Chris Christie: The conduct of Trump's legal team is a "national embarrassment"

Chris, buddy, where’s this coming from? Casually accusing a Republican governor and secretary of state of taking bribes in an unproved vote-rigging conspiracy against the president sounds like smart, sober lawyering to me.

Does Christie mean to suggest that framing one’s case as a battle against “the Devil” *isn’t* a hallmark of professional litigation in New Jersey?

I didn’t see the full interview with Powell last night but evidently she also implied that Hillary Clinton used Dominion software to defeat Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary — and that Bernie found out but “sold out” by refusing to reveal it. It’s weird that Hillary, after having rigged the vote against Sanders, didn’t then also rig the vote against Trump in the general election, no? Especially given how close the race was in the midwest, where a few thousand votes here and there could have flipped the presidency.

None of this is supposed to make sense or even be believed by Trump’s adherents. At this point it’s a pure loyalty test, or “insanity oath” as Michael Brendan Dougherty described it. You either stand with Trump and “fight” by swallowing anything Powell, Wood, and Rudy Giuliani crap into your open mouth or you stand with “the enemy.”

Speaking of Rudy, he’s running on a parallel track to Powell in advancing Trump’s conspiracy theories. Powell is on a witch hunt, tossing around fantastically broad accusations with promises that she’ll prove her case eventually. Giuliani is focused on more specific “anomalies” in the election data, trying to undermine confidence in the results to create a vacuum of trust in the outcome for Powell to fill:

Because he’s become a pitiful addled clown, though, he can’t even make a semi-plausible case for suspicion. His questions about Wayne County were answered days ago:

That’s what Christie means he complains about a “national embarrassment.” Either Giuliani is so much of a crank that he can’t tell reality from fiction anymore or he’s engaged in a willful but error-ridden disinformation campaign reminiscent of third-tier banana republics. “If they are lying about basic stuff like this,” said AG Hamilton of his tweet, “why would you trust anything they say?”

If we’re going to push conspiracy theories based on zero evidence, here’s one for you: Are Giuliani, Powell, and Wood actually secret Democratic operatives working behind the scenes to tilt the Georgia runoffs to Democrats?

The irony of Team Trump’s “strategy,” focused as it is on an alleged great Democratic plot, is that it’ll end up setting Republicans at each other’s throats. As more clear-eyed figures like Christie and Pat Toomey admit that Trump’s legal effort is a sham, the true believers will dismiss their skepticism as evidence of either treacherous disloyalty or involvement in the conspiracy, as Powell is suggesting of Brian Kemp. Primary challenges to skeptical Republicans will be mounted. If they fail, the party will be divided in the general election, giving Democrats an advantage. If they succeed, the party’s nominee in the general will be a kook, giving Democrats an advantage. The Never Trump cohort on the right was always tiny but the Never Crank cohort will be somewhat bigger. We’re getting an early taste thanks to the Georgia runoffs of how self-sabotaging Trump’s “strategy” might prove to be:

I wouldn’t guess that the left is “happy,” exactly, to watch a third of the country descend into collective psychosis because they can’t cope with a painful reality, but they’re going to win some elections they might have otherwise lost if this mass hysteria persists. Possibly starting on January 5.

The only near-term suspense about Trump’s legal effort has to do with which excuse Powell and Giuliani will ultimately make for failing to prove their case. It’s a given that it’ll involve chicanery by some nefarious actor; the question is which actor and what sort of alleged chicanery they’ll assert. While we wait for them to decide, though, remember that Bill Barr’s Justice Department was placed on alert for evidence of voter fraud shortly after Election Day, with Barr going so far as to lift the restriction that prevented U.S. Attorneys from investigating fraud allegations until after state elections were certified. Barr gave them the green light to intervene in this process immediately if they saw evidence of anything amiss — and needless to say, the DOJ’s resources in detecting and exposing a criminal conspiracy are vastly greater than Sidney Powell’s. With Georgia having already certified and Michigan and Pennsylvania set to do so tomorrow, there’s been not a peep from Barr or his department about shenanigans. I’d bet every dollar I have that Barr himself completely agrees with Christie’s assessment here. Even though he’ll never admit it.