Hundreds of supporters of President Trump gathered outside the State Capitol in Georgia on Thursday for a ‘stop the steal’ rally for the second day in a row as the state is set to certify that Joe Biden won its 16 electoral college votes.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said on Thursday that a hand audit of ballots in the state was complete and had confirmed Biden as the winner of the November 3 election in the state.
An audit was launched after unofficial results showed Biden leading Trump by about 14,000 votes.
Trump supporters waving banners and flags rally for a ‘stop the steal’ protest outside the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday
This was the second day in a row that protesters gathered outside the State Capitol in Atlanta to allege widespread voter fraud
The rally took place just a day before Georgia is set to certify that Joe Biden won the state’s 16 electoral college votes
One rallygoer holds a sign denouncing communism in front of the State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday
Former Vice President Joe Biden (left) was ahead of President Trump (right) by some 14,000 votes, triggering a hand recount of the ballots
‘The audit confirmed that the original machine count accurately portrayed the winner of the election,’ the secretary of state’s office said in a statement on Thursday evening.
Raffensperger is expected to formally certify Biden’s victory on Friday.
Trump, who has claimed without evidence that there were widespread irregularities and fraud in states that he lost to Biden, including Georgia, can still request a recount in Georgia after the results are certified because the margin of victory was less than 0.5 percent.
Earlier on Thursday, rallygoers dressed as Uncle Sam and waved pro-Trump and American flags while demonstrating in Atlanta on Thursday.
Trump and his supporters have alleged that Biden won due to massive voter fraud though no evidence has emerged to support the charge
Rallygoers use bullhorns to address their peers during the ‘stop the steal’ demonstration in Atlanta on Thursday
A supporter of the president is seen above holding a copy of the bible outside the State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday
A Trump supporter drapes himself in an American flag during the ‘stop the steal’ rally in Atlanta on Thursday
A pro-Trump rallygoer is seen above addressing the crowd through a microphone and speakers in Atlanta on Thursday
The president on Thursday tweeted graphs suggesting improprieties in the counting of votes in Michigan
The attendees denounced the alleged ‘widespread fraud’ that resulted in Biden being declared the winner of the state.
Among those to address the crowd were Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and far-right commentator Nick Fuentes.
The protesters chanted ‘do not steal the elections,’ ‘We want Trump,’ and ‘Stop them masks.’
Another protest is scheduled for Saturday at the State Capitol in Atlanta.
Despite the allegations by Trump and his supporters, no evidence indicating a conspiracy to fix the election for Biden has been uncovered.
It was up to Raffensperger to select the race to be audited, and he said the presidential race made the most sense because of its significance and the tight margin separating the candidates.
Because of that small margin, Raffensperger said a full hand recount was necessary.
Votes that hadn’t previously been counted were found in several counties during the audit, which required recertification of the election results in those counties.
In Floyd County, more than 2,500 ballots were discovered during the audit that hadn’t previously been scanned, and the secretary of state’s office had called for the firing of the county’s chief elections clerk, Robert Brady.
The attendees denounced the alleged ‘widespread fraud’ that resulted in Biden being declared the winner of the state
Two of those who addressed the crowd included conservative organizer Ali Alexander (seen with microphone) and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio (seen with hat and sunglasses)
Rallygoers hold up pro-Trump flags and banners on the steps of the State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday
Trump and his supporters have been angry over the refusal of the Republican governor and secretary of state in Georgia to intervene in the vote count
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio addresses the crowd and gestures during the ‘stop the steal’ rally in Atlanta on Thursday
Biden shocked the political world by defeating Trump in Georgia, which has been a state that is historically friendly to Republicans
A pro-Trump rallygoer is seen left taking a selfie with Tarrio on the steps of the State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday
Tarrio is the leader of Proud Boys, an organization that has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center
Trump supporters gather for a ‘stop the steal’ rally outside the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday
A man dressed as Uncle Sam sits on top of a ladder during the ‘stop the steal’ rally in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday
Despite the allegations by Trump and his supporters, no evidence indicating a conspiracy to fix the election for Biden has been uncovered
The protesters chanted ‘do not steal the elections,’ ‘We want Trump,’ and ‘Stop them masks.’ Another protest is scheduled for Saturday at the State Capitol in Atlanta
Trump can still request a recount in Georgia after the results are certified because the margin of victory was less than 0.5 percent
The county elections board on Thursday voted to issue a written reprimand to Brady and, because it was his second written reprimand within six months, to fire him in accordance with county policy, board member Melanie Conrad said in an email.
