WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump sought to leverage the power of the Oval Office on Friday in an extraordinary attempt to block President-elect Joe Biden's victory, but his pleas to Michigan lawmakers to overturn the will of their constituents appeared to have left them unswayed.
Trump summoned a delegation of the battleground state's Republican leadership, including the state's Senate majority leader and House speaker, in an apparent extension of his efforts to persuade judges and election officials in the state to set aside Biden's 154,000-vote margin of victory and grant Trump the state's electors. It came amid mounting criticism that Trump's efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election could do long-lasting damage to democratic traditions.
In a joint statement after the White House meeting, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield said allegations of fraud should be investigated, but indicated they were unmoved by Trump's claims thus far. “We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan's electors, just as we have said throughout this election,” they said.
“The candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan's electoral votes,” they added, saying they used the meeting with Trump to press him for more pandemic aid money for their state.
The Board of State Canvassers is to meet Monday to certify the statewide outcome, and it was unclear whether Republican members of that panel would similarly balk.
Georgia certifies Biden's win there
Georgia's governor and top elections official Friday certified results showing Joe Biden won the presidential race over Republican President Donald Trump, bringing the state one step closer to wrapping up an election fraught with unfounded accusations of fraud by Trump and his supporters.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified results reported by the state's 159 counties that show Biden with 2.47 million votes, Trump with 2.46 million votes and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen with 62,138. That leaves Biden leading by a margin of 12,670 votes, or 0.25%.
Later Friday, Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state's slate of 16 presidential electors. In an announcement streamed online, Kemp did not clearly endorse the results. Instead he said the law requires him to “formalize the certification, which paves the way for the Trump campaign to pursue other legal options and a separate recount if they choose.”
At a news conference at the state Capitol on Friday morning, before the results were certified, Raffensperger reiterated his confidence in the 2020 elections.
2-county recount in Wisconsin starts
The recount of the presidential election in Wisconsin's two most heavily Democratic counties began Friday with President Donald Trump's campaign seeking to discard tens of thousands of absentee ballots that it alleged should not have been counted.
Trump's three objections attempting to discard the ballots were denied by the three-member Dane County Board of Canvassers, twice on bipartisan votes. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said he expected the campaign was building a record before filing a lawsuit.
Joe Biden won Wisconsin by 20,600 votes and carried Dane and Milwaukee counties by a 2-to-1 margin. Trump only paid for recounts in those two counties, not in the 70 others, 58 of which he won.
Trump's strategy is widely seen as seeking to build a case to take to court.
His team Friday sought to have ballots discarded where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted; any absentee ballot where a voter declared themselves to be “indefinitely confined” under the law; and any absentee ballot where there was not a written application on file, including roughly 69,000 that were cast in-person during the two weeks before Election Day.
Trump attorney Christ Troupis argued that certification envelopes filled out by people who voted absentee in-person do not count under the law as a written application, even though the envelope is identified as such. The board of canvassers, controlled 2-1 by Democrats, voted unanimously to reject the complaint.