‘An Indelible Stain’: How the G.O.P. Tried to Topple a Pillar of Democracy | Jim Rutenberg and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

The Supreme Court repudiation of President Trump’s desperate bid for a second term not only shredded his effort to overturn the will of voters: It also was a blunt rebuke to Republican leaders in Congress and the states who were willing to damage American democracy by embracing a partisan power grab over a free and fair election. The court’s decision on Friday night, an inflection point after weeks of legal flailing by Mr. Trump and ahead of the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday, leaves the president’s party in an extraordinary position. Through their explicit endorsements or complicity of silence, much of the G.O.P. leadership now shares responsibility for the quixotic attempt to ignore the nation’s founding principles and engineer a different verdict from the one voters cast on Election Day. Many regular Republicans supported this effort, too — a sign that Mr. Trump has not just bent the party to his will, but pressed a mainstay of American politics for nearly two centuries into the service of overturning an election outcome and assaulting public faith in the electoral system. The G.O.P. sought to undo the vote by such spurious means that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court quickly rejected the argument. Even some Republican leaders delivered a withering assessment of the 126 G.O.P. House members and 18 attorneys general who chose to side with Mr. Trump over the democratic process, by backing a lawsuit that asked the Supreme Court to throw out some 20 million votes in four key states that cemented the president’s loss. “The act itself by the 126 members of the United States House of Representatives, is an affront to the country,” said Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “It’s an offense to the Constitution and it leaves an indelible stain that will be hard for these 126 members to wipe off their political skin for a long time to come.” Full Article: ‘An Indelible Stain’: How the G.O.P. Tried to Topple a Pillar of Democracy – The New York Times

Editorial: The Republicans Who Embraced Nihilism | The New York Times

What is left to say about a political party that would throw out millions of votes? The substance of a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas, and backed by more than 17 other states, would be laughable were it not so dangerous. Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton — who is under indictment for securities fraud — asked the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the presidential election in four other states. As a legal matter, this is the rough equivalent of objecting on the grounds that the other side is winning. As political rhetoric, however, it is incendiary. The Supreme Court was right to toss out the lawsuit. But that the Republican Party tried and failed doesn’t make the attempt any less odious. There are a lot of Republican leaders who, the history books will record, wanted it to succeed. What makes this entire episode so sad is that the nation needs a vibrant, honest, patriotic opposition party. A party that argues in good faith to win more votes the next time around. Many Republicans, particularly at the state and local level, stood tall and proud against the worst instincts of the national party. The health of a democracy rests on public confidence that elections are free and fair. Questioning the integrity of an election is a matter of the utmost seriousness. By doing so without offering any evidence, Mr. Paxton and his collaborators have disgraced themselves. Attorneys general are sworn to uphold the rule of law. At least 126 Republican members of Congress — more than half of all House Republicans — rushed to sign a court filing endorsing the Texas lawsuit. That misuse of the legal system was not restricted to the fringes of the party. The minority leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, said Friday that his name was inadvertently omitted from the original list.

Full Article: Opinion | Republicans Faced Trump’s Loss by Embracing Nihilism – The New York Times

National: Electors meeting to formally choose Biden as next president | Mark Sherman/Associated Press

Presidential electors are meeting across the United States on Monday to formally choose Joe Biden as the nation’s next president. Monday is the day set by law for the meeting of the Electoral College. In reality, electors meet in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to cast their ballots. The results will be sent to Washington and tallied in a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress over which Vice President Mike Pence will preside. The electors’ votes have drawn more attention than usual this year because President Donald Trump has refused to concede the election and continued to make baseless allegations of fraud. Biden is planning to address the nation Monday night, after the electors have voted. Trump, meanwhile, is clinging to his false claims that he won the election, but also undermining Biden’s presidency even before it begins. “No, I worry about the country having an illegitimate president, that’s what I worry about. A president that lost and lost badly,” Trump said in a Fox News interview that was taped Saturday. Following weeks of Republican legal challenges that were easily dismissed by judges, Trump and Republican allies tried to persuade the Supreme Court last week to set aside 62 electoral votes for Biden in four states, which might have thrown the outcome into doubt.

