President Donald Trump continued to tweet Monday morning that he had ‘won the election,’ despite his lawyers dropping a key element of his legal case in Pennsylvania.
His lawyers in the state have sued to try to stop its votes being certified.
But on Sunday they significantly watered down their case by removing an alternative demand that all ballots counted in places where they claim poll watchers did not get access be declared invalid.
Opponents seized on the move, saying it was evidence of the weakness of the Trump legal claims.
But Trump and his allies were defiant. ‘I won the Election!’ Trump tweeted for the second time in an eight-hour span.
Trump retweeted his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who attacked a Politico reporter for writing that, ‘Pennsylvania’s lawyers say there’s now so little left of a Trump campaign’s federal lawsuit over election results there that there’s no need to an argument session a judge has scheduled for Tuesday.’
Giuliani, who is now in sole charge of Trump’s legal challenges, said: ‘I imagine this guy has a reading deficit.
‘He didn’t read paragraphs 132 to 150 of the amended complaint. I guess 680,770 uninspected, unlawful mail in votes isn’t enough. Well we will find more before trial.’
The Trump campaign’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, also said that the Pennsylvania complaint had not been watered down.
President Donald Trump refuses to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden and has been boasting on Twitter that he ‘won’ Sunday night and Monday morning. He’s also pushed back on reports that say his Pennsylvania lawsuit has been slimmed down
THE ORIGINAL LAWSUIT AND WHAT IT DEMANDED
THE ORIGINAL: In the original lawsuit the Trump campaign filed in Pennsylvania, it specifically asks for ballots not to be certified that don’t comply with the ‘Election Code.’ It then, specifically, points to those where Trump campaign watchers weren’t present
AND THE AMENDED LAWSUIT DEMANDING FAR LESS
THE REMIX: In the suit filed Sunday, the Trump campaign still asks the court not to allow the state to certify the election results. As an alternative fix, the campaign asks for ‘cured’ ballots to be invalidated. Not enough ‘cured’ ballots in Pennsylvania exist to overturn the margin that President-elect Joe Biden is ahead
President Donald Trump continues to say, falsely, that he won the election. Trump and his allies refuted reporting that his campaign’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania has been watered down
Trump retweeted his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Monday. Giuliani took issue with Politico reporting that the Pennsylvania lawsuit had been pared back
Trump and his campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh also refuted The Washington Post’s reporting on the lawsuit. The Trump campaign says the lawsuit was restructured ‘strategically’
‘This story is completely erroneous,’ he said, linking to a Washington Post report that said the campaign had ‘scrap[ped] major parts of its lawsuit.’ ‘Our lawsuit in Pennsylvania absolutely still makes an issue of the 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots that were counted in secret,’ Murtaugh tweeted.
Piggy-backing on that, Trump wrote, ‘Poll Watchers, and the way they were treated, are a very big deal in the complaint!’
The Trump campaign’s lawsuit still complains about how poll watchers were treated – but does not ask the judge in the case to do anything about it.
For example, in Philadelphia County, the Trump campaign alleges that ‘watchers were allowed to be within 6 feet, but within 6 feet of the first row of counters only.’
In the original lawsuit, the Trump campaign says the main goal is to prohibit the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results.
That aim remains the same.
However, the updated version no longer asks the court to strike ballots where ‘Trump Campaign’s watchers were prevented from observing.’
Instead, it makes the key issue ballots that some Democratic-led counties allowed voters to ‘cure,’ which the campaign argues created a disparity between Trump and President-elect Joe Biden’s voters.
The campaign said mid-morning Monday that ‘the campaign strategically decided to restructure its lawsuit.’
‘It’s routine for attorneys to file amended complaints to tighten the claims. We simplified the suit so it is more focused and narrowed. This is part of the process,’ Giuliani said in a press release.
Multiple major news outlets including the Associated Press, CNN and Fox News called the presidential contest for former Vice President Joe Biden on November 7, after determining that the remaining ballots left to be counted in Pennsylvania would not allow Trump to catch up.
