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Senate GOP to Trump: The election is over

Senate Republicans are sending a clear message to President TrumpDonald TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat MORE: The election is over and Joe Biden won. 

While Trump is digging in and showing little sign of ending his public campaign despite a long losing streak in the courts, GOP senators — from leadership on down — are signaling they view the election result as settled and want to move on without a messy weeks-long fight. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Graham calls voting rights bill 'biggest power grab' in history The wild card that might save Democrats in the midterms MORE (R-Ky.) publicly congratulated Biden during a Senate floor speech, in his first public acknowledgement of the former vice president’s victory. 

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He subsequently urged Senate Republicans during a caucus call, which was quickly leaked to the media, not to object to the election results on Jan. 6, as Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson Brooks14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Mo Brooks accuses Swalwell attorney who served papers on his wife of trespassing Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race MORE (R-Ala.) has said he's looking for a GOP senator to join him on his plan to contest the Electoral College count.

McConnell’s remarks in the call reflected two truths: that he and other GOP Senate leaders want an end to the fight, and that they are worried that House Republicans are ready to keep it going. If a single GOP senator joins Brooks, it would ensure a vote by both chambers of Congress that would divide Republicans and publicly force them to vote against Trump, which the Senate’s top Republicans seem keen to avoid.

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office MORE (R-W.Va.), an adviser to McConnell, said it was the “explicit feeling” of Senate GOP leadership that it was time to accept the results of the Electoral College, which formally certified Biden’s win on Monday, and move on. 

“I think you know that the Electoral College made the definitive vote, obviously ... and it's timely for Sen. McConnell to move forward,” she said. “Let's turn the page and start a new administration and thank the previous one.” 

It's a significant shift after weeks of the GOP leader, and much of his caucus, refusing to acknowledge Biden’s election victory even as Trump faced a long-shot effort to overturn the election results after losing to Biden in several key battleground states. 

The GOP leader is far from the only senator who is signaling to the president, through public comments, that they are ready to close the book on a chaotic presidential election, however. 

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“I think everybody realized yesterday that counting the voting of the electors was a pivotal moment. And I agree,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynBlack lawmakers warn against complacency after Juneteenth victory The Senate is where dreams go to die Federal government to observe Juneteenth holiday on Friday MORE (R-Texas), a close ally to McConnell. 

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntCongress barrels toward debt cliff Excellence Act will expand mental health and substance use treatment access to millions Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 MORE (R-Mo.) dismissed the idea of trying to challenge the election in Congress next month, arguing that it would only delay the inevitable: That Biden won the election. 

“It creates a debate that has a certain outcome and that will certainly fail,” he said. 

Biden has already had calls with several GOP senators as he tries to lay the groundwork for his administration. Regardless of which party controls the Senate majority, Biden is going to need cooperation from Senate Republicans to get most legislation passed. 

In addition to McConnell, Biden also spoke to Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE (R-Utah) on Tuesday. 

“Sen. Romney congratulated President-elect BidenJoe BidenExpanding child tax credit could lift 4 million children out of poverty: analysis Maria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back MORE on his win and expressed admiration for his willingness to endure the rigors of a presidential campaign and serve in the nation’s highest office. ... The Senator wished him well,” a spokesperson for Romney said. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBiden to host Afghan president at White House on Friday Portman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Sunday shows - Voting rights, infrastructure in the spotlight MORE (R-S.C.) — a close Trump ally who was recently calling up state officials to question their election processes — disclosed shortly after the Electoral College made Biden’s win official that they had already talked “a while ago.” 

“I have already talked to him once. ... We'll try to be trying to be helpful where I can,” Graham told reporters. “There's things we can do together. Some things that we can't do together. It was a very pleasant conversation.” 

The shift drew notice from Democrats, who have offered blistering speeches in recent days over the refusal from congressional Republicans to break with Trump on the outcome of the election. 

“For the sake of the country, President Trump should take his cue from Leader McConnell that it’s time to end his term with a modicum of grace and dignity, qualities that his predecessors took great pains to display during our grand tradition of a peaceful transfer of power,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Senate confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar MORE (D-N.Y.). 

Trump is showing no signs of conceding, however. 

“Tremendous evidence pouring in on voter fraud. There has never been anything like this in our Country!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

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Trump also tweeted about an article on Brooks's plan to challenge the election results in Congress next month. 

While no Republican senators have joined Brooks so far, there’s likely to be intense pressure on conservatives or 2024 hopefuls to support the long-shot effort. 

GOP Sens. David PerdueDavid PerdueLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Georgia Republican secretary of state hits Loeffler as 'weak,' 'fake Trumper' MORE (Ga.) and Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Herschel Walker skips Georgia's GOP convention Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock MORE (Ga.), who are both facing runoff elections next month, are refusing to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect. And while McConnell has publicly congratulated Biden, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyGOP divided over bills targeting tech giants GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection House Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May MORE (R-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steven Scalise (R-La.) — the top two Republicans in the House — haven’t taken the same step. 

Senate Republicans also are still treating Trump with kid gloves, with most refusing to call on him to formally concede or to chide him over his unsubstantiated claims that fraud cost him an election win. 

McConnell retreated when asked if he had concerns about Trump’s claims of fraud or if he should accept the election results. 

“Look, I don't have any advice to give the president on the subject. I said for me and I think on the basis of the way the system works the decision by the Electoral College yesterday was determinative,” McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference. 

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Asked if he thought Trump should concede, Cornyn also demurred. 

“I’m not going to give him any advice. I think he will do the right thing,” he said. 

Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE (R-S.D.), asked if it would be helpful if Trump conceded, argued that it was unlikely to sway the president. 

“I don’t think what other people tell him is going to necessarily make a difference. I think he has to decide for himself what’s right,” Rounds said. 

It underscores the fine line Senate Republicans are having to navigate. They don’t want a public feud with the president, who retains a strong grip on their base. They also need Trump for political and legislative fights like funding the government or the two Senate runoff elections in Georgia next month.

Republicans say they are also fine with letting Trump’s legal team continue to fight out a myriad of long-shot fights, even as they make it clear they are moving on. 

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“It’s a very, very narrow path for the president. I don't see how it gets there from here, given what the Supreme Court did. But having said that, I think we'll let those legal challenges play out,” Graham said. 

But, in a sign that he’s looking ahead to a Biden administration, Graham immediately started ticking off a laundry list of Cabinet picks, some of whom he’s already spoken with. 

“I think Gen. [Lloyd] Austin would be a good pick for DOD, I’d support a waiver,” Graham said. “I think [Janet] Yellen would be fine for Treasury from my point of view.”