Trump Accused in Suit of ‘Pressure’ to Undo Michigan Vote

President Donald Trump and his campaign were accused in a lawsuit of threatening to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of predominantly Black voters in Detroit by pressuring local officials to refuse to certify Joe Biden as the election winner in Wayne County.

The legal attack on Trump comes as two Michigan lawmakers who met with him amid his effort to overturn the state’s decisive vote for Biden said they haven’t yet seen any reason to alter the result. The lawmakers’ meeting with Trump came after a bipartisan backlash against the president and his lawyers, who have discussed trying to persuade legislatures to appoint electors who would vote for Trump even though Biden won.

“Central to this strategy is disenfranchising voters in predominately Black cities, including Detroit, by blocking certification of election results from those cities or counties where they are located,” according to the complaint by the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization filed late Friday in Washington federal court. “Defendants’ tactics repeat the worst abuses in our nation’s history, as Black Americans were denied a voice in American democracy for most of the first two centuries of the Republic.”

Jenna Ellis, senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign, said the campaign’s goal is “to ensure safe, secure, and fair elections. That’s what our Constitution requires.”

“Every American deserves to know that our elections are conducted in a legal manner, no matter who they are or where they live,” she said in a statement.

The nonprofit cited Trump’s meeting Friday with the two Republican lawmakers and his calls earlier in the week to two GOP county canvassing officials in Wayne County.

“Exerting pressure on state and local officials not to count or certify voters is prohibited” by federal election law, according to the complaint.

The case is Michigan Welfare Rights Organization v. Trump, 20-cv-03388, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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