• Transcript
  • Show Notes

In this episode of CAFE Insider, “State of Denial,” Preet and Anne break down the presidential election and the related litigation, Attorney General Bill Barr’s controversial memo authorizing federal prosecutors to investigate voter fraud before the election results are certified, Trump’s firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and more.

We hope you’re finding CAFE Insider informative. Email us at [email protected] with your suggestions and questions for Preet and Anne. 

This podcast is produced by CAFE Studios. 

Tamara Sepper – Executive Producer; Adam Waller – Senior Editorial Producer; Matthew Billy – Audio Producer; Jake Kaplan – Editorial Producer

REFERENCES & SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS

ELECTION RESULTS 

“Election Debrief (with CAFE hosts),” Stay Tuned with Preet, 11/4/20

Presidential Election Results: Biden Wins, NYT/Edison Research

U.S. Senate Election Results, NYT/Edison Research

U.S. House Election Results, NYT/Edison Research

Anne Milgram tweet, 11/8/20

VIDEO: Fox News projects Joe Biden will win 2020 presidential election, 11/7/20

TRUMP CONTESTS RESULTS

National Exit Polls: How Different Groups Voted, NYT/Edison Research

President George W. Bush statement, 11/8/20

“Trump faces divided family and friends as calls mount for a concession,” Politico, 11/8/20

“‘Good news’: America’s allies celebrate Biden win, hope for more cooperative relations,” WaPo, 11/8/20

“The Republican Party Is the Reason It’s Taking So Long to Count Votes in Pennsylvania,” Slate, 11/5/20

BILL BARR MEMO

“President Donald J. Trump Is Taking Action to Promote Good Governance and Accountability Within the Federal Workforce,” Executive Order, 10/21/20

Federal Prosecutions of Election Offenses manual, 12/2017

“DOJ’s election crimes chief resigns post after Barr allows prosecutors to probe voter fraud claims,” NBC News, 11/10/20

“Senate’s McConnell says Trump has right to probe election ‘irregularities,’” Reuters, 11/9/20

“Politicizing the Civil Service: How a New Executive Order Destabilizes the U.S. Government,” Just Security, 11/2/20

Preet Bharara tweet, 11/9/20

Tom Winter tweets, 11/9/20

Ryan Goodman tweet, 11/9/20

TRUMP CAMPAIGN LEGAL BATTLES

“Can Trump Steal The Election? (with Marc Elias),” Stay Tuned with Preet, 10/8/20

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 11. Signing Pleadings, Motions, and Other Papers; Representations to the Court; Sanctions

Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, Motion for leave to intervene as a petitioner filed by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., U.S. Supreme Court 11/4/20

Post-Election cases, Democracy Docket

“George W. Bush congratulates Biden as Christie says Trump may soon need to ‘move on,’” NBC News, 11/8/20

“Trump’s brazen attack on our democracy,” Anne Milgram op-ed, CNN, 11/6/20

“Trump unhappy with legal team’s lack of major impact on election count,” CNN, 11/6/20

Marc Elias tweet, 11/8/20

Kadhim Shubber tweets, 11/5/20

MARK ESPER FIRING

“Long at odds with Trump, Defense Secretary Esper has prepared a resignation letter, officials say,” NBC News, 11/5/20

President Trump tweets, 11/9/20

TRANSITION OF POWER

Presidential Transition Act of 1963

3 U.S. Code §5. Determination of controversy as to appointment of electors

“Trump Appointee Stands Between Biden’s Team and a Smooth Transition,” NYT, 11/9/20

“Scoop: Trump privately discussing 2024 run,” AXIOS, 11/9/20

“Explainer: Can Trump pardon his associates — or himself?” Reuters, 11/8/20

FOUR SEASONS TOTAL LANDSCAPING

“‘Lawn and Order!’ ‘Make America rake again.’ The (other) Four Seasons is selling merchandise,” NYT, 11/9/20

“Here’s How The Internet Responded To The Trump Campaign Booking “Four Seasons Total Landscaping” Instead Of The Four Seasons Hotel,” BuzzFeed, 11/8/20

VIDEO: Rudy Giuliani reacts to media calling presidential race for VP Biden, 11/7/20

Preet Bharara:

From Cafe. Welcome to Cafe Insider. I’m Preet Bharara.

Anne Milgram:

And Anne Milgram.

Preet Bharara:

How are you, Anne?

Anne Milgram:

Hey, Preet.

Preet Bharara:

Hey, who won the election?

Anne Milgram:

Yeah, Joe Biden won.

Preet Bharara:

Well, are you sure?

Anne Milgram:

I remained very confident. I would say 100% confident that Joe Biden won.

Preet Bharara:

Did you congratulate him? You acknowledged the victory like most world leaders?

Anne Milgram:

I sent a thank you tweet to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We were in New York City on Saturday afternoon and we were outside in a playground with our son. And all of a sudden we heard pots banging and people screaming. We were in Upper Manhattan, in Washington Heights. There was this incredible cheer and the sound that started coming from the streets. The city just erupted with joy and I think relief. And so, I did send a thank you tweet because I tucked our six year old into bed feeling a lot better about the world that I haven’t in a long time and feeling a lot more hopeful.

Preet Bharara:

The fact that you acknowledged the victory tells us something about you. It means that you’re very likely not a Republican Senator.

Anne Milgram:

It’s true. Or the President of the United States. I am neither.

Preet Bharara:

Or members of his staff.

Anne Milgram:

Or Rudy Giuliani. I mean, the list goes on.

Preet Bharara:

Or Rudy Giuliani. I think it was a great day, Saturday. And what’s interesting is for me, and for a lot of people, I think people didn’t expect how relieved they would be, and how gleeful they would be. I mean, a lot of my friends had the same experience that you did, that they found out that the election had been called in Pennsylvania had been won because people started pouring into the streets and screaming and dancing in New York. But I think a lot of places too. Wasn’t going on so much in the suburbs.

Anne Milgram:

I believe it. Were there any folks out where you are?

Preet Bharara:

Not on my block but in spirit. I think in spirit, there were a lot of folks. We had election special last Wednesday for Stay Tuned and there was still some uncertainty about how it would go. Ultimately, the polls were wrong, again. And we’re not pollsters, but there’ll be a lot of arguments later about how wrong they were, if they were in fact wrong, given the overall lead that Biden will end up getting in the popular vote, but with respect to Maine and some of the Senate races quite off, and-

Anne Milgram:

They were really off. Yeah, I agree with that. I think as the count continues and we know there are still a couple of States that haven’t certified their vote counts yet, Biden continues to gain. And I think, look at the end, he’s going to be ahead by three or four points, percentage points in the race. I mean, he’s going to have won a significant victory and I think the pros are not going to… Yes, exactly.

Preet Bharara:

306 electoral votes, most likely if he holds on to Arizona and holds on to Georgia. And remember what Trump said about his 306 electoral vote victory, I believe he called it landslide.

