biden is neither.
      Trump is powerless against Biden, and seems to be unraveling.

      Meanwhile, Trump still has prey: the remaining GOPers who still fear him. He’ll fume and rage about election fraud, but his actions are increasingly erratic and desperate. Surely, none of this is any surprise to Biden, nor his inner circle.

      Pompeo seems to be widely perceived as an unctuous, insufferable jerk. And Cotton will never have Trump’s years of reality tv stardom to leverage. The threat will come from elsewhere; more likely some tech billionaire. Trump is Sui generis; none of his children, nor his acolytes, will ever be able to successfully claim his mantle.

      I don’t wish ill on anyone, but it’s worth wondering what the senate will look like a month from now. The querulous, 87-year-old Grassley has now been exposed to COVID. He may be fine, but he’s definitely in the high risk group.

      McConnell has recently denied health problems, despite showing up with blue hands (!). It could be a fluke, but it’s a peculiar symptom to have cyanosis in the extremities at age 78. Compared to Pelosi, McConnell’s movements are robotic and stiff.

      The GOP has 50 senators, which means they don’t have any to spare. With COVID cases rising in winter, and some of the senators being fairly ‘elderly’ and high-risk, perhaps we will discover that this year, more than most, it is hard to see very far into the future with a high degree of confidence.

      The one thing that remains certain is that 75,000,000 voters basically told Trump to f&ck off, and that kind of political energy, to say nothing of AG’s, Secretaries of State, and the judiciary, are unlikely to tolerate Trump’s antics too much longer.

      I think people have been willing to put up with it as a way to ensure fairness, while also letting things decompress. But the faster the COVID numbers rise, the less patience will be left for Trump’s temper tantrums.

      • Montana Voter says:

        The US, particularly in the Mid-west, is on an essentially vertical trajectory. When will there be enough Covid deaths to convince these people. 250,000+ deaths is not enough?

      • Brendan MacWade says:

        Still, we should not sit idly while Republicans rehearse a bloody coup sometime later this decade. I don’t care that their odds of success are low. I can’t sleep well on that. They should not be allowed to even entertain the thought. We should be marching in DC by the millions. But nope. This is normal. This is fine. I’m sure left-wing Chileans in 1972 were thinking the same thing.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name; you’ve posted previously as “Mister Sterling.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          There is something going on in the culture, only part of which is economic. But culture is strongly shaped by media, and the explosion of new communications platforms (which can be easily exploited) has opened a Pandora’s Box of horribles. We are seeing the very high social costs of the failure of government to regulate, legislate, or restrict socially irresponsible conduct.

          Note the damage that a single individual, whether Assange, or Bannon, or Stone, or even a Hannity, can do to an entire cultural ecosystem and you can see that this area of American life needs a serious rethink.

          At this point, Facebook could easily be converted to a public utility under the control of individual cities and states. Call me crazy, but I don’t believe that Charles Grassley (87), Richard Shelby (76?), Pat Roberts (80), or DiFi (80) are up to the challenge of understanding the key issues involved in social media. (Neither is the current SCOTUS, but that’s another comment for another day.)

          Biden is going to have to address the problem of corrosive media. At this point, failing to address this problem is endangering public health.

          I don’t think marches are always the best use of time or energy.
          Better to spend time mastering some area of policy that really interests you, and develop expertise that will enable you to make productive change. The more democratic, well informed activism is happening, the more robust democracy’s immune system will become, and the more rewarding your efforts will be. I don’t say that to be ‘Pollyanna’, but I say that because this election year at the state level, I’ve seen some very courageous people, who took the time to develop expertise, make enormous impacts. It is possible.

      • skua says:

        Good point about the elderly Senators.
        Current circumstances around COVID do bias heavily towards increased life expectancy for reality-based elderly Senators.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          The data certainly seem to support this hypothesis.
          Personally, I’ve been relieved to see Romney wearing his mask.

  11. d4v1d says:

    Rudy needs a pardon to avoid a long term in gaol. He will do whatever Trump wants him to do. Trump’s useful idiot. (Redundant, I know.)

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The litany of losses Trump is racking up in his trademarked frivolous lawsuits is exactly on brand for a guy and a party that has adopted the clothes of victimhood (while profiting enormously from it).

    For the victims of American Neoliberalism, who are among their strongest supporters, being a co-victim of the government that has done nothing but piss on them, has enormous appeal. For Trump, it’s all about redefining winning until he can squeeze himself into it. He doesn’t care what it looks like.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Moscow Mitch is back at it. Another lawyer that the staid ABA declared was unfit to serve on the federal bench is now a federal district court judge in Florida.

