After a stinging setback in courts in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump faces increased pressure from fellow Republicans to abandon his efforts to overturn the U.S. presidential election and concede to Democrat Joe Biden.
Since Biden was declared the winner two weeks ago, Trump has launched a barrage of lawsuits and mounted a lobby campaign to prevent states from certifying their vote totals.
Attempts to thwart the certification so far have failed in courts in Georgia, Michigan and Arizona.
On Saturday Matthew Brann, a Republican federal judge appointed by former President Barack Obama, rejected a similar effort in Pennsylvania, writing that the case boils down to “unfounded strained legal arguments and speculative accusations.”
Also read: Donald Trump was struck again in an attempt to overturn the vote results
For Trump to have any hope of remaining in the White House, he must eliminate Biden’s 81,000-vote advance in Pennsylvania. The state is due to start certifying its results on Monday.
Trump’s lawyers have promised a quick appeal, but lawyers who opposed him in court say he is out of time.
“This should put the nail in the coffin on any further attempt by President Trump to use federal courts to rewrite the 2020 election result,” said Kristen Clarke, chair of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Some of Trump’s Republican colleagues in Congress are now breaking ranks.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey said the decision blocked any chance of legal victory in Pennsylvania and called on Trump to concede the election.
Liz Cheney, a member of the Republican leadership team in the House of Representatives, earlier called on Trump to respect “the sanctity of our electoral process” if he does not succeed in court.
Trump refuses to concede
Biden won 6 million more votes than Trump in the Nov. 3 election and also prevailed 306-232 in the state-by-state electoral college system that determines who will be sworn in on Jan. 20.
He has spent the past few weeks preparing to take office, although the Trump administration has refused to provide funds and security clearances to do so.
Critics say Trump’s refusal to concede has serious implications for national security and the fight against the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 255,000 Americans.
To stay in power, Trump would need somehow to overrule election results in at least three major states – a feat unprecedented in U.S. history.
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A recount in Georgia only confirmed Biden’s victory there, and officials certified the result on Friday. Trump’s campaign said on Saturday night it would call for another recount.
In Wisconsin, election officials criticized Trump’s volunteers for slowing down a partial recount that shouldn’t nullify Biden’s victory.
As recounts and prosecutions come close, Trump is now pressuring Republican-led state legislatures to nullify the vote totals and declare him the winner.
“Hopefully the courts and / or legislatures will have … the COURAGE to do what needs to be done to maintain the integrity of our elections and the United States of America itself,” he wrote. on Twitter after the Pennsylvania decision.
…. the COURAGE to do what needs to be done to maintain the integrity of our elections and of the United States of America itself. THE WORLD IS WATCHING !!!
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2020
On Friday, he summoned two senior Republicans from the Michigan legislature to the White House. After the meeting, they said they saw no evidence that would lead them to intervene. Biden leads Trump to Michigan by 154,000 votes.
Election officials across the country say there is no evidence of significant electoral fraud, and Trump’s own administration has called the election “the safest in American history.”
But Trump’s accusations continued to inflame his tough Republican base. Half of Republicans believe the election was stolen from Trump, according to a Reuters / Ipsos poll, and supporters have organized rallies across the country to protest the result.
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