Needless to say, it’s unimaginable that he would have delivered this polite but noteworthy rebuke if Trump hadn’t thrown Powell overboard yesterday. In that sense, this post is a sequel to the post about Fox News’s polling. Rule one for a MAGA media outlet is you don’t defy the president, even when you’re right. Criticizing Sidney Powell for setting the Trump legal team’s credibility on fire is tolerable — after Trump has given you permission. Admitting that Biden won the election will be tolerable — after Trump admits it. If he admits it.

He decides what it’s acceptable to believe and still qualify as a Republican in good standing.

What’s fascinating about the Trump/Powell split is that it’s opened up a new schism on the right. Until last night there was one schism, between people who believe that Sidney Powell has evidence of a massive vote-rigging conspiracy that’ll overturn the election and people who are in touch with reality. Today a separate divide has opened up within the first group between people like Rush who’ll follow the Trumpist line on anything and people so invested in Powell’s promises about the “Kraken” that they remain defensive of her even in the teeth of light criticism from populist heroes like Rush. What made Tucker Carlson’s skepticism of Powell on Fox last week so intriguing is that he was demanding evidence from Powell *before* Trump dumped her and made it permissible to do so. Some of his viewers will never forgive him for not showing the same “loyalty” Rush did by waiting a few days for the president’s cue.

Peter Spiliakos did an able job this afternoon summarizing how Powell’s “just give her more time!” cheering section tends to view all of this:

The president himself is reportedly somewhat more sober about how things are going than Powellites are:

President Donald Trump is sweating over his campaign lawyers’ dismal and often outlandish efforts to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s projected electoral victory.

Trump is worried that his campaign’s legal team, which is being led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, is composed of “fools that are making him look bad,” NBC News reported Monday…

But when asked why Trump doesn’t fire Giuliani and other attorneys who remain on the team, a person familiar with the president’s thinking gave a profane shoulder shrug of an answer.

“Who the f— knows?” that person said to NBC News.

Day by day we’re approaching the moment when even Trump himself admits that his legal team sucks. Spare a thought for Rudy and Jenna Ellis, who probably think they’re piling up enough brownie points on the right to last a lifetime by fighting for Trump in court but in reality are one angry presidential tweet away from having Trumpist mouthpieces like Rush unload on them. Odds are high that when this is over POTUS is going to scapegoat them by declaring that he was cheated but couldn’t prove it because his lawyers were morons, and then it’ll be open season on them for MAGA Nation. They cheated Trump out of a second term by their incompetence. Good luck to them both.

Oh, speaking of which, Team Trump missed the deadline this afternoon to file their brief in their Third Circuit case. A deadline they had requested, please note:

They finally filed it about 20 minutes after the deadline. Between the Powell fiasco, the continued embarrassing setbacks in federal court, and the fact that Michigan and Pennsylvania will certify their elections today (barring an unlikely legal intervention), it feels like we’re at the part of the movie where King Kong has taken too much gunfire from the airplanes and has begun to lose his grip on the Empire State Building. Republican senators keep swooping in to fire at him too, with Shelley Moore Capito of deep red West Virginia issuing a statement this afternoon urging him to start the transition and declaring Biden the winner if the state results are certified. Even David Perdue in Georgia, who’s on the ballot on January 5, has taken to arguing that Republicans should elect him because Kamala Harris will be casting the tiebreaking vote in the Senate. It won’t be much longer now.

Listen to a few minutes of Rush, right at the top of today’s show.