Toyota said it would stop donating to Republicans who voted against Biden’s certification, having given tens of thousands of dollars since the Capitol riots

Donald Trump
Many top US companies scrambled to cut ties with the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted against the election results following the January 6 Capitol siege.

  • Toyota said it would stop donating to Republicans who had objected to Joe Biden’s certification.
  • The automaker’s PAC had given tens of thousands of dollars to these lawmakers since January.
  • In an ad this week, the Lincoln Project targeted Toyota for donating to the objectors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Toyota said Thursday it would stop donating to Republicans who objected to Joe Biden’s certification as president, after the automaker came under fire from watchdogs and activists for giving tens of thousands of dollars to these lawmakers.

The company was the target of an advert from anti-Donald Trump campaign group the Lincoln Project on Thursday, which said that the automaker had given “more money than any company to the seditious politicians who voted to overturn the 2020 election result.”

The Lincoln Project shared a statement from Toyota after the ad’s publication, which said that its PAC’s decision to donate to the objectors had “troubled some stakeholders.”

“At this time, we have decided to stop contributing to those Members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election,” its statement read.

The left-leaning watchdog Citizens for Ethics said in July that Toyota’s PAC had donated $56,000 total to 38 GOP objectors since January, making it the biggest donor to the individual objectors and their leadership PACs – while Popular Information said that the company’s PAC has donated $62,000 to 40 lawmakers.

Read more: Inside the Trump International Hotel DC when the Trump Organization indictments came down

Federal Election Commission filings show that, among others, Toyota donated $5,000 to Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman and $3,500 to Arizona Rep. David Schweikert.

“Toyota’s number one at finding ways to financially reward the very party that took our nation to the brink on January 6,” the narrator said in the Lincoln Project’s ad.

“If [Toyota’s executives] don’t reconsider where they send their money, Americans will reconsider where we send ours,” they added. Comcast refused to air the ad, the Lincoln Project said.

After a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 to try and prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s win, many top US companies scrambled to cut ties with the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted against the results.

Dozens of companies, including Walmart, Amazon, Morgan Stanley, and AT&T, said they would stop donating to these specific lawmakers, and Hallmark even asked two senators to return its donations.

Other companies, including Microsoft, Deloitte, and Goldman Sachs, said they would instead pause all political donations to both Republicans and Democrats..

The vast majority of corporations who pledged to stop funding these GOP lawmakers have stayed true to their word. Some companies who made vaguer promises about assessing PAC criteria have restarted donations, while others gave money instead to various Republican committees that, in turn, fund these lawmakers.

Toyota did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. A Toyota spokesperson told Insider in May that the company “supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company.”

“We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification,” the spokesperson said at the time. “Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.” The spokesperson did not say who those members were.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Former Attorney General Bill Barr called Trump’s false election claims ‘bullsh–‘: book

bill barr
US Attorney General Bill Barr is pictured on October 15, 2020.

  • In a forthcoming book, the ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl chronicles the final days of the Trump administration.
  • According to the book, Bill Barr reportedly blasted Trump’s false election claims as ‘bullsh–.’
  • Mitch McConnell reportedly pleaded with Barr to speak out against Trump’s voter fraud claims.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly blasted former President Donald Trump’s debunked election claims as “bullsh–,” according to a forthcoming book by ABC News Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl.

Barr’s response to the aftermath of the highly contentious 2020 presidential campaign was detailed in an excerpt of the book “Betrayal,” published in The Atlantic on Sunday.

The interview offers critical insight into Barr’s relationship with Trump after the election and provides a stunning look at the then-attorney general’s line of thinking regarding the former president’s false election claims.

The former attorney general, who reportedly told Karl that he foresaw a Trump election loss, knew that the former president would approach him about allegations of voter fraud.

According to Karl, Barr “wanted to be able to say that he had looked into” the allegations and prove that the claims were “unfounded.”

