They’re not sending their best.
In a 90-minute, off-the-walls press conference Thursday, three attorneys for the Trump campaign used a tactic that former Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon once called “flooding the zone with shit,” throwing wild accusations at the wall and hectoring the media for not amplifying their nonsense even more.
The press conference, held in a crowded room at the Republican Party’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., featured a mix of commentary on existing lawsuits, falsehoods about elections officials, and conspiracy theories about voting software. The campaign alleged a “centralized” nationwide scheme.
Sidney Powell, a familiar Trump world attorney and one of three lawyers to take the mic Thursday — along with Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis — spent most of her time talking about voting machines and software that were backed by America-hating communists in Venezuela, Cuba and, “likely,” also China. (Also George Soros, Giuliani made sure to mention later.)
Sidney Powell, Mike Flynn's lawyer now working for Trump, says the election was rigged by "communist money" and a scheme devised by the late Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuala. pic.twitter.com/8XTnRHCzAM
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 19, 2020
Powell didn’t make any specific claims about what the evil communist voting software did to America. Rather, she speculated that the software might have been used to change the weight of certain votes — “a Biden vote counts for 1.25, a Trump vote counts for .75” — to tilt multiple states away for Biden and Trump. She made enormous claims about thousands of Trump votes being “trashed” and Biden votes being “injected.”
“These are serious federal offenses that I am confident the DOJ will be in pursuit of in very short order, if they aren’t already,” Powell said, adding separately that “some entrepreneurs out there have started crunching data themselves, in addition to multiple experts.”
Some of the theories she presented, NBC News reported last week, began in the fever swamps that are home to QAnon and other conspiracy theories. The director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a DHS agency tasked with election security efforts, was fired by the President this week after a valiant few weeks debunking those theories and others.
Giuliani, who appeared to have hair dye dripping down his face, promised that Michigan had actually supported Trump — excluding the votes in the state’s largest county by far, Wayne, home to Detroit.
"It changes the results of the election in Michigan if you take out Wayne county." pic.twitter.com/EcQSzOPpmc
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 19, 2020
Discussing Wisconsin, Giuliani said reporters shouldn’t ask about the campaign’s legal work but rather, “you should have asked me, and you should have been more astounded by, the fact that our votes are counted in Germany and in Spain by a company owned by affiliates of Chavez and Maduro.”
The three attorneys promised more lawsuits in federal court, but they also stressed that the information they were presenting was an “opening statement,” as Ellis put it at one point, and that real evidence would be rolled out later. She, too, excoriated the press for… well, something.
Trump campaign senior legal adviser @JennaEllisEsq says she would "strike 99%" of journalists from the jury and "I would be allowed to because of the fake news coverage you provide." pic.twitter.com/Wb9j20iBi7
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 19, 2020
The head fakes, digressions and accusations of media “censorship” and thuggery eventually began to repeat themselves. So, too, did the documents that the lawyers did happen to cite, including a handful of affidavits from various suits around the country.
“We have 100 more of these,” Giuliani said after describing one affidavit’s claims in a so-far-unsuccessful suit in Michigan. “I can’t show them to you because these people don’t want to be harassed.”
“There are many more affidavits here, I’d like to read them to you but I don’t have the time,” he added. “You know how many affidavits we have in the Michigan case? 220 affidavits. They’re not all public but eight of them are!”
Giuliani also whiffed on basic facts, such as what had happened in Michigan this week: The Board of Canvassers in Wayne County, home to Detroit, certified the election results to the secretary of state. Then, on Thursday, the Trump campaign incorrectly claimed in a court filing that the results hadn’t been certified, citing two affidavits from Republican board members who want to “rescind” their votes. (Trump himself had called one of the board members in the interim.) Those documents don’t carry any legal weight, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has said.
Giuliani and Powell laughed and dismissed Benson because she’s a Democrat. Giuliani then recited the same talking points about voting software in Venezuela and Germany.
Giuliani: "Are you seriously going to want me to take seriously the secretary of state of Michigan when the secretary of state of Michigan never bothered to find out that the votes in her state were being counted in Germany by a Venezuelan company?" pic.twitter.com/lFlwm3ABVt
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) November 19, 2020
As The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman pointed out, perhaps the most noteworthy thing about the legal team was who wasn’t present: Jay Sekulow, Pat Cipollone, and other high-profile Trumpers who worked the President’s impeachment defense.
“Most people who’ve worked on other Trump legal issues are staying away from this endeavor,” Haberman said.