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Hoyer on Trump election challenges: 'I think this borders on treason'

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE (D-Md.) on Thursday said President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE's efforts to persuade Republican officials to reverse election results in key battleground states “borders on treason.”

“He is undermining the very essence of democracy, which is: You go to the poll, you vote and the people decide,” Hoyer told The Washington Post. “There’s no doubt that the people decided.”

“I think this borders on treason,” the Maryland Democrat added.

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His comments came after a Thursday press conference by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiLawyers group calls for Giuliani's suspension from law practice, ethics probe Would Trump have gotten away with a self-pardon? History will never know Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon MORE, who repeated previous claims without providing evidence that Trump, rather than President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDC residents jumped at opportunity to pay for meals for National Guardsmen Joe Biden might bring 'unity' – to the Middle East Biden shouldn't let defeating cancer take a backseat to COVID MORE, won the election.

“Joe Biden is in the lead because of the fraudulent ballots, the illegal ballots that were produced and that were allowed to be used after the election was over,” Giuliani told reporters. “Give us an opportunity to prove it in court and we will.”

Multiple post-election GOP lawsuits alleging voter fraud or voting irregularities have been dropped or thrown out in battleground states like Arizona, Georgia and Nevada where Biden received more votes than Trump.

Giuliani's remarks on Thursday prompted criticism from Republican lawmakers as well.

Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseFormer official acknowledges final days in office a 'black eye' for Trump Republican senators and courage The next pandemic may be cyber — How Biden administration can stop it MORE (R-Neb.) warned that the "wild press conferences erode public trust," adding that "we are a nation of laws, not tweets."

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Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Democrats torn on impeachment trial timing MORE (R-Iowa) condemned claims from Sidney Powell, a lawyer associated with the Trump campaign, who said that down-ballot candidates could have "paid to have the system rigged to work for them," with the GOP senator calling Powell's statement "offensive" and "absolutely outrageous."

The Trump team’s repeated disputes of the election outcome, which all major news outlets called for Biden almost two weeks ago, also drew a rebuke from Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (R-Utah), the 2012 Republican nominee for president.

“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 said in a statement shared on Twitter.

“It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president,” Romney added.

Romney's statement came after Trump invited some of Michigan's top state-level Republicans to the White House in a sign he may be seeking a way around the election results. 

Bob Bauer, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, told the Post on Thursday that the Biden team is confident Trump will fail in any efforts to overturn election results.

“None of it is legally significant,” Bauer said. “They are pivoting from this completely failed litigation strategy to a strategy of misleading people into believing that he now has a political option. It is a response to failure. It is the last card that he thinks he can pull from his deck here, but his hand remains a completely losing hand.”