Anne Milgram:

A landside, that’s right.

Preet Bharara:

A landslide for the ages.

Anne Milgram:

Yes. So I think the pollsters are going to say, “Look, we weren’t wrong. We just got the points wrong. The percentages wrong.” But they were wrong on a lot of significant pieces. And I think, we all need to think a little bit about polling, how it’s done. Most of it is pretty old school. They call landlines in people’s homes. I don’t know about you, but we don’t even have a landline. And so I think they try to correct for that, but there are a fair amount of problems I think with polling. And one of the biggest problems is that the media embraces the polls as though they’re absolutely true. And then that becomes the narrative. And so, it changes how people go out to vote and how people think about races, and it’s worth a longer conversation, not today. But I do think after 2016 and now 2020, all of us should be clear that polls are largely often inaccurate, or they have a kernel of truth in them.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. So I think we should acknowledge at the top some concerns that people have and the questions that we’ve been getting, especially in the last day or two. Lots of euphoria on Saturday for people who are supporters of Biden and opponents of Donald Trump. And it looks like Joe Biden has won and all the networks called it. And that includes Fox News.

Speaker 3:

The Fox News Decision Desk can now project that Former Vice President, Joe Biden will win Pennsylvania and Nevada putting him over the 270 electoral votes he needs to become the 46th President of the United States.

Preet Bharara:

Republicans are correct that media outlets do not determine elections, that’s done by states. But it has always been true that, that takes some time and happens over a period of weeks before the final certifications take place. But at the same time, it is true that in our history, particularly with respect to presidential elections, that the overall wisdom of networks who are looking at the data, particularly AP that’s been calling elections, I think since 1848, that the people who lose graciously accept their loss, so that transition can happen, and there can be a peaceful transfer of power. That’s not happening here.

Preet Bharara:

And the question that you and I are getting and others are asking is, is there some way that Donald Trump could steal the election back through lawsuits, or through investigations, or doing something with respect to the states? And I think you’ll agree with me, and then, we’ll get into the details of this in a second and break it all down. No, Joe Biden is going to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States at noon on January 20th. There’s going to be a lot of crying. There’s going to be a lot of press conferences at weird places, in Pennsylvania, by Rudy Giuliani. There’s going to be a lot of Sturm und Drang as they say, but at the end of the day, I think it will signify nothing and Joe Biden will take off. Do you agree with that basic conclusion?

Anne Milgram:

I agree 100%. Where I think this is going is that yes, Joe Biden gets sworn in as President. He will be the duly elected, lawfully elected President of the United States. What the President and his supporters are doing right now with the litigation, with the allegations of fraud, is that the President wants to create this narrative. And he slowly is creating it amongst his supporters, that he was robbed, that he won the election, and he’s been defrauded, and that the processes in the United States of America have broken down, so that he was robbed. That gives him power and that lets him hold power, in my view, for the next four years to continue to be a force in the Republican party. We know he doesn’t like to lose things. We know he won’t be able to square that. So I think this is all building to the narrative, which does, in my view, help him maintain power longer than a lot of times presidents go and sort of off into the sunset. He’s not going into the sunset, whether he runs for reelection in 2024 or not. But there will be a lot of wolf and quack. And the wolf and quack, which is-

Preet Bharara:

How I love it when you say wolf and quack.

Anne Milgram:

It’s back. Which will be like the continued frivolous litigation, the silly press conferences, the allegations of fraud with absolutely no receipts, no evidence, no facts. All of that is being done so they can use that to bootstrap into this bigger narrative of, “Donald Trump won the election. He was cheated.” And that lets him both save face and maintain his political power, but 100% yes, Joe Biden walks across that stage. If there is a stage and he gets sworn in as the President, by the Chief Justice of the United States on January 20th.

Preet Bharara:

100%. I think we should talk about some basic inconsistencies and some hypocrisy with respect to these allegations before we get into the details. Remember, I’ll mention a couple of them. One, Donald Trump and the Republican party had no problem with those same media outlets, calling the election based on slimmer margins for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, back in 2016. It is also true that leading up to November 3rd of this year, Donald Trump kept saying, because he thought this would be advantageous to him that whoever is in the lead on November 3rd at the end of the evening should be declared the victor. And that there should not be counting votes after November 3rd, you shouldn’t be waiting days and weeks to figure out who the winner is.

Preet Bharara:

Well, when it turns out that at the end of the day on November 3rd, he was not in a good position and Biden was winning, then his allies turn to the next argument, which is every single vote, every single vote. In some States, Donald Trump’s allies were saying, “Stop counting.” In some states, they were saying, “Keep counting.” And in another state, Wisconsin, they were saying, “We need to do a recount.” So, it’s complete absurd inconsistency, that is the hallmark of all of Trump’s arguments, right? There’s no principle behind it.

Anne Milgram:

Yeah. It’s actually the opposite of principled. It is, again, totally geared towards this narrative that the President won the election, and that they will do anything and say anything they can to get there. But let’s go a little further on the inconsistencies, because I think it’s really important. The election results are fine in the President’s mind when it comes to the United States Senate. And remember for all of us who voted, you vote the exact same ballot to vote for the president of the United States, as you do to vote for the United States Senate. The Senate race is basically set, 48 Republicans, 48 Democrats. There’s two races that have yet to been called that we expect to go Republican. And then, they’re the two run-off races in Georgia. But it looks at least at this moment in time, that the Republicans have a really strong likelihood of continuing to control the Senate.

Anne Milgram:

When it comes to that the President said point blank the other night when he spoke, that the Senate, he credits that part of the election. You can’t pick which part of a ballot you agree with and which part you don’t. So that’s one point. The second point is he’s really alleging a vast multi-state conspiracy, the likes of which we have never seen in the United States. And I would sort of pause it, like would be virtually impossible to pull off, right? Because the conspiracy, as you know, is in one direction of too many people voting and another direction not counting votes.

Anne Milgram:

And then the last point, which I think is really, so profoundly important when we start to talk about the way that the President argues this stuff is that his principle position is that, when he talks about fraud is that Republicans or members of his party were not allowed to be part of the election process. That is a bold face lie. And we should stop there. And I don’t want to be defending against what the President has said, but the election is run by Democrats and Republicans and Republican held states where the Republicans run the governorship and the secretary of state, they run the election.

Preet Bharara:

Like Georgia.

Anne Milgram:

Like Georgia, in many of the things we’re talking about his own party. So he’s basically arguing the corruption of his political party and there are always men and women from both political parties, and from both candidates who are part of the election process, that’s how our democracy works. So it’s all fraudulent, it’s all inconsistent. And I think, to me at the end of the day, I worry about getting too into the weeds with arguing against it. Because again, every vote has to be counted. If every vote is counted, I’m confident that Biden has the votes and will continue to expand his lead, and that a number of additional states are going to be called for him. But again, it’s like this fundamental argument that the President is trying to go for.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. And the other hypocrisy I’ll point out is, one of the reasons why we have this late counting and the delay in calling it in Pennsylvania among other places is that the Republican legislature in Pennsylvania and in other places refuse to allow real time counting of mail-in ballots, right?

Anne Milgram:

That was a huge mistake, but yes.

Preet Bharara:

They created the situation in which there was going to be uncertainty, and delay, and allegations of fraud. And then when that happens, they’re like, “Oh, this is a terrible thing. Why are we doing it this way?”

Anne Milgram:

Yeah, I agree.

Preet Bharara:

So total fraud in that regard as well. A question I have before we get to what Bill Barr has been up to after a pretty notable absence from public view for some weeks during the lead up to the election. If we are correct that it is inevitable, now that Biden will take office. And if world leaders from around the world, including the leader of Israel, and our European allies, notable exception of Vladimir Putin, but most world leaders have acknowledged the ascendancy of Joe Biden to the presidency. Why have only three or four Republican senators done so? I mean, I had sort of predicted that when Donald Trump loses, the Republicans will move on, McConnell is pretty happy, he’s probably going to retain the Senate, it’s not certain, but I hate to say it, but he’s probably going to retain the Senate. Are they still afraid of Donald Trump? I saw someone post on social media the theory that we were all wrong. They were not afraid of Donald Trump. They’re the same as Donald Trump. What do you think?

Anne Milgram:

I think a couple of things, one is, Former President, George W. Bush came out and congratulated Vice President Biden on being elected. And I thought that was really important.

Preet Bharara:

He said it was a fundamentally fair election-

Anne Milgram:

Yes. And I think that’s really important for people to understand that… In many ways I credit that more than sitting senators who are up for reelection, and who are concerned about their political future. I don’t necessarily know what the fear is of Trump. But what Trump has created, and look, it is a movement. Everyone should be clear more than 70 million Americans voted for Donald Trump and Biden won, and it’s not going to be a close election in the end, it’s going to be three or four percentage points. But still, Donald Trump got a lot of votes. And a lot of people who were willing to vote for him after four years of migrant child separations, the Muslim ban, just countless sort of attacks on the rule of law, the Department of Justice in my personal view. He’s consistently held that 41 or 42% of the population. People want that base.

Anne Milgram:

And so, whether they want Donald Trump or not, whether they’re afraid of Donald Trump, they want those voters and Donald Trump today still controls those voters. And so I think some of it is fear. Some of it is a political calculation of Trump has energized the base in a way that Republicans haven’t seen in a long time. They did make gains amongst minorities which we should note. I mean, they lost amongst white men, the Trump campaign, but they did pick up some additional minorities, people of color, women. And so there’s a lot that we can say we disagree with as a policy question, but in terms of politics, there’s a lot that the senators want. We’ve seen during the past four years, don’t you think? I mean, there are examples where Trump has come out against senators and congress people and he’s crushed them. I mean, look at Jeff Sessions, just lost his election. I mean-

Preet Bharara:

So it’s a sign that he retains power in part because he retains the loyalty of his base, which Republicans need. There’s some reporting also that in the short-term, they’re trying to give him, some face-saving alternative narrative that allows him after time to process the fact of his loss. I mean, I don’t know what to believe with respect to all this reporting, that Melania has suggested he should pack it up. Jared Kushner says the opposite. I don’t know. I think a lot of it is a face-saving exercise.

Anne Milgram:

Do you think, because I’ve wondered this, okay, there’s face-saving and then, there’s face-saving at the cost of American democracy, right?

Preet Bharara:

Oh, he doesn’t care about that at all.

Anne Milgram:

But I feel like the Republican… I know Donald Trump doesn’t care about it, but what I am disappointed by… I mean, I think there’s probably a stronger word I should use there, but what this is doing it’s not just face-saving. It’s allowing the President to argue, “I was robbed of the election. Our democracy does not work.” Our elections, which are the core part of a democracy, the single most important institution in a democracy is free and fair elections, that he’s saying that’s corrupted. Would you do that, just to let somebody save face? You’d be willing to sort of risk your entire democratic system and trust in that system? So do you think the senators, do they not think in those terms like you and I do?

Preet Bharara:

No, I don’t think they do. I think the Donald Trump approach and MO has twisted the minds of lots of people. And many of these folks have put party and Trump over country and we’re seeing it again. I mean, all you can hope for it’s sort of a last gasp of this short… Look, this is maybe a good segue to talking about something that people were asking about. Where’s Bill Barr? What’s going on with DOJ? And one argument people were making that the elections must have been okay, is that, the usually studiously, sycophantic Bill Barr was absent and silent and quiet. Not so quiet yesterday. A couple of things went on. One, Bill Barr was seen meeting in person at the Senate, with majority leader, Mitch McConnell, don’t know exactly what was said in connection with that. But then McConnell went to the floor and took the President side, fairly strongly with fairly strong-

Anne Milgram:

Fairly strongly, yeah.

Preet Bharara:

And the other thing that has a lot of people up in arms and we should talk about it. And I think [inaudible] people’s concerns is, Bill Barr put out a memo, guidance throughout the Department of Justice to all the United States attorneys basically aggregating, or I guess, undermining what has long been for decades, the policy of the Justice Department with respect to election related prosecutions. Here’s what Bill Barr put… And we’ll discuss why this is so nuts and what some of the consequences are. There’s been a significant resignation within the department. But Bill Barr put out guidance as follows, “I authorize you to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections in your jurisdictions in certain cases.”

Preet Bharara:

And then he says about substantial irregularities, “Such inquiries and reviews may be conducted if there are clear and apparently credible allegations, if irregularities, that if true could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual state.” Now, so it’s pretty careful language in which he says, “Only if it’s going to impact the election.” So for example, if there’s irregularity in an election that was won by a million votes, and there’s no way that an irregularity claim with respect to 1000 votes is going to change the election. You’re not supposed to go and investigate that.

Anne Milgram:

This is a little bit of a magic trick, right? I don’t know if that’s going to totally work, but I was just listening to you talk about it, and I was like, gosh, if you just read that email, on its face it seems reasonable, right? For people who don’t understand the space and who don’t know what the federal existing policies are, and what the Department of Justice is supposed to do. It sounds like, “Well, okay, it has to be substantial allegations. It can’t be small ball stuff.” And it’s only if it’s going to impact. If it’s true, it could potentially impact the election in a state. So meaning like, let everything else go, but focus on the big and important stuff. So on its face, it almost sounds reasonable. But the magic trick there is that he doesn’t show you the existing long-standing policy of the United States Department of Justice.

Anne Milgram:

And he just puts this out in a way that sort of, he expects people to say, “Oh, not a big deal.” And then you read, our colleague at NYU, Ryan Goodman posted yesterday from the DOJ policy manual Section IV, non-interference with elections that says, “The Department, does not have a role in determining which candidate won a particular election.” And goes on to say, “If these issues are for the candidates to litigate in the courts or to advocate before their legislative bodies or election boards,” and then specifically says, “Overt criminal investigative measures should not ordinarily be taken in matters involving alleged fraud in the manner in which votes were cast or counted until the election in question has been concluded, it’s result certified and all recounts and election contests concluded.” And basically it goes on to say that the reason they do this is to avoid interjecting the federal government into the adjudication of an election.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. There’s a good reason for that policy. And it’s related to the same principles that underlie this sort of unwritten policy of not taking a substantial step publicly in an investigation leading up to an election, so that the Justice Department is not influencing the outcome of election. That’s what they’re supposed to stay out of. And this is just another example. So, why would Bill Barr do this? He’s doing it, I believe, at the behest of the President, or to satisfy the President, audience of one, because there are no substantial, as far as I can see, serious allegations that would alter the result of an election. And he’s going out of his way to do something that the Department has never done before, to my knowledge, contravene very well-considered written guidance that has been in place for I think, 40 years.

Preet Bharara:

Unless you have some concern that people are blowing this up out of proportion, and the consequences of this, maybe are being overblown, but the seriousness of Bill Barr not taking his role seriously enough as the lawyer for the public, as opposed to lawyer for the President is revealed in an action that happened yesterday as reported in multiple places, the Head of the Election Fraud Branch within the public integrity section of the Justice Department, long-time career official Richard Pilger in an email he sent to colleagues abruptly withdrew from that position. He didn’t resign from the department altogether, but he withdrew from that position with fairly strong language, unlike some other withdrawals and resignations where there’s no explanation given. And one is left to speculate, like with respect to Nora Dannehy in Connecticut. In this case, Mr. Pilger made it very clear why he thought he could no longer serve in that position.

Anne Milgram:

That’s right. And really what Pilger says is, “This is political.” So if you read Bill Barr’s email and then heard the policy that I just given you, I think most people would draw the conclusion that Barr’s acting in a way that is partisan and political. And that would have been our hunch or what we would have surmised based on the information we had. But we don’t have to guess at this because we know it for sure from Pilger’s email, where he basically says, “Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications and in accord with the best tradition of the John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism, my most cherished departmental recognition, I must regretfully resigned from my role as Director of the Election Crimes Branch.” At the beginning he talks about how Barr’s new guidance is aggregating the 40 year old non-interference policy for ballot fraud investigations.

Anne Milgram:

And so, this is, I think, the equivalent of him basically screaming out loud, “This is political. I cannot oversee an election crimes unit that is being turned.” We talk about this a lot, of the ability of the institutions to withstand this sort of the political screws that are turned, and that have been turned during the Trump administration. And here, this is a big one. It’s consistent with what Barr had done earlier saying that they could do overt actions with the elections investigations prior to the election. For people who care about the rule of law and the integrity of the department, I think Pilger is showing incredible integrity, but again, I think part of why people are worried is that it’s just another way in which I think, Barr has compromised the integrity of an institution that matters.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. And just a word about Richard Pilger. I have no recollection of dealing with him directly, but I check with folks in my office, because I know we would often consult with the Public Integrity Unit and he’s considered like many of these people who have principle the Justice Department, a basically lifelong career, straight arrow nonpolitical, or apolitical, non-partisan, professional lawyer who has served in administrations of both parties. And so he becomes a latest person in a long string of folks, including all the prosecutors who are on the Roger Stone case, including some of these line prosecutors from around the country who are writing with some personal risk to themselves, occupationally, writing op-eds in newspapers, which I never saw. We’ve had controversial conduct by Attorneys general before, but never anything like this. And this is just another one on the eve, I hope, of Bill Barr leaving office,

Anne Milgram:

One thing just to also note, and we could go deeper into this in another episode, but President Trump signed an executive order on October 21st, basically getting rid of civil service protections at the Department of Justice. And that’s really important because the department has functioned on the backs of these career men and women, the lawyers for the department. I was one, you were one, when you go into political appointment position, it’s obviously different. You’re a political appointee, you can be hired and fired at will. But the career folks have different levels of protection.

Anne Milgram:

By taking that away, they basically will both be able to fire anyone who they want to fire, but also, they sort of put people like Pilger and others in the department who act based on integrity and the best interest of the United States of America, to whom they swear an oath. They put them in sort of, it’s much easier for political pressure to be exerted and there’s less protections for them. So I think this is all part and parcel of the President’s attack on the department and on the institutions. And I think it’s just worth noting that, it takes a lot of courage for somebody like Pilger to speak up. I think, it’s really important. And I agree that I hope that as of January 20th Bill Barr’s not the U.S. Attorney General.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. So going back to the question that people were asking last night and how worried should they be about this action by Bill Barr? I think, as I posted last night on Twitter, people should be more disgusted then scared of this for a couple of reasons. One, there is a lot of cautionary language, even in the memo that aggregates prior policy, right? He makes clear in language that is helpful. I think for the right thing to be done, that these things are not to be undertaken lightly. The department takes no position as to whether or not there have been serious allegations. And you only act as we’ve already discussed, when those irregularities might have changed the outcome of the election. There probably aren’t situations that match those criteria.

Preet Bharara:

I think it’s also the case that you hope politically accountable, responsible United States attorneys in those various states, having seen that language, having understood the public backlash, having taken an oath, and also having seen the defiant withdrawal from the position of Richard Pilger, would think twice about opening up an investigation. And even if they do open up an investigation, the amount of time it would take to wrap it up. Remember, all they can do is bring a prosecution or not bring a prosecution. They don’t have the power in any way that I can understand it, to undo a vote or undo the result of an election. It’s a blunt limited power to bring a case or not bring a case, right? So, it can’t really affect the outcome.

Anne Milgram:

It’s not going to affect the outcome. And that’s, again, to my point, I don’t think that’s what it’s about. I think that this is the President pressuring Barr, and putting a lot of pressure on him to basically open up the door for election fraud. Again, so the President can argue that the election has been stolen from him. This is all going in this one direction. And I think he’s probably putting a lot of pressure on Barr to say, like, “Bring cases, bring cases.” And Barr takes this step of saying, “Okay, we can bring cases.” Which is extraordinarily unusual. It’s unprecedented. It shouldn’t be happening. But Barr, probably understands like the rest of us understand, that number one, in order to bring a case you need the FBI to do an investigation. So you’re counting on the FBI being pushed by the President in a political direction.

