Tag Archives: 2020 Election

Defeated Trump Denies

Defeated Trump Denies

Since 1845, Election Day in the United States has been the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In the year 2020 that day was November 3. We didn’t know results at the end of that day and we would not know results for nearly a week…

Final presidential vote totals would be:
Joe Biden: 81,268,867 (51.3%)…306 electoral votes.
Donald Trump: 74,216,747  (46.8%)…232 electoral votes.
We first had to sludge through many days of dissent and denial…

Tuesday 3 November

November 3, 2020: there were thousands of names on ballots all over the United States, but there were really only two: Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Millions had already voted. Some in person and some by mail.

On Tuesday night there were still several key states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, that could not yet complete their count. “Too close to call” became the catchphrase.

Joe Biden asked voter for patience. Donald Trump predicted victory in States where he was ahead, but where thousands of mail in ballots were yet to be counted. Historic numbers of Americans had voted by mail in because of the ongoing COVID pandemic and some States using that method nearly exclusively.

Many more Democrats than Republicans had used the mail. President Trump himself may have been responsible as he had posted more than 70 tweets casting doubt on mail-in voting, referencing voter fraud or “rigged” elections since April. Trump himself had, in the past, used mail-in or absentee ballots.

A Lie Well-stuck to is as Good as the Truth
Defeated Trump Denies

Wednesday 4 November

By Wednesday, the situation was similar. The leads that Trump held in some States dwindled as those mail in ballots were counted. Trump promoted the false notion that those ballots were invalid because election day had already ended. Pennsylvania, a key state, had ruled before Election Day that no mail in ballots could be counted until after Election Day.

Defeated Trump Denies

Thursday 5 November

On November 5, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the Trump campaign to stop vote-counting in Pennsylvania. The Trump campaign had alleged that its observers were not given access to observe the vote, but its lawyers admitted during the hearing that its observers were already present in the vote-counting room.

On the same day, Judge James Bass,  Georgia judge,  dismissed a lawsuit by Trump’s campaign that alleged dozens of late ballots were mingled with on-time ballots in Georgia.

The court finds there is no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7 p.m. on Election Day, thereby making those ballots invalid,” Bass said in a ruling.

The same day, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens dismissed a Trump campaign’s lawsuit requesting a pause in vote-counting to allow access to observers. The judge noted that vote-counting had already finished in Michigan and also noted that the official complaint did not state “why”, “when, where, or by whom” an election observer was allegedly blocked from observing ballot-counting in Michigan.

Defeated Trump Denies

Friday 6 November

Although some State regulations required that mail in ballots be received by Election Day itself, some States allowed a longer period. Such States included Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Though counting continued, Joe Biden’s overtook Trump in both Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Though ahead, the Biden’s narrow margin of victory in Georgia automatically requires a recount.

Defeated Trump Denies

Saturday 7 November

The Associated Press, Fox News, and the other major networks call Pennsylvania for Biden, thus putting him above the required 270 electoral votes. Celebrations spontaneously erupt in various “blue” areas, but Trump supporters protest in front of various state capitol buildings across the country.

At the time, Trump was playing golf and later refused to concede. At the same time, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani held a press conference in the parking lot of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping, a business in Philadelphia. