The crazy Trumpists are turning on the even-crazier Trumpists https://t.co/Nlr8dZLDSl— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 19, 2020
At the White House on Friday, President Trump held what may have been his most deranged meeting yet. In it, the president raged at his loyalists for betraying him, and discussed taking extralegal measures to overturn the election.
The meeting, first reported by the New York Times, included lawyer and conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell, convicted felon Michael Flynn, and Rudy Giuliani. One plan floated at the meeting was for Trump to appoint Powell as a “special counsel” overseeing allegations of voter fraud. Powell’s voter fraud claims are so fantastical she has been mocked even by other far-right legal conspiracy theorists. Andrew McCarthy, a former birther and author of one book titled How Obama Embraces Islam’s Sharia Agenda and another calling for his impeachment on multiple counts, has described Powell’s vote-fraud claims as “loopy.”
But the election was not close enough for him to pursue either strategy, whatever chance he had for some kind of Bush v. Gore replay has passed. The measures he is now contemplating lie outside the normal framework for resolving election disputes, and would require, at minimum, almost uniform levels of GOP support.
Trump does not have that. Indeed the striking thing is that he is veering to positions so extreme and self-defeating that even his loyalists have blanched. Perhaps the most alarming fact about the Friday meeting is that Giuliani, who has spent months spreading fantastical claims of imagined voter fraud, became a quasi-voice of reason. Giuliani has proposed using the Department of Homeland Security to seize and examine voting machines — a move the Department has resisted — but even Giuliani opposes appointing a nutter like Powell.
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