Full Article: Electors meeting to formally choose Biden as next president

National: Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Challenging Biden’s Victory | Adam Liptak/The New York Times

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected an audacious lawsuit by Texas that had asked the court to throw out the presidential election results in four battleground states captured by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. The court, in a brief unsigned order, said Texas lacked standing to pursue the case, saying it “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.” The move, coupled with a one-sentence order on Tuesday turning away a similar request from Pennsylvania Republicans, signaled that the court has refused to be drawn into President Trump’s losing campaign to overturn the results of the election last month. There will continue to be scattered litigation brush fires around the nation from Mr. Trump’s allies, but as a practical matter the Supreme Court’s action puts an end to any prospect that Mr. Trump will win in court what he lost at the polls. Texas’ lawsuit, filed directly in the Supreme Court, challenged election procedures in four battleground states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It asked the court to bar those states from casting their electoral votes for Mr. Biden and to shift the selection of electors to the states’ legislatures. That would have required the justices to discard millions of votes. Mr. Trump has said he expected to prevail in the Supreme Court, which includes three justices he appointed. One of them, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, was rushed onto the court in October in part in the hope that she would vote in Mr. Trump’s favor in election disputes.

Full Article: Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Challenging Biden’s Victory – The New York Times

National: If You Didn’t Vote for Trump, Your Vote Is Fraudulent – What the GOP Really Means by ‘Voter Fraud’ | Adam Serwer/The Atlantic

Armed protesters gathered outside the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Saturday night, demanding that she overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in her state. “We will not stand down, we will not stop, we will continue to rise up, we will continue to take this election back for the president that actually won it by a landslide,” one protester at the scene declared, NPR reported. Benson told the outlet that “their threats and their attacks are aimed at the heart of democracy itself, trying to erode the public’s confidence in the democratic process, trying to sow seeds of doubt among everyone that their votes counted, that their voices were heard, that the results of the election are accurate.” Armed protesters showing up at the homes of elected officials to force them to overturn the outcome of the presidential election, especially in a state where Trump-supporting militants were caught plotting to kidnap the governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is obviously disturbing. Protesting government officials, even for grievances you or I might find absurd, is a fundamental constitutional right. The presence of firearms among the protesters, however, as well as the decision to protest at her residence instead of her workplace, add elements of coercion. But what’s really surprising is not that some people who believe that the will of the people has been subverted, and that the election results are fraudulent, have resorted to armed protests and intimidation—it’s that so few have.

Full Article: What the GOP Really Means by ‘Voter Fraud’ – The Atlantic

National: Fears of violence grow amid threats to election officials, lawmakers | Celine Castronuovo/The Hill

Intimidation and threats to election officials and lawmakers are feeding fears about violence amid calls by President Trump’s supporters to stop the certification of election results. Reports about threats began circulating within weeks of the election, with Arizona officials announcing on Nov. 17 that they were looking into an apparent death threat against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D). In Georgia, state lawmakers have come under threat. In an interview with The Hill this week, Gabriel Sterling, a top election official in Georgia, criticized President Trump for continuing to “feed the fire” of voter fraud disinformation and urged him to “act more responsibly.” Sterling the previous week made an emotional and widely broadcast appeal to Trump and other Republicans to condemn violent threats against election officials. “Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot,” he said during a press conference. Sterling told The Hill he was motivated to issue his plea after he received a call about a young IT contractor for Dominion Voting Systems who had been targeted with a tweet that included a picture of a noose and accused the contractor of “treason.”

