National: With brazen assault on election, Trump prompts critics to warn of a coup | David Nakamura/The Washington Post

During four years in office, President Trump has trampled political norms, attacked democratic institutions, sought to discredit government agencies, peddled baseless conspiracy theories and been impeached by the House. Since his defeat in the November election, Trump’s critics have warned that his scorched-earth effort to invalidate the outcome amounts to a new level of danger: the first attempted coup d’etat in U.S. history to illegally maintain power. The chorus of alarm grew this week after the disclosure that Trump bullied and threatened Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in an hour-long private phone call Saturday, during which the president demanded that Raffensperger find thousands of votes for Trump that do not exist. On social media, conservative and liberal pundits alike used the word “coup.” So did former George W. Bush aide Nicolle Wallace, Trump biographer Timothy L. O’Brien, political analyst Larry Sabato and Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster and founder of the Renew Democracy Initiative. The Atlantic, the New Yorker, the Nation, Vanity Fair, New York magazine and the BBC have invoked the term to explore the ramifications of Trump’s assault on the nation’s democratic foundations.

Full Article: Trump’s assault on election prompts critics to warn of a coup – The Washington Post

National: Cleta Mitchell, Lawyer on Trump Election Call, Quits Firm After Uproar | Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman/The New York Times

A lawyer advising President Trump in recent weeks has resigned from her law firm after it was revealed that she participated in the call where Mr. Trump pressured Georgia officials to help him reverse the state’s election results, the firm said in a statement on Tuesday. The lawyer, Cleta Mitchell, has been advising Mr. Trump despite a policy at her firm, Foley & Lardner, that none of its lawyers should represent clients involved in relitigating the presidential election. “Cleta Mitchell has informed firm management of her decision to resign from Foley & Lardner effective immediately,” the firm said in its statement. “Ms. Mitchell concluded that her departure was in the firm’s best interests, as well as in her own personal best interests. We thank her for her contributions to the firm and wish her well.” Ms. Mitchell’s resignation was the latest evidence of the problems Mr. Trump has created for law firms throughout his time in office, as their employees and clients object to ties with the president. In an email to her clients and friends, Ms. Mitchell blamed her departure on “a massive pressure campaign in the last several days mounted by leftist groups via social media and other means against me, my law firm and clients of the law firm.” She vowed to “redouble” her efforts on what she called “election integrity.”

Full Article: Lawyer on Trump Election Call Quits Firm After Uproar – The New York Times

Editorial: Trump’s Raffensperger call is a crime even if he believes his own fantasies | Trevor Potter and Mark Gaber/The Washington Post

President Trump’s call demanding Georgia officials “find 11,780 votes” and reverse the election results in the state was his most brazen abuse of power yet. If Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger didn’t go along with Trump’s scheme and “recalculate” the vote, the president warned, “it’s going to be very costly in many ways,” threatening that Georgia authorities were committing a “criminal offense” by not endorsing Trump’s false voter fraud claims. The president’s conduct violates the letter and spirit of federal and Georgia criminal laws prohibiting attempts to procure false election results and to solicit election fraud. Since then, some experts have raised questions about whether Trump’s attempted bullying can be prosecuted because of a possible lack of “intent.” The thought is: If the president truly believes the false allegations he is spreading, then his request that Raffensperger “find 11,780 votes” isn’t an effort to corrupt the election, but rather to “correct” it. That defense may not work for Trump in this case. Although a criminal conviction does require proof of intent — proof Trump knew he was asking for nonexistent votes to be counted in his favor — a person cannot avoid criminal liability by simply deciding to believe fantasy over fact. For example, if a person becomes convinced that she owns her neighbor’s car and is shown the title certificate proving otherwise, she cannot steal the car and escape conviction by feigning she truly believed fiction over fact — at least, not without mounting an insanity defense.

Full Article: Trump’s Raffensperger call is a crime even if he believes his own fantasies – The Washington Post

Editorial: Pence cannot intervene on Trump’s behalf during electoral vote counting | Edward B. Foley/The Washington Post

President Trump seems to believe that Vice President Pence could overturn the election results when he presides over the congressional counting of electoral votes on Wednesday. Trump is wrong, but any attempt by Pence to intervene on behalf of himself and Trump, if it comes to that, would be a constitutional travesty. It won’t work, but it would set a dangerous precedent. “I have to tell you, I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president, comes through for us,” Trump told a crowd in Georgia on Monday night at a rally purportedly for Senate candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler but actually for his own flailing efforts to secure a second term. “He’s a great guy. Because if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.” On Tuesday, Trump followed up with specifics. “The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” he tweeted. Pence has no such authority ― nor would Senate president pro tem Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), if Pence doesn’t have the courage to show up and perform his constitutional duty. Not under the Constitution and not under the applicable statute, the 1887 Electoral Count Act. There are reports Pence has told Trump this and will not derail the process. Still, until Congress declares Biden the winner, American democracy is facing its greatest challenge since the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter. Here is what’s supposed to happen when Congress meets on Wednesday. Under the Electoral Count Act, Congress has promised to accept as “conclusive” any state’s “final determination” of litigation over the appointment of its electors. Consequently, this year the process should be straightforward: There is no doubt about how any state resolved the lawsuits that the Trump campaign and its allies filed to challenge the appointment of electors. Trump lost. Joe Biden’s wins were certified. All that remains — or should — is the ceremonial tallying of those votes.