Anne Milgram:

Then, you need an Assistant U.S. Attorney. You’re counting on that person being pushed. Then you need the sitting politically appointed U.S. Attorney. Then you need the courts, and the grand jury. It’s not going to happen in my view. Even if there was evidence which we have seen zero, but even if there ever turned out to be evidence, you’re right, it’s going to be a small case. It’s not going to be significant numbers. But I don’t that’s even going to come to pass. So it’s not about that. It’s about the soundbite. Preet, and you tell me, but I would assume that there is going to be a press conference or that short of Pilger’s resignation, I think that there could have been a press conference, or they could have tried to bring a case. The Pilger thing, I think, does change. I think it’s important. It changes the political calculus a little, because he’s now… The Head of the Election Crimes Unit has said, “This is political. This shouldn’t happen.” And so, that puts everything under a lot more scrutiny.

Preet Bharara:

Can I make an important observation?

Anne Milgram:

Yeah.

Preet Bharara:

It’s not common for you to use extraordinary in the advert forum.

Anne Milgram:

Did I?

Preet Bharara:

You said extraordinarily, yeah. I was like, I don’t know if that’s better or not.

Anne Milgram:

I don’t know.

Preet Bharara:

Anyway-

Anne Milgram:

I’ve all been all fired up on remarkable recently. I don’t know if that’s an adjective.

Preet Bharara:

That’s how much I hang on your every word, adjective, adverb, whatever the case may be. Yeah, I agree with you. And so I think it’s important to say these things. I don’t want people to think we’re taking these things lightly. You and I don’t take these things lightly. But I saw a lot of spreading of panic because Trump has messed with our minds. To some extent, Barr, has messed with people’s minds. If you’re a lay person, it can be very easy to think, “Well, they can do some last minute theft of the election by some action by Bill Barr.” I guess, crazier things have happened. I don’t see it. People shouldn’t be that worried about that at this point. But I’ll repeat again, you should be disgusted by it, because there’s no reason to do it other than to please Trump-

Anne Milgram:

And it’s bad overall for our democracy, right?

Preet Bharara:

Yeah.

Anne Milgram:

It’s sort of big picture, bad, and eroding trust in elections, and people believing that their vote is fairly counted. And so, I think, that’s why it’s important more than that, there’s anything that will come of it.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. So aside from the recent conduct by the Justice Department yesterday, there’ve been all these suits brought in various jurisdictions as a prior, Stay Tuned, guest has kept tally on his Twitter account, Marc Elias, lawyer for the Biden campaign, and some other campaigns. They keep losing them. They sometimes don’t have proper standing. The Republicans keep losing. They sometimes don’t have the right party making the allegation. They sometimes are suing the wrong party. In many cases, they’re not showing any evidence at all. There have been judges who have been laughing some of these cases out of court.

Preet Bharara:

The other reason why some of these stuff is very weak and this is not a legal argument, is that you don’t see in the court of public opinion, what you think is important in connection with a political contest, hard evidence, that there were these problems in these elections to the tune of thousands and thousands, or hundreds of thousands of votes. Back during Bush V Gore as people have famously pointed out, Ben Ginsburg, the Republican lawyer, and face for the Bush campaign back then, would go on all the talk shows on Sunday morning. I think, they’ve actually named a phrase after him, the full Ginsburg. Going on all four or five of the Sunday morning shows. You’re not seeing any of that here.

Preet Bharara:

So while it is true that the Republicans are sort of in line and not acknowledging the Biden victory, they’re not going on air and showing you case by case, by case what all the overwhelming evidence is. They’re not even doing it necessarily in court with the exception of a ludicrous press conference that we might talk about towards the end of the show at the Four Seasons hotel. It was the Four Seasons hotel, right?

Anne Milgram:

Yes. It was actually the Four Seasons Landscaping.

Preet Bharara:

I know.

Anne Milgram:

But we’ll get there.

Preet Bharara:

We’ll get there. And then in court, I guess, in this regard, a similar point to be made that we’re making before, when we were talking about the Bill Barr memo, lawsuits are brought for a reason. And sometimes even if you can bring a successful lawsuit and say, “My neighbor did something they weren’t supposed to do.” At the end of the day, you might win that lawsuit, but if no damage was caused, you go home with no money. In this case, roughly analogous, I think the only thing that I can think of that’s unsettled and that could go the President’s way, and I haven’t looked at every single last allegation, maybe there are more to come, is this business in Pennsylvania with ballots that arrived after election day. Should they be counted or should they not be counted? And with respect to that narrow business, even if they end up not being counted, we understand from officials in Pennsylvania, that those ballots that arrived after election day number in the few thousands. Meanwhile, Joe Biden said were leading-

Anne Milgram:

So, they would impact the election. Right. Yeah.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. The overall lead is, I think, now at 46,000 or something and growing. So it wouldn’t have any impact. Now, I know they have made the claim in Pennsylvania that basically, all of it should be thrown out, but I don’t see any way that, that succeeds.

Anne Milgram:

No, but I think, I mean, first of all, I saw Chris Christie, on the Sunday shows basically saying, “Look, if the President wants to claim there was fraud, he needs to bring forth the evidence. He hasn’t brought forth any evidence.” And so, I do think that there are some people out there saying, “Look, you can’t just walk around and say, “fraud, fraud, fraud.” I wrote a piece for CNN talking about how it’s like yelling fire in a crowded movie theater, right? That example, yelling fire, is to create panic, even if there is no fire. Here, what the President is trying to do is basically sow confusion and doubt about the election. And one of the questions I’ve gotten a lot is, can you just file a frivolous lawsuit? And the answer is, yes. You can be held accountable for that. There’s something in federal court it’s called Rule 11 sanctions.

Preet Bharara:

Rule 11.

Anne Milgram:

I know, we haven’t heard that in a while. Where the party against whom you filed something frivolous can say, “This is frivolous and you’re doing this to badger me or to create problems. And so I want you to pay me money because of that.” But really, it’s rarely done, that people are held accountable. And what the President is doing here is filing lawsuits to bootstrap his argument, that there is some evidence, there is no evidence because he’s filing the lawsuits without evidence. But this is one of those things where it’s sort of, the point is not the litigation. Can I read you Preet, my favorite back and forth.

Preet Bharara:

Yes.

Anne Milgram:

And one other thing just to note is having overseen the state division of elections. There is litigation around this. These things do go to judges, like if somebody votes a provisional ballot and they’re trying to figure out where you legally residing in that community for the election. And by the way, this is non-partisan. It happens to Democrats and Republicans, because people move and they don’t know how many days in advance, you have to register in a new location and so on. And so, those things end up in front of judges and they’re routinely dealt with. So, some of it is very, very normal, but the sort of allegation of widespread fraud is just been completely unfounded.

Anne Milgram:

So, Judge Paul Diamond in Philadelphia, the Trump lawyer, the Trump campaign brings poll watch or case in Philadelphia, basically arguing that poll watchers aren’t being given full access to the ballot counting. Which is actually also interesting because I don’t know if you notice this, but a lot of these were televised. So not only could the poll watchers watch, but the people at home could watch. But Judge Diamond says to the Trump campaign lawyer, the judge says, “Are your observers in the counting room? Do you have people who are watching, because this is the standard process.” Again, like there’s a Democrat and a Republican in there. And the Trump campaign lawyer responds, “There is a non-zero number of people in the room.”