Full Article: Fears of violence grow amid threats to election officials, lawmakers | TheHill

National: Judges across the political spectrum rejected Trump’s efforts to overturn the election | Rosalind S. Helderman and Elise Viebeck/The Washington Post

They are both elected and appointed, selected by Democrats and Republicans alike. Some have served for decades — while others took the bench only months ago. One is a former high school teacher, another the first Native American woman appointed to a federal judgeship. A third worked for years for a Republican governor who has been a vocal supporter of President Trump. Since the November election, they have all ruled in court against Trump or one of his allies seeking to challenge or overturn the presidential vote. In a remarkable show of near-unanimity across the nation’s judiciary, at least 86 judges — ranging from jurists serving at the lowest levels of state court systems to members of the United States Supreme Court — rejected at least one post-election lawsuit filed by Trump or his supporters, a Washington Post review of court filings found. The string of losses was punctuated Friday by the brief and blunt order of the Supreme Court, which dismissed an attempt by the state of Texas to thwart the electoral votes of four states that went for President-elect Joe Biden. Taken together, the judges’s decisions — some short and to the point and others sweeping defenses of American democracy — have comprehensively dismantled the arguments advanced by Trump in his effort to get the courts to subvert Biden’s victory.

e: Judges across the political spectrum rejected Trump?s efforts to overturn the election – The Washington Post

National: Trump Is Looking for Fraud in All the Wrong Places | Julian Sanchez/The Atlantic

After losing to Joe Biden in November, President Donald Trump has been amplifying conspiracy theories about electronic voting without knowing or caring just how much this year’s swing states have done to protect the integrity of their elections. False claims that voting machines were “rigged” to change or delete votes—accepted by a disturbingly large percentage of Trump supporters—are harmful for obvious reasons: They wrongly undermine confidence in the democratic process, and have spurred harassment and threats aimed at election officials and poll workers. But they also give the public a wildly distorted picture of election cybersecurity, ignoring states with real security problems to address while perversely sowing doubts about states that have followed all the best expert advice.After a federal judge condemned Georgia’s antique voting machines as unreliable, Republican officials there scrambled to roll out and test more than 30,000 new voting machines—at a cost of more than $100 million—before the state’s presidential primary earlier this year. To Peach State election administrators, Trump supporters’ baseless fraud allegations are infuriating. “They’re part of a fever dream,” fumed Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting-implementation manager, in a PBS interview. “They’re made up out of whole cloth.” … Tall tales of hacked voting machines and hijacked tabulation software gain an air of plausibility by citing the essential work done by serious cybersecurity experts in recent years to document vulnerabilities in widely deployed voting technology. Until angels learn to code, all software, whether installed on a laptop, smartphone, or voting machine, will have flaws and vulnerabilities an attacker might exploit. A robust approach to cybersecurity, therefore, requires more than just finding and closing those loopholes. It means designing systems that will work reliably even if compromised—a level of resiliency that discourages hackers from attacking them in the first place. For election systems, that means ensuring that a voter-verified physical ballot—an auditable paper trail—exists for every vote cast. Manual counts of a sample of those paper ballots, known as risk-limiting audits, can then be used to confirm that the digital tallies are accurate.

Full Article: Trump Is Looking for Fraud in All the Wrong Places – The Atlantic

National: Sidney Powell’s secret ‘military intelligence expert,’ key to fraud claims in election lawsuits, never worked in military intelligence | Emma Brown, Aaron C. Davis and Alice Crites/The Washington Post

The witness is code-named “Spyder.” Or sometimes “Spider.” His identity is so closely guarded that lawyer Sidney Powell has sought to keep it even from opposing counsel. And his account of vulnerability to international sabotage is a key part of Powell’s failing multistate effort to invalidate President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Powell describes Spyder in court filings as a former “Military Intelligence expert,” and his testimony is offered to support one of her central claims. In a declaration filed in four states, Spyder alleges that publicly available data about server traffic shows that voting systems in the United States were “certainly compromised by rogue actors, such as Iran and China.” Spyder, it turns out, is Joshua Merritt, a 43-year-old information technology consultant in the Dallas area. Merritt confirmed his role as Powell’s secret witness in phone interviews this week with The Washington Post. Records show that Merritt is an Army veteran and that he enrolled in a training program at the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, the unit he cites in his declaration. But he never completed the entry-level training course, according to Meredith Mingledorff, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, which includes the battalion. “He kept washing out of courses,” said Mingledorff, citing his education records. “He’s not an intelligence analyst.” In an interview, Merritt maintained that he graduated from the intelligence training program. But even by his own account, he was only a trainee with the 305th, at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, and for just seven months more than 15 years ago.

