Trump plans to meet with state attorneys general have have followed his lead in seeking to intervene in a
And he continued to tout a conspiracy theory involving voting machines that Trump’s lawyers say were designed to rig the election, despite courts and state officials not buying it.
‘Great. Most corrupt Election in history, by far. We won!!!’ Trump tweeted, as he blasted out post about Republican House members seeking a special counsel to probe the election, which Joe Biden won by more than 7 million votes.
‘Voter Fraud!’ he wrote in another tweet, where he retweeted a Newsmax host who posted video purporting to show ‘mysterious ballots’ being counted in Georgia.
He also retweeted a ‘Trump rally fan’ he said appeared on Trump-loyalist network OAN who claimed a ‘coup’ was happening – hours after Trump himself tweeted ‘#OVERTURN.’
‘People are upset, and they have a right to be. Georgia not only supported Trump in 2016, but now. This is the only State in the Deep South that went for Biden? Have they lost their minds? This is going to escalate dramatically. This is a very dangerous moment in our history.. …The fact that our Country is being stolen. A coup is taking place in front of our eyes, and the public can’t take this anymore,’ the unidentified person said in the quote Trump tweeted.
President Donald Trump tweeted a quote from a fan who alleged an election ‘coup,’ hours after he called to ‘OVERTURN’ the election results
The Supreme Court set an afternoon deadline for four states to respond to the Texas suit
Trump retweeted video purporting to show voter fraud that the Georgia Secretary of State said showed nothing improper
‘A Trump fan at Georgia Rally on @OANBad!’
The president’s push to rally against the election result came in advance of a 3 pm deadline for four states – Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia – to respond to the suit by the Texas attorney general.
Trump’s forces are running out of time. The Electoral College meets Monday, although the suit seeks to have the states delay their participation, despite the Constitution’s call for a single meeting.
‘There are 20 million reasons’ the case will fail, Republican election lawyer Ben Ginsburg told CNN, referencing the number of people who would be disenfranchised if the Court decided as Texas proposes. ‘Now this is just a sour grapes case,’ he said.
Nebraska GOP Sen. Ben Sasse was among a few elected Republicans dissing the case, even as 17 state attorneys general sought to sign on.
‘I’m no lawyer, but I suspect the Supreme Court swats this away. From the brief, it looks like a fella begging for a pardon filed a PR stunt rather than a lawsuit – as all of its assertions have already been rejected by federal courts and Texas’ own solicitor general isn’t signing on,’ he wrote.
ADULTERY AND AN FBI PROBE: MEET THE AG BEHIND HAIL MARY BID TO VOID ELECTION
The FBI is investigating allegations that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton broke the law in using his office to benefit a wealthy donor.
Federal agents are looking into claims by former members of Paxton’s staff that the Republican committed bribery, abuse of office and other crimes to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul.
The investigation was reported in mid-November by the Associated Press.
Paxton has denied wrongdoing and refused calls for his resignation since his top deputies reported him to federal authorities at the end of September.
Trump ally: Ken Paxton with Eric Trump and his wife Angela – who he admits cheating on
It’s unclear how far the FBI is into investigating the allegations against Paxton. An agency spokeswoman in San Antonio declined to comment.
Paxton is accused of using his position as Texas’ top law enforcement official to benefit Paul in several ways.
Central to their claims is the fact that Paxton hired an outside lawyer to investigate the developer’s allegations that the FBI improperly searched his home and offices last year.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (right, with Trump in the Beast in 2018) has filed suit against four states that went for Joe Biden, asking the Supreme Court to have Republican-run state legislatures appoint electors and hand the presidency to Donald Trump
Each of Paxton’s accusers has resigned, been put on leave or been fired since reporting him. Last week, four of them filed a state whistleblower lawsuit against the attorney general, claiming he ousted them as retribution.
The full nature of Paxton and Paul’s connection remains unclear. In 2018, Paul donated $25,000 to the attorney general’s reelection campaign. The developer also said in a recent deposition that Paxton recommended a woman for her job with his company.
Two people previously told The Associated Press that Paxton acknowledged in 2018 having an extramarital affair with the woman, who was then a state Senate aide. The people spoke on condition of anonymity due to fears about retaliation.
Paxton has spent most of his tenure in office maintaining his innocence in the face of an indictment on unrelated securities fraud charges. The case has been stalled for years over legal challenges.
