Trump’s final weeks of revenge
Humiliation in the courts, witnesses who provide more comedy than facts and a chief lawyer battling coronavirus - Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the November 3 presidential election are not going well.
And time is running out.
The Electoral College is to meet on December 14 to certify Democrat Joe Biden's victory and today is the deadline for state-level challenges to be resolved.
But before Mr Trump leaves the White House in January, the President has turned his attention to targeting any Republican that's denied his baseless election fraud comments.
The attacks have become so severe, reports have emerged that Attorney-General William Barr is considering leaving his post before January 20.
A source told CNN Mr Barr could abandon his post before Mr Trump leaves office because the attorney general is "not someone who takes bullying and turns the other cheek".
Mr Barr was caught in the President's crosshairs last week when he acknowledged the Justice Department had not uncovered any widespread voting fraud that could overturn the election.
After admitting he had not found any fraud, the two men reportedly had a "contentious" meeting in the White House last Tuesday before Mr Trump refused to confirm his confidence in Mr Barr.
"Ask me that in a number of weeks from now. They should be looking at all of this fraud," Mr Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Thursday.
Mr Trump has also turned on Georgia and its Republican Secretary of State and Governor after the state moved to certify its election results.
"We have now counted legally-casted ballots three times and the results have remained unchanged," Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a Monday morning press conference.
"Whether it is the President of the United States or a failed gubernatorial candidate, disinformation regarding election administration should be condemned and rejected. Integrity matters. Truth matters."
President-elect Joe Biden is the first Democrat to win Georgia in almost 30 years after he won the state by more than 12,000 votes.
Republican Governor Brian Kemp certified the results of Mr Biden's victory on November 20, following a statewide recount, which included a hand-count of the nearly five million ballots cast in the election.
Mr Trump took to Twitter yesterday to attack his Georgian counterparts, questioning "what's wrong" with them.
The Republican Governor of Georgia refuses to do signature verification, which would give us an easy win. What’s wrong with this guy? What is he hiding?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2020
Nowhere has the pushback against Mr Trump been stronger than in Georgia, where Republican officials from the governor on down have rebuffed his efforts.
Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, a Republican, yesterday accused Mr Trump of spewing "mountains of misinformation" in his bid to discredit the vote in Georgia.
Mr Duncan told CBS This Morning that the Trump campaign claims of voter fraud were "literally stuff that can be debunked in 10 seconds or less".
And last week, another Georgia official, voting system manager Gabriel Sterling, said Mr Trump's rhetoric could lead to violence.
"Someone's going to get hurt. Someone's going to get shot. Someone's going to get killed. It's not right," Mr Sterling said.
Among the latest blows to Mr Trump's bid to tarnish the vote with baseless fraud claims was the announcement on Sunday that former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani had been hospitalised with COVID-19.
Mr Giuliani, 76, has been leading the Trump campaign's legal team, filing lawsuits that purport to expose ballot fraud and staging public hearings in the swing states where Mr Trump lost narrowly.
When the lawsuits filed by Mr Giuliani and other Trump allies have actually reached the courts they have been tossed out by judges - sometimes in scathing terms.
The latest defeat - bringing the Trump campaign's win-loss record in court to 1-47 - came on Monday in Michigan, where Mr Trump lost to Mr Biden by 154,000 votes.
"The People have spoken," wrote US District Court Judge Linda Parker.
"This case represents well the phrase: 'This ship has sailed.'"
Judge Parker said the suit seeking to overturn Mr Biden's victory in Michigan was "stunning in its scope and breathtaking in its reach."
"If granted, the relief would disenfranchise the votes of the more than 5.5 million Michigan citizens who, with dignity, hope, and a promise of a voice, participated in the 2020 General Election," she said.
The judge said the suit appeared to be mainly aimed at shaking "People's faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government."
Originally published as Trump's final weeks of revenge