Was there a “Team Normal” within the post-election seditious conspiracy that was the Trump White House?

High-powered Democratic elections lawyer Marc Elias thinks one of the most interesting (and implausible) nuggets coming out of Jan. 6 committee revelations is the supposed existence of a “Team Normal” in the Trump Administration that was the picture of sanity while all others around it were planning to overthrow the duly-elected incoming administration:

The least surprising revelation of this week’s Jan. 6 hearings is that Rudy Giuliani was in the White House on election night in 2020 offering drunken advice to Donald Trump. Indeed, after observing his performance in November and December 2020, I would have been more surprised if he had not had a drink or two.

Nor was I surprised to learn that conspiracist attorney Sidney Powell was on “Team Crazy.” We knew that from the press conference where she spewed nonsense while Giuliani’s hair dye was sweating down his face. Recall that at one point Powell announced that she was going to “release the Kraken.” What the mythical monster squid had to do with election certification was never clear. But, then again, neither were her lawsuits, which were replete with references to the late Hugo Chávez and typographical errors.

The Jan. 6 hearings did contain one big surprise. It was revealed that there was a group of people associated with Trump who considered themselves — unironically — to be on “Team Normal.” Led by former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, this group may not have been exactly pro-democracy, but its members were not stumbling around the White House drunkenly telling the former president that the election was stolen from him. It may not have been a high bar, but this group cleared it. And that was enough for “Team Normal.”

Not that Stepien was without his own eccentricities. Prior to the job with Trump, Stepien was best known as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) campaign manager. He was cast aside by Christie after it became public that in 2013 the then-governor’s staff schemed to create massive traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey by closing two of the three lanes available for local traffic to enter the George Washington Bridge that connects New Jersey and New York City. Fort Lee suffered the very punishment one would expect after its Democratic mayor failed to endorse a Republican governor for reelection.

Now back to the hearings. Stepien did not identify who else was on “Team Normal,” but it seems likely that another Christie campaign veteran, Justin Clark, was a member in good standing. Before the election, Clark had been caught on tape acknowledging that “traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places” and that for Trump’s reelection it was time to “start playing offense a little bit.” While distressing for many to hear, this was a normal pre-election voter suppression training for the GOP.

Also vying for “Team Normal” was Jason Miller, former spokesman for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Miller declined a role in the Trump White House after it was revealed that he had impregnated a fellow staffer on the 2016 campaign while he was married. During ensuing litigation, court documents showed Miller had a second affair while on the campaign, visited massage parlors in Miami, New York, Washington and Virginia and hired prostitutes both before and after the 2016 presidential election. Admittedly, by Trump standards, this was all quite normal.

To reiterate: If this crew was “Team Normal” it just goes to show how batshit crazy the Trump operation was.

Elias is always an interesting read. You can find his web page Democracy Docket here. You can sign up for his newsletter here.

Political experts of all stripes are calling BS on the notion that Jared, Ivanka and others within the Trump White House were trying to be voices of reason when Trump, Giuliani and Co. started with the stolen election lies. Every member of the so-called “Team Normal” who says they were arguing against the seditious conspiracy was supportive in public of the stolen-election narrative. Critics say that if they were indeed against the conspiracy to overthrow the election, they could have, at the very least, kept their mouths shut.

Leave a Reply