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Christie calls Trump's legal efforts a 'national embarrassment' as more Republicans speak out

"You have an obligation to present the evidence," he said. "The evidence has not been presented."
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivers his 2018 "State of the State" address to the New Jersey legislature in Trenton
Chris Christie, then the governor of New Jersey, delivers his State of the State address in Trenton on Jan. 9, 2018.Dominick Reuter / Reuters file

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime ally of President Donald Trump, said Sunday that Trump's legal battle over the election results has reached the point of "national embarrassment" and that it is time for him to move on.

"Quite frankly, the conduct of the president's legal team has been a national embarrassment," Christie said in an interview on ABC News' "This Week." He pointed to lawyer Sidney Powell's various claims about voter fraud, for which she has been "unwilling to go on TV and defend and lay out the evidence that she supposedly has."

"This is outrageous conduct by any lawyer," Christie said, adding that Trump's team often discusses election fraud "outside the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom they don't plead fraud and they don't argue fraud."

Noting that he voted for Trump, Christie said: "Elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that did not happen.

"You have an obligation to present the evidence," he said. "The evidence has not been presented. And you must conclude — as [Fox News host] Tucker Carlson even concluded the other night — that if you're unwilling to come forward and present the evidence, it must mean the evidence doesn't exist."

A federal judge in Pennsylvania eviscerated the Trump campaign's latest legal effort, dismissing it and saying it was premised on a "strained legal argument without merit."

In a 37-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann wrote that the Trump campaign asked him to "disenfranchise almost seven million voters" in Pennsylvania, adding that with such a request, one might expect "factual proof of rampant corruption." Brann said such proof was not presented.

"In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state," Brann wrote.

Trump and Republicans have filed more than 30 lawsuits so far, with most being dismissed, withdrawn or rejected. No courts have found evidence of voter fraud.

Trump's legal effort is spearheaded by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, seen sweating a dark liquid down both sides of his face during a free-wheeling 90-minute news conference Thursday. Also at the helm is campaign attorney Jenna Ellis, who accused a longtime Republican pollster of having "MicroPenis syndrome" Saturday.

Powell had also been involved, appearing alongside Giuliani and Ellis last week. But the campaign appeared to cut ties with her Sunday, a day after she falsely accused election officials in Georgia of having been paid to enable voter fraud.

"Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own," Giuliani and Ellis said in a statement. "She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity."

After the Pennsylvania ruling Saturday, the Trump campaign's legal team spun the loss as a positive update, as it allowed it to more quickly expedite an appeal.

Trump expressed anger on Twitter over the weekend, defending his legal battles and blasting Republicans who encouraged him to accept the election results. He also expressed hope that state lawmakers will "have the COURAGE" to ignore the vote and declare him the winner if need be. Republican legislative leaders in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan have all signaled that that will not happen.

After meeting with Trump at the White House on Friday, the Republican leaders of the Michigan state Senate and House said they were not "made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan."

Speaking Sunday with Fox News, Trump campaign senior adviser Lara Trump said it is still "a possibility" that legislatures could override the vote.

To overturn the vote, Trump would have to overcome deficits of more than 10,000 votes in at least three states, far outside the number reversed in any statewide recount dating back decades. After Georgia certified its results following a hand recount, the Trump campaign is requesting a separate machine recount in Georgia, and it also requested a partial recount in two Democratic-leaning Wisconsin counties last week. That recount is ongoing.

NBC News has projected President-elect Joe Biden the apparent winner in both states, and, as it stands, he is projected to win 306 electoral votes. That is the same haul Trump won in 2016, when he called his victory a "landslide."

More elected Republicans spoke out about Trump's efforts this weekend, although most have yet to acknowledge Biden's victory. After the Pennsylvania ruling, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said that Trump had "exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania" and that recent developments make it clear that Biden will be the next president.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who has previously called Biden the president-elect, described Trump's leaning on state legislators as a "pressure campaign" that was "not only unprecedented but inconsistent with our democratic process."

"It is time to begin the full and formal transition process," she said Sunday in a statement.

Because of Trump's refusal to accept the results, his head of the General Services Administration has refused to acknowledge Biden's victory, leaving the transition in limbo.

Speaking Sunday on NBC News' "Meet the Press," Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said "it's time to start a transition, to at least cooperate with a transition," although he said he is still waiting to see how Trump's legal effort plays out.

On CNN's "State of the Union," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said Trump's election efforts are "beginning to look like we're a banana republic."

"It's time for them to stop the nonsense," Hogan said. "It just gets more bizarre every single day, and frankly, I'm embarrassed that more people in the party aren't speaking up."

Trump soon took aim at Hogan, calling him a "RINO" — Republican in name only — on Twitter, linking to a Breitbart writeup of a Washington Post report highlighting how Hogan purchased flawed coronavirus tests from South Korea.

Hogan responded: "If you had done your job, America's governors wouldn't have been forced to fend for themselves to find tests in the middle of a pandemic, as we successfully did in Maryland. Stop golfing and concede."

Elsewhere on CNN, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said the voters in his state "spoke," choosing Biden.

"And here again in Michigan, it's not a razor-thin margin," he said. "It's 154,000 votes. You've got to let those votes stand."