Wednesday, November 11, 2020

'Soft coup' and storytelling: A couple threads on Twitter

Sharing a couple threads I spotted on Twitter.

First, here's Frank Figliuzzi, formerly a top FBI official, now a national security analyst for MSNBC, saying that Trump is behaving like a "barricaded subject" in a hostage negotiation. He says that Biden is handling the situation correctly, staying calm and allowing Trump an opportunity to vent, while letting Trump keep his options open for resolving the standoff "the easy way" rather than "the hard way."

On November 10, the New York Times published a large article explaining that no significant election fraud has been found. This has been the most secure U.S. election ever, according to a November 12 New York Times article.

Yet Trump has been refusing to cooperate with the Biden team (see these articles from CNN and Huffington Post). He's making the moves of a dictator (CNN). To the extent he ever performed normal presidential responsibilities, he has now stopped working altogether. (CNN) To maintain the illusion that his administration expects to continue, issued a directive that "any political appointee searching for a new job should be fired."

On November 11, Jennifer Rubin mentioned in the Washington Post that "six pre-election and seven post-election lawsuits by the Trump camp have all been tossed out" by judges who say that the allegations are not based in fact. "Interestingly," she notes, "Trump’s lawyers refuse to say before a real judge that they have found fraud or other reasons to overturn results." The problem, she says, is:

Trump is receiving support from a range of Republican figures, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who says congratulations to Biden are premature; a flock of members of Congress from Georgia, who baselessly attack their state’s Republican secretary of state and inexplicably claim their own election victories valid while Biden’s is fraudulent; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who declares the transition will be to a “second Trump administration”; and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who perpetuates the fiction that the outcome is in dispute. The aim is not to steal an election, but to sow doubt about the legitimacy of our democracy — just as the Russians intend. These Republicans aim to keep their base in a constant state of anger and crazed denial.

On Friday, November 13, "nine cases in key states were denied or dropped in one day," CNN reported. The next day, in the evening, Trump tweeted that he was putting Rudy Giuliani in charge of the Trump campaign's legal fight. Giuliani replaces campaign adviser David Bossie, who, in addition to not being a lawyer, was diagnosed with COVID-19 soon after he was appointed to the role. On Monday, November 16, another four lawsuits were dropped.

On November 11, NBC reported that "there is a growing expectation among President Donald Trump’s advisers that he will never concede that he lost re-election, even after votes are certified in battleground states over the coming weeks," while other advisers believe that "the president is coming around to the fact that the election result won’t be reversed." Regarding Trump's lawsuits over the election, a White House official said, “It’s not wrong for the Biden team to call it theater.” A November 12 article from CNN found sources close to Trump who believe that Trump will indeed give up eventually.

Republican leaders are starting to give up on Trump's narrative and his false expectations for a win, according to a November 12 New York Times article.

On November 16, White House national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien said that Biden appears to have won.

Also on November 16, attorneys quit the Trump lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Trump then hired Marc Scaringi to represent him there. But this attorney doesn't seem to believe in the cause. Scaringi, a radio show host, had told his listeners on November 7: “In my opinion there really are no bombshells that are about to drop that will derail a Biden presidency including these lawsuits." Scaringi had also previously blogged that Biden was “president-elect” and “the 46th president," though he subsequently deleted the post.

By November 18, General Services Administrator Emily Murphy was still refusing to release transition funds. She says there is precedent to wait for some formal "ascertainment" of the election results; she also says she has received death threats. No legal process seems likely to change the election results at this point. "It's not clear what specific actions Murphy is waiting on before granting ascertainment," CNN reported, as "Murphy has not publicly said what the definitive line will be."

On November 19, state judges in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia threw out more of Trump's lawsuits.

Natasha Turak's CNBC article on Nov. 12, "What if Trump never concedes? The Constitution will end his term, conservative lawyer John Yoo says": Yoo says it is unlikely that his lawsuits will succeed in changing the vote count. First, Trump has no proof of systematic fraud. Secondly, while recounts can boost public confidence in the vote accuracy, they will not bridge the size of the gap between Biden and Trump, so Yoo recommends that Trump "start allowing the transition to occur." On January 20, constitutionally, "all of the allegiance of the government, of the military, of the civil service" will belong to Biden.

This thread:

Also, this one:

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