It landed in my inbox half an hour before midnight Monday.
When I saw it early Tuesday morning – hey, I was recovering from New Year’s Eve – it was from Donald Trump, and looked very much like a legal filing.
So I roused myself for a Trump courthouse motion, undoubtedly to challenge his eviction from the primary ballots in Maine and Colorado.
But it wasn’t.
(By the way, this wasn’t just to me. An aide sent it out to a long media list.)
It included a 32-page, heavily footnoted document, based on work from Trump’s attorneys, but it was not filed in any court. The issue that will ultimately reach the Supreme Court isn’t about the ethics of the 2020 election but the merits of Democratic officials and judges bouncing the Republican front leader from state ballots.
Trump wrote that “if the Republican Senate does not step forward and address this ATROCITY, it will happen again, and be virtually impossible to WIN ELECTIONS in the future. What I was doing is bringing to light the fact that the Election was, without question, Rigged and Stolen.” Otherwise, Trump says, he would have been violating his presidential oath.
(Trump undoubtedly knows the Senate is narrowly controlled by Democrats.)
The legal document deals with five swing states. It begins by saying that the research reveals “reveal hundreds of thousands of votes were altered and/or not lawfully cast in the Presidential Election. Joe Biden needed them. On Election Night Nov. 3, 2020, President Donald J. Trump was sailing to reelection with landslide leads in numerous battlegrounds.
“In Georgia, President Trump was up by 12 points, and over 335,000 votes, with 56 percent of the vote in at 10:17 p.m. In Wisconsin, President Trump was leading by 121,380 votes and 51 points at 12:12 a.m., which Fox News anchor Bret Baier noted was ‘not a small margin.’ In Pennsylvania, President Trump was leading by 659,145 votes at 12:38 a.m., a full 15 points. In Michigan, President Trump was leading by 293,052 votes and 10 points.2 The election was over. However, precincts in Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Milwaukee kept counting until the results reached the desired outcome, which was the opposite of the will of the voters.”
There’s much, much more, but in fairness I have to say that pundits had been warning viewers for days that–this a flood of Republican votes early – is how the election would play out. In many past contests, the big cities, most of them Democratic, take far longer to count ballots because there are so many more of them. Three years ago, because of the pandemic, there were far more mail-in ballots and many were counted afterward.
I also need to say that with all the lawsuits filed, no court has found widespread fraud in the election, and Trump’s Justice Department made a similar finding.
But I want to give the former president his say. “There is no evidence Joe Biden won, he says. And many of his rock-solid supporters believe him.
Lindsey Graham, Trump’s closest pal in the Senate, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”: “I accept the election results of 2020. I’m worried about 2024. “If President Trump puts the vision out, improving security and prosperity for Americans, he will win. If he looks back, I think he will lose.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times has not published an editorial on whether the courts should overturn Trump’s ballot ban in Maine and Colorado.
A Washington Post editorial couldn’t quite get there. The issues are complicated, the paper said, but “in the absence of clarity, a body of unelected officials should be reluctant to prevent the country’s citizens from choosing an elected official to lead them. The Supreme Court, hopefully, understands that.”
Times editorial writer Jesse Wegman did write a column, interviewing Democrat Jamie Raskin, and strongly suggesting that the Supreme Court should uphold the barring of Trump as an insurgent under the 14th Amendment:
“The justices’ challenge is to not twist the law in a craven effort to appease an authoritarian movement that sees violence as the answer, win or lose.”
The two papers didn’t cover Trump’s legal document yesterday. Neither did Politico or HuffPost.
Meanwhile, despite his jabs at Fox News, Trump has agreed to an Iowa town hall interview anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. It’s a blatant bit of counterprogramming, as a CNN candidate debate is scheduled for the same hour.
Shall be interesting to see the ratings.
So far, Trump has aimed his campaign at firing up his base, even as analysts say he needs independents to win a general election. But the four indictments clearly helped him, and the ballot-banning will do so as well. Ten months out, Trump is leading Biden, whose numbers have been abysmal for an incumbent, in numerous polls.
Maybe he knows something the experts don’t.