Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage - exit, what wxit?

Postby Meno_ » Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:23 am

Trump's ridiculous exit strategy
Opinion by Michael D'Antonio


Editor's Note: (Michael D'Antonio is the author of the book "Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success" and co-author, with Peter Eisner, of the book "High Crimes: The Corruption, Impunity, and Impeachment of Donald Trump."

Donald Trump lost. The calmer people around him -- including his daughter -- are looking for new places to live, and work, and, let's face it, recover. Others are stamping their feet -- No! -- right along with the boss. A lawyer advises challenging the election result in the courts -- again. A retired general says call out the troops. There's screaming and accusations. Trump wonders about appointing a special counsel to investigate his 7 million-vote defeat.

Michael D'Antonio

Behold the crackpot presidency nearing its end.

After years of conspiracy theories, lies, and rage, the President seems to be turning the Oval Office into a stage set for the final scenes of a Biblical quality drama -- and more specifically, the tale of the super-strong Israelite warrior Samson, who declared "Let me die with the Philistines!" and in toppling the temple, died along with his enemies.


Though born to enormous wealth and cosseted in luxury, Trump has often talked as if he views his life as a battle for survival. Those who refuse to give him what he wants -- governors, lawmakers, journalists etc. -- become enemies. In the final days of his presidency, the enemies are united by the election outcome and the Constitution on their side. The President seems to be turning the White House into a temple of paranoia.

The People's House has been home to some of the greatest leaders of modern times. The Oval Office is where presidents have worked to serve and save the union. If any Oval Office sessions have marked a deviation from the norm, Trump's Friday conference with attorney Sydney Powell and retired Lt. General Mike Flynn must rank near the top, along with the time Richard Nixon and Elvis trashed-talked the Beatles and the President gave Presley an FBI badge.

At Trump's Friday meeting, lawyer Sydney Powell, once part of the legal cadre that failed to overturn the election with dozens of court challenges, arrived with her client Mike Flynn. A retired lieutenant general who pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI, Flynn was pardoned by the President last month. Perhaps it is out of gratitude for this gift that Flynn has been talking about Trump using martial law to, "basically rerun an election," in key states where subsequent Trump wins would give him a second term. Although Flynn has justified this action by claiming rampant election fraud in those states, no such fraud has been found.

Why Trump should resign today
Why Trump should resign today
Hardly a stickler for evidence and facts, Trump reportedly asked about Flynn's martial law idea. The New York Times also reported that Trump entertained Powell's talk of resuming a legal campaign to assert election fraud despite the fact that more than 50 court filings in this effort have been rejected. Even the President's allies on Fox News have, under pressure, publicly debunked one of the most serious allegations of fraud which they themselves promoted.

Nevertheless, there was Powell in the Oval Office brandishing affidavits alleging fraud. President Trump asked whether Powell could get a security clearance to help her in her effort to overturn the election through the courts. He also asked about naming her to a special counsel position, in order to carry out this work.

Trump's fixation on court challenges, even as the Electoral College affirmed President-elect Joe Biden's victory last week, aligns with a litigious streak that he has shown for decades. As USA Today noted in 2016, businessman Trump used lawsuits as tools of his trade and to distance himself from failures. When the paper examined his record, they found more than 3,500 cases. Notably, he was the plaintiff -- the one initiating legal combat -- in the majority of them.

Although Powell's legal pugnacity apparently appealed to the President, he heard some vigorous pushback from White House advisers who were also in the Oval Office. Counsel Pat A. Cipollone and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were among those who raised serious objections. Powell and Flynn accused others of abandoning Trump, CNN reported, and the meeting intermittently devolved into screaming matches. "It was heated," one source told CNN. "People were really fighting it out in the Oval, really forceful about it."

Having seen Trump rant and rave on the campaign trail and knowing his tendency toward conspiracy theories and drama, it isn't hard to imagine the man indulging or even orchestrating Friday's Oval Office craziness. It's reassuring to know some around him will intervene before he brings the temple down, but frightening to consider Trump may share Samson's willingness to bring everything down on himself in order to destroy his enemies.

Among the many difference between Trump and Samson is that the Bible shows Samson's enemies were real. While Trump does have many real enemies, in the case of election fraud, they are imagined. Also, Samson didn't injure his countrymen in his act of destruction. Trump threatens damage to the majority of voters, who though they chose Biden, are among those he was elected to serve.

Trump isn't Samson. America isn't a Philistine temple. Thank God there are still people around the President who resist the ridiculous drama.


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WHITE HOUSE

Biden called Trump 'Putin's puppy.' The president-elect may put Moscow on a tighter leash.
The incoming president is expected to quickly draw a contrast with Trump's coddling of Russia.




Dec. 22, 2020, 6:00 AM ES

WASHINGTON — When a Russian spy who defected was fatally poisoned nearly 15 years ago, blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin from his deathbed, Joe Biden warned that the United States had been giving Putin "a bye" for far too long.

"I'm not a big fan of Putin's," Biden, then the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in 2006. "I think we should have a direct confrontation with Putin politically about the need for him to change his course of action."


Putin didn't alter his course.

Since then, Russia's confrontations with the West have grown only more overt. And now, what is believed to be the Kremlin's sweeping cyber hack of U.S. government agencies puts Biden on a high-stakes collision course with Putin when he becomes president next month.

But unlike when President Donald Trump entered the White House, after Putin's interference in the 2016 election, Biden takes office after more than two decades of failed U.S. attempts to forge a cooperative relationship with Moscow.

"Russia is way more powerful today than it was 20 years ago, and it's way more powerful today than it was four years ago," said Michael McFaul, who was U.S. ambassador to Russia during President Barack Obama's first term. "It's a much more immediate threat that we continue to underestimate."


Biden has no plans to try to forge a close relationship with Putin, as Trump attempted. And his administration's Russia policy won't be complicated, as Trump's was, by an investigation into whether he or his allies had nefarious links to Moscow.


Instead, Biden is expected to quickly work to draw a contrast with Trump's handling of Russia, including renewed scrutiny of reports of bounties offered to extremists in Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops. The U.S. commander overseeing the region has said the allegations haven't been fully corroborated by intelligence, but the utter lack of concern from Trump about even the possibility has incensed Democrats and some Republicans.

"Donald Trump's entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale," Biden tweeted in June. Addressing the issue during the first presidential debate, Biden called Trump "Putin's puppy."

Biden is also likely to slap new sanctions on Russia for election meddling and human rights violations, although it's unclear how much further he can turn the screw given that Moscow is already under intense U.S. sanctions that have isolated it from the American financial system.

After Biden won the election, it took Putin more than a month to congratulate him, in a Kremlin statement wishing him "every success." Just months earlier, when Biden was the Democratic nominee, Putin had chastised him publicly for "quite sharp anti-Russian rhetoric." Biden has said responding to the recent cyber breach will be a "top priority" when he takes office, although he didn't call out Russia by name.

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Indeed, the Russian government sees Biden as an adversary. The mistrust is mutual, and it has been for decades. Asked in 2001 by Tim Russert, then the moderator of NBC News' "Meet the Press," whether he believed Putin was trustworthy, Biden didn't demur.

"The answer is no, I don't," he said.

Over the years, including his decades in the Senate, Biden often promoted the cautious pursuit of better relations with Russia while warning against letting Moscow exploit the veneer of high-level diplomacy with the U.S. to elevate itself as a major power or legitimize the consolidation of power under Putin.

During President George W. Bush's administration, Biden emerged as one of the more vocal critics of the U.S. approach to Russia, even joining in 2007 with the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar of Indiana, to warn that the Bush administration was getting caught flat-footed as relations with Moscow deteriorated — and pointing to limiting Iran's nuclear cooperation as an opportunity for Russia to work more constructively with the West.

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Biden's only known run-in with Putin came in March 2011, when Putin was prime minister, and Biden, then the vice president, visited Moscow for a meeting on redeploying missile defense launchers in Poland and Romania. Biden, unsure before the meeting what to expect, would later write in his autobiography that Putin was "ice-cold calm throughout, but argumentative from start to finish."

For two hours, they sat together in Putin's office in the Russian White House, including a 15-minute side chat during which aides left the room while they spoke privately.

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When reporters were allowed in briefly for the start of their meeting, which took place between Russian and American flags under a pair of ostentatious crystal chandeliers, Putin pitched Biden on a visa-free system that would let Russians and Americans travel back and forth unimpeded. Biden responded with a word of caution that seemed to foreshadow the position he's now poised to take.

"In case you haven't noticed, there's a real difference between being president and vice president," Biden told Putin.

Biden later recalled having riffed off of Bush, who famously told Putin that when he looked into his eyes, he could see Putin's soul.

"'Mr. Prime Minister, I'm looking into your eyes,' I told him, smiling. 'I don't think you have a soul,'" Biden told Putin, according to his book.

Biden wrote: "He looked at me for a second and smiled back. 'We understand each other,' he said. And we did."

There is a long history of U.S. presidents taking office hoping, and perhaps even believing, that they were the ones who could finally chart a new course with Russia and turn the page on the lingering enmities from the Cold War.

Before Trump pursued that strategy, Obama tried it. And while Obama ultimately downplayed Russia as a "regional power" acting out from a place of weakness, his run-ins with Putin became so highly anticipated that they hung over every major summit the two leaders attended, often overshadowing the bigger agenda the U.S. administration had hoped to set.

McFaul said he sees continuity in the U.S.'s Russia policy from the Bush administration to the Obama administration to the Trump administration in three areas — strengthening NATO, sanctioning Russia and aiding Ukraine. That view is often challenged by Democrats who say Trump hasn't been as tough on Russia as he should have been and that his agreeable rhetoric toward Putin has undermined his administration's policies.

"Biden will not seek to befriend Putin," said McFaul, who participated in Biden's meeting with Putin in 2011 and recalled that "it was contentious." Afterward, Biden met with democracy and human rights advocates, which McFaul said not everyone in the Obama administration supported.

If there's one obvious possibility for guarded cooperation between Biden and Putin, it may be pursuing an extension to the expiring New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear arms agreement between Moscow and Washington.

Putin and Biden have signaled clear interest in renewing it, although there is disagreement in the U.S. about how long to extend it, and the countries have already been trading blame for why discussions to extend it haven't succeeded.

As he addressed the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018, two years after he left the White House, Biden gave voice to that cautious optimism about the prospect of less contentious relations despite the lack of trust. He predicted that Russia's dire long-term economic situation might produce enough of an incentive for Putin to change course.

"I haven't given up hope. I'm not naïve about it," Biden said. "As you've noticed, I've been a very strident voice in my — the last administration about Putin and Russia, as I am now. But that doesn't mean that this is a fait accompli, that this is the way things are going to be."


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Re: Trump enters the stage - play over?

Postby Meno_ » Thu Dec 24, 2020 9:55 pm

"POLITICS DEC. 23, 2020

Pence Should Remove Trump From Office on Sunday




In what are supposed to be the final days of his presidency, Donald Trump has been discussing invoking martial law to overturn the results of the 2020 election and seizing supposedly fraudulent voting machines that — according to a wild conspiracy theory being pushed by people Trump invited to the Oval Office to discuss the matter — were used to rob him of a second term.

This is merely the most extreme example, so far, of Trump’s post-election behavior, which grows more erratic and dangerous to our democracy by the day. There is a way to stop him, though.


More than 50 years ago, the framers of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution foresaw the possibility of a president’s behavior becoming so unstable that it would prove necessary to have some constitutional mechanism to remove him immediately from office. Section Four of that amendment provides a process for doing so: If the vice-president and the majority of the Cabinet decide that, for whatever reason, the president has become unfit to carry out the powers and duties of the office and they transmit a letter to Congress to that effect, then the vice-president becomes the acting president and remains so unless and until Congress refuses to allow that transfer of power to stand.

Legal scholars who have studied the drafting and adoption of the 25th Amendment recognize that its framers intentionally drafted it to allow Section Four to be used to address a wide range of potential situations — very much including the sorts of circumstances in which the nation finds itself today. While it is true that the amendment was created to deal with non-controversial instances of presidential unfitness, such as a president falling into a coma or being kidnapped, Section Four was made part of the amendment to deal with controversial cases as well: specifically with instances where the president’s unfitness to hold office was contested by the president himself.

Those who drafted and ratified the amendment made clear at the time that they were quite consciously employing general and open-ended language in the amendment’s text, rather than trying to define what circumstances would warrant the use of Section Four, because they concluded wisely that it would be vain to try to anticipate in advance all the circumstances that would require removing a president.

Members of the administration reportedly discussed the possibility of invoking the amendment in the early days of Trump’s presidency, but that possibility has been dismissed as purely theoretical, especially given one obvious problem: To do so, two-thirds of each house of Congress would have to vote to allow the vice-president to continue in the position of acting president. But as we reach the final days of the Trump presidency, this obstacle is about to be removed. The mechanics of the amendment allow the vice-president to remain in the position of acting president for a minimum of 25 days, as long as a simple majority of at least one chamber of Congress is willing to cooperate.

It may seem extremely unlikely that Mike Pence, who up to this point has been one of Trump’s most craven enablers, would even consider taking advantage of this constitutional power. But it’s always possible that, between now and January 20 when Trump’s term expires, the situation may become so extreme that he and eight other Cabinet members may find the modicum of personal courage and moral decency necessary to do the right thing.

Trump would put up a fight, but it wouldn’t matter this late in his presidency. Once Pence has transmitted the letter to Congress that makes him acting president, Trump may contest the vice-president’s actions via a letter of his own. Section Four, however, would give Pence four days to respond to this letter. After Pence did so, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives could — by simple majority vote — decline to act on the substantive dispute for the remaining 21 days. (Meanwhile, Democrats could filibuster any action in the Senate.) Were it not the end of his term, Trump would return to office after 21 days if Congress failed to act.

This, in effect, means that Pence could become acting president on Sunday, December 27, and would remain in the position for the rest of the current administration’s term in office, as long as House Democrats acceded to the new status quo. For the good of the nation, he should do so this weekend.


INTELLIGENCER

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Re: Trump enters the stage - backstage banter

Postby Meno_ » Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:39 am

TheGrio

Military on alert over Trump’s martial law threat: ‘The craziness is unprecedented’

December 24, 2020, 3:02 pm

According to a new report, ranking officers have discussed what they would do if the president declared martial law.

President Donald Trump has filed lawsuits after losing the 2020 presidential election and refuses to acknowledge the defeat. A new report claims military leaders have discussed their plan of action if POTUS were to declare martial law toward the last days of his term.




According to the Washington Post, national security and election law experts assert Trump cannot declare martial law, however are alarmed by the possibility.

“This is really dangerous stuff to start playing with,” Rachel Kleinfeld, a national security expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told the Post. “You cannot normalize extrajudicial action outside the rule of law and believe democracy will hold. Democracies are fragile, even ours.”

“If you have martial law,” Kleinfeld continued. “You have total suspension of the Constitution. So that’s a coup, and a coup in this country is not going to happen.”

President Donald Trump departs on the South Lawn of the White House, on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to the Army versus Navy Football Game at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)
Although experts do not believe the unprecedented move is possible, a report claims the military is still preparing for the unknown. According to a Newsweek exclusive story, the Pentagon is on red alert and ranking officers have discussed what they would do if the president decided to declare martial law. One officer anonymously detailed the nature of the planning.

“I’ve been associated with the military for over 40 years and I’ve never seen the discussions that are being had right now, the need for such discussions,” the unidentified source said.

Another officer echoed similar sentiments to Newsweek.

“At this point, there’s no telling what the president might do in the next month,” said a former Northern Command (NORTHCOM) commander, who, according to the outlet is actively advising senior officers. “Though I’m confident that the uniformed military leadership has their heads screwed on right, the craziness is unprecedented and the possibilities are endless.”

While still in office, Trump has issued several dozen pardons. As theGrio reported in the past week, POTUS has issued 49 pardons and clemencies to his allies. Among those pardoned include former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and campaign adviser George Papadopoulos."

Despite the Supreme Court dismissing Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the election in four states, he insisted “It’s not over,” according to theGrio.

“This wasn’t like a close election,” Trump said. “You look at Georgia. We won Georgia big. We won Pennsylvania big. We won Wisconsin big. We won it big.”

Read More: New York AG subpoenas pro-Trump provocateurs in voter suppression plot

Various defense leaders from the Pentagon informed Newsweek that the military has no role to play in the outcome of the election.





The post Military on alert over Trump’s martial law threat: ‘The craziness is unprecedented’ appeared first on
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Devastating set up

Postby Meno_ » Sun Dec 27, 2020 5:35 am

'Devastating consequences': Biden blasts Trump for not signing COVID relief bill before unemployment aid lapses
SARAH ELBESHBISHI | USA TODAY | 4 hours ago


On Christmas Eve, House Democrats urged US President Donald Trump to sign a long-overdue COVID-19 relief bill after House Republicans blocked Trump's longshot demand of increasing direct payments to Americans from $600 to $2,000. (Dec. 24)
AP
Amid a flurry of tweets criticizing everything from the Supreme Court to the Department of Justice, President Donald Trump again aired his displeasure of the COVID relief package, pushing for a $1,400 increase over what Republican and Democratic leaders had negotiated and leaving the status of the bill uncertain as unemployment benefits for million are set to expire.


"I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill," Trump tweeted Saturday morning. "Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork’."

President-elect Joe Biden sharply criticized Trump’s refusal to sign the bipartisan stimulus bill, calling it an "abdication of responsibility" with "devastating consequences," in a statement on Saturday.

"It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority," Biden said.

As Trump's criticisms have thrown the future of the relief bill in doubt, temporary unemployment benefits approved in response to the pandemic expire on midnight Saturday, threatening a lapse in aid. If the president doesn't sign the new relief bill by the end of the day Saturday, states won't be able to make those benefits available again for a full week, effectively cutting the aid extension from 11 to 10 weeks.

Biden blasted Trump for allowing the benefits to expire.

"This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences. Today, about 10 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance benefits" Biden said. "In just a few days, government funding will expire, putting vital services and paychecks for military personnel at risk. In less than a week, a moratorium on evictions expires, putting millions at risk of being forced from their homes over the holidays."

Lauren Bauer, a fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, has calculated that 11 million people would lose aid from the programs immediately without additional relief; millions more would exhaust other unemployment benefits within weeks.

Andrew Stettner, an unemployment insurance expert and senior fellow at the Century Foundation think tank, said the number may be closer to 14 million because joblessness has spiked since Thanksgiving.

While payments could be received retroactively, any gap means more hardship and uncertainty for Americans who have already grappled with bureaucratic delays, often depleting much of their savings to stay afloat while waiting for payments to kick in.

They are people like Earl McCarthy, a father of four who lives in South Fulton, Georgia, and has been relying on unemployment since losing his job as a sales representative for a luxury senior living community. He said he will be left with no income by the second week of January if Trump fails to sign the bill.

McCarthy said he already burned through much of his savings as he waited five months to begin receiving his unemployment benefits. After leaving weekly messages with the unemployment agency, McCarthy reached out to the South Fulton mayor’s office, then to his state legislative representative to ask for help. He finally started getting payments in November.

"For me, I shudder to think if I had not saved anything or had an emergency fund through those five months, where would we have been?" he said. "It’s going to be difficult if the president doesn’t sign this bill."

The bill awaiting Trump’s signature would also activate a weekly $300 federal supplement to unemployment payments.

Trump first denounced the $900 billion relief package on Tuesday, calling it a "disgrace" in a video posted on Twitter.

"It's called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID," Trump said in the video. "I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple."

More: Donald Trump demands bigger stimulus checks in $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress

I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars in “pork”.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
December 26, 2020

The $600 direct payments were one of the compromises Republicans and Democrats struck as they negotiated the contents of the relief package, with most Democrats wanting higher payments like the $1,200 payments Americans were given as a part of the last major stimulus bill.

GOP leaders were also assured by the White House that the president would support the bipartisan legislation, including the $600 direct payments Republicans agreed to.

Trump’s refusal to sign this bill further delays the first COVID relief in months of Congress repeatedly failed to come together on another stimulus package even as many of the measures and aid began to expire.

More: Trump pardons Papadopoulos and former Republican members of Congress in raft of clemency grants

Trump also tweeted about the direct payments on Christmas, asking why politicians wouldn’t want to give Americans $2000.

"Made many calls and had meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida," Trump said after a round of golf on Friday. "Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!”

Made many calls and had meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida. Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 25, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a rare moment of agreement with the president, tweeted, "at last, the President has agreed to $2,000 – Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!"

House Republicans blocked Democrats' attempt to raise the direct payment from $600 to $2000 by unanimous consent on Thursday.. Now, the fate of the direct payments, along with the rest of the package, remains uncertain until at least next week when Congress is back in session.

More: $2,000 stimulus checks in limbo as Congress unable to agree on COVID relief payments

In addition to wanting to increase the direct payments, Trump called on Congress to "get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation, and to send me a suitable bill," in his Tuesday video.

In that same video shared on Twitter, Trump not only suggested he wouldn’t sign the bipartisan stimulus package, but that he might veto the $1.4 trillion spending bill attached to the relief bill if the direct payments aren’t increased.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been trying to salvage the year-end legislation to try to prevent a shutdown.

