At­tacks against the vote fal­ter

Pres­i­dent’s at­tempts to sway re­sults in key states fail to de­liver

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris Mege­rian

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Trump falsely in­sisted again Fri­day that he had won the elec­tion even as Pres­i­dent- elect Joe Bi­den met with top Democrats in Congress and pressed for­ward with his tran­si­tion — a split screen with­out par­al­lel in Amer­i­can his­tory.

Bi­den met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ( DSan Fran­cisco) and Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer ( D- N. Y.) as his team ex­pressed con­fi­dence that Trump’s ef­forts to over­turn the elec­tion re­sults with un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims of fraud would not suc­ceed.

Trump’s ef­forts suf­fered a ma­jor set­back Fri­day as Ge­or­gia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Repub­li­can, cer­ti­fied his state’s elec­tion re­sults af­ter a six- day hand re­count conf irmed that Bi­den had won the for­mer GOP strong­hold by 12,284 votes.

“While the pres­i­dent and his al­lies are rip­ping at the fab­ric of democ­racy any way they can, the fab­ric is not tear­ing,” said Bob Bauer, Bi­den’s le­gal ad­vi­sor. “It is hold­ing firm.”

Bi­den con­tin­ued to f ill out his White House staff, adding a point per­son for Capi­tol Hill ne­go­ti­a­tions, Louisa Ter­rell, and said he planned to nom­i­nate a Trea­sury sec­re­tary soon.

With 60 days un­til Bi­den is sworn in, Trump made only his third pub­lic ap­pear­ance since elec­tion night — he has played golf more often — an­nounc­ing new

reg­u­la­tions on pre­scrip­tion drug costs as well as a dol­lop of griev­ances.

Declar­ing, “I won, by the way,” he com­plained bit­terly that phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies didn’t an­nounce suc­cess­ful COVID- 19 vac­cine tri­als un­til af­ter the elec­tion, then base­lessly sug­gested that Democrats would have cheated and “found the bal­lots some­place” to beat him.

Trump has re­fused to con­cede or au­tho­rize an of­fi­cial tran­si­tion, seek­ing in­stead to sub­vert the elec­tion by try­ing to per­suade lead­ers in bat­tle­ground states to ig­nore the bal­lots and ap­point pro- Trump elec­tors to grant him vic­tory in the elec­toral col­lege.

On Fri­day, Trump met at the White House with top Repub­li­can state law­mak­ers from Michi­gan, where he op­poses the of­fi­cial cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of bal­lot­ing. Bi­den won there by over 155,000 votes, ac­cord­ing to un­of­fi­cial re­turns.

Trump ap­par­ently did not con­vince them that his claims of mas­sive fraud were valid.

“We have not yet been made aware of any informatio­n that would change the out­come of the elec­tion,” said Mike Shirkey, ma­jor­ity leader of Michi­gan’s state Se­nate, and Lee Chat­field, speaker of the state House, in a state­ment af­ter meet­ing Trump. They said that “al­le­ga­tions of fraud­u­lent be­hav

ior should be taken se­ri­ously” but added that “the can­di­dates who win the most votes win elec­tions and Michi­gan elec­toral votes.”

Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani, the pres­i­dent’s lawyer, had planned to at­tend the meet­ing but stayed away af­ter his son, An­drew, learned he had COVID- 19.

The pres­i­dent’s el­dest son, Don­ald Jr., also tested pos­i­tive for the novel coro­n­avirus that causes the

disease, a spokesman said as the pan­demic con­tin­ued to sweep the na­tion.

Bi­den’s lawyer called Trump’s at­tempts to sway the Michi­gan law­mak­ers “pa­thetic.”

“It’s an abuse of of­fice,” Bauer said. “It’s an open at­tempt to try and in­tim­i­date elec­tion of­fi­cials.”

Some Repub­li­cans also ex­pressed out­rage.

“Hav­ing failed to make even a plau­si­ble case of wide

spread fraud or con­spir­acy be­fore any court of law, the pres­i­dent has now re­sorted to overt pres­sure on state and lo­cal of­fi­cials to sub­vert the will of the peo­ple and over­turn the elec­tion,” said Sen. Mitt Rom­ney ( R- Utah), the party’s 2012 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee and the only Repub­li­can who voted to re­move Trump from of­fice dur­ing his im­peach­ment trial in Jan­uary.

“It is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine a worse, more un­demo­cratic ac­tion by a sit­ting Amer­i­can pres­i­dent,” Rom­ney said.

So far, the pres­i­dent has had no suc­cess in over­turn­ing any state elec­tion re­sults.

A re­count in Wis­con­sin’s two most heav­ily Demo­cratic coun­ties be­gan Fri­day, with Trump’s cam­paign un­suc­cess­fully seek­ing to re­ject tens of thou­sands of mail- in bal­lots that it said should not be counted. Bi­den won the state by about 20,600 votes.

Trump’s le­gal team has also failed to gain trac­tion in Penn­syl­va­nia, which could cer­tify its re­sults by next week.

House Democrats say they will seek tes­ti­mony from Emily Mur­phy, head of the Gen­eral Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion. A Trump ap­pointee, she has re­fused to al­low Bi­den’s team ac­cess to fed­eral re­sources that are nor­mally pro­vided for a pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion.

“It is to­tally mys­ti­fy­ing that the GSA re­fuses to make the state­ment nec­es­sary for the tran­si­tion to hap­pen in an or­derly fash­ion,” Pelosi told re­porters.

Although Repub­li­can lead­ers have largely stood by as Trump seeks to over­turn the elec­tion re­sults, some GOP of­fi­cials ap­pear to be run­ning out of pa­tience.

Rep. Fred Up­ton of Michi­gan, one of the f irst elected Repub­li­cans to say he would work with Bi­den af­ter the

Demo­crat’s vic­tory, said Fri­day that he doubted Trump could f ind a way to win his state.

“They’re not go­ing to make up 150,000 votes. I don’t know what idea they have — they’re go­ing to elect dif­fer­ent elec­tors? The gov­er­nor has to sign off on that, right?” he said.

Michi­gan Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer, a Demo­crat, has been sharply crit­i­cal of Trump.

Even though most of Trump’s le­gal ef­forts have stalled, White House Press Sec­re­tary Kayleigh McE­nany said in her first brief­ing since the elec­tion that he had no plans to con­cede.

“The pres­i­dent, again, is pur­su­ing on­go­ing lit­i­ga­tion, tak­ing it day by day, and we’ll let that lit­i­ga­tion play out,” she said.

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence f lew to Ge­or­gia to cam­paign for two Repub­li­can sen­a­tors fac­ing a runoff elec­tion next month. The out­come will de­ter­mine which party con­trols the Se­nate, and Pence said the state “could be the last line of de­fense.”

“We’re go­ing to keep fight­ing un­til every le­gal vote is counted,” he said. “We’re go­ing to keep f ight­ing un­til every il­le­gal vote is thrown out.”

Man­del Ngan AFP/ Getty I mages

PRES­I­DENT TRUMP met with Michi­gan Repub­li­can lead­ers Fri­day and urged them to ap­point fa­vor­able elec­tors even though Joe Bi­den won their state.

Su­san Walsh As­so­ci­ated Press

PRES­I­DENT TRUMP, in his third ap­pear­ance since Nov. 3, falsely claimed vic­tory again and com­plained that COVID- 19 vac­cines weren’t ready be­fore the vote.

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