Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Trump loses legal battles - because of fumbles and bumbles

Trump lost at the ballot box. His legal challenges aren’t going any better. David A. Fahrenthold, Emma Brown and Hannah Knowles

President Trump lost his reelection bid at the ballot box. But he said he could win it back in court

In five key states, Trump and his allies filed lawsuits that — according to Trump — would reveal widespread electoral fraud, undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, and give Trump another four years. “Biden did not win, he lost by a lot!” Trump tweeted.

It’s not going well.

Rather than revealing widespread — or even isolated — fraud, the effort by Trump’s legal team has so far done the opposite: It’s affirmed the integrity of the election that Trump lost. Nearly every GOP challenge has been tossed out. Not a single vote has been overturned.

“The Trump legal team does not seem to have identified any kind of global litigation strategy that has any prospect of changing the outcome of the election, and all of the court filings to date underscore that — as do all of the court rulings that have been issued to date,” said Robert Kelner, a Republican lawyer who chairs the election and political law practice group at Covington & Burling, an international law firm based in Washington.

Part of the problem is that Trump’s approach has been backward: Declare crimes first, then look for proof afterward.

Again and again, the president or his allies said they’d found evidence that would stun the public and swing the election.

But, when Trump and his team revealed that evidence, it often was far less than they had promised. A “dead” voter turned out to be alive. “Thousands” of problematic ballots turned out to be one. Election-changing problems turned out to involve a few dozen, or a few hundred, ballots.

Some moments veered into the absurd, as the president’s lawyers tried — and failed — to use Trump’s reality-bending logic on baffled, unbending judges.

[For Example:] … Trump’s campaign had filed a lawsuit saying that 53 late-arriving ballots in Savannah’s Chatham County may have been backdated to appear valid.

But, when they called their witnesses, the witnesses admitted they didn’t know that for sure. The local board of elections testified that the ballots arrived on time.

Judge James Bass dismissed the case in eight words: “I’m denying the request and dismissing the petition,” he said from the bench.

That’s just one instance of the incompetence of the lawyers pursuing complaints against the election. Almost all have been rejected by the court or have been abandoned by Trump’s campaign legal team.

I’ll end with one more close to home.

"We’re not alleging that anyone was stealing the election,” said the Trump campaign’s lawyer, Kory Langhofer, in a court hearing Thursday. Langhofer added later: “The allegation here is that, in what appears to be a limited number of cases, there were good faith errors in operating machines that should result in further review of certain ballots.”

State and county election officials have said there is no truth to the rumors that ballots filled out with a Sharpie cause problems for the voting machines. “We looked into that. We were able to determine that did not affect anyone’s vote,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R).

On Friday, Langhofer officially gave up on claims that the Sharpie allegation could flip the result of the presidential election in Arizona, saying the point was moot because so few votes were affected.

They could have saved time and effort and money by admitting that at the start.

Check out the Post’s reporting for more instances from other states.

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