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GOP senator says Biden's vote lead 'has not changed,' urges country to 'move forward'

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' MORE (R-Ohio) on Monday said there is no proof of widespread voter fraud that could change 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’s lead in the vote counts of key battleground states and urged the nation to “resolve any outstanding questions and move forward.”

Portman, who is poised to become the next chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also called on the General Services Administration to release funds to the Biden transition team to help prepare for Biden’s inauguration in January.

“Based on all the information currently available, neither the final lawful vote counts nor the recounts have led to a different outcome in any state. In other words, the initial determination showing Joe Biden with enough electoral votes to win has not changed,” Portman wrote in an op-ed published Monday in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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Portman wrote that he believes “there is no more sacred constitutional process in our great democracy than the orderly transfer of power after a presidential election.”

“It is now time to expeditiously resolve any outstanding questions and move forward,” he wrote.

Portman’s exhortation for 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 and the rest of the nation to accept the results of the 2020 election follows a similar statement delivered by Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Appeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (R-Pa.) over the weekend.

Toomey on Saturday called on Trump to “accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process.”

He issued his statement after Matthew Brann, a federal judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit in a scathing opinion that scolded Trump’s legal team for making “strained legal arguments without merit.”

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Former New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieChris ChristieSenator releases photos of man wanted in connection with Capitol riot Press: Only one week left, why impeach him twice? The Hill's Morning Report - House to impeach Trump this week MORE, one of Trump’s closest allies, on Sunday called the conduct of Trump’s legal team “a national embarrassment.”

“Elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen,” he said.

Portman in his statement Monday noted that Trump’s campaign has been waging legal challenges in key states for about three weeks.

He noted that the “vast majority of these lawsuits have been resolved and most of the remaining ones are expected to be resolved in the next couple of weeks.”

While Portman acknowledged there were “instance of fraud and irregularities,” as there have been in other elections, “there is no evidence as of now of any widespread fraud or irregularities that would change the result in any state.”

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He said that recounts and state certifications of vote tallies are expected to be completed by Dec. 8, the “safe harbor” deadline states have to certify their electors.

“Going past that deadline would cause unprecedented uncertainty and raise serious constitutional questions,” he wrote, adding that the Supreme Court issued its decisive ruling in Bush v. Gore, which settled the 2000 presidential election, before that year’s safe-harbor deadline.

Portman also urged Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, to provide the Biden transition team with access to government funds and facilities to expedite the transfer of power.

“This is only prudent. Donald Trump is our president until Jan. 20, 2021, but in the likely event that Joe Biden becomes our next president, it is in the national interest that the transition is seamless and that America is ready on Day One of a new administration for the challenges we face,” he argued.