GOP Senators to oppose Biden victory

11 lawmakers to demand creation of commission to conduct 10-day audit of election results

January 03, 2021 02:27 am | Updated 10:08 pm IST - Washington

Ted Cruz. File

Ted Cruz. File

A group of Republican senators led by veteran lawmaker Ted Cruz said on Saturday they will challenge Joe Biden’s election win — the latest move to support Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the vote.

The initiative, which appears certain to fail, flies in the face of rulings in dozens of courts and the findings by officials in several key States, that there were no widespread voting problems.

The Republicans’ statement, signed by Mr. Cruz and six other current Senators along with four Senators-elect, asserts that “allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.”

The group said that when Congress convenes in a joint session on Wednesday — for what normally would be a pro-forma certification of Biden’s victory — they will demand the creation of a special commission to conduct an “emergency 10-day audit” of the election results.

The statement says individual States could then convene special legislative sessions and potentially revise their vote totals.

“An attempt to steal a landslide win. Can’t let it happen!” Mr. Trump tweeted on Saturday. Posting a list of the 11 Senators, Mr. Trump added: “And after they see the facts, plenty more to come... Our Country will love them for it!”

They join Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who said earlier that he planned to raise objections on Wednesday.

A Republican member of the House of Representatives, Louie Gohmert, has also announced his plan to oppose certification, and more than 100 House Republicans reportedly will back his challenge.

Mr. Gohmert sought to further raise the stakes with a lawsuit that would have given Vice-President Mike Pence — traditionally in a ceremonial role in Wednesday’s session — the power to overturn the election result.

Mr. Pence opposed that effort, and a federal judge in Texas on Friday rejected the suit.

Pro-Trump rallies

On Saturday, a federal appeals court upheld that dismissal.

The Hawley and Gohmert challenges will ensure that Congress must meet to hear the complaints.

The Congress sessions will play out against a backdrop of pro-Trump rallies in Washington next week encouraged by the President himself.

As with Mr. Trump’s other attempts to reverse his election defeat, the latest political maneuvering appears doomed. Democrats control the House, and many Republicans are expected to vote on Wednesday for certification.

The 11 Senators conceded that most Democrats and “more than a few Republicans” would likely oppose their initiative.

Among them is Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, whose State was a battleground that helped tip Mr. Biden into the win column. Its result is expected to be among those contested on Wednesday.

“A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders,” Senator Toomey said on Twitter.

“The effort by Sens. Hawley, Cruz, and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right.”

He added: “I voted for President Trump and endorsed him for re-election. But, on Wednesday, I intend to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others.”

Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a vocal Trump opponent and onetime presidential candidate who lost a 2012 White House bid to Barack Obama, dismissed his colleagues’ rationale as “nonsense.”

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