He added: “In addition to giving prosecutors approval to open investigations into clear and credible allegations of substantial fraud, Barr began his own, unofficial inquiry into the major claims that the president and his allies were making.”

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

In an interview with Karl, Barr was incredibly blunt in his assessment of Trump’s litany of fraud allegations.

“My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr told Karl. “If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bullsh–.”

Barr reportedly told Karl that the claims of voting machines being “rigged” to switch votes from Trump to Biden were untrue.

“We realized from the beginning it was just bull—,” Barr told Karl. “It’s a counting machine, and they save everything that was counted. So you just reconcile the two. There had been no discrepancy reported anywhere, and I’m still not aware of any discrepancy.”

In the interview, Barr also detailed how then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pleaded with him to rebuke Trump’s false election claims.

McConnell was reportedly concerned about the nationwide fallout from Trump’s allegations, as well as the effect that the complaints would have on the January 2021 Georgia US Senate runoff elections. (Then-Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were eventually defeated by Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.)

According to the excerpt, McConnell confirmed Barr’s account.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘My boy’s back’: Biden says reading son Hunter’s upcoming memoir ‘gave me hope’

Hunter Biden Joe Biden
Hunter Biden, left, and his father, President Joe Biden.

  • President Joe Biden said he felt “hope” at reading his son Hunter Biden’s upcoming memoir.
  • Biden said that his family’s personal battles were not unlike many families across the country.
  • The memoir is set to be released in April 2021.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In an interview set to air directly before the Super Bowl, President Joe Biden felt “hope” at reading his son Hunter Biden’s upcoming memoir.

Speaking with “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell, Biden reflected on the life journey of his younger son, who has struggled with substance abuse in the past.

Hunter’s business relationships in Ukraine were the focus of a phone call between former President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which led to Trump’s first impeachment.

During the first presidential debate last September, Trump attacked Hunter’s past substance abuse issues, prompting Biden to immediately defend him.

“My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem,” he said at the time. “He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him.”

Read more: Inside the 7-minute virtual workouts the Biden transition team used to stay connected as staffers prepared to demolish Trump’s policies

When Biden began to read the memoir, he said he felt the impact of his son’s words.

“The honesty with which he stepped forward and talked about the problem,” Biden said. “And the hope that – it gave me hope reading it.”

He added: “It was like my boy’s back.”

Biden said that his family’s personal battles were not unlike many families across the country.

“I’ll bet there’s not a family you know that doesn’t have somebody in the family that had a drug problem or an alcohol problem,” he said.

Hunter’s book, entitled “Beautiful Things,” is set to be released in April by by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Read the original article on Business Insider

After Trump’s election loss, Republicans across the US are racing to enact new voting restrictions

voting
Lin Wilson waves a US flag to encourage people to vote, outside the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle on November 3, 2020.

  • In the wake of Biden’s win, Republicans across the US are rolling out new voting restrictions.
  • Republican leaders contend that the proposals are about maintaining voter integrity, though fraud is a rare occurrence.
  • Here are some of the voting proposals that are being debated across the country.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Joe Biden has been in office for less than two weeks, but in state legislatures across the US, Republicans still reeling from former President Donald Trump’s electoral loss are devising ways to restrict the vote, from eliminating ballot drop boxes to requiring the notarization of absentee ballot applications.

In 2010, Republicans made historic gains in state legislatures, flipping 24 chambers that year, allowing them to control the redistricting process for the past decade. In additional drawing scores of safe GOP House seats, the party pushed a wave of socially-conservative legislation that centered on restricting abortion rights and minimizing the collective bargaining power of public-sector labor unions.

While Biden and Trump both won 25 states in the 2020 presidential election, Biden flipped five states that Trump carried in 2016, which included Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, along with Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district.

These presidential swing states are now home to some of the most dramatic election-related proposals that have been floated or filed in the legislature for a vote. However, even in states where Trump won easily, including Mississippi and Texas, voting restrictions stand a good chance of passing.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, 106 bills aimed at restricting voting access have been introduced or filed in state legislatures in 28 states, representing a nearly threefold increase from the same period last year.

The proposed laws ignore the overwhelming evidence that voter fraud is incredibly rare.

Last November, countering Trump’s debunked claims of voter irregularities, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the November 2020 election “was the most secure in American history.”

Here are some of the voting proposals that are being debated across the country:

Arizona

Since 1952, Republicans have won Arizona in every presidential election except for Bill Clinton’s 1992 win and Biden’s victory last year.

Biden won the state by less than 11,000 votes out of roughly 3.3 million votes cast, performing strongly with Latino voters and even making inroads with a segment of the state’s Republican voters.

With the support of high-profile Republicans including Cindy McCain, the wife of the late GOP Sen. John McCain, and former Sen. Jeff Flake, Biden tapped into the independent-minded nature of the state, similar to the campaign strategy of Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who defeated appointed GOP Sen. Martha McSally last November.

Read more: Trump tested the Constitution and shredded traditions. Biden and the Democrats have big plans of their own about what to do next.

However, conservative activists vigorously challenged the election results, including Trump, who criticized GOP Gov. Doug Ducey for certifying the election results, a normally-routine process. Since the GOP controls the state legislature in Arizona, the raft of restrictive bills are being taken up in committees.

According to The Arizona Republic, Republican legislators have proposed bills that would:

  • Allow the legislature to void the results of a presidential election “at any time before the presidential inauguration”
  • Give the legislature the power to award two of the state’s 11 Electoral College votes
  • Award the state’s electoral votes by congressional district in lieu of the current winner-takes-all system
  • Curtail and/or end mail-in voting
  • Liming mail-in voting to those who cannot physically reach a voting precinct
  • Limit voting centers in each county according to the population size
  • Require mail-in ballot envelopes to be notarized or returned in-person

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, was sharply critical of House Bill 2720, which was introduced by GOP state Rep. Shawnna Bolick and would allow the legislature to overturn the election results.

“It is a punch in the face to voters,” she said in an NBC News interview. “It absolutely, 100%, allows a legislature to undermine the will of voters.”

She also tweeted: “So really, we should just get rid of the presidential election altogether? In reality, that’s what this bill would do.”

Georgia

Georgia was the scene of deep political consternation for the GOP. Last November, Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since 1992. Trump insisted that he won the state for months, asking GOP Gov. Brian Kemp to overturn the election results and even pressuring GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the 12,000 roughly votes that he would need to overcome Biden’s margin of victory.

In the end, Trump caused so much internal political turmoil in the state that Democrats, fresh off of Biden’s win, had an enthusiasm advantage for two Senate runoff elections that featured then-GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue running against Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

Georgia runoffs
Democrat Raphael Warnock addresses supporters during a rally with Jon Ossoff in Atlanta on the first day of early voting in the Georgia Senate runoff elections.

Warnock and Ossoff won their races, handing control of the Senate to the Democrats and giving the party their strongest anchor in the Deep South in years.

Georgia Republicans, stung by the losses, are now hoping to implement additional voting restrictions.

Top state officials, including Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, are backing a more rigorous voter identification process for absentee balloting.

A GOP lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require proof of identification, twice, in order to vote absentee.

Last year, House Speaker David Ralston floated stripping Georgia voters of their ability to choose the secretary of state by putting a measure on the ballot that would allow voters to cede that responsibility to the GOP-controlled legislature.

Michigan

Michigan voted for every Democratic presidential nominee from 1992 to 2012. When Trump pulled off a narrow upset in 2016, Democrats pledged to outwork the GOP and win back the Midwestern state and its 16 electoral votes.

In 2018, the party had a banner year, electing Gretchen Whitmer as governor, Dana Nessel as attorney general, and Jocelyn Benson as secretary of state.

Last November, Biden won the state by over 150,000 votes and a nearly 3% margin (50.6%-47.8%), securing a victory in a state that Democrats were thrilled to put back in their column.

The state legislature is still in GOP hands, a lingering result of the party’s 2010 midterm election sweep, but Whitmer also serves as a check on any far-reaching proposals.

Michigan GOP Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey told The Detroit News that he would like to improve the state’s qualified voter files and party leaders, including home state Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, said last year that the state needed “election reform.”

Pennsylvania

With its 20 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has long been a top prize for Democrats, who won the state by combining overwhelming victories in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with growing suburban strength and blue-collar support in cities like Allentown and Scranton.

Democrats won Pennsylvania in every presidential election from 1992 to 2012, but similar to Michigan, Trump pulled off a narrow upset in 2016.

Biden, who was born in Scranton and represented neighboring Delaware in the Senate for 36 years, won the state 50%-49% over Trump last November.

Democrats, eager to build on Biden’s victory, have already zeroed in on the Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey in 2022 and the governor’s race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf that same year.

However, Republicans, who repeatedly sought to overturn the 2020 election results, including tossing out millions of mail-in ballots, are steadfastly committed to imposing new restrictions.

There are currently GOP proposals on the table to nix no-excuse absentee balloting and make it easier for state officials to toss ballots that have a signature mismatch if the ballot isn’t fixed within six days of being notified, according to the Brennan Center.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is another key state in the Democrats’ Midwestern presidential electoral puzzle. After narrow wins in 2000 and 2004, the party won the state easily in 2008 and 2012 before seeing Trump narrowly win the state in 2016.

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pictured on October 16, 2020.

After a hard-fought race, Biden won the state over Trump by roughly 20,000 votes out of more than 3.2 million votes cast.

Read more: Trump tested the Constitution and shredded traditions. Biden and the Democrats have big plans of their own about what to do next.

The Trump campaign, incensed that votes in Democratic-leaning Milwaukee County put Biden over the top, demanded a recount in Milwaukee and Dane County, home of Madison, the state’s liberal capital city. Not only was Biden’s win reaffirmed by the recounts, but he picked up additional votes.

A GOP legislator is floating a proposal to allocate eight of the state’s 10 electoral votes by congressional district, starting with the 2024 election, and the party may also seek additional restrictions on absentee balloting.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has the ability to wield his veto pen, but he is also up for reelection in 2022.

Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District

Last year, Biden carried Nebraska’s Omaha-based congressional district, the first time a Democrat had won the district since Barack Obama in 2008.

The win was a breakthrough for the party in the otherwise overwhelmingly Republican state.

Since 1991, Nebraska has awarded two electoral votes to the overall statewide winner, with the remaining three votes awarded to the winner of each congressional district.

In 2020, Trump secured four electoral votes to Biden’s one electoral vote.

A new GOP bill introduced in the state legislature would put into place a winner-takes-all system; if it had been in place in 2020, Trump would have won all five electoral votes.

The 2nd congressional district contains sizeable Black and Latino populations, and opponents of the bill argue that the legislation would be detrimental to minority voters.

American Civil Liberties Union Nebraska executive director Danielle Conrad said as much in an interview with ABC News.

“You see very clearly that there was a lot of excitement particularly from voters of color in the Omaha metro-area who engage in that process over the last few election cycles because they had that meaningful opportunity,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arizona Republican committee is debating a proposal to censure Cindy McCain, wife of the late GOP Sen. John McCain

Cindy McCain-Doug Ducey
Cindy McCain embraces GOP Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona at an Election night party on November 6, 2018.

  • The Republican committee in Arizona’s most populous county considered censuring Cindy McCain, the widow of the late GOP Sen. John McCain, according to The Arizona Republic.
  • The Maricopa County Republican Committee floated a proposal on Saturday that would have censured McCain, but the measure did not move forward.
  • The state party confirmed via Twitter that they would vote on a resolution to censure McCain on Jan. 23.
  • Cindy McCain was a prominent Republican supporter of President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign against President Donald Trump.
  • “I am a proud lifelong Republican and will continue to support candidates who put country over party and stand for the rule of law,” she tweeted on Jan. 9.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Republican committee in Arizona’s most populous county considered censuring Cindy McCain, the widow of the late GOP Sen. John McCain, according to The Arizona Republic.

The Maricopa County Republican Committee discussed a proposal on Saturday that would have censured McCain, but the measure did not move forward, according to an acting secretary at the event.

However, the state party confirmed on Twitter that they would vote on a resolution to censure McCain on Jan. 23.

Taking such an action would be a radical departure from her longstanding position of influence within the Arizona Republican Party. McCain’s late husband, Sen. McCain, represented the state in the US Senate from 1987 until his death in 2018, and was the GOP presidential nominee in 2008.

However, the Maricopa GOP did censure former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who served in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013 and the Senate from 2013 to 2019 and endorsed President-elect Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Read more: How full Democratic control of Washington DC could transform real estate

In response to the proposed censure, McCain reaffirmed her Republican bona fides.

“I am a proud lifelong Republican and will continue to support candidates who put country over party and stand for the rule of law,” she wrote on Twitter.

Cindy McCain, who has endured repeated insults aimed at her late husband from Trump, was a prominent Republican surrogate for President-elect Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Biden, who served in the US Senate for 36 years, most of them alongside Sen. McCain, has been close with the McCain family for years. 

The president-elect was the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Arizona since 1996, capturing the fast-growing Southwestern state by more than 10,000 votes.

During the 2020 Democratic National Convention, McCain had a prime speaking slot, where she fondly recalled the relationship between Biden and her late husband.

Cindy McCain has never held elective office, but in November, she was reportedly being considered to become Biden’s US Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

On Jan. 2, her daughter, Meghan McCain, took to Twitter to blast the Arizona GOP after they sent out a disparaging tweet blasting Sen. McCain.

“As the sun sets on 2020, remember that we’re never going back to the party of [Mitt] Romney, Flake, and McCain,” the Arizona GOP’s official Twitter account said. “The Republican Party is now, and forever will be, one for the working man and woman! God bless.”

Meghan McCain replied that whoever was running the account could “go to hell.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Georgia secretary of state says David Perdue ‘still owes’ his wife an apology for death threats after calling for his resignation

Brad Raffensperger 2
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

  • Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday strongly defended himself against attacks from GOP Sen. David Perdue after the release of a recorded phone conversation featuring President Donald Trump pressuring him to overturn the statewide presidential election results.
  • “Senator Perdue still owes my wife an apology for all the death threats she got after he asked for my resignation,” he said on Fox News. “I have not heard one peep from that man since.”
  • In the recently-released conversation, the president, over an hour-long conversation, asked Raffensperger “to find 11,780 votes” to overcome Biden’s win and continued to push the false narrative that he won the statewide vote.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday strongly defended himself against attacks from GOP Sen. David Perdue after the release of a recorded phone conversation featuring President Donald Trump pressuring him to overturn the statewide presidential election results.

In a testy interview on Fox News, Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, slammed Perdue for saying that the release of the phone call was “disgusting.”

After the November election, which saw President-elect Joe Biden win Georgia by nearly 12,000 votes, Trump and many leading Republican officials decried the result, spewing debunked allegations of fraud to explain the president’s loss.

At the time, Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who are both battling to win their respective Senate runoff elections on January 5, called on Raffensperger to resign for alleged mismanagement and a lack of transparency into the results.

Raffensperger refused to entertain their proposal.

Months later, Raffensperger is calling on Perdue to apologize to his wife, who was the target of threats after the calls for him to step down.

“Senator Perdue still owes my wife an apology for all the death threats she got after he asked for my resignation,” he said on Fox News. “I have not heard one peep from that man since. If he wants to call me, face to face, man to man, I’ll talk to him, off the record, but he hasn’t done that.”

When Raffensperger was asked if he was holding a grudge, he firmly rejected that assertion, saying that he was interested in making sure the public was correctly informed about the election results.

“It’s really about getting the facts out,” he said. “We just did a press release today. President Trump probably had 8 to 10 points. Every one of his numbers were wrong. We have a poster board of all the real numbers that we have versus what they have. Our numbers will be supported in a court of law. Their numbers will not be.”

In the recently-released tape of Raffensperger, Trump, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Georgia’s deputy secretary of state, Jordan Fuchs, and other attorneys, the president, over an hour-long conversation, asked the secretary of state “to find 11,780 votes” to overcome Biden’s win and maintained the false claim that he actually won the state.

Officials in Raffensperger’s office recorded the call, and the secretary of state insisted that he didn’t plan to release a copy of the recording. However, Trump continued to attack the secretary of state and give misleading statements about the nature of the conversation, and the tape was released.

The Washington Post first reported the story about the conversation.

Perdue, in an appearance on Fox News, contended that Raffensperger should not have recorded Trump.

“I guess I was raised differently,” Perdue said on Fox News. “To have a statewide elected official, regardless of party, tape without disclosing a conversation – private conversation – with the president of the United States, and then leaking it to the press is disgusting.”

With the runoff election just a day away, the exchange of words between Perdue and Raffensperger reflects the tightrope that the party faces to retain two key Senate seats and maintain some comity within the state.

Raffensperger told NBC News that he didn’t know how the tape was released but said that people are “the better for it.”

“Now everyone can listen to the whole one-hour eight-minute call with the president,” he added. “But at the end of the day, what he said was not factually correct. And I want to make sure that people understand the facts.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP lawmakers are set to challenge states’ Electoral College votes in a last-ditch attempt to overturn Trump’s election defeat

Trump
  • Some House Republicans are planning on mounting a formal challenge to President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win in at least one but possibly multiple states, Axios and Politico reported Monday.
  • Vice President Mike Pence, acting as the Senate president, will preside over a joint session of the new 117th Congress on January 6 to formally certify each state’s slates of presidential electors one-by-one.
  • At least one member of the House and one member of the Senate must both move to challenge a state’s electors in writing. Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia tweeted that he will lead a challenge to Georgia’s electors.
  • At that point, both chambers of Congress would leave the joint session to go debate and vote separately on whether to accept or reject the state’s electors.
  • The effort, however, is unlikely to succeed or achieve much beyond delaying the proceedings for a few hours, since both chambers would have to vote by a simple majority to reject a state’s electors, and Trump would need multiple states to be rejected to change the electoral result.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump and a number of House lawmakers are planning on one more last-ditch attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by directly challenging state’s slates of electors in Congress, which is highly likely to fail to reverse the president’s loss. 

Politico and Axios reported that a number of conservative House Republicans met at the White House along with a number of White House lawyers and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday to discuss their plan to raise an objection to at least one but possibly multiple states’ slates of electors. 

The lawmakers present included Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Jody Hice and Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, according to Politico.

Trump and his allies have lost upwards of 50 legal challenges seeking to subvert or overturn the 2020 election results in the weeks following the election, and spread unfounded claims of widespread voter and election fraud.

Trump’s allies also failed to successfully pressure state election officials to delay certifying election results, and also fell short in compelling Republican state legislatures in states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden to appoint separate slates of presidential electors in an effort to force Congress to vote on which one to accept. 

On Monday, December 14, slates of presidential electors met in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to formally cast their votes for president and vice president, again affirming Biden’s victory with 306 electoral votes compared to 232 for Trump, and short-circuiting many of the outstanding and potential legal challenges to election results. 

