The top Michigan Republican legislative leaders who met with President Trump at the White House as part of the president’s extraordinary move to try to overturn Joe Biden’s popular vote win in the state said Friday evening they will ‘follow the law.’
The lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, issued a joint statement after flying to Washington to meet with the president – on a day Trump claimed he ‘won’ the election, despite trailing President-elect Joe Biden by 6 million votes.
But the lawmakers said they have not seen anything that would ‘change the outcome’ of the race – despite Trump’s lawyers repeatedly claiming a ‘massive’ fraud had occurred. Their statement, however, also included language saying fraud should be ‘taken seriously’ and be prosecuted if uncovered.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey was met with protesters chanting ‘certify the results’ and carrying signs as he arrived in Washington, D.C. for a meeting with President Trump. Shirkey and Michigan’s House speaker issued a statement saying they had not seen ‘information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan’ and would ‘follow the law’
‘We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election,’ Shirkey and Chatfield said in a statement.
It came after they got hounded by protesters upon arriving in Washington. They say they got invited to the White House Wednesday night.
‘The Senate and House Oversight Committees are actively engaged in a thorough review of Michigan’s elections process and we have faith in the committee process to provide greater transparency and accountability to our citizens,’ they said.
They also made a comment that echoed Trump’s complaint that two county election officials had faced harassment when certifying Biden’s win in Wayne County. They ultimately certified the results after getting blasted in a zoom session, then issued an affidavit seeking to ‘rescind’ it after certification.
‘Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation. Allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes. These are simple truths and should provide confidence in our elections,’ they said.
Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey adjusts his protective face mask as he arrives to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 20, 2020
Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives Lee Chatfield speaks during a campaign rally on October 17, 2020 in Muskegon, Michigan. He met with President Trump days before Michigan’s certification deadline
In this May 21, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump is greeted by Kurt Heise, left, Supervisor of Plymouth Township, Mich., and Speaker Lee Chatfield, of the Michigan House of Representatives after stepping off Air Force One as he arrives at Detroit Metro Airport in Detroit. President Donald Trump summoned Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, to the White House for a meeting Friday
Chatfield posted the statement on Twitter, under the heading: ‘I was glad to have met with President Trump this evening.’
Amid national reports on Trump’s election efforts, the joint statement said the lawmakers brought a letter to Trump about the coronavirus, ‘making clear our support for additional federal funds.’
They said they accepted the invitation ‘as we would accept an invitation from any sitting president if asked.’
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said beforehand it wasn’t an ‘advocacy’ meeting, and compared it to meetings with lawmakers that Trump has regularly – even though it comes days before the deadline for Michigan certifying the results in the election where Trump was a candidate.
Their statement came after President-elect Joe Biden‘s legal advisor blasted the ‘appalling’ move by Trump to seek to overturn the results of the election in Michigan and battleground states where he lost, but said the effort won’t work.
‘It’s an abuse of office,’ Biden legal advisor Bob Bauer told reporters by video.
‘It’s an open attempt to intimidate election officials. It’s absolutely appalling.’
Election law expert Rick Hasen compared the effort to an attempted coup. He wrote: ‘We should worry because this is profoundly antidemocratic and is delegitimizing the victory of Joe Biden in a free and fair election. It is profoundly depressing we still have to discuss this. But it is extremely unlikely to lead to any different result for president.’
Even as Bauer and Biden himself have turned up the volume in their denunciations in recent days, Bauer continued to maintain the effort would be fruitless.
President Trump said he ‘won’ the election a few hours before meeting with the Michigan lawmakers
Joe Biden legal advisor Bob Bauer blasted Trump’s moves to try to overturn election results in court or through state legislatures. ‘It’s an open attempt to intimidate election officials. It’s absolutely appalling,’ he said
‘There is however no chance whatsoever that Donald Trump can be successful in what it is that he is trying to do,’ he said. He cited what he called the ‘complete, ignominious collapse’ of the Trump team’s legal case across states.
