President Donald Trump is running out of options for overturning his election loss to Joe Biden, and perhaps his last, best hope is pressuring one of his Republican allies in Congress to take drastic action.
The Electoral College officially votes for the president Dec. 14, but individual members of the House and Senate may legally challenge the results from the floor before Congress certifies the results a few weeks later — and several GOP lawmakers and aides say they’re considering that rarely used maneuver, reported Politico.
“Nothing is off the table,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
Gaetz says Democrats tried the same maneuver in January 2017, when a handful of House members took that procedural step before their efforts collapsed during a joint session of Congress presided over by Biden, who was then the outgoing vice president.
Vice President Mike Pence will serve the same role in this proceeding next month, perhaps setting up an awkward scenario if Trump still refuses to deny his plainly obvious loss.
Voters picked 306 electors for Biden and 232 for Trump, and they will cast their formal votes in two weeks, and the Electoral Count Act passed in 1887 outlines the procedure for Congress to officially certify the election in a joint session at 1 p.m. on Jan. 6.
That same federal law also gives lawmakers the power to challenge the results, and one House member and one senator could band together to challenge entire slates of electors — although they must provide an explanation in writing.
Once that happens, the House and Senate meet in their own chambers to debate the outcome for up to two hours before voting, and this process could play out for multiple states, because each state’s electors are certified separately.
Some of the president’s allies are already urging congressional Republicans to take this action, and several incoming GOP lawmakers, such as Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, agree with Trump’s lies about election fraud.
Some GOP state legislators in Pennsylvania filed a resolution disputing their state’s election results, and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), who challenged the state’s mail-in voting system in court and lost, could take that fight to Congress.
Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) has signaled that he may challenge the election results, and a chief of staff to another GOP lawmaker said his boss may do so.
Politico also reported that Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and David Schweikert may be open to challenging the president’s election loss.
Aides to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declined to comment, although the California Republican has previously backed Trump’s effort to overturn his loss.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has raised questions about the election’s legitimacy, based on Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems unlikely to favor a potentially toxic vote on the challenge.
If all these long-shot scenarios break for Trump and the Senate upholds challenges to some slates of electors, that would put the GOP-majority Senate at odds with the Democratic-majority House.
Federal law gives the governors of those states the power to resolve that unprecedented dispute, but the Constitution expressly grants state legislatures the authority to appoint presidential electors.
That’s the argument Trump’s legal team has pushed to encourage GOP state legislatures to overturn the will of the voters, but Pennsylvania’s official response to that claim argues that the framers never intended to give legislators the power to decide an election on their own.
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‘Sadistic’ Trump Slammed for Teasing ‘Good News on Covid Relief Bill’ After Letting Millions Lose Unemployment
Minutes after CNN published a report revealing President Donald Trump had planned to sign the coronavirus relief bill Christmas Eve at Mar-a-Lago in a big show, but changed his mind at the last minute, Trump posted a tweet teasing out “good news.”
“Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow!” the president said, ignoring the fact that by not signing the bill by midnight Saturday, 12-14 million Americans will be kicked off their extended unemployment insurance benefits.
Many on social media were aghast, especially since Trump has not only been missing in action during months of negotiations on the legislation, but he’s been golfing the past few days knowing literally millions were desperately hoping he would help them. Many Americans are literally starving, unemployed, and facing eviction and loss of basic services.
Americans have enough enough of the billionaire president who has descended into fascistic attacks on the U.S. elections system now that he will be a one-term president.
— Andy Ostroy (@AndyOstroy) December 27, 2020
if you have good news, don’t tease it. this isn’t one of your tacky game shows
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) December 27, 2020
As the president directs what will be the last of his many gameshow-ifications of policy, remember that unemployment benefits lapsed for 12 million Americans yesterday when he did not sign the bill. Even if he ends up signing it now, those people won’t get that week back. https://t.co/MV1ocfxdFo
— Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) December 27, 2020
Good news. He’s gone January 20th. Indictment to follow!
— Donald*Trumps*Goats (@racerx2233) December 27, 2020
You’re a sadistic sociopath. You crave the suffering of others…
— Andy Ostroy (@AndyOstroy) December 27, 2020
This isn’t a fucking game. People will lose their homes if you don’t sign it.
— Irene Kelly (@irene_kelly) December 27, 2020
You unbelievable asshole. https://t.co/XBArQRz46i
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) December 27, 2020
— Amir Betties (@Ayo_fights) December 27, 2020
Don’t tease desperate people with help you cruel fcuk!! https://t.co/I9ASNffYbd
— Georges Raven (@thesixthmagpie) December 27, 2020
UPDATE: 7:32 PM ET –
Trump has not said anything else, but here’s CNN’s Keith Boykin weighing in on a Washington Post update:
Just as I suspected. Donald Trump was never going to fight for a $2,000 stimulus check for Americans. He raised Americans’ hopes for nothing. The only thing Trump cares about — or fights for — is himself. https://t.co/XkHNfgLcsQ
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 28, 2020
Trump Hasn’t Fired FBI Director Chris Wray Yet Because WH Counsel ‘Strongly’ Warned It Could Put Him in Legal Jeopardy
With barely more than a month left in his job it looks like President Donald Trump might not fire FBI Director Chris Wray before he leaves office. Trump for months has been wanting to, according to several reports, especially after Wray in September disputed the president’s false claims of voter fraud.
