A few quick notes before we feast.
I wanted to give all my beautiful babies a few things to read before we all go on vacation. Obviously, I wish everyone and their families a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you all are safe and free of COVID-19. I’ve been talking with so many friends lately and while it is sucks that have to skip out on being with family this year (Elisabeth and I usually travel for Christmas) we are also coming to the end of the tunnel, with the light now fully visible. We will have next year to celebrate (possibly even earlier than the initial July date we were given by Robert Redfield and Anthony Fauci). Hunker down for the next few months and we are almost out of this nightmare.
This is a pretty good round-up of the total embarrassment that is the Rudy Giuliani-led legal “adventure” of the Trump Campaign. I think the general assumption from non-doomscrolling folks is that Trump’s legal challenges to the 2020 election have more or less been failing in court. However, I think that only touches on the surface of how big of a failure it has been.
It should be said at the outset that the reason Giuliani’s legal challenges are failing (the team is currently 0 for 34 in court, unless you want to count a half-win in Pennsylvania) is because the challenges themselves are meritless. The team cannot even produce evidence of fraud to use in court and they state this explicitly when they file.
The entire enterprise has been haphazard and embarrassing for the team itself:
Perhaps the most cringe-worthy and embarrassing moment was last week when Giuliani had to have basic, 1L concepts explained to him by a judge. Kudos to Rudy, who was living out the actual nightmare of every lawyer in the country:
This is generally what happens when you haven’t practiced law for roughly 20 years. The idea that Giuliani is a master lawyer is based on a (little inflated) history of his career that is far-removed from our current moment. He is clearly out of practice, and instead of leading some sort of intelligent legal fight, he is embarrassing himself at every turn.
In one of the Bulwark’s podcasts, they had a good description of Giuliani: He is a clown with a flamethrower. While he is a clown, he still has a flamethrower, which can burn you. Is it possible that Trump continuously tossing his toys out of the crib about the election could do lasting damage to the Republic? In short, yes. But I think in the near-term, he is actually doing more damage to his own base and possibly the GOP as a whole, to the extent his hardcore base rubs up against the “GOP as a whole.”
Historically, when a populace believes that elections are “fixed” or pre-determined, their participation in the voting process goes down. This is generally called “voter apathy” in political science. There are real signs that Republicans are worried about this happening in Georgia, where the runoff elections take place in just over a month. There is already a movement in pro-Trump social media to #boycott the runoffs and write-in Trump’s name for the Senate seats up for grabs. So, if you are asking, “Will Trump’s refusal to concede damage American democracy?” you might be better served if you ask, “If Trump isn’t on the ticket, where do his supporters go?” Virginia Heffernan had a good thread that expressed skepticism of “Trumpism without Trump:”
Ultimately, it’s impossible to know how this turns out. But her point about “Clintonistas” now souring on the former President was especially good.
Going back to our topic from last week, Andrew Weissman has a “should-read” op-ed in the New York Times about whether or not Trump should be prosecuted. Money quote:
Sweeping under the rug Mr. Trump’s federal obstruction would be worse still. The precedent set for not deterring a president’s obstruction of a special counsel investigation would be too costly: It would make any future special counsel investigation toothless and set the presidency de facto above the law.
Weissman also ties into my little statement above about Giuliani’s “inflated” résumé. Giuliani has long been touted as the attorney who took on the Mafia in New York. While that’s true (and the Mob even contemplated putting a bounty on Giuliani’s head), it should be noted that despite securing a lot of convictions, Giuliani ultimately couldn’t close the deal. Even after his pursuits, the Mafia remained active for years until Andrew Weissman and John Gleeson were able to indict the biggest fish swimming in the Five Families, John Gotti, which was really the most substantive weakening of the Mafia in New York. While Giuliani laid some ground work, it was really the scrappy Eastern District of New York that closed the deal.
Also, a fun little history: Weissman was on Robert Mueller’s team and Gleeson is currently in court arguing against Sidney Powell - who was recently dismissed from Trump’s legal team for being too insane even for them - in the Mike Flynn case.
OK, now for the most important part of this Jackal. Is there a definitive Thanksgiving cocktail? I think there is and it is criminally underrated: The Prospector.
The Prospector is relatively simple:
2 oz of Bourbon
3/4 oz of Averna Amaro
1/2 oz of Sherry (the recipe says Pedro Ximenez but I don’t think it’s a dealbreaker)
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass, then express the orange peel over your coupe (which should be chilled) and dump it in. Easy peasy.
Here’s my issue with the original recipe: You should do an orange peel rather than a lemon peel. There is a little-known trick for a really good Old Fashioned: Most recipes nowadays call for a lemon peel and an orange peel. However, you should express the orange peel and rub it around the glass, but (in contrast) only express the lemon peel.
Why? Because when you add too much lemon it can overpower a drink. Orange, in this case, pairs much more nicely with all the flavors in The Prospector, which tastes like a giant fruitcake with bourbon. It is my go-to Thanksgiving drink.
Again, Happy Thanksgiving my habibis!