Full Article: Sidney Powell’s secret ‘military intelligence expert,’ key to fraud claims in election lawsuits, never worked in military intelligence – The Washington Post

National: ‘A dark, empty place:’ Public officials face personal threats as tensions flare | Hannah Knowles, Annie Gowen and Tom Hamburger/The Washington Post

State and local officials of both parties have warned that President Trump’s increasingly desperate tweets about election fraud are fueling the potential for violence as well as another ominous trend of 2020, in which public servants and others who disagree are targeted at their offices and homes with armed protests, harassing phone calls and stalkers. Last week, an “enemies” list of state and federal officials who rejected Trump’s baseless election conspiracy theories floated up from the dark corners of the Web, with home addresses listed and red targets over their photos, the latest in a string of threats to public officials. The list falsely accused swing-state governors, voting systems executives and the former top U.S. cybersecurity official responsible for securing November’s presidential election of “changing votes and working against the President” in a treasonous attempt to “overthrow our democracy.” The names from the list shared on social media included the hashtags #remembertheirfaces and #NoQuarterForTraitors. Over the weekend, demonstrations by Trump supporters in D.C.; Olympia, Wash.; and elsewhere turned violent, with four people stabbed in the nation’s capital and one person shot in Olympia. These kinds of conflicts, coupled with increasingly personal attacks on public officials, are raising fears of worse to come. “If blood is spilled, it is on the hands of the president,” an attorney for Christopher Krebs said in a statement Wednesday. Krebs, the former top cybersecurity official, is suing the Trump campaign and one of its lawyers working to overturn the election results for defamation, after the president fired him and the lawyer suggested that Krebs should be executed. “Trump and U.S. senators have refused to condemn these death threats,” said Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state in Georgia, after the “enemies” list surfaced online.

Full Article: Public officials face personal threats from Trump supporters – The Washington Post

Editorial: These Republicans may not be capable of shame, but you should know who they are | Ruth Marcus/The Washington Post

I never imagined that the aftermath of the election would pose a greater danger to American democracy than the four previous years. But here we are. Not just because of President Trump — his authoritarian impulses are a given — but because of the craven response of his fellow Republicans.With the always doomed-to-fail litigation at the Supreme Court, Republicans have gone beyond the indulge-the-toddler-while-he-cries-it-out phase of this debacle to a dangerous new stage: Incentivize the toddler. Reward his bad behavior. Encourage his belief, as poisonous to democracy as it is delusional, that the election was stolen.And they are laying the predicate for a contentious new phase of American democracy, if it can continue to be called that, in which election results — after appropriate recounts and audits and certifications — are no longer accepted. Instead they merely open the door for a second phase of legal and political guerrilla warfare in which no tactic, no lie, no baseless claim is off-limits. Democracy cannot function this way.It had looked like we dodged a bullet with Trump’s defeat. Turns out there were more in the gun.One interminable month ago, in response to Trump’s unsupported claims of electoral victory — then shocking, now routine — I wrote that history would judge the response of Republican leaders. Only those willing to ignore their gutless record over the past four years would have expected many profiles in courage. Still, what’s happened is even worse: not servile silence but vigorous incitement.Which brings us to Texas’s risible bid to have the Supreme Court throw out the election results — which the justices predictably rejected Friday evening. The dry legal language of the court’s order barely concealed its exasperation with Texas’s shenanigans. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections,” the court noted tartly.

