President Donald Trump warned Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr on Tuesday to avoid rallying Republicans against a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the electoral outcomes in four states which Trump lost in the 2020 election.
Carr, himself a Republican, voiced stern opposition to the lawsuit, which argues that election rule changes made in consideration for the coronavirus pandemic in four states — Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan — were in violation of federal law.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who submitted the lawsuit directly to the United States Supreme Court, argued in his filing, without providing evidence, that those changes led to widespread voter fraud which affected the outcome of the presidential race.
“With all due respect, the Texas Attorney General is constitutionally, legally and factually wrong about Georgia,” Carr said in response to the filing.
Following those comments by the Georgia attorney general, Trump expressed his discontent with Carr during phone call conversations to Georgia’s two Republican Senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, according to reporting from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Two sources who were knowledgeable of those calls described Trump as “furious” while speaking to Loeffler.
Perdue urged Trump to speak to Carr directly, which the president reportedly did. According to another source who was part of that call, the conversation was “cordial,” with Trump warning Carr not to persuade Republican officials from other states to oppose the Texas lawsuit. Carr told Trump he hadn’t done that.
The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the election results in those four states, which favored Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, and to instead allow their respective state legislatures — all of which are Republican-controlled — to award their collective 62 Electoral College votes to the candidate of their choice.
At the same time, while Trump is trying to quell Republican opposition to Paxton’s legal filing, he has openly celebrated the fact that other state GOP officials have come out in support of it. On Wednesday evening, Trump gleefully tweeted about the fact that 17 other states had “joined Texas in the extraordinary case.”
Trump has described the case brought forward by Paxton as “the big one” — the legal action that is needed to throw out the results and pave a path forward for Trump to win the 2020 presidential election. However, a number of legal scholars are skeptical that the Supreme Court will even take up the case, noting that dozens of similar challenges in courtrooms across the country, filed by the Trump campaign and the president’s allies, have failed at every turn.
“The merits are so outrageous in these claims that even the most avid Trump judges on the federal bench are laughing them out of court,” Rebecca Green, the co-director of the election law program at William & Mary Law School, said while speaking to USA Today about the matter. “I don’t see any reason why his judges on the Supreme Court wouldn’t be forced into that same position.”
“This case is hopeless,” SCOTUSBlog publisher Tom Goldstein also said. “Texas has no right to bring a lawsuit over election procedures in other states.”
Much of the lawsuit Paxton submitted is riddled with hypocritical complaints. The suit put forward, for example, suggests that the changes in election rules have led to situations where votes received after Election Day were counted — yet in five of the states that have signed onto Paxton’s lawsuit, the counting of absentee votes received after Election Day is legal. Texas includes ballots received one day after the election in their official counts.
The suggestion by Paxton that changes to election rules led to widespread fraud, besides being unsubstantiated, is again hypocritical for the Texas attorney general to complain over, as Texas itself also implemented a few new election rules to accommodate voters worried about the pandemic.
Biden defeated Trump in the popular vote across the United States by a margin of more than 7 million votes. In the Electoral College, Biden won with 306 electoral votes against Trump’s 232.