A federal judge issued a scathing order Saturday dismissing the Trump campaign’s futile effort to block the certification of votes in Pennsylvania, shooting down claims of widespread irregularities with mail-in ballots.
The case was always a long shot to stop President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, but it was President Donald Trump´s best hope to affect the election results through the courts, mostly because of the number of electoral votes, 20, at stake in Pennsylvania. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, stepped into a courtroom for the first time in decades to argue the case this past week.
US District Court Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his order that Trump had asked the court to disenfranchise almost 7 million voters.
‘One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,’ Brann wrote, so much that the court would have no option but to stop the certification even though it would impact so many people.
‘That has not happened.’
The Trump campaign responded by issuing a statement blasting the ‘Obama-appointed judge’ while vowing to fight on all the way to the Supreme Court.
‘Today’s decision turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the US Supreme Court,’ Trump campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis wrote in their statement.
Pennsylvania officials can certify election results that currently show Democrat Joe Biden winning the state by more than 80,000 votes, a federal judge ruled Saturday, dealing President Donald Trump´s campaign another blow in its effort to invalidate the election
US Middle District Judge Matthew Brann (left) ridiculed legal claims put forward by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani (right). Brann was appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama in 2012
The motion to dismiss the case was granted with prejudice, which means the Trump campaign cannot refile
‘This is moving to the Supreme Court’: Trump campaign blasts ‘Obama-appointed judge’ who wrote Pennsylvania court ruling
The Trump campaign’s top two attorneys – Rudy Giuliani (left) and Jenna Ellis (right) – released a statement on Saturday blasting the Pennsylvania federal judge and vowing to take their fight to the Supreme Court
The two lawyers leading the Trump campaign’s legal efforts to contest the election results, Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, released a statement in response to the ruling saying that they intend to appeal to the nation’s highest court.
‘Today’s decision turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the US Supreme Court,’ the statement read.
‘Although we fully disagree with this opinion, we’re thankful to the Obama-appointed judge for making this anticipated decision quickly, rather than simply trying to run out the clock.’
The statement continued: ‘We will be seeking an expedited appeal to the Third Circuit.
‘There is so much evidence that in Pennsylvania, Democrats eliminated our opportunity to present 50 witnesses and other evidence that election officials blatantly ignored Pennsylvania’s law denying independent review.
‘This resulted in 682,777 ballots being cast illegally, wittingly or unwittingly.
‘This is just an extension of the Big Tech, Big Media, Corrupt Democrat censorship of damning facts the American public needs to know.
‘We are disappointed we did not at least get the opportunity to present our evidence at a hearing. Unfortunately the censorship continues.
‘We hope that the Third Circuit will be as gracious as Judge Brann in deciding our appeal one way or the other as expeditiously as possible.
‘This is another case that appears to be moving quickly to the United States Supreme Court.’
‘Although we fully disagree with this opinion, we’re thankful to the Obama-appointed judge for making this anticipated decision quickly, rather than simply trying to run out the clock.’
Meanwhile, Trump reacted to the court loss by urging state legislators to appoint a Trump-friendly slate of electors that would defy the popular vote and hand the president another term in office.
Trump tweeted: ‘Why is Joe Biden so quickly forming a Cabinet when my investigators have found hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes, enough to “flip” at least four States, which in turn is more than enough to win the Election?
‘Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself.
‘THE WORLD IS WATCHING!!!’
The president on Saturday also defended a lawsuit brought by a fiercely pro-Trump lawmaker, House Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania.
Kelly is leading a suit filed on Saturday in Pennsylvania challenging the use of mail-in ballots predominately cast by Democrats in lifting Biden to victory in the presidential race in the state and seeking to block certification of the election results.
The lawsuit was filed in the state Commonwealth Court, just two days before the deadline for counties to certify the results of the presidential election in Pennsylvania, and marks the latest attempt in court by Republicans, including Trump, to overturn Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.
