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Trump campaign demands second Georgia recount after judge’s  scathing dismissal of Pennsylvania challenge

November 22, 2020
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Donald Trump speaks at a press conference at the White House - Shutterstock
Donald Trump speaks at a press conference at the White House – Shutterstock

Undaunted by a Pennsylvania judge’s withering dismissal of a plea to discount millions of mail-in votes, the Trump campaign turned its attention to another battleground state and demanded a second recount in Georgia.

The move was the latest shot in a salvo of legal cases with Donald Trump still showing no sign of accepting that he lost the election.

On Monday  Michigan’s four-member Elections board is due to meet to ratify their results, with one of the two Republicans indicating he could vote against doing so.

The demand for a Georgia recount came hours after Judge Matthew Brann described the challenge to the Pennsylvania result as without merit.

Alleging irregularities in the way ballots were treated across the state, the Trump campaign had asked the court to prevent millions of mail-in ballots being counted.

The argument was given short shrift by Judge Brann.

“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” he wrote.

“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more.”

Mr Trump said on Twitter that he would appeal and Rudy Giuliani, his lawyer, said he expected the case to reach the US Supreme Court.

Legal experts, however, have voiced doubts that the Supreme Court would overturn the election.

“You can’t go to the court because you wish you’d won the election. You have to have a genuine legal pretext,” said Christopher Galdieri, an associate professor of politics at Saint Anselm College.

“As the margins get bigger I think that gets more difficult for him. The more your opponent is winning by, the harder it gets to close that gap.”

President Donald Trump speaks to the press at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - AFPPresident Donald Trump speaks to the press at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - AFP
President Donald Trump speaks to the press at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – AFP

Lawrence Douglas. a law professor at Amherst College added: “He can certainly appeal the district court’s decision, and that could ultimately be appealed to the Supreme Court but it’s not going to get him anywhere, as there’s no way the court would overturn Judge Brann’s holding.”

The Trump campaign on Saturday night requested a recount of paper ballots in Georgia, but this is unlikely to change the outcome in the state. The first recount was certified on Friday in Mr Biden’s favour.  

There is a growing belief that the Trump campaign has been peppering the legal system with cases in an attempt to run down the clock to prevent electoral college votes in battleground states being ratified by the December 14  deadline set by law.

In Wisconsin, another disputed battleground state, officials accused Trump election observers of trying to obstruct a recount by objecting to nearly every ballot in some places.

Should the December deadline not be met, the Trump campaign hopes  Republican-controlled legislatures in  Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia would flip the states away from Joe Biden by sending delegations supporting the president’s re-election.

Mr Trump has already started lobbying legislators, including Michigan’s senate majority leader, Mike Shirkey and the state’s house speaker, Lee Chatfield – but to no avail.

“We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election,” they said.

With a succession of courts dismissing the Trump campaign’s claims, the president is also haemorrhaging support from erstwhile political allies.

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania became the fifth Republican senator to congratulate Mr Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory.

“With today’s decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania,” he said.

Even Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who had been one of Mr Trump’s staunchest supporters, challenged the campaign’s legal team to provide proof of widespread fraud.

As for Mr Trump, the president has largely disappeared from public view – making only four appearances since the election and spending weekends playing golf.

On Sunday, he Trump decried as “fake news” reports that he had been playing golf instead of attending the G20 virtual summit.

Mr Trump wrote on Twitter: “Just arrived at Virtual G20. Was here yesterday also (early), but some of the Fake News Media failed to report it accurately – as usual.”

CNN had reported that President Trump appeared “to be skipping a side event at the G20” about preparedness for a pandemic, and that he was instead photographed playing golf in Virginia.

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