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

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHoyer urges conference talks on bipartisan infrastructure bill Hoyer suggests COVID-19 rules will stay — and might get tougher Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill MORE (D-Md.) on Thursday said President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit 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 GiulianiDOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit Bob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' Ex-Trump adviser Barrack charged with secretly lobbying for UAE MORE, who repeated previous claims without providing evidence that Trump, rather than President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Iowa governor suggests immigrants partially to blame for rising COVID-19 cases Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on 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 SasseSasse calls China's Xi a 'coward' after Apple Daily arrest Defunct newspaper's senior editor arrested in Hong Kong Murkowski: Trump has 'threatened to do a lot' to those who stand up to him 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 ErnstGrassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa Republicans focus tax hike opposition on capital gains change Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund 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 RomneyMichelle Obama to Simone Biles: 'We are proud of you and we are rooting for you' Aly Raisman defends former teammate Biles: 'I'm proud of her' Mitt Romney praises Simone Biles following withdrawal from team event 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.”