Top Republicans line up behind Trump election fight, as Biden rips president for not concedingNovember 12, 2020
AG Barr gives US Attorneys permission to investigate substantial election irregularities
Memo allows local jurisdictions to look into ‘serious allegations’ of election fraud; reaction from former DOJ prosecutor James Trusty.
Top Republican officials are continuing to back President Trump's quest to challenge the 2020 presidential election via recounts and allegations of voter fraud, days after Fox News and other media outlets projected Democrat Joe Biden as the winner.
Despite Biden being projected as winning key swing states, including Pennsylvania and Nevada, the results have yet to be certified, and Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are defending Trump’s right to pursue all legal avenues.
TRUMP AND GOP CONTINUE LEGAL CHALLENGES TO ELECTION RESULTS, ASK MEDIA TO INVESTIGATE FRAUD ALLEGATIONS
“If any major irregularities occurred this time of a magnitude that would affect the outcome, then every single American should want them to be brought to light,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday. “If the Democrats feel confident that they have not occurred, they should have no reason to fear any extra scrutiny. We have the tools and institutions we need to address any concerns.”
That same day, Vice President Mike Pence delivered encouraging words at a meeting in the ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to the White House. According to an administration official who was in the room, the vice president walked in to a standing ovation.
“Told @VP Team Today, “it ain’t over til it’s over..and this AIN’T over!” Pence tweeted Monday from his Twitter account. “@realDonaldTrump has never stopped fighting for us and we’re gonna Keep Fighting until every LEGAL vote is counted!”
Also Monday, Attorney General William Barr said in a memo obtained by Fox News that federal prosecutors should pursue "substantial allegations" of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election is certified next month.
However, Barr made clear that allegations concerning voter fraud “should be handled with great care” and that “specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.”
TRUMP WOULD CONCEDE, WORK ON PEACEFUL TRANSITION IF LEGAL FIGHT FALLS SHORT, SOURCES SAY, DESPITE TWEETS
Barr’s actions give prosecutors the ability to circumvent longstanding DOJ policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election is formally certified. He did say, however, that investigations of allegations “that if true, would clearly not impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State” should be held off until after the election is certified.
During a Tuesday news conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not recognize Biden as the winner when he was asked when the State Department would start working with the Biden transition team.
“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo said.
“We’re ready, the world is watching what is taking place, we’re gonna count all the votes, when the process is complete, there'll be electors selected, there's a process,” he said. “The Constitution lays it out pretty clearly and the world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure the State Department is functional today, successful today, and successful with a president who is in office on Jan. 20 a minute after noon will also be successful.”
BIDEN TRANSITION HANGS IN LIMBO AWAITING ADMINISTRATION CERTIFICATION
The Trump campaign and other Republicans have filed a number of lawsuits in states including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada and Georgia. Those cases have included claims ranging from challenges to changes made to state election rules prior to the election and allegations that Republican poll watchers were barred from being able to properly monitor the vote-counting process to accusations of voter fraud.
President-elect Biden was far from impressed with Trump’s efforts to challenge vote counts and swing the election in his favor.
Addressing reporters Tuesday, Biden was asked what the president’s refusal to concede means to the country and he was blunt in his response.
“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly. … I think it will not help the president’s legacy,” he said.
Biden campaign surrogate Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told CNN Tuesday that several Republicans have privately approached him to congratulate Biden while being worried about making any public comment.
"They call me to say, you know, 'Congratulations, please convey my well wishes to the president-elect, but I can't say that publicly yet,'" Coons said. He did not name any specific GOP senators.
So far, a handful of prominent Republicans have recognized Biden as the winner of the election and offered congratulations.
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In a statement Saturday, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said that he and his wife “extend our congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.” The next day, however, Romney told “Fox News Sunday” that “it is appropriate for the president to make sure that the vote count has been done properly, to carry out recounts where it’s a very close contest, if there are irregularities alleged pursue those and to follow every legal option he has.”
Other GOP lawmakers to recognize a Biden victory include Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Ben Sasse. Former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also congratulated Biden.
Fox News' Brooke Singman, Adam Shaw, Thomas Barrabi, Bradford Betz, Paul Steinhauser and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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