Trump's antics give investigators fodder for probe into his efforts to upend Georgia's 2020 election results
When former President Donald Trump fired off a letter in September demanding that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger decertify the election, investigators in Georgia were paying attention. © Scott Olson/Getty Images Former US President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds on June 26, in Wellington, Ohio.
© Win McNamee/Getty Images President Donald Trump Win McNamee/Getty Images
- Trump in a new interview claimed that half of constitutional scholars support his false election claims.
- "I'm telling you: 50/50, it's right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them," he told ABC News' Jonathan Karl.
- Legal experts on both the left and right have said Trump's claim was unconstitutional - including one of Trump's impeachment lawyers.
Former President Donald Trump claimed in a new interview that half of constitutional scholars agree that former Vice President Mike Pence could have overturned his 2020 election loss, a move legal experts have routinely dismissed as an unconstitutional act likely to trigger a crisis.
Voting distrust likely to continue despite smooth election
ATLANTA (AP) — The first major election day following a year of relentless attacks on voting rights and election officials went off largely without a hitch. Unlike the 2020 presidential election, there were no claims of widespread fraud, ballots emerging mysteriously in the dark of night or compromised voting machines changing results. The relative calm was a relief to those who oversee elections, but will it matter to those who still believe last year's election was stolen from former President Donald Trump?Election experts say even a smooth election cycle this year is unlikely to curb the distrust that has built up over the last year within a segment of the public.
Trump made the claim during an interview with ABC News' correspondent Jonathan Karl for his forthcoming book, "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show," slated for publication on November 16. Karl tweeted an audio snippet of the 90-minute interview on Friday.
"How can you - if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? - how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?" Trump told Karl about Pence's refusal to reject the election results when Congress met to certify them on January 6. "And I'm telling you: 50/50, it's right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them."
The election certification process is largely ceremonial. Pence, as the vice president and thus the president of the Senate, presided over it on January 6. At the time, Trump had pressured Pence to use his role to decertify the election results. That push came after the dismissal of dozens of lawsuits by Trump's legal team challenging the results; federal judges, including conservative ones, dismissed them. The Supreme Court, which holds a 6-3 conservative majority, also rejected a Trump-backed bid to invalidate the results in key swing states.
Here are the six latest Trump allies to be subpoenaed by Jan. 6 panel
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol released six new subpoenas Monday, targeting top Trump campaign aides, the man behind the memo encouraging the campaign to focus on Congress's certification of the vote, and others involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 election. Here are the committee's latest targets: John Eastman Eastman, a former law professor, put himself at the center of the effort to overturn the 2020 election when he drafted two memos laying out former President Trump's options for unwinding the 2020 results.
Pence did not fulfill Trump's request, vowing to abide by the Constitution, which gives him no authority to throw out electoral votes. Legal experts on both the left and right have said Trump's claim was unconstitutional - including one of Trump's lawyers from his first impeachment trial.
Lawyers and jurists have repeatedly rejected the former president's claims. Even Trump's then-White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, informed the president that Pence had no legal basis to overturn the election, according to Karl's book. But Trump ignored him and relied on "rogue legal advisors" to help support his challenge, Karl writes. Jay Sekulow, Trump's lawyer during his first impeachment trial, also said at the time that the former president's claims are unconstitutional.
Some law firms distanced themselves from the lawsuits, and influential conservative attorneys opted not to represent them; the Republican party's chief counsel, for example, called the fraud cases filed on behalf of Trump a "joke."
House Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 10 former White House aides
WASHINGTON (AP) — House investigators issued subpoenas to 10 former officials who worked for Donald Trump at the end of his presidency, an effort to find out more about what the president was doing and saying as his supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a bid to overturn his defeat. The subpoenas issued Tuesday, which included demands for documents and testimony from former senior adviser Stephen Miller and former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, bring the House panel tasked with investigating the insurrection even closer inside Trump’s inner circle — and closer to Trump himself.
Trump increasingly relied on a smaller circle of attorneys who suggested he could still make a case, advice that proved unrealistic given that all but one of the 62 suits failed in court. None established that any voter fraud on behalf of his opponent had occurred. The one ruling that sided with the Trump campaign was a challenge to a deadline extension in Pennsylvania to submit identification for mailed ballots. The victory was minor and did not affect the outcome of the race in the state, which Biden won.
Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, John Eastman and other lawyers in Trump's increasingly lonely circle who helped his election challenges have faced repercussions from the legal world because of it.
Over the summer, judges in New York and Washington, DC, suspended Giuliani's law licenses, temporarily barring him from practicing in either city because of his false election claims.
In August, a federal judge in Michigan imposed sanctions, including fees and hours of legal training, on Powell over her 2020 election lawsuit in the state. She also faces potential disbarment.
Judge Tanya Chutkan's Ruling Against Donald Trump: Full Transcript
The U.S. district judge wrote in her ruling against Trump that "Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President."Trump had sued Representative Bennie Thompson in his capacity as chair of the committee in order to prevent the committee from accessing documents in the National Archives.
Last month, a bipartisan group of former officials and lawyers sent a letter to the California bar association calling for an investigation into Eastman, the lawyer behind the memo that claimed Pence could overturn the election. The group said the state bar should look into whether Eastman violated attorney ethics by making false statements.
Eastman also retired as a law professor at Chapman University after more than 150 faculty members called for his removal following the January 6 insurrection.
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Why the Arizona Election-Audit Circus Just Won’t End .
A guide to how votes from Maricopa County were subjected to a sloppy recount, why it’s still dragging on, and what its proponents are really after.But Trump and his allies in Arizona have not been dissuaded by such independent findings, or their own failure to turn up any convincing evidence that Joe Biden only won the state through nefarious means. Since April, private parties answering to a faction of Republicans in the state Senate have been conducting an “audit” of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results.