Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Is Trump Going To Attempt A Coup?

 I realize that Joe Biden just held a press conference where he basically dismissed the refusal of Trump and a lot of other Republicans to concede the presidential election to Biden as "embarrassing," laughing at SecState Pompeo who earlier today talked about a transition to a second Trump term, and said it will all be over and fine by Jan. 20.  Maybe, but I am somebody who has taken seriously for a long time words from people like Michael Cohen and more recently Mary Trump who have said he simply will not go willingly and will continue to refuse to accept defeat.  I have watched various commentators supporting him from time to time thinking, "Will they support him if he declares martial law?"  Unfortunately, I think a lot of them will.

He certainly is laying the groundwork for making an attempt. The obvious such sign was yesterday's firing of SecDef Esper, reportedly because Esper made it clear in June he would not order US troops to move on peaceful civilian demonstraters in Washington.  Rumor has it he is about to replace the FBI and CIA directors also. And the Undersec of DOD is also out.  It certainly looks like he is trying to stock the top levels of the military and intelligence establishment with total toadies who will do his bidding.  If he makes the move and invokes the Insurrection Act or simply declares a National Emergency, which, frankly, is in his legal power. Will these newly installed flunkies stand up to him?  Who will?

I am seriously worried about this, and the more I see people like Mitch McConnell and Sean Hannity just spouting rank lies about the election, my concern grows.  I hope I am wrong, but I am now afraid we may be facing a very serious showdown over this, and I see the refusal of certain foreign authoritarian leaders friendly to Trump, such as Putin, not accepting the result, as a sign that they would support him if he made such a move, and we know he really likes and admires those guys.  This is a very bad situation.

Barkley Rosser


Fred C. Dobbs said...

‘If it succeeded, it would be a coup’

Legal experts weigh in on Trump team’s election challenges

via @BostonGlobe - November 10

Efforts by President Trump and his allies to challenge Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory, while disruptive in the short term, likely won’t succeed in keeping the polarizing Republican in the White House past January, legal and political scholars said Tuesday.

“If it succeeded, it would be a coup,” said Charles Fried, a Harvard Law professor and former US solicitor general in the Reagan administration. “There’s no indication it will succeed, or that anybody expects it to succeed.”

Fried’s comments came one day after US Attorney General William Barr authorized federal prosecutors to probe any “substantial” allegations of voter irregularities and election fraud, though no widespread evidence of either has been reported in the 2020 election. ...

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

The issue here is not the legal challenges, which will clearly go nowhere. If Trump does the coup, he will probably continue to file suits even as they get turned down. He has already refiled one that was already turned down. He keeps doing that, all the while having Fox News spread the tale of the election being rigged. Then he makes his move with the military. Fried and these people are not seeing that possibility.

That is part of the problem. We have never seen anybody pull this in US history, so many simply discount it. But I fear is a serious possibillity, and everything he has done is consistent with him doing it.

Peter Dorman said...

I understand your concern, Barkley, in light of these personnel moves. But: (1) let's see what happens with the FBI and CIA. If Trump does as you predict it will set off major alarms. (2) My reading is that, while Republican politicians like McConnell appreciate what Trump has done for them and will milk his influence for all they can get, the grandees are not willing to ditch democratic institutions at this point. Too much risk and uncertainty. They are probably already looking for an off-ramp.

2slugbaits said...

This was a concern that haunted a lot of general officers way back in the summer of 2016. They agonized over the possibility that they might have to refuse to follow an illegal order from Trump. And around that time GEN Wesley Clark (Ret) said that he was hearing the same rumblings and concerns from inside the Building. The military swears an oath to the Constitution and not the President, but at the same time the military is obligated to follow civilian leadership. Caught between a rock and a hard place.