Anne Milgram:

And non-zero, basically means there’s more than zero. Judge Diamond says, “I’m asking you as a member of the bar of this court, are people representing the Donald J. Trump for President representing the plaintiffs in that room?” The Trump campaign, lawyer answers, “Yes.” To which Diamond says, “I’m sorry, then what’s your problem?” And that’s basically sums up to me a lot of this litigation, which is, they’ve made accusations and allegations that simply aren’t true. And when pushed by a court, and that’s what courts do is say, “Show me the facts and the evidence.” They simply can’t back it up.

Preet Bharara:

Two additional comments about the strength of these claims, not strict legal arguments, but I think significant. The Trump folks are having a hard time getting high quality lawyers because people do care sometimes about their reputations and about their integrity, and their status as officers of the court. Trump himself reportedly has been complaining about the quality of the lawyering, why he continues to turn to Rudy Giuliani then is beyond me. But there’s a real problem there. Ben Ginsburg has been on the Republican side for, I think, millennia. And he is not only not on their side, not on the Trump side on these issues this year, but he’s vocally outspoken against the positions that are being taken by the Trump folks. And then the second point to make is, how high the burden is to undo the election, because this is the question that people keep asking.

Preet Bharara:

Unlike in 2000, when the entire election turned on one state and ended up turning on 537 votes in one state, then issues of recounts and issues of irregularities have a huge consequence because you’re talking about such a narrow slim margin, and it goes one way or the other, depending on those votes, in that one state. Here, Joe Biden has a margin of tens and tens of thousands in multiple states, any one of which puts him over the top. So Trump would have to succeed so massively even with evidence, which we haven’t seen a sign of, in at least three states, and overturn tens of thousands of votes in the current tally to have any hope at all to win the election and to reverse the Biden win. So all of those things taken together, I think should give some people some comfort, not withstanding all the hand-waving and the complaining, and the rhetoric, and the lying and the hypocrisy. At the end of the day, I do believe this is all doomed to failure.

Anne Milgram:

I agree, Preet. This isn’t 2000, this is 2020. It is a completely different scenario, but look, I think people are concerned, but I would give the exact same assurances. I think, Joe Biden has won the election. He will be sworn in as the President. We should warn people that the next two months are going to be a lot of stuff like this. I think the President will continue to lash out. He will continue to argue election fraud. He’s already fired one cabinet member. He’ll probably fire more. And so, when Donald Trump gets hit or gets down, he doesn’t blame himself. He blames other people and he lashes out. And so, a lot of that people should buckle your seatbelt for a wild ride for the next two months. But I think it ends with Biden sworn in.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. We should talk about that one cabinet official. Not just any cabinet official, a very significant one. Secretary Esper, Secretary of Defense, who reportedly was working on his own letter of resignation last week. I don’t know his successor, who’s in the acting capacity. There are some question about whether or not that’s an appropriate person that was not the Deputy Secretary of Defense who was put in the acting position. The person who was, I understand, is under-qualified for the job. Hopefully, it’ll only be for a few weeks, but it’s a dangerous period for national security purposes. Adversaries and enemies of the United States, as you might imagine logically, look for opportunities and moments when the U.S. maybe doesn’t have constancy of power, or is in a moment of confusion, and may undertake actions during those times when the people in positions to protect the United States are weaker than they would otherwise be. And the policy of the United States is not so clear because things are in flux and you’ve lost some amount of continuity. I think it’s a big deal. And I guess the other question is who else is on the chopping block?

Anne Milgram:

Yeah. On the Esper, one thing I think is a particularly big deal is that it’s been reported. And I think the President has made no secret that he lost faith and got angry with Esper, after Esper was there the night that the President during the protest, had folks clear the path to St. John’s Cathedral across from the White House, and Esper was there, so was Bill Barr. And Esper, later stepped back from it and said, “Look, I shouldn’t have been there as the Head of the Military. The military should not be involved in the protests across the streets of the United States of America.” And so, Trump has been angry about that. And what I think is important is that, Esper made clear that the military would not put their finger on the scale of the election. That they weren’t going to go out and get engaged in the election.

Anne Milgram:

And that’s the correct thing. That is the constitutional duty of the men and women who are sworn to the U.S. military. And so, I think, it’s worth noting that Trump fired him exactly because he was complying with the United States constitution and what he is supposed to do. And I don’t think that will play well internally with the military. I think, it’s worth noting that. And then, the President also wants to fire Gina Haspel, who heads the CIA, as well as Chris Wray, who currently leads the FBI. And so, I think we should expect that the President will fire more people. He will do a lot of executive orders as well. Again, I think to your point, it is really problematic that he is letting go the people who are in charge of securing American national security, right? I mean, it’s the military. It’s the people who are also being talked about, the CIA, the FBI. It is very problematic for the United States, particularly as he contests the validity of the election.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. It doesn’t make a lot of sense when you’re going to be leaving in a matter of weeks, or I guess, maybe he’s not internalized that. And he has some far-fetched notion that he will stay. I actually think that Trump gets it. And as you point out, this is all an effort at giving him a face-saving exit in some way, and onto whatever future political career, back in the presidential politics, or media career at a network he might create. The only way that any of that works is if he can stoke as much grievance as possible, so he can complain and whine about it again and again and again. Sometimes he fires people just because he’s annoyed. And he clearly has been annoyed with… The one person he didn’t mention in this context, so we’ve talked about for a lot of the show is Bill Barr.

Preet Bharara:

Remember, Donald Trump basically said, “Bill Barr could be the greatest Attorney General of all time. If some of these indictments about the Russia probe were brought, or the Durham Report, or investigation reached a conclusion. And if not, he’s like everybody else.” And Donald Trump has expressed some interest in getting rid of Bill Barr too. I don’t know, maybe this memo was done in part by Bill Barr to save himself ignominious firing. I don’t know. But there’s a lot in flux. There are a lot of problems. We should talk about transition for a minute. One technical thing that maybe people have not been familiar with because it never has risen to the level of speculation and focus is this idea that when a new administration comes in, there is a ton of effort, and labor, and resources spent on making sure the transition happens smoothly, so America, most importantly, can be kept safe in these moments of transition, peaceful transition of power, to which, Trump has still not committed himself.

