Donald Trump claimed Friday that Democratic election officials in south Florida ‘probably’ plotted to rig the 2016 presidential election there against him, saying their slowness in submitting results indicated that only his sizable lead prevented them from trying to ‘falsify’ the results.
The president sent a series of tweets while Air Force One was en route to Paris, blasting Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, a Democrat, for ‘finding votes’ to whittle away at Republicans’ leads in U.S. Senate and gubernatorial contests that they appeared to win on Tuesday.
Snipes is required by Florida law to tell state officials how many ballots were cast in her county, and to update the counting numbers every 45 minutes. Her office has done neither, causing Republicans to worry about a lack of accuntability that could be ripe for partisan abuse.
‘In the 2016 Election I was winning by so much in Florida that Broward County, which was very late with vote tabulation and probably getting ready to do a “number,” couldn’t do it because not enough people live in Broward for them to falsify a victory!’ Trump wrote.
The president’s effort to personalize his complaints about the shrinking victory margins of Senate candidate Rick Scott and governor hopeful Ron DeSantis came just minutes before the Republican National Committee blasted out an appeal for donations to a ‘Florida Grassroots Recount Fund.’
‘We need to ensure a FAIR PROCESS,’ said the email, send under Trump’s signature.
President Donald Trump signaled that the federal government might have to exercise oversight in Florida over Democratic election officials whose work has resulted in the narrowing of a U.S. Senate race in favor of the Democratic incumbent
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes has had a history of questionable results including one case where a judge ruled that she illegally destroyed ballots; Trump blasted her without naming her on Friday, and then tweeted a charge that her department was prepared to try to steal Florida’s presidential electors from him in 2016
Trump claimed in a transatlantic tweet that only the size of his 2016 lead in Florida prevented Broward County officials from trying to stack the deck against him
Scott, the current Florida governor, challenged Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for his seat. DeSantis is a member of the U.S. House who ran against Tallahassee’s Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum.
‘Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they “found” many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes,’ Trump vented on Twitter, attributing the march toward parity ‘“The Broward Effect.” How come they never find Republican votes?’
And he noted that Gillum conceded his race to DeSantis on Tuesday, but ‘Broward County has put him “back into play”.’
Gillum withdrew his concession on Thursday.
Trump claimed Nelson had also ‘conceded,’ something several Florida newspapers incorrectly reported as Tuesday wore into Wednesday.
The president’s complaints came after he had already lashed out at Broward County’s top election official, suggesting ‘dishonesty’ could play a role in handing Nelson a victory when the dust settles.
Trump tweeted about that race and one in a neighboring state, snarking about Democrats’ efforts to change unfavorable results.
Trump contends that Broward County’s effort to ‘find’ votes has intentionally been a one-sided affair that reversed Democrats’ Election Day concessions
STUFFED? A teacher in Broward County found a container labeled ‘Provisional Ballot Box’ in a storage area of her elementary school on Thursday
Trump thanked Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for highlighting Snipes’ past ethical lapses; Rubio spent part of Thursday and Friday listing them on Twitter
‘You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia – but the Election was on Tuesday? Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!’ he wrote.
‘They have had a horrible history,’ he said of Snipes’ department at the White House on Friday morning. Snipes has a checkered past there, including a judge’s finding that she illegally destroyed ballots in a previous election.
She ‘has been to court’ and ‘she lost,’ he said.
The margin between Scott and the incumbent Nelson narrowed as additional ballots were located in Broward and elsewhere. The race now stands close enough to trigger an automatic hand-recount statewide.
‘She has had a horrible history,’ Trump said of Snipes. ‘And all of a sudden they’re finding votes out of nowhere! And Rick Scott, who won by – you know, it was close but he won by a comfortable margin – every couple of hours it goes down a little bit.’
‘All of a sudden they’re finding votes?’ he said later. ‘You mean, after the election, they’re finding votes?’
The Republican National Committee began raising money Friday for a ‘Florida Grassroots Recount Fund’ aimed at countering the Democrats’ efforts that Trump sees as illegitimate
Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott appeared to win his U.S. Senate election on Tuesda but officials have located a stream of additional ballots that continues to narrow his marring of victory to the point where a hand recount will be ordered
Senator Bill Nelson’s campaign held off on conceding his race Tuesday night even as Scott claimed victory, and now the contest appears to be a 15,000 vote affair out of more than 8 million cast
Trump tweeted as Air Force One left for Paris that Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams should give up her quest to force a runoff with Brian Kemp, who defeated her on Tuesday in Georgia.
‘@BrianKempGA ran a great race in Georgia – he won. It is time to move on!’ he wrote.
If Kemp’s final total is 50 per cent or less of all the votes cast, he will have to battle Abrams again on December 4.
The president complained at the White House about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign lawyer Marc Elias, who is supervising Nelson’s push for a recount.
‘As soon as Democrats sent their best Election stealing lawyer, Marc Elias, to Broward County they miraculously started finding Democrat votes,’ he tweeted. ‘Don’t worry, Florida – I am sending much better lawyers to expose the FRAUD!’
‘Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day,’ Trump wrote later, but ‘now they “found” many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. “The Broward Effect.” How come they never find Republican votes?’