Democrats will call House lawmakers back to Washington for a vote Monday on Trump’s $2,000 proposal, though it would probably die in the Republican-controlled Senate. They are also considering a vote Monday on a stop-gap measure at least to avert a federal shutdown and keep the government running until Biden is inaugurated Jan. 20.







© Copyright Gannett 2020



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POLITICO

WHITE HOUSE

Trump rails at Justice Dept., Supreme Court as stimulus bill deadline nears
The president took aim at the FBI and DOJ for not pursuing baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.




On the day millions of Americans left unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic prepare to lose benefits, President Donald Trump publicly aired his grievances with federal law enforcement agencies and the Supreme Court.

In a tweetstorm beginning early Saturday morning, Trump railed against the the Department of Justice and U.S. attorney John Durham for failing to produce a report that exposed wrongdoing in the FBI's Russia probe.



“Where the hell is the Durham Report? They spied on my campaign, colluded with Russia (and others), and got caught,” Trump tweeted without providing any evidence to back his claims.


The president then took aim at the FBI and DOJ for not pursuing baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, saying the agencies “should be ashamed” for the lack of action against what he deemed “the biggest SCAM” in U.S. history.

Attorney General Bill Barr, who appointed Durham as a special counsel to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation, left the Justice Dept. on Wednesday after falling out of favor with Trump for not supporting the president’s claims of widespread voter fraud or releasing Durham’s report before the November election.

Trump also took aim at the Supreme Court, calling it "totally incompetent and weak" and again questioning why it wouldn't hear a suit filed by Texas claiming election fraud, effectively ending legal challenges to the electoral process.

“See everyone in D.C. on January 6th,” Trump added, alluding to the date when some of his most ardent supporters in the House prepare to mount a long-shot challenge to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win while Congress counts the Electoral College votes. In a previous tweet, he accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans of having "NO FIGHT!"


Later Saturday, Trump continued to urge Republican senators to challenge the Electoral College vote counts, citing a litany of disproved claims about election fraud.

Meanwhile, the future of a roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief package, which would provide millions of households with direct payments and enhanced federal unemployment benefits, remains in question over the president's objections.

Trump threatened to veto the relief on Tuesday if Congress didn’t increase the size of stimulus checks and gut provisions that he considered wasteful — a position he didn’t appear to back down from on Saturday.


“I simply want to get out great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars in 'pork,'” Trump said.





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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:07 pm

top intelligence brass came out to say that there is credible worry that Trump's last resort will be to wag some international dog in a big way.

Confirmation of this is patently obvious by the department of defense's dragging their feet to accommodate transition, by sharing top secret national security issues with the Biden team.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - In. China a small fraction deat

Postby Meno_ » Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:12 pm

"CORONAVIRUS

One year since coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, Americans there look home
"I would be very afraid if I were living in the States," Benjamin Wilson, an American who has lived in Wuhan for almost two decades, said.

1 year after Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, new questions emerge


WUHAN, China — Benjamin Wilson, a Louisiana native who lives in the Chinese city where the Covid-19 virus was first identified a year ago, is watching the unfolding crisis back home with disappointment.

"I would be very afraid if I were living in the States," said Wilson, who has lived in Wuhan, the sprawling capital of Hubei province, for almost two decades. "I didn't really think that I would be where I'm at now, worried more about my family than myself."


The contrast between his homeland and his adopted home is stark, the English teacher said. Although he endured more than 70 days of strict lockdown, that at times made him feel almost "imprisoned," being shuttered indoors was a sacrifice that has paid off, he said.

Now, Wuhan is "one of the safest places in the world," he added.



More than 338,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States so far, more than anywhere else in the world and more Americans than were killed in battle during World War II, according to data from the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

While many health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have warned the outbreak in the U.S. is only set to get worse.


President Donald Trump's government has been criticized for bungling the response to the public health crisis that has defined 2020. Trump held mask-free gatherings, appeared to promote unproven virus treatments, and later tested positive himself.

Trump has maintained that he took early steps to stem the spread of the virus, including barring entry to some foreigners, among them those travelling from China. Despite this, America remains out front with both the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths on the planet.



NEWS

Chinese woman jailed for four years for accounts from Wuhan as pandemic began
Wuhan, meanwhile, mass tested its entire population of 11 million in June and has recently begun vaccinating key groups in the city, according to state media.

In China overall, a country of some 1.4 billion people, the government says the virus has killed over 4,600 people, the majority in Wuhan — although experts say the statistics should be treated with caution.


Earlier this week, a national study of blood anti-bodies showed that more than 4 percent of Wuhan's 11 million people may have been exposed to the coronavirus — 10 times the number recorded officially by mid-April.

It's undeniable, however, that the virus has exacted a much more devastating toll on America.

Epidemic 'well handled'
One year later, Wuhan's streets are humming with activity. A new exhibition filled with photos and interactive displays that pay tribute to how Wuhan fought the virus has attracted thousands of visitors.

Meanwhile, residents say they have government authorities to thank for the return of quotidian life.

People wearing protective masks walk through a street market almost a year after the start of the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.Aly Song / Reuters
"Now that the epidemic has been well-handled, our lives gradually are getting back on the normal track," a retiree, Yang Xiuhua, 67, told NBC News.

China funneled national resources and expertise into the city, mobilizing nearly 43,000 medical staff from January to March, according to the state-owned Global Times, in the country's largest medical support operation since 1949.

But the specter of the virus still looms in Wuhan. Li Chuanbi, 70, said that while he can now exercise in the park and meet with friends, he remains cautious.

"It'd be a lie if I tell you I'm not concerned," he said. "People are worried that the pandemic will come back."

Many in Wuhan still don masks and businesses check temperatures and offer sanitizer, in this city hugging the Yangtze River. But shops and restaurants are buzzing, schools are open and streets crowded once again.

Startling photos demonstrating the swift bounce back have gone viral on social media.

People enjoy a music party inside a swimming pool at the Wuhan Maya Beach Park, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China in August.Reuters file
One depicted swimmers packed inside a Wuhan water park, as a DJ took to the stage — an arresting image from the original virus epicenter, as Covid-19 continues to upend life for billions around the world.

Not without criticism
Still, China's handling of the pandemic has not been without fierce criticism.

The timeline of early eventshas faced intense scrutiny, and raised questions about whether Beijing acted quickly enough to alert the World Health Organization to evidence of human transmission.

Map: Track coronavirus deaths around the world
The first clusters of an unexplained illness were reported to the WHO's office in Beijing on Dec. 31. Detailed information about the "viral-pneumonia of unknown cause" was provided Jan. 3, according to the WHO, with 44 patients identified.

Reports also emerged that the ruling Chinese Communist Party suppressed information about the virus, with police disciplining a doctor, Li Wenliang, after he raised alarms in a chat group. Li later died of Covid-19, sparking a public outcry. The government posthumously hailed him a "martyr."

On Jan. 23, local authorities sealed off Wuhan, while other parts of China were also locked down. The drastic response seemingly worked, as the city unlocked months later in April.


Another casualty of the coronavirus has been the already fractious U.S.-China relations, with the pandemic accelerating their decline.

Trump has accused the WHO of acting as a "puppet of China" and failing to adequately warn the world about the virus, claims the global health body denies. In July, the U.S. officially notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the WHO.

Trump has further fueled resentment, often through racist rhetoric, by referring to the pathogen as the "China virus" or the "Wuhan virus."


Revisiting Wuhan nearly one year since the first Covid cases were reported
The White House has also cast aspersions, without providing proof, that the virus may have been manufactured or accidentally leaked from a Wuhan lab, claims China denies.

In January 2021, the WHO will lead a mission of 10 international Covid-19 investigators into China, with a visit to Wuhan scheduled, officials from the health body said. Among other issues, the fact-finding mission will probe into the origins of the virus.

However, with divisions over trade to technology, relations between the world's two biggest economies have plummeted since the outbreak. In September, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned Washington and Beijing to "do everything to avoid a new Cold War."

'Horror story'
Amid the worsening relations between the two superpowers, Christopher Suzanne, an American, said he "unequivocally" made the right choice to return to Wuhan during the pandemic, as several of his family members in the U.S. have since contracted the virus.

The 34-year-old teacher who has lived in Wuhan since 2009, returned to the city with his family in March after baptizing his infant son in upstate New York.

"Just the feeling of being in Wuhan, it's like it's such a success story in the middle of a horror story," he told NBC News.

"For the family, it was extremely difficult saying goodbye, not knowing when or how I'd be able to go home and see them again. But the decision in my heart was very easy," he said, eager to return to his wife's family in Wuhan.

Although the lockdown was tough on his mental health, Suzanne said he is now back at work and feels life is returning to normal.

But he acknowledged the virus had soured relations between Washington and Beijing.

Looking at the U.S. from a distance, Suzanne said his American compatriots seemed "so divided," that whoever was in the White House was irrelevant, if people couldn't agree on the basics of whether to wear a mask.

"I worry about my family," he said. "That takes a toll on me."




NBC News Digital.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Pence in a quarry

Postby Meno_ » Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:16 pm

"
POLITICO

2020 ELECTIONS

Pence declined to back Gohmert-led effort to upend election, lawyers indicate
Rep. Louie Gohmert is pressing to throw out long-established procedures so that the president will win another term.

Mike Pence speaks during the eighth meeting of the National Space Council.
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to preside over the certification of the Electoral College results Jan. 6. | John Raoux/AP



12/29/2020 05:41 PM EST



Lawyers for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Arizona’s 11 Republican electors revealed Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence declined to sign onto their plan to upend Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

It’s the first indication that Pence is resisting some of the most extreme calls to reverse the presidential election results, thus relying on his role as the presiding officer on Jan. 6, when Congress meets to finalize Biden’s win.


Gohmert and the Arizona electors sued Pence this week to throw out the procedures that Congress has relied upon since 1889 to count electoral votes. Instead, he said, Pence has the unilateral authority to determine which electors should be voted upon by Congress — raising the prospect that Pence would simply override the choices made by voters in states like Arizona and Pennsylvania that Biden won, to introduce President Donald Trump’s electors instead.

But in a motion to expedite proceedings, Gohmert and the electors revealed that their lawyers had reached out to Pence’s counsel in the Office of the Vice President to attempt to reach agreement before going to court.

“In the teleconference, Plaintiffs' counsel made a meaningful attempt to resolve the underlying legal issues by agreement, including advising the Vice President's counsel that Plaintiffs intended to seek immediate injunctive relief in the event the parties did not agree,” according to Gohmert’s filing. “Those discussions were not successful in reaching an agreement and this lawsuit was filed.”

On Tuesday evening, U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Kernodle of the Eastern District of Texas agreed to partially grant the request for an expedited schedule, calling for Pence to issue a response to the lawsuit by Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. and for Gohmert to issue a reply to Pence by Jan. 1 at 9 a.m. Kernodle did not agree to hold a hearing though and said none would be scheduled "absent further notice from the Court." Kernodle also ordered Gohmert and his fellow plaintiffs to immediately send a copy of the order to an attorney for Pence, the Department of Justice, and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.


Gohmert and the electors told Kernodle they needed an expedited schedule that would result in a ruling no later than Jan. 4, so they have an opportunity to appeal ahead of the Jan. 6 session of Congress.

Pence still has not publicly weighed in on his plans for presiding over the Jan. 6 session, when Congress will count electoral votes expected to certify Biden’s victory. He also has not publicly commented on Trump’s repeated calls to reverse the results of the democratic process and install himself for a second term.

Gohmert’s attorneys in the case, some of whom have handled some of Trump’s lawsuits intended to overturn Biden’s victory in key swing states, indicated they’ve since been in touch with lawyers in the civil division of the Department of Justice about the administration’s formal response to the suit. Further calls were scheduled for later Tuesday.


© 2020 POLITICO LLC
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Re: Trump enters the stage - certification struggle

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:09 am

In an extraordinary conference call this morning with fellow Senate Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his Jan. 6 vote certifying Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election will be "the most consequential I have ever cast," according to a source on a call and two other sources briefed on the private remarks.

The big picture: The conference call came in the wake of Sen. Josh Hawley defying McConnell's wishes and publicly declaring that he'll object to certifying the electoral votes in Pennsylvania and perhaps in other states as well.

McConnell had previously urged senators not to force this vote, which he believed would put Republicans up for re-election in 2022 in a horrible position — forcing them to choose between defying the most popular politician in the party, Donald Trump, and undermining democracy.
His remarks to his conference are likely to escalate President Trump's anger with him for daring acknowledge Trump's defeat.
Behind the scenes: McConnell said on the call that the Jan. 6 vote is "a vote of conscience," these sources said.

A source paraphrased McConnell as saying, "I'm finishing 36 years in the Senate and I've cast a lot of big votes." including over war and impeachment.
"And in my view, just my view," McConnell said, "this is will be the most consequential I have ever cast."
"The context was McConnell saying we're being asked to overturn the results after a guy didn't get as many electoral votes and lost by 7 million popular votes," the source said.
Between the lines: Many Republican senators are furious at Hawley for forcing them to take what Trump is setting up as the ultimate loyalty test on January 6th.

On the call, McConnell asked Hawley to explain what he planned to do on Jan. 6, said a source on the call.
Then, Indiana Sen. Todd Young pressed Hawley on which states he planned to contest, and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey defended the integrity of his state's elections.
There was just one problem: They were met with silence. Hawley hadn't dialed into the conference call — a fact first reported by Politico's Alex Isenstadt.

What's next: Hawley has no plans to back down from his decision to object to the certification of the electoral votes — a ploy destined to fail on Jan. 6.

Hawley has been fundraising off of his planned objection to the election results, and this afternoon he emailed his Senate colleagues explaining his reasoning and copy-pasting a public press release he issued the day before to announce his decision.
In his email to his colleagues, Hawley made clear he was responding to pressures from his constituents.
"If you've been speaking to folks at home, I'm sure you know how deeply angry and disillusioned many, many people are — and how frustrated that Congress has taken little or no action," he wrote.




Dec 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley says he will object to Electoral College certification

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said in a statement Wednesday that he will object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, alleging that some states failed to follow their election laws and that Big Tech interfered on behalf of Biden.

Why it matters: Hawley is the first senator to say he will object to the certification, joining a group of House Republicans. Biden will still be certified the winner, but the move will force Senate Republicans to go on the record on whether they agree with Trump's baseless allegations — many of which have been thrown out in court — that there was widespread election fraud.




Politics & Policy

Sasse: "Ambitious" Republicans objecting to Electoral College "are playing with fire"
Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said he "will not be participating" in an effort in Congress to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on Jan. 6, writing on Facebook that he has been urging "colleagues also to reject this dangerous ploy."

Driving the news: Sasse's post comes a day after Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) became the first senator to say he will object to the Electoral College certification, joining a group of House Republicans.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Final remaining acts""

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:21 pm

Trump attacks No. 2 Senate Republican as the President turns on allies in his final days in office


(CNN)President Donald Trump is spending his final days in office attacking leadership within his own party, this time the second-highest ranking Republican in the Senate, offering a possible preview of his broader post-presidential strategy to use his influence in the 2022 midterm elections and beyond.

Trump, back at the White House after his Mar-a-Lago holiday with no public events on his schedule, attacked Sen. John Thune, a South Dakotan who is the No. 2 Senate Republican, in an afternoon tweet on New Year's Day.

"I hope to see the great Governor of South Dakota @KristiNoem, run against RINO @SenJohnThune, in the upcoming 2022 Primary. She would do a fantastic job in the U.S. Senate, but if not Kristi, others are already lining up. South Dakota wants strong leadership, NOW!" he wrote in a tweet.


Trump has railed against Republican leadership broadly multiple times this week, but this time is naming names. Thune, the Senate majority whip, had been one of the top Republicans to speak in favor of accepting the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden's victory, drawing Trump's ire.

"Once somebody gets 270, I understand they're ruling right now, but I think that's the process we have, yes. ... In the end at some point you have to face the music. And I think once the Electoral College settles the issue today, it's time for everybody to move on," Thune said ahead of the formal electoral college voting process last month.

Trump's tweet comes just 19 days before he leaves the White House and days before a joint session of Congress is set to formally certify the Electoral College results, with some Trump allies planning to join his baseless efforts to overturn the results of the election.

At least 140 House Republicans to vote against counting electoral votes, two GOP lawmakers say
At least 140 House Republicans to vote against counting electoral votes, two GOP lawmakers say
The President returned to Washington ahead of the January 6 event, when as many as 140 House Republicans, joined by at least one senator, Missouri Republican Josh Hawley, could vote to throw out electoral votes in key swing states Trump lost. Trump praised Hawley in a tweet Thursday evening.

On Friday, Hawley told reporters he has yet to decide how many states' Electoral College results he plans to object to, saying, "I haven't worked out the mechanism yet."

Several of Hawley's Republican colleagues expressed concern Friday over his plans, and the impact such a move could have on American democracy. Retiring Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said he thinks Hawley's planned objection is a mistake, while Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a vocal Trump critic, said that "spreading this kind of rumor about our election system not working is dangerous for Democracy here and abroad."

McConnell, who called the congressional certification "the most consequential vote" of his career, would not answer Friday when asked by CNN if he was considering any sanctions or punishments against the freshman senator if he goes through with the challenge that GOP leaders have strongly opposed.

Thune told reporters on Friday that "this is an issue that's incredibly consequential, incredibly rare historically, and very precedent setting. So, our members are -- this is a big vote, they're thinking about it."

"I think now that we're locked in to do it, we'll give air to the objections and people can have their day in court and we'll hear everybody out and we'll vote," he continued. "Like I said, I think in the end, I don't think anything changes."

McConnell called Hawley out over Electoral College objection during conference call Hawley wasn&apos;t on
McConnell called Hawley out over Electoral College objection during conference call Hawley wasn't on
"We are letting people vote their conscience," Thune said, with several Republican members saying there's not much they can do to stop Hawley from objecting.

Trump is already beginning to preview how he'll spend his post-presidency. In recent days, he has suggested Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who he had endorsed and had been a loyal Trump ally until the November vote, resign because he would not help overturn Biden's win in that state. He has also repeatedly attacked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, another Republican who he had endorsed during the 2018 midterms.

The President has raised hundreds of millions of dollars since the November 3 election, a majority of which goes directly to a new fundraising leadership PAC, Save America, that is expected to aide him in donating to other candidates and political pursuits as he considers a potential presidential bid in 2024.

With this tweet, Trump is already planting the idea that he would support candidates offering primary challenges to current House and Senate Republicans he sees as disloyal.

For her part, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a top Trump ally, said last week that she would not pursue the Senate seat.

"@johnthune is a friend of mine, and I will not be challenging him. I'm honored to be Governor of South Dakota and will ask the people to give me an opportunity to continue serving them as Governor in 2022," she wrote.


Analysis: It's a new year but the politics of 2020 aren't going away
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska blasted Trump for encouraging a 2022 primary challenge against Thune. She told CNN on Friday, "I think it's quite interesting that he has demanded a loyalty test from so many Republicans and then when they are loyal to him -- and there is one incident, one statement -- and he is the first one to throw those loyal individuals under the bus. That's not loyalty as I know loyalty."

As a key member of the GOP leadership team, Thune has done much to advance Trump's causes on Capitol Hill -- from passage of tax cuts and other legislation, confirmations of Supreme Court nominees and numerous other judges, as well as critical acquittal votes during Trump's Senate impeachment trial -- even if he has spoken out occasionally about some of the President's most controversial acts.

For his part, Thune shrugged off the presidential tweet with laughter.

"Yeah, well, finally an attack tweet. What took him so long?" a calm and soft-spoken Thune told reporters as he was leaving the Capitol after the vote to override Trump's veto of the defense bill. "It's fine, that's the way he communicates."

Thune said there has been no effort to patch things up with the President: "No, I'm not sure what I did to be deserving of all that but that's, that's fine. Like I said, I'm not sure that if anything changes his mind once he makes it up."

This story has been updated with additional reporting.



© 2021 Cable News Network. A Warner Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Georgia on my mind""

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:15 am

"


DONALD TRUMP

Trump throws grenades into high-stakes Georgia Senate runoffs in final stretch
More uncertainty was added on Saturday after 11 Republican senators said they'd reject electors from certain states unless a commission is established to investigate the results.



Jan. 2, 2021, 6:52 PM EST

CUMMING, Ga. — Outgoing President Donald Trump is throwing one grenade after another into the high-stakes Georgia Senate runoffs in the final days before the Tuesday election.

And it's not clear who the victims of his proverbial bombs will be.


First it was his refusal to accept defeat in the 2020 election, which muddied his party's message here about the need to keep the Senate in Republican hands. Then he blamed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the chamber for refusing to pass $2,000 stimulus checks, compelling Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler to switch their positions on the issue to align with him.

He also described the "Republican Senate" as "pathetic" for rebuffing his demands to repeal an internet liability law known as Section 230 in a military bill vote that Perdue and Loeffler missed.

On Friday, Trump falsely claimed that the entire 2020 election in Georgia, including the two Senate races, were "illegal and invalid." On Saturday, Trump again cast doubt on the legitimacy of the state's election system.

His recent series of tweets came moments after Loeffler urged rally-goers in this suburb of Atlanta to vote and urge people they know across the state to vote.

"We've got to hold the line," she said. "We're the firewall to stopping socialism in America."

The impact of Trump's bomb-throwing is unpredictable in the highly polarized environment of a competitive state and an off-year election. His outlandish claims appear to have energized voters in both parties and, with polls showing both races neck-and-neck, it's not clear which side will come out on top. Trump is scheduled to rally for Perdue and Loeffler on Monday night in the city of Dalton.

The runoffs on Tuesday will shape President-elect Joe Biden's administration. If Democrats win both seats they'll wrest control of the Senate and set the agenda. If at least one of the two Republican incumbents wins, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will have a pocket veto over Biden's legislative agenda, top administration personnel and judicial appointments.

"Tuesday is it. Tuesday is everything," Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate facing Perdue, said at a campaign stop in Stone Mountain, just outside Atlanta. "And the work that you are doing today to mobilize the community to get out and vote will make the difference."

As Ossoff boasts a packed schedule, Perdue has been forced off the campaign trail, saying Thursday he'll quarantine after coming in "close contact" with a member of his team who has Covid-19. He expects to miss Trump's rally on Monday, he told Fox News.

Rich McCormick, the 2020 Republican nominee for this city's congressional district who narrowly lost to a Democrat, said "there is a danger" that Trump's attacks on Republicans who run the Senate could hurt Perdue and Loeffler politically.


DONALD TRUMP

Trump throws grenades into high-stakes Georgia Senate runoffs in final stretch
"His ability to excite people is what got him elected," McCormick told reporters after rallying here with Loeffler and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. "He's trying to get people who would normally show up just for him to show up for them, and I think that's a good thing."

The Georgia races were thrown into more uncertainty on Saturday after 11 Republican senators announced they would reject electors from certain states unless a commission is established to investigate the election results — part of a last-ditch effort by Trump's allies to overturn the election result.

The effort on Jan. 6 is virtually guaranteed to fail, as the senators conceded in a joint statement. Perdue's term will have briefly lapsed by then, regardless of the election outcome, so he won't participate. Loeffler declined to say how she'll vote, telling reporters that "everything's on the table right now" and vowed to "keep fighting for this president."

Her Democratic rival, Raphael Warnock, tore into her.

"We keep reaching new lows. This is outrageous and it's outrageous that the sitting un-elected senator of Georgia, Kelly Loeffler, is not standing up for the voices of people in Georgia," Warnock said. "We have a democratic system. And the most powerful four words are, the people have spoken."

The effort to block the counting of some electoral votes won by President-elect Joe Biden was blasted by numerous Republicans, including Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. McConnell has urged GOP senators not to participate in the effort.

Later on Saturday, Trump tagged McConnell in a tweet pressuring Congress to pass $2,000 payments, citing a Republican pollster who said they are popular. It again undercut the GOP message on Senate control.

McCormick described Trump as the political equivalent of a character played by Adam Sandler in a popular 1996 movie.

"He's kind of like the Happy Gilmore of golf. He's the guy who's not supposed to be there, who has an amazing unorthodox following," McCormick said. "Here's this guy who can just drive the long ball, but all of a sudden he's for real. And he wins."







© 2020 NBC UNIVERSAL





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Related video: Ex-Pence aide turned Trump critic 'very concerned' about 6 January violence

Mike Pence welcomes Republican senators’ attempt to overturn US election
The 12 GOP figures join 140 members in House who say they will object to certification of results





Mike Pence has said he welcomes an attempt by Republican senators’ to overturn the US election.

Ted Cruz is among 12 GOP senators who say they are preparing to challenge the results of the election in a joint session of Congress next week.

The Texas representative leads a group of 11 politicians who say they will not certify the election results unless there is a 10-day “emergency audit” of the results, in support of Donald Trump. Separately, Josh Hawley of Missouri plans his own challenge.


The outgoing president has refused to concede the election and made a string of false and debunked claims about election fraud in battleground states.

These false claims have been rejected by judges across the country, and Mr Trump and his backers have not provided any evidence to back their many discredited lawsuits. The election results have been ratified by every state and the former head of the federal government’s cyber security unit described it as the “most secure” poll in US history.


Cruz leads 12 GOP senators to demand ‘emergency audit’ of election
George Clooney mocks Ted Cruz for supporting Trump despite wife slur
Walmart apologizes for tweet calling Sen. Hawley sore loser
Trump election lawyer calls for Pence to be ‘executed by firing squad’
“Vice president Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election," said Mr Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short in a statement hours after Mr Cruz announced his group’s intentions.

“The vice president welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on 6 January.”





Mr Cruz is being joined by Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Steve Daines, John Kennedy, Marsha Blackburn, Mike Braun, as well as Senators-elect Cynthia Lummis, Roger Marshall, Bill Hagerty, and Tommy Tuberville.

Together the 11 senators claimed, without providing new evidence, that the election “featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud and illegal conduct”. Mr Trump tweeted approvingly in response, writing: “Our country will love them for it! #StopTheSteal”.

Members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate will meet in joint session at 1pm ET on 6 January in the House Chamber.

Mr Pence will preside in his role as president of the Senate and leaders of both parties will appoint lawmakers from both chambers to act as “tellers.”

Mr Pence will open certificates of the electoral vote from each state and they are handed to the tellers.

Any objection to the vote must be made in writing and endorsed by at least one member of the House and Senate.

Debate on any objection is limited to two hours and a majority vote is required in each chamber to uphold the objection and throw out the state’s votes.

If that is not achieved the objection is disposed of and the electoral votes are counted as cast.

Mr Cruz has become an outspoken supporter of Mr Trump, despite their public clashes since 2016. Mr Trump infamously questioned the attractiveness of Mr Cruz’s wife, Heidi, on Twitter, and even once asked if the senator’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination.

As many as 140 House Republicans are expected to also object to the election results. It is unlikely to make any difference to the outcome, as Joe Biden’s win is almost guaranteed to be certified by majorities in the Democratic House and Republican Senate.

Observers say that the move is the first effort by potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates to position themselves and win approval from Mr Trump, if he decides against running for the White House again.

Pennsylvania’s Republican senator, Pat Toomey, has criticised his GOP colleagues. “The senators justify their intent by observing that there have been many allegations of fraud. But allegations of fraud by a losing campaign cannot justify overturning an election," said Mr Toomey.

Senator Mitt Romney was similarly displeased, saying in a statement: “The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our democratic republic.

"The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it. More Americans participated in this election than ever before, and they made their choice.

"President Trump’s lawyers made their case before scores of courts; in every instance, they failed. The Justice Department found no evidence of irregularity sufficient to overturn the election.

“The Presidential Voter Fraud Commission disbanded without finding such evidence.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski, from Alaska, also said she would vote to back the results of the 2020 election, adding: “The courts and state legislatures have all honored their duty to hear legal allegations and have found nothing to warrant overturning the results.

"I urge my colleagues from both parties to recognize this and to join me in maintaining confidence in the electoral college and our elections."
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump's beneficial last act

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:24 pm

"


11 more GOP senators join call to object to election result

OPINION

Trump challenge to Biden win exposes massive democracy flaw. Next time it just might work.
Trump’s effort to interfere with the Electoral College count will fail — this time. But it's dangerous because it provides a blueprint for next time.

CHRIS TRUAX | OPINION COLUMNIST | 39 minutes ago

You’ve got to give credit where credit is due. President Donald Trump is sparking the biggest reexamination of the nuts and bolts of our democracy since the Constitutional Convention in 1787. How many of us had contemplated the ins and outs of the Vacancies Act or the proper scope of presidential power during a national emergency before Trump came along? Unfortunately, all this is missing some of the dignity of the original discussion, and we’ve ended up with a sort of tabloid version of The Federalist Papers in which those of us concerned about American institutions don’t so much engage in learned debate as in frantically attempting to head off the next pending scandal.


Which brings us to the Electoral Count Act of 1887. Until a few weeks ago, this was one of the most obscure pieces of legislation on the books. The ECA governs how Electoral College votes are counted. In short, during a joint session of Congress, the vice president opens the envelopes containing each state’s Electoral College votes and hands them to two tellers from the House and two tellers from the Senate who read the votes aloud. Once all the votes have been read, the tellers add them up and announce the result. In 2013, the entire process took 23 minutes.

Republic hinges on the honor system
There is a little more to it than that. The ECA also includes procedures for challenging Electoral College votes. A challenge requires the support of at least one senator and at least one House member. The House and Senate then convene separately to debate and vote on the challenge. In order to be successful, the challenge must be upheld by both chambers.

Unfortunately, the statute is not always a model of clarity. It contains multiple sentences more than 200 words long and it isn’t clear how some scenarios would be handled. Fortunately, none of these scenarios has ever come up.

In the 133 years since the ECA was adopted, electoral votes have been challenged exactly twice: Once in 1969, which involved a challenge to an elector who was supposed to vote for Richard Nixon but voted for George Wallace instead, and once in 2005, when Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, joined to challenge Ohio’s presidential electors. In both cases, these challenges were rejected by both the House and the Senate. In the case of the 2005 challenge, which is the closest we’ve come to the situation we’re facing Wednesday, the challenge was rejected 267-31 in the House and 74-1 in the Senate.

Sens. Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson, who plan to contest Joe Biden's win, in Washington in 2017.
SUSAN WALSH/AP
Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election are far more serious. Based on their public statements, at least a dozen senators and at least 140 House members will vote to reject Electoral College votes from various swing states. That shouldn’t happen, and if these congressional Republicans followed the terms of the ECA, it wouldn’t happen. All the election results have been certified, all the legal challenges resolved and all the Electoral College votes cast, certified by the governors and sent to the Archivist of the United States — just as the statute requires.

And none of that matters. If members of Congress vote to reject valid presidential electors for invalid reasons, there’s nothing anyone can do about it. While we’ve never fully appreciated it until now, the ugly truth is that, despite a nationwide vote fenced with elaborate legal and technical safeguards, the president of the United States is actually elected on the honor system by 535 members of Congress.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman: No proof of mass fraud that would change election result

Despite the unprecedented number of Republicans willing to uphold a challenge, the House is controlled by Democrats; in the Senate, Republican Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, is trying to discourage the move. At least four Senate Republicans have pledged to uphold the election result: Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

Blueprint for an overthrow
So Trump’s effort to interfere with the Electoral College count is going to fail — this time. Nonetheless, this tawdry episode is dangerous because it provides a blueprint for the next time. And there will be a next time because it’s now clear that under the system of counting Electoral College votes, a party that controls both chambers of Congress can install its candidate as president regardless of the election results if its members have the political will to do so.

Denialism 2020: Trump and his fanatical allies are electoral terrorists. It's got to stop.

Too many of the guardrails of democracy are little more than white lines painted on the road that depend on a sense of honor, duty and integrity that is simply no longer the norm. Republican senators and representatives who vote to uphold a challenge Wednesday will be putting their fear of Trump and his supporters ahead of their duty to the country. That’s shameful and unworthy, but that’s the political world in which we now find ourselves.

Our system of checks and balances is inadequate for the challenges we face, and it isn’t just the Electoral Count Act that needs updating and strengthening. The Guardrails of Democracy Project has identified dozens of cracks and holes in our constitutional infrastructure that require urgent repair. Don’t let Trump’s buffoonery lull you into a false sense of security. The next time some authoritarian wannabe takes a run at the Constitution, he’ll be playing for keeps.

Republican Chris Truax, an appellate lawyer in San Diego, is a legal adviser for The Guardrails

© Copyright Gannett 2021


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Pence!?!



"

The New York Times
Pence Welcomes Futile Bid by G.O.P. Lawmakers to Overturn Election
Vice President Mike Pence signaled his support as 11 Republican senators and senators-elect said that they would vote to reject President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

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The group, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, brings to nearly one-quarter the proportion of Senate Republicans who have broken with their leaders to join the effort to invalidate the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The group, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, brings to nearly one-quarter the proportion of Senate Republicans who have broken with their leaders to join the effort to invalidate the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr.Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
By Luke Broadwater
Jan. 2, 2021
WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence signaled support on Saturday for a futile Republican bid to overturn the election in Congress next week, after 11 Republican senators and senators-elect said that they would vote to reject President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory when the House and Senate meet to formally certify it.

The announcement by the senators — and Mr. Pence’s move to endorse it — reflected a groundswell among Republicans to defy the unambiguous results of the election and indulge President Trump’s attempts to remain in power with false claims of voting fraud.

Every state in the country has certified the election results after verifying their accuracy, many following postelection audits or hand counts. Judges across the country, and a Supreme Court with a conservative majority, have rejected nearly 60 attempts by Mr. Trump and his allies to challenge the results.

And neither Mr. Pence nor any of the senators who said they would vote to invalidate the election has made a specific allegation of fraud, instead offering vague suggestions that some wrongdoing might have occurred and asserting that many of their supporters believe that it has.

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The senators’ opposition to certifying Mr. Biden’s election will not change the outcome. But it guarantees that what would normally be a perfunctory session on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to ratify the results of the presidential election will instead become a partisan brawl, in which Republicans amplify specious claims of widespread election rigging that have been debunked and dismissed for weeks even as Mr. Trump has stoked them.

The spectacle promises to set a caustic backdrop for Mr. Biden’s inauguration in the coming weeks and reflects the polarized politics on Capitol Hill that will be among his greatest challenges.

It will also pose a political dilemma for Republicans, forcing them to choose between accepting the results of a democratic election — even if it means angering supporters who dislike the outcome and could punish them at the polls — and joining their colleagues in displaying unflinching loyalty to Mr. Trump, who has demanded in increasingly angry fashion that they back his bid to cling to the presidency.

The conundrum is especially acute for Mr. Pence, who as president of the Senate has the task of presiding over Wednesday’s proceedings and declaring Mr. Biden the winner, but has his own future political aspirations to consider as well. On Friday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by House Republicans to pressure Mr. Pence to do otherwise, and instead unilaterally overturn the results.


But on Saturday evening, Marc Short, his chief of staff, issued a statement saying that Mr. Pence “shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election.”

The vice president, the statement continued, “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on Jan. 6th.”

TRACKING VIRAL MISINFORMATIONEvery day, Times reporters chronicle and debunk false and misleading information that is going viral online.
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Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, has the task of presiding over Wednesday’s proceedings and declaring Mr. Biden the winner.Credit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times
In a joint statement on Saturday, the Senate Republicans — including seven senators and four who are to be sworn in on Sunday — called for a 10-day audit of election returns in “disputed states,” and said they would vote to reject the electors from those states until one was completed. They did not elaborate on which states.


The group is led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and includes Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Mike Braun of Indiana, and Senators-elect Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Together with Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who announced this week that he would object to Congress’s certification of the election results, they bring to nearly one-quarter the proportion of Senate Republicans who have broken with their leaders to join the effort to invalidate Mr. Biden’s victory. In the House, where a band of conservatives has been plotting the last-ditch election objection for weeks, more than half of Republicans joined a failed lawsuit seeking to overturn the will of the voters, and more are expected to support the effort to challenge the results in Congress next week.

Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, has said he will object to certifying the results, and with Mr. Hawley’s support, that challenge would hold weight, prompting senators and representatives to retreat to their chambers on opposite sides of the Capitol for a two-hour debate and then a vote on whether to disqualify a state’s votes. Both the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate would have to agree to toss out a state’s electoral votes — something that has not happened since the 19th century and is not expected to this time.

In their statement, the Republicans cited poll results showing most members of their party believe the election was “rigged,” an assertion that Mr. Trump has made for months, and which has been repeated in the right-wing news media and by many Republican members of Congress.


“A fair and credible audit — conducted expeditiously and completed well before Jan. 20 — would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next president,” they wrote. “We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it.”

They also acknowledged that their effort was likely to be unsuccessful, given that any such challenge must be sustained by both the House, where Democrats hold the majority, and the Senate, where top Republicans including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, have tried to shut it down.

“We fully expect most if not all Democrats, and perhaps more than a few Republicans, to vote otherwise,” the senators wrote.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the Rules Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections, called the Republican effort a “publicity stunt” that would ultimately fail, but said it was dangerous nevertheless, amounting to “an attempt to subvert the will of the voters.” She noted in an interview that hundreds of millions of votes had already been “counted, recounted, litigated and state-certified” across the country.


“These baseless claims have already been examined and dismissed by Trump’s own attorney general, dozens of courts and election officials from both parties,” said Mike Gwin, a spokesman for Mr. Biden’s campaign.

While lawmakers have sought to register their opposition to past presidential election results by challenging Congress’s certification, the move has generally been more symbolic than substantive, given that the loser had already conceded and senators rarely joined with members of the House to force a vote. But as Mr. Trump continues to perpetuate the myth of widespread voter fraud, a growing number of Republicans in Congress have been eager to challenge the results, either out of devotion to the president or out of fear of enraging the base of their party that still reveres him even in defeat.

That is the case even though the vast majority of them just won elections in the very same balloting they are now claiming was fraudulently administered.

Mr. McConnell has discouraged senators from joining the House effort, and Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican, told reporters the challenge to the election results would fail in the Senate “like a shot dog,” prompting a Twitter rebuke from Mr. Trump.


Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, on Thursday condemned the attempt, calling it a “dangerous ploy” intended to “disenfranchise millions of Americans.” He accused fellow Republicans of making a political calculation to try to further their careers at the expense of the truth by tapping into Mr. Trump’s “populist base.”

But Josh Holmes, a Republican strategist and Mr. McConnell’s former chief of staff, warned that those involved in the effort would come to regret their stance.

“Rarely can you predict with 100% assurance that years from now everyone who went down this road will wish they had a mulligan,” Mr. Holmes wrote on Twitter.

Senator Patrick J. Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2022, also blasted the effort, saying that Mr. Hawley, Mr. Cruz and others were “directly” undermining the “right of the people to elect their own leaders.”


Responding to critics, Mr. Hawley told fellow Republican lawmakers late Saturday that he sought to represent his constituents in raising his objection to the election results.

“Missourians have been loud and clear that they do not believe the presidential election was fair,” he said in a letter obtained by The New York Times.

For years, Mr. Trump has railed against contests in which he lost, disliked the outcome or feared he might be defeated. He objected to the results of the Emmys, falsely claimed President Barack Obama did not win the popular vote, asserted that Mr. Cruz “stole” a primary victory from him in Iowa in 2016 and predicted that the election in which he defeated the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would be “rigged.” In the months leading up to November’s election, he also warned that he would be cheated out of a victory, and refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

As Mr. Biden racked up victories in November, Mr. Trump indulged in increasingly outlandish fictions, spreading disinformation about the election’s results and encouraging his followers to challenge the vote at every step. In recent weeks, as his legal defeats have stacked up, the president has become more vitriolic in his condemnations of Republicans who fail to support his false claims of having been the true victor in the election, and has lavished praise on those who parrot his accusations.


On Saturday, Mr. Trump cheered on the Republican senators who announced they would object to certifying the election, writing on Twitter: “Our country will love them for it!”

The vote tally and procedures in every battleground state that Mr. Trump contests have been affirmed through multiple postelection audits. Mr. Biden won the election with over seven million more votes than Mr. Trump and with 306 Electoral College votes, surpassing the threshold of 270 needed to win the presidency.

Nevertheless, more than a month after Mr. Biden’s victory, with increasing numbers in their party marching in lock step with Mr. Trump, some Republicans felt the need on Saturday to explain why they planned to vote to uphold the results of a democratic election.

“I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and that is what I will do Jan. 6,” Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said in a statement. She is to face voters next year.


Senator Mitt Romney of Utah warned of the consequences of backing a bid to subvert the election’s outcome.

“I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world,” he said in a statement. “Has ambition so eclipsed principle?”


The Election Aftermath
Republicans move to overturn Biden’s win
Federal Judge Dismisses Election Lawsuit Against PenceJan. 1, 2021
Sasse Slams G.O.P. Effort to Challenge Election Results as a ‘Dangerous Ploy’Dec. 31, 2020
‘No Realistic Path’ for Quick Vote on $2,000 Stimulus Checks, McConnell SaysDec. 30, 2020
Can Congress Overturn the Electoral College Results? Probably NotDec. 14, 2020
Trump Allies Eye Long-Shot Election Reversal in Congress, Testing PenceDec. 13, 2020
Luke Broadwater covers Congress. He was the lead reporter on a series of investigative articles at the Baltimore Sun that won a Pulitzer Prize and a George Polk Award in 2020. @lukebroadwater










Highlights of Trump’s Call With the Georgia Secretary of State

© 2021 The New York Times Company


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The Guardian


Trump recorded pressuring Georgia secretary of state to overturn election result – video
Donald Trump
‘I just want 11,780 votes’: Trump pressed Georgia to overturn Biden victory
Trump asked secretary of state to recalculate vote in phone call
Republican push to keep Trump in power seems doomed
Martin Pengelly in New York and Richard Luscombe in Miami
@MartinPengelly
Sun 3 Jan 2021 17.40 EST
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In an hour-long phone call on Saturday, Donald Trump pressed Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to overturn Joe Biden’s victory there in the election the president refuses to concede.

