Report: Trump campaign has a plan to override the election results

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.


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The Atlantic releases a report with information from a Trump campaign legal adviser and Republican leaders about a plan to bypass the election results if Biden wins.

Normally, the popular vote in a state determines which electors go to Washington, D.C. to cast their ballot for the electoral college. The plan would see Donald Trump choosing electors in battleground states who will vote for him regardless of who the states vote for.

All Trump has to do is claim there’s fraud in [insert state]’s election for the state to choose a Republican elector, even though Biden has the most votes.

Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires.

Barton Gellman, The Atlantic

A Trump campaign legal adviser explained the plan to The Atlantic.

“There are results that come in Election Night,” a legal adviser to Trump’s national campaign, who would not agree to be quoted by name, told me. “There’s an expectation in the country that there will be winners and losers called. If the Election Night results get changed because of the ballots counted after Election Day, you have the basic ingredients for a shit storm… There will be a count on Election Night, that count will shift over time, and the results when the final count is given will be challenged as being inaccurate, fraudulent—pick your word.”

The Atlantic

Three Republican leaders in at least one state, Pennsylvania, admit that the option has been discussed in their state and with the Trump campaign directly.

“I’ve mentioned it to them, and I hope they’re thinking about it too,” Lawrence Tabas, the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s chairman, told me. “I just don’t think this is the right time for me to be discussing those strategies and approaches, but [direct appointment of electors] is one of the options. It is one of the available legal options set forth in the Constitution.”

The Atlantic

But this isn’t the campaign’s only option to interfere in the election. As David Pakman explains:

This is just one idea… The idea of the “red mirage” scenario would be, because of early in-person voting by Trump voters, at midnight at the end of election day Trump might have a slight lead in some states. However, if all the absentee ballots were to be counted, those leads might evaporate in favor of Joe Biden. The idea would be [that] you have lawyers descend on states at midnight to say “stop counting absentee ballots,” making different legal arguments in different states. So, this is not a joke. They are prepared… When you’re playing offense, you only need to come up with one strategy the defense isn’t prepared for, and play it.

David Pakman

A day after this report, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduces a bill that would block all mail-in ballots not counted within 24 hours of polling locations closing.


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