Giuliani Repeats Unsubstantiated Claims of Broad Vote Fraud

Rudy Giuliani and other lawyers leading President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his defeat described a widespread and implausible fraud on behalf of Joe Biden in a lengthy news conference on Thursday -- offering little new evidence for their claims but signaling that the long-shot fight will drag on for weeks.

Their allegations ranged from complaints that Republican observers weren’t allowed to observe vote-counting in Philadelphia and Detroit to a claim by Trump lawyer Sidney Powell that U.S. voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems Inc. used software made in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez.

Chavez, who served as that country’s president, died in 2013.

Powell said her claim was substantiated by an affidavit filed with a lawsuit in Georgia. Dominion Voting Systems is an American company that has said it has no connection to Venezuela. “President Trump won by a landslide,” she said. “We are going to prove it.”

In a statement on Thursday evening, Dominion rejected the accusations, which it called “a flood of absurdities.”

“Dominion is plainly a non-partisan American company with no ties to Venezuela or Cuba,” the company said. “Dominion did not switch votes, rig elections, or engage in any election fraud. Dominion doesn’t even operate in some of the contested districts, including Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Dane, WI.”

The Washington press conference by the trio of hardcore Trump loyalists indicates that the president plans to continue his effort to overturn the results in several states where Biden has sizable vote margins that are highly unlikely to be overturned.

Biden’s campaign said the claims of widespread voter fraud were false and that Giuliani’s “spectacle exposes, as his appearances always do, the absurdity of Donald Trump’s thoroughly discredited claims of voter fraud.”

Biden himself told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday afternoon that he couldn’t “fathom” Trump’s refusal to concede, saying he would “go down in history as being one of the most irresponsible presidents.”

“Far from me to question his motives, it’s just outrageous what he’s doing,” Biden added.

Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted that the press conference led by Giuliani would show “a very clear and viable path to victory. Pieces are very nicely falling into place.” It did not specify the path, but Trump’s lawyers spoke in front of a map that read “multiple pathways to victory” with the states Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona.

Legal battles by Trump and other Republicans have been broadly fruitless so far. His campaign dropped a case in Michigan earlier Thursday, while a separate Republican suit in Arizona was dropped last week. A Trump legal challenge in Pennsylvania continues, while Giuliani teased forthcoming suits in Georgia and perhaps elsewhere. Georgia is set to certify its results Friday after a conservative lawyer’s legal challenge was rejected Thursday.

Giuliani, Powell and a third lawyer, Jenna Ellis, spoke without masks in a conference room at the Republican National Committee headquarters that was crowded with journalists. Giuliani, a former New York mayor, repeatedly mopped sweat off his face.

“This is real. This is not made up,” Giuliani said. “I know crimes, I can smell ‘em.” At one point, he encouraged journalists to read affidavits filed by the campaign in Michigan. They contain mostly vague assertions, a handful of accusations and no evidence of widespread fraud.

Powell alleged that financier George Soros was involved in the plot, along with China, Cuba, Venezuela and Antifa. Ellis scolded news organizations for accurately reporting that Trump’s team has not shown evidence of widespread irregularities or fraud. During the news conference, Giuliani repeatedly said he couldn’t share the names of witnesses to the alleged conspiracy, saying they would be harassed.

“This is an elite strike force team that is working on behalf of the president and the campaign,” Ellis said.

They teased a series of new affidavits, with Giuliani regularly saying he couldn’t reveal some of the allegations he claims have been made. He also downplayed expectations that the flurry of questions they were releasing would be answered. “I don’t know if we’re going to have time to develop all that,” Giuliani said of the claims about Venezuelan influence in the U.S. election.

The press conference largely drew silence from other Republican figures in Washington. Trump plans to meet with Michigan legislators at the White House on Friday, an apparent effort to continue his bid to reject the result there. Biden leads by about 155,000 votes in the state.

Earlier Thursday, the campaign had voluntarily dismissed its Michigan suit, claiming it had achieved its goal after two Republican members of the canvassing board in the county that includes Detroit tried to rescind their votes in favor of certifying the county’s election. Giuliani touted that. But Michigan’s secretary of state has said the two board members can’t rescind their votes and that the next step is for the state canvassing board to certify Michigan’s election results.

The news conference drew criticism from the Trump administration’s former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Christopher Krebs. Trump dismissed Krebs in a tweet on Tuesday after his agency called the Nov. 3 election “the most secure in American history.”

“That press conference was the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history,” Krebs tweeted. “And possibly the craziest. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re lucky.”

On Wednesday, Giuliani described at length to a federal judge in Pennsylvania a vast but vague Democratic conspiracy to steal the election that justified the invalidation of hundreds of thousands of votes -- enough to flip the state from Biden to Trump, if true. Virtually no one outside of Trump’s closest circle has raised hopes that that will happen, however, and former president George W. Bush is among those who’ve congratulated Biden as president-elect.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, slammed Giuliani on Thursday, saying he has “no facts to fit his client’s false narrative about election fraud.”

But on Thursday, Giuliani repeated his complaints that Republican observers were kept too far away to be able to monitor ballot processing. Election officials across the country dispute that claim, saying Republican observers were present at all times.

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