He spoke on a day when Trump is meeting with the Republican heads of the Michigan legislature, in part of a plan to get lawmakers to use their majority to overturn Biden’s lead of more than 150,000 votes in the state.
It’s a move that Democrats and a smattering of senior Republicans call brazen and illegal – but that Bauer said simply won’t happen successfully.
‘What Donald Trump has done, and is continuing to do is to denigrate and defame and deride this entire process, and to allege to the American public that what they know in their hearts is not true is somehow true and that the election that occurred on November 3 …was somehow legitimate,’ he said.
‘And that’s a serious, serious act of have a president to deal with unprecedented in presidential history.’
But he added: ‘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 election and wrest control from the voters.’
‘It cannot be done,’ he said. ‘The Constitution does not permit a state legislature to do what Donald Trump wants the Michigan state legislature to do,’ since it has already decided the popular vote would determine the outcome.
President-elect Joe Biden called Trump’s actions ‘hard to fathom’
We can flip them all: Giuliani had a map beside him of the states where he claims the Democratic plot went down – although he also claimed it happened in New Mexico and Virginia, which are not colored
‘Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election,’ Romney tweeted on Thursday
Rudy Giuliani, made wild allegations of voter fraud while suffering a hair-dye malfunction at a press conference Thursday with Trump’s legal team
He spoke shortly before White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany gave her first briefing since the Nov. 3 elections, where Biden has won 306 electoral votes – although states are approaching a series of official certification deadlines.
She wouldn’t say when Trump would concede, or when he would allow for a proper transfer of power to Biden.
‘There are very real claims out there that the campaign is pursuing,’ she said. ‘These are real claims. These individuals deserve to be heard.’
She also claimed that Trump’s meeting with the Michigan legislators was not out of the ordinary.
‘This is not an advocacy meeting,’ she told reporters.
She spoke a day after lawyers on Trump’s legal team spoke to the press and raised a series of wild allegations about left-wing influences from Venezuela, the Clinton foundation, voting machines, and Democratic machine politicians contributing to election ‘fraud.’
Trump this week called a member of the Wayne County board of canvassers after a dramatic meeting where she and another Republican refused to certify the results, then backed down after an angry zoom meeting. Following the call, she filed an affidavit saying she was seeking to ‘rescind’ her vote, which sent the process on to a state canvassing board.
Trump invited Michigan Republican leaders of the state legislature, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, to the White House Friday.
‘I hope they wear masks and I hope they stay safe,’ Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan said of Chatfield and Shirkey’s visit. ‘All the meetings in the world, though, can’t take away from the fact that Joe Biden won Michigan by over 150,000 votes.’
Biden won Michigan 51% to Trump’s 48% or by 154,000 votes, according to the current unofficial results. All 83 counties have approved their tallies and the state is expected to start the certification process on Monday.
The president and his allies appear to be pursing the questionable legal theory that if the states don’t certify the election results, the Republican-controlled state legislatures can intervene and appoint pro-Trump electors in states Biden won. Those electors would cast their ballot for Trump when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14 – thereby handing him the presidency.
Election experts say there is no scenario in which this could happen and even some Republican lawmakers in those states have dismissed the idea.
Biden has brushed aside concerns Trump’s efforts will undermine his forthcoming administration but did express concern about what it would do to American democracy.
‘I just – It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks,’ Biden said. ‘It’s hard to fathom. I’m confident he knows he hasn’t won. He’s not going to win and we’re going to be sworn in January 20th,’ Biden said Friday.
‘I just you know, far from me to question his motive but it’s just outrageous what he’s doing,’ he added.
Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said in a statement Thursday night following a bizarre press conference headed by Rudy Giuliani: ”It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President.’
Trump blasted Romney as a ‘RINO,’ a Republican In Name Only.
Said Bauer: ‘The Trump campaign and their allies have now lost a staggering 28 lawsuits in the 17 days since election day. And that comes on top of the six cases that had been dismissed, that they had filed in the months previous. So from losing, essentially, once a month in court, they are now losing more than once a day.’