‘The conduct of the president’s legal team is a national embarrassment’: Christie

The Powerhouse Roundtable breaks down President Trump’s refusal to concede the election on "This Week."
17:16 | 11/22/20

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Transcript for ‘The conduct of the president’s legal team is a national embarrassment’: Christie
It's hard to fathom how this man thinks. It's hard to fathom. I'm confident he knows he hasn't won. He's not going to win, and we're going to be sworn in on January 20th, and I just -- it's hard for me to question his motive. It's outrageous what he's doing. President-Elect Biden earlier this week. Let's talk about this on our round table, joined again by Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Karen finney, CNN political commentator and Sara Isgur. She's a varp of the trump administration and now works for reremember your speech on Wednesday morning, the day after the election. You said it's incumbent on him to come forward with the evidence. There have been now been 34 urt cases the prident has lost. We saw Pennsylvania last night. We saw pat Toomey, the senator for Pennsylvania say it's time for the president to enable this transition. It's time for the president to concede. The president's response was to attack pat Toomey on Twitter. Is it finally time for this to end? Yes, and here's the reason why. The president has had an opportunity to access the courts, and I said to you, you know, starting at 2:30 A.M. On Wednesday morning, if you have got the evidence of fraud, present it. And what's here is quite frankly the president's legal team has been a national embarrassment. Cindy Powell accusing Brian Kemp of a crime on television, yet being unwilling to go on TV and defend and lay out the evidence that she supposedly has. This is outrageous by any lawyer and notice, George, they won't do it inside the courtroom. They allege fraud outside the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom, they don't plead fraud and they don't argue this is what I was concerned about at 2:30 in the morning on Wednesday night. Listen. I have been a supporter of the president's. I voted for him twice, but elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn't happen. You have an obligation to present the evidence. The evidence has not been presented, and you must conclude as tucker Carlson even concluded the other night, that if you are unwilling to come forward and present the evidence, it must mean the evidence doesn't exist. That's what I was concerned about on election night, and I remain concerned tod I think it's wrong. I think what you have heard a lot of Republicans start to say this, I said it on election night, and I hope more say it going forward because the country is what has to matter the most, as much as I'm a strong Republican and I love my party, it's the country that has to come first. Rahm Emanuel, we still haven't heard from Mitch Mcconnell. No, and I'm not sure you're going to hear from him. Look. President trump is endangering our security. He is damaging our public health. He's crippling the economy, and he's undermining our democratic process. Outside that, it's a run of the mill transition. Bush's transition procnt out, and there were a number of things that caused a great transition, ease of information to we could hit the ground running. What's happening here is not what president trump is doing, and I think on Chris' point, country comes before party. Donald Trump is with the idea that trump comes before country. I don't think we're going to see anything out of Washington, and I think it's a note that the Republicans in the country like vevernors and others have said, we're going to work with president Biden to help the economy moving. That is going to be a guide post moving forward for how to govern, meaning you're going to have Republicans in the state and local government who want to get with the public health and their economy and budgets balanced, and the economy moving. They can start with the pressure on Washington. Washington and Republicans right now are in lock step with trump. It's different than recently. He is not leaving and therefore it's not fair for our country, and we have a new administration, and there are major, major challenges here and abroad. We're starting to see Republicans come forward including we saw Chris Christie just say it's time for this to end, but the silence particularly from republic senators up until this last 24, 36 hours has been kind of deafening. We've seen this through the last four years. The Republican senators think in particular that they're making a norms argument, a process argument, and then Donald Trump undermines them. So what -- I don't know they ever had an end game in this plan here. I think when they thought the vote certifications happened, he would just concede. It was a total misunderstanding of who president trump is, and now they're stuck in a position where they have to come up with, what is the thing that will allow them to say, well, now is different? For pat Toomey, obviously it was that Pennsylvania case where the case was thrown out with prejudice by the judge where the judge said, you didn't make any -- any claims of fraud that could possibly back up your remedy of throwing out millions of ballots, and so that worked for pat Toomey, but why we're not seeing these other senators is because they never had a plan. They never did have a plan for what the trigger would be for them to come out and say, this is the end. The problem is they're getting a lot of pressure from folks who this is actually just the political vengeance