    Kathryn Kimball Mizelle graduated summa cum laude from Covenant College, a small Christian “liberal arts” college with a 1000 students in Lookout Mountain, GA (a town with a long Confederate history). She graduated summa from the University of Florida college of law – in 2012. She then followed the well-worn route for FedSoc acolytes: she clerked for three different federal courts before landing a clerkship with Clarence Thomas. She spent about two years at the EDVa and Main Justice, worked at Jones Day long enough to get her name tag, and returned to law school to teach.

    She has never been first or second chair in a bench trial, civil or criminal. She’s never visited a jail or prison, or managed anything beyond her personal career. Her lifetime tenure could last half a century. Mizelle’s appointment is a textbook example of why Joe Biden needs to put judicial reform at the top of his to do list.

  14. harpie says:

    Marcy reiterates and expands on her conclusion in this post on Twitter, today
    [responding to Max Boot]:
    8:39 AM · Nov 19, 2020

    Again, BOTH Rudy and Bannon are trying to avoid [guaranteed, hah!] fraud prosecutions here. They have absolutely nothing to lose if they commit more fraud.

    In fact, if I’m Trump, I’ve told both of they don’t get pardons unless they create attacks on Joe Biden & find a way to steal the election.

    It adds more suspense to the Reality TV Show that way, if the contestants are racing to commit more fraud to avoid their fraud conviction.

  15. harpie says:

    Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania:
    [I added the numbers]
    7:00 PM · Nov 18, 2020

    There are some uhh oddities to the Trump campaign’s motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, incl:
    1] – the clean version, filed as an exhibit, is the *first* amended complaint
    2] – they–the plaintiffs–went ahead and signed the proposed order on behalf of the judge [screenshot]
    Also 3] no attorney signatures appear on the redline (comparing first and second). That’s no big deal in itself, but since the plaintiffs didn’t file a clean version of the second amended complaint, there’s no indication which attorneys if any have signed the new complaint.

    This is their second try at filing these documents tonight, btw. […]

    • harpie says:

      Then there’s this:
      [I think this is the replacement for a tweet Marcy responded to just now]
      9:30 AM · Nov 19, 2020

      Sorry – I needed to be more precise with the tweet.

      AP reports that Trump ‘reached out’ to the Republican canvassers to express gratitude Tuesday evening. They signed affidavits the next day saying the Wayne County votes should not have been certified

    • harpie says:

      Here’s a good thread on this from last night:
      [I added the numbers]
      12:16 AM · Nov 19, 2020

      As if it couldn’t get any wilder at the Wayne County board of canvassers: The republican members are now seeking to rescind certification, despite the fact that
      1] the motion officially passed,
      2] certification papers were signed, &
      3] records were sent to secretary of state this AM

      While, Palmer and Hartmann have signed affidavits seeking to revoke their certification, Vice Chair Kinloch assures me the deal is already done. Lawsuits withstanding, as election lawyers have explained to me, the deadline is also a hard stop, and the deadline was yesterday.

      What people likely missed on Tuesday night, after Wayne County canvassers voted to certify, Kinloch into’d a 2nd motion waving reconsideration, meaning the board wouldn’t be able to revisit, explicitly because he suspected the Republicans wld come under pressure today #Foresight […]

      • P J Evans says:

        It’s as if they have no idea what their jobs entail, or what the laws are. Or even what the Constitution says.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It seems more likely that the tension – as with Emily Murphy – lies between firm a knowledge of what the Constitution, the law, and their jobs require and what a corrupt party demands. The GOP, particularly under the ultra-vindictive Trump, has show itself capable of ruining careers. It doesn’t need a Room 101 in order to enforce conformity.

      • Rugger9 says:

        This is yet another example of why deals cannot be made with the current GOP, because as soon as they can they demand do-overs, recounts and audits of things they don’t like. If there is a communication record (i.e. tapes) Biden’s DOJ might make some good use of it. Jail time is a must on these to remind the others what happens to DJT toadies.

        FWIW, it appears both of the GOP commissioners have (ahem) issues based on their social media records, dating back months so DJT really didn’t have to work hard to convince these two to do these deeds.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It appears Donald has given those two Wayne county GOP election officials an offer they can’t refuse. He’s invited them to the White House for a chat. I’ll bet Luca Brasi wears the same size suits as Donald.