The plaintiffs contend that the GOP-controlled Legislature never followed the proper constitutional procedures to expand exceptions to in-person voting to institute a system of universal mail-in voting and are asking the court to throw out non-absentee mail-in ballots.
Trump allies aren’t done with efforts to reverse Biden’s win in Pennsylvania. House Rep. Mike Kelly (pictured) is leading a suit filed on Saturday in Pennsylvania challenging the use of mail-in ballots predominately cast by Democrats in lifting Biden to victory in the presidential race in the state and seeking to block certification of the election results
Trump reacted to a tweet from Democratic lawyer Marc Elias, who blasted Kelly’s court action as ‘frivolous.’
The president tweeted: ‘This is not at all frivolous. It is brought on behalf of one of the most respected members of the United States Congress who is disgusted, like so many others, by an Election that is a fraudulent mess.
‘Fake ballots, dead people voting, no Republican Poll Watchers allowed, & more!’
Trump also hit back at House Rep. Liz Cheney, who urged the president to accept the results of the election.
‘Sorry Liz, can’t accept the results of an election with hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes cast, enough to easily flip the Election,’ the president tweeted.
Brann compared the legal claims brought up by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ and said some of the campaign’s arguments were ‘unhinged.’
In his ruling, Brann said the Trump campaign presented ‘strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations … unsupported by evidence.’
Brann was appointed to the federal bench by then-President Barack Obama in 2012. During his nomination process, he told the US Senate that he was a lifelong Republican and member of the conservative-leaning Federalist Society.
‘In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state,’ the opinion said.
The president on Saturday also defended a lawsuit brought by a fiercely pro-Trump lawmaker, House Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania
Trump also hit back at House Rep. Liz Cheney, who urged the president to accep the results of the election. ‘Sorry Liz, can’t accept the results of an election with hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes cast, enough to easily flip the Election,’ the president tweeted
Trump continued to make unfounded allegations of ‘dead people voting’ and ‘poll watchers not allowed to “watch”‘
Meanwhile, Trump reacted to the court loss by urging state legislators to appoint a Trump-friendly slate of electors that would defy the popular vote and hand the president another term in office
‘Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself,’ the president tweeted on Saturday
‘Our people, laws, and institutions demand more.’
The announcement came as Trump tweeted: ‘The media is as corrupt as the election itself’.
Trump had argued that the US Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law was violated when Pennsylvania counties took different approaches to notifying voters before the election about technical problems with their submitted mail-in ballots.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the seven Biden-majority counties that the campaign sued had argued Trump had previously raised similar claims and lost.
They told Brann the remedy the Trump campaign sought, to throw out millions of votes over alleged isolated issues, was far too extreme, particularly after most of them have been tallied.
‘There is no justification on any level for the radical disenfranchisement they seek,’ Boockvar’s lawyers wrote in a brief filed Thursday.
In his ruling, he said the claims by the Trump campaign that the guarantee of equal protection had been violated were ‘like Frankenstein’s Monster…haphazardly stitched together from two distinct theories in an attempt to avoid controlling precedent.’
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the seven Biden-majority counties that the campaign sued had argued Trump had previously raised similar claims and lost
‘I will never stop fighting for #VotingRights and the security and integrity of our democracy,’ Boockvar tweeted in response to her court victory on Saturday
‘In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state.’
Earlier this week, another member of the Trump campaign’s legal team, Jenna Ellis, lambasted ‘media morons’ for ‘laughing at’ Giuliani, ‘but he appears to have already established a great rapport with the judge, who is currently offering recommendations on martini bars for Team Trump in court.’
‘I will never stop fighting for #VotingRights and the security and integrity of our democracy,’ Boockvar tweeted in response to her court victory on Saturday.
She then quoted the judge who said in his ruling: ‘In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its 6th most populated state.’
Trump continued with claims of election fraud on Saturday morning as he alleged ‘big voter fraud information’ had been discovered in Georgia
‘Big voter fraud information coming out concerning Georgia,’ Trump claimed on Twitter
The announcement that his court case in Pennsylvania was dismissed came as Trump tweeted: ‘The media is as corrupt as the election itself’
Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would not have been enough on their own to hand Trump a second term. Counties must certify their results to Boockvar by Monday, after which she will make her own certification.
