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[00:00:04]

Hello from the Lincoln Project, I'm Ron Stessel. Welcome back to our weekly roundup, where we bring in a rotating panel of experts to discuss the truth. You need to know behind the most important stories of the week and how they're shaping the political landscape in this country. As usual, we have an outstanding panel today, political strategists, crisis communications consultant and Lincoln Project senior advisor Susan Perso. It's great to have you on again, Suzanne. Hey, Ron.

[00:00:32]

Great to be here. And my fellow Lincoln Project co-founder and former political director of the California Republican Party, Mike Madrid. Mike, it's so great to have you back. Thanks for having me on today's episode. We're going to break down Donald Trump's attempted coup after losing the election to Joe Biden, Lindsey Graham's descent into election interference in another state, the rising number of covid deaths and the ousting of the country's top election security official. So let's start with Trump and his co-conspirators who have continued their assault on democracy this week.

[00:01:08]

They're attacking democracy on multiple fronts. So there's a lot to unpack. But I want to start with Michigan. In an unprecedented move, Trump summoned Republican lawmakers from Michigan to the White House today. The Trump campaign has openly tossed around the idea that they would attempt to get friendly state legislatures to overturn the will of the people in their states and appoint electors loyal to Trump. It looks like they're attempting to do just that with this meeting. Trump has invited the Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield to the White House.

[00:01:42]

So, Mike, I want to start with you, because a month or two back, Steve Schmidt and I had a conversation on the podcast explaining the importance of and the history of peaceful transfers of power in the American system. And on that episode, he noted that there will be no Trump coup in this country. But now it seems that the nation is watching the president of the United States and his co-conspirators. I think we need to call them now rather than enablers attempting just that, a coup to overturn the results of an election in broad daylight.

[00:02:20]

Now our institutions are holding and by all confidence, they will continue to hold. But what are we to make of this moment in history? And what does this unprecedented series of events mean for the first days of Biden's presidency? And what does it mean for the twenty, twenty two races, which, as we know, are just now beginning?

[00:02:43]

So there's a lot to unpack there and then all the right questions at this extraordinary time. But let me say this. There's not going to be a coup d'etat. There will not be an overthrowing of the legitimately elected new president of the United States. I don't believe that what we're witnessing is an exercise of power. I think it's more a pathetic slide into a into a loss of of power effectively. Let me explain a little bit of what I mean by that.

[00:03:10]

Look, the ultimate goal here, in my estimation, is trying to undermine the confidence in the electoral process, in the election system and a wide swath and a growing swath of Americans who believe that Joe Biden was the duly elected president, United States the new mayor. The math simply doesn't work here. There's been no evidence on its face, suggested that there's been enough voter fraud committed even at all, but certainly not enough to overturn the outcome of this of the race in this election.

[00:03:38]

So so what is going on? Let's start with Michigan. I think that's a really good place to start. This this is where you had a couple of canvassers in the Detroit area, Republicans and a partisan vote at the local level votes to not certify the election initially, once enough pressure was brought to bear and the facts were illustrated that the counties where they were permitting the votes, even with more egregious errors or differences between the voter rolls and the actual votes cast benefiting white areas, overwhelmingly white communities, these two partisan electors or overseers of the electoral process changed their vote back to certify the election.

[00:04:15]

OK, the way this works is there's county canvassers and those county canvassers authorized it. They certify it. Essentially, it doesn't become official until it's certified by the secretary of state. But every county goes to a process of certification, sends it up to the state and the state secretary of state certifies what happened there. So, again, apologize for how mundane all of this process is, but it is very important to understand what can and cannot happen.

[00:04:42]

We now enter a phase very important. December 8th is a very important deadline. The constitutional requirement is that on that date, certification by the states needs to have happened and the election that took place on November the 3rd. By every estimation, this will happen with many days to spare. Certification means the race is official. There's really no remedy beyond the certification process to undo that certification. So once they are set forth, we declare each state is basically declaring that its state has one or the popular vote and that state has gone for one candidate or the other.

[00:05:19]

In this case, of course, it would be Joe Biden. Now, there's there's some areas I don't even want to call it murky, because it's not it's not really contestable. But there are some shenanigans, I guess, that could sort of conceivably be played in this process. And I want to be very careful about that, because there is a pretty clear line of what needs to happen and what cannot happen here. If in the event when the Electoral College meets on the 14th, a state has not certified its balloting, then the state legislature has the ability to come in and determine who those electors are.