Healthcare to the electoral college: seven ways 2020 left America exposed | Robert Reich
The Washington Post obtained a tape of the “extraordinary” conversation, which Trump acknowledged on Twitter.

Amid widespread outrage including calls for a second impeachment, Bob Bauer, a senior Biden adviser, said: “We now have irrefutable proof of a president pressuring and threatening an official of his own party to get him to rescind a state’s lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place.”

The Post published the full call.

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” Trump said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”

Raffensperger is a Republican who has become a bête noire among Trump supporters for repeatedly saying Biden’s win in his state was fair. In one of a number of parries, he said: “Well, Mr President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”

Trump said: “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

He insisted: “There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”

Trump’s contempt for democracy is laid bare. Once again. On tape
Trump did not win Georgia, which went Democratic for the first time since 1992. Its result has been certified. Attempts to pressure Republicans in other battleground states have failed, as have the vast majority of challenges to results in court.

Despite promised objections from at least 12 senators and a majority of House Republicans, Biden’s electoral college victory will be ratified by Congress on Wednesday and the Democrat will be inaugurated as the 46th president on 20 January. Trump will then leave the White House – where he remained, tweeting angrily, all weekend.

Edward B Foley, an Ohio State law professor, told the Post the call was “‘inappropriate and contemptible’ and should prompt moral outrage”. In an email to the Guardian, University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias said Trump might be “in legal jeopardy after Biden is inaugurated”.

“For example, if the justice department or US attorneys believe that Trump violated federal law or if local prosecutors in states, such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, where Trump may have engaged in similar behaviour with state or local election officials, believe that Trump violated state election laws, the federal or state prosecutors could file suit against Trump.”

Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, went further, calling for Trump to be impeached a second time, little more than two weeks before he leaves office.

“The president of the United States has been caught on tape trying to rig a presidential election,” Bookbinder said. “This is a low point in American history and unquestionably impeachable conduct. It is incontrovertible and devastating.

'Integrity still matters': the unlikely Republican standing up to Trump's voter fraud lies
“When the Senate acquitted President Trump for abusing his powers to try to get himself re-elected [in February 2020, regarding approaches to Ukraine for dirt on Biden], we worried that he would grow more brazen in his attempts to wrongly and illegally keep himself in power. He has … Congress must act immediately.”

Democratic chairman of the House judiciary committee, Jerry Nadler, said in a statement that Trump “remains profoundly unfit for office” and “may have also subjected himself to additional criminal liability”.

In a tweet, Adam Schiff, the lead prosecutor at the impeachment trial, said: “Trump’s contempt for democracy is laid bare. Once again. On tape. Pressuring an election official to ‘find’ the votes so he can win is potentially criminal, and another flagrant abuse of power by a corrupt man who would be a despot, if we allowed him. We will not.”

Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat elected House speaker for a fourth term, set out strategy for the election certification in a memo to colleagues.

“Over the years,” she wrote, “we have experienced many challenges in the House, but no situation matches the Trump presidency and the Trump disrespect for the will of the people.”

Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, took a shot at Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican leading calls for an “emergency audit” of the election.

“You want to investigate election fraud?” the New Yorker tweeted. “Start with this.”

Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman from Illinois, tweeted: “This is absolutely appalling. To every member of Congress considering objecting to the election results, you cannot – in light of this – do so with a clean conscience.”

Stacey Abrams is laughing about you. She’s going around saying, ‘These guys are dumber than a rock’
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Cleta Mitchell, a Republican lawyer, were also on the call, during which Trump ran through debunked claims regarding supposed electoral fraud and called Raffensperger a “child”, “either dishonest or incompetent” and a “schmuck”. Characteristically, he also threatened legal action.

“You know what they did and you’re not reporting it,” Trump said. “You know, that’s a criminal offence. And you know, you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan [Germany], your lawyer. That’s a big risk.”

Referring to runoffs on Tuesday that will decide control of the Senate, Trump said: “You know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam.

“Because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote, and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative, because they hate what you did to the president. OK? They hate it. And they’re going to vote. And you would be respected, really respected, if this can be straightened out before the election.”

Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, seeking to beat Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, have ranged themselves behind Trump. But Georgia Republicans fear his attacks could suppress turnout as Democrats work to boost their own.

Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock bumps elbows with Stacey Abrams during a rally with Joe Biden in Atlanta. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Early voting has reached unprecedented levels and on Sunday, former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams told ABC’s This Week: “What we’re so excited about is that we haven’t stopped reaching those voters. Millions of contacts have been made, thousands of new registrations have been held. We know that at least 100,000 people who did not vote in the general election are now voting in this election.”

Trump told Raffensperger: “Stacey Abrams is laughing about you. She’s going around saying, ‘These guys are dumber than a rock.’”

New Congress sworn in as Georgia runoffs loom and Trump runs amok
The Democrats seized on the call.

“That is a direct attack on our democracy,” Ossoff said, at a rally in Savannah. “If David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler had one piece of steel in their spines, one shred of integrity, they would be out here defending Georgia voters from this kind of assault.”

In a statement, Warnock said: “Senator Loeffler has a responsibility to speak out against the unsubstantiated claims of fraud, to defend Georgia’s elections, and to put Georgia ahead of herself. She has not and never will.”

Perdue and Loeffler did not immediately comment.

Trump told Raffensperger he knew the call wasn’t “going anywhere”. The state official ended the conversation.

On Twitter, Trump said Raffensperger “was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”

Twitter duly applied a disclaimer: “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

Raffensperger also responded: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true.”


© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Georgia DA should investigate T

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:39 pm

All living ex-defense secretaries join to deliver warning – pol...

Live politics updates: Raffensperger says probe of Trump call by Fulton County DA call would be 'appropriate'
WILLIAM CUMMINGS | USA TODAY | 14 minutes ago


In a recorded phone call obtained by the Washington Post, President Trump is heard pressuring GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to 'find' votes to reverse his loss.
STAFF VIDEO, USA TODAY
The year 2020 may now be behind us, but we aren't done with the 2020 election just yet.


This week, the new Congress gets to work, two runoff elections in Georgia Tuesday will determine control of the Senate, and President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory will be certified by Congress. Biden also still has a few Cabinet picks to announce – including his nominee for Attorney General – as he plans for his inauguration.

Here are the upcoming dates to watch:

Tuesday: Senate runoff election in Georgia.

Wednesday: Congress will count and certify the electoral results in a joint session.

Jan. 20: Inauguration of Biden, who will take the oath of office.

Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the transition.

Raffensperger says DA probe of Trump call would be 'appropriate'
Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said it would be "appropriate" for the Fulton County district attorney to investigate President Donald Trump's request that he "find" enough votes to make him the winner of the state's presidential election, which he lost to President-elect Joe Biden by nearly 12,000 votes.

On Sunday, The Washington Post released a recording of the hourlong conversation Trump had the day before with Raffensperger. In the call, Trump repeats several previously debunked claims of voter fraud to argue why Raffensperger should "recalculate" the vote total, which was certified after both manual and machine recounts.


"All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have," Trump told Raffensperger. "Because we won the state."

The president also baselessly warned the Republican state official that he could be committing "a criminal offense" by not acting on the unproven fraud claims.

Fact check: Trump’s made-up claims of fake Georgia votes in controversial phone call

When asked by @GStephanopoulos if he would vote for Pres. Trump again knowing what he knows now, GA Sec. of State Raffensberger responds: "I support Republicans — I always have and I probably always will."

The New York Times reported that the call was the 19th made to Raffensperger's office from the White House switchboard since the Nov. 3 election. Raffensperger did not dispute that number when asked about it Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I never believed it was appropriate to speak with the president. But he pushed out – and I guess he had his staff push us and they wanted the call," Raffensperger said, explaining he had been reluctant to speak to the president because they were still involved in litigation related to the election. "But we took the call and we had a conversation. He did most of the talking, we did most of the listening, but I did want to make my points that the data that he has is just plain wrong."


When asked if he planned to open a criminal investigation into the call, he said he would have a conflict of interest, but added, "I understand that the Fulton County district attorney wants to look at it. Maybe that's the appropriate venue for it to go."

When asked if he thought Trump's request to change the vote total was illegal, Raffensperger said, "I'm not a lawyer."

"All I know is that we're going to follow the law, follow the process. Truth matters, and we've been fighting these rumors for the past two months," he said.

Raffensperger has said he voted for Trump. When asked if he would vote for the president again, Raffensperger replied, "I support Republicans. I always have, I probably always will."


When pressed he said, "Well, President Trump is not on the ballot in 2024 right now, so we'll just have to wait and see what would happen."



Reports: Trump to give Reps. Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan the Medal of Freedom
President Donald Trump plans to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, according to reports from Axios and The Washington Post.

Nunes and Jordan zealously defended the president amid both his impeachment and former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.

Trump plans to award Nunes with the medal, the nation's highest civilian honor, on Monday, according to the reports. Axios and the Post said Jordan was expected to be honored sometime next week.


Trump said in October 2018 that he thought Nunes deserved the award, though he mistakenly first referred to it as the Medal of Honor. Trump said Nunes had earned it for defending him through the allegations that his campaign had colluded with the Kremlin.

"What he's gone through, and his bravery, he should get a very important medal," Trump said.

In May 2020, he praised both Jordan and Nunes, who he said "wouldn't stop" trying to defend him.

"You deserve a medal. You deserve the equivalent of Pulitzer Prizes," Trump told the congressmen. "They ought to take the Pulitzer Prize away from all of these phony journalists that got a Pulitzer Prize."

Critics, however, say both men used obfuscation and deception as they sought to protect the White House from scrutiny. Those critics were disturbed by the reports of Trump's plan to honor his two congressional allies.

"I feel for all the great Americans who have received the Medal of Freedom over the decades. What’s next, spray painting MAGA on the WH walls?" tweeted David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama.




Trump and Biden to stump in Georgia on eve of Senate runoffs
President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden are scheduled to travel to Georgia Monday to support their parties' respective candidates in Georgia's two runoff elections that will determine control of the U.S. Senate.

Trump is scheduled to appear with Davide Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the two Republican Senate incumbents who failed to win a majority of the vote on Nov. 3, while Biden will stump for their Democratic opponents, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

Because the 116th Congress ended Sunday, Loeffler and Perdue are not sitting senators and whether they return for the new session hinges on the outcome of Tuesday's races. Polling indicates a tight race for both Senate seats and while Democrats appear to have an edge in early voting returns, Republicans are counting on a massive in-person turnout on Tuesday.

More: Kamala Harris blasts Trump's call to Raffensberger in return to Georgia to help clinch Senate runoff races


But Trump has cast doubts on the integrity of Georgia's elections, last week calling the runoff elections "illegal and invalid," which some Republicans fear could discourage Trump's ardent supporters from turning out to vote. And on Sunday, the race was further complicated when The Washington Post released a recording of a phone in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State to "recalculate" the results of the Nov. 3 election and to "find" enough votes to make him the winner.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was in Savannah Sunday, campaigning for Ossoff and Warnock just after the news of Trump's extraordinary call broke.

"Have y'all heard about that recorded conversation? Well, it was certainly the voice of desperation, most certainly that," Harris told onlookers during the drive-in rally. "And it was a bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States."


Originally Published 3 hours ago

Updated 13 minutes ago


© Copyright Gannett 2021



"Trump news – live: President attempted ‘criminal’ Georgia call 18 times as calls mount for second impeachment"




This whole scene is snowballing into something incredible. What's next, the wag the tail scenario? Or/& martial law? All bets point to continuing ratcheting up social anxiety to an unpredictable level.

I free to surmise that there mag be something deliberately undisclosed, which further conflates a vexing and troublesome political climate.
Meno_
breathless
 
Posts: 8750
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
Location: Mysterium Tremendum

Re: Trump enters the stage - military

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:19 am

"
Live politics updates: 10 ex-defense secretaries denounce idea of involving military in election

William Cummings


USA TODAY


The year 2020 may now be behind us, but we aren't done with the 2020 election just yet.

This week, the newly-elected Congress is getting sworn in, two runoff elections in Georgia are coming up to determine control of the Senate, and President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory will be certified by Congress. Biden also still has a few Cabinet picks to announce – including his nominee for Attorney General – as he plans for his inauguration.

Here are the upcoming dates to watch:

Jan. 5: Senate runoff election in Georgia.
Jan. 6: Congress will count and certify the electoral results in a joint session.
Jan. 20: Inauguration of Biden, who will take the oath of office.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the transition.

Reports: Trump to give Reps. Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan the Medal of Freedom
President Donald Trump plans to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, according to reports from Axios and The Washington Post.

Nunes and Jordan zealously defended the president amid both his impeachment and former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.

Trump plans to award Nunes with the medal, the nation's highest civilian honor, on Monday, according to the reports. Axios and the Post said Jordan was expected to be honored sometime next week.

Trump said in October 2018 that he thought Nunes deserved the award, though he mistakenly first referred to it as the Medal of Honor. Trump said Nunes had earned it for defending him through the allegations that his campaign had colluded with the Kremlin.

"What he's gone through, and his bravery, he should get a very important medal," Trump said.

In May 2020, he praised both Jordan and Nunes, who he said "wouldn't stop" trying to defend him.

"You deserve a medal. You deserve the equivalent of Pulitzer Prizes," Trump told the congressmen. "They ought to take the Pulitzer Prize away from all of these phony journalists that got a Pulitzer Prize."

Critics, however, say both men used obfuscation and deception as they sought to protect the White House from scrutiny. Those critics were disturbed by the reports of Trump's plan to honor his two congressional allies.

"I feel for all the great Americans who have received the Medal of Freedom over the decades. What’s next, spray painting MAGA on the WH walls?" tweeted David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama.

– William Cummings

All 10 living former secretaries of defense denounce idea of involving military in election
All 10 living former secretaries of defense, a group spanning multiple administrations with decades of experience, denounced calls to involve the Defense Department in adjudicating the 2020 election in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

"Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory," the group writes. "Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic."

The group includes officials from both Democratic and Republican administrations, with prominent figures such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, as well as Mark Esper and Jim Mattis, who served under President Donald Trump.

The condemnation comes after the president and his supporters have alleged widespread voter fraud, without evidence. Multiple investigations of the election tally in key battleground states found that President-elect Joe Biden was the winner. The Supreme Court has twice found the president’s legal challenges to have no standing.

Having failed in the courts, some of Trump's allies have expressed support for the idea of asking the military to somehow intervene and the idea of declaring martial law was reportedly raised at one Oval Office meeting. A December New York Times report said Trump repeatedly asked aides whether he could use the military to intervene and "rerun" the election in states the president lost.

The Defense Department has said "there’s no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election." But the current leadership has not cooperated with the normal peaceful transition process, according to the incoming Biden administration.

The former defense secretaries reminded Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller that he and "his subordinates – political appointees, officers and civil servants – are each bound by oath, law and precedent to facilitate the entry into office of the incoming administration, and to do so wholeheartedly."

"We call upon them, in the strongest terms, to do as so many generations of Americans have done before them. This final action is in keeping with the highest traditions and professionalism of the U.S. armed forces, and the history of democratic transition in our great country."



Trump campaign aide calls for release of full Georgia tape – Washington Post accommodates him
Suggesting a lack of context, a Donald Trump campaign aide at one point Sunday demanded the release of the full conversation between the president and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

"Release the full tape!" senior campaign adviser Jason Miller demanded in a tweet – one posted just minutes before The Washington Post did exactly that.

The one hour-and-two-minute tape showed exactly what the four-and-a-half-minute excerpts released earlier did: That Trump tried to bully Raffensperger into overturning Biden's victory in Georgia.

It also exposed Miller to ridicule, as hundreds of social media users tweeted the full tape back to the campaign adviser.

"Here is the full tape," pollster Frank Luntz said to Miller. "Happy to help!"

– David Jackson

Republican lawmakers spar over efforts to object to Electoral College results
Some Republican lawmakers’ efforts to object to the certification of Electoral College results continued to cause debate among Republicans as a new Congress convened on Sunday.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the third-ranking House Republican, circulated a note among her Republican colleagues Sunday morning calling efforts to overturn the election and prevent the certification of Electoral College results "directly at odds with the Constitution's clear text and our core beliefs as Republicans," according to a source familiar with the memo not authorized to speak on the record. NBC News had first reported the memo.

And in a two-page statement released Sunday, seven House Republicans said they opposed the effort by some Republican lawmakers to object to Congress' certification of the Electoral College results on Wednesday. The lawmakers, some of whom are members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus – normally stalwart defenders of the president – said inserting Congress into the Electoral College process "would amount to stealing power from the people and the states."

"The text of the Constitution is clear. States select electors. Congress does not,” the lawmakers wrote.

Among the signatories is Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, a former chief of staff to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is spearheading one of the efforts to challenge the electoral college results.

At least a dozen Senate Republicans plan to join House Republicans in objecting to Congress’ certification of Electoral College results. Their effort is unlikely to succeed, as a majority of both the House and Senate must vote to exclude electoral votes, but the ensuing lengthy debate may further cast doubt among Republicans about the results of the election.



Bipartisan group of senators push back against Electoral College objection
After a dozen Republican senators declared last week that they intend to object to the certification of the Electoral College result, many of their Democratic and Republican colleagues have strongly condemned their plan, saying they risk losing voter's faith in the process over unfounded allegations of widespread fraud.

"The 2020 election is over," a bipartisan group of 10 senators declared in a joint statement on Sunday. "All challenges through recounts and appeals have been exhausted. At this point, further attempts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 Presidential election are contrary to the clearly expressed will of the American people and only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the already determined election results."

The group, comprised of Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Mark Warner, D-Va.; Bill Cassidy; R-La., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Angus King, I-Maine; Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the "voters have spoken" and "Congress must now fulfill its responsibility to certify the election results."

"In two weeks, we will begin working with our colleagues and the new Administration on bipartisan, common sense solutions to the enormous challenges facing our country. It is time to move forward," they said.

In addition, Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Richard Shelby of Alabama told reporters on Sunday they would not support an effort to object to the electoral count.

"I think it’s a solemn responsibility to accept these electoral college votes that have been certified by governors, secretaries of states all across the country," said Capito. "I just think this is an ill-fated journey."



Trump pressures Georgia official to change vote totals in recorded call
President Donald Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to flip the state's election result, in a recording of a phone call published Sunday by The Washington Post.

"The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry," Trump tells Raffensperger in the hourlong call, which took place Saturday, according to the Post. Citing unsubstantiated reports he "heard," Trump said the vote total should be changed.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated," Trump told Raffensperger.

"Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong," replied the Republican Georgia official.

Trump persisted in trying to cajole Raffensperger, telling him at one point, "All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state."

The president also warned Raffensperger and his general counsel that he thought theicertification of the result could be considered "criminal."

Earlier Sunday, Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Raffensperger "about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia." Trump said Raffensperger was "unwilling, or unable, to answer questions" about previously debunked voter fraud claims.

"Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out," Raffensperger replied.

– William Cummings

Perdue backs effort to object to Biden victory
David Perdue, who faces Democrat Jon Ossoff in Tuesday's Georgia Senate runoff election, won't be among the lawmakers meeting in a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but he is urging them to object to the certification of the Nov. 3 election results.

Without citing specifics, Perdue claimed on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" that there were "huge irregularities in Georgia" that "need to be investigated" and "need to be corrected." He said that, if he was able, he would join the dozen Republican senators and more than 100 GOP House members who are expected to challenge the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College defeat of President Donald Trump.

"I'm encouraging my colleagues to object," Perdue said. "This is something that the American people demand right now."

With the closing of the 116th Congress, Perdue is no longer a sitting senator and will have to wait in a political limbo until the results of his runoff election against Ossoff are certified by the state of Georgia. If he loses, he won't return to the Senate – at least, not this term – and if he wins, it could take more than a week to get a final count of the vote in what is expected to be a close race.

Before Sunday, Perdue had not explicitly stated his position on the upcoming certification of the Electoral College result. Perdue and Kelly Loeffler – another Georgia Republican in the same Senate runoff limbo – have had to walk a fine line in the two months since the election on the question of whether widespread fraud occurred.

Perdue told Fox News, "I don't think I should be in this runoff if everything had happened the way it should have in November, but the only recourse we have is to get out and fight and rise up and vote." But when pressed on what was being done to prevent the alleged fraud from recurring Tuesday, Perdue did not cite anything that wasn't done ahead of Nov. 3.

On Friday, Trump said the November election in Georgia was "both illegal and invalid" because the same early voting practices were being followed for the runoffs. He added, "that would include the two current Senatorial Elections."

– William Cummings
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Re: Trump enters the stage -Georgia""

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:55 pm

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger defended his state's elections, as President Donald Trump repeatedly cited disproven claims of fraud and raising the prospect of a “criminal offense" during a recorded phone conversation.

WASHINGTON – Georgia voters head to the polls Tuesday for a pair of runoff elections that will determine control of the U.S. Senate, marking the end of the tumultuous 2020 election cycle that saw Republicans make gains in Congress while losing the White House.


The elections are being held as President Donald Trump continues to allege without evidence that widespread voter fraud in Georgia caused his loss to Joe Biden on Nov. 3. Republicans are worried those claims – punctuated by Trump's extraordinary phone call Saturday when he tried to pressure GOP state officials to overturn November's election – could discourage GOP voters from turning out Tuesday.