Full Article: Opinion | These Republicans may not be capable of shame, but you should know who they are – The Washington Post

Editorial: The G.O.P. Can No Longer Be Relied On to Protect Democracy | John Cassidy/The New Yorker

How low has the Party of Lincoln fallen? In answering this question, it is instructive to look at the example of Kevin McCarthy, a seven-term California congressman who, since 2019, has served as the House Minority Leader. Until Donald Trump appeared on the scene, McCarthy wasn’t regarded as particularly conservative—at least by the standards of today’s Republican Party. When, in 2015, he abandoned a bid to become Speaker of the House, some Tea Party activists celebrated. In the summer of 2016, McCarthy endorsed Trump for President, but only after the interloper from New York had sewn up the nomination. A year later, it emerged that, in June of 2016, McCarthy had told some of his fellow-members of the House Republican leadership that he believed—“swear to God”—that Trump was in the pay of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. When the Washington Post eventually reported about these comments, McCarthy tried to laugh them off as a joke. The nature of the accommodation that McCarthy made with his conscience, when he jumped onto the Trump train, can only be speculated upon. It’s perhaps fair to assume that he didn’t realize exactly where the tracks would lead, but, given his comments in 2016, it’s also clear that he didn’t harbor any illusions about the man he was endorsing. In any case, after McCarthy took over as House Minority Leader, he followed Trump’s wishes so slavishly that the President started to refer to him as “my Kevin.” On Friday, McCarthy took the ultimate Trump-loyalist move and threw his backing behind the President’s outlandish bid to overthrow the 2020 election result. Along with a hundred and twenty-five other Republican representatives, McCarthy added his name to an amicus brief supporting the lawsuit filed by Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, and backed by seventeen other Republican state attorneys general, that requested the Supreme Court throw out the duly certified election results from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Full Article: The G.O.P. Can No Longer Be Relied On to Protect Democracy | The New Yorker

Editorial: Republican officials have followed Trump along his dangerous and destructive path | Dan Balz/The Washington Post

President Trump’s unsuccessful but unceasing efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election represent an unprecedented assault on the underpinnings of American democracy. They have been equally destructive to a compliant Republican Party. The depths to which the party has fallen played out in bold colors the past few days as first 17 Republican state attorneys general and then 126 Republican members of the House signed onto a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that asked the Supreme Court to reject the certified vote counts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia and throw out the results of the election. The high court rejected the challenge late Friday, stating that Texas did not have standing to challenge how other states conduct their elections. The terse denial only underscored the folly of the support that came from members of Trump’s party. The decision came after the Trump campaign and its allies had filed dozens of other lawsuits. Those too were routinely dismissed, often in scathing language. In those prior lawsuits, no evidence of widespread fraud — certainly not enough to change the result in any of the affected states — was presented. In many cases, the lawyers did not even explicitly claim there was fraud.

Full Article: Republican officials have followed Trump along his dangerous and destructive path – The Washington Post

Arizona: US Supreme Court asked to decertify Biden’s win in state | Jacques Billeaud/Associated Press

Conservative lawyer Sidney Powell has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decertify Democrat President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Republican President Donald Trump in Arizona. Powell, who filed the request with the court on Friday night, also asks the justices to bar Biden’s electors from casting Electoral College votes on Monday. Her appeal marks the second petition for review filed with the nation’s highest court in challenges to Biden’s win in the state. Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward on Friday asked the Supreme Court to review her case seeking to overturn Arizona’s election results. Powell is appealing the dismissal of her lawsuit that alleged voting equipment in Arizona switched votes from Trump to Biden. A lower-court judge dismissed the challenge on Wednesday, ruling no evidence of fraud had been presented and that those who filed the lawsuit lacked legal standing. Arizona certified its elections results on Nov. 30, showing that Biden had won the state by more than 10,000 votes. The lawsuit alleged Arizona election systems have security flaws that let election workers and foreign countries manipulate results and that those systems switched votes from Trump to Biden. Opposing attorneys said the lawsuit used conspiracy theories to make wild allegations against one of Maricopa County’s vendors for voting equipment, without providing proof to back up its claims of widespread Arizona election fraud.

