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Florida Republican Rick Scott asks that ballots be guarded in Senate race recount

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Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott, whose lead has narrowed in the state’s U.S. Senate race, filed more lawsuits against local election officials on Sunday, asking a judge to order police to impound voting machines and ballots when they are not in use.

On Saturday, a machine recount began in the race between Scott and incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in one of the most closely watched swing-state contests in last Tuesday’s congressional elections.

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Each side has accused the other of trying to subvert democracy in an echo of the drama in the 2000 presidential vote recount that unfolded for weeks in Florida.

By the time the U.S. Senate election recount was ordered, Scott’s lead had shrunk to 12,500 votes, or 0.15 percent, below the threshold under which a machine recount is automatically triggered under state law.

Scott’s lawsuit on Sunday targeted election supervisors in Democratic-leaning Broward and Palm Beach counties. It asked a judge to issue an emergency injunction for the county sheriffs and Florida Department of Law Enforcement to seize all voting machines, tallying devices and ballots when they are not being used until the end the end of the recount and any related litigation is over.

“The Broward and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections has already demonstrated a blatant disregard for Florida’s elections laws, making it more important than ever that we continue to do everything possible to prevent fraud and ensure this recount is operated responsibly,” Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Scott’s campaign, said in a statement.

Scott filed a separate lawsuit late on Saturday against Broward County officials, asking the judge to order that any ballots counted after noon on Saturday be disregarded, saying that to include them would break state law.

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Nelson said in a statement on Saturday that Scott was panicking.

“If Rick Scott wanted to make sure every legal ballot is counted, he would not be suing to try and stop voters from having their legal ballot counted as intended,” Nelson said. “He’s doing this for the same reason he’s been making false and panicked claims about voter fraud – he’s worried that when all the votes are counted he’ll lose this election.”

Nelson has also filed a federal lawsuit asking that provisional and absentee ballots not be rejected because election officials deem that the signatures do not match voters’signatures on file.

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A recount was also triggered in the Florida gubernatorial race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum as DeSantis’ lead shrank to 33,700 votes, or 0.41 percent, as of Saturday.

Susan Bucher, the Palm Beach County elections supervisor, told CNN on Sunday that it would be “impossible” for the county to meet the Thursday deadline set for the race recounts.

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GEORGIA LAWSUIT
In another tight race in Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams joined the state Democratic Party in a federal lawsuit filed on Sunday against Georgia election officials over provisional and absentee ballots.

Republican Brian Kemp declared victory on Wednesday with a narrow lead that was less than a single percentage point over the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff against Abrams, who would be the first black woman to become a U.S. state governor.

Abrams’ lawsuit asked a judge to order election officials to count mail-in ballots even if the oath information was “imperfect or missing,” so long as there was enough information to identify the voters, and that the votes of people required to cast provisional ballots because of voter roll errors also be counted.

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Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Southern District prosecutors watched impeachment hearing to decide whether to charge Giuliani: CNN reporter

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The first publicly televised impeachment hearing was aired to millions of people on Tuesday. But it wasn't just citizens who were watching, suggested justice correspondent Evan Perez on CNN's "The Situation Room" — it was federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who are currently investigating President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

"Both of [the witnesses], Kent and Taylor, they weighed in on the role of Rudy Giuliani in all this diplomacy," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "What do you think?"

"Look, I think that's the key part of his testimony," said Perez. "I think we want to hear more from some of the other witnesses, including Ambassador Yovanovitch, and certainly Gordon Sondland, this is part of the story, the story Democrats are laying out for the impeachment inquiry. There is also another part of this, Wolf. I think the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York ... are watching this testimony today, no doubt, and trying to see whether it fits into the criminal investigation still ongoing in which Giuliani is the center of."

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Jim Jordan shot himself in the foot with his key argument for Trump’s innocence: Ex-Mueller prosecutor

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Former prosecutor Andrew Weissmann explained why Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)jo is stuck making terrible arguments without any of the facts on his side.

His example was Jordan and the GOP hammering home the idea that none of the people appearing before Congress were people who had first-hand information about the inner workings of the presidents of the U.S. and Ukraine.

The problem with the argument is that those with first-hand information have been barred by Trump from appearing.

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Impeachment is no longer political — it’s a matter of basic evidence: Ex-prosecutor

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On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," former federal prosecutor John Flannery argued that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ukraine special envoy William Taylor laid out the facts of President Donald Trump's wrongdoing so clearly that impeachment is effectively no longer a political question.

"I thought that Schiff and Taylor at the outset of the hearing, if people only listened to the first hour, had a really good picture of what was going on, and the most important thing, I think, that the Republicans never dealt with was what we knew before the hearing started," said Flannery. "We had the president, we had Mulvaney, and we had Rudy Giuliani, all telling us they’d basically done this, and the readout also confirmed that. Now, what we have here is the most amazing corroborating information by two blameless individuals that can’t be accused of being anti-Trump who have had a history of service to this nation and who could not be contradicted in any particular."

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