"I just want to find 11,780 votes," Trump said on an audio recording first obtained by The Washington Post. The number refers to the margin Trump needed to beat Biden.

Peach State voters will decide whether Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler return to Washington or if Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock take their place. All four ran Nov. 3, but none got enough votes under state law to win the Senate seats outright, forcing Tuesday's runoffs.


Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock, right, and Jon Ossoff headline a drive-in voting rally on Dec. 28, 2020, in Stonecrest, Ga.
Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Raphael
Wins by both Ossoff and Warnock would result in a 50-50 split in the Senate, effectively giving Democrats control of the chamber since Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast tiebreaking votes.

A win by one of the Republicans would keep the Senate in the hands of Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Though it would be a narrow Republican majority, Biden and Democrats would face an uphill battle on any legislation they hoped to pass.

Georgia is a reliably red state that has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 20 years.

The question is whether one of Trump's final political acts will push Republicans to victory or hand control of Congress to Democrats.

“Trump said back in 2016 he could shoot someone in Times Square and most of his supporters would still be with him. There’s a lot of truth in that, but if this election is as close as people think, then even if he turns off a small sliver of Republicans, this might be a step too far and could be the difference,” Charles Bullock, a University of Georgia political science professor, told USA TODAY.


All eyes on Georgia runoff elections with US Senate in balance
View | 19 Photos
All eyes on Georgia runoff elections with US Senate in balance
An 'unforced error' by the president
During the call with state officials, Trump is heard pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, to "find" enough votes to reverse his 11,779-vote losstwo months ago, saying, "There's no way I lost Georgia."

He repeated that wording during a rally Monday night in the state, continuing to call the general election "rigged." Trump also put pressure on Vice President Mike Pence during the rally.

"I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you," Trump told supporters in Dalton, Ga.

Trump called Pence "a great guy," but also said: “Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much."


Gabriel Sterling, a Republican who works for Raffensperger as the state's voting system implementation manager, told Fox News on Monday that the "spurious" claims of voter fraud spread by Trump and his allies appear to be depressing Republican voter turnout in Tuesday's election.



Based on the slightly more than 3 million ballots cast in early voting, Democrats are outperforming Republicans, Sterling said. In the four most Democratic congressional districts (the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 13th), turnout is either approaching or above 80% of the Nov. 3 election while the turnout in the two largest GOP districts (the 11th and 14th) is below 70%, according to state data compiled by the nonpartisan website georgiavotes.com.

"I am afraid that many Republicans have been discouraged by the actions and discussions around the president," Sterling said. "It's absolutely a distraction unfortunately, this unforced error on the part of the president. ... A lot of people are focusing on Nov. 3 when they should be focusing on Jan. 5."

Trump has questioned the legitimacy of Tuesday's runoffs, describing them in a tweet Friday as "illegal and invalid." Over the weekend, Trump promoted a tweet that criticized Loeffler and Perdue for not being part of an effort by a dozen GOP senators who plan to challenge the certification Wednesday of the Nov. 3 election, a mostly ceremonial recognition of Biden's victory.


Saturday, the president retweeted a supporter asking, "Why are my own #GA Senators @Kloeffler & @Perduesenate not supporting this effort?" with a link to an article about the planned challenge by Senate Republicans.

On Monday, Loeffler announced she would join that effort.

Why are my own #GA Senators ⁦@KLoeffler⁩ & ⁦@Perduesenate⁩ not supporting this effort?

⁦@SenatorLoeffler⁩ ⁦@sendavidperdue⁩ #DoNotCertify #StoptheSteal #MillionMagaMarch

— Amy Kremer (@AmyKremer) January 2, 2021
More: Trump is heard on audiotape pressuring Georgia secretary of state to 'find' votes to overturn Biden's win

Polls show both Senate races as toss-ups, adding to the worry among Republican leaders in Washington that losing the seats could shut them out of power on Capitol Hill where Democrats control the House.

Democratic control of Congress would give Biden a much greater chance of enacting his agenda on climate change, health care, racial justice and other issues he campaigned on. It would allow the new president to install a Cabinet and fill court vacancies with nominees of his own choosing.


That alarms Republicans who helped raise money or campaigned on behalf of Perdue and Loeffler.

More: Trump travels to Georgia before Senate runoff that will decide control of Senate

"The fate of the Senate – and the nation – will be decided by Georgia voters," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote in an opinion piece posted on the Fox News website. "If Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are elected on January 5th, the Democrats’ impending socialist assault on our nation will make President Obama’s first two years in office look moderate by comparison."

Conservatives admit Trump call hurts
Trump has held an iron grip on the GOP since breaking away from the primary pack in 2016 with a brand of celebrity showmanship and right-leaning populism.

His conversation with Raffensperger in the context of Georgia’s runoff races tests how far the president can stretch the GOP coalition outside his base.

Trump's usual critics condemned his request that state election officials "find" enough votes to win Georgia’s electors, but it also drew winces from some of his allies.


Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is one of the president’s staunchest supporters and is among the senators who pledged to object to certifying the 2020 Electoral College results Wednesday. During a Fox News interview Monday, she acknowledged Trump's conversation with the Georgia secretary of state “was not a helpful call."

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, said in an interview with CNN that most of what the president brought up during the phone call “was based on misinformation.”

“I am 100% certified to tell you that it was inappropriate,” Duncan said. “And it certainly did not help the situation.”

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson, a Georgia native, tweeted Sunday that state Republicans were “apoplectic” at the president, who they feel is sabotaging the runoff races.


This phone call is bad and Republicans in GA are worried about its impact on the election.


He said the Georgia GOP is nervous about weaker turnout in certain strongholds, where figures show voting trails the rest of the state. One such area: Dalton, Georgia, where Trump held the rally Monday night. In November, he beat Biden by 40% in that area.

“That part of the state has the most GOP vote, and it has lagged behind the rest of the state,” Erickson said on his website Monday. “It is probably not a coincidence that this is also where the loudest ‘the race was stolen’ voices come from. The GOP has suppressed itself up there.”

Biden's victory in November marked the first time a Democrat seized the state in a presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1992.

Many attribute the win to an upsurge of Black voters in the state’s urban centers and growing suburbs, but others say Biden was helped by a depressed Republican vote led by moderates who were disgusted at Trump.


Trump has been 'the air they breathe'
When the president isn't trying to cast doubt on the runoffs, he is focused on his own efforts to overturn November's election, which might handcuff his ability to motivate voters to help Perdue or Loeffler in the final stretch.

“If he is distracted by the phone call, will he actually encourage these people to vote? His legacy depends on it, but some Republicans are convinced he’d rather the GOP lose Georgia,” Erickson said.

The reason GA Republicans are suddenly nervous after that call leak is not the call itself, but the rally tomorrow where the President needs to persuade North Georgia Republicans to get out and vote. They’re trailing the rest of the state and their turnout Tuesday is critical.


Bullock, the political science professor, said Perdue and Loeffler might feel personally uncomfortable with what Trump did but they cannot divorce themselves from the president at this point.

“Donald Trump has been the air they breathe and the blood in their veins,” he said.

Bullock said avoiding the president’s wrath might cost Republicans the Senate, adding that other Georgia Republicans are keeping quiet in hopes of dodging possible primary challengers during the next statewide election.


Perdue downplayed the controversy, telling Fox News he did not think the revelation of Trump's effort to pressure the secretary of state would impact his reelection bid. Rather than criticize the president, he slammed Raffensperger.

"I’m still shocked that a member of the Republican Party would tape a sitting president and then leak that. It’s disgusting in my view," Perdue said.

Raffensperger, who said he voted for Trump, escalated the GOP civil war Monday when he said it would be "appropriate" for the Fulton County district attorney to investigate the president’s request to “find” enough votes.

Attacking Raffensperger, a civil engineer and businessman, could backfire among conservative-minded voters who feel he was simply doing his duty, Bullock said.


“I have no doubt he wishes that Georgia had voted for Trump,” Bullock said. “But as a data person, he did all sort of checks, and each time he did a calculation, Biden came out ahead. He’s not going bury his head in the sand, and he’s not going to violate the law by trying to put his thumb on the scale."










© Copyright Gannett 2021


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POLITICO

LEGAL

Trump replaces U.S. Attorney in Atlanta
Trump’s move came after the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, Byung “BJ” Pak, abruptly resigned Monday.







President Donald Trump has replaced the top federal prosecutor in Atlanta with another Trump-appointed prosecutor from southern Georgia, bypassing a top career prosecutor.

Trump’s move came after the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, Byung “BJ” Pak, abruptly resigned Monday. Justice Department officials have declined to say whether Pak resigned voluntarily or was asked to do so.



U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine said on his office’s website that he was named as the acting U.S. Attorney in Atlanta on Monday “by written order of the President.” Christine, a former state prosecutor and magistrate, has served as the senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney in the southern district of Georgia, which includes the cities of Savannah and Augusta.

In tapping Christine, Trump bypassed the prosecutor who would normally take over on an acting basis in the event of an emergency or sudden vacancy, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine.

A White House spokesman referred questions about the shuffle back to the Department of Justice.

Trump’s installation of a new leader in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Georgia’s largest city comes as he continues to rail against the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for failing to move aggressively against what he has baselessly alleged was rampant fraud in the November election in Georgia and in other swing states.



Georgia election officials have rebutted Trump’s claims in detail. In addition, former Attorney General Bill Barr said late last year that he saw no evidence of widespread fraud that could have affected the outcome of the election. Barr declined to appoint a special counsel to investigate such claims before he resigned last month.

U.S. attorneys are typically replaced following a change in presidential administrations and some do leave in advance of the formal transfer of power. Pak had been expected to stay on through Inauguration Day.

Pak’s resignation and Christine’s assignment were first reported by Talking Points Memo, which quoted an internal memo from Pak attributing his hasty departure to “unforeseen circumstances.” As of mid-morning Tuesday, the “Meet the U.S. Attorney” web page that used to contain Pak’s biography simply said “will be added shortly.”

Last June, Barr made an awkward attempt to oust the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, and replace him on an acting basis with the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, who was viewed as more of a Trump loyalist. While Berman was tapped by the administration to take the job on an acting basis, he was never formally nominated to the post.


The attempted reshuffle prompted outrage from prosecutors in Berman’s office, some of whom had investigated Trump, his companies and his allies over campaign finance allegations and other issues. Barr ultimately backed away from the plan to install Carpenito and allowed the career first assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Audrey Strauss, to take the post on an acting basis.


'A new low': Republicans chastise Trump over his Raffensperger call
Trump keeps carrier in Middle East, overruling his Pentagon chief
D.C. Police to contact GOP Rep. Boebert about plans to bring Glock to work
Inside McConnell's handling of Trump's election challenge




© 2021 POLITICO LLC




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Pence faces pressure from Trump to thwart Electoral College vote
Updated 12:42 PM EST, Tue January 05, 2021

(CNN)Vice President Mike Pence's four years of faithful service to his boss, President Donald Trump, will culminate this week in a ceremonial act he's under increasing pressure to thwart.

"The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," Trump declared falsely on Tuesday, lending credence to an erroneous theory that Pence can overturn the results of the election during Wednesday's tally of Electoral College votes and again pressuring his top lieutenant to act outside constitutional bounds.

His message came the morning after Trump riled up a crowd of supporters in Georgia using Pence's upcoming engagement on the Senate floor.

No, Mike Pence can&apos;t steal the election for Trump
No, Mike Pence can't steal the election for Trump
"I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you," Trump said Monday night during a political rally in Georgia, where his public arm-twisting was met with cheers. "Of course, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him as much."

It was a direct message to a vice president whose defining political characteristic remains his unyielding fealty to Trump. How Pence proceeds on Wednesday when he presides over the certification of the Electoral College tally could determine his future relationship with the man he has served loyally, even in moments of political peril.

Over the past several weeks, Trump has become intensely interested in Pence's ceremonial role during the certification of the Electoral College. He has raised the matter repeatedly with his vice president and has been "confused" as to why Pence can't overturn the results of the election on January 6, sources told CNN.

As he was flying to Florida for his vacation last month, Trump retweeted a call from one of his supporters for Pence to refuse to ratify the Electoral College results on January 6 -- a prospect that has captured his imagination even if it remains completely impossible.

Pence and White House aides have tried to explain to him that Pence's role is more of a formality and he cannot unilaterally reject the Electoral College votes. Pence has walked Trump through his largely procedural role in hopes of downplaying the pressure on him, a strategy that doesn't appear to have worked given the President explicitly urged him to take action Monday night without saying exactly what he wanted Pence to do.

There is little expectation among Trump or Pence's aides that he will divert from his constitutionally-prescribed role.

"He will follow the law and Constitution," one person familiar with the matter said.

Undeterred, Trump still seems taken with the idea and has not let up on asking Pence how he could somehow reverse or prevent Biden from being certified the winner, according to people familiar with the conversations.

"He's a wonderful man and a smart man and a man that I like a lot but he's going to have a lot to say about it," Trump said on Monday. "You know one thing with him. You're going to get straight shots. He's going to call it straight."

Procedure

Trump says he hopes Pence 'comes through' while he rallies for Georgia senators
Traditionally, the vice president presides over the electoral vote certification, though it's not a requirement. In 1969, then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey didn't preside over the process since he had just lost the presidential election to Richard Nixon. The president pro tempore of the Senate presided instead.

One source close to Pence said it is not seen as a good option for Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley -- the current president pro tempore -- to be there instead of Pence on January 6.

Pence and Trump were seen meeting in the Oval Office on Monday, along with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, before Trump departed for Georgia. According to Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, the pair were set to discuss how they would proceed on January 6.

"That decision has to get made by the President and vice president, and they are actually meeting today and going through all the research -- they probably aren't going to make that decision by sometime tomorrow," Giuliani said on a podcast hosted by Charlie Kirk, a conservative activist.

Giuliani ticked though several issues he characterized as constitutional matters that he said Pence and Trump would discuss. He framed the decision as one for both Trump and Pence -- even though the President has made clear he believes Pence should somehow act to prevent the certification, and Pence, in private, has explained his role is merely ceremonial.

On Sunday, Pence met for a lengthy session with the Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough in his office just off the Senate floor. Pence chief of staff Marc Short, who was also in the Capitol and seen at one point going into the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, denied the purpose of the meeting was to find a way to overturn the Electoral College results.

"No," Short said. "We're just meeting."

Asked why he was meeting with the parliamentarian, Short said they are "trying to figure out the exact process."

Presidential outrage

As Georgia votes, Trump tries to destroy America's faith in democracy
Still, procedure and process can hardly inure Pence from the outrage of a President who still believes the election was stolen from him and has been fed conspiracies about the results from a band of fringe advisers.

Even as recently as this weekend, Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro claimed on Fox News that Pence had the power to move back Inauguration Day, contradicting the Constitution.

Last month, Trump offered tacit approval for the lawsuit filed by his Republican ally Rep. Louie Gohmert pressuring Pence into overturning the election results and was later disappointed to learn his own Justice Department was asking a judge to reject the suit, according to a person familiar with the matter. Trump and Pence discussed the matter at the end of last week.

Trump for weeks has told associates that he does not believe Pence is fighting hard enough for him. That frustration is partly what led Pence's chief of staff to issue a statement Saturday night saying he welcomed efforts in Congress to raise objections to the Electoral College, though several noted it seemed carefully worded and did not say he supported the objections outright.

"Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election," Short wrote. "The Vice President welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th."

Speaking at his own rally in Georgia on Monday, Pence offered little insight into his thinking about January 6, even as he bolstered Trump's false claims of voter fraud.

Instead, he kept his remarks vague.

"I know we've all got our doubts about the last election," he said. "I want to assure you, I share the concerns of the millions of Americans about voting irregularity. I promise you, come this Wednesday, we'll have our day in Congress, we'll hear the objections, we'll hear the evidence."

Pence did not say what happens after.


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Re: Trump enters the stage - potential violance""

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jan 05, 2021 9:59 pm

Democracy Dies in Darkness

Election 2020
Live updates

Georgia runoff elections live updates: Control of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance
President Trump’s rally for Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler and former senator David Perdue on Jan. 4 was riddled with false or misleading claims. (The Washington Post)


Voters in Georgia head to the polls Tuesday to decide a pair of Senate runoffs that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the chamber in Washington. The races pit Republican David Perdue, whose Senate term expired Sunday, against Democrat Jon Ossoff; and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican appointed to an unexpired term about a year ago, against Democrat Raphael Warnock.

Election Day in Georgia comes a day ahead of a joint session of Congress to certify the electoral college vote and cement President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. President Trump is pressuring Vice President Pence, who will preside over the session, to intervene in the tally.

Here’s what to know:
After the last day of early voting before Tuesday’s runoffs, 3.1 million Georgians had cast their ballots by mail or early in person.
Debate over Trump’s electoral grievances dominated the final full day of campaigning for the runoffs in Georgia, raising concerns among Republican strategists that his conspiracy theories would depress GOP turnout.
Trump is effectively sabotaging the Republican Party on his way out of office, obsessed with overturning his election loss and nursing pangs of betrayal from allies.
Here’s where Senate Republicans stand on certifying the electoral college vote.
Election results are under attack: Here are the facts.

Senate chamber being set up for social distancing ahead of electoral college debate

The Senate chamber is being arranged for Wednesday’s electoral vote so as many as half of the 100-member body can sit in the upstairs galleries rather than at their desks on the floor, according to two Senate aides familiar with the plans but not authorized to discuss them publicly.

It is among the most unusual steps being taken on the Capitol campus to adapt the rigid procedures for the electoral vote certification proceedings laid out in a 1887 federal law, to the threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

While there is no requirement that all 100 senators be present for the debate on electoral vote challenges, the aides said they expect the vast majority of senators to attend at least the early part of the proceedings.

Under the 1887 law, if a state’s vote tally is challenged at the 1 p.m. joint session, each chamber will convene separately to debate the challenge for up to two hours and then vote.

At least three states are expected to be challenged, perhaps as many as six, which would send the proceedings into early Thursday morning or beyond.

The House also made the visitor galleries available to members for voting this week, including a special plexiglass-enclosed area for members who are isolating due to contact with covid-positive individuals. Most House members, however, have simply voted in the floor in shifts.


Pro-Trump forums erupt with violent threats ahead of Wednesday’s rally against the 2020 election
By Craig Timberg and Drew Harwell
Far-right online forums are seething with references to potential violence and urging Trump supporters to bring guns to Wednesday’s protests in Washington — in violation of local laws — as Congress meets to certify Biden’s victory.

Many of the posts appear to be direct responses to Trump’s demands that his supporters pack the nation’s capital in support of his bogus claims that November’s national vote for Biden resulted from election fraud.

Congress’s largely ceremonial role in confirming Biden’s victory has emerged as a catalyst for expected unrest that has D.C. police and the National Guard deploying on city streets to quell potential trouble.



Ga. official says Trump’s tweet about voting machine errors was based on ‘old intel’ and issue has been resolved

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager, fired back Tuesday at a claim from Trump about voting machine errors in one of the state’s counties, stating that the problems were fixed earlier in the day and accusing the president of spreading “old intel.”

The tweet is the latest effort by Sterling to debunk Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. At a news conference Monday, Sterling delivered a lengthy, point-by-point rebuttal of many of the accusations made by Trump and his allies ahead of Tuesday’s Senate runoff elections in the state.

“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,” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon, referring to the company that has been the subject of baseless claims by the president and his legal team for weeks. “Ballots are being left in lock boxes, hopefully they count them. Thank you Congressman @RickAllen!”

Sterling responded less than half an hour later.

“And this issue in Columbia Co. was resolved hours ago and our office informed the public about it in real time,” he tweeted. “The votes of everyone will be protected and counted. Sorry you received old intel Mr. President.”

Separately, the Georgia secretary of state’s office said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that in Columbia County, “a small number of the keys that start up the paper-ballot scanners were programmed incorrectly.”

“Additionally, a few poll worker cards were programmed incorrectly, meaning some poll workers were unable to start the touch screen voting machines used for paper-ballot voting,” Brad Raffensperger’s office said. “The correct keys and voter cards were delivered to the relevant precincts with a law enforcement escort. Issues were resolved by 10am.”

Overall, Raffensperger’s office said, the Senate runoffs were “running smoothly,” with wait times averaging just one minute throughout the state.


In early vote, 3.1 million Georgians cast ballots in twin Senate elections, a record turnout for statewide runoff
By Lenny Bronner
In the early vote, 3.1 million Georgians cast their ballots by mail or in person in the two Senate runoff elections, with mail-in ballots still being accepted until polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

While this is fewer than the nearly 4 million Georgians who had cast their ballots before Election Day in November, it is already a turnout record for a statewide runoff in Georgia.

Democrats have probably built up an advantage in the early vote. In the runoff elections, 32 percent of early voters had voted in the Democratic primary in June, compared with only 23 percent in the Republican primary. This was a larger margin than Democrats had before Election Day in November, when only 27 percent of early voters had participated in the Democratic primary and 22 percent in the Republican one.

