President Donald Trump has filed a motion to join lawsuit filed by the attorney general of Texas seeking to overturn the election in four states that he lost – and his new lawyer produced a filing claiming there is something ‘deeply amiss’ in the results.
The lawyer, John Eastman, who penned an op-ed this summer doubting whether Vice President-elect Kamal Harris was eligible for office despite her being born in California.
The new legal brief with Trump’s name on it, a motion for Trump, identified as the president, ‘to intervene in his personal capacity as candidate for re-election,’ includes many of the same arguments Trump has put forward on his Twitter account – including Wednesday, when Trump tweeted no candidate has ever lost the White House while carrying Florida and Ohio.
‘The fact that nearly half of the country believes the election was stolen should come as no surprise,’ according to the filing. ‘President Trump prevailed on nearly every historical indicia of success in presidential elections. For example, he won both Florida and Ohio; no candidate in history—Republican or Democrat—has ever lost the election after winning both States.’
It also relies on statistical claims about the vote, in a race Trump has claimed was ‘rigged’ despite Joe Biden getting 7 million more votes than he did.
‘This, despite the fact that the nearly 75 million votes he received—a record for any incumbent President—was nearly 12 million more than he received in the 2016 election, also a record (in contrast to the 2012 election, in which the incumbent received 3 million fewer votes than he had four years earlier but nevertheless prevailed).’
Attorney John Eastman, who filed the motion for Trump to intervene in the Texas lawsuit, penned an op-ed this summer doubting whether Vice President-elect Kamal Harris was eligible for office despite her being born in California
‘These things just don’t normally happen, and a large percentage of the American people know that something is deeply amiss,’ according to the filing, which comes after passage of the ‘safe harbor’ deadline and after enough states certified their vote for Joe Biden to win the Electoral College.
Trump has asked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to argue the case. Cruz argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court before he was elected to the Senate. He has been a loyal Trump defender, although he also ran for president in 2016, when Trump made fun of his wife and accused his father of being part a Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory.
By way of remedy, Trump asks that the vote be thrown out and for the high court to ‘direct’ that state legislatures ‘have the authority to appoint a new set of Electors in a manner that does not violate the Electors Clause, or to appoint no Electors at all’ – which would have the result of nullifying millions of votes in the four states.
It also seeks to award costs to the plaintiff for the intervention, as well as ‘such other relief as the court deems just and proper.’
It says the high court should ‘direct the defendant States to review their election results in compliance with pre-existing state law and count only lawfully cast ballots and thereby determine who truly won the contest for President of the United States.’
Federal judges overseeing cases by Trump allies in Michigan and other states have scoffed at remedies that would wipe away millions of votes. ‘The people have spoken,’ ruled U.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker in Michigan as she dismissed a suit.
President-elect Joe Biden won 306 Electoral College votes compared to 232 for Trump, while winning 81 million votes nationwide compared to 74 million for Trump.
Amid the rush by Republicans to back Trump even after all 50 states and D.C. certified their votes, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah blasted the idea of having state legislatures overturn the will of voters.
‘It’s just simply madness. The idea of supplanting the vote of the people with partisan legislators is so completely out of our national character that it’s simply mad,’ Romney said.
‘Of course the President has the right to challenge results in court, to have recounts. But this effort to subvert the vote of the people is dangerous and destructive of the cause of democracy,’ he added.
The Electoral College meets Monday, in the next milestone toward Inauguration Day on Jan. 20th.
Trump earlier Wednesday said his administration will be joining a Hail Mary effort by the Republican attorney general in Texas to overturn the election in four battleground states carried by Joe Biden.
And seventeen state attorneys general – all Republicans and all hailing from states that Trump carried in November – are lending their names to the effort, signing a friend of the court brief filed later Wednesday.
‘Encroachments on the authority of state Legislatures by other state actors violate the separation of powers and threaten individual liberty,’ wrote the states, who are seeking to have the court step in to overturn the vote in four other states.
‘States have a strong interest in ensuring that the votes of their own citizens are not diluted by the unconstitutional administration of elections in other States,’ they write.
