If you want to know what enablers of an autocrat look like in the years before a country a plunges into autocracy, look no further than the spineless Republicans who are too afraid of angering their constituents to stand up to the would-be autocrat attempting a coup, and the law firms representing him that are more concerned with their billable hours than with protecting democracy.
Jones Day, one of the law firms that has represented Donald Trump's campaigns both in 2016 and 2020, continues to represent Trump as he pursues baseless lawsuits — lawsuits that he "predicted" would be necessary long before the election happened based on no evidence at all besides his poll numbers — in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. We all knew that Trump wouldn't concede easily or ever, and that he'd attempt whatever legal shenanigans he possibly could to avoid admitting defeat. But all of this would be far more of a laughing matter if it weren't for actual lawyers pretending any of this has merit.
The San Francisco offices of Jones Day were targeted with a protest mural over the weekend with large letters saying "Count Every Ballot" painted down a block of Montgomery Street. The mural also includes an image of a ballot box with the words, "Jones Day, Hands Off Our Ballots."
A new mural popped up in #SanFrancisco in response to President Donald Trump's lawsuits to battleground states in the #Election2020. The mural is outside the offices of @JonesDay, a law firm the mural alleges is representing Trump. @sfchronicle pic.twitter.com/uVyWQPiUPP— Santiago Mejia (@SantiagoMejia) November 7, 2020
And as the New York Times notes, while some lawyers at the Cleveland-based firm are starting to feel uncomfortable about it doing the president's bidding at the risk of undermining our democracy itself, the work goes on, likely for the sole reason that Trump has been a cash cow for them. According to Federal Election Commission records, Jones Day has raked in $20 million between the two Trump campaigns, the RNC, and various pro-Trump groups. (Former White House Counsel Donald McGahn, who figured largely in the Mueller Report, came to the White House from Jones Day, and has returned to his role there.)
Who knows what Attorney General Bill Barr is hoping to get as a reward for his abominable memo on Monday instructing, in vague but nonetheless frightening terms, U.S. attorneys to pursue investigations if they find some reason to do so in various states where Trump lost.
Party loyalist Mitch McConnell clearly just wants to make all the Trumpists happy until the bitter end of Trump's coup attempt, which is why he isn't congratulating President-Elect Biden yet, even if Fox News is.
For a global law firm like Jones Day, perhaps a little bad PR in places like New York and San Francisco is worth the paycheck? (Although some of the discomfort lawyers there are feeling, per the Times, is because Trump also has a history of not paying people.) A quick search on Twitter shows a number of activists mobilizing to get people to bombard Jones Day with phone calls, etc.
The Lincoln Project has now launched its own protest campaign focusing on Jones Day, as the Washington Post reports Tuesday. A set of TV and digital ads are intended to "bring a light on" the fact that the law firm is "waging lawfare" at Trump's side against an American election, and fundamentally damaging the public's faith in all of our elections in the process.
"These people have now decided that attempting to undermine the outcome of a just and fair election is perfectly acceptable for their legal practices,” says GOP strategist and Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson, speaking to the Post.
The ad campaign, which is in production, will attempt to put pressure on the firm and its clients — which include General Motors, and the Washington Post — to reject the Trump campaigns ongoing efforts do exactly what Trump is accusing Democrats of doing: steal an election.
Photo: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia