Christie calls Trump’s legal efforts a ‘national embarrassment’ as more Republicans speak out

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime ally of President Donald Trump, said Sunday that the president’s legal battle over the election results has reached the point of “national embarrassment” and that it’s time for the president to move on.

“Quite frankly, the conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment,” Christie said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” He pointed to lawyer Sidney Powell‘s various claims about voter fraud for which she has been “unwilling to go on TV and defend and lay out the evidence that she supposedly has.”

“This is outrageous conduct by any lawyer,” he said, adding that Trump’s team often discusses election fraud “outside the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom they don’t plead fraud and they don’t argue fraud.”

Noting that he voted for Trump, Christie said “elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen.”

“You have an obligation to present the evidence,” he said. “The evidence has not been presented. And you must conclude — as [Fox News host] Tucker Carlson even concluded the other night — that if you’re unwilling to come forward and present the evidence, it must mean the evidence doesn’t exist.”

Nov. 22, 202007:59

Christie’s comments come after a federal judge in Pennsylvania eviscerated the Trump campaign’s latest legal effort, dismissing it and saying it was premised on a “strained legal argument without merit.”

In a 37-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann wrote that the Trump campaign asked him to “disenfranchise almost seven million voters” in the Keystone State, adding that with such a request, one might expect “factual proof of rampant corruption.” Brann said such proof was not presented.

“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state,” Brann wrote.

It was the latest blow to the president’s ongoing efforts to challenge election results. Trump and Republicans have filed more than 30 lawsuits so far, with most being dismissed, withdrawn or rejected. No courts have found evidence of voter fraud.

Trump’s legal effort is currently spearheaded by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, seen sweating a dark liquid down both sides of his face during a free-wheeling 90-minute news conference on Thursday. Also at the helm is campaign attorney Jenna Ellis, who accused a longtime Republican pollster of having “MicroPenis syndrome” on Saturday.

Powell had also been involved, appearing alongside Giuliani and Ellis this week. But the campaign appeared to cut ties with her on Sunday, a day after she falsely accused election officials in Georgia of being paid to enable voter fraud.

“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.”

After the Pennsylvania ruling on Saturday, the Trump campaign’s legal team spun the loss as a positive update as it allowed them to more quickly expedite an appeal.

The president over the weekend expressed anger on Twitter, defending his continued legal battles and blasting Republicans who encouraged him to accept the election results. He also expressed hope that state lawmakers will “have the COURAGE” to ignore the vote and declare him the winner if need be. Republican legislative leaders in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan have all signaled that this will not happen.

After meeting with Trump at the White House Friday, the Republican leaders of the Michigan state Senate and House said they were not “made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.”

Speaking with Fox News on Sunday, Trump campaign senior adviser Lara Trump said it is still “a possibility” that legislatures could override the vote.

In order to overturn the vote, the president will have to overcome deficits of more than 10,000 votes in at least three states, far outside the number reversed in any statewide recount dating back decades. After certifying its results following a hand recount, the Trump campaign is now requesting a separate machine recount in Georgia, and it also requested a partial recount in two Democratic-leaning Wisconsin counties last week. That recount is ongoing.

NBC News has projected President-elect Joe Biden the apparent winner in both states and, as it stands, he is projected to win 306 electoral votes. That is the same haul Trump captured in 2016 when he dubbed his victory a “landslide.”

This weekend saw more elected Republicans speak out on the president’s efforts, though most have yet to acknowledge Biden’s victory. After the Pennsylvania ruling, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said the president had now “exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania” and that recent developments make clear Biden will be the next president.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who has previously called Joe Biden the President-elect, described Trump leaning on state legislators as a “pressure campaign” that was “not only unprecedented but inconsistent with our democratic process.”

“It is time to begin the full and formal transition process,” she said Sunday in a statement.

Because of the president’s refusal to accept the results, his head of the General Services Administration has refused to ascertain Biden’s victory, leaving the transition in limbo.

Speaking with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said “it’s time to start a transition, to at least cooperate with a transition,” though he is still waiting to see how the president’s legal effort plays out.

But on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said the president’s continued election efforts are “beginning to look like we’re a banana republic.”

“It’s time for them to stop the nonsense,” he said. “It just gets more bizarre every single day and, frankly, I’m embarrassed that more people in the party aren’t speaking up.”

The president took aim at Hogan soon after, calling him a “RINO” — Republican in name only — on Twitter, linking to a Breitbart writeup of a Washington Post report highlighting how Hogan purchased flawed coronavirus tests from South Korea.

“If you had done your job, America’s governors wouldn’t have been forced to fend for themselves to find tests in the middle of a pandemic, as we successfully did in Maryland,” Hogan responded. “Stop golfing and concede.”

Elsewhere on CNN, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said the voters in his state “spoke,” choosing Biden.

“And here again in Michigan, it’s not a razor-thin margin,” he said. “It’s 154,000 votes. You got to let those votes stand.”