Signing on were the top law enforcement officers of Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
The attorneys general joined Trump’s effort at a time when House Republicans were circulating a petition to support it – the latest sign of how the president maintains his grip on the Republican Party despite losing to Joe Biden by more than 7 million votes and having just weeks left in office.
In the suit, filed late Monday in the name of the State of Texas, its attorney general Ken Paxton argues that the Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia violated the Constitution’s Elections Clause with their dramatic expansion of mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The case has already been called ‘insane’ by one University of Texas law professor, and follows a series of legal defeats for Team Trump. Paxton is himself under FBI investigation over alleged bribery and abuse of his office.
The case does not attempt to show the ‘massive’ fraud claimed by Trump and his legal team, claims which have taken a beating in state and federal courts, instead saying election changes makes it ‘undetectable.’
‘Despite the chaos of election night and the days which followed, the media has consistently proclaimed that no widespread voter fraud has been proven. But this observation misses the point. The constitutional issue is not whether voters committed fraud but whether state officials violated the law by systematically loosening the measures for ballot integrity so that fraud becomes undetectable.’
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to another case seeking to overturn the certification process in Pennsylvania by voiding its mail-in ballots. No justice registered a dissent – suggesting that the decision could have been 9-0 against Republican Mike Kelly, whose case would have also voided the presidential election result if it had succeeded.
And in Nevada late Tuesday, the state Supreme Court slapped down Trump’s bid to overturn the election unanimously, ruling he had provided no evidence of significant fraud.
Just over 12 hours later, Trump wrote on Twitter that his legal efforts continue, despite the passing of a ‘safe harbor’ deadline, and the two lawyers leading the effort – Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis – being sidelined after testing positive for the coronavirus.
‘We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!’ Trump wrote. He later tweeted ‘RIGGED ELECTION!’
It is unclear exactly how he would intervene and who ‘we’ referred to. The White House and his campaign did not comment.
‘Missouri is in the fight,’ tweeted state attorney general Eric Schmitt.
The Trump campaign could file a brief in support of Texas’ case, or the federal government could petition to be an ‘intervener’ in the case, meaning it joins it as an aggrieved party suing the four battleground states.
But that would be politically explosive and require the action of both Attorney General Bill Barr – who has said there is no evidence of wide-scale election fraud – and the Solicitor General, Jeff Wall, who would be expected to argue in front of the justices.
It is a case with a severely limited chance of success, legal observers said.
The case, filed this week, features an affidavit by Mellissa Carone, whose wild and antagonistic testimony went viral and got treated to a sketch on Saturday Night Live. It references a case filed in Michigan supported by the affidavit, and it includes her sworn statement in the appendix for the case.
Carone testified as a star witness for Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who attended a hearing in Michigan last week where her appearance went viral after she went after lawmakers and made unsupported claims. Saturday Night Live also did a sketch where they skewered her testimony.
As DailyMail.com revealed, she was recently let off probation after initially being charged with obscenity and computer crimes. She also used to work at a Sopranos-inspired strip club in Michigan called ‘Bada Bing,’ according to sources.
Despite her prolonged, unmasked contact with Giuliani, who is being treated at Georgetown University hospital for coronavirus, she told the Washington Post she does not intend to quarantine or get tested.
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would be ‘intervening’ in a long-shot case filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas to overturn the vote in four other states
Mellissa Carone, the star witness in Trump’s ‘voter fraud’ case in Michigan, used to work as a stripper at a now closed gentlemen’s club called the Bada Bing, named after The Sopranos, sources told DailyMail.com. The Texas attorney general includes her affidavit in Supreme Court suit seeking to overturn the vote in four states that went for Joe Biden
Trump called a case where Texas is suing four states that went for Joe Biden over their election laws ‘the big one’
Trump wrote after a big setback the Pennsylvania case was ‘not my case,’ while calling a Texas case filed this week ‘very strong.’ A University of Texas law professor called the case ‘insane’
Trump approvingly tweeted a link to a story by pro-Trump outlet Justthenews.com featuring her testimony. He also tweeted: ‘Melissa is great!’