This difference is probably driven by the strong early-vote participation of Black Georgians, who make up nearly 31 percent of the early electorate, compared with 28 percent of the early electorate before Nov. 3.

Whether Republicans can overcome this Democratic lead will depend on Election Day turnout.


South Carolina’s Sen. Tim Scott says he won’t seek to overturn election results
By John Wagner
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) announced Tuesday that he does not plan to object to the electoral college results, saying that “there is no constitutionally viable means for the Congress to overturn an election wherein the states have certified and sent their Electors.”

Scott, the only Black Republican in the chamber and widely considered a rising star in the party, joins several other prominent Republicans who have now spoken out against the tactic Trump is urging the GOP to embrace on Wednesday when Congress convenes to certify the election results.

In his statement, Scott, who was given a high-profile speaking slot at last year’s Republican National Convention, said he disagrees with the method “in principle and practice.”

It would require votes from both the Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate to reject a state’s electoral college votes.

“For their theory to work, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats would have to elect Donald Trump president rather than Joe Biden. That it is not going to happen, not today or any other day,” Scott said.

Scott also noted that Trump’s team has lost numerous court challenges to state election results.

“Some of these lawsuits have even been presided over and adjudicated by conservative judges nominated by President Trump,” he said “Thus far, no justice, judge or fact finder has found evidence indicating the election results in those states should be overturned.”


Trump supporters rally in Pa. capital, echo president’s baseless claims
By Amy Worden
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Several hundred Trump supporters gathered on the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol on Tuesday morning where speakers railed against what they characterized as a “stolen election,” echoing the president’s baseless claims.

“Your vote was taken away by Gov. [Tom] Wolf, your vote was taken away by the courts, your vote was taken away by local elections boards. You have been disenfranchised,” said state Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon County), one of 17 state House lawmakers who signed a letter claiming the presidential election results were “in error.” He cited the baseless argument that there were more than 200,000 votes cast than there were voters.

The Pennsylvania Department of State in a statement said the letter contained “misinformation falsely claiming that … data for the November 3 general election were contradicted by data gleaned from county websites.”

A number of supporters in the crowd waved Trump flags and signs that read, “It’s Not Over,” #StoptheSteal and “decertify.”

Erica McNeal, 43, from Harrisburg, was wrapped in a Trump flag against the damp chill. She said she believed the unsubstantiated reports of ballot fraud, voter suppression and other voting irregularities in Pennsylvania and across the country.

“I don’t think the election should have been certified,” she said.

Eric Zgela, 57, and his wife, Marcy, 55, both truck drivers from West Sunbury in western Pennsylvania, said with the trucking business booming and their retirement savings growing, the Trump presidency has been good for them.

They described themselves as not very political but said they were compelled to make the four-hour drive — and will head to Washington on Wednesday — because they said it is “a very desperate time.”

Zgela did not specify why it was a desperate time, but said, “I don’t think I’m really ready for change.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Capitol, citizen activist Gene Stilp and a small group burned a Trump 2024 flag, as several pickup trucks flying Trump flags circled nearby and one driver angrily tried to confront Stilp.

Inside the Capitol, the state legislature held an unusually contentious swearing-in day and the opening of the 2021-2022 legislative session, as Republican senators refused to seat a Democrat whose slim margin win is still being contested by his Republican opponent, while state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican who had the coronavirus, attempted to force a vote to repeal the mask mandate in the Capitol.


On eve of congressional certification, judge in Georgia rejects yet another Trump effort to overturn election results
By Rosalind S. Helderman
A federal judge in Georgia on Tuesday rejected a last-minute attempt by Trump’s campaign to force the state to decertify the November election results that showed a win by Biden.

The campaign filed the federal lawsuit on Dec. 31, two days before Trump made a call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during which he badgered and bullied the Republican official to try to get him to “find” the votes necessary to switch the state’s results.

In the complaint, Trump’s campaign argued that the state had failed to follow its own laws in conducting the election and therefore a judge should order the results be decertified. It did not argue any voters cast ballots in bad faith or otherwise fraudulently.

State officials in Georgia, including Raffensperger and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp have insisted the state followed its laws, the count is accurate and Biden won a narrow but fair win in the state.

The lawsuit asked the court to act swiftly, given that Congress will meet in a joint session Wednesday to tally the electoral college votes and formally cement Biden’s win.

District Court Judge Mark Howard Cohen ordered an emergency hearing Tuesday — but ruled from the bench denying the Trump campaign’s requests. Cohen, an appointee of President Barack Obama, is the 96th federal or state judge to reject a post-election challenge from Trump and his allies.



Pelosi to preside over House debate on electoral college tally
By Felicia Sonmez
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will preside over any and all debates over the electoral college tally Wednesday in the House, a senior House Democratic aide said Tuesday.

Pelosi has also tapped two lawmakers who served as impeachment managers — Reps. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) — as well as Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) to lead the Democratic response to the challenges, according to the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Other speakers Wednesday are likely to be drawn heavily from the state delegations of the objections, the aide said.

On the Senate side, Pence is expected to preside over the debate in his role as president of that chamber.


Dispatch from Kennesaw: It’s been a long two months

KENNESAW, Ga. — Yolanda Clay chuckled when she considered the long two months leading up to Tuesday’s runoff election.

“It’s been crazy,” she said. “The phone calls, texts, mailings.”

Georgians such as Clay, 51, have been inundated by partisan advertisements since November, when the political world turned its collective attention — and released a torrent of money — on their home state. The Senate candidates, along with Trump and Biden, have said the future of the country hangs in the balance.

Even though all that national attention detracts from local issues, Clay said it has also had a positive side effect: motivating her and other supporters of Warnock and Ossoff.

“I’m amazed with the person we have as president,” she said, voicing her exasperation with Trump. “Anything can happen. I’m glad this got national attention, because it made it clear we had to get out and vote.”

Clay was 10th in line at the NorthStar Church precinct in Kennesaw, a northwest Atlanta suburb, early Tuesday. With the line already snaking through the church’s sprawling parking lot, the turnout encouraged Clay.

Bobby Caro, 25 and a first-time voter, cast his ballot for Warnock and Ossoff later that morning. He described himself as “very new to politics” and said the drumbeat of advertisements convinced him he needed to register — that, and the razor-thin margin in November.

“In the presidential election, I didn’t vote, it got close and I said, ‘I almost didn’t get what I want,’ so I decided to do something now,” Caro said.

This time, he saw more enthusiasm from young people like him, and he voted for Democrats because he felt they had a more positive outlook on the country and its future.

Dwayne Kilbourne, a 39-year-old Marine Corps veteran, said he understands why the runoffs have landed in the national spotlight, yet “both sides don’t really know what it’s like locally.”

He voted for Perdue and Loeffler because he said he thought they’d do a better job supporting local businesses. He doesn’t mind that they have echoed Trump’s criticism of Georgia’s Republican leaders and their handling of the November election.

And he’d like to see further investigation into the president’s allegations of malfeasance — but only if there is legitimate concern, “not for the sake of fighting.”

“If it’s just for political power, then it’s time to move on,” he said.

Jim Earwood, a 67-year-old retiree, said he appreciates Trump’s ceaseless commentary on the Georgia election, from his early claims of fraud to his weekend call to the secretary of state.

“I’m glad he’s involved,” Earwood said. “Everybody says he’s not presidential, and that’s what I like about him.”

As he left the Christian church-turned-polling place early Tuesday, Earwood said he voted all Republican.

“I wouldn’t vote for a Dem here lately unless they let Jesus on the ticket,” he said.

5:45 p.m.

Trump falsely says vice president ‘has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors’
By Felicia Sonmez
President Trump on Tuesday continued to publicly pressure Pence to intervene in the electoral vote tally, falsely claiming that the vice president has the authority to do so.

“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump said in a Tuesday morning tweet.

Despite Trump’s exhortations, the vice president is barred from arbitrarily deciding to reject state votes thanks to a measure called the Electoral Count Act of 1887. And last week, a federal judge dismissed a long-shot lawsuit by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) that claimed Pence has the power to effectively pick the next president during the formal recording of electoral college votes by Congress on Wednesday.

A Justice Department lawyer wrote on Pence’s behalf that the case was “a walking legal contradiction,” because Gohmert had sued Pence seeking to give Pence more power.

Even so, Trump has continued to publicly ramp up pressure on his vice president. At a rally Monday in Dalton, Ga., the president suggested Pence will face vague consequences if he doesn’t try in some way to overturn the election result.

“I have to tell you, I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president, comes through for us,” Trump told the crowd. “He’s a great guy. Because if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”

The president’s efforts to pressure Pence prompted pushback from some of his critics.

[email protected] would you just stop with this crap,” former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele tweeted Monday. “You know damn well @VP only has the power to count votes already confirmed by the electoral college. YOU LOST. That’s what happens when YOU LOSE. Pence ain’t changing that. Here, read the #12thAmendment.”



USPS delays could hit Georgia military, overseas ballots
By Hannah Denham and Jacob Bogage
Thousands of ballots cast by Georgians overseas or from international military installations are navigating mail slowdowns, casting anxiety over the only votes permitted to arrive after the polls close Tuesday in the state’s pivotal Senate runoff elections.

More than 18,000 overseas and military voters returned ballots for the Nov. 3 general election, out of the 26,418 voters who were registered and automatically received absentee ballots for the runoff, according to Federal Voting Assistance Program data. The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office declined to say how many new voters have registered since November.

Though that voting bloc represents a small percentage of Georgia’s 7.2 million registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s Office data, election analysts say it’s enough to influence outcomes in the two dead heat races and, ultimately, control of the U.S. Senate, during an especially polarizing election season marked by record voter turnout and campaigns that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars.

Rep. Nikema Williams replaced an icon and helped flip Ga. But she’s not done yet.
By Vanessa Williams
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called, newly elected Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) wondered if she was in trouble.

Williams thought back to interviews she’d recently done on CNN and MSNBC. Could she have said something that caught the attention of the presiding officer of the legislative body she was about to join?

It turned out that Pelosi (D-Calif.) was calling to ask Williams to second her nomination for speaker when the Democratic caucus met to choose its leaders.


Sen. Cruz to object to Arizona electors who certified Biden’s win when Congress counts the votes
By Seung Min Kim and Mike DeBonis
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) plans to formally object to the certification of electors from Arizona during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress, according to a person familiar with the matter, ensuring that the duly certified results from a third state will be challenged by a GOP senator.

Cruz has led a coalition of 10 other GOP senators who have threatened objections during what is otherwise a pro forma process to ratify Democrat Joe Biden’s electoral college win unless Republicans secure an audit of the election results. But until Tuesday, Cruz had declined to identify a specific state whose electors he will challenge.



Cornyn says he won’t vote to reject electoral college results unless ‘substantial’ new evidence emerges

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said in a lengthy letter to constituents Tuesday that he will not vote to reject the electoral college results on Wednesday unless “substantial” new evidence is presented.

“I am disappointed by the election results. Any one person’s disappointment, however, cannot and should not override the legitimate votes of millions of Americans and our duty to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” Cornyn wrote. “Doing so would be a violation of my oath, do irreparable harm to our great democracy and set a dangerous precedent for future elections.”

The letter from Cornyn, who is close to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), underscores the all-but-certain outcome of Wednesday’s process. McConnell had privately counseled fellow Republicans not to pursue objections to states’ electoral college results, fearing a messy floor debate.

In his letter, Cornyn noted that dozens of legal challenges brought by Trump to state election results have been rejected, including by “well-respected jurists,” some of whom were nominated by Trump.

“Unless substantial, new evidence is presented during the challenges to each state’s ballots, I will not object to the certification of that state’s election results based on unproven allegations,” Cornyn said.





Graphic: Where Senate Republicans stand on certifying the electoral college vote



Election results under attack: Here are the facts

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Democracy Dies in Darkness

Election 2020
Live updates

Georgia runoff elections live updates: Control of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance
President Trump’s rally for Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler and former senator David Perdue on Jan. 4 was riddled with false or misleading claims. (The Washington Post)


Voters in Georgia head to the polls Tuesday to decide a pair of Senate runoffs that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the chamber in Washington. The races pit Republican David Perdue, whose Senate term expired Sunday, against Democrat Jon Ossoff; and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican appointed to an unexpired term about a year ago, against Democrat Raphael Warnock.

Election Day in Georgia comes a day ahead of a joint session of Congress to certify the electoral college vote and cement President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. President Trump is pressuring Vice President Pence, who will preside over the session, to intervene in the tally.

Here’s what to know:
After the last day of early voting before Tuesday’s runoffs, 3.1 million Georgians had cast their ballots by mail or early in person.
Debate over Trump’s electoral grievances dominated the final full day of campaigning for the runoffs in Georgia, raising concerns among Republican strategists that his conspiracy theories would depress GOP turnout.
Trump is effectively sabotaging the Republican Party on his way out of office, obsessed with overturning his election loss and nursing pangs of betrayal from allies.
Here’s where Senate Republicans stand on certifying the electoral college vote.
Election results are under attack: Here are the facts.

Senate chamber being set up for social distancing ahead of electoral college debate

The Senate chamber is being arranged for Wednesday’s electoral vote so as many as half of the 100-member body can sit in the upstairs galleries rather than at their desks on the floor, according to two Senate aides familiar with the plans but not authorized to discuss them publicly.

It is among the most unusual steps being taken on the Capitol campus to adapt the rigid procedures for the electoral vote certification proceedings laid out in a 1887 federal law, to the threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

While there is no requirement that all 100 senators be present for the debate on electoral vote challenges, the aides said they expect the vast majority of senators to attend at least the early part of the proceedings.

Under the 1887 law, if a state’s vote tally is challenged at the 1 p.m. joint session, each chamber will convene separately to debate the challenge for up to two hours and then vote.

At least three states are expected to be challenged, perhaps as many as six, which would send the proceedings into early Thursday morning or beyond.

The House also made the visitor galleries available to members for voting this week, including a special plexiglass-enclosed area for members who are isolating due to contact with covid-positive individuals. Most House members, however, have simply voted in the floor in shifts.


Pro-Trump forums erupt with violent threats ahead of Wednesday’s rally against the 2020 election
By Craig Timberg and Drew Harwell
Far-right online forums are seething with references to potential violence and urging Trump supporters to bring guns to Wednesday’s protests in Washington — in violation of local laws — as Congress meets to certify Biden’s victory.

Many of the posts appear to be direct responses to Trump’s demands that his supporters pack the nation’s capital in support of his bogus claims that November’s national vote for Biden resulted from election fraud.

Congress’s largely ceremonial role in confirming Biden’s victory has emerged as a catalyst for expected unrest that has D.C. police and the National Guard deploying on city streets to quell potential trouble.



Ga. official says Trump’s tweet about voting machine errors was based on ‘old intel’ and issue has been resolved

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager, fired back Tuesday at a claim from Trump about voting machine errors in one of the state’s counties, stating that the problems were fixed earlier in the day and accusing the president of spreading “old intel.”

The tweet is the latest effort by Sterling to debunk Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. At a news conference Monday, Sterling delivered a lengthy, point-by-point rebuttal of many of the accusations made by Trump and his allies ahead of Tuesday’s Senate runoff elections in the state.

“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,” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon, referring to the company that has been the subject of baseless claims by the president and his legal team for weeks. “Ballots are being left in lock boxes, hopefully they count them. Thank you Congressman @RickAllen!”

Sterling responded less than half an hour later.

“And this issue in Columbia Co. was resolved hours ago and our office informed the public about it in real time,” he tweeted. “The votes of everyone will be protected and counted. Sorry you received old intel Mr. President.”

Separately, the Georgia secretary of state’s office said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that in Columbia County, “a small number of the keys that start up the paper-ballot scanners were programmed incorrectly.”

“Additionally, a few poll worker cards were programmed incorrectly, meaning some poll workers were unable to start the touch screen voting machines used for paper-ballot voting,” Brad Raffensperger’s office said. “The correct keys and voter cards were delivered to the relevant precincts with a law enforcement escort. Issues were resolved by 10am.”

Overall, Raffensperger’s office said, the Senate runoffs were “running smoothly,” with wait times averaging just one minute throughout the state.


In early vote, 3.1 million Georgians cast ballots in twin Senate elections, a record turnout for statewide runoff
By Lenny Bronner
In the early vote, 3.1 million Georgians cast their ballots by mail or in person in the two Senate runoff elections, with mail-in ballots still being accepted until polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

While this is fewer than the nearly 4 million Georgians who had cast their ballots before Election Day in November, it is already a turnout record for a statewide runoff in Georgia.

Democrats have probably built up an advantage in the early vote. In the runoff elections, 32 percent of early voters had voted in the Democratic primary in June, compared with only 23 percent in the Republican primary. This was a larger margin than Democrats had before Election Day in November, when only 27 percent of early voters had participated in the Democratic primary and 22 percent in the Republican one.

This difference is probably driven by the strong early-vote participation of Black Georgians, who make up nearly 31 percent of the early electorate, compared with 28 percent of the early electorate before Nov. 3.

Whether Republicans can overcome this Democratic lead will depend on Election Day turnout.


South Carolina’s Sen. Tim Scott says he won’t seek to overturn election results
By John Wagner
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) announced Tuesday that he does not plan to object to the electoral college results, saying that “there is no constitutionally viable means for the Congress to overturn an election wherein the states have certified and sent their Electors.”

Scott, the only Black Republican in the chamber and widely considered a rising star in the party, joins several other prominent Republicans who have now spoken out against the tactic Trump is urging the GOP to embrace on Wednesday when Congress convenes to certify the election results.

In his statement, Scott, who was given a high-profile speaking slot at last year’s Republican National Convention, said he disagrees with the method “in principle and practice.”

It would require votes from both the Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate to reject a state’s electoral college votes.

“For their theory to work, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats would have to elect Donald Trump president rather than Joe Biden. That it is not going to happen, not today or any other day,” Scott said.

Scott also noted that Trump’s team has lost numerous court challenges to state election results.

“Some of these lawsuits have even been presided over and adjudicated by conservative judges nominated by President Trump,” he said “Thus far, no justice, judge or fact finder has found evidence indicating the election results in those states should be overturned.”


Trump supporters rally in Pa. capital, echo president’s baseless claims
By Amy Worden
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Several hundred Trump supporters gathered on the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol on Tuesday morning where speakers railed against what they characterized as a “stolen election,” echoing the president’s baseless claims.

“Your vote was taken away by Gov. [Tom] Wolf, your vote was taken away by the courts, your vote was taken away by local elections boards. You have been disenfranchised,” said state Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon County), one of 17 state House lawmakers who signed a letter claiming the presidential election results were “in error.” He cited the baseless argument that there were more than 200,000 votes cast than there were voters.

The Pennsylvania Department of State in a statement said the letter contained “misinformation falsely claiming that … data for the November 3 general election were contradicted by data gleaned from county websites.”

A number of supporters in the crowd waved Trump flags and signs that read, “It’s Not Over,” #StoptheSteal and “decertify.”

Erica McNeal, 43, from Harrisburg, was wrapped in a Trump flag against the damp chill. She said she believed the unsubstantiated reports of ballot fraud, voter suppression and other voting irregularities in Pennsylvania and across the country.

“I don’t think the election should have been certified,” she said.

Eric Zgela, 57, and his wife, Marcy, 55, both truck drivers from West Sunbury in western Pennsylvania, said with the trucking business booming and their retirement savings growing, the Trump presidency has been good for them.

They described themselves as not very political but said they were compelled to make the four-hour drive — and will head to Washington on Wednesday — because they said it is “a very desperate time.”

Zgela did not specify why it was a desperate time, but said, “I don’t think I’m really ready for change.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Capitol, citizen activist Gene Stilp and a small group burned a Trump 2024 flag, as several pickup trucks flying Trump flags circled nearby and one driver angrily tried to confront Stilp.

Inside the Capitol, the state legislature held an unusually contentious swearing-in day and the opening of the 2021-2022 legislative session, as Republican senators refused to seat a Democrat whose slim margin win is still being contested by his Republican opponent, while state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican who had the coronavirus, attempted to force a vote to repeal the mask mandate in the Capitol.


On eve of congressional certification, judge in Georgia rejects yet another Trump effort to overturn election results
By Rosalind S. Helderman
A federal judge in Georgia on Tuesday rejected a last-minute attempt by Trump’s campaign to force the state to decertify the November election results that showed a win by Biden.

The campaign filed the federal lawsuit on Dec. 31, two days before Trump made a call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during which he badgered and bullied the Republican official to try to get him to “find” the votes necessary to switch the state’s results.

In the complaint, Trump’s campaign argued that the state had failed to follow its own laws in conducting the election and therefore a judge should order the results be decertified. It did not argue any voters cast ballots in bad faith or otherwise fraudulently.

State officials in Georgia, including Raffensperger and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp have insisted the state followed its laws, the count is accurate and Biden won a narrow but fair win in the state.

The lawsuit asked the court to act swiftly, given that Congress will meet in a joint session Wednesday to tally the electoral college votes and formally cement Biden’s win.

District Court Judge Mark Howard Cohen ordered an emergency hearing Tuesday — but ruled from the bench denying the Trump campaign’s requests. Cohen, an appointee of President Barack Obama, is the 96th federal or state judge to reject a post-election challenge from Trump and his allies.