His ‘begging for a pardon’ comment likely referenced Texas AG Ken Paxton, who was indicted in 2015 for alleged securities fraud and been
And in Wisconsin, the chief federal judge of the district of the state, Pamela Pepper, dismissed one of conspiracy theory attorney Sidney Powell’s ‘Kraken’ lawsuits on Wednesday night ruling: Federal judges do not appoint the president in this country.
‘One wonders why the plaintiffs came to federal court and asked a federal judge to do so.
‘After a week of sometimes odd and often harried litigation, the court is no closer to answering the “why.”‘
In another federal court in the state Thursday, Trump’s lawyers tried to have the Wisconsin victory overturned on the basis that the voting system adopted by the state, including drop boxes for absentee ballots, was unconstitutional.
But they seemed to be facing almost certain defeat, first agreeing that they were in no way alleging fraud, and then facing Trump appointee Brett Ludwig suggesting that the ruling they were looking for was not on offer.
‘This would be a most remarkable proceeding and probably the most remarkable ruling in the history of this court or the federal judiciary,’ he said before hearing from Trump’s attorney.
The Supreme Court Texas case, filed this week, features an affidavit by Mellissa Carone, whose wild and antagonistic testimony went viral and got treated to a sketch on Saturday Night Live. It references a case filed in Michigan supported by the affidavit, and it includes her sworn statement in the appendix for the case.
Carone was recently on probation after initially being charged with a computer crime.
Trump on Wednesday night told a White House Hanukkah party that he is going to ‘win this election’ if Supreme Court judges have ‘courage and wisdom’ to overturn results.
The mostly maskless crowd chanted ‘four more years’ after Trump told them that the help of ‘certain very important people’ was needed to prevent him from having to leave the White House.
He appeared to be referencing the case filed by the Texas Attorney General on Monday and later joined by 17 other Republican-led states that is calling on the Supreme Court to overturn the results in four states.
Yet, Texas senator John Cornyn spoke out against his AG Ken Paxton on Wednesday night, stating that he could not see the legal basis to the challenge.
Paxton has claimed that the election results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia are ‘tainted’ due to the elections processes in those states.
Cornyn, who faced criticism in late November for saying the Senate is not obligated to confirm Biden appointees, told
‘I read just the summary of it, and I frankly struggle to understand the legal theory of it,’ he said of Paxton’s case.
‘Number one, why would a state, even such a great state as Texas, have a say so on how other states administer their elections,’ Cornyn added.
‘We have a diffused and dispersed system and even though we might not like it, they may think it’s unfair, those are decided at the state and local level and not at the national level. So it’s an interesting theory, but I’m not convinced.’
Cornyn has previously refused to acknowledge that Biden has won the election yet has also spoken out about Trump’s failure to prove that there was any voter fraud.
After Cornyn took a hit at AG Paxton on Wednesday, he was commended by Jeb Bush, who echoed the claim that the case has no legal base.
‘Thank you Senator Cornyn. There is no legal theory and the conservative majority Supreme Court will reject it out of hand,’ he wrote.
Yet Trump is firing ahead with the Hail Mary attempt to change the results of the election telling the crowd gathered at the White House on Wednesday night that it was a ‘historic fight’.
‘It’s really for the soul of our country — because if somebody wins an election by a lot and they take the election away and they give it to people that shouldn’t be there, I think that’s a problem for our country,’ he said.
This came after Trump’s new lawyer produced a filing claiming there is something ‘deeply amiss’ in the election results.
The lawyer, John Eastman, had also penned an op-ed this summer doubting whether Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was eligible for office despite her being born in California.
The new legal brief with Trump’s name on it, included a motion for Trump, identified as the president, ‘to intervene in his personal capacity as candidate for re-election’.
The brief includes many of the same arguments Trump has put forward on his Twitter account – including Wednesday, when Trump tweeted no candidate has ever lost the White House while carrying Florida and Ohio.
‘The fact that nearly half of the country believes the election was stolen should come as no surprise,’ according to the filing.
‘President Trump prevailed on nearly every historical indicia of success in presidential elections. For example, he won both Florida and Ohio; no candidate in history—Republican or Democrat—has ever lost the election after winning both States.’
It also relies on statistical claims about the vote, in a race Trump has claimed was ‘rigged’ despite Joe Biden getting 7 million more votes than he did.
‘This, despite the fact that the nearly 75 million votes he received—a record for any incumbent President—was nearly 12 million more than he received in the 2016 election, also a record (in contrast to the 2012 election, in which the incumbent received 3 million fewer votes than he had four years earlier but nevertheless prevailed).’