She also made a series of bizarre claims to SarahPalin.com, a website that contacted her after she burst onto the scene.
She denied being drunk during her testimony. ‘This is what they do to Trump,’ she said. ‘It’s not going to work with me. I won’t back down because I am very religious and I know God is watching over me.’
Then she spoke about the origins of the virus, and tied it into voting machines that Trump lawyers have claimed were rigged in a conspiracy that involves Venezuela, Cuba, and China.
‘This started with COVID. The Obamas funded that Wuhan lab to make COVID. Then the impeachment process. They’ve used every avenue possible to cheat, they used Dominion. Dominion software was created to cheat. I have a binder from Dominion that proves this. There’s so much more that will be exposed,’ she said.
Top election lawyer Ben Ginsburg told CNN following Trump’s tweet about joining the case: ‘There’s no basis for it. I don think the Supreme Court for an instant will consider taking up this case.’
University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck called the suit ‘insane,’ quipping on Twitter: ‘It looks like we have a new leader in the ‘craziest lawsuit filed to purportedly challenge the election’ category.’
The suit charges the four battleground states that went for Joe Biden with ‘rampant lawlessness’ for their ‘unconstitutional acts,’ although the Constitution grants the states authority to conduct federal elections. Pennsylvania voted in 2019 to create no-excuse mail-in voting when the state’s Democratic governor signed bipartisan legislation.
Trump also blasted the media for its coverage of the high court’s decision not to take the Pennsylvania case.
‘This was not my case as has been so incorrectly reported. The case that everyone has been waiting for is the State’s case with Texas and numerous others joining. It is very strong, ALL CRITERIA MET. How can you have a presidency when a vast majority think the election was RIGGED?’
But the Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday was seen as a crushing blow to Trump’s efforts.
Within minutes of the justices’ ruling, Trump’s campaign blasted a text appeal to supporters effectively admitting defeat in the courts and saying: ‘Everything Pres. Trump has achieved is on the line on Jan 5’ – the day before Congress meets to certify the Electoral College’s result.
That is now Trump’s last chance to overturn the election result, by somehow persuading Congress to void Biden’s victory in enough states to cut his Electoral College total to under 270, making it up to the House to decide on who is president. If the House gets to decide, each state delegation gets one vote, and Republicans have a majority in 26 state delegations – which Trump appears to think would mean him being made president.
The blow from the Supreme Court means that its 6-3 conservative majority, with three Trump judges on the bench, has – so far – refused to help him.
The rebuke came shortly before the House ignored a veto threat by Trump and voted overwhelmingly to pass a Defense bill. Trump was demanding change to a communication law and objecting to a provision on renaming military bases named after Confederate officers. The $741 billion bill passed on a bipartisan 335-78 vote.
How the Trump ‘campaign’ reacted: January 5 is the day before Congress meets to certify the Electoral College result and therefore Joe Biden’s victory. The SCOTUS ruling means Trump has effectively abandoned hope of conservative justices coming to his aid
Pennsylvania reaction: Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, slammed the suit as a ‘circus’
Wisconsin reaction: Josh Kaul, the state’s attorney general, compared its chances in court to Texas’ in the Ice Bowl
The case turned down by the justices was the only one to even make it to them. Justice Samuel Alito, who is responsible for Pennsylvania’s federal courts, had moved up a deadline for submissions by a day, a move which apparently brought hope to the president and his supporters.
But it meant that the justices slapped it down on the day of ‘safe harbor’ when all state election litigation must be concluded.
That means that Trump and his Republican and legal allies, including COVID-stricken Rudy Giulaini and Jenna Ellis and conspiracy theorists Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood failed to change a single state’s result or win all but a single case which affected less than 2,000 votes.
It also means that when the Electoral College meets next week it will certify Biden’s win – leaving the January 6 Congressional session Trump’s only hope.
By targeting the four swing states, Paxton’s lawsuit aims to either get their Republican-majority state representatives to appoint electors to the Electoral College, flipping its majority to Trump, or invalidate their electors entirely, reducing Biden’s electoral college majority under 270 and handing the decision on the presidency to the House of Representatives.