Democratic Governor Tom Wolf will notify the winning candidate´s electors they should appear to vote in the Capitol on December 14.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, tweeted shortly after Brann’s ruling, saying ‘Another one bites the dust.’
The ruling in Pennsylvania prompted one of the state’s US senators, Republican Pat Toomey, to call on the president to concede the election and facilitate Biden’s transition.
‘With today’s decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania,’ the senator said in a statement.
‘I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory,’ Toomey said.
The ruling in Pennsylvania prompted one of the state’s US senators, Republican Pat Toomey, to call on the president to concede the election and facilitate Biden’s transition
‘They are both dedicated public servants and I will be praying for them and for our country.
‘Unsurprisingly, I have significant policy disagreements with the President-elect.
‘However, as I have done throughout my career, I will seek to work across the aisle with him and his administration, especially on those areas where we may agree, such as continuing our efforts to combat COVID-19, breaking down barriers to expanding trade, supporting the men and women of our armed forces, and keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.’
Despite the legal setback, it appears the president is moving full steam ahead.
Trump’s legal team said Saturday that his campaign has requested a recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race after results showed Biden winning the state.
Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Friday certified the state’s election results, which had Biden beating Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast, or 0.25 per cent.
Republican Governor Brian Kemp then certified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.
The statement from Trump’s legal team said: ‘Today, the Trump campaign filed a petition for recount in Georgia.
Despite the legal setback, it appears the president is moving full steam ahead. Trump’s legal team said Saturday that his campaign has requested a recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race after results showed Biden winning the state
‘We are focused on ensuring that every aspect of Georgia State Law and the U.S. Constitution are followed so that every legal vote is counted.
‘President Trump and his campaign continue to insist on an honest recount in Georgia, which has to include signature matching and other vital safeguards.’
‘Without signature matching, this recount would be a sham and again allow for illegal votes to be counted,’ the statement added.
‘If there is no signature matching, this would be as phony as the initial vote count and recount.
‘Let’s stop giving the People false results. There must be a time when we stop counting illegal ballots.
‘Hopefully it is coming soon.’
Georgia law allows a candidate to request a recount if the margin is less than 0.5 per cent.
The recount would be done using scanners that read and tabulate the votes.
County election workers have already done a complete hand recount of all the votes cast in the presidential race.
But that stemmed from a mandatory audit requirement and isn’t considered an official recount under the law.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he will certify that Joe Biden won the state’s presidential election
State law requires that one race be audited by hand to ensure that the machines counted the ballots accurately, and Raffensperger selected the presidential race.
Because of the tight margin in that race, a full hand count of ballots was necessary to complete the audit, he said.
Trump has criticized the audit, calling it a ‘joke’ in a tweet that claimed without evidence that ‘thousands of fraudulent votes have been found.’
Twitter has flagged the post as containing disputed information.
Votes that hadn’t previously been counted were found in several counties during the audit, which required recertification of the election results in those counties before state certification of the results.
‘Big voter fraud information coming out concerning Georgia. Stay tuned!’ Trump tweeted.
But Raffensperger disagreed.
‘I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the will of the people,’ Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said of the result on Friday.
‘Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,’ Raffensperger said during a news conference at the state Capitol.
Raffensperger, a self-described ‘passionate conservative,’ has endured criticism and insults from fellow Republicans – from the president to the chair of the state Republican Party – over his handling of the election.
He acknowledged their feelings on Friday.
‘Like other Republicans, I’m disappointed our candidate didn’t win Georgia’s electoral vote. Close elections sow distrust. People feel their side was cheated,’ he said.
But Raffensperger, as he had repeatedly done before, defended the integrity of the process and the results.
Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist, is seen speaking to Trump supporters on the steps of the State Capitol in Atlanta for the third day in a row during a ‘stop the steal’ rally on Friday
Pro-Trump protesters rally against the results of the election outside the Georgia State Capitol
Georgia election workers handle ballots as part of the recount this week
Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia since 1992.
