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Michigan and Nevada Dismiss Trump Campaign Lawsuits as President Continues To Falsely Claim Election Victory

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  • President Trump on Wednesday tweeted that he had “claimed” wins in Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, and Michigan, despite the fact that no single outlet had called races in any of the states.
  • Shortly after, Trump again claimed that he had won the election and accused Democrats of fraud, though he provided no evidence.
  • Meanwhile, the Trump campaign filed a flurry of lawsuits in multiple swing states, including challenges that attempted to cut the counting of legal votes short. Several cases have already been dismissed by state courts.

Trump Declares Himself the Winner

President Donald Trump again prematurely declared himself the winner of the presidential election on Wednesday after falsely claiming he had won several key battleground states while his campaign simultaneously filed a barrage of lawsuits against most of those same states.

“We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead,” he said on Twitter. “Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!”

At the time, none of the states the president “claimed” had been called by any media outlet for either candidate, though shortly after, all outlets projected that former Vice President Joe Biden had won Michigan.

Twitter flagged the tweet, noting that the races had not been called by official resources, and specifically warning that the claim about “secretly dumped ballots” was misinformation.

However, just over an hour later while speaking at the White House, Trump again declared victory and claimed that there had been election fraud without any evidence.

“This is a major fraud on our nation,” he said. “We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 in the morning and add them to the list.”

Legal experts have said that Trump cannot simply ask the Supreme Court to intervene in the election and stop counting ballots. In order for the highest court to take action on such questions, a legal case must first go through lower courts and a sometimes lengthy appeals process.

Lawsuits

Notably, the Trump campaign did announce roughly half a dozen legal challenges in multiple swing states on Wednesday, though some have already been rejected or dismissed by local courts.

Several of the lawsuits, including those in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Nevada, were aimed at stopping the counting of legal votes.

In Pennsylvania, which is currently facing the most challenges of any state, the campaign filed a lawsuit it demanding the courts stop all ballot counting until their poll observers were given better access to oversee the process.

A lower court dismissed the case, but an Appeals Court judge overruled that decision Thursday and allowed the observers to stand closer to the officials counting ballots.

In a nearly identical lawsuit, the Trump campaign also alleged their election inspectors did not have proper access to observe the counts in Michigan as well. On Thursday, a local judge dismissed that case, arguing it was basically moot because most of the ballots have already been counted.

In both states, top officials have refused to stop counting ballots and defended how their elections were run.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf described the administration’s legal claims as an attempt “to subvert the democratic process,” and the state’s Attorney General also called the lawsuits “meritless.” The Michigan Attorney General also echoed those remarks, saying in a statement that the state provided access for both parties.

Meanwhile in Nevada, the campaign is taking a slightly different route in its legal challenges.

It first attempted to stop the counting of absentee ballots in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, by filing an emergency injunction demanding that officials there stop using an automatic signature verification machine.

After the state’s Supreme Court denied that request, the campaign decided to file another legal challenge Thursday, filing a federal lawsuit claiming they had evidence of tens of thousands of “illegal votes” cast by non-residents of the state and dead people. However, when asked by reporters about the evidence, the campaign refused to answer any questions. 

As for if any of these cases go to the Supreme Court, many legal experts say it is unlikely because most of them have absolutely zero legal basis. A point echoed by other election officials and Democrats, who accused the president of only filing the challenges to sow discord and undermine legally cast votes.

In another tweet flagged by Twitter Thursday, the president said he would bring fraud-related legal challenges against “all of the recent Biden claimed States.” While yet again not citing any evidence, he claimed there was “plenty of proof” and directed people to “just check out the Media.” 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (NBC News) (The Associated Press)

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Senate Democrats To Introduce Voting Rights Bill This Week

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Republicans are expected to block the legislation, but Democratic leaders hope the GOP’s unified opposition will lay the groundwork to justify getting rid of the filibuster.


Voting Bill Set for Floor

Senate Democrats are officially set to advance their voting rights bill this week, with a procedural vote to start debate on the legislation scheduled for Tuesday.

The move comes as an increasing number of Democrats and progressive activists have begun to embrace a more watered-down version of the bill proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), the sole Democrat who opposed the initial proposal on the grounds that it was too partisan.

While Democrats have spent the weekend hashing out the final details of compromise on Manchin’s bill, which he has touted as a more bipartisan compromise, Senate Republicans have still broadly rejected it.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who previously opposed the initial For the People Act as too far-reaching, called Manchin’s alternative proposal “equally unacceptable” and predicted that no members of his party will vote in favor.

The legislation is all but guaranteed to fail in the chamber, where it will require all 50 Democrats and at least 10 Republicans to overcome the filibuster.

However, bringing the bill to the floor still has major utility for Democrats because it will lay the groundwork for the party to justify scrapping the filibuster entirely.

Pathway for Filibuster Reform

Specifically, if Manchin agrees to some form of the bill which Republicans then filibuster, Democrats can say they had the to votes to pass the legislation if the filibuster were removed. 

That, in turn, would bolster the Democratic argument that bipartisanship cannot be a precondition to taking actions to secure our democracy if it relies on reaching common ground with a party that they believe is increasingly and transparently committed to undermining democracy.

It would also give more ground to the Democratic claim that the GOP is abusing existing Senate rules to block policy changes that have gained wide public support following the Jan. 6 insurrection and amid the growing efforts by Republican governors and legislatures to restrict voting access in their states.

As a result, if Republicans block the legislation along party lines, Democratic leaders hope that could change objections to scrapping the filibuster voiced privately by some members and publicly by Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Az.).

