“I won’t – this administration won’t put a lockdown,” Trump said, speaking for the first time in a week as coronavirus cases in the US spike in splinters and hospitalization records. “Hopefully time will tell whatever happens in the future – who knows what administration it is – but I can tell you that administration will not be locked down.”
It was a fleeting shift in tone that suggested the reality of Joe Biden’s massive victory is seeping into Trump’s psyche, though he and his advisors publicly deny it.
Friday’s speech in the rose garden was a portrait of a president who held onto power as his legal challenges to election results collapsed around him. He was aware that he should show Americans what he was doing with government power as he spends his days tweeting conspiracy theories of lost or deleted votes amid a pandemic sweeping across the United States.
Thousands of Conservatives – from everyday presidential supporters to some groups known as far-right, white supremacists, or famously conspiracy theories – gathered in downtown Washington, DC on Saturday to protest the election results. Trump’s motorcade passed cheering and waving supporters on their way to a golf excursion. Both the president and his enablers still refuse to acknowledge that they are creating national security risks by preventing the transition to a Biden government from proceeding. But Trump’s former White House chief of staff John Kelly did not hold back in a statement Friday night saying the consequences of Trump’s intransigence could be disastrous.
“The delay in transition is a mounting national health and safety crisis,” Kelly said in a statement. “It does not cost the current administration anything to inform Mr. Biden (Vice-President-Elect Kamala) Harris, the new Chief of Staff, and ALL identified cabinet members and officers as they have been identified in the coming days and weeks. The downside of not doing so could be disastrous for our people regardless of who they voted for. “
The non-partisan 9/11 commission also cited the presidential abbreviated transition after the controversial 2000 elections as a reason the nation was not prepared for the terrorist attacks, but the national security arguments did not seem to concern Trump.
Trading in falsehoods
Before and after the Rose Garden event, Trump seemed to be most preoccupied with trading in bogus theories about how voting software glitches might have altered the votes in his fact-free zone of Twitter, even as top election officials in his own administration shot down those theories.
One of Trump’s primary targets was Dominion Voting Systems, an election software company that he claimed somehow changed results in Arizona. “No wonder the result was a very close loss,” he tweeted.
But the same theories were declared unfounded this week by the federal agency that oversees election security, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, in a statement along with state and private electoral officials: “There is no evidence that a The electoral system has been canceled or votes lost, votes changed or has been compromised in any way, “the agency said in its statement.
Dominion Voting Systems also released a long memo on Friday underlining that the company is non-partisan, that there have been no software issues – and that “the ballots have been tabulated accurately and the results are 100% verifiable”. The company stated that “statements about deleting / switching voices are completely wrong”.
RELATED: Live scores from CNN’s polling centerBen Hovland, a Trump candidate who heads the Election Support Commission, which is partially charged with testing and certifying voting machines, described the conspiracy theories as “confusing” and offensive to the professionals who conduct elections across the country. During an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, he pointed out that many of the wild allegations Trump is advocating have not surfaced on the Trump team’s court files – also because there is no evidence to back them up.
“The president has had the opportunity – his lawyers have the opportunity – to bring this type of evidence, these allegations, to court, and we have not seen it,” Hovland said Friday night on Erin Burnett OutFront. “”
“What you’ve seen in court across the country is nothing … We haven’t seen anything that cast any real doubt on the integrity of the elections,” he said.
Also, given that Biden now has 306 votes, Hovland said it was hard to see how a victory of this magnitude would be reversed.
“The professionals who run our elections have work to do and are continuing to work through that process,” Hovland said. “But at this point it’s pretty obvious where things are – the margins are sizable enough to go well beyond anything you’d ever see in a traditional recount or something like that.”
But on Friday morning, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro mistakenly told Fox Business that Trump “won” the election. “We’re moving forward here in the White House on the assumption that Trump will have a second term.”
And when White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany pressed Fox Business whether Trump would attend the January inauguration, she said lightly, “I think the president will attend his own inauguration. He should actually be there.”
Another frequent Trump supporter, Attorney General William Barr, has caused consternation in the Justice Department after he penned a memo asking federal prosecutors to investigate allegations of electoral irregularity in the coming weeks before states confirm the election results. Barr’s memo suggested that prosecutors could skip important procedural steps that would normally be required, such as: B. Obtain permission from the Election Crimes Division before interviewing witnesses. In an internal letter from CNN, 16 prosecutors received surveillance of the November 3 elections at the request of the judiciary. The civil rights division of the ministry asked Barr on Friday to overturn the order because it said it was “before consulting non-partisan professionals Place and in the department “was developed, and because the time” urges the public prosecutors into partisan politics.
Richard Pilger, who headed the electoral crimes division of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Division, resigned under Barr’s orders and emailed his colleagues to inform them that they “followed the forty-year-old policy of non-interference in investigations into electoral fraud during the reporting period canceled “before the elections are certified and undisputed. ”
Results and failed lawsuits inevitably point to this
Amid this cognitive dissonance in the White House, some of the sharpest reprimands of the Trump administration’s baseless allegations of electoral fraud come from the courts.
In Pennsylvania, two judges dismissed the Trump campaign’s attempts to invalidate nearly 9,000 postal ballots from the Philadelphia area on Friday and threw back six lawsuits in which the Trump campaign claimed the ballots were invalid because the outer ones Envelopes with no name, date, or name had an address to be filled out by the voter.
One of the judges, Richard Haaz of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, stated that state law does not require voters to fill out the address section: “Voters should not be disenfranchised by appropriately following the voting instructions given by election officials leave “, so Haaz wrote.
Also in Pennsylvania, a law firm leading the campaign’s long-term attempt to block the Commonwealth of Nations referendum for Biden withdrew from the case. In Michigan, a state judge denied a motion from two respondents to block certification of the results showing Biden’s victory in the heavily democratic Detroit area and denied a motion to review the elections. This challenge was part of a wider effort by Republicans to delay the electoral college ratification of Biden’s victory by derailing the procedures for confirming votes.
Judge Timothy Kenny said the plaintiffs did not have a thorough understanding of the voting process and, although they attributed “sinister, fraudulent motives” to the process and the city of Detroit, their interpretation of events was incorrect and not credible. “”
For example, Kenny drew attention to allegations by Republican challenger Andrew Sitto in an affidavit of fraud: “While Mr. Sitto’s affidavit contains some general facts, it is full of speculation and guesswork about sinister motives,” the Michigan State judge wrote .
And in Arizona, which CNN projected for Biden on Thursday, the Trump campaign is dropping its own lawsuit, calling for a review of ballots cast in that state after it was recognized that they failed to break Biden’s profit margin in that state. “The nationwide listing of votes has made a court decision on the presidential election unnecessary,” wrote Trump campaign lawyer Kory Langhofer in a file submitted to the court on Friday.
This story was updated with additional reports on Saturday.
Sara Sidner, Julia Jones and Mallory Simon contributed to this report.