Several other counties found memory cards with votes that hadn’t been uploaded and counted prior to the audit.
Going into the hand tally, Biden led Trump by a margin of about 14,000 votes.
The previously uncounted ballots discovered during the hand count will reduce that margin to about 12,800, election officials said.
The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia, where Biden led Trump by about 0.3 percentage points.
There is no mandatory recount law in Georgia, but state law provides that option to a trailing candidate if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points.
It is AP’s practice not to call a race that is — or is likely to become — subject to a recount.
‘It’s hard to fathom how Donald thinks’: Biden calls Trump’s plan to pry away Michigan’s electoral college votes ILLEGAL and says ‘he must know’ he has lost
President-elect Joe Biden suggested on Thursday that President Trump’s moves to try to get Michigan legislators to try to throw the state’s electoral votes his way was illegal and slammed the president’s actions as ‘hard to fathom.’
Biden measured his words and took long pauses when asked about Trump’s post-election moves – minutes after Trump’s legal team came out to allege a ‘massive’ election fraud amid efforts to get courts to toss out hundreds of thousands of votes in Philadelphia and Detroit.
‘I’m confident he knows he hasn’t won,’ Biden said. He also blasted Trump’s refusal to allow for a formal transition to begin as spelled out in a federal law on the transition period.
President-elect Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaks at The Queen theater, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
He spoke after reports that Trump plans to bring Michigan state Republican leaders to the White House, after a Wayne County canvassing board certified the results but its two Republican members then provided affidavits seeking to rescind their votes.
It pointed to a White House effort to try to get state officials to overrule the popular vote in states that voted for Biden. Biden beat Trump in Michigan by more than 150,000 votes.
The apparent effort to lean on Republican legislators followed reports earlier Thursday that Trump had phoned the two Republican officials who resisted certifying the vote in Wayne County, home to Detroit and one of the nation’s greatest concentration of black voters.
‘I just – It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks,’ Biden said. ‘It’s hard to fathom. I’m confident he knows he hasn’t won. He’s not going to win and we’re going to be sworn in January 20th.
‘I just you know, far from me to question his motive but it’s just outrageous what he’s doing,’ he said.
He called Trump the ‘most irresponsible president in American history.’
Biden, who spent decades in the Senate, regularly cites his own rule about questioning rivals’ motivations. He spoke on a day when Trump’s motives are not in much doubt: he wants to peel away states that went for Biden to try to erase his 306 vote win in the electoral college.
‘What the president’s doing now is really it’s going to,’ he said, his voice trailing off. He called it ‘another incident where he will go down in history as one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history.’
‘It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks,’ President-elect Joe Biden said of President Trump
Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, on November 19, 2020. Giuliani is alleging a massive fraud and sketched out a conspiracy involving Democratic cities, Venezuela, China, and Biden
Then he called it ‘not even within the norm at all. There’s a question whether it’s even legal.’
‘We won Michigan. It’s going to be certified,’ Biden said.
Biden also got asked about the administration’s refusal to reach a formal assessment that Biden is the winner, which would commence a formal transition with meetings between Biden’s aides and agency staff.
Biden said the administration’s refusal to meet with his team about COVID-19 and planning for distribution of a vaccine would ‘put lives at risk.’
Trump loses three cases in one day: Judges toss GOP election lawsuits in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania as president’s lawyers continue cries of voter fraud and insist he can still win
Trump and his allies lost court rulings in three states on Thursday in their effort to stop Biden from taking office, underscoring their dwindling options even as they continued to claim a viable path to victory.
In Georgia, a judge appointed by Trump denied a request by Lin Wood, a conservative lawyer, to halt certification of Biden’s victory in the state.
The lawsuit alleged Georgia election officials improperly changed the process for handling absentee ballots.
‘To halt the certification at literally the eleventh hour would breed confusion and disenfranchisement that I find have no basis in fact and law,’ said US District Judge Steven Grimberg in Atlanta during a court hearing.
Meanwhile a state judge in Arizona also tossed a Republican-backed lawsuit seeking to stop Phoenix officials from certifying Biden as the winner – and said the suit could not be reworked and brought again.
