Trump clutches at straws in bid to overturn election result

By Lucia Leal

Washington, Nov 19 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump is escalating efforts to overturn his defeat in the Nov. 3 election, resorting to maneuvers that President-elect Joe Biden described Thursday as irresponsible and “damaging.”

As the respective states continue the process of certifying the results and one court after another throws out challenges brought by his lawyers, the Republican incumbent and his allies are urging GOP-controlled state legislatures to set aside the will of the voters and choose pro-Trump slates of electors.

Though the Democratic challenger leads Trump by nearly 6 million in the popular vote, the US presidency is decided by the Electoral College, where the threshold for victory is 270 votes.

Biden, who served as vice president under President Barack Obama, has a 290-232 edge over the Republican in the electoral vote, meaning that Trump would need to reverse the outcome in multiple states to secure a second term.

Trump contends Biden prevailed through massive fraud, but has failed to offer any evidence of that and numerous officials, including members of his own party, insist that the election was legitimate.

The president has invited the Republican members of the Michigan state legislature to the White House on Friday, yet the purpose of the meeting remains unclear.

The leaders of the two houses of the state legislature are on record saying that they would not seek to substitute a new slate of electors for the one that emerges from the official tabulation of the ballots.

“Michigan law does not include a provision for the Legislature to directly select electors or to award electors to anyone other than the person who received the most votes,” a spokeswoman for state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said last week.

Biden’s margin of victory in Michigan was around 157,000.

Trump’s invitation to the lawmakers was announced after it emerged that the president telephoned two Republican local election officials in Michigan on Tuesday.

The president made the calls to thank the two GOP members of the Board of Canvassers in Wayne County – which includes Detroit – for their initial refusal to certify the results in that jurisdiction, where Biden won handily.

The Republicans ultimately agreed to certify amid criticism for their citing issues with the results from Black-majority Detroit while ignoring the identical issues as they pertained to the numbers from white areas where Trump fared better.

Apparently as a result of their conservations with Trump, the two Republican board members tried to rescind their votes in favor of certification, but officials in Michigan said they could not retroactively change their votes.

Two secretaries of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger of Georgia and Democrat Katie Hobbs of Arizona, said this week that they have received death threats.

Biden won both states, though a manual recount is under way in Georgia.

The Republicans who control the state legislature in Pennsylvania – the state that put Biden over the top – have rejected any notion of interfering in the process of naming the electors.

Trump’s personal attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, held a press conference Thursday to repeat the claims of “massive fraud” and vow further lawsuits.

Biden, who has warned that the refusal of the Trump administration to acknowledge him as president-elect is threatening the prospect for a smooth transition on Jan. 20, commented Thursday on the incumbent’s refusal to concede.

The country, Biden said, is “witnessing incredible irresponsibility” on the part of Trump and “incredibly damaging messages are being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions.”

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