The story of what the GOP really thinks is sometimes told by real lawyers who face actual judges. Where reputations and law licenses and jailings for contempt of court are at stake, bullshit is a difficult narrative to sustain. Gaslight is, in short, insufficient to read a legal brief by. While much of the nonsense sustained by the Republican Party is told by members of congress who happen to also be lawyers, lawyers who actually practice the law for a living understand that much of what they say cannot be defended where it counts: in a court of law.
Lawyers like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis are the exception not the rule. Rudy has been suspended from practicing law, Sidney is in economic hot water and the fine reputation Ellis used to enjoy is now in tatters. They all lost either their professions or their minds. Most lawyers worked hard for their positions and their licenses and they want to keep them. That’s why they very often tell the truth, and the truth is an endless embarrassment to the GOP.
Consider for a moment Justin Riemer, the Republican National Committee’s chief counsel. It has recently come out that in November he wrote to Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington (blessedly no relation, brothers and sisters) and discouraged her from sustaining the illusion that Trump won the election. “What Rudy and Jenna are doing is a joke and they are getting laughed out of court,” Riemer wrote on Nov. 28, “They are misleading millions of people who have wishful thinking that the president is going to somehow win this thing.”
Although they won’t say as much in public, many key figures and most practicing lawyers in the Republican Party remain disturbed about the Big Lie, the false narrative that the election was stolen. We have already seen how flaccidly that narrative has been defended in more than 60 different lawsuits challenging the election outcome in different states. When the “proof of fraud” was demanded in court by unsmiling judges, many who were appointed by Trump, GOP lawyers sheepishly confessed they didn’t have any.
Because Riemer was skeptical internally of some of the more conspiratorial theories about the election, Rudy Giuliani sought to have him fired. Yet Riemer survives and Rudy now finds himself without a license. But make no mistake, Riemer isn’t a good guy. He’s just an Albert Speer to Rudy’s Reinhard Heydrich. In the end they are both Nazis of varying degrees of fanaticism.
Liz Harrington, who is now a spokeswoman for Trump, continues to push the voter-fraud narrative after she resigned from the RNC at the end of 2020 to serve Trump full time. As Trump’s spokeswoman she also continues to post false claims of election fraud on social media. “The only thing that’s a joke is the idea that Joe Biden got 81 million votes,” Harrington said when asked about Riemer’s email on Monday afternoon. Sorry Liz, no one sane is laughing, especially not in courts of law, where deception isn’t so easily tolerated. And yes, Joe Biden really did get 81 million votes. Mine was one of them. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.