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Graham: Electoral College challenge 'a political dodge'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBipartisan group of senators holds immigration talks amid border surge Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban Overnight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution MORE (R-S.C.), one of President TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban 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 CruzChauvin likely to face uphill battle in expected appeal Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban Senate confirms Gupta nomination in tight vote MORE (R-Texas) on Saturday said a commission should be set up to investigate the election won by President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCornyn, Sinema to introduce bill aimed at addressing border surge Harris to travel to Northern Triangle region in June Biden expected to formally recognize Armenian Genocide: report MORE.

They joined Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOn The Money: Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl | Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term | Left-leaning group raises concerns about SALT cap repeal RNC raises nearly M in record off-year March donations Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl 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 Johnson15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (R-Wis.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesWyden-Paul bill would close loophole allowing feds to collect private data Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban MORE (R-Mont.), Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnSenate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage Stalker arrested trying to break into Taylor Swift's New York apartment 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet MORE (R-Tenn.), Mike BraunMichael BraunNew signs of progress emerge on police reform Tim Scott: 'No question' Floyd jury reached 'the right verdict' Overnight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution 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 ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote 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 MurkowskiHarris casts tiebreaking vote to advance Biden nominee Bipartisan group of senators holds immigration talks amid border surge Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban 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.