Trump and his allies lost court rulings in three states on Thursday in their effort to stop Biden from taking office, underscoring their dwindling options even as they continued to claim a viable path to victory
The trio of losses came as Trump’s legal advisers, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, drilled down on their unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and laid out what they said was a path to victory during a fiery press conference in Washington on Thursday (pictured)
And in Pennsylvania, a state judge rejected the Trump campaign’s bid to invalidate about 2,200 ballots in Bucks County, near Philadelphia, over purported defects such as missing ‘secrecy envelopes’.
The trio of losses came as Trump’s legal advisers, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, drilled down on their unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and laid out what they said was a path to victory during a fiery press conference in Washington on Thursday.
Trump’s strategy for retaining power is focused increasingly on persuading Republican legislators to intervene on his behalf in battleground states Biden won, three people familiar with the effort told Reuters.
The campaign’s efforts have become increasingly frantic following a string of defeats in the past week as more than a dozen of its cases across multiple states were denied or pulled.
The judge who handed down Georgia’s ruling on Thursday appeared to acknowledge the mounting desperation, calling the suit that Wood filed in his capacity as an average voter ‘creative’, but saying that didn’t give him a basis to sue.
Conservative attorney L Lin Wood (pictured) filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of votes in Georgia
‘There is no doubt that the right to vote, even an individual’s right to vote is sacrosanct,’ Judge Steven Grimberg in the Northern District of Georgia said. But, he added, that ‘doesn’t mean that individual voters have the right to dictate’ how their vote is counted.
Wood’s suit seeking to stop the certification of votes accused Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of harming him as a voter by agreeing to a March settlement agreement on signature matching in ballots.
Georgia’s assistant attorney general Russell Willard dismissed Wood’s claims as an attempt to ‘change the rules at the end of the game in order to alter the score’.
Willard also said that ruling in favor of Wood would result in ‘the largest disenfranchisement in Georgia since the abolition of the poll tax and the vestiges of Jim Crow’.
Judge Grimberg sided with Willard, noting how Wood waited eight months to challenge Raffensperger’s March settlement agreement until after the election was called for Biden.
‘It is well established that garden-variety election disputes do not rise to the level of a constitutional deprivation,’ the judge said.
‘The fact that the candidate or candidates that this plaintiff voted for… did not prevail in an election does not meet the legal standard of harm, much less irreparable harm.’
Georgia is set to certify that Biden won its 16 electoral college votes on Friday, after Raffensberger announced that a hand-audit of ballots had confirmed the results.
Disenfranchisement was also at the center of Thursday’s ruling in Pennsylvania, where the Trump campaign sought to exclude more than 2,000 ballots for technical reasons.
Judge Robert Baldi of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas ordered local election officials to count all of those ballots because there was no evidence of fraud.
‘It must be noted that the parties specifically stipulated in their comprehensive stipulation of facts that there exists no evidence of any fraud, misconduct, or any impropriety with respect to the challenged ballots,’ Judge Baldi wrote in his ruling.
‘There is nothing in the record and nothing alleged that would lead to the conclusion that any of the challenged ballots were submitted by someone not qualified or entitled to vote in this election.
‘At no time did Petitioners present evidence or argument to the contrary.’
In Pennsylvania, a state judge rejected the Trump campaign’s bid to invalidate about 2,200 ballots in Bucks County, near Philadelphia, over purported defects
The Trump campaign still has one federal lawsuit pending in Pennsylvania, but the judge overseeing that case expressed skepticism about the lawyers’ arguments earlier this week.
The Arizona case that was thrown out on Thursday had been filed by the state’s Republican party, which had asked Judge John Hannah to order a new audit of ballots in Maricopa County, where the majority of Arizonans live, arguing it had been conducted in a manner that violated state law.
Judge Hannah did not explain why he was denying the request but said he would issue a lengthier decision soon.
The Arizona Republican Party said in a statement that it had sought ‘judicial clarification’ of a law relating to determining a sample for a post-election audit of ballots.
The statement said the dispute should be clarified through future legislation.
The Biden campaign praised Judge Hannah’s decision, calling the lawsuit ‘frivolous and rightfully dismissed’.
‘Arizona’s election was well-run and transparent, and far-right fringes of the Arizona Republican Party should stop trying to undermine Arizonans’ faith in free and fair elections,’ said Geoff Burgan, communications director for the Biden campaign in Arizona.
MEET THE ELITE STRIKE FORCE LEGAL TEAM TRUMP IS RELYING ON
President Donald Trump’s attorneys – the group of lawyers working to overturn the election results in his favor – pegged themselves as ‘elite strike force team’ in a bizarre press conference at the Republican National Committee.
