They called themselves an “elite strike force team.” But the madcap news conference by President Donald Trump’s attorneys on Thursday afternoon was more campaign farce than cogent legal argument, as Rudy Giuliani offered various conspiracy theories and a litany of false claims that he pledged would reverse the outcome of the 2020 White House race.
“I guess we’re the senior lawyers,” Giuliani told a packed room of reporters inside the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., flanked by fellow Trump campaign attorneys Jenna Ellis, Joseph diGenova and Sidney Powell.
In the 90 minutes that followed, the former New York mayor and his colleagues spun a web of mistruths that made mention of the Clinton Foundation, liberal megadonor George Soros and the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez.
And although Ellis described their remarks as merely an “opening statement” on behalf of the campaign, the discursive briefing — during which streams of what appeared to be hair dye dripped down both sides of Giuliani’s face — belied almost immediately the desperation of Trump’s flailing effort to undermine President-elect Joe Biden’s victory more than two weeks after Election Day.
Just hours earlier on Thursday, the Trump campaign withdrew its last remaining federal lawsuit in Michigan after having no substantive success with similar pieces of litigation across several other swing states. Nevertheless, the president’s legal team pushed an alternate political reality at their news conference, which seemed designed primarily to show their boss that they were still fighting in the face of facts.
Giuliani spoke next to a map of the United States that purported to show “multiple pathways to victory,” with six key battlegrounds highlighted in red: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All of those states have been called for Biden. But the president’s personal attorney insisted Trump would prevail — all while baselessly claiming the president was the victim of a “plan from a centralized place to execute these various acts of voter fraud.”
Giuliani said this scheme had been “specifically focused on big cities” with a “long history of corruption,” all controlled by “Democrat bosses.” Mail-in ballots “are particularly prone to fraud,” he falsely claimed, and the lack of security protocols in some states meant that votes could have been cast by “a dead person” or even “Mickey Mouse.”
“What I’m describing to you is a massive fraud. It isn’t a little, teeny one,” Giuliani lamented, going on to complain to reporters that “the coverage of this has been almost as dishonest as the scheme itself.”
Trump eagerly promoted the spectacle on his Twitter feed, writing that Americans could tune in to watch his lawyers “on @newsmax, @OANN & maybe @FoxNews. An open and shut case of voter fraud. Massive numbers!”
And despite the length of their news conference, Ellis said that they had offered only a “brief description” of the president’s case. “That happens in a courtroom all the time, where that’s not the fact-finding process. That is just an overview. That is what we have given you today, because the American people deserve to know what we have uncovered in the last couple of weeks. Remember, this is such a short time frame,” she said.
In fact, two weeks have elapsed since Election Day, there is still no evidence to support accusations of mass voter fraud, and the 2020 election has been deemed to be “the most secure in American history” by a group of federal officials, election supervisors and voting technology vendors.