Though it’s been a concern since the beginning, the idea that Trump isn’t being represented by the best minds in his current election fight is quickly being proven a reality. While Rudy Giuliani being a fair bit out of his league has long been obvious (why Trump has continued to showcase him should baffle even his most ardent supporters), figures like Jenna Ellis are also not covering themselves in glory lately.
Today, a three-judge panel put the kibosh on Trump’s Pennsylvania challenge of election certification. His legal team was none too happy. Jonathan Turley, someone who has made many pro-Trump legal arguments in the past, wasn’t impressed.
…Trump counsel Jenna Ellis denounced these judges as part of the "activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania" and part of a "cover up." This type of unprofessional attack undermines the case going before the Supreme Court as well as our legal system as a whole.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) November 27, 2020
Look, I’m always going to try to play it straight with the people who read my stuff. I’m a Republican and a Trump supporter. I have no doubt in my mind that the President’s re-election would have been far preferable to the coming dumpster fire of a Biden administration. See my article today where I lambasted some of his incoming appointments for proof of that. But at some point, yelling on Twitter about conspiracies and everyone being against you is not persuasive. The lawsuit in Pennsylvania simply wasn’t well put together. Does that matter? Or is the assertion by Trump’s lawyers that the judges should overturn an election anyway? Because that was obviously never going to happen without a mountain of compelling evidence, and if Trump was being told otherwise, his counsel has failed him greatly in an effort to just enrich themselves.
Further, looking outside the Trump legal team, Sidney Powell’s lawsuit in Georgia is mostly a joke. While I wanted her filing to really be all she claimed it to be, she couldn’t even manage to spell the word “district” right in the header. It was obviously rushed, containing a bunch of rehashed claims, some already shown to be false, and the word of an expert she borrowed from Lin Wood’s dismissed suit.
I say all this to say that some of these lawyers are not doing anyone a favor but themselves at this point. They may be making money and garnering headlines, but they are actually hurting Trump’s case if it gets to the Supreme Court. The idea that a Trump appointee and two other Republican appointees on this panel are somehow ensconced in a conspiracy to deny Trump the election just doesn’t add up. These rantings by Jenna Ellis are helping absolutely no one.
To the extent that the President even has a path forward with any legal challenge, he’s not going to get there with these people leading the way. He needed a well done, air-tight plan from the beginning. Instead, he’s gotten Giuliani’s hair-dye running and Sidney Powell saying the word “Kraken” a lot. That wasn’t what Trump needed to win this battle. To some extent, that’s his fault for letting these people take charge. Past that, some of these lawyers should have been forward enough to admit when they were in over their head. This kind of law isn’t even Sidney Powell or Rudy Giuliani’s domain, for example. That stuff matters, and it has shown in some of the ridiculously amateurish filings we’ve seen.
It didn’t have to be this way, and if you get mad at the messenger, I’d suggest you are looking in the wrong place. After this is all over, some of these lawyers who have tried to embed themselves into Republican politics deserve a hard look over to determine whether they were actually doing their best here or whether they were just trying to help themselves.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)