Full Article: US Supreme Court asked to decertify Biden’s win in Arizona

Iowa Democrats, 10 Months Later, Blame National Party for Caucus Meltdown | Reid J. Epstein/The New York Times

With Iowa’s closely watched presidential caucuses more endangered than ever after a disastrous showing in February that delayed results for days, the Iowa Democratic Party on Saturday sought to shift blame for the meltdown onto the Democratic National Committee. More than 10 months after the fiasco marred Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest, the state party circulated a blistering internal report asserting that the national party had meddled in and delayed the development of an app for reporting results, implemented coding errors in its back-end result reporting system and required new data that further complicated the process. The renewed sniping between Iowa Democrats and the national party comes at a critical time for the future of Iowa’s standing at the beginning of the presidential nominating calendar. The caucuses are a cherished tradition for Iowans, but an increasing number of national Democrats say they are outdated and undemocratic. The heart of the 26-page Iowa report blames the D.N.C. for the delay in results on caucus night. It states that the national party, weeks before the Feb. 3 caucuses, demanded a new tool to give it real-time results. This new tool, the report states, included coding errors that delivered inaccurate results, leading to a days-long delay before former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont finished in a virtual tie for first place.

Full Article: 10 Months Later, Iowa Democrats Blame National Party for Caucus Meltdown – The New York Times

Michigan: Judge to conduct hearing on whether to lift protective order, release Antrim County results | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

A judge is expected to hold a hearing Monday morning on a lawyer’s request to lift a protective order shielding the results of a court-ordered examination of voting equipment in Antrim County — a county that President Donald Trump easily won, but where his legal team is alleging irregularities.Portage attorney Matthew DePerno filed an emergency motion Friday with 13th Circuit Judge Kevin Elsenheimer, claiming he has “received initial preliminary results which are important for the public, the U.S. government and the Michigan Legislature to review and understand,” and are “an issue of national security.” It’s the latest bizarre twist in a saga that began with an election night error in how the county compiled and reported its unofficial election results. County Clerk Sheryl Guy, a Republican, has claimed responsibility for an error that resulted in Democrat Joe Biden initially appearing to have won the northern Michigan County. State and county officials and an election security expert from the University of Michigan have all said the Dominion Voting Systems tabulators and related election software in Antrim functioned the way it should have. But Guy made a mistake when she updated ballot information in Antrim after learning the name of a candidate in one township had been omitted. Because she updated information only in the one affected township, instead of updating the information in all precincts across the county, there was a mismatch when results from various precincts were combined to compile the unofficial results, causing numbers to be transposed and reported inaccurately, officials have said. The results were corrected during the county canvass, conducted by two Republican and two Democratic board members, and the official county results show Trump defeating Biden by nearly 4,000 votes, with just over 16,000 votes cast for president. But DePerno, who has said he is not working for but is “happy to cooperate” with the Trump campaign, has claimed in court filings that the tabulators are compromised.

Full Article: Lawyer to judge: Release results of voting equipment exam in Antrim

Michigan: Trump backers want Supreme Court to review another election case | Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

Six of President Donald Trump’s supporters in Michigan want the U.S. Supreme Court to consider their case to overturn the state’s election results based on conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims of fraud. It’s an attempt that’s unlikely to succeed, according to other lawyers involved the matter. On Friday night, the nation’s high court denied a lawsuit championed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who hoped to challenge the results in four battleground states, including Michigan, that voted for President-elect Joe Biden. The Supreme Court said Paxton lacked standing to bring his case, which focused on the states’ election laws. Also on Friday night, attorneys representing six Michigan residents informed the defendants in a separate case that they intended to seek an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to consider their claims against the state’s election. The case in question involves President Donald Trump supporter and conservative attorney Sidney Powell. She originally brought the litigation in Michigan’s Eastern District on behalf of three individuals who would have been presidential electors for Trump and three local GOP officials.