Preet Bharara:

But that requires substantial sums of money that the government has allocated for this purpose. But the in office space is required because thousands of people need to be hired, and thousands of people need to be moved out, and people need to be briefed on national security issues, and other policy matters as well. And there’s a little noted law that requires the Head of the General Services Administration, GSA, someone named Emily Murphy is in that position now, to basically certify who the winner is. And the law basically says, the GSA Administrator, is supposed to basically, unlock that funding when an ascertainment has been made of who is evidently the winner. But there’s a lot of discretion, I guess, in deciding what evidence means. I mean, to normal people, you and me, and many, many other folks, it is evident that Joe Biden is the President-Elect, and will assume office on January 20th of next year. And the delay in her doing so strikes some people as political.

Anne Milgram:

Yeah. I think it is. I think, the race has now been called by the AP and they’re a well-established, well-respected organization that has been doing this for years. And people should also understand that, this is the way it works. That there’s a process by which the votes get counted. And then they get certified by the states and those certifications are made on December 8th. And so, traditionally, the Secretary of State, or whoever’s in charge of the election, and the state, on December 8th, they have to have certified the vote and awarded the electoral votes for whoever that state has selected for president on December 8th. So it routinely happens that the GSA does this certification prior to that December 8th date, which is the first sort of formal step in the Electoral College after the election.

Anne Milgram:

And so, I think it’s worth noting that there’ve been a lot of Republican arguments saying the media doesn’t decide the election, the states do, the Electoral College does. That’s never been the process. And the reason it’s never been the process is that, you are talking about a massive United States government bureaucracy that the next president has to run. There are 15 cabinet positions. There are literally, 50 independent federal commissioners that have to be appointed. There are hundreds of people who have to be brought into the administration to keep the administration running. So under the best of circumstances, it’s essential and $10 million as you point out goes to the transition, under the best of circumstances that is really important. Right now, it is irresponsible to me that the GSA has not moved on this because we are in the midst of a global pandemic.

Anne Milgram:

And before the GSA does that certification, there is no formal process for the incoming administration to ask the current administration to share information with them, right? There’s a lot that’s private to government and you don’t share that with the public and you would share it with the incoming the President of the United States, and the executive branch. You wouldn’t just share it with anybody. And so that process needs to happen immediately so that they can get briefed on what the FDA is doing. What’s in the works? What’s happening with the coronavirus? What’s happening with the economy? And so, it really is substantive. And I think it’s playing politics in a way that a lot of Americans may not understand, is particularly dangerous. And that doesn’t mean that the Biden camp won’t work on. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have sufficient funds to do it, but I worry a lot about getting access to the existing government institutions and people for a smooth transition.

Preet Bharara:

Part of the problem here is not just that they had their head in the sand about whether or not Biden has won. But even when Trump was incoming, they didn’t care about transition. They don’t care about the gears of power. They don’t care about continuity of government operations. This has been written about by a lot of people, including Michael Lewis, the great author, who talked about how Chris Christie, whatever you think of him, had undertaken a very serious substantial preparatory work for transition, which by the way happens before the election, because there’s not enough time, if you wait until the day of the election, all of which was essentially as he and others report thrown out the window. So it’s a combination of that they’re wanting to insist that Biden has not won, on top of a general sort of nihilism about government itself, and not caring about briefings, not caring about career people, getting to understand what the positions of the United States are, what position United States is taking on various issues from foreign policy to domestic policy, to economic policy, you name it. It’s a massive amount of stuff that needs to be addressed, digested and acted upon. And Trump is going to screw that up.

Anne Milgram:

I would say, I led the Homeland Security transition for Governor Corzine when he was elected Governor of the State of New Jersey many years ago. And we worked around the clock. I mean, we worked literally non-stop. And one thing people have to understand is that you inherit… It’s not like a new president comes in or a new governor comes in and changes everything. You’re inheriting a lot of things that are in progress that are already happening. And you have to figure out, obviously, different people have different policy priorities. You have to figure out like, how do you keep the government running well? How do you do what you need to do to keep community secure? It’s particularly important right now.

Anne Milgram:

And then, how do you start to think about, achieving your policy priorities? It was literally a 24/7 job for a couple of months, and it’s a really, really important time. And now more than ever, Biden will be expected on January 20th to just hit the ground running. He does not have, nor will he have, nor should he have any lag time. There’s no option for that, In my view right now, in the COVID-19 world, we live in.

Preet Bharara:

Well, look, there are some examples of this already doing that. I found it kind of stunning, not that Joe Biden announced a COVID task force yesterday with a number of people on it, but that astonishingly, there were a lot of smart doctors on that task force. We you stunned by that?

Anne Milgram:

Science is back.

Preet Bharara:

I didn’t know you could do that. There a lot of things that are unclear. One thing that I just want to re-emphasize again, I think there’s great clarity that Joe Biden is going to be the next president, even though some people are fighting that fact. The idea that the President hasn’t conceded, has no legal effect whatsoever. But there are some things that are unclear, like what’s going to happen with pardons. I think that whether or not the President immediately acknowledges that he’s leaving office on January 20th. We could have a, I think you use this phrase, right? Pardon Palooza?

Anne Milgram:

Yeah. I think a number of folks have been saying, expect a pardon Palooza. There’ll be a lot of pardons coming.

Preet Bharara:

The one question people have is, will he self pardon? Will he pardon himself? We talked about that a little bit last week. In part, that’s an unsettled question because it has never come up. The one time that people were maybe thinking about it was back at the end of the Nixon administration in ’74. And there’s a very, very short office of legal counsel opinion that doesn’t have a lot of legal analysis. Doesn’t have a lot of citations maybe because it’s difficult to find citations for such a silly proposition. Basically holds that the sort of, a timeless principle, that one cannot be a judge in his own case means that you can’t pardon yourself within the meaning of the constitution, but that would have to be contested at some point in the future. And I think Trump is not beyond doing anything like that, preemptively pardoning, his family, his colleagues, his business associates, and maybe even himself.

Anne Milgram:

And remember, the fraud narrative feeds him in that direction, right? It lets him basically say like, “I’ve been defrauded. I’ve been robbed of this election. And I think people are going to come after me.” The President does this all the time, he projects onto others. They’re going to do something illegal. They’re going to wrongfully turn the wheels of the Department of Justice. They’re going to use it in a political way. So therefore, I need to pardon all these people. And the obvious thing, I think you’re right. It’s really unclear whether the President can pardon himself. But I think, we know the Ford Nixon story, which is that, Nixon steps down, Ford immediately pardons him. So Trump could step out, have Pence pardon him. I don’t know if he would it, if he’d be concerned about the optics of it, but we know that would absolutely be lawful. And so, I think that’s a sort of question in my mind, but I don’t have any question, but that there’ll be a lot of other pardons that come out, particularly for the people who have been loyal to him for the past four years plus.