[00:05:53]

OK, that is that seems to be it seems to be what perhaps a strategy, if there is one, on behalf of the Trump campaign is trying to employ. But there's two things about that. The first is it's being handled remarkably incompetently. This is like a clown coup. If if one were happening, you couldn't make up a theater of the absurd. More hilariously, taking a look at the Giuliani press conference, the legal arguments that are being made in these specious lawsuits that are being filed, that are being tossed out summarily very quickly without without merit.

[00:06:29]

So there's really there's nothing that is sticking. It just seems that this is part of the process to kind of obfuscate and sort of delay into this gray zone. And then once it gets into this quote unquote, gray zone, which really is not all that gray, the hope is that they can then further this process of destabilizing and undermining the confidence of the outcome of the race. That appears to be what the end game is. There is no strategy.

[00:06:53]

His own people are basically, when pressed, are saying, well, voter fraud didn't really occur on the scale that we're talking about. We don't really know what exactly were arguing. We're just trying to kind of stay in the papers as long as we can. And to that end, the objective of undermining Joe Biden as a legitimately elected president seems to be the end game unto itself. That is not a coup. That is not an overthrow of the government.

[00:07:19]

It is it is delegitimizing the standing of the incoming president in the minds of the public, a wide swath of the public, overwhelmingly partisan and partisanship. We've seen these numbers move decisively against confidence in the election in just a week's time, as the president has kind of fanned these flames. That, again, appears to be the end game here. He's trying to consolidate a base in exile when he's no longer president of the United States, is keeping his constituency behind him, keeping as many pillars of, quote unquote, power, Republicans from from leaving him and further casting doubt on the outcome of what was clearly an election that frankly was not that close and was handled remarkably smoothly, considering all the potential problems that we at the Lincoln Project were anticipating and looking for as political experts and practitioners going, man, there's a million ways that this thing could go sideways.

[00:08:12]

None of that materialized. This is a very clean, very well handled, very well processed election. Kudos to the secretary of state and the millions or hundreds of thousands of volunteers who help make the process move smoothly. The fact that you could have a record number of Americans showing up with almost no snafus is really the big story is how clean and well handled this election process actually was.

[00:08:33]

So given everything that Mike just articulated, Susan, and the unlikelihood of any of these shenanigans to take hold legally, I'd love to get your thoughts on why you think Trump and the people around him are continuing down this path, what it means for them post inauguration, what it means for the twenty, twenty two elections and how Republicans behave going forward, and what is the short term or long term benefit to the president in sowing all of this chaos and confusion and and mistrust of American institutions?

[00:09:13]

Yeah, I think when you're dealing with President Trump, you have to always figure out his motivation is what serves him best. I agree that there is a lot of undermining of the election of the credibility of Joe Biden as president elect. But I look at it more brass tacks. I think Donald Trump is using this as an opportunity to raise money. The moment he concedes he has to say he can't raise money for this fight. I get 18 emails a day asking for money for this legal defense.

[00:09:43]

I actually think the real legal defense he's looking for and what has really has him scared and his back up against the wall are the legal issues that he faces in New York, and that is by the Manhattan County district attorney and by the New York state attorney general, the New York state attorney general. Is a civil case, the Manhattan district attorney has one civil case and potentially he has said a criminal case. There is nothing that can be done.

[00:10:11]

There's no deals to be worked out for a pardon there. This is not a federal this is not a southern district of New York. This is New York state. And there is no pardon power.

[00:10:21]

There you go. See the deal there because it cannot happen. And it being New York, of course, there's a lot of politics around that. But again, what serves him best? Raising money, and that's what he needs and that's what he's afraid of. I don't think he gives a hoot about the twenty, twenty two elections. What this does, he's not I mean, consolidating power. He already thinks that his people are his forever. I think he's going to be in for a rude awakening once he is gone and that, you know, how small that core actually is.

[00:10:54]

That's willing to buy a subscription to Trump TV for, you know, six ninety five a month. But it does play in twenty twenty two in the sense of what the elected officials, what our current elected officials are doing right now and their silence. And they're not standing up the Republicans for democracy. They're not saying what Donald Trump is doing is fundamentally wrong. This is what happens in banana republics. This doesn't happen in the United States of America.