Full Article: Trump backers want Supreme Court to review Michigan election case

Nevada: Why Trump’s lawsuit seeking to overturn state’s presidential race sputtered in court | Riley Snyder/Nevada Independent

Ten days after major media outlets called Nevada for Joe Biden, attorneys and allies of President Donald Trump’s campaign stood outside state party headquarters in Las Vegas to make a stunning announcement — the campaign had identified enough irregularities to call election results in the state into question and planned to file a lawsuit challenging them in court. “Donald Trump won the state of Nevada, after you account for the fraud and irregularities that occurred in the election,” campaign attorney Jesse Binnall said on Nov. 17, adding that the Trump campaign was “quite confident in the fact that when the law and the facts are clearly adjudicated in this matter, that it will be very clear that once all the voting happened, once everything occurred, the results were unreliable because of the irregularities and the fraud.” But the Trump campaign’s eyebrow-raising accounts of voter fraud — tens of thousands of mail ballots sent from out-of-state, vote totals mysteriously changing overnight, and testimony that volunteers in a Biden van were caught filling out blank mail ballots — failed to make any headway in state courts. The election contest lawsuit, filed the day of the press conference, was summarily rejected by Carson City District Court Judge James Russell, who in an order earlier this month wrote that the campaign had produced evidence with “little to no value,” a far cry from casting enough reasonable doubt on Biden’s 33,596-vote victory over Trump.

Full Article: Why Trump’s lawsuit seeking to overturn Nevada’s presidential race sputtered in court

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has had Trump’s back. But his latest gambit has failed. | Arelis R. Hernández and Maria Sacchetti/The Washington Post

The Texas attorney general who tried to orchestrate President Trump’s last stand spent most of his career under indictment for state securities fraud, but his closeness to the president had buffed that tarnish. Trump listens to Ken Paxton. He called so often the White House once caught him in the shower. And the state attorney general had the digits to call him back. Paxton’s star seemed ascendant as he positioned himself as one of Trump’s biggest allies, willing to fight legal battles on sanctuary cities, the Affordable Care Act and now the outcome of the presidential election. But the shadows over Texas’s folksy attorney general have been growing longer. Trump has lost the election. Paxton’s last-gasp effort to overturn the outcome via the U.S. Supreme Court has failed. His top deputies recently reported him to the FBI for alleged crimes such as bribery. And the Associated Press has reported that he cheated on his wife, Angela Paxton, who is a Republican state senator in Texas. Paxton, a tea party darling known as a shrewd politician, did not respond to requests for comment, but he appeared cheerful Thursday as he spoke to a conservative commentator on YouTube before heading into the Oval Office to talk about his petition seeking to dismiss the election results. “It’s our last chance, and it may be our last chance forever,” Paxton said in an interview with conservative commentator Steven Crowder. “Because if this gets set this way, I mean, we may never have elections again that we can count on.” After he spoke, the Austin American-Statesman reported that FBI agents served at least one subpoena at his office 1,500 miles away. The FBI declined to comment.

Full Article: Ken Paxton has had Trump’s back. But the Texas attorney general’s latest gambit has failed. – The Washington Post

Wisconsin: A Stunning Passage from the Latest Court Rejection of Team Trump | Andrew C. McCarthy/National Review

The most telling aspect of the Wisconsin federal district court’s rejection of another Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday is so obvious it is easy to miss. And no, it is not that the rejecting was done by a Trump-appointed judge, Brett H. Ludwig, or that it was done on the merits. After all that’s been said over the last six weeks, this fleeting passage near the start of the court’s workmanlike, 23-page decision and order should take our breath away (my highlighting):

With the Electoral College meeting just days away, the Court declined to address the issues in piecemeal fashion and instead provided plaintiff with an expedited hearing on the merits of his claims. On the morning of the hearing, the parties reached agreement on a stipulated set of facts and then presented arguments to the Court.

