Yesterday, Fox News learned that the McAuliffe campaign retained the services of former Clinton counsel and election lawyer Marc Elias.
Elias has attracted controversy in the past. In 2016, as the Hillary Clinton campaign’s general counsel and a partner at Perkins Coie, he allegedly is linked to the campaign’s management of, or at least payment to, operatives spreading the myth of Trump’s Russia collusion.
Four years later, Republicans accused Elias of a “serious” conflict of interest when he joined the legal effort to overturn a congressional election in Iowa. In an attempt to get Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ victory annulled, her Democratic challenger, Rita Hart, asked the House Administration Committee to investigate 22 ballots. However, Hart’s high-powered attorney—Mark Elias—and his firm Perkins Coie represented half of the Democrats on the committee.
The McAuliffe campaign had a less than ideal response to Fox News’ inquiry about it hiring Elias. In fact, it was amateur hour at McAuliffe HQ.
McAuliffe campaign spokesperson Christina Freundlich responded—with an email clearly meant for her colleagues—writing “Can we try to kill this.” She then added “to dispute the challenges of the election.”
Hot Air reports:
Unfortunately, they included a Fox reporter on the “can we try to kill this” e-mail — the same reporter who asked for comment in the first place:
Why did they feel the need to “kill” a legitimate and accurate report on Elias? His hiring makes clear that McAuliffe is not just preparing for post-election recounts, as all campaigns do. He’s preparing to do exactly what Donald Trump did in 2020 and what Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams did before that — claim to be the victim of a stolen election. That would be astonishing, given McAuliffe’s attempts to tie Glenn Youngkin to Trump’s post-election actions:
Elias’ work embodies the inherent hypocrisy of some advocates and some in the media on election challenges. He often solicits contributions to challenge election results while denouncing Republicans for challenging election results.
Elias has not been criminally charged in his actions related to the 2020 election. Yet, bringing Elias into the Virginia race in the midst of the Durham investigation is an astonishing decision by McAuliffe. There are a host of election lawyers but McAuliffe selected an attorney accused of lying to the media, advancing rejected conspiracy theories, and currently involved in a major federal investigation that has already led to the indictment of his former partner.