When it became obvious that Joe Biden had an insurmountable lead over President Donald Trump in the Pennsylvania vote count, the Associated Press called the Keystone State for Biden on Saturday, November 7 — thus giving the former vice president the 270 electoral votes he needed to become president-elect of the United States. Biden's lead in Pennsylvania has only grown since then, but that hasn't stopped Trump's campaign and Rudy Giuliani from claiming that the president really won the state. And on Wednesday, the Trump campaign made a strikingly anti-democratic demand in a Pennsylvania lawsuit in an attempt to make that fantasy a reality.
In the suit, according to Politico, Trump's campaign argues that his campaign's constitutional rights were violated in Pennsylvania and that the state's 20 electoral votes should be given to him by the GOP-control state legislature because he is the real winner. The lawsuit, which names Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and seven counties as defendants, complains that Republican election observers had insufficient access to the counting of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.
Earlier this week, however, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that election observers had adequate access to the vote-counting process in Pennsylvania — and rejected the Trump campaign's claim that they didn't. Experts widely agree that the new lawsuit attempting to overturn the the Pennsylvania is preposterous and doomed to fail.
The Trump campaign's latest Pennsylvania lawsuit also claims that 1.5 million votes in the state "should not have been counted" and that they led to "returns indicating Biden won Pennsylvania."
The Trump's campaign argues, "In contrast to the 2002 International Electoral Standards.... the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck out in a unique direction among democracies and declared that meaningful observers are not part of verification and votes may be counted without any review by political campaigns and parties."
After winning Pennsylvania and other battleground states — including Arizona, Nevada and Georgia — Biden had a total of 306 electoral votes. In the popular vote, Biden has defeated Trump by at least 5.8 million votes nationwide.
Minutes before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron was to gavel in late Tuesday morning, a bomb threat was called in to 911, delaying a pre-trial hearing in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump and his adult children, but only for about 30 minutes.
Over the weekend Trump urged his supporters to “protest,” and “take our country back.” He also claimed he would be indicted on Tuesday. It’s not known who called in the bomb threat, but it wasn’t the delay Trump’s attorneys were hoping for.
Once the hearing began, Trump’s attorneys asked the judge for a six-month delay, Law & Crime reports.
They were denied.
They then asked for a delay of a few weeks.
They were denied again.
“I don’t want to move this trial, not only because I said I don’t want to move it,” Justice Engoron said.
“That’s written in stone,” he added.
“This case is complex, but it’s not complicated,” Engoron explained. “It all boils down to whether the statements of financial condition are true, and the rest as Rabbi Hillel famously said, is all commentary.”
After the hearing ended Trump called for Congress to investigate Attorney General James.
“While Congress is at it, they should look at the Corrupt Attorney General of New York State, Letitia James, who got elected solely on a ‘I WILL GET TRUMP’ platform, without knowing anything about me,” Trump alleged on his Truth Social platform.
“She then brought a completely bogus lawsuit, which is presided over by an A.G. picked, Trump hating Judge, a political hack whose Court this case should not be in – It shoud [sic] be in the Commercial Division, but he wouldn’t let go, is pushing it hard, and knows exactly what he wants to do….”
As Law & Crime notes, Attorney General James “alleges that Trump, his children and his businesses have a pattern of wildly inflating or deflating their assets to reap tax benefits. She claims that Trump estimates the size of his Trump Towers triplex at three times its actual square footage. Trump Organization also valued rent-stabilized units more than 66 times higher than an outside appraiser, she says. These discrepancies and others, she says, warrant her massive proposed civil penalty.”
In a social media post on March 18, 2023, former President Donald Trump announced that he would be arrested on March 21 on charges stemming from an investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Bragg’s office is probing hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, which were allegedly made to spare candidate Trump embarrassment on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.
“THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” wrote Trump.
Scholar Shelley Inglis spent more than 15 years with the United Nations, where she advised governments and democracy advocates on how to strengthen the rule of law, human rights and democratic governance. We asked her about Trump’s post.
What did you think about when you heard his call for protests?