[00:11:22]

And by doing that, by their silence, it's not passive to me. It's a very aggressive behavior.

[00:11:29]

And they will they will rule the day I say it because it will haunt them. They are, you know, Lincoln Project still around. Yeah. We said we were going to defeat Trump and Trump ism. Yeah. And going after these people and I and and what I like so far is that we're starting in Georgia. But I know that if it's going to continue and you have to keep hitting these folks now, I mean, we have three senators who have spoken up, Joni Ernst, who was just reelected, Mitt Romney, no surprise, because he's been very independent.

[00:12:03]

And Ben Sasse, who kind of flows in and out of the above when he wants to say something, you know, he decides when he has the moral aptitude for that. But those other Republicans forget about it. They they deserve just the wrath to come down on them. Because, again, if you can't be for democracy, if you can't be for the Constitution, how can you possibly even represent a constituency and they're all going to try and back away from it.

[00:12:30]

Take Lindsey Graham, for example, all of his nonsense, which I know we're going to get into later. But when Vice President elect Harris came on to the Senate floor, what does he do? If it's sponsor? He's like, yeah, yeah, it's all good, because if it's, you know, don't pay attention. That noise.

[00:12:44]

Don't worry. We're about it was disgusting.

[00:12:47]

And, you know, it's such a shame he didn't lose, but he has rewritten his history and no one will forget it. Yeah.

[00:12:55]

We will get to Lindsey in just a little bit. But before we do, Mike, is sedition an appropriate word to be using for what the president is doing and for what the people around him are doing right now? You know, there's a difference between sedition and treason, right? I think in a couple of ways they're both app. Sedition is actually a call for the overthrow essentially of the government. I think Sydney Powell, the attorney who was took the stage yesterday at the Giuliani press conference, is probably acting more judiciously at this point than the president, although I think a very legitimate case can be made.

[00:13:33]

Look, I think because we are so unaccustomed to this as Americans, we do not recognize that on its face what is happening is an attempt, feeble though it may be, an attempt to undermine the validity of our electoral process, constitutionally delineated on its face. Again, that is an act against our government. That is an act against our basic framework of governance. And so, yes, I do believe that this is an action being taken that undermines our government.

[00:14:06]

There should be an account for that, not just for the president of the United States, but he certainly should be. Yeah, but for those lawyers who are acting consciously to undermine the integrity of the basic underpinnings and foundation of the United States government, I believe to my core that that is exactly what is happening. We can argue about the semantics of traitorous or treasonous behavior or sedition, but by my definition, it certainly meets an act of sedition.

[00:14:36]

When you are working consciously with no evidence to undermine a duly elected head of state, that's a domestic threat. That is literally what the founders, I think we're trying to prevent. Were they included the language in our Constitution to defend the sacredness of this document? So, yes, I believe that that is exactly what is happening.

[00:14:55]

So and this is to both of you, because I don't know the answer, but what would the recourse? For voters against acts of sedition, what is the remedy? What is what can be done either legally or electorally or otherwise to correct that?

[00:15:12]

Well, you vote them out. That's the only that's the only thing that the American people can do is vote them out and, you know, as far as punishing them for their crimes, if you will. But I also think that we talk about these things and they are extremely important. There's no doubt about it. And when we talk about the actions of undermining democracy. Critical, but I'd just like to for the listeners to understand there's something that when we talk about it at that level at 30000 feet, you should bring it back down.

[00:15:40]

You're totally right. What it really, truly means, because I agree with Mike. Joe Biden will be President Biden on January 20th. The process will continue and he will be president. But what's happening now, we are a vulnerable country during this time. And when we and we talk about the sacredness of the transfer, peaceful transfer of power, that sounds really beautiful. And it is an amazing thing. But what it really happens now is that that's when the president elect gets briefed.

[00:16:11]

This is a time for national security. This is time for creating a government. We're in the middle of a pandemic that we're going to have to deliver a vaccine. There are so many critical elements. And I think by breaking it down so people can know that if this doesn't go well, people die. That is really first and foremost, people are going to die because there will be a slowdown. We are seeing two thousand people die a day.