After the Monday meeting, Hice tweeted that he will “lead” an objection to Georgia’s slate of 16 presidential electors for Biden.

Trump and his allies have continued to baselessly claim that Georgia’s election was rife with fraud and irregularities, even after a risk-limiting audit involving a hand recount of all 5 million ballots cast in the presidential race and a subsequent machine recount requested by the Trump campaign affirmed Biden’s victory. 

Electoral college
Vice President Joe Biden shows the certificate of the Electoral College vote for Ohio to House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in the House Chamber during the counting of electoral votes on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.

Lawmakers challenging a state’s electoral votes is highly unlikely to succeed

Even though all 538 designated presidential electors have already voted in December, the full legal process of making Biden president isn’t quite finished yet. 

On January 6 of 2021, Pence, acting in his capacity as the president of the Senate, will preside over a joint session of the 117th Congress, which will be sworn in on January 3, to formally certify the results a the federal level. A teller will read aloud the certificates of votes cast by the electors representing all 50 states and Washington, DC, in alphabetical order to finalize the vote count.

If no members raise an objection to a state’s electors, that states’ slate of electors is accepted. 

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 lays out the process and guidelines for members of Congress to challenge a states’ electors, and, critically, stipulates at least one lawmaker from each chamber must raise a challenge in order for the body to take it up.

The group of Republican representatives aiming to challenge Biden electors will need a member of the US Senate to also sign on to an objection to a state’s electoral college votes in writing. At that point, both chambers of Congress, the Senate and the House, would separately split up to debate and vote on whether to accept or reject the electors. 

At least one Senate Republican, Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, has indicated that he may join a challenge to a state’s electors. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, warned his GOP colleagues on a private call not to do so, Axios and Politico reported last week. 

Lawmakers cannot challenge all the electoral votes cast throughout the entire country or for a given candidate altogether. If they wish to challenge multiple states’ electors, as Brooks has indicated he is interested in doing, they must challenge each state individually. The Senate president must count the slates of electors in alphabetical order, and cannot continue the count until after a challenge to a state’s electoral votes is fully resolved. 

The text of the ECA says that chambers of Congress can vote to reject a state slate of electoral votes that were “lawfully certified” by a state’s governor if those votes were not “regularly given,” according to the National Task Force on Election Crises, which notes that the language of the ECA does not specify what it would mean for electoral votes to not be “regularly given.” 

Both chambers would need to vote by a simple majority of over 50% to reject a given state’s presidential electors, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Democrats will maintain a majority in the US House. The Senate is likely to be narrowly controlled by Republicans, pending the outcome of two US Senate runoffs in Georgia that will take place the day before on January 5, meaning it will be highly unlikely for Republicans to muster the majority required to reject a state’s electors.

“I think the thing they got to remember is, it’s not going anywhere. I mean, in the Senate, it would go down like a shot dog,” GOP Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota told CNN.

While members of Congress have a legitimate legal avenue to bring a challenge to states’ electors in the chamber, that process has only been invoked twice since the enactment of the ECA in 1887. 

The last time that scenario played out was in January of 2005, when Democratic Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Sen. Barbara Boxer moved to challenge Ohio’s 2004 slate of 20 electors for President George W. Bush, citing widespread election mismanagement and voter disenfranchisement throughout the state in the presidential election. 

Jones’ and Boxers’ challenge failed by a margin of 74-1 in the US Senate and 267-31 in the US House, CNN reported at the time. 

If House and Senate Republicans bring a challenge to Georgia’s electoral votes to force a vote, it will likely only delay the proceedings by a few hours and fail to actually change the outcome. If the group challenges multiple states’ electors, the process could drag on until the next day, which the ECA provides for.

Even in the improbable event that both chambers did vote to reject Georgia’s slate of 16 Biden electors, for example, Biden would still have 290 electoral votes – still far above the 270 Electoral College vote threshold to be president. 

Read the original article on Business Insider