Elias also was the middle-man that year when the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee sent millions of dollars to political research firm Fusion GPS, a transaction that launched a so-called ‘dirty dossier’ on Trump that alleged he cavorted with prostitutes in Moscow.
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum gave a concession speech on Tuesday, eding the victory to Republican Ron DeSantis, but then withdrew it on Thursday as officials found more votes cast for him
The president tweeted as he left Friday for Paris, mocking Democrats for ‘finding votes’ and telling a Georgia Democrat to ‘move on’ from her defeat
The president cited ‘dishonesty’ in Broward County and encourage reporters to dig into Snipes’ past
‘They were involved with that fraud of the fake dossier, the phony dossier,’ Trump said of Elias, without naming him directly. ‘And I guess I hear they were somehow involved, or work, with the GPS Fusion [sic] people.’
Scott unleashed lawsuits against Broward and Palm Beach Counties on Thursday, accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election.
Both the Senate seat Scott thought was his on Tuesday night, and the governor’s contest that looked all but won by Republican Ron DeSantis, are within the margin for recounts.
‘The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency, and the supervisors are failing to give it to us,’ Scott claimed.
The lawsuit was filed about the same time Scott, as governor, ordered state law enforcement officials to investigate the Broward and Palm Beach voting operations.
A spokesperson for Nelson bristled at Scott’s legal maneuvering, telling CNN: ‘The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately. Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation.’
Elias’s role in the Florida recounts will continue to be a sore spot for Republicans.
Nelson’s lawyer organizing his effort to tilt as many votes in his favor as possible is Marc Elias, the top attorney for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign who funneled the money that created the anti-Trump ‘dirty dossier’
Senator-Elect Rick Scott sued Broward and Palm Beach County election officials Thursday night alleging there could be ‘rampant fraud’ in the counties’ ballot-counting process
‘Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,’ Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted after The Washington Post linked the dossier to Elias and his law firm Perkins Coie.
Kennth Vogel, another Times journalist, tweeted: ‘When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously, saying “You (or your sources) are wrong”.’
The deal was born in the spring of 2016, when Elias was approached by Fusion GPS, and lasted until just before Election Day that year. When Fusion approached Elias, it had already been doing anti_Trump research work for the conservative Washington Free Beacon during the Republican primary season.
But the dossier itself was funded entirely by Democrats, using Elias as a middle-man.
After the DNC and the Clinton campaign started paying, Fusion GPS hired former British spy Christopher Steele to do the dirt-digging.
His work later resulted in the dossier, which made unsubstantiated claims that Trump patronized prostitutes while visiting Moscow, and that he paid them to urinate on each other while cavorting on a bed that Barack and Michelle Obama had slept in during their pown previous trip to Russia’s capital city.
Trump has called the material ‘phony stuff,’ and the White House has complained that the dossier’s other unconfirmed allegations were part of the Obama-era Justice Department’s justifications fo spying on Carter Page, one of his campaign advisers.
Elias also led the five-month recount process that resulted in the 2008 election of former Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who won that contest by just 312 votes.
It was later determined that officials counted the votes of at least 341 convicted felons in the state’s largest county. Another 52 voters cast ballots illegally in a second county.
Franken resigned in disgrace last year following the publication of a photo showing him groping an actress while she slept on the way home from performing in a USO tour.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted a photo of boxes that reportedly contained uncounted ballots in Broward, almost 48 hours since the polls had closed
Scott’s emergency complaints accuse Snipes and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher of being ‘unwilling to disclose records revealing how many electors voted, how many ballots have been canvassed, and how many ballots remain to be canvassed.’
The complaints say the counties’ handling of ballots ‘raises substantial concerns about the validity of the election process.’
‘Late Tuesday night, our win was projected to be around 57,000 votes,’ Scott told reporters during his press conference Thursday.
‘By Wednesday morning, that lead dropped to 38,000. By Wednesday evening, it was around 30,000. This morning, it was around 21,000. Now, it is 15,000.’
He continued: ‘On election night, Broward County said there were 634,000 votes cast. At 1am today, there were 695,700 ballots cast on election day. At 2.30pm today, the number was up to 707,223 ballots cast on Election Day. And we just learned, that the number has increased to 712,840 ballots cast on election day. In Palm Beach County, there are 15,000 new votes found since election night.
Trump tweeted Friday that Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia, should ‘move on’ and concede defeat instead of pressing for a runoff
‘So, it has been over 48 hours since the polls closed and Broward and Palm Beach Counties are still finding and counting ballots – and the Supervisors – Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher – cannot seem to say how many ballots still exist or where these ballots came from, or where they have been,’ Scott said.
During the press conference, Scott declared there could be ‘rampant fraud’ in the counties ballot-counting process.
President Trump, following the Scott’s press conference tweeted ‘Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!’
Senator Nelson’s re-election bid now trails Scott’s by just 17,000 votes, within the .25 per cent margin required for a hand recount.
Nelson’s campaign aides believe he will emerge victorious once all the ballots are counted.
Meanwhile, a teacher in a Broward County school found a container labeled ‘Provisional Ballot Box’ in a storage area of her elementary school on Thursday.
Lakeisha Williams, of Broward County, said she found the box Thursday at Miramar Elementary School.
It was apparently left behind by election workers.
‘I went into the area that we use for storage and saw it in there,’ Williams told the New York Post.