Donald Trump is escalating his attempts to undermine the US election, calling it a ‘HOAX’ as he pursues a new strategy to flip states to Republican.
Mr Trump is summoning Republican leaders from key states to the White House in an increasingly desperate bid to switch the outcome amid a failing legal strategy.
According to people familiar with the plan, the Trump team wants to pressure Republican-controlled legislatures in battleground states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania not to certify the election results.
The idea was to press Republican lawmakers to intervene by appointing their own Trump-supporting electors.
The president’s outreach to state officials represents a shift for his re-election campaign, which has been unable to produce evidence to support his unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.
Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, will visit the White House on Friday (local time) at Mr Trump’s request, according to a source in Michigan.
CNN reports there are also discussions underway about inviting Pennsylvania’s Republicans.
Mr Trump has been fixating on Michigan, claiming Joe Biden received a “dump of 134,886 votes” a day after the election.
“We will use these charts in court,” he Tweeted. “The Election was a HOAX.”
Will use these charts in court case. The Election was a HOAX. Thank you Justin! https://t.co/9Ue7ysDIVb
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2020
However Mr Biden’s campaign legal adviser Bob Bauer said it was “not possible” and “not legal” for Michigan’s Republican legislature to overturn the result.
“No state legislature in our country’s history ever has done what Donald Trump is apparently agitating for the Michigan state legislature to do, which is to ignore the results of a popular vote,” Mr Bauer said.
“It cannot be done.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Friday (local time) denied Mr Trump was trying to pressure state legislators, saying his meeting with Michigan representatives was “not an advocacy meeting”.
“There will be no one from the campaign there. He routinely meets with lawmakers from all across the country,” she said.
Meanwhile a hand recount of Georgia’s roughly five million votes affirmed Mr Biden’s victory there, while judges in three states rejected bids by the campaign to challenge vote counts.
Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, officially certified Joe Biden’s victory in the state on Friday (local time).
it's official. Georgia has certified its election results. pic.twitter.com/CsF4pCoZdQ
— Justin Gray (@JustinGrayWSB) November 20, 2020
Mr Biden called Mr Trump’s latest attempts “totally irresponsible”, though he has expressed little concern they will prevent him taking office on January 20.
The president-elect spent the week putting together his team. His incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, told CNN that Mr Biden would announce more White House officials on Friday.
Despite the setbacks, the Trump campaign has not abandoned its legal efforts to overturn the election results.
Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, told a news conference on Thursday (local time) he planned to file more lawsuits, accusing Democrats of masterminding a “national conspiracy” to steal the election while offering no evidence to support the claim.
Mr Giuliani’s son Andrew, who was at the tightly packed press conference, has confirmed he has tested positive to the coronavirus and has mild symptoms.