President-elect Joe Biden? Not quite yet, President Donald Trump and his legal team have said.
Amid scattered but numerous allegations of election malfeasance, the Trump administration has filed numerous lawsuits to contest the results of the 2020 election.
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In the top battleground states across the country, the Trump campaign has engaged in a flurry of legal activity in support of the president’s claims that the election was rigged against him. The mainstream media has largely dismissed these claims as frivolous.
Yet Trump campaign surrogates like lawyer Rudy Guiliani claim they have evidence of widespread voter fraud that they will produce shortly. There is a pending recount in Wisconsin. Attorney General William Barr has authorized the Department of Justice to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities.
In Texas, a woman was arrested and charged with 134 counts of voter fraud. And on social media, a flurry of similarly disturbing yet unproven stories of voter fraud, illegal vote harvesting, and ballot counting “glitches” have emerged since the election.
The uncertainty has left many Americans wondering: When all the legal votes are finally counted and the lawsuits are settled, will Trump’s campaign be able to secure his win through legal action?
Unfortunately for Trump voters, it’s also very unlikely.
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Legal experts say the Trump campaign faces a very steep uphill battle in court. His campaign claims to have numerous examples that could impact certain states like Nevada and Pennslyvania. But looking at the current Electoral College map, the Trump campaign would still need a series of flawless legal victories to impact the final results of the race.
The burden of proof remains largely with the Trump campaign. With the official count leaving his campaign tens of thousands of votes behind in critical states like Nevada and Pennslyvania, the courts would have to take unprecedented actions on numerous complaints.
They’re also battling Republicans in their own party. Election officials from both political parties in many battleground states have publicly stated that voting went well. International observers also said that there were no serious, widespread irregularities witnessed.
Some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, rallied behind Trump’s efforts to fight the election results.
Adding to Trump’s complicated legal efforts was another blow Monday when campaign adviser David Bossie, tasked with leading the effort, tested positive for the coronavirus.
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Time is also against the Republican president.
The Electoral College would formally confirm Biden’s victory on Dec. 14 unless Trump’s legal team wins almost every single one of their challenges. That would mean the Democratic presidential candidate will be sworn into office in late January.
Biden campaign lawyer Bob Bauer said Barr’s memorandum authorizing investigations “will only fuel the ‘specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims’ he professes to guard against.”
Biden pressed forward with plans to build out his administration, assembling a team of experts to face the surging pandemic. But the federal agency that needs to greenlight the beginnings of the transition of power held off on taking that step.
If his team’s legal strategy fails, Trump is not expected to formally concede but is likely to grudgingly vacate the White House at the end of his term, according to several people around him.
As part of his strategy to win the court of public opinion, more Trump campaign-style rallies are being planned. The president’s team wants to keep his supporters fired up despite his possible defeat. It was possible they would feature his family and top supporters but not the president himself.
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Supporters still back Trump’s efforts, despite knowing the odds are likely against him.
“Our institutions are actually built for this,” McConnell said as he opened the Senate on Monday. “We have the system in place to consider concerns and President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”
And it’s wise to remember that only fools will count Trump out.
He’s caught lightning in the bottle before. He could do it here.
The Associated Press contributed to this article