of being able, you know, to get them back for Russia or for impeachment, but this is totally a different situation and they're in a rock and a hard place. I don't think they have a plan, and so they're just going to be this trickle, one by one where they're going to have to figure out why today is different than yesterday. Karen finney, I'm not sure the president has a plan either, but there may be the inklings of an end game going forward. We have heard rumblings he's planning to never concede, to announce for president in 2024 and have a significant portion of his base always believe that Joe Biden is an illegitimate president. Well, that's right, George. I mean, let's -- let's talk about the facts. The facts are these. Joe Biden won the election. He has 306 electoral votes. He has won by more than 6 million votes. He's leading in the popular vote. You know, Donald Trump is refusing to accept these facts, and he is going to try to continue it seems to live in this fantasy land without facts, without merit, with the legal cases that we've discussed that have been thrown out, but he's trying to do something even more nefarious that I think we have to call out. He'siterally trying to throw out votes, to subvert the will of the people. Our country is based on a constitution, and the belief that power comes from the people, the people that voted for Donald Trump. Or Joe Biden. Donald Trump operates with the belief that power comes from him, and the Republicans are going to have to decide. The Republican party and our colleague Chris Christie is going to have to decide, are you going to follow this person continuously who believes that his power is the power that rules, or are you going to say, we've got to get dto the business of taking care of the American people? 12 million people have covid, and this president wants to golf and tweet falsities and lies. We need to move forward, and I just think it's important that we acknowledge how serious this situation is, how dangerous this is. Chris Christie, you just did ackne how serious its, but speak to how the elected officials now negotiate this rock and hard place that Sara Isgur was talking about. He's not going any place any time soon, and he wants to stay relevant to some degree keeping his Twitter base riled up. What does it mean for elected officials going forward? Let me start with this. I don't need to be lectured by Karen finney about doing the right thing. Election night -- on election night after the president spoke, I said, you either present the facts or you can't make the charge. You either present the facts of fraud or you can't stand behind the seal of the president of the United States and make that charge. So, you know, Karen, maybe you should get caught up on things before you start throwing around -- Sir, I am not trying to lecture you. By the way, and that makes -- and by the way, and that is what makes this atmosphere so poisonous is stuff like that. Let me say this about Republican senators -- Do you disagree that it is dangerous to this country what this president is doing? What they should do -- what they should do -- I don't need to be lectured by you, Karen. This isn't about being lectured by me. This is about doing the right thing. Every United States senator -- I have been doing that since election night. Every united -- If you want to take it out on me, that's fine. Every United States senator -- every United States senator should stand up and ask themselves, what's the right thing to do here? We've given the president the opportunity, a right that he has like every other American has to access the legal system, and to make proof forward to the judges who will make these decisions, and the reason the judges are making these decisions is because that's the president's choice. He has chosen to take this to court because he disagrees with the results in the very same way that Al gore chose to take it to court. Once you do that, you can't complain about the result that the judges give you if you hand it to them, and so every senator should stand up, George, and decide for themselves what they believe in their heart is the right thing and not make political calculations but make personal ones that are in the best interest of the country. And Rahm, it seems like President-Elect Biden has simply made the calculation that he's going to basically as much as he can ignore what the president says and just go on doing what highway needs to do to the extent he can in the transition. I think two things, George. One is I do think he has made a decision a little more which is, you know, for Republicans as you saw with the governors meeting, and you can see more support out of the governors. He's going to come around Washington and that's a smart strategy and one I would adopt as a governing strategy because governors like dewine and Kemp and others are going to have to realize, will we get the resources we need? A triangulation between the senate and governors, that's one view of how to do it. Second thing is what Ron klain said, I think is very, very smart. He's going to say to the senate Republicans, you have a prerogative in the senate called to confirm our nominees. You can align the senate prerogative up with his self-interesch is to get the background checks and his nominations to go forward, and to me that's a smart strategy to say, wait. This game is now over. Nothing gets them more excited than the word prerogative. Secretary, treasury secretary have what they need. That is going to make sure they start to move and realize that ey too need this transition, and we get back to this about Washington. The