I don't think we have an issue once the Electoral College votes to confirm Biden as the winner. After that everything is pretty much on automatic pilot and Trump is no longer the legal president come noon on 20 Jan. The big concern is that Trump might try to prevent the Electoral College from meeting. So what happens if Jan 20th arrives and the Electoral College hasn't met to confirm Biden as the winner? That's where things could get messy for the military. Trump is very unpopular with the uniformed military (surprising for a Republican president), so my guess is that the military would stand down and refuse to obey any of his orders. There is precedent for this. Back in the Watergate days the military agreed to ignore any orders from Nixon. And during the Cuban missile crisis the Chief of Naval Operations refused to obey SECDEF McNamara's order to allow him entry into the Pentagon's war room.

nobody said...

If this gets to any kind scenario where the outcome depends on the military doing the right thing the result may well be an insurrection or even a civil war.

The BLM protests have made it very clear which side law enforcement is on. If the armed forces move openly against Trump it's quite possible the police and/or the right-wing militias could start shooting.

McConnell's refusal to reign in Trump is on the verge of becoming an existential threat to American democracy. If Trump attempts a coup but is defeated, McConnell needs to be held equally accountable. That's a point both Biden, and if it comes to it, the Pentagon, should make sooner rather than late.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid it is better to worry so that we are on toes instead of our heels. Left out of the analysis is AG Barr indicating that election fraud challenges may occur now instead of waiting for results to be certified. There could be games played still with legislatures sending alternative electors due to supposed fraud concerns - I see that as more likely and don't think the military would follow an insurrection order.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

‘There’s no indication it will succeed’

Legal analysts weigh in on Trump team’s election challenges

via @BostonGlobe - November 10

President Trump’s defiant rhetoric and unprecedented refusal to accept his election defeat have Democrats and the American public feeling increasingly rattled, but there is little reason to believe his actions will change the results, legal and political experts said Tuesday.

In the past four days, Trump has tweeted repeatedly about unfounded plots to orchestrate his political demise, and with the support of a number of high-profile Republican lawmakers, he has launched a series of long-shot legal challenges in several states aimed at casting doubt on election results, despite no evidence of voter fraud.

“If it succeeded, it would be a coup,” said Charles Fried, a Harvard Law professor and former US solicitor general in the Reagan administration. “There’s no indication it will succeed, or that anybody expects it to succeed.”

On Monday, Attorney General William Barr authorized federal prosecutors to probe any “substantial” allegations of voter irregularities and election fraud, though no widespread evidence of either has been reported in the election.

This week alone, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania seeking to stop parts of the state from certifying their election results and block some mail-in ballots from being included in the tallies — while also asking for a recount in Georgia, citing “widespread allegations of voter irregularities, issues with voting machines, and poll watcher access."

But election officials from both political parties have publicly stated that voting went well, and international observers also confirmed that there were no noteworthy irregularities. That includes Georgia’s Republican lieutenant governor, who told CNN this week that he had not been notified of any credible reports of systemic voter fraud in the state. President-elect Joe Biden leads by more than 12,500 votes in Georgia but has not been declared the winner.

Even if some of the legal challenges Trump has launched are successful, the number of affected votes appears far too small to undo the results, analysts said.

“At the end of the day, in all of these cases, we’re talking about a handful of ballots, none of which are significant enough in number — even if they all went Trump’s way — to overturn the result in a particular state,” said Rachael V. Cobb, chair of the political science and legal studies department at Suffolk University.

Paul M. Collins Jr., a professor of legal studies and political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, offered an equally dim assessment of the lawsuits, saying they were filed for “purely political” reasons.

“They see them as a way of delegitimizing the Biden administration and the electoral process itself,” Collins said. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

On Tuesday, Biden said that Trump’s refusal to concede was “an embarassment," and that “it will not help the president’s legacy."

But he said it would not impede the smooth transfer of power.

"We’re already beginning the transition,” Biden said. “We are well underway.”

Wendy Schiller, chair of Brown University’s political science department, gave Trump long odds of succeeding in court.

“It remains an extraordinary uphill climb for Trump to overturn the electoral results in four states that Biden has won,” Schiller said by e-mail Tuesday, adding that in Pennsylvania alone “the vote deficit exceeds 45,000 and no one credibly believes fraud could have produced that kind of margin especially in two distinct parts of the state (Philly and Pittsburgh).”

Trump’s refusal to concede, she said, comes down to two things: politics and governance.

In Georgia, both Republican senators — Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue — will face runoff elections just after the new year, with the outcome determining whether Republicans maintain control of the Senate.

“Everything [Senate majority leader] Mitch McConnell is doing and saying is about keeping the Trump voters enraged enough to get out in full force for those Senate seats,” said Schiller. Republicans “cannot win those two seats without Trump’s core base, and they need high turnout," she added.

Fried called Barr’s recent directive an “empty gesture” and said it was designed "to somehow assuage Trump’s rage and frustration.”

He acknowledged there is an “outside, grim chance" that a Trump-appointed judge will "somehow find some basis for an injunction or a lawsuit, which might throw a monkey wrench into the works.”

But, he added, "that’s a very remote possibility.”

There have been other issues, as well.

On Monday, the General Services Administration held off on formally beginning the transition, preventing Biden’s teams from gaining access to federal agencies in a move that many experts and lawmakers — including Republican Governor Charlie Baker — said could have troubling consequences.

“By refusing to launch the transition process, the General Services Administration is unnecessarily complicating things for the Biden administration," Collins said. “This can affect government stability by delaying the ability of the Biden administration to receive important briefings, including those involving national security, and to start the process of appointing government officials.”

Sandwichman said...

Although these moves are indeed worrisome, there is a plausible "innocent" explanation. Some of these characters are alt-right Trump loyalists who were purged in the early days of the Trump administration by the "adults in the room." Installing them in seemingly "coupable" posts throws some red meat to the MAGA wackos like Cernovich, Bannon, Nunes et al. It also gives them a pay grade booster for their subsequent careers as defense "consultants." Logistically, I doubt they would have time to organize and execute a coup. They might be able to do some cover-up and espionage.

run75441 said...


In the early seventies and in the last year of my stint in the Marine Corps, we were trained in riot control using formational tactics and also how to handle snipers utilizing a mocked-up city block scenario built for us to practice crowd control. Most of us were Vietnam veterans. It was suspected we might have to deploy in Washington D.C.

Several reasons for this, the police were powerless in handling large crowds and lacked the logistical capability, Kent State, and proximity to D.C. Basically, M-14s, sheathed bayonets, Helmets and flax jackets. If you have ever been on the other end of a butt stroke with a barrel coming down on your head, it was all that was needed. The issue is to maintain control of yourselves and then the crowds.

That was then and as a member of the federal military, we would have been deployed, spent a few weekends at Camp Lejeune, and showering-in and drinking the tainted water. The possibility does exist Federal military forces could be deployed.

The last General who spoke out against the government, having an agenda was Army General "Ted" Walker who was forced to resign in 1961 for his political opinions and violating the Hatch Act by attempts to influence voting. I am not seeing the same in the generals today and many retired generals have spoken out against deploying federal troops to control civilians. I suspect this carries over into the active general-grade officers too.

Even so, trump is making a lot of noise and will secure his place in history. McConnell will be remembered for what he is also. I only wish the EC Vote January 6th would hurry up and occur and January 20th would arrive. trump can stay home and sit on his golden throne.

The votes will not be overturned as there are too many of them to toss aside.

ken melvin said...

My guess: He'll grift by way of some sort of government in exile that includes some sort of TV reality show. This would position him for a 2024 run, allow for continued, ego fueling rallies, and provide him a source of income.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump Stacks the Pentagon and Intel Agencies With Loyalists. To What End?

NY Times - November 11

... Administration officials said that Gina Haspel, the director of the C.I.A., could be next on Mr. Trump’s list of dismissals because of her long-running effort to keep classified a series of documents on the agency’s information inside the Kremlin. Among her biggest recent critics is Donald Trump Jr.

Most of the officials and former officials interviewed over the past day agreed that there was a large element of score-settling and attention-grabbing by Mr. Trump and his aides as they have defied calls to concede to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Kashyap Patel, Anthony J. Tata and Ezra Cohen-Watnick — three aides whose promotions were announced in a Pentagon statement on Tuesday — are viewed as highly ideological Trump foot soldiers. Mr. Patel has a long history of trying to discredit the investigations into Russian interference, Mr. Tata’s nomination was withdrawn over the summer in part because he had called President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader,” and Mr. Cohen-Watnick was quietly eased out of the National Security Council in 2017 after clashes with Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, then the national security adviser.

