Cheney, top GOP lawmakers ask Trump campaign for proof of election fraud
A number of House Republicans, including House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are casting doubt on the Trump campaign’s claims of widespread voter fraud.
Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House who has at times broken with the administration on key issues, said it is time for President Trump and his legal team to back up their claims of widespread voter fraud with evidence as they blanket swing states with lawsuits contesting election results showing victories for President-elect Joe Biden.
“America is governed by the rule of law. The President and his lawyers have made claims of criminality and widespread fraud, which they allege could impact election results,” Cheney said in a statement. “If they have genuine evidence of this, they are obligated to present it immediately in court and to the American people.”
“I understand that the President has filed more than thirty separate lawsuits. If he is unsatisfied with the results in those lawsuits, then the appropriate avenue is to appeal,” she added. “If the President cannot prove these claims or demonstrate that they would change the election result, he should fulfill his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by respecting the sanctity of our electoral process.”
A handful of other GOP House members echoed Cheney’s sentiments, recognizing that the president faces an uphill battle in overturning election results in any given state, let alone enough states to win him a second term. With Biden projected to have clinched 306 Electoral College votes, Trump would have to flip several states to reverse the results of the presidential contest.
Trump’s team has yet to win a single major lawsuit, and time is running out given looming deadlines for states to certify their election results.
“I’ve not seen any evidence of fraud that would overturn 150,000 and some votes,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told reporters Friday, adding he does not believe the election will end up in the House. “I don’t see judges overturning the results of the certified elections. No one has shown any evidence.”
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), one of the first lawmakers to speak out against unfounded allegations of voter fraud, said the Trump campaign’s lack of success in the courts proves there isn’t legitimate evidence to back its case.
“I feel like we’re watching one of history’s great grifts based on what we saw from Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani yesterday. This feels like a money-making venture,” he said. “I mean, their court case record is worse, I think, than the 1989 Dallas Cowboys.”
Riggleman added that he is disappointed more GOP lawmakers haven’t come out against the claims.
“There are smart, smart people up there that are not coming out and not identifying this for what it is, and this is simply a conspiratorial grift. … I believe it’s a fundraising venture,” he said. “The thing is, though, is that when you’re spouting these type of ridiculous alternative facts, there are people that believe it, and I think it’s time for everybody to sort of rise up in the GOP and say, ‘This is enough.'”
The statements follow a widely panned press conference by Giuliani, a close Trump ally who is leading his legal efforts to overturn the election results. The more than hourlong briefing based the president’s claims of widespread voter fraud in a number of battleground states on conspiracy theories involving an array of figures, including the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and liberal philanthropist George Soros.
Trump has also stepped up his own outreach to state lawmakers to try to convince them to aid his efforts, including the possibility of having legislators send pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College. A group of lawmakers from Michigan visited the White House on Friday to discuss the election results there, among other things, in the most brazen attempt by the president to undermine the results of the election.
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) called the Giuliani press conference “embarrassing” and said that comments from aide Powell undermine voters’ confidence in the democratic process, arguing they need to hold “real investigations adjudicating real claims, not whatever it was Sidney Powell was talking about.”
“I mean, the Sidney Powell claims were — I don’t even know how to describe it. I mean, they were beyond the pale. If you’re going to allege that communists’ money and Hugo Chávez rigged the Dominion voting system to overturn millions of votes over decades, you better have sufficient proof, and I didn’t see anything that was even close to that,” he told The Hill.
“So that was disappointing because, at the end of the day, what we really need to do is build confidence in our electoral process,” he continued. “That’s what we have to do because this will now be the second election in a row where one side of the aisle is going to be heavily disputing your outcome, and that’s not healthy.”
Still, many Republicans have remained either silent on or supportive of the president’s ongoing legal and political efforts to overturn the election results, a campaign that has largely been focused on Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, five battleground states Trump won in 2016 and lost this month.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a top Trump ally in the House, called for a congressional investigation Wednesday into the election amid “troubling reports of irregularities and improprieties,” though no evidence has been presented to back up those claims.
Republicans still need Trump’s help with passing a coronavirus relief package as well as bills to fund the government, and the GOP is also hoping the president will use his heft with the GOP base to boost Georgia Sens. David Perdue (R) and Kelly Loeffler (R), who are facing Senate runoffs against well-funded Democratic opponents in January.
Updated: 11/21, 11:38 a.m.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.