Let me begin by quickly describing populism, because it’s important to my thoughts about Trump’s post. Populist movements portray “the people in a moral battle against elites,” as scholars Jane Mansbridge and Stephen Macedo describe it. Some level of populism is inherent in democracies where candidates appeal to be elected by “the people.”
But what I call autocratic populists use this narrative to claim they are the sole voice of “the people” and those against them are “bad” or even “evil.” They undermine any and all opposition to them and attempts to hold them accountable, including independent institutions like courts, elections and the media. This is how such populists become so dangerous for democracy and the rule of law.
Trump has that autocrat’s populism, in which he says that not only is he anti-elite but that he is “the only one” who can represent the people and calls on the public to question legitimate democratic institutions – which he did even when he was the head of those institutions.
Scholars like me know that protests play an important role in societies, and the freedom to protest is part of a democratic society. The idea of peaceful protests is to hold the government accountable and for people to have an avenue for free speech and be able to participate in demonstrating their demands. But I believe protests are most valuable when they originate from civil society or advocacy groups.
It’s really a red flag if a political party or leader is using people in protest in a democracy like the U.S. That devalues the idea that protests come from the people or what we call civil society. Instead, it’s a manipulation of a democratic society.
Trump wasn’t asking his followers to protest a policy, was he?
He was asking for a protest on his behalf because of what an independent institution is doing. It’s a protest about and for him.
It’s hard for me to think of an example in recent history when political leaders in a democracy like the U.S. demanded that people protest, even on an issue, let alone for them. So Trump’s call is a real populist move that is intended actually to undermine respect for democratic institutions, whereas popular protests and advocacy can be a sign of a vibrant and healthy democracy.
Then-President Donald Trump declaring “I am the chosen one” during a White House session with reporters on Aug. 21, 2019.
But doesn’t Trump couch the moves to hold him accountable as coming from the radical left, not as government holding him accountable?
Demonizing the institution and alleging that the institutions are controlled by an agenda is part of the narrative that Trump has created. It is the populism of “us” versus “them.” Even when he was the head of the government and its institutions, he was fomenting this narrative by effectively saying things like, “This election is going to be unfair … even though I’m president of the United States. I’m already saying that this election, run by my own government, though at multiple levels, is going to be unfair.”
Once populists get in power, they degrade any kind of accountability, any checks and balances, and they debase the opposition through very clever ways of creating a narrative that it’s somehow justified.
Yet Trump is out of power now. How does that still work?
He’s continued with that narrative, which is basically to say he’s the only one who represents the people of the United States as a legitimate voice. And anything that is done against him actually is against the United States. So his phrase in that post, “Take our country back,” means “Give back power to me, or do something against institutions that might be holding me to account.”
For me, it is important for people to appreciate that protest is productive and healthy for democracy when it comes from the bottom up. But when it’s manipulated by political actors, calling on people to protest for them and seek to overturn U.S. institutions, like on Jan. 6, it can actually be highly threatening to democracy.
A $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by an electronic voting hardware and software company against Fox News will go to trial next month unless a judge issues a summary judgement in the case, CBS News reports.
Dominion Voting Systems filed the 2021 lawsuit against Fox News and its parent company Fox Corporation alleging the right-wing news outlet made false claims over the 2020 election and provided guests a platform from which they could propagate falsehoods and defamatory statements.
Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis was expected to issue a ruling on requests for a summary judgement after a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, the report said. Dominion and Fox News each made separate summary judgment requests.
Should the case go to trial, Dominion will be required to prove that Fox News acted with “actual malice,” meaning it will have to demonstrate that the cable network knowingly made false claims or acted with reckless disregard in spreading unfounded fraud allegations.
Attorneys representing Fox argue that the case doesn’t meet that standard, since it was merely reporting the allegations of a sitting president and his legal team which had news value.
Dominion’s attorneys allege Fox dropped the ball by failing to characterize the allegations they knew to be false as such.
"Media companies may always report the truth, including reporting on false allegations while explaining that the allegations are false, and Dominion did not sue the many media companies that did just that in 2020," Dominion’s attorneys said.