(CNN) — While President Donald Trump’s legal strategy for contesting the election results is being shaped at the highest level by well-known and experienced hands, his legal team on the ground has not seen the involvement of a top-tier group of the caliber he had. that of George W. Bush. during the Florida count in 2000.
And as former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead has been highlighted in recent days, Trump has been asking why his legal team doesn’t seem more organized. The president suggested that he does not think they are up to the task of defending him in court. And he asked his team to find better lawyers, according to a person who spoke with him.
The public-facing effort has been spearheaded by Rudy Giuliani and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. These are Trump loyalists whose credibility has waned among the kind of elite legal talent that a presidential campaign might draw on during an election challenge.
Lawyers involved in Trump’s campaign strategy
On the legal team, Trump’s efforts to contest election results in states like Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Michigan have been guided by attorneys who have stood by the president’s side for years. The group includes Jay Sekulow. Sekulow is the conservative attorney who helped lead Trump’s defense in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Sekulow is now helping orchestrate some of the legal disputes brought up in Pennsylvania.
Also involved is William Consovoy, who has spearheaded Trump’s long-term – and so far successful – effort. to block access to your financial records as part of an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney.
“What a campaign to staff a statewide count, let alone multiple counts, must do is overwhelming,” said Benjamin Ginsberg. Ginsberg is a prominent Republican election attorney who served as a national adviser to the Bush campaigns.
«’Bush vs. Gore ‘was a state. We made a call and hundreds of attorneys, political agents and many others responded, ”Ginsberg said. “Even with that, he pushed the party to the limit to make a single state. In the best of cases, it is not proven that the Trump campaign can have the type of infrastructure that they would really need to achieve this, “he said.
On Friday, the political operation of Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp sent out a “call for Republican lawyers.” He said there were ballots to count. And he said that the party at the state level “is assembling a team of highly qualified lawyers to ensure that the process is fair and transparent.”
How could the landscape change
Republican sources listed some prominent conservative lawyers who would be among the names a party presidential campaign would turn to for a serious legal battle in the face of a contested election. Among these names are Noel Francisco, a former Trump attorney general whose firm, Jones Day, did Trump’s campaign work. Also Emmet Flood, a partner at Williams & Connolly who was Trump’s acting adviser in the White House. And Cleta Mitchell, active in conservative causes, including gun rights.
So far they have not appeared in court.
“The frustration expressed by the president over the apparent unwillingness of his legal team to assume certain positions is not unusual, as there are many cases where clients want their attorneys to take steps that attorneys simply do not see as viable.” said Ashley Taylor, an attorney who has represented Republican candidates on recount and other electoral law matters.
Some of this could change, say Republican legal sources, if Trump manages to adjust the race with victories in states like Arizona and Georgia. That would allow the campaign to focus its efforts on a single state.
So far, Pennsylvania has been the focus of legal cases. There the Trump campaign and the Republican Party have filed claims since before the election. They did so as a way of laying the groundwork for contesting the final count.
In the 2000 election, Republicans were able to focus on Florida and its narrow margins. There they were able to reduce their lawsuits to contest how canvassing boards guessed voters’ intent on paper ballots. That kind of simple strategy hasn’t emerged in the 2020 election cases.
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