Jenna Ellis: From “Never Trumper” To Trump Coup Plotter

Today, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and leading Donald Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis hosted a press conference detailing what Trump billed earlier today is his “very clear an viable path to victory.” Giuliani has a simpler way of describing it:

Trump attorney Jenna Ellis.

But despite the bombastic headline, not even Fox News was persuaded any such thing is likely to happen based on the information presented:

President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Thursday aggressively made the case for the Trump campaign’s legal challenge of the 2020 election results, alleging in a firery [sic-Pols] news conference that there was a “centralized” plan to carry out voter fraud around the country.

This is a different approach than the campaign has recently taken in court, where they have primarily focused on the validity of ballots and counts without asserting fraud. While Giuliani did not present any direct evidence of a massive fraud scheme, [Pols emphasis] Giuliani asserted that this is the “logical conclusion” reached as a result of incidents he said took place in several states…

Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis explained the lack of new evidence at the news conference [Pols emphasis] to support their allegations by saying this was merely an “opening statement,” and that more evidence would be forthcoming in court.

Here’s Jenna Ellis, tearing into the media for failing to give claims of election fraud that no responsible observer or court has found legitimate their due:

ELLIS: The facts matter, the truth matters, and if you are fair reporters you will cover that fairly and appropriately and you will allow coverage of our media team here. And our legal team. That is absolutely shocking that all you cover are around the margins, and I’ve seen all of you taking pictures right now. And I can anticipate what your headlines are going to be. If you are not willing to talk about the evidence that has been presented, then that is absolutely unacceptable for journalistic standards. This is an opening statement, this is something where we have told you what the evidence will show, and we have given you a brief description. That happens in a courtroom all the time, where that’s not the fact-finding process, that is just an overview. That is what we have given you today because the American people deserve to know what we have uncovered in the last couple of weeks. Remember, this is such a short time frame. And this is an elite strike force team that is working on behalf of the President and the campaign to make sure that our constitution is protected. We are a nation of rules. Not a nation of rulers…

No doubt Rudy Giuliani feels gratified being called a member of Trump’s “elite strike force team,” but there’s no more “there” there today in Trump’s fruitless attempts to legally challenge the results of the 2020 elections than there was yesterday. Although Trump’s legal team insists this is all intended to result in the election actually being overturned and awarded to Trump, there is nothing to suggest a coherent strategy to do that is even being attempted–and if it is, it’s failing in court as fast as the half-baked challenges can be filed.

In the case of Jenna Ellis, who hails from Colorado, the motivations for this quixotic PR campaign masquerading as a legal strategy to overturn an American presidential election are more difficult to piece out. Ellis has her own record of highly controversial far-right views on social wedge issues, writing a blog post after the 2015 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando titled “Orlando aftermath – Two wrongs do not make an LGBT Right” arguing that “just because we are all heartbroken…that 50 Americans lost their lives does not mean that America, conservatives, or Christians should become activists for homosexuality.”

Safe to say, Jenna Ellis is not a “kinder, gentler Republican.” But back in 2016 when Donald Trump was just beginning his takeover of the Republican Party, Ellis was something that might have become creditable had she stuck with it–a “Never Trumper.”

Ellis, an attorney and former law professor from Colorado, repeatedly slammed then-candidate Trump as an “idiot,” who was “boorish and arrogant,” and a “bully” whose words could not be trusted as factually accurate. She called comments he made about women “disgusting,” and suggested he was not a “real Christian.”

In one March 2016 Facebook post, Ellis said Trump’s values were “not American,” linking to a post that called Trump an “American fascist.” She praised Mitt Romney for speaking out against Trump, referring to him as “Drumpf,” — a nickname coined by comedian John Oliver after a biographer revealed Trump’s ancestor changed the family’s surname from Drumpf to Trump.

“Why should we rest our highest office in America, on a man who fundamentally goes back and forth and really cannot be trusted to be consistent or accurate in anything,” Ellis said in one April 2016 radio appearance.

It’s a question we’ve asked of so many Republicans who about-faced from naked contempt for Donald Trump to unwavering loyalty, even as Trump spent four years disgracing the office he was elected to over their one-time objections. How do you “evolve” from such strident condemnation to slavish devotion? We don’t expect Jenna Ellis to explain her change of heart any more than soon-to-be ex-Sen. Cory Gardner–but at least in Gardner’s case he has the luxury of dodging the question on his way out the door.

“I appreciate [CNN] showing clearly through past statements that I think for myself, and that my mind was changed based on fact and personal knowledge. President Trump is a sincere Christian, the best president in modern history, and made and kept his promises to the American people. I am proud to stand with him and his goals for the future of this country and all of its citizens,” she said.

Presumably, the compensation for Ellis’ legal advice is very, very good.