The three are not believed to have the stature to bully Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the head of the military’s Central Command, into initiating operations, whether overt or secret, against Iran or other adversaries during the final days of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

And a senior official close to Christopher C. Miller, the new acting defense secretary appointed on Monday, said that it was clear from Mr. Miller’s meetings with Mr. Trump that the president has deep reluctance in launching offensive military operations as his time in office nears an end. That is not what his political base seeks, and it runs counter to Mr. Trump’s calls to get troops out of so-called forever wars in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Editorial board of Adelson-backed newspaper tells Trump it's time to face reality

The editorial page of a newspaper owned by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson thinks it's time for President Donald Trump to face the reality of his defeat.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote that absent concrete evidence, Trump’s continued claims of pervasive voter fraud “does a disservice to his more rabid supporters” because the idea is “simply false.”

“In fact, rhetoric from Trump surrogates alleging widespread illegal activity has been devoid of detailed evidence supporting the charge that there was a concerted effort to ‘steal’ the election through corruption,” states the editorial published Wednesday night. “An electoral system that involves the participation of 150 million Americans will have its share of issues, but it’s an insult to reason and logic to argue that isolated irregularities constitute proof of a grand national conspiracy.”

The paper noted that Republicans down ballot from Trump outperformed expectations and pre-election polling — a fact that has Republican candidates pretzeling themselves to fit within the president’s characterization of the election.

“Why, if there were some orchestrated Democratic attempt to rig the balloting, did the party underachieve in congressional and statewide balloting across the country?” the editorial asks. ...

It’s the latest sign that Republican heavyweights and parts of the conservative mediasphere are beginning to talk of Trump in the past tense — at least as a sitting president. ...

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I find it odd that Adelson now somehow has a concern for "rabid" Trump supporters not noticing that he is lying. But he has lied over 22,000 times since eh took office, running at a recent rate before the election of about 50 per day, and somehow Adelson was not bothered at all. This is part of the problem. Many of these people have become so disconnected from reality that they will go along with Trump and believe whatever he says if he actually does attempt a coup. That Adelson has had enough does not prove much, other than he will stop dumping piles of money on Trump as he has in the past, I think his single largest donor.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump’s GOP Wall Cracks a Bit Over Biden Intelligence Briefings

Bloomberg - November 12

Congressional Republicans are slowly and incrementally moving past refusal to acknowledge the outcome of the presidential election, with some backing the notion of taking initial steps in the transition process.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas was among the GOP lawmakers saying that President-elect Joe Biden should get presidential-level classified briefings, if not the Presidential Daily Brief itself.

“Whether he actually gets the product itself, I think the information needs to be communicated in some way,” Cornyn told reporters Thursday. “I think he should get the information.”

He and the others, however, stopped short of recognizing Biden as the winner of the election.

President Donald Trump has steadfastly rejected the outcome, making unsubstantiated accusations of vote fraud in key states that he claims will overturn results and keep him in the White House. With Trump still holding sway over GOP voters, Republicans in Congress have largely followed the president’s lead. Only four Republican senators have congratulated Biden on winning.

Biden said Tuesday that he had not been given access to classified information or to non-public non-classified information. He also said he wasn’t receiving the Presidential Daily Brief. However, he downplayed the impact.

“Obviously the PDB would be useful but it’s not necessary,” he said. “I’m not the sitting president now.”

Trump began getting access to the brief, a compilation of threat information and intelligence reports, about a week after the 2016 election. His opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, had already conceded the morning after the election.

Cornyn is a member of the Intelligence Committee and was just re-elected himself. “It’s part of the transition,” he said of the briefings. “If in fact he does win in the end, I think they need to be able to hit the ground running.”

Other Senate Republicans had similar comments, including Chuck Grassley of Iowa and James Lankford of Oklahoma.

