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Trump Looks to Congressional Republicans in Latest Effort to Overturn Election Results

President Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Bullhead City, Ariz., October 28, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Trump is continuing to seek alternative pathways to stay in office, including pressuring congressional Republicans and state lawmakers to support his bid after failing to overturn the election results in the court, according to a new report.

Trump has been calling Republicans, including Arizona GOP Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward and Representative Mike Johnson (R., La.), urging them to continue fighting for his cause and to publicly push the idea that the election was stolen, according to the Washington Post. Trump is also expected to meet with several state attorneys general at the White House on Thursday, while Rudy Giuliani has done similar outreach from the hospital where he is being treated for COVID-19.

The report adds that Vice President Mike Pence has also joined the effort to contact governors and other party leaders in key states in an attempt to find any last-ditch efforts to help Trump, though a source told the paper Pence has not pressured the lawmakers to take action and sees his calls as “checking in.”

Trump allies in the House have been approaching GOP senators hoping to recruit one to join in objecting to slates of electors on January 6, sources told the paper, when Congress will meet in a joint session to count the electoral votes and finalize Joe Biden’s victory, with Pence presiding.

Should a member of the House and a member of the Senate challenge a state’s results, it would trigger a Congressional vote that could force Republicans to choose between accepting the election results — Biden won with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 — or supporting Trump’s efforts to overturn the results.

Representative Mo Brooks (R., Ala.) has vowed to challenge the results, though a number of unknowns remain, including how many slates of electors he and other lawmakers plan to contest and whether they can find a Senate Republican to join their effort. According to the Washington Post, House Republicans are eyeing Senators Mike Lee (R., Utah), Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Rand Paul (R., Ky.), Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), and Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.) as potential allies in their efforts. 

Brooks and Representative Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.), leader of the House Freedom Caucus, met with the Senate Republican Steering Committee leaders, including Lee and Cruz, during which Brooks and Biggs detailed their plans to trigger a vote.

Cruz on Tuesday said the courts would have the final decision on the election. 

“There are multiple lawsuits raising allegations of fraud and irregularities in this election,” Cruz said. “We need to allow the judicial process to work its way through and resolve those claims.”

Trump’s legal efforts have largely fizzled out, with judges across key battleground states including Arizona, Nevada and Michigan, dismissing his claims of voter fraud over lack of substantial evidence. The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a bid by Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn Biden’s win the state.

A small number of lawsuits are still working their way through the courts, including in Wisconsin and Georgia, though none are expected to deliver Trump a victory.

On Wednesday, Johnson sent an email to House Republicans hoping to find colleagues to sign on to an amicus brief in a last-minute Texas lawsuit looking to disallow results from Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania on Trump’s behalf. 

Johnson wrote that the president “will be anxiously awaiting the final list to review,” a warning that Trump would be made aware of who had signed and who didn’t.

“Most of my Republican colleagues in the House, and countless millions of our constituents across the country, now have serious concerns with the integrity of our election system,” Johnson said in a statement. “The purpose of our amicus brief will be to articulate this concern and express our sincere belief that the great importance of this issue merits a full and careful consideration by the court.”

Additionally, more than two dozen members of the House Freedom Caucus and other conservatives signed a separate letter to the president asking that he direct Attorney General William Barr to appoint a special counsel to investigate “irregularities” in the election. Barr last week announced that the Justice Department had found no evidence of voter fraud that would overturn the election results.

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