The Supreme Court does not have to take up the case and could simply ignore it. The attorneys general of Michigan and Wisconsin – both Democrats – mocked the legal bid and accused Paxton of running a ‘circus.’
Paxton claims that the four states acted against their own constitutions to make voting easier in the pandemic, and that this hurt the voters of Texas by violating the federal constitution’s equal protection clause.
‘Whether well-intentioned or not, these unconstitutional acts had the same uniform effect—they made the 2020 election less secure in the Defendant States,’ according to the suit.
‘Those changes are inconsistent with relevant state laws and were made by non-legislative entities, without any consent by the state legislatures. The acts of these officials thus directly violated the Constitution.’
Trump retweeted demands that other Republican states join the suit and a list of when their state attorneys generals’ terms are up – implying that they should face primaries if they do not join in.
The suit claims that the four states should be ordered by the justices to pass the power of picking the Electoral College electors back to the legislatures, under Article 1 of the Constitution.
The Constitution’s Elections Clause in Article 1 states that the ‘Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof’ – establishing each state’s role in running its elections.
This is why some states allowed for universal mail-in voting years ago and some took a different course.
But the suit claims the four swing states ‘flooded their citizenry with tens of millions of ballot applications and ballots in derogation of statutory controls as to how they are lawfully received, evaluated, and counted.’
It calls out ‘non-legislative changes to the Defendant States’ election laws’ through state courts and election officials.
The suit asks the Supreme Court to delay the December 14 meting of the Electoral College to allow for investigations. It accused the states of ‘rampant lawlessness’ and trying to ‘usurp’ powers from their legislatures.
The suit seeks to remand the appointment of electors to the states’ legislatures – which are all Republican-run – for appointment by the legislators rather than the popular vote that occurred.
It explicitly says that if that does not happen, the Texas AG wants the election to be thrown to the House on January 6. Each state delegation gets one vote, which would put Republicans in the majority if there was a vote.
The Texas suit claims ‘rampant lawlessness’ and cites some of the same claims that have either been debunked or thrown out of court already.
For example, it cites ‘suitcases full of ballots being pulled out from underneath tables after poll watchers were told to leave’ in Georgia, although an official from the Republican Secretary of State’s office in Georgia provided an affidavit to say that there was no wrongdoing.
‘Our investigation and review of the entire security footage revealed that there were no mystery ballots that were brought in from an unknown location and hidden under tables as has been reported by some,’ investigator Frances Watson wrote.
Texas itself allows mail-in voting, but sets out categories and requires a reason: travel, being over 65, incarcerated, or with a disability.
Pennsylvania’s legislature voted in 2019 to create no-excuse mail-in voting, before the pandemic. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed the legislation, which was passed on a bipartisan basis.
The plea to the Supreme Court comes despite judges having been among the harshest critics of the legal arguments put forth by Trump’s legal team, often dismissing them with scathing language of repudiation.
This has been true whether the judge has been appointed by a Democrat or a Republican, including those named by Trump himself.
The judicial rulings that have rejected Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud have underscored not only the futility of the lame-duck president’s attempt to sabotage the people’s will but also the role of the courts in checking his unprecedented efforts to stay in power.
The rebukes have not stopped the litigation.
Even in the face of these losses in court, Trump has contended that, in fact, he won the election.
And he’s moved out of the courts to directly appeal to lawmakers as his losses mount. He brought Michigan lawmakers to the White House in a failed bid to set aside the vote tally, and phoned Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, asking him to order a special legislative session to overturn the states results. Kemp refused.
And Trump tweeted in all caps, ‘I WON THE ELECTION, BIG.’
While that is not the case, what is true is that Trump is rapidly running out of legal runway.
Out of roughly 50 lawsuits filed, more than 35 have been dropped or dismissed.
A great deal of the lawsuits highlight a lack of understanding of how elections actually work.
In Georgia, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten, appointed by President George W. Bush, dismissed a lawsuit filed by Powell, who was dropped from the Trump legal team a few weeks ago but has still continued to spread faulty election claims.
Powell’s lawsuit claimed widespread fraud meant to illegally manipulate the vote count in favor of Biden. The suit said the scheme was carried out in different ways, including ballot stuffing, votes flipped by the election system from Trump to Biden and problems with absentee ballots. The judge summarily rejected those claims.
Batten said the lawsuit sought ‘perhaps the most extraordinary relief ever sought in any federal court in connection with an election.’
He said the lawsuit sought to ignore the will of voters in Georgia, which certified the state for Biden again Monday after three vote counts.
‘They want this court to substitute its judgment for that of two-and-a-half million Georgia voters who voted for Joe Biden and this I am unwilling to do,’ Batten said.
Much like Trump, his lawyers try to blame the political leanings of the judge after their legal arguments are flayed.
When a federal appeals panel in Philadelphia rejected Trump´s election challenge just five days after it reached the court, Trump legal advisor Jenna Ellis – who was revealed Tuesday to have COVID – called their work a product of ‘the activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania.’
But Trump appointed the judge who wrote the Nov. 27 opinion.
‘Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,’ Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote as the 3rd U.S. Circuit panel refused to stop the state from certifying its results for Democrat Joe Biden, a demand he called ‘breathtaking.’
All three of the panel members were appointed by Republican presidents.
And they were upholding the decision of a fourth Republican, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, a conservative jurist and Federalist Society member. Brann had called the campaign’s legal case, which was argued in court by Rudy Giuliani, a ‘haphazard’ jumble that resembled ‘Frankenstein´s monster.’
In state courts, too, the lawsuits have failed. In Arizona on Friday, Judge Randall Warner, an independent appointed in 2007 by Democratic former Gov. Janet Napolitano, threw out a bid to undo Biden’s victory.
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward challenged of ballots in metro Phoenix that were duplicated because voters´ earlier ballots were damaged or could not be run through tabulators.
Warner wrote: ‘There is no evidence that the inaccuracies were intentional or part of a fraudulent scheme. They were mistakes. And given both the small number of duplicate ballots and the low error rate, the evidence does not show any impact on the outcome.’
In Nevada on Friday, Judge James Todd Russell in Carson City ruled that attorneys for Republican electors failed to provide clear or convincing evidence of fraud or illegality.
Nevada judges are nonpartisan. But Russell’s father was a Republican governor of the state from 1951-59.
Trump has clashed repeatedly with the court this year, after suffering some high-profile disappointments despite the court’s 6-3 conservative bent.
In June the court ruled against his administration’s decision to end DACA, in a blistering opinion that called the administration’s action ‘arbitrary and capricious.’ That led to a federal judge last week ordering the administration to begin accepting new applications.
Trump raged on Twitter it was ”NOT FAIR!’ after the 7-2 ruling.
Trump also called out Chief Justice John Roberts over the summer, after he joined with liberals in key rulings. ”Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!’ he complained.
Roberts also joined Trump appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch in applying non-discrimination laws to LGBT employees. Roberts also ruled the president should be subject to grand jury subpoenas – a matter close to Trump’s interest as he is pursued by prosecutors in New York and lawmakers seeking his tax return information.
Trump could hope he might do better after the installation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett – his third pick to the court and the sixth member of the conservative majority.
He spoke about the potential that the high court might decide the election even before she was confirmed just weeks before the election, in a move that Democrats warned could be part of a plan to decide the race from the bench.
Trump retweeted a bizarre tweet Tuesday from ‘Major Patriot’ that featured Barrett with beaming eyes.
‘They got caught because we were leading by so much more than they ever thought possible. Late night ballot ‘dumps’ went crazy!’ Trump wrote.
The user wrote: ‘The wheels are coming off. Trump’s inspired massive MAGA tsunami turnout forced them to cheat so big they lost their minds in a fraud frenzy. Their Unconstitutional legal moves alone are dooming them.’
Twitter flagged it for ‘disputed’ claims of election fraud. The user had posted a variety of conspiracy theories.