Tuesday, December 1

Trump woos Michigan Republican leaders for support

(CNN) — President Donald Trump invited Republican state legislators from Michigan to the White House on Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter. The call comes as part of the effort by the president and his legal team to reverse the results of the election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump also called two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Elections Representatives Tuesday to offer their support, the person said, following their comings and goings in voting to certify election results for the state’s largest county. . This is the county that includes Detroit. Board members filed affidavits Wednesday seeking to “rescind” the votes they cast to certify the election result.

Trump extended the invitation Thursday morning to Michigan lawmakers through a call to the Republican Majority Leader of the state senate, the person familiar with the matter said.

Biden’s answer

Certification is often a formality, but Trump is trying to block or delay the process in key states as part of a long-term effort to reverse his electoral defeat through the Electoral College. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and other allies have suggested that state legislatures that control Republicans in the states that Biden won should try to delay certification to name their own voters list. And thereby ignoring the popular votes of the states for Biden.

When asked about Trump’s approach to Michigan officials, Biden said Thursday, “It’s going to be another incident where he will go down in history as one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history.”

“It’s just outrageous what you’re doing,” he said.

Giuliani at press conference

This situation comes as the options for Trump’s legal team to challenge election results in states the president lost are rapidly evaporating. And as the states progress in certifying the results. Giuliani held a 90-minute press conference on Thursday in which he and his team presented dubious legal claims. They also exposed discredited conspiracy theories and did not provide specific and credible evidence of voter fraud.

“This is very dangerous to our democracy as it is an attempt to thwart the will of the voters through political pressure from the president,” wrote CNN election law expert Rick Hasen. on your website. Although it is highly unlikely to work, it is deeply undemocratic and a violation of the rule of law. It is unforgivable, “he added.

Chris Krebs, the fired Department of Homeland Security official who had rejected Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud, tweeted that Giuliani’s press conference was “the most dangerous 1 hour 45 minutes of television in American history. And possibly the craziest.

Trump fires head of election security 0:34

Michigan lawmakers pledged to honor the popular vote

It’s unclear what Trump’s message will be to Republican Michigan lawmakers. Both Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield have said they will honor their state’s popular vote. And that they will not deviate from the voter selection process in Michigan. Biden currently holds a 154,187 vote lead over Trump in the Great Lakes state.

On September 24, Shirkey led the Senate to pass a resolution to ensure that voters vote for the candidate with the most votes certified by election officials. “The Michigan Senate is committed to selecting voters for the Electoral College who will be faithful to vote for the candidate with the most votes for president in Michigan as certified by Michigan election officials,” the resolution reads.

Campaign arguments in court have failed miserably, with lawsuits dropped or dismissed in Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

A source familiar with the president’s ideas told CNN that Trump has heard from a crowd of friends and business partners who have urged him to at least let the transition begin, even if he doesn’t want to admit the outcome. The president has said they are “absolutely wrong,” according to the source.

Calls to Board of Election Officers in the Detroit Area

In Wayne County, the two Republican members of the county board of elections representatives received calls from Trump on Tuesday.

The Washington Post reported that Monica Palmer, one of the board members, received a call of approximately two minutes from Trump. And he said he felt no pressure to change his vote.

“I got a call from President Trump late Tuesday night after the meeting,” Palmer told the Post. “He was reaching out to make sure I was safe after hearing the threats and the doxing that had occurred,” he said.

Twists and turns in county certification

Members of the Wayne County Republican Party board turned the typical voter certification process into chaos Tuesday when they initially voted against certifying the county’s results. At that point they left the board in a 2-2 stalemate.

After hours of public pressure and complaints that hundreds of thousands of voters in the black-majority city of Detroit were being blatantly disenfranchised, Republicans reversed their votes. The certification was approved unanimously.

But then Wednesday Palmer and Republican board member William Hartmann They sent affidavits to the county attorney disavowing their previous votes to certify the result. However, since the deadline for county certification has passed, it is unclear what legal recourse or legitimate argument these two Republican officials can present to formally revoke their votes and uncertify.

“There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote,” said Michigan Secretary of State spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer. “Your job is done and the next step in the process is for the state board of electoral representatives to meet and certify,” he explained.

“There is no legal or factual basis to question your choice”

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said on CNN Thursday that Trump’s calls to Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Electors were “inappropriate.”

“I think it is certainly inappropriate for any candidate from either party to try to interfere with what is a very appropriate, but administrative, function of the board of electoral representatives,” Benson said. “There is no legal or factual basis to question his choice,” he added.

Benson suggested that Trump’s call influenced the GOP board members. “I think we certainly saw a reversal of course, of course,” he said.

Democratic Vice President Jonathan Kinloch said Thursday that the county’s certification date of Nov. 17 is a final deadline. And that the votes of the board members cannot be changed after the fact. Republican officials sent their affidavits to the county, but the action stops there. They have not filed any lawsuits to try to force the county to call a new meeting.

“There is no further action that can be taken regarding certification,” Kinloch told CNN. “They are doing a show because of the pressure they are receiving,” he added.

When asked by the Post if he had discussed presidential vote counting with Trump, Palmer said: “It’s hard for me to describe it. There was a lot of adrenaline and stress going on. There were general comments on different statuses, but we didn’t really discuss the details of the certification (…). It was not pressure. It was a genuine concern for my safety.

CNN has reached out to Palmer and Hartmann for comment on the calls.

Next steps in Michigan

The next step in Michigan is for the state board of elections representatives to certify the election results. This is scheduled for next week. That board includes two Republicans and two Democrats. The wife of one of the Republican board members, Norm Shinkle, submitted an affidavit supporting the Trump campaign lawsuit in Michigan.

Benson said Thursday his office would conduct a statewide risk-limiting audit, as well as local performance audits of individual jurisdictions. These audits were planned in advance.

Benson specifically mentioned that his office would conduct a local performance audit in Wayne County, something Republican board members asked him to do when they certified the results Tuesday. The two Republicans, who have since filed affidavits to nullify their votes, said Benson was hesitant in his promise to complete an audit. But Benson’s announcement Thursday dismisses those concerns.

The Trump campaign withdrew its lawsuit in Michigan alleging voting irregularities on Thursday, including two affidavits from Republican board members and misrepresenting that Wayne County election results had not been certified.

CNN’s Gloria Borger contributed to this report.

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