‘It cannot be done’: Biden lawyer says Michigan electoral plot would be unconstitutional

John Fritze, David Jackson, Courtney Subramanian and Joey Garrison, USA TODAY
·3 min read

President-elect Joe Biden’s attorney dismissed President Donald Trump’s expected meeting with Republican officials from Michigan on Friday, arguing that any effort to pressure lawmakers to support Trump electors is “doomed to failure.”

“The harm is real. But there is absolutely no chance Donald Trump can be successful in what it is he’s trying to do,” said Bob Bauer, a senior advisor for Biden who worked as White House counsel under Barack Obama.

Republican leaders of the Michigan House and Senate have been scheduled to meet with Trump on Friday as the president continues his long-shot bid to retain the presidency by overturning election results in key states such as Michigan.

Trump’s attorneys have pushed a dubious legal strategy of having Republican-controlled state legislatures in states like Michigan that Biden won choose their own slates of Trump electors instead of electors for Biden.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters the president "routinely meets with lawmakers all across the country."

"It is not an advocacy meeting," she said Friday at her first press briefing in 50 days. "There will be no one from the campaign there."

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Bauer said the electoral plot would be unconstitutional, arguing state legislatures are obligated to choose electors based on the popular votes in their states and that going against the will of the voters would also violate citizens’ right to vote.

“No state legislature in our country’s history – ever – has done what Donald Trump is apparently agitating for the Michigan state legislature to do, which is to ignore the result of a popular vote election … The reason it’s never happened before is it cannot be done.”

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He added: "This kind of pressure, this raw political pressure is obviously outrageous.”

Bauer also described a Republican press conference a daily earlier led by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani as “ludicrous” and “absolutely comic.”

Giuliani and other attorneys claimed Thursday without proof they had evidence of “voter fraud” and scolded the media for not presenting it, though no court has yet agreed and legal analysts across the political spectrum have predicted that various lawsuits are going nowhere.

"The election is over," Bauer said, arguing that even Republicans close to the president recognize it.

Michigan’s state board of canvassers, which includes two Democrats and two Republicans, is set to take up the certification of the state’s election results on Monday. Biden defeated Trump in Michigan by 156,003 votes.

The electoral college, made up of 538 electors nationwide chosen by voters in each state, meets Dec. 14 to formally cast their votes for president. Congress meets Jan. 6 to count the electoral votes and declare the winner of the presidential election.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who represents the Kalamazoo area, has already congratulated Biden on winning the election. He said he hadn't spoken to the Michigan state lawmakers meeting with Trump.

"I’ve not seen any evidence of fraud that would overturn 150,000 and some votes," Upton told reporters Friday at the U.S. Capitol. He predicted the state legislature wouldn't have the votes to override Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on choosing electors. "That’s just a dead end."

Bauer knocked the entire panoply of Trump efforts to overturn the election, including lawsuits in Pennsylvania and attempts to block certification of the votes in Georgia and Wisconsin – but he added that none of them would work.

"It's an abuse of office, it's an open attempt to intimidate election officials, it's absolutely appalling," Bauer said. "Having said all that, it will be unsuccessful."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michigan electoral plot by Trump is unconstitutional, Biden lawyer says