Trump has refused to concede and insisted that Democrats stole the election from him as his campaign mounts tenuous legal battles in several key states that he lost.
On Sunday night he tweeted, ‘I WON THE ELECTION!’ He left off the cap-locks when he repeated that message Monday morning.
Trump pushed his message that the election was rigged once again in a tweet on Sunday night
Not being blown off track: Joe Biden held a briefing on the economy and was delivering a speech on his recovery plan Monday
The remaining claim in the Pennsylvania lawsuit centers on disqualifying ballots cast by voters who were given an opportunity to fix mail-in ballots that were going to be disqualified for a technicality.
The lawsuit charges that ‘Democratic-heavy counties’ violated the law by identifying mail-in ballots before Election Day that had defects – such as lacking an inner ‘secrecy envelope’ or lacking a voter’s signature on the outside envelope – so that the voter could fix it and ensure that their vote would count, called ‘curing’.
Republican-heavy counties ‘followed the law and did not provide a notice and cure process, disenfranchising many’, the lawsuit said.
Cliff Levine, a lawyer representing the Democratic National Committee, which is seeking to intervene, said it isn’t clear how many voters were given the chance to fix their ballot.
But, he said, it is minimal and certainly fewer than the margin – almost 70,000 – that separates Biden and Trump.
‘The numbers aren’t even close to the margin between the two candidates, not even close,’ Levine said.
In any case, there is no provision in state law preventing counties from helping voters to fix a ballot that contains a technical deficiency. Levine said the lawsuit does not contain any allegation that somebody voted illegally.
‘They really should be suing the counties that didn’t allow (voters) to make corrections,’ Levine said. ‘The goal should be making sure every vote counts.’
Pennsylvania’s top election official, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, responded in court on Sunday, asking the judge to dismiss the case.
State courts are the proper jurisdiction for the subject, and the lawsuit contains no ‘plausible claim for relief on any legal theory’, the state’s lawyers wrote.
More than 2.6 million mail-in ballots were reported received by counties, and there has been no report by state or county election officials or a prosecutor of fraud or any other problem with the accuracy of the count.
The Trump campaign’s slimmed-down lawsuit maintains the aim of blocking Pennsylvania from certifying a victory for Biden in the state and its claim that Democratic voters were treated more favorably than Republican voters. Pictured: Election Bureau Director Albert L. Gricoski (left) opens provisional ballots while poll watchers observe from behind at the Schuylkill County Election Bureau in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, on November 10
A key theme of Trump and his supporters has been their claim that Philadelphia – a Democratic bastion where Trump lost badly – had not allowed Trump’s campaign representatives to watch mail-in and absentee ballots processed and tabulated.
However, Republican lawyers have acknowledged in a separate federal court proceeding that they had certified observers watching mail-in ballots being processed in Philadelphia.
Governor Tom Wolf’s administration has said that ballot watchers from all parties had observers throughout the process and that ‘any insinuation otherwise is a lie’.
Pennsylvania is due to certify its election results next week on November 23.
Trump appeared to admit for the first time that Biden won the election in a tweet on Sunday morning – but quickly clarified that he still believes he is the rightful winner.
‘He won because the Election was Rigged,’ he wrote. ‘NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!’
He also claimed that many of the suits involving election results were not being filed by his campaign.
‘Our big cases showing the unconstitutionality of the 2020 Election, & the outrage of things that were done to change the outcome, will soon be filed!’ he wrote.
Legal experts say the lawsuits are a long-shot, with little chance of changing the outcome of the election.
A senior Biden legal adviser dismissed the litigation as ‘theatrics, not really lawsuits’.
GOP leaders in Pennsylvania and three other battleground states – Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan – have said they will not participate in Trump’s legally suspicious schemes to flip their electors for the incumbent.
The lawmakers noted that choosing electors to cast their vote for a candidate not selected by the people would violate state law and voters’ trust in election integrity.
‘I do not see, short of finding some type of fraud, which I haven’t heard of anything – I don’t see us in any serious way addressing a change in electors,’ Rusty Bowers, Arizona’s Republican House speaker, said.
Bowers says he has been inundated with emails pleading for the legislature to intervene in the election.
‘They are mandated by statute to choose according to the vote of the people,’ he added.
The Republican leader of Wisconsin’s Assembly, Robin Vos, has also long dismissed the idea. His spokesperson, Kit Beyer, said he stood by that position on Thursday.
In Michigan, legislative leaders say any intervention would be against state law.
Even though the GOP-controlled legislature is investigating the election, state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey told radio station WJR on Friday, ‘It is not the expectation that our analysis will result in any change in the outcome.’
WHO’S WHO ON TEAM TRUMP
Donald Trump on Saturday night announced the five lawyers who would form his ‘truly great team’ and contest the results of the election.
Among them were a husband and wife duo famed for appearing on Fox News to promote Ukraine conspiracy theories, a lawyer who represented disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and an evangelical who says that she believes law is her ‘ministry’ .
‘I look forward to Mayor Giuliani spearheading the legal effort to defend OUR RIGHT to FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS!’ Trump tweeted.
‘Rudy Giuliani, Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers and representatives!’
Rudy Giuliani’s legal strategy has ‘vexed’ some within the White House, it is claimed
Giuliani, 76, has been drafted in to replace Bossie and his involvement has already ‘vexed’ some within the White House, The New York Times reported.
His infamous press conference at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia on November 7, held at the moment Joe Biden was declared the projected winner of the election, sparked much mockery for the team.
Furthermore, the former mayor of New York alienates many with his abrasive, uncompromising position – something prized by Trump.
JOSEPH DEGENOVA AND VICTORIA TOENSING
Joseph diGenova and wife Victoria Toensing have been added to Trump’s legal team
Alongside Giuliani are two close friends of his: Joseph diGenova, 75, and his wife Victoria Toensing, 79.
They have been in Trump’s orbit from an early stage, helping Giuliani with some of the law and order platforms on the 2016 campaign.
The pair, a fixture of Fox News, informally advise Trump and are known to have helped Giuliani as he sought dirt on the president’s political rivals.
They were almost hired by the president in March 2018, to represent him personally in the Mueller investigation.
Giuliani and DiGenova have a friendship dating back many years
John Dowd, a prominent Washington white collar defense attorney who was serving as Trump’s lawyer, resigned on hearing of plans to include them in their team.
DiGenova also found himself confronting accusations of anti-Semitism after appearing on Fox News to accuse George Soros of controlling a ‘very large’ part of the State Department, as well as running unspecified FBI agents.
Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League accused DiGenova of ‘trafficking in some of the worst anti-Semitic tropes’, while Patrick Gaspard, president of Soros’ Open Society Foundations, described it as ‘McCarthyite’.
Toensing, meanwhile, successfully lobbied the president to pardon her client Scooter Libby, a former Bush White House aide convicted on several counts related to the 2003 leak of CIA agent’s identity.
She also represents John Solomon, a former journalist at The Hill who helped Giuliani push his allegations against Hunter Biden, Joe’s businessman son.
The fourth member of the team is Sidney Powell, a lawyer who began her career as the youngest US attorney in the country.
Sidney Powell, who represents Michael Flynn, is also joining the legal team
In June 2019 she took over the case of Michael Flynn, Trump’s short-lived National Security Advisor who has sought to withdraw his guilty plea to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russians.
She believes Mueller was part of a ‘deep state’ conspiracy from former Obama officials to bring down Trump: on her website she sold t-shirts with the faces of Mueller, James Comey and some of Mueller’s team with the slogan ‘Creeps On A Mission’.
Powell has also repeatedly retweeted major accounts that promote the QAnon conspiracy theories, according to Media Matters , and shared articles from Alex Jones’ conspiracy theory website, Infowars. She told Politico that she had no idea what QAnon was.
Like DiGenova, she has something of a fixation with Soros, repeatedly tweeting about him and accusing of participating in a plot to bring down Trump.
She has also tweeted that ‘#Islam is only ‘religion’ of which I am aware that seeks to destroy others & would disenfranchise > 1/2 world population.’
Asked by Politico in January if she was a conspiracy theorist, she laughed and said: ‘I think it’s hilarious.’
Jenna Ellis, a Trump campaign lawyer, will also now represent him in election fraud fights
The final member of the legal team is Jenna Ellis, a deeply religious lawyer now serving as legal advisor to the Trump campaign, a role she has held for the past year.
Several decades younger than the others, she describes herself as having ‘endeavored to contribute to the biblical worldview of law’.
Ellis has become a particularly despised figure among LGBTQ activists, who highlighted her 2016 Facebook post in which she wrote of homosexuals: ‘These sinners need our prayers also, and while their conduct is vile and abominable, certainly we cannot forget that they are human beings, made in the image of God. Unlike gorillas.’
The idea of having electors vote against the people loosely involves GOP-controlled legislatures dismissing Biden’s popular vote wins in their states and opting to select Trump electors instead.
While the endgame was unclear, it appeared to hinge on the expectation that a conservative-leaning Supreme Court would settle any dispute over the move.
Still, it has been promoted by Trump allies, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and is an example of misleading information and false claims fueling skepticism among Trump supporters about the integrity of the vote.
The theory is rooted in the fact that the US Constitution grants state legislatures the power to decide how electors are chosen.
Each state already has passed laws that delegate this power to voters and appoint electors for whichever candidate wins the state on Election Day.
The only opportunity for a state legislature to then get involved with electors is a provision in federal law allowing it if the actual election ‘fails.’
If the result of the election was unclear in mid-December, at the deadline for naming electors, Republican-controlled legislatures in those states could declare that Trump won and appoint electors supporting him. Or so the theory goes.
The problem, legal experts note, is that the result of the election is not in any way unclear. Biden won all the states at issue.
It’s hard to argue the election ‘failed’ when Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security reported it was not tampered with and was ‘the most secure in American history’.
There has been no finding of widespread fraud or problems in the vote count, which shows Biden leading Trump by more than five million votes nationally.
But so far, Trump and Republicans have had meager success – at least 10 of the lawsuits have been rejected by the courts in the 12 days since the election.
The most significant that remain ask courts to prevent Michigan and Pennsylvania from certifying Biden as the winner of their elections.
But legal experts say it’s impossible for courts to ultimately stop those states from appointing electors by the December deadline.
‘It would take the most unjustified and bizarre intervention by courts that this country has ever seen,’ said Danielle Lang of the Campaign Legal Center.
‘I haven’t seen anything in any of those lawsuits that has any kind of merit – let alone enough to delay appointing electors.’
Even if Trump won a single court fight, there’s another potential roadblock: Congress could be the final arbiter of whether to accept disputed slates of electors, according to the Electoral Count Act of 1887, the law outlining the process.
In the end, if the Democratic-controlled House and GOP-controlled Senate could not agree on which electors to accept, and there is no vote and no winner, the presidency would pass to the next person in the line of succession at the end of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s term on January 20.
That would be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
‘If this is a strategy, I don’t think it will be successful,’ said Edward Foley, a constitutional law professor at Ohio State University. ‘I think we’re in the realm of fantasy here.’
STATE-BY-STATE: WHERE TRUMP IS SUING AND HOW IT’S GOING
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 47,620
On Monday the Trump campaign filed their big shot at overturning all mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, claiming that Democratic and Republican counties did not administer them in the same way; instances of fraud; and that poll watchers could not see them being counted. On that basis, they say, the results should not be certified on November 23.
The case faces an uphill struggle – and on Thursday the largest law firm in. involved in it, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, quit.
The Supreme Court has already allowed mail-in ballots to be issued in Pennsylvania, and the claim of poll watchers not seeing them being counted had failed before when a Trump lawyer last Friday agreed that a ‘non-zero number’ of Republicans had observed the count in Philadelphia.
The new suit provided no actual evidence of fraud. It did include a claim by an Erie mailman that he had heard his supervisors talking about illegally backdating ballots; he was said to have recanted that claim when questioned by U.S. Postal Inspectors.
Trump’s campaign last Wednesday filed a motion to intervene in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a decision from the state’s highest court that allowed election officials to count mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday’s Election Day that were delivered through Friday.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Friday night ordered county election boards in the state to separate mail-in ballots received after 8 p.m. EST on Election Day.
Pennsylvania election officials have said those ballots were already being separated.
The justices previously ruled there was not enough time to decide the merits of the case before Election Day but indicated they might revisit it afterwards.
Alito, joined by fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, said in a written opinion that there was a ‘strong likelihood’ the Pennsylvania court’s decision violated the U.S. Constitution.
Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar has said late-arriving ballots are a tiny proportion of the overall vote in the state.
Rudy Giuliani unveiled a ‘witness’ to his claims – a Republican poll watcher – on Saturday but the man, Daryl Brooks, has not been included in any legal papers. He was previously convicted of exposing himself to underage girls.
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 12,813. RECOUNT IS LEGALLY IMPOSSIBLE
Trump’s campaign said last Saturday it had sued in Arizona, alleging that the state’s most populous county incorrectly rejected votes cast on Election Day by some voters.
The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Maricopa County, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an ‘overvote.’
The campaign said that decision disregarded voters’ choices in those races, and the lawsuit suggested those votes could prove ‘determinative’ in the outcome of the presidential race.
It is a modification of an earlier suit which was submitted and then withdrawn claiming that Trump voters were given sharpies to mark their ballots and claiming this made them more prone to error. The ‘sharpie-gate’ claims have no basis in fact, Arizona’s secretary of state says.
On Thursday 12, a judge savaged the affidavits produced to back the case as ‘spam’ and a Trump lawyer said they were not alleging fraud in any form.
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 36,726
A voter, a member of the media and two candidate campaigns sued Nevada’s secretary of state and other officials to prevent the use of a signature-verification system in populous Clark County and to provide public access to vote counting.
A federal judge rejected the request on Friday, saying there was no evidence the county was doing anything unlawful.
No new suits have been lodged so far.
Trump campaign officials have also claimed evidence that non-residents have voted but have not sued.
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 14,111
The Trump campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in state court in Chatham County that alleged late-arriving ballots were improperly mingled with valid ballots, and asked a judge to order late-arriving ballots be separated and not be counted.
The case was dismissed on Thursday. No new suits have been filed. The state is going to a recount.
The two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, called for the GOP Secretary of State to quit claiming there were election irregularities Monday. They offered no evidence and he scoffed: ‘That’s not going to happen.’
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 148,645
On Monday 9 Trump filed a federal case alleging fraud and then later a separate demand that the votes are not certified on November 23.
In the first case, one witness – possibly misgendered by the Trump lawyers – claimed that they had been told by another person that mysterious ballots arrived late on vehicles with out of state plates and all were for Biden; that they had seen voters coached to vote for Biden; and that they were told to process ballots without any checks.
It also included poll watchers and ‘challengers’ who said they could not get close enough to see what was happening.
A federal judge has yet to issue any response on when and how it will be looked into. The Trump campaign also filed the same case again to the wrong federal court on Thursday 12 for no apparent reason.
Trump’s campaign last Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Michigan to halt the vote count in the state. The lawsuit alleged that campaign poll watchers were denied ‘meaningful access’ to counting of ballots, plus access to surveillance video footage of ballot drop boxes.
On Thursday 6, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens dismissed the case, saying there was no legal basis or evidence to halt the vote and grant requests.
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
The U.S. Postal Service said about 1,700 ballots had been identified in Pennsylvania at processing facilities during two sweeps on Thursday and were being delivered to election officials, according to a court filing early Friday.
The Postal Service said 1,076 ballots, had been found at its Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center. About 300 were found at the Pittsburgh processing center, 266 at a Lehigh Valley facility and others at other Pennsylvania processing centers.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington is overseeing a lawsuit by Vote Forward, the NAACP, and Latino community advocates.
Sullivan on Thursday ordered twice-daily sweeps at Postal Service facilities serving states with extended ballot receipt deadlines.
The judge plans to hold a status conference on Monday.