Speed Reads

Planning to lose

Trump and Pence hosted House GOP allies, Sidney Powell to map out election-reversal strategies

As President Trump's "more mainstream allies" break with him over his baseless election fraud claims, the president "has turned to a ragtag group of conspiracy theorists, media-hungry lawyers, and other political misfits in a desperate attempt to hold on to power after his election loss," The Washington Post reports.

When the two factions met with Trump on Friday night, the Post adds, "the Oval Office erupted into raucous acrimony as the outside advisers proposed a number of extreme measures for reversing the results while the White House officials pointed out that such actions would be unconstitutional or otherwise unworkable." Trump met Monday with two of the outside advisers, Rudy Giuliani and conspiratorial lawyer Sidney Powell — for the third time in four days — in what the Post calls as "an indication that the outsiders are gaining sway" over his more sober-minded aides.

Trump "is grasping at straws," a senior administration official told the Post. "If you come in and tell him he lost, and that it's over, he doesn't want to hear from you. He is looking for people to tell him what he wants to hear."

Trump also huddled Monday with members of the House Freedom Caucus. Participants described the three hours of meetings as strategy sessions for their Jan. 6 performative effort to contest President-elect Joe Biden's win before a joint session of Congress, Politico reports. "It was a back-and-forth concerning the planning and strategy for January the 6th," Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) told Politico, adding that the dozen or so House Republicans also met with Vice President Mike Pence in the Cabinet Room to make sure they are all in agreement on procedural rules and how Pence will adjudicate objections as the presiding officer of Congress' electoral vote count.

The challenge Brooks says he will raise to Biden's win will fail, but he needs one senator to even force the House and Senate to consider the objection. Brooks said there are "multiple" Senate Republicans open to joining his futile crusade, but he didn't name names and Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) was skeptical. "It's going down like a shot dog," Thune said Monday. "I just don't think it makes a lot of sense to put everybody through this when you know what the ultimate outcome is going to be."