Full Article: Opinion | Pence cannot intervene on Trump’s behalf during electoral vote counting – The Washington Post

Editorial: My Republican colleagues’ ploy threatens the future of the electoral college | Rep. Ken Buck/The Washington Post

Democrats in Congress wrote the playbook for how to dispute an election’s outcome. Republican members of Congress may soon regret that they have adopted not only the rhetoric but the actual tactics from that playbook in their attempt to reject the 2020 election results. I share the concerns of many voters across the country about irregularities in the presidential election. I also share their disappointment with President Trump’s loss. However, the Founders trusted the states to decide elections, not members of Congress. The Republican members who plan to reject certain electors read into the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act a provision that simply does not exist. The 12th Amendment is simple and clear: It calls on Congress to perform the ceremonial role of counting electors. There is no allowance for rejecting electors — no matter how much we may disagree with the result or wish the election process had been better. The electoral college has come under attack in recent years. The left characterizes the system as an antiquated, undemocratic method of selecting the president. In reality, our nation’s Founders designed this system as a compromise that takes into account a variety of competing concerns. The electoral college balanced a desire to allow individuals across the nation to vote for president while also ensuring that small states’ voters would not be ignored.

Full Article: Opinion | Ken Buck: My Republican colleagues’ ploy threatens the future of the electoral college – The Washington Post

Arizona Supreme Court upholds election challenge dismissal | Bob Christie and Jacques Billeaud/Associated Press

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court decision dismissing the last in a series of challenges that sought to decerify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the state. The high court ruling is the second time the majority-Republican court has turned aside an appeal of a court loss by backers of President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the results of the election. In all, eight lawsuits challenging Biden’s Arizona win have failed. It comes the day before a divided Congress is set to certify Biden’s victory. Tuesday’s ruling from a four-judge panel of the high court agreed with a trial court judge in Pinal County that plaintiff Staci Burk lacked the right to contest the election. That’s because she wasn’t a registered voter at the time she filed her lawsuit, as required in state election contests. Both courts also agreed that she made her legal challenge too late, after the five-day period for filing such an action had passed. Burk said in her lawsuit that she was a qualified Arizona voter, but officials said they discovered she wasn’t registered to vote. She later said she mistakenly thought “qualified electors” were people who were merely eligible to vote, and that her voter registration was canceled because election workers were unable to verify her address. The Supreme Court said the fact that she wasn’t a registered voter was fatal to her ability to file an election challenge and that Burk admitted she knew she wasn’t registered. “There is nothing before the Court to indicate that Appellant timely contacted the appropriate authorities to correct any problems with her voter

Full Article: Arizona Supreme Court upholds election challenge dismissal

District of Columbia: Trump supporters protesting the election begin demonstrating in D.C. | Marissa J. Lang, Emily Davies, Peter Hermann, Jessica Contrera and Clarence Williams/The Washington Post

One day before Congress votes to certify that Joe Biden won the presidential election, Trump supporters who refuse to accept the reality of his defeat demonstrated in Washington again. The city is bracing for potentially violent protests, egged on by President Trump himself. All Tuesday afternoon, people bundled against the cold but free of masks arrived in downtown Washington for what they see as a last stand for Trump, who has continued to falsely assert that the election was stolen from him. Though many Republican lawmakers, all 10 living former defense secretaries and election officials across the country have said Trump should stop attempting to overturn the results of the election, his refusal to do so has only energized his followers. One Wednesday demonstration has a National Park Service permit for up to 30,000 people. Trump said on Twitter that he will speak at 11 a.m. Wednesday and praised those who were echoing his inaccurate version of events in the streets. “They won’t stand for a landslide election victory to be stolen,” he tweeted Tuesday evening.

Full Article: D.C. election protest: Trump supporters begin demonstrating ahead of congressional vote certification – The Washington Post

Georgia: The biggest threat to the runoff election may be Trump | Tonya Riley/The Washington Post

As election officials, voting vendors and social media companies prepare for today’s runoff election in Georgia, the biggest concern percolating isn’t foreign interference – it’s President Trump. This last race of a turbulent cycle – which will decide which party takes the Senate majority – is their final test to ensure voters can cast ballots securely and have confidence in the election results. That task, even after the 2020 presidential election was deemed by government and election officials to be the most secure in history, is complicated as Trump and his allies continue to peddle debunked fraud claims and pressure Georgia officials to recalculate the presidential vote in his favor. Georgia election officials say Trump’s voter fraud claims have shaken voter confidence. Their task is now to reassure voters. “Everybody’s vote is going to count. Everybody’s vote did count,” Georgia’s voting system manager Gabriel Sterling said. More than 3 million voters have already cast their ballots, setting a record turnout for a runoff in the state. Trump’s claims, which persist after Georgia certified Joe Biden’s win last month after three counts of ballots, are “all easily, provably false,” Sterling said at the news conference. “Yet the president persists and by doing so undermines Georgians’ faith in the electoral system, especially Republican Georgians.”