Lankford said in a radio interview in his home state Wednesday that as of now it “looks like” Biden is winning and said he’d step in by Friday to try and ensure he gets full intelligence briefings. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

"odd that Adelson now somehow has a concern for "rabid" Trump supporters"

(Perhaps it's Mrs Adelson.)

Dr. Miriam Adelsdon, the Tel Aviv-born wife of GOP megadonor and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, is actually “far wealthier” than her husband, the Guardian reported Monday.

In a profile in the British daily’s Ford Foundation-funded Big Money series, for which it said Adelson declined to be interviewed, the Guardian noted that while Sheldon Adelson appeared in 21st place on Forbes magazine’s 2018 billionaire list, and Miriam “appears nowhere,” she directly controls a 41.6% stake — currently worth $17.4 billion — in their Las Vegas Sands Corp casino company, compared to his 10%. Her overall financial assets, it added, “make Miriam wealthier than a number of the world’s richest men, including Rupert Murdoch and Charles Schwab.”

Miriam Adelson, 73, is “the driver in the couple’s political and philanthropic activities ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump’s Show Has Been Canceled

NY Times - November 12

For years, we’ve been living inside a story defined by Donald Trump’s reality-TV worldview. America finally changed the channel.

Many incumbent presidents have gone on the campaign trail to make their cases for a second term. Donald J. Trump was the first to campaign for a second season.

At a 2019 campaign rally in Minnesota, he described his victory in 2016 as “one of the greatest nights in the history of television.” And he often seemed to cast his re-election argument less in terms of policies than as a TV producer’s pitch to keep the show going.

Only with him, he argued, would you get the zing, the pizazz, the drama that kept you on the edge of your seat. A vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., he told a rally in Erie, Pa., on Oct. 20, would be a vote for “boredom.”

“Look at all those cameras,” he said, gesturing at the press pen. “If you had Sleepy Joe, nobody’s going to be interested in politics anymore.

On Nov. 3, a majority of the electorate answered, “You promise?”

If Donald Trump’s loss still seems somehow unreal, and not just to the president’s lawyers, it may be the aftereffect of having spent years trapped in his personal Truman Show. It’s distorted our sense of what’s normal. Was it ever not like this? Was there a time when each day didn’t rattle us awake to the blaring alarm clock of his Fox News livetweets? ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump insists he will be proven the winner, but aides say he has no serious plan to overturn election

Washington Post via @BostonGlobe - November 12

... in fact, the president has no clear endgame to actually win the election — and, in an indication he may be starting to come to terms with his loss, he is talking privately about running again in 2024.

Trump aides, advisers, and allies said there is no grand strategy to reverse the election results, which show President-elect Joe Biden with a majority of electoral college votes, as well as a 5 million-vote lead in the national popular vote.

Asked about Trump’s ultimate plan, one senior administration official chuckled and said, “You’re giving everybody way too much credit right now.”

Republican officials have scrambled nationwide to produce evidence of widespread voter fraud that could bolster the Trump campaign’s legal challenges, but no such evidence has surfaced. And Biden’s lead in several states targeted by the Trump campaign has expanded as late-counted votes are reported. In all-important Pennsylvania, the Democrat now leads by more than 50,000 votes.

Still, the absence of evidence and of a comprehensive and realistic plan to overcome Trump’s significant deficit and secure him a second term have not stopped some of the leading figures in the administration and the Republican Party from amplifying the president’s misinformation about the election outcome.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent pledge for “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration” and Vice President Mike Pence’s assertion that the election was not over have helped sow public doubt about the integrity of the vote and raised concerns from allies abroad about the state of America’s democracy. ...

Trump has been spending his days largely on the phone, calling advisers, allies, and friends. The president has been “trying to find people who will give him good news,” one adviser said.

Still, Trump has indicated in some of these conversations that he understands Biden will take over the presidency on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. Rather than talking about a second term, Trump has been matter-of-factly discussing a possible 2024 campaign — an indication that he knows his time as president is coming to an end, at least for now.