The Georgia result was announced as Trump returned to the White House briefing room on Friday to claim he had ‘won’ the election.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also refused to say when Trump will concede the election to Joe Biden, citing ‘ongoing litigation’.
As Trump continued his refusal to concede, his supporters gathered for the third day straight on Friday on the steps of the State Capitol building in Atlanta and staged a ‘stop the steal’ rally attended by InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Twitter says it will hand control of US president’s official account to Joe Biden on January 20
Twitter will hand control of the US president’s official account to Joe Biden on January 20 regardless of whether Donald Trump has left the White House, it has been revealed.
President Donald Trump has yet to concede the White House to President-elect Joe Biden, but the POTUS Twitter account will be handed to Biden anyway, according to Twitter.
‘Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021,’ Twitter spokesperson Nick Pacilio told Politico.
Trump has tweeted 10,900 times since taking over the POTUS account in January 2017, but all his posts will be archived and an account tallying zero Tweets will pass to Biden on January 20.
Twitter said there would be no need to share information between the outgoing and incoming presidency teams.
But it is likely to have little difference to Trump, who boasts more than double the number of followers on his personal account @realDonaldTrump.
It came after Georgia county’s board of elections voted to fire its chief clerk on Thursday after 2,600 uncounted ballots were discovered just before the district initially certified the results.
The Floyd County board met for about an hour on Thursday in a special session that ended with a vote to dismiss Floyd County Chief of Elections Clerk Robert Brady.
During a statewide audit earlier this week, election officials found the 2,600 ballots that were not counted in the earlier totals.
Election officials discovered that they failed to upload a memory card containing electronic counts of those votes on Election Day, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
As a result of the discovery, election officials had to rescan more than 8,000 ballots to make sure there were no other discrepancies.
Of the 2,600 discovered ballots in Republican-leaning Floyd County, most of them went for Trump.
The new batch of ballots slashed Biden’s lead over Trump by some 800 votes – still not enough to overcome the Democrat’s advantage.
Democrats and Republicans agreed that Brady should have been fired and that the uncounted ballots were a result of human error rather than a deliberate attempt to sabotage a free and fair election.
Also this week, three attorneys filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Lindsey Graham, accusing the South Carolina Republican of pressuring a Georgia elections official to toss out legally cast absentee votes in the presidential race.
In a complaint filed Wednesday with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, Claire Finkelstein, Richard Painter and Walter Shaub ‘urge the committee to investigate whether Senator Graham suggested that Secretary Raffensperger disenfranchise Georgia voters by not counting votes lawfully cast for the office of president.’
They also ‘demand clarity as to whether Senator Graham has threatened anyone with a Senate investigation of the Georgia vote tally and or taken steps to initiate such an investigation’.
The complaint also requests that Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, ‘be recused from any investigation or other Senate matter relating to alleged irregularities in the 2020 election’ while any probe of his comments is ongoing.
The complaint stems from comments by Raffensperger, who said this week that Graham asked him whether he had the power to reject certain absentee ballots, a question Raffensperger interpreted as a suggestion to toss out legally cast votes.
Raffensperger told The Washington Post he’s faced rising pressure from fellow Republicans who want to see Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow lead in the state reversed.
Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop called the attorneys ‘longtime vocal critics’ of both Graham and Trump, adding, ‘Their complaint should be viewed in that light.’
Three attorneys have filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Lindsey Graham, accusing him of pressuring a Georgia elections official to toss out legally cast absentee votes
Of the 2,600 discovered ballots in Republican-leaning Floyd County, most of them went for Trump (right). The new batch of ballots slashed Biden’s (left) lead over Trump by some 800 votes – still not enough to overcome the Democrat’s advantage
When asked about the conversation with Raffensperger, Graham said Monday that he was ‘trying to find out how the signature stuff worked’ and that Raffensperger ‘did a good job of explaining to me how they verify signatures.’