[00:16:35]

Two hundred thousand people getting tested positive a day now. One hundred ninety three yesterday. It is going to spike without allowing President elect Biden and Vice President elect Harris the ability to hit the ground running. They are literally causing deaths. And if you want to talk, I mean, that to me is a real crime that I wish could be prosecuted because that is what is happening. And never mind all the other national security implications that go on just at that level.

[00:17:07]

But, boy, does that scare me and that should scare every American. I understand you wanted to you know, you hear these conversations and they're important, but people are going to die.

[00:17:17]

Yeah. Last week on the roundup, we had John Seyffer on and we talked about the national security implications of a delayed transfer of power, a delayed transition on the international stage with regard to how our allies and our adversaries view us and the ability of the intelligence community to continue to do its work. But you're talking about the domestic vulnerabilities that we face. Just taking covid alone is a massive, massive threat to our national security and to our public health.

[00:17:49]

It is, and it's something that really should be a concern to every American, because this virus is hitting us all we are now seeing there's no way we're slowing this down. It is going to keep going. We can try and use masking, but you're going to have it's still a political issue. This virus is rearing and going to get even worse. We're talking about 400000 deaths potentially by March. These numbers people, it hits home. Everyone is now starting to say, I have a relative, I have a neighbor.

[00:18:21]

And in that implication and that's what's so dangerous about all of this, is that Donald Trump has checked out his chief of staff had said, we're not going to try and figure out what to do about this virus. We're just going to get a vaccine. Well, they don't they can't distribute that vaccine that's going to be up to Joe Biden. And they need to do everything possible to make sure people are going to get that and other therapeutics. The ironic part is the operation warp speed is proving to do is doing very well for serving its its objective, which is to get these vaccines approved, you know, manufactured.

[00:19:00]

And if Donald Trump just had one scintilla of caring about the country, he could actually say that and take take some kind of victory from that. But he doesn't care about the people. He doesn't care about covid was something that got in his way. Those deaths got in his way. That's how they were annoyances. And you know what we're now talking about? Two hundred and fifty three thousand people dead. We're still talking about it. It's November 20th, not way after November 3rd when he said it was just going to go away.

[00:19:32]

No, it's worse. And he is not. He has to relinquish it. And as far as you know, the general service administrator goes, she's a disgrace. She's been complaining to people that, oh, I'm between a tough spot. No, there's no tough spot. When you're not sure what to do, do the right thing. That's easy. She should be trying to save people's lives. That's what it comes down to and she's not.

[00:19:56]

Let's linger on the topic of covid just for a minute, since you brought it up, because Joe Biden said a couple of times, and he's absolutely right, we cannot begin to restart the economy until we fix the pandemic, until we until we heal as a country. And it seems to me that we cannot do that healing. We cannot distribute a vaccine and have 70 percent of Americans take it, which is what Dr. Fauci says we need. I think he'd prefer 80 percent if more than half the country doesn't plan on taking a vaccine and if more than half the country has sort of succumbed to the disinformation campaigns and they don't trust anything about our institutions anymore.

[00:20:37]

And Donald Trump seems intent on continuing to sow that kind of division, that kind of distrust among Americans even after he's out. So how do we begin to move forward as a country together when that that really is the only path forward toward restoring? Like, if we're going to move past covid, if we are going to inoculate Americans against the pandemic so that we can reopen the economy, how do we begin to to read from the same page? Basic facts?

[00:21:07]

People have to want to get this vaccine. They have to trust the government to distribute it to them. And it seems to me that many of them don't and won't because of Donald Trump.

[00:21:16]

I've got a pretty controversial answer to this, but it may maybe because I I'm a political practitioner, but I don't believe that unity needs should be the objective anymore. I think we have learned so much over the past four years that there is a wide swath of Americans that are not trying to build a better America.

[00:21:36]

They are not trying to take an extended olive branch and work together for common cause for the betterment of this country. I believe one of the defining features of Trump ism is decline ism and decline ism brings about a sense of hopelessness and ultimately a sense of both self and social destruction. And I believe that that is what we are seeing, I believe for the first time in our country's history, or at least in the last hundred and fifty years, we are witnessing an element that would rather see our institutions burned down than compromise and build towards something better.