“I’m just going to run in 2024. I’m just going to run again,” Trump has been saying, according to a senior administration official who has spoken with him this week.

That official, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly recount sensitive internal conversations. ...

Even the possibility of a future Trump run would help keep him relevant — and in the media spotlight — and effectively freeze the GOP primary field. Many of the party’s rising stars and buzzed-about 2024 hopefuls — including Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, and Pence — are unlikely to run if Trump is planning another campaign, Trump allies said. ...

Congressional Republicans are also largely placating Trump and his false claims of victory because of political considerations, a senior Republican congressional aide said. With both Georgia Senate seats coming down to a Jan. 5 runoff, top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, are loath to do anything that could anger Trump.

Other GOP lawmakers, especially those up for reelection in two years, don’t want to risk offending the president to the point that he urges his base to oust them in a primary, that aide added. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump Floats Improbable Survival Scenarios as He Ponders His Future

NY Times - November 12

At a meeting on Wednesday at the White House, President Trump had something he wanted to discuss with his advisers, many of whom have told him his chances of succeeding at changing the results of the 2020 election are thin as a reed.

He then proceeded to press them on whether Republican legislatures could pick pro-Trump electors in a handful of key states and deliver him the electoral votes he needs to change the math and give him a second term, according to people briefed on the discussion.

It was not a detailed conversation, or really a serious one, the people briefed on it said. Nor was it reflective of any obsessive desire of Mr. Trump’s to remain in the White House.

“He knows it’s over,” one adviser said. But instead of conceding, they said, he is floating one improbable scenario after another for staying in office while he contemplates his uncertain post-presidency future.

There is no grand strategy at play, according to interviews with a half-dozen advisers and people close to the president. Mr. Trump is simply trying to survive from one news cycle to the next, seeing how far he can push his case against his defeat and ensure the continued support of his Republican base.

By dominating the story of his exit from the White House, he hopes to keep his millions of supporters energized and engaged for whatever comes next.

The president has insisted to aides that he really defeated Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Nov. 3, but it is unclear whether he actually believes it. And instead of conducting discreet requests for recounts, Mr. Trump has made a series of spurious claims, seizing on conspiracies fanned on the internet.

The latest was on Thursday, when he falsely claimed on Twitter that Dominion voting machines switched hundreds of thousands of his votes to Mr. Biden, citing a report he had seen on the fringe network OANN, something even his supporters called ridiculous and a federal agency overseeing cybersecurity disavowed in a statement.

Advisers said his efforts were in keeping with one of his favorite pastimes: creating a controversy and watching to see how it plays out.

As a next step, Mr. Trump is talking seriously about announcing that he is planning to run again in 2024, aware that whether he actually does it or not, it will freeze an already-crowded field of possible Republican candidates. And, Republicans say, it will keep the wide support he showed even in defeat and could guarantee a lucrative book deal or speaking fees.

In the meantime, Mr. Trump has spent his days toggling between his White House residence and the Oval Office, watching television coverage about the final weeks of his presidency. His mood is often bleak, advisers say, though he is not raising his voice in anger, despite the impression left by his tweets, which are often in capital letters.

But the work of government has been reduced to something of a sideshow for the president. He has not made any public appearances except for a visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day since an angry statement a week ago.

And he has not spoken about the coronavirus pandemic or mentioned it on Twitter despite the staggering growth in positive cases and the number of West Wing aides and outside advisers who have been diagnosed with the virus in the past week.

Several advisers have bluntly told Mr. Trump that the chances of changing the election’s outcome are almost nonexistent, including in a meeting with him on Saturday at the White House to which the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, dispatched aides, even as he has generally backed Mr. Trump’s desire to keep fighting. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

While most Republicans have declined to publicly oppose the president, more have become vocal that the time has come, amid the growing pandemic, to allow a transition to take place.

“Look, I’m worried about this virus. I’m not looking at what the merits of the case are,” said Gov. Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio, about Mr. Trump’s lawsuits in an appearance on Thursday on CNN. “It would appear that Joe Biden is going to be the next president of the United States.”