‘These things just don’t normally happen, and a large percentage of the American people know that something is deeply amiss,’ according to the filing, which comes after passage of the ‘safe harbor’ deadline and after enough states certified their vote for Joe Biden to win the Electoral College.
Trump has asked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to argue the case if the Supreme Court decides to listen to its merit.
Cruz argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court before he was elected to the Senate and been a loyal Trump defender, although he also ran for president in 2016.
By way of remedy, Trump asks that the vote be thrown out and for the high court to ‘direct’ that state legislatures ‘have the authority to appoint a new set of Electors in a manner that does not violate the Electors Clause, or to appoint no Electors at all’ – which would have the result of nullifying millions of votes in the four states.
It also seeks to award costs to the plaintiff for the intervention, as well as ‘such other relief as the court deems just and proper.’
It says the high court should ‘direct the defendant States to review their election results in compliance with pre-existing state law and count only lawfully cast ballots and thereby determine who truly won the contest for President of the United States.’
Federal judges overseeing cases by Trump allies in Michigan and other states have scoffed at remedies that would wipe away millions of votes. ‘The people have spoken,’ ruled U.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker in Michigan as she dismissed a suit.
President-elect Joe Biden won 306 Electoral College votes compared to 232 for Trump, while winning 81 million votes nationwide compared to 74 million for Trump.
Attorney John Eastman, pictured above, who filed the motion for Trump to intervene in the Texas lawsuit, penned an op-ed this summer doubting whether Vice President-elect Kamal Harris was eligible for office despite her being born in California
Amid the rush by Republicans to back Trump, even after all 50 states and D.C. certified their votes, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah blasted the idea of having state legislatures overturn the will of voters.
‘It’s just simply madness. The idea of supplanting the vote of the people with partisan legislators is so completely out of our national character that it’s simply mad,’ Romney said.
‘Of course the President has the right to challenge results in court, to have recounts. But this effort to subvert the vote of the people is dangerous and destructive of the cause of democracy,’ he added.
The Electoral College meets Monday, in the next milestone toward Inauguration Day on January 20th.
The case led by AG Paxton has also been joined by seventeen other state attorneys general – all Republicans and all hailing from states that Trump carried in November.
‘Encroachments on the authority of state Legislatures by other state actors violate the separation of powers and threaten individual liberty,’ wrote the states, who are seeking to have the court step in to overturn the vote in four other states.
‘States have a strong interest in ensuring that the votes of their own citizens are not diluted by the unconstitutional administration of elections in other States,’ they write.
Signing on were the top law enforcement officers of Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
But on Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to another case seeking to overturn the certification process in Pennsylvania by voiding its mail-in ballots. No justice registered a dissent – suggesting that the decision could have been 9-0 against Republican Mike Kelly, whose case would have also voided the presidential election result if it had succeeded.
And in Nevada late Tuesday, the state Supreme Court slapped down Trump’s bid to overturn the election unanimously, ruling he had provided no evidence of significant fraud.
A DARING LAWSUIT – OR DOOMED TO HIT THE TRASH?
Texas AG Ken Paxton lawsuit makes a legal Hail Mary by going straight to the Supreme Court – meaning he can either win big, or he could simply be ignored.
The Supreme Court is the correct place for disputes between states to be played out, but usually such disputes are long-running, such as over water rights. In 2014, Oklahoma and Nebraska asked the Supreme Court to stop Colorado’s marijuana legalization – but it declined to hear the case.
That could be well be the justices’ first response to Paxton.
To convince them to take the case, he has to convince them that the people of Texas – whom he represents – suffered harm from the election’s outcome, and that the four states either breached the Article 1 clause establishing how elections are run, or the Equal Protection clause, by making the votes of the people of Texas somehow less important than those of the swing states.
The states themselves can point out that election law is dealt with in individual states, and that cases there have universally lost. They can also point to the results in federal circuit courts and – in Pennsylvania – federal appeals courts which have dismissed claims too.
Even if the justices are convinced that they should take the case, it remains a severe uphill task for the Republican attorney general to win.
The usual approach the justices take to disputes between states is to set up their own special court, under a ‘special master’ to investigate both sides’ cases, take evidence, and approach the case like its own trial.
That is because, unusually, the Supreme Court is starting from scratch rather than dealing with a case which has already made its way through the courts system and is very well defined. This time, however the clock is ticking and the justices could opt to hear the case themselves.