[00:22:06]

And I think that many of us who have been stuck in this idea of how do we understand the Trump supporter better? How do we understand the economic anxiety, how do we alleviate the racial toxicity that is so central to it has really been the wrong question. And we're going to need to figure this out and move on very quickly. We cannot. But like a virus, we need to contain it. Like in a political campaign. You need to marginalize it and isolate it and have the majority move forward with an agenda that is more peaceable, that is more unifying.

[00:22:37]

But I believe we've got to get past the point where we start believing that when 80 percent of the Republican Party does not believe that Joe Biden was duly elected, we are not going to convince them otherwise. You are never going to convince people who are walking out into the midst of of the fall and winter rally to without a mask in violation of sixth grade science, jeopardizing their life and the lives of others in the midst of a deadly virus. These are not people that are trying to build a better America.

[00:23:11]

And once we understand that, I think we can start to view this as a social problem, not as a political problem and not even necessarily as a health problem, although it is, it will get to that once we understand the underlying social dynamics. But the idea of unity and coming together, I think is a misguided notion. I know that that is probably controversial, but I think the overwhelming evidence would suggest that what I'm saying is exactly right. And so we need to start worrying about how we contain this, how we marginalize the disinformation, how we marginalize and ostracize socially some of these elements because we cannot get to 80 percent herd immunity with a vaccine when we have a Republican Party and political leadership that is openly advocating the destruction and death of their own people and they're are willing to go along with it.

[00:24:00]

Wow, what a gut punch I am. Like, I know. I know it's you. Go ahead, Susan.

[00:24:05]

When you hear that coming from Mike Madrid, it says a lot like that. Just not like I'm stunned. And I'm also stunned because I don't think he's wrong. Yeah, it's a hard fact that you have to accept. Like I said, I when he said that I just literally retracted, I just could not believe it. And you're right, Mike. And the only hope I kind of have on this level, at least short term, is the fact that we're going to have good governance under Joe Biden and that distributing the vaccine and coming together as a nation, not necessarily for it for governance sake, but for health sake, that people are going to tend to be kinder to one another when politics aren't involved. Maybe that just gets us a temporary bridge to to allow some kind of decency to come back. But boy, Mike, you got me.

[00:25:04]

OK, I'm going to put it on about that. No, no, no. I just I just.

[00:25:09]

You went there and.

[00:25:10]

Wow, I'm glad he did, because I want to put a bookmark in the social problem that you noted, Mike. And I want to talk about it as a social problem and not as a political problem, but that is for another episode or five.

[00:25:23]

So let's move on to Lindsay. Earlier this week, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told CBS This Morning that South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham implied that Georgia should throw out the ballots for counties who have the highest frequency error of signatures. And that phone call has triggered an investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. Graham has also said that he spoke with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and officials from Nevada about the process for validating signatures. So, Susan, can you talk about how unprecedented it is for a sitting United States senator to call an elected official from another state to intervene in an election?

[00:26:13]

And he's the head of the Judiciary Committee? Like, just add that to the mix, that it's insanity. You couldn't write this into a Netflix series like it just doesn't work that way. It's not supposed to work that way. That level of intimidation, I mean, it's almost as bad as being the president, inviting people from the legislators from Michigan to the White House.

[00:26:39]

No, but seriously, it is absurd.

[00:26:41]

And I can't for the life of me, understand how he thought this was a good idea. You know what? Donald Trump's on the way out. You just got re-elected. Lindsey, what the heck are you doing this for? I mean, you're still going to need free golf games at more Largo or someplace else. I can't. It makes no sense whatsoever. And what it does, the effect it has is so severe and dramatic. It hurts our nation.

[00:27:07]

It hurts our pillars of democracy. It is fundamentally what we are not about as a country. So, Mike, I'm thinking about this from a numbers perspective, can you talk about how many votes we would need to get thrown out? Lindsey would need to get thrown out or how many people would need to be disenfranchised? Because that's what this is, right, that this is essentially just an attempt to disenfranchise as many people who voted for Joe Biden as possible for there to be a consequential change in one of these states.

[00:27:41]

This race was not that close. I know kind of keep saying that it feels closer than it was because of the long counts. And we visited on that. I'm not going to suggest that when millions of votes are counted and within twenty thousand votes, that that that you know, that that is arguably close in terms of a vote count. As somebody who does campaigns for a living. Twenty thousand votes is not going to change in in a recount by machine or by hand.

