Trump called Pennsylvania speaker twice to discuss overturning election result

‘He did ask what options were available to the legislature,’ says Bryan Cutler’s spokesperson

James Crump
Tuesday 08 December 2020 16:03
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President Donald Trump has called the Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives twice in the last week, to ask him  what can be done to challenge the results of the presidential election in the state.

Mr Trump twice asked the speaker, Bryan Cutler, how Republicans planned to reverse the results in Pennsylvania, which was certified for President-elect Joe Biden last week, a spokesperson for the speaker, told the Washington Post on Monday night.

“He did ask what options were available to the legislature,”  Michael Straub told the Post, in reference to President Trump.

Although Mr Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election last month, Mr Trump has yet to concede, despite officially launching the transition process.

The president and his campaign team have filed around 40 unsuccessful lawsuits in battleground states, including Pennsylvania, that Mr Biden won. The Trump team has so far provided no definitive evidence of any large-scale voting irregularities.

In Pennsylvania, the president-elect won the state by 80,000 votes, while Mr Biden officially won the majority of electoral college votes in the US on Saturday when California certified its ballots.

Despite the pleas of Mr Trump and his team, Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is currently out of session, and can only be called back by the Democrat governor Tom Wolf, according to The New York Times.

Mr Straub, who said Mr Trump was asking for information rather than pressuring the speaker, told the Post that the president said on the phone: “‘I’m hearing about all these issues in Philadelphia, and these issues with your law,’” adding: “‘What can we do to fix it?’”

Mr Cutler was one of 60 Republican officials who sent a letter to Pennsylvania’s congressional representatives last week, asking them to reject its electoral slate when it's ready to be confirmed in January.

However, the speaker does not have any official power to overturn the results, and Mr Straub added that “Cutler made it very clear what power the legislature has and does not have.”

President Trump has previously contacted Republicans in Michigan to ask about overturning their results, and was recently embroiled in a public spat with Georgia governor Brian Kemp after he pressured him to replace the state’s electors.

At a rally in Georgia on Saturday, ahead of the state’s Senate runoff elections, President Trump said Mr Kemp “could stop it very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing”.

The governor has repeatedly refused to help Mr Trump, while Georgia re-certified its results on Monday after a recount once again showed a victory for Mr Biden.

Joanna E McClinton, the minority leader of the Pennsylvania House Democrats, recently described the efforts from Republicans in the state to help overturn the results as “outrageous”.

According to the Times, Ms McClinton said: “We are seeing extremists who claim they love the Constitution, but who want to throw the Constitution away just because the president lost his bid for re-election.”

The Independent has contacted the Trump campaign for comment.

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