House minority leader Kevin McCarthy indicated that Liz Cheney had to be removed from House GOP leadership because she was “relitigating the past.” Yesterday, McCarthy said: “I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election.”
In the Capitol on Wednesday, I asked Elise Stefanik — the congresswoman virtually certain to succeed Cheney as GOP Conference chair — about her statement on January 6 that 140,000 illegitimate ballots were cast in a single Georgia county in 2020:
On January 6, [Stefanik] joined a majority of House Republicans in rejecting certification of the Electoral College results.
“Today, I will respectfully object to contested electors from the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin,” Stefanik said in a statement issued that morning.
Like Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, Stefanik pointed to the doubts on the part of some Americans about the election’s legitimacy as a reason to reject certification of the results. But then she went a step further to assert as fact that widespread voter fraud had actually occurred.
In a written statement, Stefanik said that in Georgia “more than 140,000 votes came from underage, deceased, and otherwise unauthorized voters — in Fulton County alone.”
If Stefanik’s statement were correct, that would mean that more than 25 percent of all ballots cast in Fulton County, home to Atlanta, were illegitimate. Last week, the Georgia secretary of state’s office called Stefanik’s claim “ludicrous.”
“The Georgia Secretary of State’s office knows the age of everyone who voted because they had to be registered in order to vote, and there were no underage voters,” a spokesman for Brad Raffensperger, the Republican who holds that office, said in an email to CNN. “Across the state, we found only 2 votes credited to dead voters. The suggestion that one fourth of all ballots cast in Fulton County in November were illegal is ludicrous.”
In the Capitol on Wednesday, I asked Stefanik if she stood by her claim that 140,000 votes cast in Fulton County were illegitimate.
“I stand by my statement on the House floor in January, and I stand by my statement that there are serious issues related to election irregularities in the state of Georgia, as well as Pennsylvania, Michigan, [and] Wisconsin,” she replied.
What’s the basis for Stefanik’s claim that 140,000 votes were illegitimate? “The basis for that is that was filed in a court case.”
Does she still think 140,000 votes in Georgia were illegitimate? “I think there are questions that are important for the American people to hear answers to,” Stefanik replied.
But again, Stefanik did not present the wild claim of widespread voter fraud in Georgia as a question in January — she asserted it as a fact, and gave it as a reason that she opposed certification of Georgia’s electoral votes. Now she says she both “stand[s] by” her January statement while suggesting she’s just asking questions.
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