Preet Bharara:

Here’s the other thing politically, before we go, and this is going to maybe be an upsetting thing to predict. It’s been reported that Trump is already talking about potentially running again in 2024. It seems to me that the logic given how much of a megalomaniac and a narcissist Trump is and a whiny baby, that the only way he will end up leaving is if he understands that he will still be the center of attention among all Republicans in the country. And that is to announce, I think, or at least leave open the possibility very strongly that he’s going to take the White House back in 2024. I mean, I’ve often said that the greatest goal Trump ever had was not becoming the President, it was to become the most talked about human being on the planet. And he succeeded at that. He is more willing to relinquish the title of president, than relinquish the position of being the most talked about person on the planet. And the way that he remains relevant, and doesn’t fade into the background is to not only be a big mouth, and a lot of Twitter followers, and start a new network, but to be the presumptive actual candidate for President in 2024. He will have to be covered if that’s his status.

Anne Milgram:

Right. I agree completely. Whether or not he ultimately runs in 2024, he will set it up that he is going to run and he will run a sort of campaign starting basically, January 20th, for 2024. And what that does is it ensures that he’s covered by the media. It also makes him maintain the leadership of the Republican party, and it lets him maintain his base. And that will be very important to him. And that’s what gives him his political power. That’s what gives him the fact of being talked about or being followed. That’s why he may also start a media network, but I agree with you completely. I think whether he actually runs in 2024, we won’t know that for a couple of years. But he will say, in my view, that he’s going to. He will set it up and he will keep himself in the news, and relevant, and in control of his base by doing that.

Preet Bharara:

Yeah. Just ask yourself the question folks, does Donald Trump want to seed the spotlight to Josh Hawley? I think not. Before we go and we referred to this before, and promised we’d come back to it. I guess, it was a press conference. It was some kind of an event.

Anne Milgram:

An alleged press conference.

Preet Bharara:

It was alleged putative press conference led by Rudy Giuliani. By the way, the irony of this also, this alleged press conference was held basically at the same moment that all the networks called it for Biden. I think, Giuliani gets asked the question, do you have a reaction to the media calling the race? And he says, “What was it called by? Oh, my goodness. All the networks. Wow. All the networks?”

Anne Milgram:

And then, the reporters leave in the middle of the press conference of Giuliani’s press conference. They’re like, “Ah, we got to go, actually cover the real news.”

Preet Bharara:

So there remains this mystery about the location of the press conference.

Anne Milgram:

This is one of my favorite stories from the election and this relates to on Saturday, November 7th Trump… And by the way, there was great tweets and reporting that came from Natasha Jokic for Buzzfeed. And she did a fantastic job pulling this all together. And so, I’m going to use the background she provided. So the President tweeted that there would be a press conference at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia. And so, everybody assumes that the President means the Four Seasons hotel, which is a luxury hotel. And Trump almost immediately after very quickly deletes that tweet and follows it up with a tweet, clarifying that the news conference will actually be at Four Seasons, Total Landscaping. So a lot of people had a lot to say. And it’s very clear to me, I don’t know what you think, Preet, but it’s clear to me that someone said, “Get us the Four Seasons, or like get us the Four Seasons.” And whoever was in charge of booking it, didn’t really fully understand that, I assume, that there is a difference between Four Seasons, Total Landscaping and the luxury hotel.

Anne Milgram:

But there were some great Twitter things. Josiah Hawthorne on Twitter said, “I want to know, who it was at the Four Seasons Landscaping that answered the phone, heard that the Trump campaign wanted to hold a press conference in his parking lot realized they had mistaken him for a hotel said, “Absolutely.” And then ran the Trump campaign’s credit card.” My other favorite is Kieran Healy, @KJHealy who wrote, “After the President’s press conference at Four Seasons, Total Landscaping, there will be an emergency cabinet meeting at the cinema, at King of Prussia mall, the one near the massage chairs, not the other one.”

Preet Bharara:

You forgot to mention. I think that the Four Seasons, Total Landscaping spot is between, and betwixt a crematorium, and a sex shop.

Anne Milgram:

Yes. I forgot to mention that. Someone else wrote, @JPBrammer wrote, “I was supposed to have my wedding at Four Seasons, Total Landscaping.”

Preet Bharara:

My favorite thing is that they have swag now.

Anne Milgram:

They have swag.

Preet Bharara:

They’re selling t-shirts and one of them has the slogan, lawn and order.

Anne Milgram:

Rack America Great Again.

Preet Bharara:

Rack America Great Again, and Lawn and Order.

Anne Milgram:

I need that t-shirt, Preet.

Preet Bharara:

No, we’re going to get some of those t-shirts.

Anne Milgram:

I have Law and Order t-shirts from the work I’ve done there, and now we need.

Preet Bharara:

It’s lawn.

Anne Milgram:

Now, we need lawn, exactly. Or I could write in the end lawn.

Preet Bharara:

So the bottom line from us to all of you is, it’s a good thing that Joe Biden has won. He has in fact, won. He will be sworn in. It’s very frustrating that people don’t seem to care about the Republic as much as they should, and are afraid of Donald Trump, or trying to retain political advantage with a base. I get all that, but at the end of the day, I think it will be fine. All eyes turn to Georgia where I think something like $40 trillion will be spent on these run-off elections in early January. And we’ll continue to talk about the transition, and these legal cases when we speak next.

Anne Milgram:

Yeah, I agree. And the only other thing I would add is that, and I’d be remiss not to say that, Kamala Harris becoming the Vice President, the first woman, the first black woman, the first Asian Vice President, it’s an amazing thing. And her line saying, she was the first, but she knew, she wouldn’t be the last. I’ve frequently in my jobs been either the only woman in the room, or in a room of a lot of law enforcement folks and being one of only a couple of women in the room. And even when I was AG, I think, there were six or seven women out of all 50 states and territories. And so, it was a great moment, and I think, the Biden, Harris election, it’s worth people just being able to take that step back and really appreciating what a historic, historic event this really is. So I’m grateful to chat with you, Preet, and I look forward to chatting soon.

Preet Bharara:

Amen.

Anne Milgram:

And please send us your questions. We’re really looking forward to answering questions. We’ve gotten some great questions that helped us think about what we should answer today. Please send them to [email protected] [email protected]

Preet Bharara:

Take care of folks.

Anne Milgram:

Bye.

Preet Bharara:

Thanks for listening. You can now try the CAFE Insider membership free for two weeks. To join, head to cafe.com/insider, that’s cafe.com/insider. Interested students can get a discounted rate, if you go to cafe.com/student. To all of our insiders, thank you for supporting our work. That’s it for this week’s insider podcast. Your hosts are Preet Bharara and Anne Milgram. The Executive Producer is Tamara Sepper. The Senior Producer is Adam Waller. The Senior Audio producer is David Tatasciore, and the CAFE team is Matthew Billy, Net Wiener, Sam Ozer-Staton, David Kurlander, Noa Azulai, Jake Kaplan, Calvin Lord, Geoff Isenman, Chris Boylan, Sean Walsh and Margot Maley. Our music is by Andrew Dost. Thank you for being a part of the CAFE Insider community.