But the group of five – Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Boris Epshteyn, Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing – are more known for their engagement with conservative media, appearances on Fox News and their public advocacy for Trump rather than for winning election cases.
Here’s a look at the president’s legal team:
Rudy Giuliani: Hair apparent
He made his name in New York City as a top federal prosecutor where he battled the mob. He became a national hero on September 11th, when, as mayor, he led the city through the worst terrorist attack in American history.
But at 76, he has served as Trump’s personal lawyer for years and has fed him conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine and argued it was a Ukrainian company that had the server with Hillary Clinton’s emails.
U.S. intelligence agencies have said they believe Giuliani is a target of an influence operation from the Russian government. Giuliani is believed to have business clients with ties to the Ukraine although he has not revealed his client list.
Now he’s reported to have asked the Trump campaign for $20,000 a day to spearhead Trump’s effort to overturn the election results.
He’s told the president that his other advisers have not been telling him the truth about his chances of success in his legal battles to overturn the results of the election, The New York Times reported.
On Friday, Trump put Giuliani in charge of all election-related litigation and communications for it. That resulted Thursday’s press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters where Giuliani, with hair dye dripping down both sides of his face, spouted baseless conspiracy theories about voter fraud while praising the movie ‘My Cousin Vinny.’
Trump elevated Giuliani, a source told The Wall Street Journal, because ‘he was the only person telling the president he could win.’
Sidney Powell: Plans to unleash the Kraken
She represented Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and has been a major promoter of viral conspiracy theories about vote switching – theories she repeated on Thursday.
In her series of bizarre claims, she said Hugo Chavez (who died in 2013) was part of a group of communists from China and Venezuela helping to rig the election in Joe Biden’s favor.
She also claimed that operators of Dominion voting machines went in and injected votes for Biden while deleting votes for Trump. She has shown no proof of her claims.
She has said she will ‘release the Kraken’ when it comes to proving voter fraud – a phrase that trended on Twitter.
Trump first noticed her when she was on Fox News defending Flynn, her client. She has accused the Justice Department of prosecutorial misconduct against Flynn.
She also has alleged special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was part of a plot by the intelligence community to force President Trump from office.
Jenna Ellis: Called Trump an idiot in 2016
Ellis, a legal adviser to the Trump campaign, was reportedly part of an internal coup that put her and Giuliani in charge of the post-election legal strategy.
White House aides have expressed concern about her.
She was viewed as an uncontrollable figure inside the campaign who often provided President Trump with questionable information about alleged voter fraud.
And she appeared on television without asking for approval from campaign officials, aides told The Washington Post.
She dubbed herself ‘President-Elect Jenna Ellis’ on Twitter.
During the 2016 Republican presidential primary, she called Trump an ‘idiot,’ a ‘bully’ and agreed that he was someone intent to ‘destroy American democracy.’
Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing: Anti-Soros conspiracy theorists
The husband-and-wife legal team are panelists on Newsmax, a right-wing media outlet. They used to be regulars on Fox News until DiGenova made wild claims that much of the State Department was under the control of a well-known Jewish financier George Soros.
Trump wanted them on his legal team for his impeachment trial – he was said to be impressed with diGenova’s defense of him on Fox News – but the two were unable to join due to conflicts of interest.
They represent Ukrainian businessman Dmitri Firtash, who was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with bribery and racketeering.
They also reportedly worked with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates of Giuliani’s who were arrested on charges of campaign finance violations.
A former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, diGenova pushed the theory that lawmakers tried to frame Trump when they investigated whether his campaign colluded with Russia four years ago.
Toensing represented Scooter Libby, the assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney, when Trump pardoned him.
Boris Epshteyn: Eric Trump’s Russian-born friend
He was the Chief Political Commentator at Sinclair Broadcast Group until December 2019 when he joined President Trump’s re-election campaign.
He was born in Moscow and emigrated to the United States as a child with his parents. He met Eric Trump at Georgetown University, where Epshteyn received his law degree.
Epshteyn became a special assistant in the Trump administration when the president first took office. He wrote Trump’s controversial statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day in January 2017, which omitted any mention of the Jewish people. He later resigned from the White House in March 2017.
He also testified behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee as part of its probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
Rudy Giuliani was surrounded by a maskless group on stage including from left Sidney Powell, who is Mike Flynn’s attorney, Joseph diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing, a husband-and-wife lawyer team who have promoted conspiracy theories, and Boris Epshteyn, a Trump aide