Either way, Paxton would have to present voluminous evidence to back up his demand, that millions of ballots be voided and the results of four swing states’ elections be overturned.
The core of Paxton’s case is that the four states changed mail-in ballot rules before the election, then used those to fraudulently switch the result to Biden from Trump.
The Supreme Court would have to rule both that the four states acted unconstitutionally, and then that the way to deal with those actions is by voiding their elections. Such an extreme act runs in the face of the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year on ‘faithless electors,’ which allowed states to punish or remove those who planned to vote against the states’ winning candidate.
During the case, Justice Brett Kavanaugh spoke about ‘the chaos principle of judging’ saying if it’s a ‘a close call…we shouldn’t facilitate or create chaos.’
As for his evidence, Paxton faces an obvious challenge: his submission relies on a string of claims about both the constitutional actions of the states in allowing more widespread access to mail-in voting, and of fraud, which have already been slapped down by state and federal judges in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia.
Among the ‘evidence’ is that Republicans were not allowed to watch ballots being counted in Philadelphia, which was laughed out of court when a Trump lawyer admitted there was a ‘non-zero’ number of observers.
He also claims that Georgia’s mail-in ballots would have gone to Trump if they had been rejected at the same rate as they were in 2016 – which the state has already ruled out happening.
In Michigan, the evidence includes the affidavit of Jessy Jacob, already dismissed by a Detroit judge, claiming that that election workers coached voters to either vote Biden or straight Democrat by standing beside them in the voting station, and that she was asked not to seek photo ID from voters. The judge dismissed her claims as ‘generalized,’ said she did nothing about it when she claimed it was happening, and only came forward when Trump lost.
In Wisconsin Paxton claims voting drop boxes were unconstitutional. The state’s attorney general can invoke what is known as ‘laches,’ a defense that Paxton should have sued at the time the boxes were authorized, rather than waiting to see the outcome of the vote. It also includes a claim from a USPS sub-contractor about ballots being backdated after polls closed – even though the state had already reported its result.
And in all four states Paxton quotes a statistical analysis: ‘The probability of former Vice President Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin— independently given President Trump’s early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020, is less than one in a quadrillion, or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000.’ But its basis is undeclared and comes from an energy economist, not an elections expert.
ANOTHER DEFEAT: THIS TIME NEVADA’S JUDGES SLAP DOWN TRUMP
The Supreme Court of
‘To prevail on this appeal, appellants must demonstrate error of law, findings of fact not supported by substantial evidence or an abuse of discretion in the admission or rejection of evidence by the district court,’ the order read. ‘We are not convinced they have done so.’
Trump says the result was fraudulent, but no court has found evidence to support his assertions.
Last week, a district court in Nevada ruled that the Trump campaign had not proven a claim that there had been a malfunction in voting devices and the contest between Trump and Biden had been manipulated.
‘We also are not convinced that the district court erred in applying a burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence, as supported by the cases cited in the district court’s order,’ Nevada’s Supreme Court said in its judgement.
Nevada’s Republican Party said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ by the decision.
‘We were not afforded an opportunity to write our brief or argue the case in front of the Court,’
‘Full denial of legitimate due process and appellate rights is truly unprecedented, shocking and extraordinary,’ it said.
One of the court’s justices, Elissa Cadish, recused herself from ruling on the appeal, saying she had a personal relationship with several of the Biden electors, according to
Trump’s campaign wanted Justice James W. Hardesty to recuse himself because he congratulated Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske on ‘carrying out an extraordinary successful election,’ the paper also reported.
Hardesty filed a motion saying that his comment was ‘an appropriate courteous and professional response and in no way reflects any predisposition or opinion by me concerning the facts or issues raised in this case.’
The Trump campaign lost that argument too.
Biden won Nevada by a 33,596-vote margin, giving him the state’s six votes in the Electoral College which choses the president.
Democrat Hillary Clinton also won the state over Trump in 2016.
This has been true whether the judge has been appointed by a Democrat or a Republican, including those named by Trump himself.
The judicial rulings that have rejected Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud have underscored not only the futility of the lame-duck president’s attempt to sabotage the people’s will but also the role of the courts in checking his unprecedented efforts to stay in power.
The rebukes have not stopped the litigation.
Even in the face of these losses in court, Trump has contended that, in fact, he won the election.
And he’s moved out of the courts to directly appeal to lawmakers as his losses mount. He brought Michigan lawmakers to the White House in a failed bid to set aside the vote tally, and phoned Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, asking him to order a special legislative session to overturn the states results. Kemp refused.
