A prominent liberal legal academic who spent the last four years pushing outrageous, discredited, and debunked conspiracy theories about Donald Trump stealing the 2016 election said on Fox News Sunday that refusal to accept the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election threatens the country.
“He is undermining democracy because there are millions of people who will believe him even though there is nothing to his arguments and no evidence to back them,” Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe said of President Trump’s litigation regarding the November election.
As Trump and many of his 74 million voters express concern about the security of the 2020 election, in which many states rushed to expand mail-in balloting while dramatically lowering scrutiny of mail-in ballots, many media figures have condemned their efforts to litigate the results. The Washington Examiner’s executive editor Philip Klein wrote:
Leaving apart the question-begging about what the results of litigation will be, readers were aghast that Klein seemed to completely forget the four long years Democrats and other anti-Trump activists spent refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.
Commentary magazine’s associate editor Noah Rothman opined:
Of course, candidates routinely go to court in election disputes, including presidential candidates in 2000, 2004, and 2016. As for the outlandish claim that there is no analog to a few weeks of litigation, it is perhaps worth noting that Rothman helped contribute to the Russia collusion hoax at a time conservative readers were desperate for assistance in fighting the false narrative.
No conspiracy theories of recent vintage have damaged the country as much as the ones Tribe (and many other anti-Trump media figures) trafficked in each and every day of the last four years from prominent perches in politics, media, and the academy. If taking claims to court undermines democracy, how to defend Tribe’s vociferous and repeated claims that Trump stole the election in 2016 with the help of Russia?
Tribe began pushing the Russia collusion theory on July 25, 2016, well after the Hillary Clinton campaign had secretly developed and begun running its “Russia collusion” campaign operation, but before the FBI had started its Crossfire Hurricane investigation. “I’m not into conspiracy,” he wrote, before suggesting Russian oligarchs had compromised Trump with business deals and made him develop a foreign policy that U.S. allies should be responsible for more of their own anti-Russian defense budgets. A follow-up tweet said Trump was hiding his tax returns in order to hide his business relationship with Vladimir Putin.
By July 28, 2016, Tribe was wondering if Trump had committed the capital crime of “treason.” By July 29, 2016, he was proposing wringing Trump on charges of violating the Logan Act. On October 17, 2016, he began suggesting Trump had rigged the election against Clinton.
The rhetoric ramped up after Trump’s election, which Tribe attributed to Russian “meddling.” On November 17, 2016, Tribe promoted a plan to get Electoral College delegates a briefing on the Russia collusion conspiracy theory, in the hopes it would keep them from registering their votes for the duly elected Trump. He pushed the campaign for the next month. In late November, he said Trump would be violating the emoluments clause. On December 10, 2016, Tribe again claimed Trump had rigged the election with Russia’s help.
Tribe alleged that Trump’s first pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was a compromised Russian agent. At the end of December, Tribe was pushing claims about Russia “hacking our democracy.” On January 6, 2017, Tribe was talking about election systems being the “most critical” part of the country’s infrastructure, which was why he was so concerned about Russia’s “attack” on them.
On the same day, he said of the hacking of Democrat National Committee emails that “Russia’s hacking” had significant “impact on 2016 election.” On January 8, 2017, Tribe said that it was an “understatement” to say Trump was a “Russian spy.” On January 18, 2017, Tribe called for a special counsel to “investigate Trump collusion with Putin.”
That was all before Trump’s inauguration.
After Trump’s inauguration, Tribe continued to question Trump’s legitimacy daily, up to today. Just this past May he claimed that Trump was colluding with Putin to steal the 2020 election, just like he supposedly had done in the 2016 election.
On major cable networks and in major newspapers, Tribe was an omnipresent leader of the efforts to oust Trump from office. He pushed for impeachment — for unclear reasons — beginning in May 2017. He pushed for it in the spring of 2019, too, for good measure. He guided Democrats on how to handle their eventual impeachment — they had to settle for impeaching Trump over something unrelated to Russia collusion after that fell apart.
Day in, and day out, Tribe pushed the idea that Trump was an illegitimate president who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Here are just a few tweets showing his monomaniacal focus on the idea that Trump wasn’t a U.S. president so much as a Russian agent:
Feb. 9, 2017: My hunch = DJT is hiding something darker & more dangerous than #goldenshowers! Putin must have a noose tightly around POTUS’s neck.
Feb. 10, 2017: The NON-salacious aspects [of the dossier] are the deadly serious ones: they start to shed light on why POTUS keeps licking Putin’s boots . . . .
Feb. 11, 2017: what I’ve long figured Putin has on Trump is as bad as it could possibly be
Feb. 25, 2017: Trump-Russia probe requires a special prosecutor
Feb. 26, 2017: 1/ What we really need to learn about is Trump’s debts in Russia and China.
He encouraged the firing of Mike Flynn for merely having a conversation with a Russian counterpart. He said that Trump had committed a “high crime or misdemeanor” by Feb. 23, 2017. He pushed for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any oversight of the Russia collusion probe on March 1, 2017.
On March 3, 2017, Tribe tweeted out one of the New York Times articles that pushed the Russia collusion hoax. It was headlined, “A Timeline of Jeff Sessions’ Trump Ties and Meetings with Russia.” Tribe said the article was “Useful in destroying all ‘innocent’ explanations” of Sessions’ meetings. He had previously repeatedly called on Sessions to quit or be fired.
The next day he tweeted an elaborate theory of how Trump and Russia colluded with each other and why. Later that month he said that Trump’s protestations of his innocence were evidence that he was obstructing justice. In April, Tribe said that Trump campaign affiliate Carter Page might be guilty of treason, but that since Russia is only an “adversary,” he’s probably safe from the charge. (In fact, there is no evidence of Page committing any crime, even after a year of intense U.S. surveillance of him.)
In April 2017, Tribe amplified claims of nebulous and undefined — and later debunked — “concrete evidence” of collusion with Russia. After spending months complaining regularly that James Comey had cost Clinton the 2016 election, Tribe abruptly changed his tune once Trump fired Comey for poor performance and once Comey began leaking documents to hurt Trump. Then, Tribe began saying that firing Comey was obstruction of justice. He cheered, naturally, the appointment of a special counsel to probe Russia collusion.
Very very bitter fruit and poisonius as well
We are supposed to believe Democrats are honorable, credible and honest. We are supposed to believe they would never stoop so low as to manipulate an election. But for well over a decade they have shown there nothing too illegal, too corrupt, too treacherous that they won’t attempt it.
No, this election needs to be gone through with a fine tooth comb because Democrats had their corrupting hands on it.