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Trump asks judge to declare him winner in Pennsylvania despite trailing by 80,000 votes

President’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is leading legal challenge in Pennsylvania, a key swing state

Mayank Aggarwal
Thursday 19 November 2020 07:32 GMT
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Arguing that the results of the presidential election are defective, Donald Trump’s campaign has asked a judge in Pennsylvania to declare him the winner in the state and allow the Republican-led state legislature to decide which way it will allocate its 20 electoral college votes. 

Joe Biden is projected to have won Pennsylvania by more than 82,000 votes, in a result which swung the overall election in the Democrat’s favour. Overturning the result there is crucial to the president’s efforts to claim victory and a second term in the White House.

In a court filing, the Trump campaign asked US District Judge Matthew Brann to consider issuing an order that “the results of the 2020 presidential general election are defective and providing for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to choose Pennsylvania’s electors.”

Led by the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the filing is part of Mr Trump bid to amend a 9 November lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s result.  

They requested the district judge put back legal claims that were dropped from the lawsuit on Sunday, reasserting claims that Republican observers were denied access to the count of mail-in ballots – something that election officials have repeatedly disputed.

The Trump campaign’s lawsuit also points to inconsistent treatment by county election officials of mail-in ballots, as it said some counties notified voters that they could fix minor defects such as missing "secrecy envelopes" while others did not.

On Tuesday, Mr Brann had expressed scepticism of the lawsuit, while Justin Levitt, a Loyola Law School professor who has been tracking the litigation, told Reuters that Mr Trump’s case was “deeply flawed” and does not give the president “any viable path to overturning the results”.

By 23 November, all 67 counties of Pennsylvania are supposed to submit their official results.  

While the result of the election in most states is yet to be certified, all major news networks have called the race in Mr Biden’s favour, giving him 306 electoral college votes compared to the incumbent’s 232. 

The president, meanwhile, continues to claim voter fraud in the elections without offering any substantial evidence, and without enjoying the overwhelming support of the wider Republican party.

Mr Trump has clashed with a number of Republican state officials who have rejected his voter fraud claims, including Philadelphia’s City Commissioner, Al Schmidt.

“A guy named Al Schmidt, a Philadelphia Commissioner and so-called Republican (RINO), is being used big time by the fake news media to explain how honest things were with respect to the election in Philadelphia. He refuses to look at a mountain of corruption and dishonesty. We win!” tweeted Mr Trump on 11 November.

Additional reporting by agencies

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