And Trump tweeted in all caps, ‘I WON THE ELECTION, BIG.’
While that is not the case, what is true is that Trump is rapidly running out of legal runway.
Out of roughly 50 lawsuits filed, more than 35 have been dropped or dismissed.
A great deal of the lawsuits highlight a lack of understanding of how elections actually work.
In Georgia, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten, appointed by President George W. Bush, dismissed a lawsuit filed by Powell, who was dropped from the Trump legal team a few weeks ago but has still continued to spread faulty election claims.
Powell’s lawsuit claimed widespread fraud meant to illegally manipulate the vote count in favor of Biden. The suit said the scheme was carried out in different ways, including ballot stuffing, votes flipped by the election system from Trump to Biden and problems with absentee ballots. The judge summarily rejected those claims.
Batten said the lawsuit sought ‘perhaps the most extraordinary relief ever sought in any federal court in connection with an election.’
He said the lawsuit sought to ignore the will of voters in Georgia, which certified the state for Biden again Monday after three vote counts.
‘They want this court to substitute its judgment for that of two-and-a-half million Georgia voters who voted for Joe Biden and this I am unwilling to do,’ Batten said.
Much like Trump, his lawyers try to blame the political leanings of the judge after their legal arguments are flayed.
When a federal appeals panel in Philadelphia rejected Trump´s election challenge just five days after it reached the court, Trump legal advisor Jenna Ellis – who was revealed Tuesday to have COVID – called their work a product of ‘the activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania.’
But Trump appointed the judge who wrote the Nov. 27 opinion.
‘Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,’ Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote as the 3rd U.S. Circuit panel refused to stop the state from certifying its results for Democrat Joe Biden, a demand he called ‘breathtaking.’
All three of the panel members were appointed by Republican presidents.
And they were upholding the decision of a fourth Republican, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, a conservative jurist and Federalist Society member. Brann had called the campaign’s legal case, which was argued in court by Rudy Giuliani, a ‘haphazard’ jumble that resembled ‘Frankenstein´s monster.’
In state courts, too, the lawsuits have failed. In Arizona on Friday, Judge Randall Warner, an independent appointed in 2007 by Democratic former Gov. Janet Napolitano, threw out a bid to undo Biden’s victory.
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward challenged of ballots in metro Phoenix that were duplicated because voters´ earlier ballots were damaged or could not be run through tabulators.
Warner wrote: ‘There is no evidence that the inaccuracies were intentional or part of a fraudulent scheme. They were mistakes. And given both the small number of duplicate ballots and the low error rate, the evidence does not show any impact on the outcome.’
In Nevada on Friday, Judge James Todd Russell in Carson City ruled that attorneys for Republican electors failed to provide clear or convincing evidence of fraud or illegality.
Nevada judges are nonpartisan. But Russell’s father was a Republican governor of the state from 1951-59.
Trump has clashed repeatedly with the court this year, after suffering some high-profile disappointments despite the court’s 6-3 conservative bent.
In June the court ruled against his administration’s decision to end DACA, in a blistering opinion that called the administration’s action ‘arbitrary and capricious.’ That led to a federal judge last week ordering the administration to begin accepting new applications.
Trump raged on Twitter it was ”NOT FAIR!’ after the 7-2 ruling.
Trump also called out Chief Justice John Roberts over the summer, after he joined with liberals in key rulings. ”Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!’ he complained.
Roberts also joined Trump appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch in applying non-discrimination laws to LGBT employees. Roberts also ruled the president should be subject to grand jury subpoenas – a matter close to Trump’s interest as he is pursued by prosecutors in New York and lawmakers seeking his tax return information.
Trump could hope he might do better after the installation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett – his third pick to the court and the sixth member of the conservative majority.
He spoke about the potential that the high court might decide the election even before she was confirmed just weeks before the election, in a move that Democrats warned could be part of a plan to decide the race from the bench.
Trump retweeted a bizarre tweet Tuesday from ‘Major Patriot’ that featured Barrett with beaming eyes.
‘They got caught because we were leading by so much more than they ever thought possible. Late night ballot ‘dumps’ went crazy!’ Trump wrote.
The user wrote: ‘The wheels are coming off. Trump’s inspired massive MAGA tsunami turnout forced them to cheat so big they lost their minds in a fraud frenzy. Their Unconstitutional legal moves alone are dooming them.’
Twitter flagged it for ‘disputed’ claims of election fraud. The user had posted a variety of conspiracy theories.