Karl Rove, the architect of President George W. Bush’s presidency and an informal adviser to Mr. Trump, wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that “closing out this election will be a hard but necessary step toward restoring some unity and political equilibrium.”

He added that after Mr. Trump’s “days in court are over, the president should do his part to unite the country by leading a peaceful transition and letting grievances go.”

A peaceful transition is not as much on Mr. Trump’s mind right now as settling scores both inside and outside the administration. ...

The president has nursed a burning anger at Fox News for calling Arizona for Mr. Biden on election night, and has entertained suggestions from allies to start some kind of competing conservative-leaning news network, whether by trying to join forces with an existing property like OANN or Newsmax, or forming a digital network of his own, as Axios reported.

In a tweet on Thursday, Mr. Trump continued his attacks on his once loyal supporters, declaring that Fox News’s “daytime ratings have completely collapsed.”

“Weekend daytime even WORSE,” he added. “Very sad to watch this happen, but they forgot what made them successful, what got them there. They forgot the Golden Goose. The biggest difference between the 2016 Election, and 2020, was @FoxNews!”

Several Republicans expressed doubt on Thursday that Mr. Trump would ever be able to put together anything that could overtake Fox.

And allies acknowledge that he could not do both a presidential campaign and create a news network at the same time, and they questioned whether he would keep up his animus toward Fox if it were to offer him a lucrative contributor deal once he is out of office.

Some advisers had hoped that Mr. Trump would accept the state of the race by the end of this week, but a looming recount in Georgia may delay that. The president has told some advisers that if the race is certified for Mr. Biden, he will announce a 2024 campaign shortly afterward.

The president’s goal for now is to delay certification of the election results, a process that has begun in some states. But his approach to lawsuits aimed at delaying that certification has been as scattered as his own thinking about the future. ...

Advisers have nudged the president to stop talking about “fraud” because that has legal implications that his team has not been able to back up. So Mr. Trump has taken to pronouncing the election “rigged,” one of his favorite words but one with dangerous implications in terms of how his own supporters view the election’s ultimate outcome.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Fox News has been proven right. Earlier this evening the lead by Biden in Arizona exceeded 11,000 votes, while the number left to count is about 10,000, making it mathematically impossible for Trump to win there. CNN, NBC, and WaPo have now joined Fox and AP in giving the state to Biden. Only NC and GA remain out, with Trump leading in NC and Biden leading in GA, where his lead continues to grow. It really is over.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

NY Times has also joined the call of AZ for Biden. Indeed given the math here, it is now completely silly of any outlet to remain not calling it, even if somehow Trump continues to insist that he has a chance there. However, he seems to have been more focused on some other larger states, PA, GA, MI, and WI, although he did file one very silly suit in AZ in the last few days that had his lawyer embarrassedly having to admit to the judge under questioning that materials he presented in court to support claims of fraud did not do so as claimed.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Election officials directly contradict Trump on voting system fraud

NY Times via @BostonGlobe - November 13

Hours after President Trump repeated a baseless report that a voting machine system “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide,” he was directly contradicted by a group of federal, state and local election officials, who issued a statement Thursday declaring flatly that the election “was the most secure in American history” and that “there is no evidence” any voting systems were compromised.

The rebuke, in a statement by a coordinating council overseeing the voting systems used around the country, never mentioned Trump by name. But it amounted to a remarkable corrective to a wave of disinformation that Trump has been pushing across his Twitter feed.

The statement was distributed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is responsible for helping states secure the voting process. Coming directly from one of Trump’s own Cabinet agencies, it further isolated the president in his false claims that widespread fraud cost him the election.

The statement also came as a previously unified Republican Party showed signs of cracking on the question of whether to keep backing the president.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, who endorsed Trump’s reelection, became the latest Republican official to say what Trump and his allies refuse to accept. The GOP governor acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden’s lead is getting “bigger and bigger by the day” and Trump’s legal options are dissipating.

"Joe Biden is the president-elect, and I think like most Americans, we suspect he’ll be taking the oath of office in January,” Sununu said, insisting there was no legal fraud in his state, which Biden easily carried.

Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio said it was time to call Biden the “president-elect.” The Republican attorney general of Arizona said Trump would not end up winning his state, despite the president’s protestations.

Karl Rove, the architect of president George W. Bush’s presidency and an informal adviser to Trump, wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that “closing out this election will be a hard but necessary step toward restoring some unity and political equilibrium.” ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

China Congratulates Biden on Presidential Victory

NY Times - November 13

After days of silence, China on Friday congratulated Joseph R. Biden Jr. on his election as president of the United States, signaling a start to its relations with the incoming administration after years of hostility and distrust under President Trump.

“We express our congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a daily news conference, referring to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. “We respect the choice of the American people.” ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Texas senator Cornyn suggests it's too soon to declare Biden the winner because Puerto Rico is still counting votes

via @TheWeek - November 12

The Senate Republicans who have not conceded publicly that President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election argue that President Trump has the right to challenge the results in court, or point out that the vote totals haven't been certified yet, or admit they need his voters to show up in Georgia's special Senate elections, or privately acknowledge that they would pay a political price for not humoring Trump's baseless fraud claims. Some say it's best to let the courts swat down the fraud allegations so people who voted for Trump will feel assured the system worked.

But this reason for letting "process run its course" posted by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Thursday is new.

Another example of why it is prudent to let the process run its course: Thousands of Uncounted Votes Found a Week After Election in Puerto Rico https://t.co/YYxMhNSAdi

— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) November 12, 2020

Puerto Rico, of course, doesn't get to vote for president (or send members of Congress to Washington), so it wasn't clear why Cornyn would bring up its uncounted votes. ...


Thousands of Uncounted Votes Found a Week After Election in Puerto Rico

NY Times - November 11

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Biden projected to win Georgia presidential race

via @BostonGlobe - November 13

Two news networks have projected that Joe Biden will win the presidential election in Georgia and President Donald Trump will win North Carolina, the last two state races to be called.

NBC News called Biden the “apparent winner” in Georgia due to the ongoing recount, while calling Trump the winner in North Carolina. ABC News also projected Biden as the winner in Georgia.

Both networks’ projections would give Biden 306 electors, far above the 270 needed to win, to 232 for Trump.

Despite Biden’s comfortable margin in the Electoral College, Trump has refused to concede, mounting legal challenges in several states to try to stop the counting or disqualify certain groups of ballots and calling for a recount in Georgia. ...

Georgia hand tally of presidential race gets underway

ATLANTA (AP) — Election officials in Georgia’s 159 counties started counting ballots Friday morning for a hand tally of the presidential race that stems from an audit required by state law.

The law requires that one race be audited by hand to check that the machines counted the ballots accurately, not because of any suspected problems with the results. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger chose to audit the presidential race and said the tight margin — Democrat Joe Biden leads Republican President Donald Trump by 14,000 votes — meant a full hand count was necessary. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

The deal in Georgia is, apparently, that if the margin
of victory in a state-wide vote is less than (or equal
to) 0.5%, a 'full hand count' can be requested (by

In this case, that would be GA's GOP Secretary State, evidently.

Georgia secretary of state announces hand recount of presidential race

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Wednesday that his state will conduct a manual hand recount of all ballots cast in the presidential race in the state, as he faces growing pressure from fellow Georgia Republicans over unsubstantiated accusations of voting irregularities and mismanagement of the state's elections. ...

He said the presidential contest will undergo a risk-limiting audit, which requires a full by-hand recount in each of Georgia's 159 counties.

Ninety-seven counties in the state have sent in final numbers to the state, Raffensperger said, and the current margin of votes between President-elect Biden and President Trump is 14,111. He vowed that his office has been investigating, and will continue to investigate, all instances of voting irregularities. ...

Raffensperger's latest announcement comes after the Trump campaign and Georgia Republican Party sent him a letter on Tuesday requesting a manual hand recount of all ballots cast in the state before it certifies its results. In its letter to the secretary of state, the Republicans allege voting discrepancies and statewide errors, though they did not cite specific evidence of such irregularities. ...

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