As President Donald Trump's campaign team desperately searched for ways to salvage his failed re-election bid, they pursued a game of legal hopscotch across six states that included the biggest prize of all: Pennsylvania with its 20 electoral votes.
The strategy may have played well on Trump-friendly television and talk radio sites to his supporters. But it has proved to be a disaster in court, where judges have uniformly rejected its claims of vote fraud and found the campaign's legal work amateurish.
In a scathing and blistering ruling this weekend, a U.S. District judge who is a Republican in central Pennsylvania compared the campaign's legal arguments to “Frankenstein's Monster,” concluding that Trump's team offered only “speculative accusations," not proof of rampant corruption. Maryclaire Dale has that story.
Wisconsin Recount: A large contingent of observers supporting Trump have made their presence felt in the state's partial election recount. Trump paid $3 million for the recount in the state’s two biggest and most liberal counties in a long shot bid to erase President-elect Joe Biden’s more than 20,000-vote victory. Election commissioners have been in almost perpetual session to address a stream of Trump challenges that the county clerk said were slowing the recount to a crawl. Election officials accused Trump representatives and observers of flouting rules to obstruct and delay the recount, Michael Tarm reports.
Trump Legal Team: They are now moving to distance themselves from a firebrand conservative attorney, Sidney Powell, after she made multiple incorrect statements about the voting process, alleged unsupported conspiracy theories and vowed to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” lawsuit, Eric Tucker reports.
Foreign Policy: The outgoing The Trump administration is enacting new rules and regulations that it hopes will box in Biden on foreign policy matters. In a bid to cement Trump's legacy in international affairs, the White House, State Department and other agencies have been working on new pronouncements on Iran, Israel, China and elsewhere. While many of these actions can be reversed by Biden, they will still demand the time of the new administration amid a host of other priorities, Matt Lee reports.
Biden Cabinet: A longtime national security aide to President-elect Joe Biden, Antony Blinken, is expected to become Biden's nominee for secretary of state. Blinken served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. If chosen and confirmed, he would be a leading force in Biden's bid to reframe the U.S. global relationship after Trump questioned alliances.
Trump Transition: The defeated president and his allies are harking back to his presidential transition four years ago to make a false argument that his own presidency was denied a fair chance by Barack Obama's team. That incorrect claim comes as the Trump administration has yet to formally acknowledge Biden’s victory, slowing the transition even as the nation is facing severe economic and health crises. The comparisons between the presidential transitions are part of a broader attempt by Trump to undermine the legitimacy of Biden’s win, Jonathan Lemire reports.
Black Voter Suppression Biden was in part powered to victory in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia by Black voters, many in urban centers such as Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta. Trump and his allies have claimed voter fraud that simply does not exist. The strategy could erode Black voters’ trust in elections. Voting-rights advocates say they will beat back any efforts to water down the Black vote. But fears persist that Trump’s allies will undermine democracy and disenfranchise Black Americans and other voters of color, Aaron Morrison, Kat Stafford and Christine Fernando report.