[00:28:09]

It's just not you can move maybe a few hundred at the most, but not not even a thousand. Certainly not twenty thousand. And that's really important for people to understand is, look, the two thousand election was was very close. OK, we obviously know that Florida came down to five hundred and thirty seven point five hundred thirty eight votes. But you have to remember that New Mexico was within three hundred votes. Virginia was within 16 hundred votes.

[00:28:35]

Those are margins where recounts can actually make a difference. And the Bush campaign didn't contest those that wasn't putting the country through this. And I say that because there's no practitioner Scott Walker in Wisconsin.

[00:28:49]

So this is not going to change the outcome of the election. If anybody should know as a Republican what what a recount does or doesn't do it. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, OK, any practitioner who does campaigns for a living, who is not biased, doesn't have a stake in this race. One or the other is looking at these saying these are not these are not as close as you think they are. Right. As practitioners, we know these were not close races.

[00:29:10]

Georgia was the closest with a hand count. You saw the votes change, I think, what, one hundred votes out of millions cast? That's what you would expect. That's a normal range. It was counted both by machine and by hand. So my long way of saying what Lindsey Graham is suspecting and arguing for is essentially fraud, essentially saying throw out those counties in in enough volume to make sure that Donald Trump wins the election. There is nobody who is competent in this area that would suggest that any of these things or any of the lawsuits that have been brought or any of the questionable ballots, however marginal, are going to affect the outcome of the race in any of these states.

[00:29:51]

So in terms of the math and the numbers, there's no math and no, it's not going to happen.

[00:29:56]

OK, so, Susan, we talked about Trump's enablers in the Senate a lot during this past election. And we're seeing one of them now go from an enabler to becoming a coconspirator in this attempted coup that we've been discussing just days after winning reelection. So how might winning re-election, as you noted before, embolden some of the senators who also got reelected to behave just like Graham?

[00:30:20]

I think that a lot of those senators will also have their own pressures to work with their colleagues at some point. A lot will also have to do is we'll see what happens with Donald Trump. What we don't know what his holiness, we suspect. We know what his hold is, but we really don't know. And I think that while I can't stand those enablers and I wish they weren't re-elected, they want to get back to normal two or as much normal as possible.

[00:30:48]

And this is something that I think Mitch McConnell has his legacy. He has put together the most conservative Supreme Court ever. He has seen the conservative justices appoint at the federal level. I don't think he will. You will see the same vitriol that you did that he showed against President Obama. I think it will be a different time. I think they don't operate like this. They don't like most of the senators, especially the senators. The House is a whole different story.

[00:31:17]

I mean, that's a nightmare. But the senators typically don't like this story.

[00:31:23]

I think historically they haven't liked this. They haven't. The one thing that they do like, though, which I notice is the attention they get for they like the TV. They love being on Fox. They love being able to raise money off of it so that if anything will really be the change is how much are they going to be starving for that attention and keeping that going? Because now I mean, if they're just go back to I don't think they'll go back to before.

[00:31:50]

But if things kind of calm down, the temperature comes down just a little bit. Well, that's a whole different that's a whole different story, but then again, we also see what's Ron Johnson going to be? I mean, do he's up for reelection? He has he he has been such a Trump enabler and basically cross every single line there is to cross when it comes to his his work on trying to discredit President elect Joe Biden. And he has to face the electorate back in Wisconsin in twenty twenty two.

[00:32:20]

How many people are dying right now in Wisconsin? What's he doing? He's talking about treatments like hydrocodone, DeQuan and stuff like that. Today, it's been disproven. He's still sucking up to the president. That's that is not going to fly.

[00:32:35]

So I think you're sort of assuming that when Trump is no longer president, there will cease to be enough environmental cross pressure for them to behave the way they have been behaving. But doesn't that assume that Trump will stop doing what basically that he will relinquish his hold over their constituents?

[00:32:55]

Well, it depends. Again, we'll see what how much of that base he's really taking with him. That's what I don't know, is how big is that? Is that portion is he really going to take the 80 percent of the Republicans with him? I don't think so. And people want to see the back of Trump. They may you know, they may be enablers, they may be sycophants. But at the end of the day, it's exhausting.

