As the days drag on and Biden racks up a bigger lead in state after state, the Trump campaign is still fighting in court in numerous states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. It's Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes that Trump really wants, however, and where a flurry of some his most bullshit legal claims have been centered. One of those cases is so bad, his own campaign has had to admit one key claim was frivolous, and has scrapped it.
On Sunday, the campaign removed a key component of its claim against Democratic counties in Pennsylvania, that election officials had limited their observers’ ability to watch the vote counts. The campaign has been trying to nullify more than 600,000 votes on this claim, and now have had to revise their case. Because it was bullshit. Now the case is alleging only that some Democratic counties allowed voters who had errors on their mail-in ballots were allowed to fix them before Election Day. The number of ballots now in contention is far too small to change the outcome of the election, even though the campaign is still asking U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann to prevent the state from certifying the election. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar amended and resubmitted her request for the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, writing the Trump amended suit "materially narrows the pending allegations to a single claim."
And another baseless case down the drain. This one alleged that election officials included illegal results and was trying to stop the certification of presidential election results in Democratic counties. Trump is now 1-22 with his lawsuits.
Make that four total wins for democracy this morning, in Georgia and Wisconsin and Michigan in addition to PA. In at least two of them, PA and WI, it’s the plaintiffs—GOP lawyers—dismissing the suits. Whether they’re totally bailing on Trump, or clearing the way for Rudy and his amazing new cases (heh) isn’t known.
Trump has no legal leg to stand on in any of the states. He's had exactly one victory in more than a dozen decisions. What his complaints have done, however, is show just how well-run this election was across the nation, even with the pandemic, at least in terms of its integrity. Not one vote has been invalidated by Trump challenges, in any state. That's not going to keep Trump—and Rudy Giuliani who's now in charge of all the lawsuits—from continuing this fiasco. Trump promised that in his weekend of rage tweets, including the claim that "Our big cases showing the unconstitutionality of the 2020 Election, & the outrage of things that were done to change the outcome, will soon be filed!" The judges are going to love that.
At some point, Trump lawyers are going to stretch reality just too far for the judges who are becoming increasingly frustrated with the bullshit. "At what point does this get ridiculous?" a judge in Nevada asked, rhetorically since we're so there already, when Republican lawyers were complaining that their observers couldn't get close enough to eavesdrop on every word from poll workers. Even before the election, when the Trump campaign was trying to shut down mail-in balloting in the state, a judge declared that "this allegation, specifically in Montana, is a fiction."
Michigan Judge Cynthia Stephens nearly lost it when Republican lawyers presented a sworn affidavit that swore to pretty much nothing. "What I have, at best, is a hearsay affidavit," said Stephens. "If there is something in that affidavit that would indicate that the [witness] observed activity that would be a depravation of the rights of poll watchers, I want you to please focus my attention on that. … 'I heard somebody else say something.' Tell me why that's not hearsay. Come on now." Which is pretty much the response a federal judge in Pennsylvania had to Trump claims that their observers had been shut out of the process, then had to concede that they hadn't really but had to stand too far away to. "I'm sorry, then what's your problem?" U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond queried.
"Where's the facts about that?" one federal judge in Michigan demanded on another challenge about Republican observers having to abide by social distancing orders and stand away from poll workers. He rejected the claim as "incorrect and not credible." None of the claims Republican lawyers are bringing stand up to examination by a judge. Like another one in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on claims of fraud. "I am asking you a specific question, and I am looking for a specific answer. Are you claiming that there is any fraud in connection with these 592 disputed ballots?" said Judge Richard P. Haaz, a Democrat. "To my knowledge at present, no," the lawyer replied.
The pointed questioning—the exasperation—of judges is not normal said Wendy Weiser, director of the bipartisan law and public policy institute at the Brennan Center for Justice. "It is unusual for judges to be chastising litigants," Weiser said. "But the lack of evidence in these cases is unusual. For the judges to be speaking this way, the gaps need to be fairly significant." Karl Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia, agrees that Republican lawyers are pushing their luck. "I would not be surprised that if these baseless allegations continue, judges will begin to threaten and indeed issue sanctions."
That could be coming soon, because Giuliani is promising more ridiculousness in Pennsylvania. "We have people that observed people being pushed out of the polling place. We have people who were suggested to vote the other way and shown how to do it. I'm giving you the big picture," he said on Fox New Sunday, despite the fact that none of this was reported, you know, during the voting on Election Day. "You are required to have some basis for believing your claims to be true. It has to be some basis in fact, not just wild speculation," Weiser said. "And the bar isn't even that high. To not meet it is very unusual and inappropriate."