country needs this. He's crippling our economy. He's endangering our public health. He's obviously endangering our national security and he's undermining our democracy. At some point the old, old DNA will kick in and say, you know what? We have a country and a responsibility, and as our self-interest happens, and they remember they're responsible to this great project called the United States, and I want to bring up one story. President bush when I asked him, when we had president Obama on request, he brought up in the middle of this great crisis, he brought everybody together to have lunch with president Obama as a gesture of support as he dealt with the biggest national financial crisis. It was a picture to America of unity. You look at this guy who's not practicing the job and he's golfing and he's doing nothing required of the job. It tells you how far -- I'm sorry, but under the Republican party, we have fallen. It's showing through in the polling that showed this week. It's hard to overestimate how important to both parties those runoff elections are in early January. What's interesting is that this will be largely just a turnout operation, a special election is about finding those supporters and getting more of them out. When I've talked to voters in Georgia who didn't vote for Donald Trump in 2016, but did this time, all of this noise and atmospherics is not with this special election. Even though you would imagine, discussions about, you know, your vote didn't count, and enormous amounts of voter fraud on the right might discourage people from turning out, that's not what I'm hearing from conversations with conservatives and Republicans down there. On the flip side the question is on whether what Donald Trump is doing and doing the Democrats' job for them and encouraging them to get those votes in the senate in order to have chuck Schumer as the senate majority leader. That may be the paradox, Karen finney. If president trump is front and center straight through until January 5th, that could help boost democratic turnout. Well, it could, and let me just say, George, I think it's sad that governor Christie would attack me when I was actually trying to praise the fact that he's come forward and been someone who has said that this president is someone who needs to accept the facts. My point is the president needs to accept the facts and other Republicans need to step forward and put country ahead of party, and in Georgia in particular, Sara's right. It's going to be largely a turnout operation. As you know, I've worked in Georgia, and I have every confidence we're going to win those senate races, but the more this president and his party is seen as obstructing and particularly trying to throw out the votes of black Americans, when the black vote in Georgia is so critical, don't think we're not watching and that we don't know what's going on. That will be a strong motivator to voters in Georgia to say, not on our watch. You're not going to do that us you're not going to suppre voices and our will. Again, the larger point in this country, we cannot just throw out votes. We are a country that respects the rule of law and our constitution, and they find themselves at a crossroads, but it affects the party long-te if they decide they're going to follow Donald Trump and succumb to his power and see his as the ultimate power instead of the constitution and the American people in the middle of a pan democratic deserve better. Christie, what's the most effective -- let me get Chris, and then, Rahm, you follow up. What's the most effective message for those runoffs? The most effective Republican message is you have two great Republican candidates who will make sure there's balance brought to Washington, D.C. And you say, you don't want chuck Schumer and his folks running the United States senate because then the most radical parts of the democratic party will be running the entire government, and so you don't want that. I think the most important thing for us to focus on as a party is to win both of those senate seats and if the president wants to be helpful, he can be helpful by focusing on that rather than looking in the rear-view mirror. Remember what we said. Elections are about tomorrow, not about yesterday. The elections on January 5th are what America is going to look like on January 6th and beyond that. That's what Kelly Loeffler and David perdue should be focusing on. That's what Republicans should be focusing on. The rear-view mirror should be ripped off, and we should be looking straight ahead, and having a Republican senate in my view will ensure we have the right type of approach over the next four years. Rahm? George, I think why this is very, very important. Joe Biden made history as one of only four people who haveeaten an incumbent president in the last 40 years. The other piece of history is you would have to go back to 1884 to find a democratic president that didn't have a democratic senate on day one. So the consequences going forward, I would make the message about change. If you want gton to start dealing with the pandemic, dealing with the economy, et cetera, you need a majority that will actually work with the president rather than obstruct, and I would deal with the obstruction, and I want to underscore this. What president trump is doing to this election in Georgia R now is what he did about the mail-in ballot process and that effort, and as newton would say, action is a counteraction of force. And that is the last word. Thank you all very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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