It should be noted, finally, that Ellis is not just another staff lawyer filing flimsy cases. As ABC News reported Tuesday, Giuliani and Ellis have effectively wrested control of the entire Trump campaign legal effort:

Over the weekend, Giuliani and his own team of lawyers, which also includes Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis, attempted what was described to ABC News as an internal campaign “coup”— an attempt to wrestle power away from the current longstanding Trump campaign leadership by claiming the president had given them full control moving forward, multiple sources said…

Ellis told the remaining campaign staff that they should only follow orders from people named “Rudy or Jenna” and to ignore any other directives from campaign leadership, sources familiar with the episode said.

If we’re to believe these reports, Giuliani and Ellis executed a coup within the Trump campaign in order to attempt a coup against the results of the 2020 presidential election. It might not get beyond the press conference phase, and might in the end just be an expensive and extremely damaging method of helping one singularly narcissistic politician cope with defeat. But we’re trying to remember the last time a Colorado political operative was this close to such high-level, high-stakes political intrigue.

Not that that’s good. None of this is good. And the last thing any Coloradan should be is proud.

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  1. harrydoby says:

    Presumably, like Robert Kardashian defending OJ, Ms. Ellis had the good sense to get her no doubt hefty fee upfront.

  2. JohnInDenver says:

    I’m not a lawyer, but did teach legal communication, coached mock trial, helped write the rules for a mock trial association, and even worked with an attorney to prepare a scenario & balanced witness statements to be used in competition.  I have a fairly clear idea of what an “opening statement” is. 

    What I don’t understand at all is why a side attempting to pursue a result would wait for 14 (or more) days, try out multiple theories in at least 25 cases and at least initially lose all of them, and then say “this is our opening statement.”

    Claiming “there was a “centralized” plan to carry out voter fraud around the country” Apparently, this plan included (in different states)

    * absentee ballots with no applications for them  
    * assigning ballots without names to random people,
    * changing the dates on absentee ballots to have them in before deadline,
    * unauthorized “cures” of problems with absentee ballots,
    * poll watchers not allowed to observe the counting process.

    And none of those claims have been persuasive in a state or federal court thus far.

    • Early Worm says:

      I am a lawyer that has given over 100 opening statements and your understanding is correct. You never even prepare an opening until you have all of your evidence teed up.  If you want to alienate a judge (or jury) immediately (and preemptively lose a case), promise something in your opening statement (such as fraud), and then fail to follow through with actual evidence. At that point, all you have proven is that you cannot be trusted. 

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Raises hand and squirms around in seat.  "I know.  I know how the centralized scheme worked.  They were going to degrade the postal service and then give explicit instructions to their supporters to vote in person instead of by mail.  It was a crafty plan where shaving off a couple of tenths of a percentage point would be enough to throw the election.  The only problem was they couldn't quite pull it off.  Those darn postal service employees doing their job through muck and mud."

  3. Early Worm says:

    This is petty, but it really annoys me that Ms. Ellis is described as a former law professor from Colorado. From Linkin, she graduated from the University of Richmond Law School (a perfectly respectable institution) in 2011. She has been a lawyer for less than 10 years. She interned for less than a year in the AG's office (Suthers). She was a contract employee (paid hourly) for the State Department for a year. A Deputy DA for a year (doesn't say where). Private practice from 2013 to the present. Asst. Professor at Colorado Christian for 3 years (while in private practice). And a year working for James Dobson's Family Institute.

    She has never taught at law school and is not qualified to teach at law school. She taught for three years at a third rate Christian Univerity to undergrads that wanted "prelaw" minors. I know it goes without saying, but she does not know what she is talking about.

     

    • spaceman65 says:

      Exactly.  I am a lawyer (a couple decades longer than Ms. Ellis), and the notion that she was a real law professor is a joke.  She was not a professor at a law school.  She taught "legal studies", whatever that is, at CCU, which is a joke of a university.  That she is at the top of the heap, along with dripping Rudy, just shows how they're scraping the barrel. 

      • NOV GOP meltdown says:

        Reminds me of some esteemed disbarred lawyer who worked for Trump who graduated from Cooley Law School, which is a truly crap law school. Yeah, the one who paid off the porn star and went to jail.

        What gives me hope though is Dump may utilize the same poor decision making process when he chooses lawyers for his upcoming fraud lawsuits. Or, alternatively, the distinguished ones will refuse to represent him.

  4. 2Jung2Die says:

    Definitely don't know German, but the computer translates "strike force" to "kampftruppe." Maybe Ms. Ellis could help her cause by using the proper terminology.

  5. harrydoby says:

    Gail Collins in today’s New York Times ranks the worst of Trump’s toadies.  Giuliani only comes in fifth, but only because he is the personification of maliciousness tempered by incompetence.

    Giuliani came in only fifth. But canny Times readers are aware that his awfulness is matched only by his ineptitude. The fact that Donald Trump has put him in charge of his fight against the election results is … very good news for people who want to keep the election results.

