Campaign lawyers for U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday they intend to contest his loss to President-elect Joe Biden into January, even though all states but one certified their vote counts showing Biden won the national election last month.
U.S. law calls for all 50 states to certify the outcomes in their individual states six days ahead of next Monday’s Electoral College vote, which determines the outcome of U.S. presidential elections. Only the Midwestern state of Wisconsin missed Tuesday’s “safe harbor day” deadline to certify its vote — which Biden carried — but could by the end of the week.
Biden is expected to win the Electoral College vote by a 306-232 margin, the same total that Trump won the presidency by in 2016, then calling it a “landslide” victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Congress is set to review and certify the Electoral College outcome on January 6, two weeks ahead of Biden’s inauguration as the country’s 46th president.
But Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani, hospitalized with COVID-19, and Jenna Ellis, who also has contracted the coronavirus, issued a joint statement on Tuesday describing the “Safe Harbor Deadline” as “a statutory timeline that generally denotes the last day for states to certify election results.”
“However, it is not unprecedented for election contests to last well beyond December 8,” they added.
The Trump lawyers quoted the late liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as saying during the disputed 2000 election that the congressional review and certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6 was of “ultimate significance.”
Giuliani and Ellis said: “Despite the media trying to desperately proclaim that the fight [between Trump and Biden] is over, we will continue to champion election integrity until every legal vote is counted fairly and accurately.”
Trump has refused to concede his loss to Biden or say whether he plans to attend Biden’s inauguration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol January 20.
Trump has repeatedly claimed, with no evidence, that the election vote and vote-counting were rigged against him and fraudulent. But Trump’s lawyers have lost dozens of suits in political battleground states trying to upend Biden’s victory.
Trump, to no avail so far, has also tried to convince lawmakers in some states to ignore the vote outcome and pick electors who support him.
Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton filed suit in the U.S. Supreme Court late Monday claiming that the vote in favor of Biden in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin should be overturned because of irregularities.
Trump applauded the lawsuit, saying it showed “courage and brilliance.”
Attorneys general in the four states attacked by Paxton variously called his lawsuit a “publicity stunt,” “a circus” and “genuinely embarrassing.”