Trump’s legal war

The Trump campaign resorts to the court room in a desperate attempt to cling onto power

Photo by The White House on Flickr.

— 3 minute read — By Sam Portillo

Following his election defeat in November, outgoing American president Donald Trump has attempted to invalidate the results in a selection of key states with the intention of overturning the overall conclusion of the election.

On 8th December, Texas General Attorney Ken Paxton sued the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, accusing them of using the conditions of the pandemic to facilitate mass voter fraud through postal voting. Georgia General Attorney Chris Carr, who also belongs to the Republican Party, denounced the case as “factually wrong”, leading President Trump to call him on the telephone and ask him not to rally other Republican figures against the lawsuit.
Despite being largely built on baseless claims of voter fraud, cases made by the Texas General Attorney were sent to the federal Supreme Court, as per convention when one state attempts to legally dispute another.

The Trump campaign has endorsed at least five lawsuits in Pennsylvania in relation to the election. In one such case, the president’s legal team attempted to compel the state to allow Republican staff closer to the ballot counting process, claiming that the 20 feet distance currently permitted did not allow adequate sighting for witnesses to detect malpractice. The challenge was approved, meaning that party officials could now stand within 6 feet of the count on the condition that they wore personal protective equipment. Since the change was approved, no party officials have made further claims over counting malpractice.

Another Pennsylvania lawsuit saw the Trump campaign attempt to make any postal votes which arrived after 8pm on election day illegitimate, despite state laws allowing any that arrived until 6th November. The central claim underpinning the Trump campaign’s rejection of election results was that people noticed the president was leading at one point on election night, and flooded the process with fake or fraudulent votes favouring Joe Biden. Whether these purported malignant people are Democrat politicians, election officials or actual voters remains unclear.

A lawsuit against Georgia election officials targeted only 53 supposedly illegitimate ballots – not enough to overturn the result, even in the Peach State, where a margin of just 12,000 separates the two candidates. The case was based on a testimony from a poll watcher that invalid postal votes were mixed with the rest, therefore undermining the integrity of the entire count. Again, the case was dismissed from the Supreme Court, with there being no evidence that the ballots in question arrived too late to be counted.

In a flurry of supposed scandals, it was inevitable that at least one would bear the infamous -gate suffix originating from the Watergate Scandal of the Nixon administration. ‘Sharpiegate’ refers to allegations that election officials in Arizona, another state won by the Democrats, gave Trump supporters Sharpie pens to cast their votes, knowing that the ink would not be processed by the machines and therefore not counted. In fact, the state of Arizona actually recommends Sharpie pens for their quick-drying ink, which means any marks made by the voter are unlikely to be upset or tampered with. Furthermore, per official procedures, any votes not processed by the scanners must be counted manually and added to the tally anyway.

When aggregated, these cases amount to a fabrication of election fraud, perpetuated by a president who has been known to twist the truth for political gain: there is no greater prize for Trump than re-election. Even after Biden’s inauguration, even weeks and months into the new administration, Trump will likely never admit to the one thing that was legitimate about his presidency: his loss.