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GOP leaders press Trump team to detail fraud charges as they cautiously navigate the President

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But high Republicans are additionally treading cautiously round a mercurial president who holds huge sway with their celebration’s base, with many unwilling to straight problem his doubtful claims and as a substitute urging him to make his case in higher element.

GOP sources mentioned Friday that the thought is to present Trump and his staff an opportunity to make their case and permit the disputes to work themselves out within the courts, arguing that if the lawsuits fall flat, then Trump can have little alternative however to concede the election with out their having to confront him.

“It is incumbent upon the Trump administration to make specific cases of voter irregularity,” mentioned South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Senate Judiciary chairman who additionally defended Trump’s meritless claims of potential fraud. “They’re looking through the voter files now,” predicting extra particulars within the subsequent 48 hours.

Republican leaders are approaching him gingerly. Some like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are publicly defending his claims, whereas others like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are attempting to tow a center floor. McConnell, a cautious however deliberate chief, fastidiously crafted a public message about Trump’s allegations that respects the issues of the President and his ardent supporters however would not again their nebulous expenses of election fraud. On Friday, McConnell refused to say the rest apart from his delicately worded assertion.

Republicans argue that it is now as much as the President to supply the general public with particulars about claims of widespread voting fraud in a number of essential states which have put former Vice President Joe Biden on the cusp of the Presidency.

“I think the President should turn this discussion over to his lawyers,” mentioned Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt of Missouri, whose committee oversees elections. “And if they have a case to make, there’s a process where they make that and that processes is timely.”

Blunt, a member of Senate GOP management, added: “Part of the obligation of leadership is you should always have in your mind how do I leave? … And we will have a transition. And I think this will all be settled within the next 10 days or so.”

The feedback are a departure from Trump’s gorgeous remarks on the White House briefing room Thursday night time, the place he made one false claim after another, whereas denying election outcomes that present him on monitor to turning into the primary one-term President since George H.W. Bush misplaced to Bill Clinton in 1992.

“This is a case where they’re trying to steal an election, they’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen,” Trump mentioned, offering no proof and leaving with out taking any questions.

The feedback prompted issues from a variety of Republicans who usually are not part of their celebration’s management.

“He is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen,” mentioned Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee. “Doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic, and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions.”

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who appears on track to prevail in a bruising reelection marketing campaign, appeared to take situation with Trump’s feedback.

“States have the authority to determine the specific rules of elections,” Collins mentioned Friday. “Every valid vote under a state’s law should be counted. Allegations of irregularities can be adjudicated by the courts. We must all respect the outcome of elections.”

Fact check: Almost everything Trump has said after Election Day is wrong

The President’s staff has filed lawsuits in a number of states elevating quite a lot of issues though most have didn’t get traction with the state and federal judges who’ve reviewed them. Several fits have handled issues that canvass watchers haven’t been capable of stand shut sufficient to the individuals counting the ballots to have the ability to moderately observe the method. Others have handled the dealing with of provisional and absentee ballots and different points.

On Friday, legal professionals for the Pennsylvania Republicans requested the US Supreme Court to order the state to not “log, to segregate, and otherwise not to take any action” on ballots acquired after the election,” something that has been a repeated issue raised by the President.

McConnell is hearing the concerns voiced from different corners of his conference — and is keenly aware of the thorny situation his party confronts. If the matter spirals further out of control, some Republicans worry it could put as many as two Georgia Senate seats in danger if voters revolt and help Democrats pick up votes in the January 5 runoff, something that would hand Democrats control of the chamber under a Biden presidency (CNN has so far only called one of Georgia’s Senate races as going to a runoff as Republican Sen. David Perdue hovers just below the 50% threshold as of Friday afternoon).

In a Friday morning tweet, McConnell reiterated a point he made all week, that any legitimate disputes over the vote count should be resolved in the courts, a place where election outcomes can be decided without the fingerprints of politicians like him.

“Here’s how this should work in our nice nation: Every authorized vote ought to be counted. Any illegally-submitted ballots should not. All sides should get to look at the method. And the courts are right here to use the legal guidelines & resolve disputes. That’s how Americans’ votes determine the end result,” McConnell said on Twitter.

At a news conference in Frankfort, Kentucky later in the morning, he refused repeated attempts by reporters to push him off that script, or discuss his conversations with the Trump.

“I’ve lined the topic this morning,” he said referring back to his tweet about the courts. “It might be settled, as I identified within the tweet, in precisely the way in which these issues are all the time settled.”

Worn by years of fastidiously avoiding questions from the press that may set off offended reactions from Trump, McConnell, who was reelected to a seventh term Tuesday, had a understanding snort when a reporter argued that it was “affordable” to ask the Senate majority leader to weigh in on such an important matter.

“I do know it is affordable so that you can ask, however I get to determine what I say,” McConnell responded.

CNN’s Ali Zaslav contributed to this report.



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