Patterico's Pontifications


Sen. Hawley Plans To Object to Electoral College Vote Certifying Biden Win

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:16 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Raise your hand if you’re surprised by this:

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said Wednesday he will object when Congress counts the Electoral College votes next week, which will force lawmakers in both the House and Senate to vote on whether to accept the results of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Hawley is the first senator to announce plans to object to the results, which is significant because both a House member and senator are required to mount an objection when Congress counts the Electoral College votes on January 6.

The objection will not change the outcome of the election, only delaying the inevitable affirmation of Biden’s victory in November over President Donald Trump. Democrats will reject any objections in the House, and multiple Republican senators have argued against an objection that will provide a platform for Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories claiming the election was stolen from him.

Anyway, I’m not wasting any more words on these yahoos. Trump and his fellow Congressional cohorts have pathetically disgraced themselves (and the Republican Party) to an irreparable degree. This move by Hawley will force Trump’s cohorts who are pro-actively working to overturn a legitimate election to come forward. And when they do, they should not be allowed to have their names fade into the woodwork after Biden is sworn in. Their names should be remembered, especially when they come up for re-election. Named and shamed.

Anyway, countering the crazy circus that never seems to end, this:

Everyone needs to take a deep breath. Yes, the President and far too many Republicans are *continuing* to engage in dangerous, anti-democratic behavior—despite having utterly failed to substantiate *any* of the claimed electoral improprieties. But it’s just not going to work.

First, even if a Senator like Hawley joins a House member’s challenge to a particular state’s electors, there’s nowhere near a majority in *either* chamber (let alone both) to sustain the challenge. All that will happen from these challenges is the process getting slowed down.

Second, no, that doesn’t mean that Republicans can “run out the clock.” Even if McConnell somehow allowed this nonsense to drag on for *two weeks,* we’d end up with Acting President Pelosi at noon on 1/20, not President Trump. And the Twelfth Amendment isn’t to the contrary.

Third, none of the (still pending) lawsuits are going to change any of this. #SCOTUS isn’t about to throw out certified electors, and neither Judge Kernodle nor the Fifth Circuit is going to somehow enjoin VP Pence from performing his *ministerial* duty of counting the votes.

I know emotions are raw and tempers are short, but I think it’s actually affirmatively *unhelpful* for folks to buy into any of the preposterous conspiracy theories being spread in right-wing social media. They’ve been wrong *from the start*; the actual *experts* haven’t been.

None of this is to excuse any of the indefensible behavior from the President or far too many elected Republicans at both the state and federal levels.

But there’s no necessary correlation between indefensible arguments and plausible ones. This is all just PR—and sore losing.

Exit question: What do Hawley (and fellow sore losers) get out of sacrificing their integrity and reputations for the biggest sore loser of all?


Trump Accuses Georgia’s Governor of Being An “Obstructionist,” Calls On Him To Resign

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:27 am

[guest post by Dana]

It’s mind-boggling that almost two months after the election and after the vast majority of President Trump’s baseless complaints about election fraud have been tossed by the courts, Trump is now publicly pressuring a sitting governor to resign for refusing to rescind Joe Biden’s election win. As a reminder, Georgia election officials certified that Trump lost the election by approximately 12,000 votes:

In other words, we have the President of the United States calling on a sitting governor who was elected by the people of Georgia to resign because he is standing his ground and refusing to confirm Trump’s ongoing delusion that he won in the state of Georgia.

Trump and his allies have trained their grievances at Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), accusing the duo of mismanaging the election in Georgia. Trump’s tweet on Wednesday, however, marked the first time the president has called for Kemp to step down.

Trump has also sought to pressure Kemp and other Georgia officials to call a special session of the state General Assembly in a bid to toss out the state’s election results and appoint pro-Trump electors. That effort fell flat, however, and Georgia’s electors cast their votes for Biden on Dec. 14.

Last month, Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who are facing competitive runoff elections on Jan. 5, demanded that Raffensperger resign over his handling of the election. That demand was immediately dismissed by Raffensperger.

Unfortunately for Trump, after Raffensperger acquiesced to pressure from the President and conducted an audit of ballot signatures, the result was just more bad news for the President:

Law enforcement and election investigators didn’t find a single fraudulent absentee ballot during an audit of over 15,000 voter signatures, according to a report by the Georgia secretary of state’s office released Tuesday.

The audit contradicted allegations that absentee ballots were rife with fraud after President Donald Trump said the election had been stolen, said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump lost to Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes in Georgia.

There were 10 absentee ballots that had been accepted but voter signatures didn’t match or signatures were missing, according to the report. But agents from the GBI and investigators with the secretary of state’s office contacted those voters and confirmed they had submitted those ballots.

In one case, a voter’s wife signed her husband’s ballot envelope. Another voter signed the front of the envelope instead of the back. Eight voters had mismatched signatures, but the voters told investigators the signatures were legitimate.

Raffensperger, a Republican said the audit results confirmed the election outcome again after two recounts— both by hand and machine — of all 5 million ballots cast in Georgia’s presidential election.

Meanwhile, early voting has already started in the state’s Senate runoffs. Both President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-president elect Kamala Harris will be heading to Georgia to campaign for Democratic candidates on January 3 and January 4. President Trump is scheduled to hold a “big and wonderful rally” on Monday night on behalf of the Republican candidates.

It’s anybody’s guess whether the antics of the President and his latest call for Gov. Kemp to resign will help or hurt Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue Right now though, it appears to be as tight of a race as you can get:

Even with many prestigious pollsters sitting the Georgia runoffs out, there have been plenty of polls of the two U.S. Senate runoffs and they continue to show an exceptionally close race. As of Tuesday afternoon, Democrat Raphael Warnock had a nominal lead of 0.5 percentage points over Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the special Senate election, while Republican Sen. David Perdue had an equally slim 0.4-point lead over Democrat Jon Ossoff in the regular Senate election. We aren’t planning to make probabilistic forecasts in Georgia, but it’s safe to say that a “polls-only” view of the runoffs would put each race at about 50:50.


Manhattan D.A. Hires Forensic Accounting Specialists to Look at Trump Financial Documents

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

The Manhattan D.A. is getting serious:

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has retained forensic accounting specialists to aid its criminal investigation of President Trump and his business operations, as prosecutors ramp up their scrutiny of his company’s real estate transactions, according to people familiar with the matter.

District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. opened the investigation in 2018 to examine alleged hush-money payments made to two women who, during Trump’s first presidential campaign, claimed to have had affairs with him years earlier. The probe has since expanded, and now includes the Trump Organization’s activities more broadly, said the people familiar with the matter. Vance’s office has suggested in court filings that bank, tax and insurance fraud are areas of exploration.

Vance has contracted with FTI Consulting to look for anomalies among a variety of property deals, and to advise the district attorney on whether the president’s company manipulated the value of certain assets to obtain favorable interest rates and tax breaks, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains highly sensitive. The probe is believed to encompass transactions spanning several years.

I think the chances they will find nothing are very low. Crooks gonna crook.

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