US Election 2020: how are President Trump's election fraud lawsuits going?
Trump has refused to concede the 2020 presidential election to Biden, despite Rudy Giuliani and his legal team having little success in their court battles.
Even before the 2020 election had taken place, President Trump was making unfounded claims of electoral fraud. He rallied against mail-in voting; made accusations of a Democrat conspiracy and admitted that he would take the election result to the courts if he felt the need.
In the end he decided on that path before the result was even announced, making an Election Night speech from the White House in which he said: “This is a major fraud in our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court.”
Since then there has been a barrage of litigation from the Trump campaign but with little success so far. He has not made it to the Supreme Court yet, but here’s how Donald Trump’s legal campaign is panning out, 17 days after the election.
Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania suits thrown out by judges
Yesterday was a tough one for Trump’s legal team as they suffered a hat-trick of court defeats in three different states. The Arizona lawsuit called for all votes in the state’s largest county, Maricopa County, to be audited to check for evidence of voter fraud and demanded that the certification of the final results is delayed. Superior Court Judge John Hannah dismissed the lawsuit and will not allow them to bring another similar case.
In Georgia the campaign tried to block the confirmation of election results, despite offering no evidence to support their claims that there could have been impropriety in the vote-counting procedure. The Pennsylvania case argued that 2,000 ballots should be excluded from the count, a proposition quickly dismissed by the judge.
Trump had tweeted that Republican poll-watchers were prevented from watching the ballot count and called the result into question. There is, however, absolutely no evidence to support that and his lawyers even admitted in court that their campaign did have observers in the room.
Legal team holds rambling conspiracy-heavy press conference
The legal arguments faltered in court yesterday and did not fare much better when presented to the world’s press as Trump’s lawyers held a press conference in Washington. The spectacle was headed by Rudy Giuliani, who told the gathered press: “I don’t know what you need to wake you up, to do your job and inform the American people, whether you like it or not, of the things they need to know!”
No actual evidence was detailed at the press conference which meandered between various Trump-led conspiracy theories. Another from the legal team, Sidney Powell, claimed to have unearthed “massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba and likely China in the interference with our elections here in the United States”. Again, there was nothing mentioned to support this unsubstantiated claim.
For all the accusations of fraud the only real proof of a fabrication came mid-way through when wheat appeared to be hair dye began dripping from Giuliani’s head. He soon mopped up the leakage but the whole event did little to persuade those watching that there was any legal recourse for the President.
How are other Republicans reacting to the President’s fraud claims?
While Trump seems intent on continuing with the legal approach the response from the Republican party has been mixed. Members of the GOP House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan and James Comer have published an open letter calling for Congress to investigate the 2020 election, lending support to Trump’s claims. Congressman Jody Hice of Georgia has publically given his backing to the lawsuit in his state, tweeting: “Georgia's election officials owe us a legitimate election.”
However not all have toed the party line and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has described Trump’s attempts to overturn the result in Michigan as “undemocratic”. Utah Senator Romney and Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse both released statements last night in which they both dismissed the President’s claim that he actually won the election.
Staying on the fence for now is Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the Senate, who refused to either support or dismiss the allegations made by the Trump campaign. When asked about whether the incumbent should accept the result of the election and allow President-elect Joe Biden to plan the transition, McConnell said: “President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal option.”