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: The biggest threat to the Georgia runoff may be Trump – The Washington Post

A Georgia election official debunked Trump’s claims of voter fraud, point by point | Maggie Astor/The New York Times

In a searing news conference on Monday, Gabriel Sterling, a top election official in Georgia, systematically debunked President Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. Again. “The reason I’m having to stand here today is because there are people in positions of authority and respect who have said their votes didn’t count, and it’s not true,” said Mr. Sterling, a Republican who last month condemned the president’s failure to denounce threats against election officials, and who was tasked on Monday with responding to the news of a phone call in which Mr. Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to change the outcome of the presidential race. “It’s anti-disinformation Monday,” Mr. Sterling said. “It’s whack-a-mole again, it’s Groundhog Day again, and I’m going to talk about things that I’ve talked about repeatedly for two months. I’m going to do it again one last time. I hope.”

Full Article: How Gabriel Sterling Debunked Trump’s Georgia Fraud Claims, Point by Point – The New York Times

Georgia Officials see few security issues as voters go to the polls | Maggie Miller/The Hill

Officials at the federal and state levels said that as of Tuesday afternoon, they were seeing few security concerns related to the hotly contested Georgia Senate runoff elections, as voters continued to make their ways to the polls. Concerns around both physical and cyber election security had ramped up in the weeks prior to the election, which will decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and has come under intense nationwide scrutiny. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that polling stations were experiencing few delays and that there was a wait time averaging around one minute at most jurisdictions. “After wait times averaging just 2 minutes on November 3rd, Georgia’s election administration is hitting a new milestone for effectiveness and efficiency,” Raffensperger said. “I have always said that after every election, half the people will be happy and half will be disappointed, but everyone should be confident in the reliability of the results.” Raffensperger acknowledged that there were technical issues at some polling sites in Columbia County, Ga. earlier on Tuesday, with paper ballot scanners and poll worker cards programmed incorrectly. His office emphasized that voting was not delayed during this time, and that emergency ballots were provided for voters. Gabriel Sterling, the voting system implementation manager for Georgia, confirmed this, tweeting Tuesday that the issues in Columbia County involved “a programming error on security keys for some locations scanners & pollworker cards. “Voting continues on backup emergency ballots. Newly programmed keys&cards are being taken to locations via law enforcement,” he added.

Full Article: Officials see few security issues as voters go to the polls in Georgia | TheHill

Georgia Officials Rebutted Trump’s Claim That Dominion Voting Machines Had Failed | Glenn Thrush/The New York Times

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger shot down President Trump’s suggestion Tuesday that a voting machine snafu in a conservative county near Augusta had compromised Republican votes in the Senate runoff elections. “Reports are coming out of the 12th Congressional District of Georgia that Dominion Machines are not working in certain Republican Strongholds for over an hour,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, citing a report of glitches first reported by Representative Rick Allen, a Republican who represents the polling places in question. “Ballots are being left in lock boxes, hopefully they count them,” added Mr. Trump. Mr. Raffensperger shot back in his midday status report, saying that “a small number” of keys used to start voting machines had not been programmed properly and “a few” cards used by poll workers to activate touch-screen machines also had programming issues. All of the issues “were resolved by 10 a.m.,” he wrote. “At no point did voting stop as voters continued casting ballots on emergency ballots, in accordance with the procedures set out by Georgia law.” On Saturday, Mr. Trump called Mr. Raffensperger and said, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” according to a recording of the call made by the secretary’s staff.

Full Article: Georgia Officials Rebutted Trump’s Claim That Dominion Voting Machines Had Failed – The New York Times

Michigan: Sidney Powell Should Lose State Law License, Detroit Argues | Joel Rosenblatt/Bloomberg

Detroit officials want former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell to lose her license to practice law in Michigan as punishment for pursuing far-fetched litigation to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Powell is the highest-profile leader of a group of lawyers behind the “Kraken,” her reference to the mythical sea monster, that she promised would be unleashed in the courts and prove that Biden beat incumbent Donald Trump only because Democrats engaged in a massive fraud. Powell’s suit in Michigan was knowingly based on lies and is so frivolous that the group behind it requires the harshest penalty, Detroit said Tuesday in a court filing. “This lawsuit, and the lawsuits filed in the other states, are not just damaging to our democratic experiment, they are also deeply corrosive to the judicial process itself,” lawyers for the city said in a request to U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker to refer Powell for state bar disciplinary proceedings in Michigan and her home state of Texas. Parker last month rejected an attempt by Powell and her fellow attorneys to decertify Michigan’s election results. Powell and the group let a three-week period to withdraw their suit lapse. Detroit argues that’s because it’s taken on a new life supporting arguments for Congress to reject Michigan’s electors on Jan. 6. The Detroit lawyers say Trump repeated the false claims in the Michigan lawsuit in his Saturday phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to “find” just enough votes to overturn Biden’s win.