[00:33:19]

And they make their he makes everyone's job a lot harder and they don't like that. So there is that side of it, too. They really they would have welcomed the calmer Trump, let's put it that way. Yeah.

[00:33:30]

Yeah. On Tuesday night, Donald Trump fired Chris Krebs, who is Chris Krebs, he's the administration's most senior cybersecurity official responsible for securing the presidential election. And I should note that last week, this time last week, John Seyffer called this firing about a week in advance. The firing came after the agency Krebs headed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security, released a statement last week stating that the election was the most secure in American history and that there is no evidence any voting systems were compromised.

[00:34:10]

Suzanne, we've talked about election security a lot during this cycle, and Trump has been building up to this for months. He and Bill Barr have obviously been saying mail voting was going to lead to the most corrupt election in history. How successful were they in laying the groundwork for that particular communications strategy?

[00:34:32]

Well, I think when you look at Krebs and how he was fired, he knew he was going to be fired because he's competent. He did his job. What's disgraceful is you see a lot of members of the Senate who credit him and Christopher Wray, the two people who Donald Trump can't stand, they credit him for putting together a almost flawless election cycle like he when it comes to security. Of course, Donald Trump hates him. And, of course, he has to fire anyone who is competent because he can't look like he's not the smartest man in the room.

[00:35:06]

So with that, he had to get rid of him. He doesn't like anyone changing his narrative. It's not surprising, but it is disgraceful.

[00:35:14]

Look, this is symptomatic of a broader problem that is going to be plaguing the country for the next 60 days or so. Susan is exactly right. First of all, that that the reason why he was shown the exit door perhaps is because he said what we all know and what the president doesn't want to hear. This is the most secure election we've had in our nation's history. Remember a few months ago he was worried about Russian interference, ourselves included, because we're looking for a boogeyman behind whatever tree we could find it.

[00:35:40]

What were the most exposed places where the most weakest areas? The truth of the matter is the Russians or the Chinese or whoever didn't interfere with the elections because they didn't need to. They had somebody who was already undermining it internally for them. Why would they interfere with the enemy while we're in the process of destroying ourselves by the main asset that they could possibly have sitting in the Oval Office? He was doing all the work that they could, undermining the confidence in the election far better than they could have.

[00:36:02]

If they had interfered, it would have taken away from that. It would have it would it would have detracted from the incredible impact that this guy has had in undermining the confidence of what just happened. Again, 80 percent of Republicans think that there was some sort of fraud that went on when there's no scintilla, no shred of evidence to suggest that anywhere in the country. So, look, mission accomplished. Now, having said that, this is not specific to just this one area, one department of government.

[00:36:27]

Right. He's chopping heads in the Pentagon. He's making moves that any rational person would not be making. And if you don't believe that we are at the beginning of that, then, you know, I've got a. Virus to sell you that, you can also be convinced it's going to harm you, right? That's the problem, is what we are going to witness. And again, I believe our institutions are largely going to hold, but our institutions are only as strong as the men and women who uphold them.

[00:36:56]

Which again, goes back to Susan's point, which is if you've got people who won't do the right thing when we know that a peaceful transition of power needs to begin, but somebody saying, oh, I'm under so much pressure, I can't make the right decision when the decision is obvious on its face, those are the types of people that should not be running the government. Unfortunately, those are the only people that remain. And where there are capable, competent experts that have actually been making sure our government has been sound for the past four years, he is summarily removing them.

[00:37:27]

He's excusing them and putting more lackeys in place to either protect himself, shred whatever documents are there, or move forward with an agenda in the last 60 days that are clearly not in America's best interests. That's what's going on. OK, now that we're up to speed on the most important news this week, let's look at the week ahead. What stories are you watching as we head into the next week, Susan?

[00:37:55]

Rudy Giuliani has more of a meltdown than he had yesterday. Not only will he be dripping hair dye and sweating and flop sweat, I actually think that even that was too much for Donald Trump, especially the hair dye. He doesn't like unattractive things happening. It really turns him off. So I think he's in trouble with the president. But I think that he is he's done like I think we will see him removed from the legal team. So that way, if Donald Trump wants to at least have any credibility, keep moving forward.

[00:38:29]

He's going to get rid of Rudy Giuliani.

