Down in the count
Politics | The president’s legal team continues to fight for his reelection
by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 11/19/20, 04:28 pm
Although his numerous legal fights have unveiled some tabulation mistakes and won small victories, President Donald Trump’s war to overturn Joe Biden’s lead in the vote count is running out of time and options.
“AND I WON THE ELECTION. VOTER FRAUD ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning before making a series of allegations later that day.
His attorney, Rudy Giuliani, appeared in federal court on Tuesday to defend the Trump campaign’s lawsuit against Pennsylvania, demanding the state stop the certification of votes. He cited the inconsistent practice of curing, or sending ballots with errors back to voters for correction, as one reason for blocking certification. But Giuliani also complained of issues across the country.
“The best description of this situation is widespread, nationwide voter fraud, of which this is a part,” he said. Lawyers representing Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, called on U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann to toss out the Trump campaign’s claims. They referred to Giuliani’s concerns as “garden-variety irregularities” and said state courts should handle the issue, not a federal court. Brann must rule before Tuesday, the deadline for election certification in Pennsylvania.
In Wisconsin, Trump officially filed a request for a recount on Wednesday in the state’s two most populous counties, Milwaukee and Dane, where Biden won by large margins. The former vice president leads in Wisconsin by just 0.6 percentage points. Trump would have to overcome a 21,000-vote deficit to win the state.
An audit found significant problems in Georgia, where two counties discovered more than 5,000 uncounted votes, a majority of which went to Trump. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, wrapped up a hand count of the state’s ballots Wednesday night and threatened an official with firing over the missing ballots. The count cut Biden’s lead from 14,000 votes to about 12,800, well within the margin for an official state-funded recount.
The Associated Press has not called the Peach State for either candidate. If Trump overtook Biden there, he would still need to earn at least 21 more electoral votes—by AP’s count—to win reelection. Wisconsin’s 10 votes would not be enough, nor would Pennsylvania’s 20 unless the president somehow flipped both states.
Trump’s supporters claim, along with their candidate, that voter fraud was widespread and systematic. Trump attorney Sidney Powell said at a news conference on Thursday she would prove the president won by a landslide.
“We’re getting ready to overturn election results in multiple states,” she said earlier in the week.
Republicans have split on how to respond to the allegations. Moderates such as Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski have called Biden the president-elect, and former presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida did so Monday, NPR reported. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Trump had the right to challenge the election results, but he acknowledged the possibility of a Biden win Tuesday.
“We’re going to have an orderly transfer from this administration to the next one,” he said.
Trump’s staunchest supporters in Congress have backed off from making many claims about the election, but his friends away from Capitol Hill are holding out hope. Steve Bannon, former White House strategist, told Eric Bolling on America this Week that if the president’s legal proceedings delay enough states from certifying election results by Dec. 14, Electoral College members from those states might not be able to cast their votes, and Biden could fall short of the 270 votes needed to win the presidency. If that happened, the House would decide by state delegation, which favors the Republicans. But Trump needs more court victories resulting in significant delays to have any shot at pulling off that last chance.
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