Full Article: Sidney Powell Should Lose Michigan Law License, Detroit Argues – Bloomberg

Ohio: Audits made near-perfect tally of presidential results | Julie Carr Smyth/Associated Press

A post-election audit has found that Ohio’s 2020 votes were tallied to near perfection, including those cast in the presidential contest, the state’s elections chief said Tuesday. The announcement by Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose came a day ahead of a brewing showdown in Congress over the outcome of the race between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. Trump has refused to concede and continues, with the help of allies, to pursue challenges to Biden’s victory. The effort hasn’t targeted Ohio, which Trump won by more than 8 percentage points. LaRose has responded to months of unfounded assertions by the president, including that results were rigged, fraudulent or stolen, by touting Ohio’s bipartisan, decentralized election system and advocating transparency. That included making post-election audit results available online for the first time. In counties that used percentage-based assessments, presidential results were 99.98% accurate, LaRose said. “The incredible accuracy of the results as reflected in the post-election audits should make every Ohioan proud not only of their bipartisan election officials, but of the system we have in place,” he said in a statement. “Ohio ran a fair and accurate election.”

Full Article: Audits: Ohio made near-perfect tally of presidential results

Pennsylvania: Republican complaints about election are groundless, state officials and legal scholars argue | Marc Levy/Associated Press

The complaints about Pennsylvania’s election — brought by eight of the state’s Republican members of Congress who say they will oppose electoral votes cast for President-elect Joe Biden — are either untrue or dismissed by the courts, state officials and constitutional law scholars say. Those eight will join dozens of other Republicans around the country whom President Donald Trump has enlisted to challenge the Electoral College vote when Congress convenes in a joint session Wednesday to confirm Biden’s 306-232 win. In statements released last week, they complained about election-related policies of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration and decisions by the state Supreme Court, generally concerning the collection and counting of mail-in ballots. “Until these unlawful practices are acknowledged and corrected, we cannot agree to support electors chosen based upon an inaccurate total vote count,” they wrote. Their complaints, however, are based on outright falsehoods, state officials say, and ignore what courts have repeatedly said, constitutional law scholars say.

Full Article: Republican complaints about Pa. election are groundless, state officials and legal scholars argue – The Morning Call

Utah lawmaker hopes to build voter trust with ballot-tracking system | Hannah Petersen/Deseret News

Amid national discussion about alleged voting irregularities in the presidential race, a Utah lawmaker wants to assure confidence in the election process by creating a system to track voters’ ballots. Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Logan, said the mistrust of mail-in voting being vocalized in many parts of the country led him to sponsor HB70 for the upcoming legislative session to require a ballot tracking system. The system would be optional for registered voters to sign up for, but would provide electronic notifications via email or text that their ballot was received and counted. “I think that really matters to people,” Johnson said, “My concern is that if you guys don’t have trust in voting in a democracy, that can be pretty problematic.” Utah voters can already track their ballots by visiting once they’ve mailed it in. Johnson wants to give all registered voters the choice to streamline the process of verifying mail-in voting with auto-alerts when their ballots arrive at their county’s ballot center. “It’s just one more way to have that notification and have it quicker and for people to have confidence in the fact that my ballot got to the place where it was supposed to get and those who are in charge, at that point, have actually run the ballot and it’s been properly counted,” Johnson said. Justin Lee, the state’s director of elections, said developing the system could be done easily by obtaining the software capabilities from third-party vendors.

Full Article: Utah lawmaker hopes to build voter trust with ballot-tracking system – Deseret News

Editorial: Ron Johnson’s dangerous shilling for Donald Trump makes him unfit to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The arrogance of Ron Johnson is breathtaking. Johnson and 12 other Republican senators say they will challenge the tabulation of Electoral College votes in Congress on Wednesday in a dangerous political stunt that will accomplish nothing but may burnish their image with those who would choose outgoing President Donald Trump over democracy. Johnson and his shameful friends are planning to support Trump as he directly opposes the will of the people. Their challenge will lead to a long debate in Congress but nothing more, given Democratic control of the House of Representatives. In the end, the results of the presidential election will not change: Joe Biden will still have beaten Trump by 7 million votes and won 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. But Johnson’s stunt will do harm to our democracy. What precedent is being set here? What happens the next time a party — either party — loses the presidency narrowly while controlling both houses of Congress? Will those politicians do what Johnson and his hyperpartisan mob are doing? Will they make up lies about the election, cry voter fraud, complain about voting machines, election officials and any other ghost they can conjure? The playbook for turmoil is simple: Create suspicion. Fuel the fears of the side that lost. Don’t bother with facts or truth. Keep repeating and spreading lies until people forget their source and start to believe them or become so confused they can no longer determine the truth.

Full Article: Ron Johnson’s dangerous shilling for Trump makes him unfit for Senate

MAGA marchers plot final D.C. stand on Jan. 6 | Tina Nguyen/Politico

Since Election Day, President Donald Trump’s followers have marched on state capitol buildings and the Supreme Court, protesting the election results. They have demonstrated in front of vote-counting centers, filed lawsuits and floated illogical conspiracy theories. Now, those efforts will come to a head on Wednesday, when the most zealous members of MAGA nation — activists, fans and militia groups — plan to rally one more time in Washington in a dying attempt to keep President Donald Trump in the White House. Timed to the day when Congress will formally certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win, the MAGA crowd is trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers to refuse to seat Biden over fabricated voter-fraud claims. It’s a doomed plan, given the makeup of Congress, the absent evidence behind the rigged election allegations and the fact that every important state has already certified Biden’s win. Yet that hasn’t stopped a swell of Trump supporters from making plans — and the president from teasing his own appearance. According to disinformation and extremist researchers, the Jan. 6 gathering will look similar to November’s Million MAGA March — a mashup of garden-variety Trump supporters and more extreme members of the far right, with no apparent central organizing apparatus. Stop the Steal, a group affiliated with pro-Trump super PACs and allies of Trump adviser Roger Stone, has filed for permits and plans to protest outside the Capitol, but other groups have also claimed to be the true official planners. There’s one key difference with this march, however. After weeks of failed lawsuits, flailing investigations and Republicans unhitching themselves from Trump’s quest to keep the presidency, the Wednesday rally might be the last one while there’s still a plan — even if it’s an ill-fated one — to subvert the election.

Full Article: MAGA marchers plot final D.C. stand on Jan. 6 – POLITICO

Editorial: We Can’t Let Our Elections Be This Vulnerable Again | Richard L. Hasen/The Atlantic

The 2020 election and its aftermath have laid bare an unhappy truth: Many of the familiar procedures for translating the people’s will into the choice of a president depend on norms of behavior, not laws. Just this past weekend—two months after Election Day—remarkable efforts to mess with election results became apparent, including the revelation of a recording of, on Saturday, President Donald Trump potentially criminally pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” more than 11,000 votes to flip Georgia’s election results from Joe Biden to the president. And well over 100 Republican representatives and about a dozen Republican senators appear poised to object to the counting of Electoral College votes on Wednesday for states that Biden won, despite a complete lack of evidence that the results were marred by fraud or irregularities. These efforts are very serious—and very dangerous.If not for Biden’s significant margin of victory over Trump and for the courageous, politically risky actions of many Republican and Democratic election administrators and elected officials, this Republican attack on American democracy might well have been successful, securing an illegitimate second term for Trump. To remove the potential for this sort of gamesmanship in certifying and counting each state’s votes for president, the country needs to adopt a number of measures in the next few years to eliminate the power of individuals to interfere with election results. This can be done without opening up larger constitutional issues, such as whether to keep or do away with the Electoral College. Americans shouldn’t have to know the inner workings of the canvassing board of Wayne County, Michigan—or depend on representatives and senators to accurately count votes as states have reported them to Congress—to figure out who will be president. The backdrop for these urgent reforms is Trump’s extraordinary effort to delegitimize the election results. Amid the pandemic, the president attacked voting by mail, the safest means of voting to avoid spreading infection. Despite his claims that this shift would open floodgates of fraud, 2020 was a strikingly clean election.

Full Article: We Can’t Let Our Elections Be This Vulnerable Again – The Atlantic

National: Republican plan to stall certification of Biden’s win could hurt future election security, experts say | Tonya Riley/The Washington Post

Nearly a dozen Republican senators are following Sen. Ted Cruz’s lead and threatening to not certify Joe Biden’s win until Congress launches a 10-day audit of the 2020 election based on President Trump’s baseless allegations of voting fraud. Election and legal experts say the last-ditch effort to stall Joe Biden’s win is unlikely to succeed. Even if it did, it would almost certainly fail to change the results of the 2020 election. But the effort could have lasting implications for election integrity in future votes. “It could certainly throw another wrench in our democracy and undermine voter confidence in our elections,” David Levine, elections integrity fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, told me. Elevating false allegations – especially after the courts have roundly dismissed the election challenges – plays right into the hands of foreign adversaries while undermining trust in local and state election officials, who stand by election results, experts say. The intelligence community and former attorney general William P. Barr said there was no evidence of widespread election fraud or foreign interference that altered the results of the 2020 election. Election officials called it “the most secure in American history.” “This is not going to stop Joe Biden and Kamala D. Harris from taking the oath. The legal and factual arguments are flimsy and laughable,” said Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. “But it reinforces the idea for millions of people that there was something wrong with the election.”

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Republican plan to stall certification of Biden’s win could hurt future election security, experts say – The Washington Post

National: Alexander Keyssar, leading historian of U.S. democracy, issues an urgent warning | Greg Sargent/The Washington Post

President Trump’s extraordinary effort to browbeat the Georgia secretary of state into rigging the election for him reveals more than just a deranged, desperate man potentially willing to commit crimes to overturn his loss. It also crystallizes the true nature of what will unfold on Wednesday, when dozens of congressional Republicans will join Trump’s effort by objecting to Joe Biden’s electors. This quest to overturn millions of votes in numerous states will fail when the Democratic House scuttles those objections. You’d think many of them would now refrain from challenging Biden’s electors. You’d think the appalling contempt for democracy driving Trump’s effort is now so glaringly clear that they would want no association with it, or would see refraining as a way to demonstrate that this latest lawless display is intolerable. But that’s extremely unlikely. Which raises a question: In a future presidential election, if Republicans control both chambers of Congress and similar objections are brought against a victorious Democrat’s electors, mightn’t they succeed in invalidating them? “It’s become a lot easier to envision that in the last month,” Alexander Keyssar, the leading historian of U.S. democracy, told me. “I find this to be very worrisome — very disturbing.”

Full Article: Opinion | Alexander Keyssar, leading historian of U.S. democracy, issues an urgent warning – The Washington Post

National: All Pence Can Do Is Count | Alan Charles Raul and Richard Bernstein/Wall Street Journal

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert has argued that the Electoral Count Act of 1887 is unconstitutional. Therefore, he claims, Vice President Mike Pence is empowered by the 12th Amendment to reject 73 Biden-Harris electoral votes from five states when Congress meets to certify the 2020 election results on Jan. 6. A dozen Republican senators and many more House members also argue that Congress has this power. They are all wrong. Neither the vice president nor Congress has the power to reject electoral votes. This is because the 12th Amendment vests no power in the vice president or Congress to judge who won a state’s electoral votes when the authorized branches of the state’s government agree, as they do here, on which electors won. The 12th Amendment left intact the Constitution’s Electors Clause. As the Supreme Court’s three originalist justices wrote in Bush v. Gore (2000), under the Electors Clause, each state’s legislature by statute makes the exclusive “apportionment of responsibility” to state officials to “oversee election disputes” that decide which presidential ticket won the most votes in that state. Election officials and courts from each of the five states in question did exactly that. And by Dec. 14, the states certified that the electors who won were those who voted for Biden-Harris. All the 12th Amendment says is that in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, “the [electoral] votes shall then be counted.” The word “counted” provides no basis for anyone to override anything. When a person counts the number of games his favorite team has won, that person has no power to alchemize losses into wins.

Full Article: All Pence Can Do Is Count – WSJ

National: Dominion Voting Systems CEO plans to sue Sidney Powell imminently | Joseph Choi/The Hill

Dominion Voting Systems CEO John Poulos told Axios on Monday that his company plans on suing former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell imminently for defamation over her claims about its voting machines. “Our focus right now is on Sidney Powell, and there’s very good reason for that. She is by far in our opinion the most egregious and prolific purveyor of the falsities against Dominion. Her statements have caused real damage. They’re demonstrably false,” Poulos said. Powell, formerly part of President Trump‘s team seeking to overturn the 2020 election, has baselessly claimed that Dominion’s algorithm flipped votes and that the company paid Georgia GOP officials to stay quiet on the alleged scheme. “We were originally quiet and we sat back as a company,” he added. “Because our hope was that all of these claims would be filed in a process in court where procedure and evidence is important. And it’s become clear to us that there is absolutely no interest to reveal this evidence because we know it doesn’t exist. And there’s no effort to actually put it in front of the court proceedings so that these allegations and all of the evidence can follow a proper process and be litigated right to the end.” When asked by Axios’s Dan Primack when the lawsuit would be filed, Poulos said, “It’s imminent.” A Dominion spokesperson speaking to The Hill confirmed that a lawsuit would be filed, possibly as soon as this week.

Full Article: Dominion Voting Systems CEO plans to sue Sidney Powell imminently | TheHill

National: Trump’s Insurgency From Inside the Oval Office | Peter Baker/The New York Times

President Trump’s relentless effort to overturn the result of the election that he lost has become the most serious stress test of American democracy in generations, one led not by outside revolutionaries intent on bringing down the system but by the very leader charged with defending it. In the 220 years since a defeated John Adams turned over the White House to his rival, firmly establishing the peaceful transfer of authority as a bedrock principle, no sitting president who lost an election has tried to hang onto power by rejecting the Electoral College and subverting the will of the voters — until now. It is a scenario at once utterly unthinkable and yet feared since the beginning of Mr. Trump’s tenure. The president has gone well beyond simply venting his grievances or creating a face-saving narrative to explain away a loss, as advisers privately suggested he was doing in the days after the Nov. 3 vote. Instead, he has stretched or crossed the boundaries of tradition, propriety and perhaps the law to find any way he can to cling to office beyond his term that expires in two weeks. That he is almost certain to fail and that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be inaugurated on Jan. 20 does not mitigate the damage he is doing to democracy by undermining public faith in the electoral system. Mr. Trump’s hourlong telephone call over the weekend with Georgia’s chief election official, Brad Raffensperger, pressuring him to “find” enough votes to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory in that state only brought into stark relief what the president has been doing for weeks. He has called the Republican governors of Georgia and Arizona to get them to intervene. He has summoned Michigan’s Republican Legislature leaders to the White House to pressure them to change their state’s results. He called the Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania House multiple times seeking help to reverse the outcome there. Mr. Trump and his staff have floated the idea of delaying Mr. Biden’s inauguration, even though it is set in stone by the Constitution, and the president met with a former adviser who has publicly urged him to declare martial law to “rerun” the election in states he lost. Mr. Trump’s erratic behavior has so alarmed military commanders who fear he might try to use troops to stay in the White House that every living former defense secretary — including two he appointed himself — issued a warning against the armed forces becoming involved.

Full Article: Trump’s Insurgency From Inside the Oval Office – The New York Times

National: Cleta Mitchell, a key figure in president’s phone call, was an early backer of Trump’s voter fraud claims | Michael Kranish and Tom Hamburger/The Washington Post

On Nov. 7, the day that major media organizations projected Joe Biden had won the presidency, Republican attorney Cleta Mitchell appeared on Fox News with her own projection: The election was far from over. “We’re already double checking and finding dead people having voted, we’re going to be finding people have voted across state lines, voted in two states, illegal voting, noncitizens and that sort of thing. So we are building that case,” Mitchell said, referring to the work of the Trump campaign’s legal team and foreshadowing many of its claims of fraud. In the following days, Mitchell took particular aim at Biden’s win in Georgia, tweeting that the state’s recount was a “total sham” and “A FAKE!!!” She wrote that the effort was “cover for the SOS,” referring to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Responding to criticism of her appearance, she tweeted, “Happy to be considered a nut job because I believe in the rule of law.” Mitchell largely stayed out of the spotlight in the following weeks as legions of lawyers for the Trump campaign failed in high-profile court cases across the country to get the election overturned. Behind the scenes, however, her role had escalated to the point that when President Trump on Saturday made a last-ditch phone call to get Raffensperger to “find” thousands of votes for him, it was the Washington-based Mitchell who emerged as a key player. It wasn’t the first time Mitchell alleged election fraud. In a case that foreshadowed her work for Trump, Mitchell worked for the campaign of Sharron Angle, who ran against Sen. Harry M. Reid of Nevada in 2010. Mitchell wrote a letter soliciting campaign contributions, alleging that “Reid intends to steal this election if he can’t win it outright….Understand, EVERYTHING we have worked for in the last year could be destroyed by dirty tricks and criminal acts.”

Full Article: Cleta Mitchell, a key figure in president?s phone call, was an early backer of Trump?s voter fraud claims – The Washington Post

Editorial: Donald Trump should be prosecuted for his shakedown of Georgia’s Brad Raffensperger | Richard L. Hasen/Slate

President Donald Trump likely broke both federal and state law in a Saturday phone call during which he encouraged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the state’s election results. The president certainly committed an impeachable offense that is grounds for removing him from the office he will be vacating in less than three weeks or disqualifying him from future elected office. His tumultuous term will end as it began, with questions as to the legality of conduct connected to manipulating American elections, and a defense based squarely on the idea that Trump’s mind is so warped that he actually believes the nonsense he spews. Trump may never be put on trial for what he did, but a failure to prosecute him may lead to a further deterioration of American democracy. The Washington Post’s bombshell report and audio recording of a Saturday conversation among Trump; his chief of staff, Mark Meadows; Republican election attorney Cleta Mitchell; and Georgia election officials featured a litany of unproven and debunked claims of voter fraud in Georgia. Trump claimed he had actually won the state by hundreds of thousands of votes and suggested Raffensperger could face criminal liability for not going after this phantom fraud.

Full Article: Donald Trump should be prosecuted for his shakedown of Georgia’s Brad Raffensperger.

Editorial: Trump’s Georgia Call Crosses a Red Line | David Frum/The Atlantic

In a bombshell conversation with Georgia’s secretary of state yesterday, President Donald Trump made monkeys of every Republican official and every conservative talking head who professed to believe Trump’s allegations of voter fraud. The president himself made clear that he had only one end in view: overturning the 2020 election. You knew this already, of course. Anyone connected to reality knew it. Even most of Trump’s political allies probably knew it. But important incentives induced people in the pro-Trump camp to pretend otherwise. And now, as so often happens, Trump has yanked away the protective deception to reveal the truth. And now again, Trump presents the country with a crisis and a conundrum. What Trump did on that call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, first reported by The Washington Post this afternoon, might well have been a crime. More than that cannot be said until and unless a jury is heard from. But Trump has reason to worry about new juries today, alongside all the other juries he was worrying about yesterday. The Raffensperger tape shows Trump’s Plan A to stay ahead of the law: election tampering. That plan will reach its finale on January 6—the point of no return, the last minute for stunts and sabotage. A shameful number of Republican members of the House and Senate have signed up for the stunts and sabotage, but not enough to prevent the inevitable outcome of a Biden-Harris inauguration on January 20. Trump’s thoughts now must turn to a Plan B. Plan B is to protect himself from juries even if he loses office. Plan B points to a self-pardon, and the huge crisis that must ensue. President-elect Biden has already signaled his high preference not to take legal action against his predecessor. A President Biden could not protect a former President Trump from state criminal actions or civil liability, but he could signal to the Department of Justice that prosecuting a former president for federal crimes would be divisive and distracting, and therefore is to be avoided if at all possible.

Full Article: Trump’s Georgia Call Crosses a Red Line – The Atlantic

Arizona GOP senators want voting materials to turn over to Trump team, lawyer charges | Howard Fischer/Arizona Daily Star

Maricopa County’s attorney is accusing Republican state senators of demanding access to voting equipment and records to turn them over to a lawyer for President Trump. At a hearing Monday, Steve Tully, attorney for the county, pointed out that Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, sent out a Twitter message last month saying the materials sought by the Senate were going to be given to Rudy Giuliani. Tully said those would include ballots and passwords and other materials in the two subpoenas issued by Senate President Karen Fann and Sen. Eddie Farnsworth, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Giuliani, in turn, is quoted as saying he wants to “start forensically examining the voting machines in Arizona,” part of his efforts to question Joe Biden’s victory and deny the Democrat Arizona’s 11 electoral votes. Tully told a Maricopa County judge that if that is the plan, it provides another reason for his client to refuse to turn over the requested information. He said it would violate both the state and federal constitutions and be an “improper legislative purpose.” He also said the county has questions about whether the review the senators want of the equipment and voting materials will be conducted by people who are legally certified. But attorney Kory Langhofer, who is representing the senators, told Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason to ignore those objections as “legally irrelevant.”

Full Article: Arizona GOP senators want voting materials to turn over to Trump team, lawyer charges | Local news |

Connecticut: Paper Ballots Integral to Election Security | Alex Wood/Journal Inquirer

With election officials around the country under very public attack, Mark Dobbins, the Democratic registrar of voters in Glastonbury, wants Connecticut residents to know more about the procedures election officials here use to make sure that all legal votes — and only legal votes — are counted. One is the old-fashioned paper trail, which Connecticut election officials use for many records, including ballots. “We use a lot of paper, and you can’t hack paper,” Dobbins says. In addition, the tabulating machines that count ballots aren’t connected to the Internet and can’t be hacked into, he says. He adds that the tabulating machines are useless without memory cards. When the cards aren’t in use, he says, LHS Associates, an election services company based in Salem, New Hampshire, holds them securely. Gabe Rosenberg, general counsel to Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill, says the University of Connecticut’s Center for Voting Technology Research, or VoTeR Center, takes the memory cards before and after the election to make sure there are no problems.

Full Article: Paper Ballots Integral to Connecticut Election Security

District of Columbia: Trump protesters warned not to carry guns as Washington DC calls up National Guard | The Guardian

The US capital has mobilised the National Guard ahead of planned protests by Donald Trump supporters in the lead-up to the congressional vote affirming Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump’s supporters are planning to rally on Tuesday and Wednesday, seeking to bolster the president’s unproven claims of widespread voter fraud. DC police have posted signs throughout downtown warning that carrying any sort of firearm is illegal and its acting police chief, Robert Contee, asked residents to warn authorities of anyone who might be armed. “There are people intent on coming to our city armed,” Contee said on Monday. Restrictions on carrying guns have been introduced for the area from Monday to Thursday this week. It comes as Enrique Tarrio, the leader of violent far-right group the Proud Boys, was arrested in DC and charged with destruction of property – related to a previous pro-Trump protest – and a firearms offence.

Source: Trump protesters warned not to carry guns as Washington DC calls up National Guard | US news | The Guardian

Georgia: Trump call to secretary of state electrifies voters in Senate runoffs | Sam Levine/The Guardian

An explosive recording of Donald Trump pressuring Georgia election officials to overturn the election results is further electrifying voters in Georgia’s elections for two US Senate seats, in Tuesday’s runoff that will determine which party controls Congress’ upper chamber. In the call, made public by the Washington Post on Sunday, Trump pressured Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find 11,780 votes”, to overturn Trump’s loss there. When Raffensperger refused, Trump suggested he and his aides may be committing a criminal offense. At an event on Monday, the Rev Raphael Warnock, the Democratic nominee for one of the seats, used the phone call to motivate supporters. He suggested there would be legal battles and challenges if the race was close. “We need to win by a comfortable margin. Because, you know, funny things go on,” he said at a drive in event at a high school in Riverdale, about 20 minutes south of Atlanta. Warnock spoke to about 100 supporters at the drive-thru, who danced to Motown hits in warm weather and honked voraciously throughout his speech. Warnock also noted that Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, had also called Raffensperger to pressure him over the election. “They both said essentially the same thing. Can’t you find 11,000 votes? They wouldn’t be saying that unless there was some history. If you listen, what they were saying was ‘don’t you know how we roll?’’ he said.

Full Article: Trump call to Georgia secretary of state electrifies voters in Senate runoffs | US news | The Guardian