Pelosi to preside over House debate on electoral college tally
By Felicia Sonmez
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will preside over any and all debates over the electoral college tally Wednesday in the House, a senior House Democratic aide said Tuesday.

Pelosi has also tapped two lawmakers who served as impeachment managers — Reps. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) — as well as Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) to lead the Democratic response to the challenges, according to the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Other speakers Wednesday are likely to be drawn heavily from the state delegations of the objections, the aide said.

On the Senate side, Pence is expected to preside over the debate in his role as president of that chamber.


Dispatch from Kennesaw: It’s been a long two months

KENNESAW, Ga. — Yolanda Clay chuckled when she considered the long two months leading up to Tuesday’s runoff election.

“It’s been crazy,” she said. “The phone calls, texts, mailings.”

Georgians such as Clay, 51, have been inundated by partisan advertisements since November, when the political world turned its collective attention — and released a torrent of money — on their home state. The Senate candidates, along with Trump and Biden, have said the future of the country hangs in the balance.

Even though all that national attention detracts from local issues, Clay said it has also had a positive side effect: motivating her and other supporters of Warnock and Ossoff.

“I’m amazed with the person we have as president,” she said, voicing her exasperation with Trump. “Anything can happen. I’m glad this got national attention, because it made it clear we had to get out and vote.”

Clay was 10th in line at the NorthStar Church precinct in Kennesaw, a northwest Atlanta suburb, early Tuesday. With the line already snaking through the church’s sprawling parking lot, the turnout encouraged Clay.

Bobby Caro, 25 and a first-time voter, cast his ballot for Warnock and Ossoff later that morning. He described himself as “very new to politics” and said the drumbeat of advertisements convinced him he needed to register — that, and the razor-thin margin in November.

“In the presidential election, I didn’t vote, it got close and I said, ‘I almost didn’t get what I want,’ so I decided to do something now,” Caro said.

This time, he saw more enthusiasm from young people like him, and he voted for Democrats because he felt they had a more positive outlook on the country and its future.

Dwayne Kilbourne, a 39-year-old Marine Corps veteran, said he understands why the runoffs have landed in the national spotlight, yet “both sides don’t really know what it’s like locally.”

He voted for Perdue and Loeffler because he said he thought they’d do a better job supporting local businesses. He doesn’t mind that they have echoed Trump’s criticism of Georgia’s Republican leaders and their handling of the November election.

And he’d like to see further investigation into the president’s allegations of malfeasance — but only if there is legitimate concern, “not for the sake of fighting.”

“If it’s just for political power, then it’s time to move on,” he said.

Jim Earwood, a 67-year-old retiree, said he appreciates Trump’s ceaseless commentary on the Georgia election, from his early claims of fraud to his weekend call to the secretary of state.

“I’m glad he’s involved,” Earwood said. “Everybody says he’s not presidential, and that’s what I like about him.”

As he left the Christian church-turned-polling place early Tuesday, Earwood said he voted all Republican.

“I wouldn’t vote for a Dem here lately unless they let Jesus on the ticket,” he said.

5:45 p.m.

Trump falsely says vice president ‘has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors’
By Felicia Sonmez
President Trump on Tuesday continued to publicly pressure Pence to intervene in the electoral vote tally, falsely claiming that the vice president has the authority to do so.

“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump said in a Tuesday morning tweet.

Despite Trump’s exhortations, the vice president is barred from arbitrarily deciding to reject state votes thanks to a measure called the Electoral Count Act of 1887. And last week, a federal judge dismissed a long-shot lawsuit by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) that claimed Pence has the power to effectively pick the next president during the formal recording of electoral college votes by Congress on Wednesday.

A Justice Department lawyer wrote on Pence’s behalf that the case was “a walking legal contradiction,” because Gohmert had sued Pence seeking to give Pence more power.

Even so, Trump has continued to publicly ramp up pressure on his vice president. At a rally Monday in Dalton, Ga., the president suggested Pence will face vague consequences if he doesn’t try in some way to overturn the election result.

“I have to tell you, I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president, comes through for us,” Trump told the crowd. “He’s a great guy. Because if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”

The president’s efforts to pressure Pence prompted pushback from some of his critics.

[email protected] would you just stop with this crap,” former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele tweeted Monday. “You know damn well @VP only has the power to count votes already confirmed by the electoral college. YOU LOST. That’s what happens when YOU LOSE. Pence ain’t changing that. Here, read the #12thAmendment.”



USPS delays could hit Georgia military, overseas ballots
By Hannah Denham and Jacob Bogage
Thousands of ballots cast by Georgians overseas or from international military installations are navigating mail slowdowns, casting anxiety over the only votes permitted to arrive after the polls close Tuesday in the state’s pivotal Senate runoff elections.

More than 18,000 overseas and military voters returned ballots for the Nov. 3 general election, out of the 26,418 voters who were registered and automatically received absentee ballots for the runoff, according to Federal Voting Assistance Program data. The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office declined to say how many new voters have registered since November.

Though that voting bloc represents a small percentage of Georgia’s 7.2 million registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s Office data, election analysts say it’s enough to influence outcomes in the two dead heat races and, ultimately, control of the U.S. Senate, during an especially polarizing election season marked by record voter turnout and campaigns that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars.

Rep. Nikema Williams replaced an icon and helped flip Ga. But she’s not done yet.
By Vanessa Williams
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called, newly elected Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) wondered if she was in trouble.

Williams thought back to interviews she’d recently done on CNN and MSNBC. Could she have said something that caught the attention of the presiding officer of the legislative body she was about to join?

It turned out that Pelosi (D-Calif.) was calling to ask Williams to second her nomination for speaker when the Democratic caucus met to choose its leaders.


Sen. Cruz to object to Arizona electors who certified Biden’s win when Congress counts the votes
By Seung Min Kim and Mike DeBonis
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) plans to formally object to the certification of electors from Arizona during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress, according to a person familiar with the matter, ensuring that the duly certified results from a third state will be challenged by a GOP senator.

Cruz has led a coalition of 10 other GOP senators who have threatened objections during what is otherwise a pro forma process to ratify Democrat Joe Biden’s electoral college win unless Republicans secure an audit of the election results. But until Tuesday, Cruz had declined to identify a specific state whose electors he will challenge.



Cornyn says he won’t vote to reject electoral college results unless ‘substantial’ new evidence emerges

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said in a lengthy letter to constituents Tuesday that he will not vote to reject the electoral college results on Wednesday unless “substantial” new evidence is presented.

“I am disappointed by the election results. Any one person’s disappointment, however, cannot and should not override the legitimate votes of millions of Americans and our duty to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” Cornyn wrote. “Doing so would be a violation of my oath, do irreparable harm to our great democracy and set a dangerous precedent for future elections.”

The letter from Cornyn, who is close to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), underscores the all-but-certain outcome of Wednesday’s process. McConnell had privately counseled fellow Republicans not to pursue objections to states’ electoral college results, fearing a messy floor debate.

In his letter, Cornyn noted that dozens of legal challenges brought by Trump to state election results have been rejected, including by “well-respected jurists,” some of whom were nominated by Trump.

“Unless substantial, new evidence is presented during the challenges to each state’s ballots, I will not object to the certification of that state’s election results based on unproven allegations,” Cornyn said.





Graphic: Where Senate Republicans stand on certifying the electoral college vote



Election results under attack: Here are the facts

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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:57 pm

Live TV
Trump's false election fraud claims face a dead end in Congress
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 7:40 AM EST, Wed January 06, 2021

(CNN)President Donald Trump's desperate effort to subvert democracy and steal the election will hit a brick wall of truth and America's constitutional defenses when Congress meets Wednesday to finalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

But a futile bid by radicalized pro-Trump Republicans to block the process based on bogus vote-fraud claims will inflict new blows on national unity, respect for bedrock institutions and the public legitimacy of Biden's presidency. The objections to state results expected to be lodged by a dozen Senate Republicans could drag out the process for hours and are likely to deepen the conviction of Trump voters, battered by a barrage of propaganda from the President and conservative media, that he was unfairly beaten in November.

A sense of history at a brittle national moment is being fueled, meanwhile, by counts in two Senate runoffs in Georgia that will decide who controls the chamber -- a critical concern for the incoming president. CNN projected early Wednesday that Democrat Raphael Warnock will flip one of those seats. Control of the US Senate now comes down to Republican David Perdue, who is running to keep his seat against Democrat Jon Ossoff.


In retrospect, it might have been inevitable that Trump's presidency -- with its autocratic chest beating, demands for total loyalty, limitless vanity, abuses of power and TV stunts -- would push the system to its limits on a Capitol Hill stage normally used by victors and the vanquished to promote national healing.

Just as the Covid-19 pandemic exposed Trump's method of wishing inconvenient facts away, Wednesday's events will reveal the absurdity of Trump's false alternative reality in which he claims a landslide election win.

That will complicate Biden's hopes of forging patriotic unity and a belated national plan to tackle a pandemic that has never been more alarming and that is being made worse by the halting rollout of vaccines.

Wednesday's drama is also certain to carve deeper divides in the Republican Party, which has been split in two by Trump's demands for lawmakers to keep faith with his personality cult instead of respecting a free and fair election.

And Vice President Mike Pence's four-year strategy of unctuousness toward his boss is about to come unstuck. Trump has no patience for the law that means the vice president merely presides over the certification of the process and has no power to reject electoral votes for Biden on the basis of lies about fraud. But Pence on Tuesday gave the President a step-by-step explanation for why he lacks the power to block the certification process, CNN's Kaitlan Collins reported.

Pence's dilemma
Relations between Trump and Pence frayed in recent days, CNN reported Tuesday, as Trump piled pressure on Pence to act on the wild theories and constitutional illiteracy of fringe lawyers and advisers that have repeatedly been thrown out by GOP-appointed judges and the Supreme Court.

"The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," Trump declared falsely in a tweet. But a person close to Pence said Tuesday that the vice president would "follow the law and Constitution" in a manner that would be likely to unleash an eruption of fury from the President.

Pence faces pressure from Trump to thwart Electoral College vote
Pence faces pressure from Trump to thwart Electoral College vote
The sense of disequilibrium in Washington is being intensified by the arrival of large numbers of pro-Trump demonstrators hoping to intimidate lawmakers; the President will address the protesters at a rally on Wednesday morning.

City authorities are deploying the National Guard amid fears of a repeat of the violence between pro- and anti-Trump demonstrators seen at previous events. The atmosphere is not being helped by the President's inflammatory tweets.

"I hope the Democrats, and even more importantly, the weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party, are looking at the thousands of people pouring into D.C. They won't stand for a landslide election victory to be stolen," Trump wrote on Tuesday, tagging GOP leaders.

The President's unbalanced mood and vengeful temperament are casting an ominous shadow, amid uncertainty over how he will react once Congress closes off the final venue for his always-doomed-to-fail attempt to overturn the election during the two weeks before Biden's inauguration.

A ceremonial process
Pence, as the titular president of the Senate, will preside in the House of Representatives when Congress meets in joint session at 1 p.m. ET. Four lawmakers picked as tellers will read out the certified Electoral College tallies from the states. If there is an objection to state results -- which must be lodged in writing and include the signatures of a member of each chamber -- the session will be paused and the Senate and House will retreat to their own turf for two hours of debate before voting on the objection.

Despite the misinformation from Trump's legal team and some supporters, there is no route for him to overturn the election. Even if there were a majority in favor of objections in the Republican-led Senate -- and there is not -- the Democratic-controlled House would vote to reject them. An objection must be sustained by both chambers in order for electoral votes not to be awarded.

It remains unclear how many objections Republican lawmakers intend to lodge. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has already pledged to challenge the results in Pennsylvania, where courts have repeatedly rejected Trump's cases.

"At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act," Hawley said in a statement.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas plans an objection to the results in Arizona, where multiple state and federal courts have already dismissed false claims of voter fraud and irregularities. Covid-19 protocols, which are currently lengthening debates and votes on Capitol Hill, could drag out the joint session for hours.

2024 implications
The prominence of Cruz and Hawley in the bid to thwart the democratic election is seen as an early marker of the 2024 presidential race and has critics accusing them of putting personal ambition above personal principle.

Other Republicans involved may not have visions of the White House but are loath to turn their backs on Trump's base voters and risk primary challenges.

Many of the Republicans who have decided not to join the attempt to overturn the election, like Arkansas' Sen. Tom Cotton, are arguing that the effort -- imposing federal power over state election results -- runs counter to conservative principles. A trickle of Republican senators revealed their antipathy to the challenges on Tuesday.

South Carolina's Sen. Tim Scott, for instance, concluded the insurrection was neither constitutionally viable nor politically feasible.

"For their theory to work, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats would have to elect Donald Trump president rather than Joe Biden. That ... is not going to happen, not today or any other day," he said in a statement.

Even if Pence were to launch procedural shenanigans by refusing to accept electoral vote counts from the critical states that decided the election for Biden, it is likely his action would be voted down in each chamber. So he has no escape from an invidious position that will provide television footage of a moment that could harm his own future presidential hopes.

"It is a strictly ceremonial role where he is the emcee. I've compared it in the past to the Academy Awards presenters," Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general, told CNN.

"It might be Thursday, it might be Friday, where he has to say the most loathed words to President Trump, which is 'The next president of the United States is Joe Biden.' "

Pence is not the first vice president saddled with the uncomfortable task of finalizing the defeat of a presidential ticket on which he was a candidate. In 1961, outgoing Vice President Richard Nixon had to announce his own loss -- after a tight election that some Republicans claimed had featured fraud -- to John Kennedy. Burying his disappointment, Nixon described the ceremonial process as a "striking and eloquent example of the stability of our constitutional system" and extended his best wishes to the new president.

In 2001, Vice President Al Gore tallied an election that some Democrats still believe was unfairly decided by the Supreme Court. In what was seen as a gesture of national unity and support for constitutional institutions, Gore said, "May God bless our new president and our new vice president."

Such magnanimity from Pence would go down poorly with Trump.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Ossoff is key to a Democratic s

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:03 pm

Georgia Runoff Updates
Warnock Beats Loeffler


Electoral College Votes
Trump Calls Georgia Senate Races ‘Illegal and Invalid’

President Trump continued his assault on election integrity, baselessly claiming the presidential results and the Senate runoffs in Georgia were both invalid — which could complicate G.O.P. efforts to motivate voters.


Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Jon Ossoff campaigning in Suwanee, Ga., on Thursday. The president has claimed the runoff race Mr. Ossoff is participating in is &ldquo;invalid.&rdquo;
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Jon Ossoff campaigning in Suwanee, Ga., on Thursday. The president has claimed the runoff race Mr. Ossoff is participating in is “invalid.”Credit...Nicole Craine for The New York Times



ATLANTA — President Trump took to Twitter Friday evening to make the unfounded assertion that Georgia’s two Senate races are “illegal and invalid,” an argument that could complicate his efforts to convince his supporters to turn out for Republican candidates in the two runoff races that will determine which party controls the Senate.

The president is set to hold a rally in Dalton, Ga., on Monday, the day before Election Day, and Georgia Republicans are hoping he will focus his comments on how crucial it is for Republicans to vote in large numbers for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the state’s two incumbent Republican senators.

But Mr. Trump has continued to make the false claim that Georgia’s election system was rigged against him in the Nov. 3 general election. Some Republican leaders are afraid that his supporters will take the president’s argument seriously, and decide that voting in a “corrupt” system is not worth their time, a development that could hand the election to the Democrats.

Some strategists and political science experts in the state have said Mr. Trump’s assault on Georgia’s voting system may be at least partly responsible for the relatively light Republican turnout in the conservative strongholds of northwest Georgia, where Dalton is, in the early voting period that ended Thursday.


Continue reading the main story
More than 3 million Georgia voters participated in the early voting period, which began Dec. 14. A strong early-voting turnout in heavily Democratic areas and among African-American voters suggests that Republicans will need a strong election-day performance to retain their Senate seats.

Mr. Trump made his assertion about the Senate races in a Twitter thread in which he also made the baseless claim that “massive corruption” took place in the general election, “which gives us far more votes than is necessary to win all of the Swing States.”

The president made a specific reference to a Georgia consent decree that he said was unconstitutional. The problems with this document, he argued further, render the two Senate races and the results of his own electoral loss invalid.

Mr. Trump was almost certainly referring to a March consent decree hammered out between the Democratic Party and Republican state officials that helped establish standards for judging the validity of signatures on absentee ballots in the state.



Continue reading the main story
Mr. Trump’s allies have unsuccessfully argued in failed lawsuits that the consent decree was illegal because the U.S. Constitution confers the power to regulate congressional elections to state legislatures. But the National Constitution Center, among others, notes that Supreme Court rulings allow legislatures to delegate their authority to other state officials.

Since losing the election to Joseph R. Biden Jr. in November, Mr. Trump has directed a sustained assault on Georgia’s Republican leaders — including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — saying they have not taken seriously enough his claims of voter fraud. He has called Mr. Kemp “a fool” and called for him to resign. At a rally for Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Perdue last month in Georgia, the president spent considerable time airing his own electoral grievances, while devoting less time to supporting the two Republican candidates.


© 2021 The New York Times Company
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Re: Trump enters the stage -

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:33 pm

Congress live updates: McConnell warns of 'death spiral' for democracy, slams Trump conspiracy theories

LEDYARD KING, MAUREEN GROPPE AND NICHOLAS WU | USA TODAY | 20 minutes ago


Congress is meeting Wednesday to count the state-certified Electoral College votes that showed President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the Electoral College, 306-232. Vice President Mike Pence is presiding over the session.




McConnell blasts electoral vote objections, warns of 'death spiral' for democracy
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered a stern warning to his congressional colleagues against attempting to overturn the 2020 election, saying democracy would enter a "death spiral" if Congress were to reject the counting of electoral votes.

“Nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election," he said, referring to some President Donald Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud him. McConnell said Trump had spread "sweeping conspiracy theories" about the election.

Referring to some Republicans' stated support for objections as an act of protest, McConnell said he would not "pretend such a vote will be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing."

"I will vote to respect the people's decision and defend our system of government as we know it," he said.



Pence defies Trump in declaring he can’t change electoral results
Facing intense pressure from President Donald Trump to try to unilaterally change the Electoral College votes, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that only lawmakers can decide whether to accept the state-certified results.

Pence issued the statement shortly before he began presiding over a joint session of Congress in his constitutional role as president of the Senate.

Pence said he concluded, after "a careful study of the Constitution," that he doesn’t have the sole power to accept or reject electoral votes. Instead, he said, his role is “ministerial.”

“When disputes concerning a presidential election arise, under Federal law, it is the people’s representatives who review the evidence and resolve disputes through a democratic process,” he wrote. “As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority.”

Shortly before releasing the statement, Trump continued to exhort Pence to “come through for us” by sending the electoral votes “back to the states.”

Speaking at a rally of supporters, Trump said he had just spoken to Pence and told him “it doesn’t take courage” to object but it would take courage to do nothing.



Republicans object to accepting Arizona’s electoral votes
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. objected to counting the 11 electoral votes from Arizona won by Joe Biden.

Those results were the first to be challenged as lawmakers proceeded alphabetically through the states to receive each states’ certified results.

The House and Senate must now separately consider the objection with debate limited to a total two hours.

A majority of both chambers must support the objection for Arizona’s votes to be rejected.



Congress begins special session to count electoral votes
A joint session of Congress has begun the final steps of counting the Electoral College votes that will officially make Joe Biden the next president.

Last month, the Electoral College ratified Biden’s November victory. He got 306 electoral votes to President Donald Trump’s 232, based on results certified by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Constitution requires both chambers of Congress to meet before the Jan. 20 inauguration to receive those votes.

While the congressional count is usually a short, ceremonial event, Trump’s refusal to accept the results have prompted some GOP lawmakers to challenge them. Other Republicans have joined Democrats in denouncing the challenges as an unlawful attempt to overturn the will of the voters.

Amidst tightened security as protestors rally outside the Capitol, the votes will be tallied in alphabetical order by state. Arizona’s results are the first expected to draw a complaint.

Depending on the number of objections, that could extend the process into Thursday although the final result will not change. Objections must be backed by a majority of both the Democrat-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate.



Trump again leans on Pence, says he will 'never concede'
President Donald Trump repeated his litany of false claims about the election ahead of the special joint session of Congress to count Electoral College votes confirming President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

"We will never give up, we will never concede," Trump told supporters at a campaign-style protest rally near the White House.

Trump also continued to put pressure on Mike Pence, falsely claiming the vice president can simply reject Biden's electoral votes. Pence lacks the legal authority for such a step, and has indicated he will not do so.

Pence “will uphold the Constitution and follow the statutory law," chief of staff Marc Short said in a statement.

In his speech, Trump also blasted "weak Republicans" who have not gone along with his demands to reverse Biden's victory, singling out Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

The president also seemed to acknowledge the defeats of Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia Senate run-offs held Tuesday. He said they "never had a chance" because of fixed voter machines, though state GOP officials said the election was fairly held.

Trump spoke during a protest at the Ellipse, a park just a few blocks south of the White House. The event resembled Trump's campaign rallies, and the president talked about his actions in office while complaining about his election loss.