  16. harpie says:

    12:50 PM · Nov 19, 2020

    At the Giuliani press conference, Sidney Powell is introducing an allegation that Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez rigged the 2020 election—I guess before his death.

    12:59 PM · Nov 19, 2020
    This diatribe is still going on. Powell is suggesting this voting machine conspiracy originated well before Trump was elected (going back to 2006, I think I heard), allowed Trump to take office, he served a full term without doing anything about it, and then it kicked in 2w ago.

    Words can’t really express how stupid, paranoid, and dangerous this press conference is.

    • PeterS says:

      That’s what you get from an “elite strikeforce team”.

      Jenna Ellis described her associates thus. Just imagine the B team.

    • harpie says:

      1] Rudy, today [I haven’t transcribed this, yet.]
      12:39 PM · Nov 19, 2020

      “It changes the result of the election in Michigan if you take out Wayne County” [VIDEO]

      2] Sarah Cooper 3 days ago:
      5:10 PM · Nov 16, 2020

      I’m a lawyer for the Trump campaign [VIDEO]

      Yes, Your Honor. If it pleases the Court. My name is Angela Dansbury, and I am a lawyer for the Trump campaign. And we are here seeking justice. And freedom, and relief from this Court.

      Specifically, in question, at the moment, ergo, heretofore, three ballots which we have found to have chocolate sauce on them, which is disqualifying under the Constitution. Amendment…82. (c)?

      And we also would like to …deem unredeemable 10 ballots which, ah…just, don’t smell good. Like…like patchouli, or something. So, we should throw those out.

      And, finally, five of six…million ballots that were not for Trump. We just wanna …kinda…just get rid of those.

  17. greengiant says:

    Per EW’s retweet of Amy Gardner,
    More Michigan news: Lawmakers are flying into DC to meet with President Trump tomorrow, at his request.

    When does the US get a Joseph Welsh moment. “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

    The right social media was broad spreading the bad things said to Monica Palmer Tuesday which was
    used as cover to precipitate Trump’s phone call. Best action seems to be not to threaten anyone.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The GOP staff are such snowflakes that literally anything is allegedly a threat to them, but if the same phrases used on Ds or apostate GOP is perfectly fine examples of First Amendment opinions.

      The question is how this will be “leveraged” into the next poutrage by DJT’s cult.

  18. harpie says:

    Here’s a tweet about the “propaganda conference” from some of the The Unpatriots!:
    1:25 PM · Nov 19, 2020

    “We will not be intimidated…We are going to clean this mess up now. President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it. And we are going to reclaim the United States of America for the people who vote for freedom.”Sidney Powell [VIDEO]

    Twitter slapped the tweet with a warning:

    Twitter: !!! Multiple sources called this election differently

    This is what Powell says in the clip:

    Powell: This is stunning. Heartbreaking. Infuriating. And the most unpatriotic acts I can even imagine for people in this country to have participated in in any way shape or form. And I want the American public to know right now that we will not be intimidated. American patriots are fed up with the corruption from the local level to the highest level of our government. And we are going to take this country back. We are not going to be intimidated. We are not going to back down. We are going to clean this mess up, now. President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it. And we are going to reclaim the United States of America for the people who vote for freedom.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Sidney misses her usual gig at the Ministry of Truth:

      “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

      “The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth.”

  19. e.a.f. says:

    And they wonder how countries go down the shitter. Well we can watch it in real time right now in the U.S.A

    :Don’t know what purpose that old guy from N.Y. serves, but he looks like he’s on his last mental leg. You could turn this into a comedy if it weren’t so serious and tragic.

    Pulling troops out of some countries, is just a game Trump is playing to make it harder for Biden/Harris to get up and running once they take office.

    Its beyond me how politicians and citizens can stand around while a country’s president plays golf while huge numbers of citizens are dying and getting sick due to COVID. By the time Trump leaves office, the country could be in dire condition just due to the COVID. Perhaps that is the goal, I don’t know.

    I’ve lived long enough to see a person of colour be elected President of the U.S.A. I’ve lived long enough to see a female person of colour be elected V.P. of the U.S.A. and it sure feels good. I’ve also lived long enough to see a President with shit for brains try to destroy that country and its democracy. Just boggles the mind.

    When I see the former mayor G. on t.v. he looks like he’s going to have a jammer. I do so hope it happens quickly. Don’t wish him death, just a pleasant stay in hospital until some time in Jan. 2021. I’d feel so much better.

    it will make me a very happy person on the Day Biden/Harris are sworn in.

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