Trump, Allies Call Recount Bids ‘Attack’ on His Presidency

(Bloomberg) -- President-elect Donald Trump and his allies are seeking to stamp out recount efforts underway in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, saying the reviews of millions of ballots are an attempt to undermine his presidency before it starts.

The recount bids led by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein “may unjustifiably cast doubt upon the legitimacy of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s victory,” two political action committees that supported him said in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Madison, Wisconsin.

Trump, who is celebrating his victory on a 10-stop “Thank You Tour,” made similar claims in a state court filing in Pennsylvania Thursday to block a recount effort there, arguing Stein’s team made its request without providing any evidence that the state’s electronic voting machines had been hacked. In Michigan, Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette said Friday in a statement that he sued for a state appeals court order to have Stein’s recount request rejected.

The recount efforts come as Democrat Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory has expanded beyond 2 million ballots. There is no indication that the reviews -- if they are completed -- would affect Trump’s comfortable margin of victory in the Electoral College.

Stein, who didn’t secure a single Electoral College vote, made the requests citing the vulnerability of electronic-voting machines to manipulation and reports that senior Russian officials approved hacking of the Democratic National Committee and a top Clinton aide. Trump repeatedly called the election “rigged” before his victory and has blamed Clinton’s popular vote success on millions of illegal votes, without providing evidence.

In a statement, Stein asked why Trump was “afraid of these recounts” and said the real-estate mogul was obstructing a legal process intended to verify the fairness of the election.

‘Tainted by Suspicion’

“In an election already tainted by suspicion, previously expressed by Donald Trump himself, verifying the vote is a common-sense procedure that would put all concerns around voter disenfranchisement to rest,” Stein said.

In the Wisconsin case, Great America PAC and Stop Hillary PAC said Stein’s effort violates a required deadline and other standards created by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 in Bush v. Gore, the case that halted a recount in Florida and handed the White House to Republican George W. Bush. In Pennsylvania, Trump called Stein’s effort a “fishing expedition” and asked that she be forced to post a $10 million bond to pay for a recount if one is conducted.

“Despite being a blip on the electoral radar, Stein has now commandeered Pennsylvania’s electoral process, with an eye toward doing the same to the Electoral College," Trump and the Republican Party of Pennsylvania said in the filing.