Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie criticized the ongoing legal charade being orchestrated by President Donald Trump and his lawyers, calling the conduct of Trump’s legal team a “national embarrassment” Sunday on ABC News’ This Week. Trump has racked up dozens of courtroom losses around the country over the last three weeks, as Trump’s band of misfit lawyers continues to make increasingly outlandish claims. “Elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen,” said Christie, an early supporter of Trump after dropping out of the 2016 presidential race.
Trump’s legal effort, represented in public by the team of Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and Sidney Powell, has largely consisted of making absurd claims of sweeping conspiracies during press conferences, on right-wing media, and on Twitter, trying to cast doubt on the integrity of the election. Meanwhile, this same legal team has been going before judges and getting run out of court for alleging … almost nothing substantive at all. “When they go inside the courtroom, they don’t plead fraud, and they don’t argue fraud,” Christie said of Trump’s legal team. “You have an obligation to present the evidence. The evidence has not been presented, and you must conclude, as Tucker Carlson even concluded the other night, that if you are unwilling to come forward and present the evidence, it must mean the evidence doesn’t exist.”
Christie’s denunciation of Trump’s legal effort comes as murmurs of disapproval have begun to bubble to the surface from Republican senators who have so far buried their heads deep in the sand, tacitly endorsing Trump’s efforts to overturn the election through their silence on the matter. We’re still far off from national Republicans “doing the right thing,” but the unease with their position appears to be growing, if at a leisurely pace.
In a delicious bout of the crazies eating their own, Trump’s legal team disavowed one of its founding members, Sidney Powell, after she went on TV and basically explained how the 2020 election was stolen from Trump by “communist money” and former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013 but somehow managed to rig “the algorithm” (in the future) of Dominion Voting Systems, the voting system used in Michigan and Georgia. Powell went on to accuse Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, of accepting bribes as part of this global conspiracy. Giuliani plunged into the morass last week, saying he was in touch with “whistleblowers” from Dominion.
Trump had (obviously) tweeted his support for Powell and her cockamamie theories, but on Sunday the Trump legal team that Powell once called “an elite strike force team” disavowed her. “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” Giuliani and Ellis said in a statement. “She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.” Trump advisers told the Washington Post that the president had soured on Powell’s exuberance and creativity when it came to the truth after literally everyone else in the world said it was nuts, but mostly because Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said so. “She was too crazy even for the president,” a campaign official said. And that’s saying something.
Support Slate’s politics coverage
Slate is covering the stories that matter to you. Join Slate Plus to support our work. You’ll get unlimited articles and a suite of great benefits.