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Trump tries to leverage office power to overthrow Biden victory

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump sought to leverage the power of the Oval Office on Friday in an extraordinary attempt to block President-elect Joe Bidens’ victory, but his calls on Michigan lawmakers to reverse the will of their constituents seemed to have left them indifferent. Trump has summoned a delegation of Republican leaders from battlefield states, including the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, in an apparent expansion of his efforts to persuade judges and election officials to put aside Biden’s victory margin of 154,000 votes and granting Trump the state voters. He came amid growing criticism that outweighing fruitless efforts to overturn the 2020 election results could lastingly damage democratic traditions. Trump’s efforts have spread to other states Biden has also carried, amounting to an unprecedented attempt by a sitting president to maintain his grip on power, or in failure, to delegitimize his victory. adversary in the eyes of his army of partisans. Rick Hasen, an electoral law expert and professor who meticulously chronicled the 2020 race, wrote that there would be riots “in the streets if an effort was made to put aside voting in Michigan, calling it coup attempt. We should be concerned as this is deeply undemocratic and delegitimizes Joe Biden’s victory in a free and fair election, Hasen wrote on his blog. It is deeply depressing that we have yet to discuss this . But it’s extremely unlikely that this will lead to a different outcome for the president. ” In a joint statement after the White House meeting, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield said the fraud allegations should be investigated. investigation, but indicated that they were not moved by Trump’s claims so far. We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the Michigan election and as legislative leaders we will follow the law and go through the normal process regarding voters in Michigans as we have said throughout. of this election, they said. . Candidates who win the most votes win Michigans’ election and electoral votes, they added, saying they used the meeting with Trump to push him to get more money for pandemic aid for their state. The president falsely claimed victory on Friday again, saying as an aside in a White House drug pricing announcement that I won, by the way, but you know, find out. Trump’s roughly hour-long meeting with Michigan lawmakers came days after he personally called two local prospecting board officials who had refused to certify results in Wayne County, Michigan’s most populous county. and one that overwhelmingly favored Biden. The two GOP officials finally agreed to certify the results. But after Trump’s call, they said they had doubts. The State Solicitors Council is due to meet on Monday to certify the statewide outcome and it was not clear whether Republican members of that group would similarly hesitate. Some Trump allies have expressed hope that state lawmakers could interfere in the selection of Republican voters, as the president and his lawyers have pushed baseless fraud allegations that have been repeatedly dismissed in courtrooms Across the country. It is with this in mind that Trump invited Michigan lawmakers. He also reportedly considered issuing a similar invitation to lawmakers in Pennsylvania. The president could call Republican lawmakers and others in the White House to try to squeeze them, “tweeted former Trump national security adviser John Bolton. Republicans at all levels, state, county, committees election, legislatures must resist this political pressure. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters the meeting with Michigan officials was not an advocacy meeting and insisted that Trump meet regularly with lawmakers from across the country. But such meetings are in fact rare, especially since Trump has kept a low profile since the election. left Detroit for Washington on Friday morning, Shirkey was overrun by activists carrying signs that could be worn read Respect the Vote and Protect Democracy. Chatfield tweeted ahead of meeting with Trump: It doesn’t matter which party, when you get the chance to meet ontrer the President of the United States, of course you take it. I will not apologize for this. “Trump’s effort to put Michigan’s vote aside was sure to fail. Michigan Election Law experts have said that the authority of the Board of State Canvassers is limited. Their duties are to receive the solicitation and to certify the solicitation, that’s all, said John Pirich, a former assistant attorney general who teaches at Michigan State University College of Law. They have absolutely no power to investigate allegations, theories or any kind of half-brained arguments that are thrown. “The Michigan legislature would be called upon to select voters if Trump was successful in persuading the council not to certify the results. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could seek a court order requiring council members to certify the election and could fire those who refused, said Steve Liedel, another election lawyer. Trump’s game for Michigan was one in a series of last-minute tactics in the battlefield states that his team are using to challenge defeat. They also suggested in a court challenge that Pennsylvania quashed the popular vote there and pressured Arizona County officials to delay certification of the vote count. There have been several lawsuits in battlefield states that have so far failed to overturn votes. In two Democratic counties in Wisconsin that recount the votes, the Trumps campaign has sought to reject tens of thousands of mail-in ballots that it believes should not have been counted. The objections were twice rejected by the three members of the Dane County Canvassing Council on bipartisan votes. Trump was due to make the same objections in Milwaukee County ahead of a court challenge after the recount is complete. Former Bush administration official Christine Todd Whitman called Trump’s efforts “actions of a third world dictator. This is not who we are as Americans, and we do not want it. not that the public shy away from this thought that this is the norm. There is no basis for trying to reverse this. The increasingly desperate and erratic measures of Trump and his allies stand no reasonable chance to change the outcome of the 2020 election, in which Biden has now received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history and won the 270 Electoral college votes are needed to win. Some Republicans have passed Trump’s mistaken account and help him spread it. In Georgia, where a manual audit found Biden always won, Gov. Brian Kemp said a court order required him to certify the But he suggested that Trump ask for a recount and wanted to responses to suspected irregularities. Biden’s legal adviser Bob Bauer said Trump’s efforts were detrimental to democracy. It is an abuse of power, “he said.” It is an open attempt to intimidate election officials, it is absolutely appalling. … It’s also pathetic. ___ Eggert reported from Lansing. Associated Press editors John Flesher in Detroit, Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston, Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta, Alexandra Jaffe in Wilmington, and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report. Zeke Miller, Colleen Long and David Eggert, Associated Press

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