Graham: Electoral College challenge 'a political dodge'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamKyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks MORE (R-S.C.), one of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' MORE’s closest allies, pushed back on Sunday against an effort to contest the results of the presidential election by GOP senators and senators-elect as an unrealistic “political dodge.”

Eleven GOP senators led by Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke says he raised record .2M since launching campaign for Texas governor Golden State Warriors owner says 'nobody cares' about Uyghurs All hostages free, safe after hours-long standoff at Texas synagogue: governor MORE (R-Texas) on Saturday said a commission should be set up to investigate the election won by President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE.

They joined Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTwo-thirds of Americans support banning lawmakers from trading stocks: poll Hawley says he would have opposed resolution to honor Capitol workers on Jan. 6 Hawley introduces bill banning lawmakers from making stock trades in office MORE (R-Mo.) in saying they would contest the results of the election.

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“Proposing a commission at this late date – which has zero chance of becoming reality – is not effectively fighting for President Trump. It appears to be more of a political dodge than an effective remedy,” Graham tweeted Sunday along with a Fox News article about the effort by Cruz and others to set up an electoral commission to audit vote results in disputed states.

Graham tweeted that he looks forward to hearing the objections of Cruz, Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSen. Ron Johnson: Straight from the horse's mouth Senate Democrats' super PAC releases million ad buy against Ron Johnson Barnes rakes in almost 0K after Johnson enters Wisconsin Senate race MORE (R-Wis.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesHillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two Senate Judiciary Committee to debate key antitrust bill Overnight Defense & National Security — No punishments in botched Kabul drone strike MORE (R-Mont.), Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnSunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head CNN legal analyst knocks GOP senator over remark on Biden nominee Senate GOP introduces resolution to nix Biden health worker vaccine mandate MORE (R-Tenn.), Mike BraunMichael BraunThe Memo: Supreme Court, Sinema deliver twin blows to Biden How a nice-guy South Dakota senator fell into a Trump storm McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks MORE (R-Ind.) and others but warned, "They will need to provide proof of the charges they are making."

In a follow-up statement circulated to the media, Graham said his colleagues will have to "provide clear and convincing evidence that the failure to act – in both the state and federal courts and the states legislatures which investigated these claims – was made in error."

He also said GOP colleagues challenging electoral votes need to show that "the failure to take corrective action in addressing election fraud changed the outcome of these states’ votes and ultimately the outcome of the election."

"They have a high bar to clear," he added.

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Graham was an early ally of Trump’s questioning of electoral votes in key states and contacted Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) in November to find out more information about how his state verified the authenticity of mail-in ballots.

Hawley was the first Republican senator to announce his intention to object to the electoral votes for Biden in disputed swing states. He, however, did not sign on to a letter Cruz and 10 other Republicans released Saturday calling for the formation of a special commission to audit the results of the 2020 election.

In a letter circulated Saturday, Cruz and his allies called for the appointment of a commission to conduct a 10-day emergency audit and to give individual states the opportunity to convene a special legislative session to certify or change their electoral votes.

Graham is the latest Republican senator to caution against efforts to challenge the tally of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, when the Senate and House are scheduled to meet in a joint session.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal MORE (R-Pa.), who is retiring at the end of 2022 and whose home state of Pennsylvania is one of five states facing challenges to its electoral votes, issued a strong statement on Saturday announcing his intention to oppose Cruz’s effort.

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“I voted for President Trump and endorsed him for re-election. But, on Wednesday, I intend to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others,” he said.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann Murkowski​​Democrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Clyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' The fates of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump MORE (R-Alaska) also issued a statement Saturday declaring she would vote to affirm the results of the 2020 election and calling on colleagues to do the same.

“I will vote to affirm the 2020 presidential election,” she said. “The courts and state legislatures have all honored their duty to hear legal allegations and have found nothing to warrant overturning the results,” she said.

“I urge my colleagues from both parties to recognize this and to join me in maintaining confidence in the Electoral College and our elections so that we ensure we have the continued trust of the American people,” she added.