President Donald Trump and his campaign denied news reports that they had backed down from their demands in Pennsylvania. At the same time, they confirmed that they are continuing with their claim that nearly 700,000 votes in the state were incorrectly processed.
One of the complaints of the Trump campaign’s legal team, presented a few days ago, argued that the electoral authorities in Pennsylvania—a state governed by the Democratic Party—had limited the participation of Republican observers in the vote count.
However, a report in the Washington Post, published on Nov. 16, said that Republican lawyers were forced to file a new lawsuit “removing allegations that election officials violated the Trump campaign’s constitutional rights by limiting the ability of their observers to watch votes being counted.”
President Trump’s campaign immediately went out to disprove the Post.
The first was President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh, who described the report as a “complete mischaracterization of the Trump campaign’s litigation in [Pennsylvania].”
On Twitter, Murtaugh said that Jeff Bezos’s media outfit was “erroneously claiming the campaign had dropped the claim of nearly 700,000 ballots processed illegally and in secret. The campaign did no such thing.”
The Washington Post ran a complete mischaracterization of the Trump campaign’s litigation in PA, erroneously claiming the campaign had dropped the claim of nearly 700,000 ballots processed illegally and in secret.
The campaign did no such thing. https://t.co/DrfC11x5j1
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) November 16, 2020
“Our lawsuit in Pennsylvania absolutely still makes an issue of the 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots that were counted in secret,” Murtaugh said.
This story is completely erroneous. Our lawsuit in Pennsylvania absolutely still makes an issue of the 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots that were counted in secret.
To write that we had scrapped that argument requires not reading the amended complaint. https://t.co/zShPcOjQH4
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) November 16, 2020
In addition, the Trump campaign explained that due to a Nov. 13 ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in an unrelated case, the campaign strategically decided to restructure its lawsuit to be based on claims of violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“The claim that 682,479 ballots were improperly processed and counted is still very much part of the suit,” campaign lawyers asserted in a statement.
To remove any doubt about this, the Republican plaintiffs cited paragraph four of the amended filing, which reads, “Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties alone received and processed 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots without review by the political parties and candidates. These are unprecedented numbers in Pennsylvania’s elections history. Rather than engaging in an open and transparent process to give credibility to Pennsylvania’s brand-new voting system, the processes were hidden during the receipt, review, opening, and tabulation of those 682,479 votes.”
Urging that paragraphs 132-150 of the brief also be checked, they explained that references to incorrectly counted votes are repeated throughout the presentation.
“Our poll watchers were denied meaningful access to watch the vote counting and we still incorporate that claim in our complaint,” they reaffirmed and stated, “Unfortunately, fake news activists rushed to print their clickbait headlines, apparently without even reading the lawsuit. That’s lazy journalism at best, but more likely intentionally misleading.”
“The Washington Post forgot to read the complaint. Fake News,” President Trump said, arguing that charges are pending from Republican election observers in Pennsylvania who were barred from watching the vote-counting process. “The way they were treated, are a very big deal in the complaint!” he said.
The Washington Post forgot to read the complaint. Fake News. Poll Watchers, and the way they were treated, are a very big deal in the complaint! https://t.co/Rhc4RY0QSF
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2020
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer and coordinator of the campaign’s legal strategy, said, “It’s routine for attorneys to file amended complaints to tighten the claims.”
He added that they simplified the brief to make it more “focused.”
“This is part of the process. Clearly the reporters at Washington Post have a reading deficit,” he said.
The former New York City mayor also criticized a Politico reporter who “didn’t read paragraphs 132 to 150 of the amended complaint.”
I imagine this guy has a reading deficit. He didn’t read paragraphs 132 to 150 of the amended complaint. I guess 680,770 uninspected, unlawful mail in votes isn’t enough. Well we will find more before trial. https://t.co/HdQJx9T97C
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) November 16, 2020
The Trump campaign’s lawsuit also alleges violations of the Equal Protection Clause because, it says, some voters who mailed ballots in Philadelphia were alerted by poll workers that their ballots might contain errors or defects that would cause them to be rejected.
The Republican legal team indicated that, unlike the rest of Pennsylvania’s counties, these voters were given the opportunity to cast provisional ballots in case their mailed ballots were rejected.
“In addition, since the Philadelphia voters were forewarned that their ballots could be defective, it is an indication that poll workers were pre-canvassing those ballots prior to Election Day, which would be a clear violation of Pennsylvania law,” the lawyers said.