Politics

Trump files motion to join Texas Supreme Court bid to undo Biden White House win

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Key Points
  • President Donald Trump asked to join Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's long-shot legal effort at the Supreme Court to reverse Joe Biden's win in the election.
  • Legal experts say that, like other such cases, Paxton's effort targeting votes in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin has little if any chance of succeeding.
  • Biden is projected to win 306 votes in the Electoral College, 36 more than he needs to clinch a White House win.
US President Donald Trump waves upon arrival, alongside Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton (L) in Dallas, Texas, on June 11, 2020, where he will host a roundtable with faith leaders and small business owners.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Wednesday filed a motion to join Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's long-shot effort to have the Supreme Court effectively reverse Democrat Joe Biden's win in the election.

Trump earlier in the day vowed to join that case, adding that he or his campaign will also ask to join lawsuits in a number of other states as part of his attempt to reverse the Nov. 3 election results.

Legal experts say that — like other such cases lodged by the Trump campaign and its allies — Paxton's effort targeting votes in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin has little if any chance of succeeding.

Trump, acting "in his personal capacity" as a presidential candidate, seeks to intervene in order "to protect his unique and substantial personal interests as a candidate for re-election," according to the 39-page court filing.

Trump's attorney, John Eastman, wrote bluntly in the motion that "President Trump seeks to have the votes cast in the Defendant States unlawfully for his opponent to be deemed invalid."

Eastman last summer in a Newsweek op-ed suggested that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was not eligible for that office, because neither of her parents were U.S. citizens when she was born in the United States in 1964. After a backlash to that column, Newsweek posted a lengthy editor's note apologizing that the op-ed was "being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia."

"To many readers, the essay inevitably conveyed the ugly message that Senator Kamala Harris, a woman of color and the child of immigrants, was somehow not truly American," Newsweek wrote.

Outside of court, Trump and his allies have repeatedly spread an array of unproven conspiracies about voter and electoral fraud. But the president's request to intervene in Paxton's case, like many other lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign, does not allege actual fraud.

Rather, it suggests that the battleground states increased "the opportunity for fraud" through improper election handling.

"The constitutional issue is not whether voters committed fraud but whether state officials violated the law by systematically loosening the measures for ballot integrity so that fraud becomes undetectable," Eastman wrote in the motion.

The Supreme Court has not said whether it will take Paxton's case, which Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called a "publicity stunt."

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Hours after Paxton's filing Tuesday, the Supreme Court refused to accept a case from a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania that challenged Biden's win there, a refusal that could foreshadow the fate of Texas' case.

"We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one," Trump wrote in a Twitter post Wednesday.

"Our Country needs a victory!"

The Republican president, who has repeatedly claimed without evidence that widespread fraud swindled him out of a victory over Biden, also downplayed the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the Pennsylvania case filed by Rep. Mike Kelly.

"This was not my case as has been so incorrectly reported. The case that everyone has been waiting for is the State's case with Texas and numerous others joining," Trump tweeted. "It is very strong, ALL CRITERIA MET."

"How can you have a presidency when a vast majority think the election was RIGGED?"

After filing the motion for Trump to intervene in Paxton's Supreme Court case, Eastman said in a statement from the Trump campaign that "I'm honored that the President asked me to represent him in this matter."

"I think his intervention in this case strengthens an already very strong original action by the state of Texas," Eastman said in the statement.

Paxton, a Republican who remains under indictment for state felony securities fraud charges, asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday for permission to file his lawsuit that seeks to block the certification of Biden's wins in the four battleground states.

Paxton argues that a block is warranted because of supposedly improper changes to voting procedures there in the past year, purportedly different treatment of voters in Democratic-heavy areas, and voting "irregularities."

The legal action implicitly suggests that the legislatures in each of those states could effectively overrule the popular vote wins for Biden, and then appoint electors for Trump to the Electoral College, which actually chooses the winner of the national election.

That is the same end-game strategy that Trump is pursuing, both through legal cases and by his pressuring of elected officials in battleground states.

Biden is projected to win 306 votes in the Electoral College when it meets next week, 36 votes more than he needs to clinch a White House victory.

If he were denied the electoral votes of the four states named in Paxton's motion, Biden would have less than 270 Electoral College votes.

"I feel sorry for Texans that their tax dollars are being wasted on such a genuinely embarrassing lawsuit," Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said Tuesday.

"Texas is as likely to change the outcome of the Ice Bowl as it is to overturn the will of Wisconsin voters in the 2020 presidential election," said Kaul, referring to the legendary Dec. 31, 1967, NFL Championship Game, when Wisconsin's Green Bay Packers defeated Texas' Dallas Cowboys as temperatures at Lambeau Field hit 13 degrees below zero.

On the other hand, top Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday called Paxton's effort "a great filing in the Supreme Court."

Giuliani insisted Wednesday that the fight to overturn the election will not end even if the Supreme Court rejects Paxton's motion.

"No, the end of the line is when the state legislatures make the final decision on whether they're going to assume control of this, because there's a real battle going on," Giuliani said during a call to the "Bernie & Sid" show on WABC-AM.

Giuliani was hospitalized with the coronavirus this week.

In the call Wednesday, Giuliani implied that the Trump campaign and its surrogates have repeatedly lost legal challenges that would undercut Biden's win as a result of media "spin" that has affected judges who heard the cases.

"Judges are just human beings, they read — they probably read more of those newspapers than most people do, so they're very affected by the spin that's put on things," Giuliani said.

"And the spin put on this is, 'Well, Trump really lost and he's being a sore loser.'"

Last month, a federal judge in Pennsylvania, Matthew Brann, blasted Giuliani's legal arguments in a case that sought to invalidate millions of votes in the Keystone State.

"This Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by the evidence," Brann wrote in a scathing opinion rejecting Trump's case. Brann is a former Republican Party official and a member of the conservative Federalist Society.