[00:38:32]

OK, Mike, what are you watching? I haven't said this since April or May, but I'm watching the coronavirus spike because his numbers are it is as Susan said again earlier, it's out of control. It's going to affect all of our lives. It's going to be very deadly. We are entering a very, very dark 90 day period. And it's no longer whether or not we can contain it. It's whether we're going to be able to manage and mitigate the damage as much as we possibly can.

[00:39:00]

The next 60, 90 days are going to take a steep toll on America, on our psyche, on our health care infrastructure, on the fight to deal with a president who won't who won't help his fellow countrymen at a time when they are sick and getting sicker and dying. And I want be, too, right now.

[00:39:22]

I mean, the economic stuff, it's so incredibly important, but it's secondary, of course, to the loss of life that we're going to see. And that's that, I think is just the triage that we're trying to do. While the president of the United States is literally holding all the levers of power and decision making process hostage for no good reason other than his own ego. At this point, he's lost the election. You lost there's literally no reason to do what he is doing other than to kind of an I told you so.

[00:39:49]

And and and people are dying.

[00:39:51]

This is Amron. I just want to next week is Thanksgiving. So Mike's point, I think we should all be thankful for the first responders and the men and women who are in the hospitals and nursing homes and taking care of our loved ones because they are the heroes. They are the people who are fighting. And we should all be very thankful for that.

[00:40:11]

Yeah. Let's go to our listener question for today, which comes from Kelly PIAC. She writes, With news coming out that 70 odd percent of Republicans don't trust the electoral process. Have Trump's attacks on democracy shot the Republican Party in the foot in unexpected ways? Do you all think this will depress turnout for the Republican base going forward? Mike, what do you think about that?

[00:40:34]

It's a good question. But again, I want to I want to challenge everybody to hear this a little bit differently, because while we are normally stuck and looking at kind of the partisan back and forth, red and blue, we are at a moment where it doesn't really matter. And I'll answer the question, but doesn't really matter whether it's harming the Republican Party. It has that cuppers overflown. It is now hurting our country. It's hurting our very basic democratic institutions.

[00:40:58]

When you have a wide swath of people who will not believe in facts, when people do not believe in facts, and I'm not even saying a separate set of issues or what news is, I'm saying people who are believing just unadulterated lies, clearly no evidence, no facts. And when tens of millions of people believe that. You cannot find common ground by definition, you literally cannot if you cannot agree on a set of facts, there is no compromise to be had.

[00:41:25]

Our entire system, entire communities, nations are built on compromise. OK. And when you have a group that, rather than seeking compromise, will find its own facts to fit its own narrative, its own justification and its own rationale for blame, we are really in a deep, deep state of of danger. And like I said, I'm so grateful that we won this election. Obviously spent a year working with with the both of you and others on the Lincoln Project to make sure that that happened.

[00:41:54]

But I do believe in many ways a much larger threat is on the horizon and it is a social threat. So we need to stop thinking about this is just red or blue advantage. It's about a social problem that we're going to have to confront that is unlike anything that we have seen since at least the civil war.

[00:42:13]

We also have a listener comment from Laurie Croce, who writes Dear Run and LP Crew. I have been trying to think of something profound to write, but all I could think was thank God for the Lincoln Project. Mike Madrid's analysis has been crucial to my sanity. He was persuasive and correct. Your podcasts have been reassuring. I feel vindicated by Jennifer Horn and Tara Suttmeier. The others have informed and amused. I'm frightened for our country, but I'm not willing to give up the fight.

[00:42:42]

I'm all in on the Lincoln Project and I wanted to let you know you are saving me like minded, decent folk and our country from irreversible decline. So I'll repeat, thank God for the Lincoln Project and God bless you. Thank you to everyone at home for listening and thanks to Susan and Mike for making the time today. As always, we want to hear from you about what questions you have and what topics you'd like us to cover on the podcast.

[00:43:08]

As always, you can reach us at podcast, at Lincoln Project, dot us. And please know that even when we don't respond, we read every email we get and we really appreciate hearing from you. You can find more information about our movement at Lincoln Project that us if you enjoy the show, it would really help us if you could rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. This really does help new people find the show and join our movement to defeat Trump ism for the Lincoln Project.

[00:43:36]

I'm Ron Stessel. I'll see you in the next episode.