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Minggu, 22 November 2020

Donald Trump continues to challenge election results as legal options dwindle - The Australian

US President Donald Trump.
US President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump’s campaign to prove massive election fraud is running out of time and support as more Republicans distance themselves and key states prepare to declare Joe Biden the winner.

It comes as the president-elect Joe Biden is set to announce his first Cabinet posts on Wednesday (AEDT), possibly including his secretaries of Treasury and for State.

As the president continued on his increasingly unlikely quest to overturn the election result, his ally and former Republican Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie slammed Mr Trump’s legal team as a ‘national embarrassment.’

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“Elections have consequences and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen,” Mr Christie said.

“The conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment,” he said, adding that if the courts were not finding any cases in their favour “It must mean the evidence doesn’t exist.”

One of Donald Trump’s oldest political allies has labelled his legal team’s efforts to overturn the election result a “national embarrassment”, and urged the President to concede.

The Republican Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan also criticised Mr Trump’s failed attempt to persuade Michigan legislators to overturn the election result in that state, saying it was
“completely outrageous’’.

“We’re beginning to look like we’re a banana republic,” Mr Hogan said. “It’s time for them to stop the nonsense.”

Other Republicans — although not the party’s leadership group — also broke ranks from the president, with Michigan congressman Fred Upton saying “The voters spoke, In Michigan, it’s not a razor-thin margin, it’s 154,000 votes. You’ve got to let those votes stand. It’s over.”

Despite a series of major legal setbacks and looming deadlines for states to certify their final vote counts, the president continued to fight the results on Monday (AEDT).

“We will find massive numbers of fraudulent ballots. The signatures won’t match. Fight hard Republicans. Don’t let them destroy the evidence!,’ Mr Trump tweeted.

The president’s legal team, led by his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, have suffered a series of key set backs in recent days that has made their unlikely legal quest to overturn results in at least three states all but impossible.

Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona are due to certify their results this week in favour of Mr Biden making it almost impossible for the president’s team to challenge the results in these states.

In Michigan, Republicans are hoping to delay the certification vote, which is due for Tuesday (AEDT). In the key state of Pennsylvania, where Trump’s team suffered a big legal defeat at the weekend, the last hope rests on appealing that defeat in the hope that the US Supreme Court will take it up.

But the odds of this appear small, after US District Judge Matthew Brann in Pennsylvania said the Trump team’s legal arguments to throw out millions of votes was a ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ of “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations…unsupported by evidence.”

In Georgia, which has now certified its results for a Biden win, the Trump campaign has filed for a second vote recount, after a first vote recount confirmed Mr Biden’s victory in that traditionally Republican state.

Meanwhile Mr Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain criticised both Mr Trump and the GSA, the agency that has to approve the formal transition process but which has kept silent in the face of the president’s claims of fraud.

“A record number of Americans rejected the Trump presidency and since then, Trump has been rejecting democracy,” Mr Klain said.

US President Donald Trump in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House.
US President Donald Trump in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House.

Mr Klain said the Biden team’s transition plans were being hampered by the lack of access to agencies, briefings and office space — all the services which a president elect usually has access to. He also expressed concern that the transition delay could undermine the rapid rollout of a coronavirus vaccine.

“Our transition isn’t getting access to agency officials to help develop our plans and there’s a lot of focus on that vaccine-rollout plan that’s going to be critical in the early days of a Biden presidency,” Mr Klain said. “We have no access to that.”

He also foreshadowed a pared-down presidential inauguration because of the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

The inauguration is usually attended by massive crowds in a week-long party in Washington. But Mr Klain said “Obviously, this is not going to be the same kind of inauguration that we had in the past.’

Although the set-up for the outdoor inauguration is already being constructed, there is speculation that the general public may be kept away for the actual ceremony or that it may even be conducted inside the Capitol building.

He said Mr Biden would announce his first Cabinet posts on Wednesday but did not say which posts these would be or who the lead contenders were.

(Cameron Stewart is also US Contributor for Sky News Australia)

Washington Correspondent

Cameron Stewart has been The Australian’s Washington Correspondent covering North America since early 2017. This is his second US posting, having previously been The Australian’s New York correspondent the lat...

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2020-11-22 21:11:15Z
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