Asked about Raffensperger’s interpretation that he was suggesting legally cast ballots should be thrown out, Graham said, ‘That´s ridiculous.’
The result in Georgia gave Biden 306 electoral votes, a total that Trump called a ‘landslide’ when states delivered him that number in 2016.
Biden also achieved victory in key states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona, topping the threshold of 270 electoral votes to clinch the presidency with room to spare.
Yet on Saturday morning, Trump continued to claim victory and that fraud would be unearthed in Michigan.
‘Massive voter fraud will be shown!’ he wrote, alongside a statement about his meeting with the Michigan legislature.
‘This is true, but much different than reported by the media. We will show massive and unprecedented fraud!’
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield issued the joint statement Trump shared after flying to Washington to meet with the president – on a day Trump claimed he ‘won’ the election, despite trailing Biden by 6 million votes.
President Trump also tweeted claims of voter fraud in Michigan on Saturday morning
They said, however, that they will ‘follow the law’.
The lawmakers said they have not seen anything that would ‘change the outcome’ of the race – despite Trump’s lawyers repeatedly claiming a ‘massive’ fraud had occurred.
Their statement also included language saying fraud should be ‘taken seriously’ and be prosecuted if uncovered.
‘We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election,’ Shirkey and Chatfield said in the statement.
It came after they got hounded by protesters upon arriving in Washington. They say they got invited to the White House Wednesday night.
Trump’s allegations of massive voting fraud have been dismissed by a succession of judges and refuted by state election officials and an arm of his own administration’s Homeland Security Department.
Many of his campaign’s lawsuits have been thrown out of court.
A coalition of state election officials and the Trump administration’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have declared that the election was the most secure in history.
Trump responded by firing the head of his agency, Chris Krebs.
He also continued to claim he had ‘won’ the election as he returned to the White House briefing room on Friday for the first time since the election.
President Donald Trump looked worn out as he speaks on lowering prescription drug prices on November 20, 2020, in the Brady Briefing Room on Friday
The president blasted Pfizer and ‘Big Pharma’ – although he misstated the name of the company, calling it ‘FISA,’ that announced the dramatic vaccine breakthrough after the election.
He also accused drug companies of holding out until after the election, without providing evidence of why it did so.
‘So they waited and waited and waited and they thought they’d come out of it a few days after the election. And it would have probably had an impact. Who knows probably it wouldn’t have,’ he said.
‘Sure the Democrats would have found the ballots someplace,’ he theorized – alluding to his claims of a ‘rigged’ election.
Earlier Friday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to say when Trump will concede the election while claiming that the current occupant of the Oval Office was denied an orderly transition by his predecessor.
McEnany ended her 15-minute briefing, her first in two months and in which she only took a few questions, with the false claim President Trump was not given an easy, early transition to power.
‘I would note just as we talk about transfer of power in the election and its worth remembering, this president was never given an early transition of power. His presidency was never accepted,’ she said.
Then-President Barack Obama hosted Trump in the Oval Office on November 10 – two days after the 2016 presidential election – to congratulate him on his win and let the transition process begin.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to say when President Donald Trump will concede the election to Joe Biden during a press briefing on Friday
McEnany claimed on Friday that Trump was not given an orderly transition by the outgoing Obama administration. Then-President-elect Trump is seen left shaking hands with then-President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on November 10, 2016
Hillary Clinton also conceded the election to Trump.
The White House press secretary held out hope that Trump could score legal victories in court that may give him a second term in office.
‘There is ongoing litigation, what we know 74 million Americans have voted for this president and more votes than any president has gotten in history,’ she said at her first press briefing since October 1.
‘There are very real claims that the campaign are pursuing,’ she said of the campaign’s ongoing litigation in battleground states Biden won.
‘We are taking it day by day and we will wait for that litigation as it plays out,’ she noted.
The president is running out of time to overturn the results of the election to his favor.
In just a matter of days, Michigan and Pennsylvania will certify their results while his lawsuits are going no where.