Trump “has come so close to firing FBI Director Christopher Wray in recent months that the White House counsel’s office has warned him not to do so because it could put him in potential legal jeopardy,” NBC News reports, citing two officials.
Lawyers in the White House Counsel’s office “strongly” advised Trump against firing Director Wray “out of concern that doing so would risk creating the perception that a ‘loyalty test’ was being imposed on a position that traditionally has maintained independence from the White House.”
Trump had already fired former FBI Director Jim Comey less than four months into his presidency. He also fired Andrew McCabe, who had served as acting FBI Director until Wray was sworn in, just 26 hours before he was to retire in 2018.
Trump may still fire Wray “on a whim,” NBC notes, and adds “officials said they are prepared for Trump to go on a firing spree before leaving office next month.”
That official warned to expect “some more fairly significant terminations in the national security or intelligence community.”
Many expected Trump to fire Attorney General Bill Barr, who resigned, some believe under pressure, on Monday. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has also been rumored to be the target of Trump’s anger, with the president wanting to fire him after he fired his cybersecurity director Chris Krebs for announcing the 2020 election was the most secure in history.
And “CIA Director Gina Haspel was so convinced she might be fired that she was seen cleaning personal items out of her office at CIA headquarters last month after Trump ousted Defense Secretary Mark Esper,” NBC News adds.
Concern Grows as Trump Repeatedly Calls for Election to Be ‘Overturned’ – and Republicans Refuse to Stop Him
More than five weeks after Election Day, concern is mounting as President Donald Trump not only shows no signs of conceding, but increasingly is spreading dangerous lies and disinformation – including now repeatedly calling for the election to be overturned. Americans are growing increasingly concerned, not only with the President’s attacks on democracy, but with Republicans’ refusal to defend it.
President Donald Trump and his supporters have filed more than 50 lawsuits, losing all but one. On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court – on which the president placed three of the six conservative justices – unanimously smacked down the latest attempt to overturn the election, in what amounted to a scathing, one sentence refusal.
Trump is growing more agitated, according to reports, and spends his days focusing on little except the election.
Wednesday morning, amid a flurry of tweets, Trump posted a one-word demand:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2020
That was followed Wednesday afternoon by another call to overturn the election he lost by more than 8 million votes.
If somebody cheated in the Election, which the Democrats did, why wouldn’t the Election be immediately overturned? How can a Country be run like this?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2020
A growing question for some is at what point does being a liar and a sore loser rise to the bar of illegal activity?
To be clear, not only is there no evidence of election fraud or cheating, but Trump’s own attorneys have been unable – or unwilling – to offer any in court.
Voting rights experts and Mother Jones journalist Ari Berman:
It’s 36 days after election, safe harbor deadline has passed, 302 electoral votes certified for Biden, won by 7 million votes nationwide, Trump has lost 51 court cases & yet he’s still calling for election results to be overturned & 90% of GOP either encouraging or silent
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) December 9, 2020
Andrea Mitchell quoting MSNBC’s Kelly O’Donnell:
.@KellyO: “Today for President Trump, it’s more defiance. He wants to see the results that have been certified around the country overturned in his favor-The legal set of affairs the President finds himself in is one defeat after another, including the Supreme Court.” #AMRstaff
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) December 9, 2020
Edward-Isaac Dovere, staff writer at The Atlantic:
Pretty clearly, if Donald Trump could have overturned the election results and seized power through court challenges or other routes, he would have—and also pretty clearly, there are not many Republican leaders who would have opposed him as he did.
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) December 9, 2020
Los Angeles Times White House reporter Chris Megerian:
The president continues to campaign against democracy with the tacit (and occasionally enthusiastic) approval of a major political party https://t.co/abE1XDmpf8
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) December 9, 2020
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:
It’s awful that Loeffler/Perdue back this deranged Texas lawsuit.
Republicans aren’t just “humoring” Trump. Many of them support *overturning* the election.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) December 9, 2020
Mother Jones’ D.C. bureau chief David Corn:
By the way, Republicans, this is very wrong. Trump is not pursuing legal options here. He is pressuring elected officials to overturn an election so he can retain power. He is subverting democracy. And you’re enabling this. https://t.co/tWdkPcsjCm
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) December 8, 2020
CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser:
Now that Trump is openly calling to "OVERTURN" the election, I'm wondering where this leaves the Republicans who said he was merely pursuing his legitimate legal options after the election that he lost…
— Susan Glasser (@sbg1) December 9, 2020
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