Epic loyalty test for Pence
When Vice President Mike Pence climbs the rostrum Wednesday to preside over the counting of Electoral College votes, the former Indiana governor will be forced to stage one of the most awkward political performances in recent memory at a time when fealty to Donald Trump continues to be prized within the GOP.

While the outcome of the joint session of Congress is certain – President-elect Joe Biden’s win has been clear for weeks – how Pence navigates Trump’s demands that he does something to thwart the inevitable could have ramifications for his own future in politics, as well as broader implications for Republicans.

In the past, the routine process of counting states’ electoral votes ended with a vice president announcing a winner and offering congratulations. But in Trump’s Washington, a similar declaration will be viewed as a betrayal by a president who has espoused baseless allegations of election fraud to explain away his defeat.

If Pence raises Trump’s false claims of election irregularities in some way, it will underscore the president’s continued iron grip on the party. If he doesn’t, it could be read as a signal that the GOP – particularly after a rough election night for the party in Georgia on Tuesday – is beginning to inch toward a political world without Trump.

The president has steadily ramped up his pressure on Pence, telling a massive audience gathered outside the White House on Wednesday that he hopes "Mike is going to do the right thing." Pence has reportedly told Trump he intends to fulfill his constitutional duty and noted -- correctly -- that he doesn't have the power to overturn the election results.

For years, the maxim in Washington has been that prominent appearances by GOP officials have been performed for an audience of one: the president. But the Pence show on Capitol Hill will have many eyes, and this time the drama may have more to do with everyone not named Trump.



Why Loeffler can take part in the electoral count and Perdue can't
As the dust settles in Georgia's hotly contested Senate runoff races, Congress is also convening Wednesday for a joint session to count electoral votes and officially declare President-elect Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election.

The Associated Press projected Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock the winner over incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, but Loeffler is still able to take part in Wednesday's Electoral College count.

She was appointed at the beginning of 2020 to fill a Senate term running through 2023, so her term will not end until Warnock takes office. The other Republican in the race, David Perdue, is not currently a senator because his term expired last Sunday.

The effort has no chance of thwarting the certification, though that has not stopped at least 140 Republicans in the House of Representatives and almost a GOP dozen senators, including Loeffler, from supporting it.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is also expected to take part in Wednesday's proceedings, as her Senate term does not expire until she resigns to officially become vice president.



Congress to convene at 1 p.m. to count votes, affirm Biden's win
Republicans plan one final stand during Wednesday’s largely ceremonial joint session of Congress to count the presidential electoral votes – the last official step recognizing Biden’s Nov. 3 decisive victory over Trump.

It’s a day that’s expected to be long on drama but ultimately short on substance because there’s no legal or official path for Republicans to overturn an election that’s already been certified.

But bipartisan opponents of the broad effort backed by dozens of GOP lawmakers and cheered on by Trump worry it could set a dangerous precedent for a country that’s been an international model for the peaceful transition of power.

Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee in 2012, has denounced the “egregious ploy to reject electors," saying it "may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic."

Several GOP lawmakers plan to raise objections to the results of at least three and as many as six states Biden won – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The objections could center on a number of conspiracies that Trump himself has pushed: allegations of widespread voter fraud, late-arriving ballots for Biden, or that governors who expanded mail-in voting during a pandemic unconstitutionally went around their state legislatures to do so.

As GOP lawmakers prepare to spend hours laying out their objections, thousands of Trump allies are expected to gather outside the Capitol Building to voice their support for the largely symbolic move. Trump himself is expected to address his supporters near the White House and the National Guard has been activated to quell potential violence.

President Trump and President George W. Bush won the electoral vote during the election, but not the popular vote. How does the electoral college work?
JUST THE FAQS, USA TODAY
It won’t change the results.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia already have certified the results, giving Biden a 306-232 advantage and control of the White House come Jan. 20. Those state-by-state results will be announced as part of a roll call Wednesday in a session that will be presided over by Vice President Mike Pence in his role as president of the Senate.

“Congressmen and Senators have a stark choice,” said Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, who plans to object to the results in all six states. “They can either vote to ratify or vote to reject voter fraud, illegal ballots and election theft. This is not a time to cower in fox holes.”

Republicans also are expected to push for a commission to look at election irregularities (similar to what Democrats called for in the aftermath of the Bush v. Gore election in 2000).

Official objections to each state could lead to as much as two hours of debate although congressional aides say that could drag out to three or four hours apiece due to the time needed to set up the debate in each chamber on each objection.

Typically, past sessions have wrapped up in an afternoon. But Wednesday’s session, which begins at 1 p.m., could drag on well beyond midnight.

Some Trump supporters falsely believe Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, can throw out electoral votes based on the objections of GOP lawmakers. But Pence lacks that legal authority, putting him in the awkward position of having to announce Biden's electoral victory once the votes are counted.

Even if he could, the objections to consider not counting a particular state’s electoral votes have to be approved by both chambers and the Democratic-run House would never agree. In addition, Congress has never awarded a state’s electoral votes to a candidate whose victory was not certified.

In effect, Congress is expected to agree with the nearly 60 verdicts that state and federal courts have rendered: there was no widespread voter fraud and therefor no reason to keep Joe Biden from becoming the nation’s 46th president.




© Copyright Gannett 2021
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Re: Trump enters the stage -

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:33 pm

Congress live updates: McConnell warns of 'death spiral' for democracy, slams Trump conspiracy theories

LEDYARD KING, MAUREEN GROPPE AND NICHOLAS WU | USA TODAY | 20 minutes ago


Congress is meeting Wednesday to count the state-certified Electoral College votes that showed President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the Electoral College, 306-232. Vice President Mike Pence is presiding over the session.




McConnell blasts electoral vote objections, warns of 'death spiral' for democracy
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered a stern warning to his congressional colleagues against attempting to overturn the 2020 election, saying democracy would enter a "death spiral" if Congress were to reject the counting of electoral votes.

“Nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election," he said, referring to some President Donald Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud him. McConnell said Trump had spread "sweeping conspiracy theories" about the election.

Referring to some Republicans' stated support for objections as an act of protest, McConnell said he would not "pretend such a vote will be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing."

"I will vote to respect the people's decision and defend our system of government as we know it," he said.



Pence defies Trump in declaring he can’t change electoral results
Facing intense pressure from President Donald Trump to try to unilaterally change the Electoral College votes, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that only lawmakers can decide whether to accept the state-certified results.

Pence issued the statement shortly before he began presiding over a joint session of Congress in his constitutional role as president of the Senate.

Pence said he concluded, after "a careful study of the Constitution," that he doesn’t have the sole power to accept or reject electoral votes. Instead, he said, his role is “ministerial.”

“When disputes concerning a presidential election arise, under Federal law, it is the people’s representatives who review the evidence and resolve disputes through a democratic process,” he wrote. “As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority.”

Shortly before releasing the statement, Trump continued to exhort Pence to “come through for us” by sending the electoral votes “back to the states.”

Speaking at a rally of supporters, Trump said he had just spoken to Pence and told him “it doesn’t take courage” to object but it would take courage to do nothing.



Republicans object to accepting Arizona’s electoral votes
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. objected to counting the 11 electoral votes from Arizona won by Joe Biden.

Those results were the first to be challenged as lawmakers proceeded alphabetically through the states to receive each states’ certified results.

The House and Senate must now separately consider the objection with debate limited to a total two hours.

A majority of both chambers must support the objection for Arizona’s votes to be rejected.



Congress begins special session to count electoral votes
A joint session of Congress has begun the final steps of counting the Electoral College votes that will officially make Joe Biden the next president.

Last month, the Electoral College ratified Biden’s November victory. He got 306 electoral votes to President Donald Trump’s 232, based on results certified by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Constitution requires both chambers of Congress to meet before the Jan. 20 inauguration to receive those votes.

While the congressional count is usually a short, ceremonial event, Trump’s refusal to accept the results have prompted some GOP lawmakers to challenge them. Other Republicans have joined Democrats in denouncing the challenges as an unlawful attempt to overturn the will of the voters.

Amidst tightened security as protestors rally outside the Capitol, the votes will be tallied in alphabetical order by state. Arizona’s results are the first expected to draw a complaint.

Depending on the number of objections, that could extend the process into Thursday although the final result will not change. Objections must be backed by a majority of both the Democrat-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate.



Trump again leans on Pence, says he will 'never concede'
President Donald Trump repeated his litany of false claims about the election ahead of the special joint session of Congress to count Electoral College votes confirming President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

"We will never give up, we will never concede," Trump told supporters at a campaign-style protest rally near the White House.

Trump also continued to put pressure on Mike Pence, falsely claiming the vice president can simply reject Biden's electoral votes. Pence lacks the legal authority for such a step, and has indicated he will not do so.

Pence “will uphold the Constitution and follow the statutory law," chief of staff Marc Short said in a statement.

In his speech, Trump also blasted "weak Republicans" who have not gone along with his demands to reverse Biden's victory, singling out Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

The president also seemed to acknowledge the defeats of Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia Senate run-offs held Tuesday. He said they "never had a chance" because of fixed voter machines, though state GOP officials said the election was fairly held.

Trump spoke during a protest at the Ellipse, a park just a few blocks south of the White House. The event resembled Trump's campaign rallies, and the president talked about his actions in office while complaining about his election loss.



Epic loyalty test for Pence
When Vice President Mike Pence climbs the rostrum Wednesday to preside over the counting of Electoral College votes, the former Indiana governor will be forced to stage one of the most awkward political performances in recent memory at a time when fealty to Donald Trump continues to be prized within the GOP.

While the outcome of the joint session of Congress is certain – President-elect Joe Biden’s win has been clear for weeks – how Pence navigates Trump’s demands that he does something to thwart the inevitable could have ramifications for his own future in politics, as well as broader implications for Republicans.

In the past, the routine process of counting states’ electoral votes ended with a vice president announcing a winner and offering congratulations. But in Trump’s Washington, a similar declaration will be viewed as a betrayal by a president who has espoused baseless allegations of election fraud to explain away his defeat.

If Pence raises Trump’s false claims of election irregularities in some way, it will underscore the president’s continued iron grip on the party. If he doesn’t, it could be read as a signal that the GOP – particularly after a rough election night for the party in Georgia on Tuesday – is beginning to inch toward a political world without Trump.

The president has steadily ramped up his pressure on Pence, telling a massive audience gathered outside the White House on Wednesday that he hopes "Mike is going to do the right thing." Pence has reportedly told Trump he intends to fulfill his constitutional duty and noted -- correctly -- that he doesn't have the power to overturn the election results.

For years, the maxim in Washington has been that prominent appearances by GOP officials have been performed for an audience of one: the president. But the Pence show on Capitol Hill will have many eyes, and this time the drama may have more to do with everyone not named Trump.



Why Loeffler can take part in the electoral count and Perdue can't
As the dust settles in Georgia's hotly contested Senate runoff races, Congress is also convening Wednesday for a joint session to count electoral votes and officially declare President-elect Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election.

The Associated Press projected Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock the winner over incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, but Loeffler is still able to take part in Wednesday's Electoral College count.

She was appointed at the beginning of 2020 to fill a Senate term running through 2023, so her term will not end until Warnock takes office. The other Republican in the race, David Perdue, is not currently a senator because his term expired last Sunday.

The effort has no chance of thwarting the certification, though that has not stopped at least 140 Republicans in the House of Representatives and almost a GOP dozen senators, including Loeffler, from supporting it.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is also expected to take part in Wednesday's proceedings, as her Senate term does not expire until she resigns to officially become vice president.



Congress to convene at 1 p.m. to count votes, affirm Biden's win
Republicans plan one final stand during Wednesday’s largely ceremonial joint session of Congress to count the presidential electoral votes – the last official step recognizing Biden’s Nov. 3 decisive victory over Trump.

It’s a day that’s expected to be long on drama but ultimately short on substance because there’s no legal or official path for Republicans to overturn an election that’s already been certified.

But bipartisan opponents of the broad effort backed by dozens of GOP lawmakers and cheered on by Trump worry it could set a dangerous precedent for a country that’s been an international model for the peaceful transition of power.

Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee in 2012, has denounced the “egregious ploy to reject electors," saying it "may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic."

Several GOP lawmakers plan to raise objections to the results of at least three and as many as six states Biden won – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The objections could center on a number of conspiracies that Trump himself has pushed: allegations of widespread voter fraud, late-arriving ballots for Biden, or that governors who expanded mail-in voting during a pandemic unconstitutionally went around their state legislatures to do so.

As GOP lawmakers prepare to spend hours laying out their objections, thousands of Trump allies are expected to gather outside the Capitol Building to voice their support for the largely symbolic move. Trump himself is expected to address his supporters near the White House and the National Guard has been activated to quell potential violence.

President Trump and President George W. Bush won the electoral vote during the election, but not the popular vote. How does the electoral college work?
JUST THE FAQS, USA TODAY
It won’t change the results.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia already have certified the results, giving Biden a 306-232 advantage and control of the White House come Jan. 20. Those state-by-state results will be announced as part of a roll call Wednesday in a session that will be presided over by Vice President Mike Pence in his role as president of the Senate.

“Congressmen and Senators have a stark choice,” said Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, who plans to object to the results in all six states. “They can either vote to ratify or vote to reject voter fraud, illegal ballots and election theft. This is not a time to cower in fox holes.”

Republicans also are expected to push for a commission to look at election irregularities (similar to what Democrats called for in the aftermath of the Bush v. Gore election in 2000).

Official objections to each state could lead to as much as two hours of debate although congressional aides say that could drag out to three or four hours apiece due to the time needed to set up the debate in each chamber on each objection.

Typically, past sessions have wrapped up in an afternoon. But Wednesday’s session, which begins at 1 p.m., could drag on well beyond midnight.

Some Trump supporters falsely believe Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, can throw out electoral votes based on the objections of GOP lawmakers. But Pence lacks that legal authority, putting him in the awkward position of having to announce Biden's electoral victory once the votes are counted.

Even if he could, the objections to consider not counting a particular state’s electoral votes have to be approved by both chambers and the Democratic-run House would never agree. In addition, Congress has never awarded a state’s electoral votes to a candidate whose victory was not certified.

In effect, Congress is expected to agree with the nearly 60 verdicts that state and federal courts have rendered: there was no widespread voter fraud and therefor no reason to keep Joe Biden from becoming the nation’s 46th president.




© Copyright Gannett 2021
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Re: Trump enters the stage -Capitol crimes!

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:31 pm

DONALD TRUMP

Senate evacuated, VP Pence ushered to secure location after pro-Trump protesters storm Capitol
The protesters marched en masse to the Capitol after Trump, speaking to a large crowd in front of the White House, vowed he would not concede to Biden.




WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol descended into chaos Wednesday as hundreds of pro-Trump protesters swarmed the building, forcing the Senate to evacuate and Vice President Mike Pence to be ushered to a secure location.

The frenzied scene after demonstrators broke through barricades forced Congress to evacuate parts of the building and abruptly pause a ceremonial event affirming that President-elect Joe Biden won the November election. In one dramatic moment, police officers drew their guns as protesters tried to break into the House chamber.


Pence, who was presiding over the joint session of Congress, could be seen rushing out of the Senate chamber amid the sounds of protesters who surrounded the Capitol. Pence and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the president pro-tem, were taken to a secure location, a senator told NBC News.

The doors of the Senate were closed and locked, and senators were told to stay away from the doors. The doors to the House were barricaded, and some lawmakers were seen praying. District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a 12-hour curfew on the city that will begin at 6 p.m. ET.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was "safe," a spokesperson said, but they would not elaborate on her whereabouts.

Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber on Jan. 6, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite / AP
The chaotic situation came after Trump, who has refused to accept the results of the election, spoke to a large crowd in front of the White House. He angriled vowed that he would never concede to Biden and baselessly asserted that the election results were fraudulent.

"We will never give up, we will never concede. You don't concede when there's theft involved," Trump said to a crowd of supporters, some of whom chanted "USA!" or waved anti-Biden banners. He later falsely claimed that Biden would be an "illegitimate" president.

The Library of Congress, directly across the street from the main Capitol building, was evacuated and people were told to remain calm and move in a safe manner to the exits.

"Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!" Trump tweeted.

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., tweeted that she had to evacuate her congressional office because a pipe bomb was reported outside the Capitol. "Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots," Luria tweeted.

The Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, just steps from Capitol Hill, was evacuated earlier Wednesday due to a suspicious package, and investigation was underway.

Trump's groundless claims of voter fraud have been widely debunked, and his legal team's efforts to challenge the election results in court have been rejected by a succession of judges. Trump has claimed Wednesday's joint session of Congress represents a chance to overturn the election, even though state electors have already certified the results and the event inside the Capitol is ceremonial.

Protesters attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.Allan Smith / NBC News
Trump has put pressure on Pence to intervene in the count. In his lengthy and digressive remarks, Trump called on Pence to "do the right thing," even though Pence's ceremonial role does not provide him with the power to intervene in the counting of votes. Pence sent a letter to Congress ahead of the ceremony stating he would not be doing what Trump has hoped.

Jason Bjorklund, who flew to the nation's capital from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said he did not know what to expect when Congress convened.

"I just felt compelled to be here because it seems like our republic is slipping away from us," Bjorklund said. He added, baselessly, that there were "mountains of evidence of fraud" and detailed conspiracy theories about Dominion voting machines.

Senate evacuated, Pence ushered to secure location after pro-Trump protesters storm Capitol
When asked to account for the judges who have rejected the Trump legal team's attempts to challenge the election results, Bjorklund said: "I think we've got corruption from the top to the bottom."

Before the president's speech, it appeared some senators were being approached by Trump supporters near the Capitol, including an apparently exasperated Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., who said he would not vote against affirming Biden's victory because he was bound to follow the law.

"I took an oath under God, under God!" Young said. "Do we still take that seriously in this country?"


Theresa Reilly and her husband, Bill, came to the nation's capital from Michigan — a key Midwest swing state that fell into the Democratic column in November — to participate in the Wednesday protests because they believe Biden's triumph over Trump was fraudulent.

"We don't believe they're honest, true voters," Theresa Reilly said as Celine Dion's theme song from the movie "Titanic" played on a speaker system in the background. "There's a lot of cheating going on, and I think everybody knows that, including Democrats."

Bill Reilly said that even without "doing too much research," it was clear "something's up" with the November election results

"The only thing I can say is, however many people are here, this isn't going to go away," he said. "If you thought 2020 was weird, 2021 is going to be 'hold my beer,' if you ask me.









© 2020 NBC UNIVERSAL
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trumps guilt""

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:20 am

"Democracy Dies in Darkness


President Trump has committed treason
Pro-Trump rioters look on during clashes with Capitol police on Wednesday.
Pro-Trump rioters look on during clashes with Capitol police on Wednesday. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)




President Trump broke any number of laws and norms during his ruinous four-year reign. He just added one more on the way out: treason.

He lost the House in 2018. He lost the presidency in November. He lost the Senate on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, with nothing left to lose, he rallied a violent mob to attack the U.S. Capitol in hopes of pressuring lawmakers to toss out the election results, ignore the will of the people, and install him as president for another term.




Later::


"Biden is expected to be confirmed as president-elect by Congress when Vermont's electoral votes are opened later Thursday morning, putting the former Democratic vice president over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House."
Last edited by Meno_ on Thu Jan 07, 2021 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Urwrongx1000 » Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:29 am

Treason was committed by the Democrats, Liberals, Antifa, their handlers, all who organized this Widespread Voter Fraud.

We have the proof and it is a certainty.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby d0rkyd00d » Thu Jan 07, 2021 4:08 am

Urwrongx1000 wrote:Treason was committed by the Democrats, Liberals, Antifa, their handlers, all who organized this Widespread Voter Fraud.

We have the proof and it is a certainty.


Hey whatever helps ya' sleep at night is what I say.
"So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men." -Voltaire

"If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do."
-Bertrand Russell
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trumps guilt""

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 07, 2021 6:15 pm

Meno_ wrote:"Democracy Dies in Darkness


President Trump has committed treason
Pro-Trump rioters look on during clashes with Capitol police on Wednesday.
Pro-Trump rioters look on during clashes with Capitol police on Wednesday. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)




President Trump broke any number of laws and norms during his ruinous four-year reign. He just added one more on the way out: treason.

He lost the House in 2018. He lost the presidency in November. He lost the Senate on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, with nothing left to lose, he rallied a violent mob to attack the U.S. Capitol in hopes of pressuring lawmakers to toss out the election results, ignore the will of the people, and install him as president for another term.




Later::


"Biden is expected to be confirmed as president-elect by Congress when Vermont's electoral votes are opened later Thursday morning, putting the former Democratic vice president over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House."






As expected, Biden was certified as the 46 the president of the US. Trump's act in the heighest reaches of government has concluded, to all practical purposes.

Analysis upon analysis of his tenure will be forthcoming, and his legal liability for his political and amorous deeds will be forgotten, his significance will be reduced significally, remaining merely as a footnote on security and other issues in reference on how to avoid the pitfalls occurring in rumnknh a ' Democratic' society


Trump will soon exit the stage.
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