President Trump’s lawyers on Sunday filed an appeal one day after a judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. It’s the latest effort by the Trump campaign to stop certification, despite a scathing ruling on Saturday from U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann.
Brann granted a request from Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to dismiss the lawsuit that alleged Republicans had been unconstitutionally disadvantaged because certain counties permitted voters to cure their mail ballots.
Brann wrote in his order that the plaintiffs employed “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state.”
Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, insisted Saturday that there “is so much evidence that in Pennsylvania, Democrats eliminated our opportunity to present 50 witnesses and other evidence that election officials blatantly ignored Pennsylvania’s law denying independent review.”
Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is not running for reelection, issued a statement after the decision congratulating President-elect Joe Biden. Toomey called on Mr. Trump to accept the election results and begin the transition process.
“With today’s decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania,” Toomey said.
The Trump campaign’s brief tried to rehash claims that the campaign appeared to abandon earlier this week.
The brief filed Saturday, which is littered with spelling errors, including the governor’s name, alleges that illegal votes were counted and poll watchers were unable to access vote counting — allegations that the Trump campaign dropped just last Sunday, before Giuliani was put in charge of the president’s growing legal challenges.
Attorneys for the president wrote that certifying the 2020 presidential election would cause “irreparable harm” and set the stage for “Governor Wolfe,” referring to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, to appoint Pennsylvania’s electors before December 8, the “safe-harbor” post-election deadline.
Federal law says states have until six days before members of the Electoral College gather in person to certify election results and determine their electors, a date known as the “safe harbor” deadline. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida introduced legislation to push back this deadline back from December 8 to January 1, giving states more time to ensure all legal votes are counted, but the measure is highly unlikely to be taken up before Election Day.
The Trump campaign further alleged that Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar “engaged in an intentional scheme to count mail ballots which did not comply with Pennsylvania law in order to favor Joseph Biden over President Donald J. Trump.” Giuliani notoriously told presiding Judge Matthew Brann, of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, just last week: “This is not a voter fraud case.”
The lawsuit, Trump v. Boockvar in the U.S. District Court for Middle District of Pennsylvania, seeks to block Boockvar from certifying the election by claiming, thus far without evidence, that the campaign was denied meaningful access to observe and monitor the electoral process through its poll watchers.
The campaign estimates more than 680,000 ballots were processed in two Pennsylvania counties, Allegheny and Philadelphia, “when no observation was allowed.” An amended complaint from the Trump campaign filed on November 15 alleged disparate treatment of mail-in voters among different counties, but dropped claims it was denied access to observe.
Giuliani made baseless allegations about mail-in voting during a hearing on Tuesday, claiming “widespread, nationwide voter fraud, of which this is a part.” Mark Aronchick, who argued on behalf of some county election boards, lambasted Giuliani, calling his arguments “disgraceful.”
Mr. Trump’s lawyers said in a filing with the court that the campaign intended to file a second amended complaint “to restore claims which were inadvertently deleted from their amended complaint, and to add claims based on newly learned facts.”
CBS News projected Mr. Biden as the winner in Pennsylvania on November 7, when he edged ahead of Mr. Trump by over 34,000 votes. Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College votes brought him to 273, more than the 270 needed to win the election. After several other states were called, Mr. Biden is expected to win 306 Electoral College votes.
Nicole Sganga and Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.
Trump campaign appeals Pennsylvania decision on election results The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ CBS News.