A “stipulated set of facts,” in this context, is an agreement between the lawyers for the adversary parties about what testimony witnesses would give, and/or what facts would be established, if the parties went through the process of calling witnesses and offering tangible evidence at a hearing or trial.… So what happened in Wisconsin? Judge Ludwig denied the state’s claims that the campaign lacked standing. Instead, he gave the campaign the hearing they asked for — the opportunity to call witnesses and submit damning exhibits. Yet, when it got down to brass tacks, the morning of the hearing, it turned out there was no actual disagreement between the Trump team and Wisconsin officials about the pertinent facts of the case. The president’s counsel basically said: Never mind, we don’t need to present all our proof . . . we’ll just stipulate to all the relevant facts and argue legal principles. In the end, after all the heated rhetoric, what did they tell the court the case was really about? Just three differences over the manner in which the election was administered — to all of which, as Ludwig pointed out, the campaign could have objected before the election if these matters had actually been of great moment.

Full Article: Trump Campaign Wisconsin Election Lawsuit: Court Rejects Allegations | National Review

Wisconsin GOP withholds Trump recount funds for Milwaukee, Dane counties | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Republican-led Legislature’s budget committee is holding up reimbursements to two counties for their recount costs. President Donald Trump’s campaign paid $3 million for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, Wisconsin’s two most Democratic areas. But two top Republicans said Friday they were withholding the money from the counties for now. They did not explain why. Lawmakers “are playing politics with money that isn’t theirs,” said Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson. “It’s acting in bad faith,” he said. “It’s not their money. It’s Trump’s money and this is what he decided to spend it on.” Under state law, losing candidates can request recounts but must pay the cost upfront if they lost by more than 0.25 percentage points. Trump lost Wisconsin to Democrat Joe Biden by 0.6 points and paid in advance for the recounts in the two counties. The recounts resulted in Biden slightly widening his lead, and courts so far have upheld Biden’s victory in the state.

Full Article: Wis. GOP withholds Trump recount funds for Milwaukee, Dane counties

Wisconsin GOP election official says no evidence of voter fraud | Bill Glauber and Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission told legislative committees Friday that he has “not seen credible evidence of large-scale voter fraud in Wisconsin during the November election.” There were no dumps of ballots during the night, none,” Dean Knudson told lawmakers looking into the conduct of the Nov. 3 election that Democrat Joe Biden won by about 21,000 votes over President Donald Trump. “There is no evidence of any fraud related to Dominion voting machines in Wisconsin,” Knudson said. “Counting in Wisconsin did not stop and restart. Election observers were allowed to be present throughout Election Day and election night proceedings. The number of voters on our poll books match the number of ballots cast. “There has been no criminal evidence presented to the Elections Commission that any of these problems occurred in Wisconsin,” he said.

Full Article: Wisconsin GOP election official says no evidence of voter fraud

Wisconsin Trump lawsuit is thrown out, 5th adverse ruling in days | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A state judge concluded Wisconsin’s election was conducted properly Friday, dealing President Donald Trump and his allies their fifth legal defeat in a little over a week. “There is no credible evidence of misconduct or wide-scale fraud,” Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek said. Simanek issued his decision from the bench 73 hours before the Electoral College is to meet Monday to officially deliver the presidency to Democrat Joe Biden. Wisconsin’s slate of 10 electors for Biden has already been certified, and Simanek’s decision upheld that finding. Over the last week, courts in Wisconsin have thrown out four other lawsuits brought by Trump and his backers. And after a daylong hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig said he thought Trump might have taken too long to file yet another lawsuit. Ludwig is expected to rule in that case by Saturday. Trump lost Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes out of 3.3 million. That’s a margin of 0.6 percentage points. He paid $3 million for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the state’s most populous and most liberal areas. The recounts slightly widened Biden’s winning margin. Trump then filed a lawsuit directly with the state Supreme Court, but the justices last week on a 4-3 vote rejected it. The majority concluded Trump should have started in circuit court rather than the state’s high court.

Full Article: Trump lawsuit in Wisconsin is thrown out, 5th adverse ruling in days