Senior Pennsylvania Republican Relaunches 2020 Vote ‘Audit’, Removes Trump Ally As President
A prominent Pennsylvania state Republican senator re-launched an Arizona-style poll into last fall’s vote count nearly 10 months after President Joe Biden won the state by 80,000 votes, pledging to launch hearings this week.
The refresh has sparked infighting among Pennsylvania’s top Republicans in public view. Last week, Pro Tempore Senate Speaker Jake Corman pulled his GOP colleague Senator Doug Mastriano, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, from the leadership of the review, which began last month.
Corman on Monday pledged to open the investigation this week under the leadership of GOP Senator Cris Dush, who traveled with Mastriano in June to visit the site for the forensic audit of approximately 2 million ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Corman announcement The appointment of Dush on Friday, saying in a statement that Mastriano “has withdrawn” from the conduct of the investigation and “has only ever been interested in politics and the spectacle and does not really get things done” .
The kerfuffle has Corman and Dush under fire from election deniers, who, with the Arizona review concluding, may soon focus on Pennsylvania as they demand similar reviews across the country – even as the Biden’s results and victory were once again confirmed and again and the courts overwhelmingly rejected legal efforts to overturn them. At the same time, several Republicans in the state, one of the most critical battlegrounds of the last election, say it is time to move forward and that it is unwise to continue the audit. .
Last month, Mastriano launched his attempt to revise the ballot to reflect the Arizona process, which has come under bipartisan review for lack of transparency and failure to adhere to several good practices and for being led by a group with no previous election experience in Arizona.
He sent letters asking the counties of Philadelphia, York and Tioga, under the threat of a subpoena, to have access to various electoral materials and equipment. The Pennsylvania State Department has told counties not to comply with “any mock examinations of past elections that would require counties to violate the trust of their constituents” and said it will use “all available legal avenues.” to âoppose any attempt to disrupt our electoral process and undermine our elections.
Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid also warned counties that allowing third-party access to their voting machines would result in decertification – and that they would be required to pay the cost of replacement.
The counties did not comply with Matriano’s request. USA Today reported Last week, Masstriano, in a since-deleted Facebook live video post, lamented that Republican leaders blocked his plan to secure subpoenas.
Mastriano’s ouster sparked disappointment and anger on the far right. Audit the Vote PA, a group that has promoted unsubstantiated fraud allegations, said on Facebook that if Dush does not push Corman to reinstate Mastriano, “you will be at the top of our list of senators who need to be elected”.
“We feel like the rug has been ripped off by our efforts and we will NOT stand idly by and let that happen,” the statement continued.
In a statement, Dush refuse that he was called upon to lead the effort “to kill him.”
âThe opposite is true,â he said. “We should have had hearings and moved towards a more formal plan to conduct an investigation weeks ago. My team and I are in the process of organizing things and will work with the Senate leadership to do so.”
Meanwhile, Corman appeared on the online show of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and on the Facebook feed of local right-wing personality Wendy Bell on Friday to quell the idea that he was trying to curb it. ‘investigation.
Corman said the committee must focus on ensuring his subpoenas can withstand legal challenges. Republicans hold a majority in the Senate and are leading the inquiry from the Intergovernmental Operations Committee. Democrats argue that another Senate committee, the state government, has jurisdiction over elections.
âOne of the concerns is who does this job, because you want credibility,â Corman Recount Bell, adding that the investigation must be conducted “in a way that will resist – not just … Republicans or a segment of the Republican Party. We want people in Pennsylvania to believe what this investigation” reveals.
Corman also said he spoke to Trump and believed the former president was “comfortable where we are going”. In June, Trump said that if no audit took place, “there is no way” that Corman and other GOP leaders “would ever be re-elected!”
Pennsylvania conducted election audits at two stations confirming the accuracy of last fall’s tally, and the results were certified.
Voter fraud in US elections is extremely rare. Trump’s top cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs said last year’s election was “the safest in American history,” and then Attorney General William Barr said that the Department of Justice had found no evidence of widespread embezzlement.
Mastriano, who participated in pro-Trump events in Washington, DC, before the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill, was one of the biggest providers of misrepresentation that there had been widespread fraud during the elections. His efforts have boosted his profile and his position in Trump’s orbit.
Some of his colleagues strongly oppose the review. Last month, Senator Dan Laughlin, a Republican, said in an editorial that there was no credible evidence of fraud and that “Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania because Donald Trump received fewer votes”.
And last week, GOP Sen. Gene Law warned that such an audit âwould not be a productive enterpriseâ. He said Republicans will have to fight “every associated movement” in court and Republicans “have not won a case against the Wolf administration in over two years,” referring to Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.
He called on Republicans to negotiate with Democrats to pass a package of electoral reforms. Wolf vetoed a GOP election law this year, but has since expressed greater openness to a voter identification provision.
âA lot of the emails I get want an audit because the sender is confident Donald Trump will somehow be reinstated as president,â he said in a statement. “This is the underlying rationale for many who support an audit. Unless there is a coup, which will not happen in the United States, the 2020 election is over. . Biden is the president. An audit will not change that fact regardless of the outcome. “