This is especially true for Tuesday’s planned vote, because it is just a vote to proceed to debate, meaning that if Republicans filibuster, they will be preventing the Senate from even debating any efforts to protect democracy, including Manchin’s plan which he crafted specifically to reach a compromise with the GOP.

Whether a full party rejection would be enough to move the needle for Manchin and the other Democrats remains to be seen. Any successful overhaul of the contentious Senate rule would not only be incredibly significant for President Joe Biden’s agenda, but also for the precedent it could set.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Reuters) (USA Today)

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McConnell Says He Would Block a Biden SCOTUS Nominee in 2024

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The Senate Minority Leader also refused to say whether or not he would block a hypothetical nominee in 2023 if his party overtakes the chamber’s slim majority in the midterm elections.


McConnell Doubles Down 

During an interview with conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatened to block a hypothetical Supreme Court nominee from President Joe Biden in 2024 if Republicans took control of the Senate.

“I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled,” he said. “So I think it’s highly unlikely. In fact, no, I don’t think either party if it controlled, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election.” 

McConnell’s remarks do not come as a surprise as they are in line with his past refusal to consider former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the court in February 2016 on the grounds that it was too close to the presidential election.

The then-majority leader received a ton of backlash for his efforts, especially after he forced through Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation just eight days before the 2020 election. At the time, McConnell argued the two situations were different because the Senate and the president were from the same party — a claim he reiterated in the interview.

McConnell also implied he may take that stance even further in comments to Hewitt, who asked if he would block the appointment of a Supreme Court justice if a seat were to be vacated at the end of 2023 about 18 months before the next inauguration — a precedent set by the appointment of Anthony Kennedy.

“Well, we’d have to wait and see what happens,” McConnell responded.

McConnell’s Calculus

Many Democrats immediately condemned McConnell’s remarks, including progressive leaders who renewed their calls to expand the court.

“Mitch McConnell is already foreshadowing that he’ll steal a 3rd Supreme Court seat if he gets the chance. He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again. We need to expand the Supreme Court,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Ma.).

Some also called on Justice Stephen Breyer, the oldest SCOTUS judge, to retire.

“If Breyer refuses to retire, he’s not making some noble statement about the judiciary. He is saying he wants Mitch McConnell to handpick his replacement,” said Robert Cruickshank, campaign director for Demand Progress.

Others, however, argued that the response McConnell’s remarks elicited was exactly what he was hoping to see and said his timing was calculated.

The minority leader’s comments come as the calls for Breyer to step down have recently grown while the current Supreme Court term draws near, a time when justices often will announce their retirement.

On Sunday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was asked if she thought Breyer should leave the bench while Democrats still controlled the Senate. She responded that she was “inclined to say yes.”

With his latest public statement, McConnell’s aims are twofold here: he hopes to broaden divisions in the Democratic Party between progressives and more traditional liberals, who are more hesitant to rush Breyer to retire or expand the court, while simultaneously working to unite a fractured Republican base and encourage them to turn out in the midterm elections.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (CNN) (The Hill)

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Gov. Abbott Says Texas Will Build Border Wall With Mexico

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The announcement follows months of growing tension between the Texas governor and President Biden over immigration policies.


Texas Border Wall 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced during a press conference Thursday that the state would build a border wall with Mexico, extending the signature campaign promise of former President Donald Trump.

Abbott provided very few details for the border wall plans, and it is unclear if he has the authority to build it.

While some of the land is state-owned, much of it belongs to the federal government or falls on private property.

Even if the state were able to build on federal ground, private landowners who fought the Trump administration’s attempts to take their land through eminent domain would still remain an obstacle for any renewed efforts.

During his term, Trump built over 450 miles of new wall, but most of it covered areas where deteriorating barriers already existed, and thus had previously been approved for the federal project.

The majority of the construction also took place in Arizona, meaning Abbott would have much ground to cover. It is also unclear how the governor plans to pay for the wall.

Trump had repeatedly said Mexico would fund the wall, but that promise remained unfulfilled, and the president instead redirected billions of taxpayer dollars from Defense Department reserves.

While Abbott did say he would announce more details about the wall next week, his plan was condemned as ill-planned by immigration activists, who also threatened legal challenges.

“There is no substantive plan,” said Edna Yang, the co-executive director of the Texas-based immigration legal aid and advocacy group American Gateways. “It’s not going to make any border community or county safer.”

Ongoing Feud

Abbott’s announcement comes amid escalating tensions between the governor and the administration of President Joe Biden.

Biden issued a proclamation that stopped border wall construction on his first day of office, and has since undone multiple Trump-era immigration policies. Abbott, for his part, has blamed Biden’s rollback of Trump’s rules for the influx of migrants at the border in recent months. 

Two weeks ago, the governor deployed over 1,000 National Guard members and troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety to the border as part of an initiative launched in March to ramp up border security dubbed Operation Lone Star.

Last week, Abbott issued a disaster declaration which, among other measures, directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to strip the state licenses of all shelters that house migrant children and have contracts with the federal government.

The move, which federal officials have already threatened to take legal action against, could effectively force the 52 state-licensed shelters housing around 8,600 children to move the minors elsewhere.

During Thursday’s press conference, Abbott also outlined a variety of other border initiatives, including appropriating $1 billion for border security, creating a task force on border security, and increasing arrests for migrants who enter the country illegally.

“While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows,” he said. “Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.”

See what others are saying: (The Texas Tribune) (The New York Times) (CNN)

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