The Morning Call

Trump again bids to undo Bi­den win

Af­ter Oval meet­ing, Mich. law­mak­ers say they’re un­moved

- By Zeke Miller, Colleen Long and David Eg­gert US Elections · U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Elections · Donald Trump · Joe Biden · Washington · Oval Office · Republican Party (United States) · Michigan · United States Senate · White House · Wayne County · White House Press Secretary · Kayleigh McEnany · Detroit · Mike Shirkey · Lee Chatfield · United States of America · Michigan State University · Pennsylvania · Arizona · Wisconsin · Dane County · Milwaukee · Georgia · Michigan Legislature · Gretchen Whitmer · Milwaukee County · Brian P. Kemp

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sought to lever­age the power of the Oval Of­fice on Fri­day in an at­tempt to block Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Bi­den’s vic­tory as crit­i­cism mounted that his fu­tile ef­forts to sub­vert the re­sults of the 2020 elec­tion could do long-last­ing dam­age to demo­cratic tra­di­tions.

Trump sum­moned a del­e­ga­tion of Repub­li­can law­mak­ers from Michi­gan, in­clud­ing the state’s Se­nate ma­jor­ity leader and House speaker, in an ap­par­ent ex­ten­sion of his ef­forts to per­suade judges and elec­tion of­fi­cials in the state to set aside Bi­den’s 154,000-vote mar­gin of vic­tory and grant him the state’s elec­tors.

Rick Hasen, an elec­tion law ex­pert and pro­fes­sor, wrote that there would be “ri­ot­ing” in the streets if an ef­fort was made to set aside the vote in Michi­gan, call­ing it tan­ta­mount to an at­tempted coup.

“We should worry be­cause this is pro­foundly an­tidemo­cratic and is dele­git­imiz­ing the vic­tory of Joe Bi­den in a free and fair elec­tion,” Hasen wrote on his blog. “It is pro­foundly de­press­ing we still have to dis­cuss this. But it is ex­tremely un­likely to lead to any dif­fer­ent re­sult for pres­i­dent.”

In a joint state­ment af­ter the White House meet­ing, the law­mak­ers said al­le­ga­tions of fraud should be investigat­ed, but in­di­cated they were un­moved by Trump’s claims thus far.

“We have not yet been made aware of any in­for­ma­tion that would change the out­come of the elec­tion in Michi­gan and as leg­isla­tive lead­ers, we will fol­low the law and fol­low the nor­mal process re­gard­ing Michi­gan’s elec

tors, just as we have said through­out this elec­tion,” they said.

“The can­di­dates who win the most votes win elec­tions and Michi­gan’s elec­toral votes,” they added.

The pres­i­dent on Fri­day again falsely claimed vic­tory, declar­ing as an aside dur­ing a White House an­nounce­ment on drug pric­ing, “I won, by the way, but you know, we’ll find that out.”

Trump’s White House meet­ing came days af­ter he per­son­ally called two can­vass board of­fi­cials who had re­fused to cer­tify the re­sults in Wayne County, Michi­gan’s most pop­u­lous county and one that over­whelm­ingly fa­vored Bi­den. The two GOP of­fi­cials even­tu­ally agreed to cer­tify the re­sults. But fol­low­ing Trump’s call, they said they had se­cond thoughts.

TheBoard of State Can­vassers is to meet Mon­day to cer­tify the statewide out­come and it was un­clear whether Repub­li­can mem­bers of that panel would sim­i­larly balk.

White House press sec­re­tary Kayleigh McE­nany told re­porters that the meet­ing with Michi­gan of­fi­cials was “not an ad­vo­cacy meet­ing” and in­sisted Trump “rou­tinely meets with law­mak­ers from across the coun­try.” But such meet­ings are in fact rare, par­tic­u­larly as Trump has main­tained a low profile since the elec­tion.

As he de­parted Detroit for Washington on Fri­day morn­ing, state Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mike Shirkey was swarmed by ac­tivists bear­ing signs that read: “Respect the Vote” and “Pro­tect Democ­racy.”

House Speaker Lee Chat­field tweeted be­fore the meet­ing with Trump: “No mat­ter the party, when you have an op­por­tu­nity to meet with the Pres­i­dent of the United States, of course you take it. I won’t apol­o­gize for that.”

Trump’s ef­fort to set aside the Michi­gan vote was sure to fail. Ex­perts on Michi­gan elec­tion law said the Michi­gan Board of State Can­vassers’ au­thor­ity was lim­ited in scope.

“Their du­ties are to re­ceive the can­vass and cer­tify the can­vass, that’s it,” said John Pirich, a for­mer as­sis­tant at­tor­ney gen­eral who teaches at Michi­gan State Univer­sity Law School.

“They have ab­so­lutely no power to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions, the­o­ries or any half­brained kind of ar­gu­ments that are be­ing thrown around.”

The Michi­gan Leg­is­la­ture would be called on to se­lect elec­tors if Trump suc­ceeded in con­vinc­ing the board not to cer­tify the re­sults.

Demo­cratic Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer could seek a court or­der forc­ing board mem­bers to cer­tify the elec­tion and could re­move those who re­fused, said Steve Liedel, another elec­tion at­tor­ney.

Trump’s play for Michi­gan was among a se­ries of last-ditch tac­tics in bat­tle­ground states his team is us­ing to chal­lenge his de­feat. They also have sug­gested in a le­gal chal­lenge that Penn­syl­va­nia set aside the pop­u­lar vote there and pres­sured county of­fi­cials in Ari­zona to de­lay cer­ti­fy­ing vote tal­lies. There have been mul­ti­ple law­suits in bat­tle­ground states that have failed so far to re­verse any votes.

In two Demo­cratic-lean­ing coun­ties in Wis­con­sin that are re­count­ing votes, Trump’s cam­paign sought to dis­card tens of thou­sands of ab­sen­tee bal­lots that it al­leged should not have been counted.

The ob­jec­tions were twice de­nied by the three-mem­ber Dane County Board of Can­vassers on bipartisan votes. Trump was ex­pected to make the same ob­jec­tions in Mil­wau­kee County ahead of a court chal­lenge once the recount con­cludes.

Some Repub­li­cans have em­braced Trump’s nar­ra­tive. In Ge­or­gia, where a hand au­dit found Bi­den had still won, Gov. Brian Kemp said a court or­der made it so he had to cer­tify the re­sults. But he sug­gested Trump de­mand a recount and wanted an­swers to the al­leged “ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.”

 ?? SUSANWALSH/AP ?? Dur­ing a White House an­nounce­ment on drug pric­ing Fri­day, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump again claimed that he won the elec­tion.
SUSANWALSH/AP Dur­ing a White House an­nounce­ment on drug pric­ing Fri­day, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump again claimed that he won the elec­tion.

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