    And Rudy is definitely not sharp enough to collect his fees up front

    Rudy is reportedly asking for $20,000 a day for his efforts, which is quite a hunk of money for a guy whose highest-profile recent business venture was pushing a brand of cigars. Seeing him fight with Trump over the bill would make the president’s retirement extra satisfying.

  6. NOV GOP meltdown says:

    I just watched parts of the presser, and it was painful. Ellis and Giuliani were screaming at the press for not reporting the evidence, and then the press asks for the evidence, and then they say you obviously don’t know how the law works – we can’t give you the evidence.

    These people can’t get their shit together. Unreal.

    • The realist says:

      Thanks for the summary – now I don't have to watch a recording.

      • Duke Cox says:

        Indeed. One of the ways I stay healthy is to limit the actual observing of such insane shit. I believe the Buddha spoke about the harm generated by frustation. 

        I think the reasons President-elect Biden is the right man for this job are many. He knows the turf. He refrains from using inflammatory language because he knows how the OD and his minions will respond. He is the most experienced president-elect in a long time.

        We need that. 

        That doesn’t mean I intend to abandon the progressive ideals I care about. Universal healthcare, responsible energy policy, consumer protection, and an effective and useful safety net for us oldsters and the disadvantaged and resource challenged.

        It will require discussing such questions as…In a democratic republic, can you be TOO rich? Should the wealthy be held to a higher standard?  Should we close the door to the world and be a part of the end of world unity? 

        Hmmm…

  7. itlduso says:

    Trump’s case appears to be:  Send lawyers, guns and money, mostly guns.

  8. itlduso says:

    Trump’s ever crazier and more desperate efforts to avoid losing the election makes me question his motivation.  Some say it’s because his narcissistic personality cannot accept losing.  Perhaps.  But I think he’s more focused on the legal and financial dilemmas he faces after January 20.  And, I always come back to the multiple meetings he has had with Putin without any other Americans in the room. What could they have been discussing?

    • harrydoby says:

      There have been a few articles discussing how Trump could try to extricate himself from his crushing debts by selling out American secrets.  Fortunately for the country, he has not attended a security briefing for weeks, and probably wasn’t paying attention anyway.

      If push comes to shove, I have no doubt he’ll do what’s best for Number 1 as he and his family have proven that to be their primary concern.

      The only question is what countries would they flee to escape justice?

      • kickshot says:

        "Fortunately for the country, he has not attended a security briefing for weeks, and probably wasn’t paying attention anyway."

        So? Do you think that he might just make more stuff up?

        Pity the fools that believe him.

  9. kwtree says:

    I usually try to hang in with folks I disagree with. But the current crop of TrumpAde drinkers seem to be completely toxic people who are incapable of reasoned debate and discussion.  They truly believe that the election was stolen, that all the winning ballots are hidden in Germany, that it’s perfectly legit to block black and Democratic voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, etc.

    So I blocked my ex-hubs’ daughter on Facebook. She also thinks that Covid is a big hoax, while she lives in the most infected county in the second most infected state in the entire world, South Dakota.

    The ER rooms in her city are packed with severely ill COVID patients.

    Have any of y’all had any luck talking with friends and family members who are still riding the Trump Train?

     

    • Duke Cox says:

      No.

      My brother is the only person I know with whom I discuss the subject. He struggles because his family members are lost. I keep him informed with the truth, but I am the only voice he hears from the "force". There are several voices he hears from "the dark side"

      Help us Obi-wan!

    • JohnInDenver says:

      I didn't have ANYTHING to do with a change of one Trumpster I know … but I watched as he separated from pure enthusiasm, to tolerance, to opposition.  I'm not sure what was the final straw … but his more-than-a-little / less-than-a-career military life appears to have set a trajectory, reacting to statements ("suckers and losers"), events (military helicopters over American protesters), and treatment of military members and their advice (Syrian pull-out).  He doesn't want to write about the enthusiastic support during the 2016 election or his negative reaction to the moves to impeach. But he's definitely changed.

  10. It's time to refuel the torches and sharpen the pitchforks. If Trump convinces any State Legislature to overturn the will of the voters, we will need millions of us to be in the streets.

  11. notaskinnycook says:

    He knows he lost. He's trying to get even for the Russian investigation that he thinks tarnished his win in '16: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/19/politics/trump-democrats-election/index.html

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      The bigliest way to disprove the very bad truth that there was some Russian interference to steal the election then is to show the world what a yuge election-theft hoax looks like now . . . 

      Ttump 101, or The Art of the [Election] Steal

  12. ElliotFladen says:

    Ellis is not a law professor. Or a former law professor.  She taught pre-law at CCU.

    That is like saying I am a law professor because I gave my kids a lesson on what stealing is.

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