WASHINGTON – Nearly a dozen Republican senators and elected senators led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz said Saturday they will reject voters from certain states won by President-elect Joe Biden, citing baseless allegations of voter fraud and calling for a 10 -day emergency. control of the results, an unprecedented attempt to thwart the democratic process.
The senators argue that they are not trying to reverse the election results, but rather are giving a voice to those who do not believe it was fair, despite no investigation as to whether the court found any evidence of wrongdoing.
Still, President Donald Trump and many of his Republican allies see next week's joint session of Congress to certify Biden's victory as their last stance to contest the election results, even though this is largely political theater to Biden's inevitable victory. to undermine and postpone.
Indeed, Congress should immediately appoint an electoral committee, with full investigative and information authority, to conduct a 10-day emergency review of election results in the disputed states, the senators wrote in a joint statement. "Upon completion, individual states would review the findings of the Commission and, if necessary, convene a special legislative session to confirm a change in their vote."
Sens. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, James Lankford from Oklahoma, Steve Daines from Montana, John Neely Kennedy from Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee and Mike Braun from Indiana – along with Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming, Roger Marshall from Kansas, Bill Hagerty from Tennessee and Tommy Tuberville from Alabama – joined Cruz. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Has already said he will contest the electoral college's explanation of vote.
Vice President Mike Pence, who will chair the joint session in his role as Senate President, is backing the efforts of GOP lawmakers, a top aide said.
"The vice president welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring evidence to Congress and the American people on January 6," said Marc Short, Pence & # 39; s Chief of Staff.
By law, if members of both the House and Senate object to the electoral college slates, then both chambers must debate and then vote on the contest. The Republicans' plans to cloud proceedings could force Wednesday's ceremony to continue all night and the next morning.
For each successfully contested state, the joint session must pause so that the House and Senate can debate separately for up to two hours and then vote on the challenges. Due to coronavirus precautions, House votes took an hour or more during the pandemic – meaning that resolving challenges could take three to four hours for each state.
Many House Republicans have already said they will contest the votes of the multi-state electoral college. If Republican senators join members of the House in the fight against all six won by Biden, with the Trump campaign questioning the results – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – the proceedings could be 24 hours or longer.
Ultimately, however, the GOP challenge will fail because Democrats hold more seats in the House and because a number of Senate Republicans have already recognized Biden's victory and are unlikely to support their peers' efforts.
“Now that we are determined to do it, we will vent the objections and people can have their day in court and we will hear everyone and then we will vote,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune, RS. Regarding Hawley & # 39; s initial plans to contest the results. "Ultimately, I don't think it will change anything."
Thune has indicated that he will vote to confirm Biden's victory, with a rebuke from Trump, who called on South Dakota Republican Kristi Noem to stand against him in a primary. She has said she will not challenge him.
Senator Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., Who will not run for re-election when his term expires in 2022, has issued a damning condemnation of Cruz's plan.
"I intend to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this attempt to deprive millions of voters in my state and others," said Toomey.
Democrats in both houses are also preparing to defend the election results during the debate period for each state. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Who will help lead the process as the best Democrat on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, said she and other Democratic leaders are calling on lawmakers from those six states to be prepared to challenge the challengers. refute and explain the electoral processes of their states.
“We are ready for any unforeseen event,” she said in an interview on Friday. "This isn't like we just woke up this morning and said, 'Oh, this is coming!' We've been working on this since election day."
"I hope it gets resolved on the sixth," she added, but "it may take a while."
Klobuchar said she had no doubt that at the end of the trial, Biden and elected Vice President Kamala Harris would be confirmed as the rightful winners of the election. She praised Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., And other Republicans, such as Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Who wrote a lengthy and scathing critique of attempts to question the election results for calling Trump's attempts to undermine democratic process.
"Our democracy will prevail," said Klobuchar. "I just think this is kind of a sad, sad statement that some members are placing their own fear of Donald Trump above our democracy."
Although McConnell has rejected calls from members of his party to challenge Biden's victory, a Senate Republican aide, speaking on condition of anonymity to candidly describe the internal dynamics of the GOP, said the decision by the Senate. 12 senators for doing so should not be construed as a rebuke to McConnell – who was re-elected party leader to the new Congress in November by acclamation and helped each of the elected senators win their races – but rather a reflection of political reality.
"The considerations for 2022 and 2024 certainly play a role," the assistant said, referring to senators who will be re-elected in subsequent election cycles. "If you think Trumpism is an enduring, dominant force in the party, and he's set this up as a test, then you're going to do this."
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., Who herself is in the midst of a hard-fought second election next week, campaigned with Cruz on Saturday, but she wouldn't say she supported his efforts.
"Everything is on the table; we are looking at what we can do to make sure that this is a free and fair election and that we fight for the president," she said.
Rick Hasen, a leading election law expert, said GOP senators who support the challenge are trying both ways.
They did not fully endorse the president's claims about falsified elections, so they seek to please the Republican Party's Trumpian base, while also not fully agreeing to the unsupported dangerous claims of a stolen election incessantly coming out of the mouth of the Republican Party. Trump have come, '' said Hasen.
In their weekend statement, the 11 senators cited a poll that found that about 40% of Americans believe the election was faked. They argue that additional vetting is needed to restore confidence in the US election. Trump spent months leading up to the election, then sowed doubt and confusion about the voting process and outcome.
"But whether our elected officials or journalists believe it or not, that deep mistrust in our democratic processes will not magically disappear," said the senators. & # 39; It should concern us all. And it poses a constant threat to the legitimacy of all subsequent governments. & # 39;
There is no evidence of widespread election fraud, a finding echoed by Christopher Krebs, the former head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and former Attorney General William Barr. Krebs was fired and Barr resigned before the end of Trump's term.
The Trump campaign has spawned dozens of voter fraud cases in six states, and judges have dismissed almost every claim. The U.S. Supreme Court has also twice declined to hear the cases.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah said the challenge from his colleagues "continues to spread the false rumor that the election was somehow stolen."
"Look, I lost in 2012. I know what it's like to lose. Today I have people saying," Hey, you know what, you really won ", but I didn't, I lost fair and square, ”said Romney. , who was GOP's presidential candidate that year. "Of course there were irregularities – there always are – but spreading rumors like this that our electoral system is not working is dangerous for democracy at home and abroad."
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Seung Min Kim and David Weigel of the Washington Post contributed to this report.
. (tagsToTranslate) Voting (t) Presidential Election (t) Joe Biden (t) Donald Trump (t) United States Senate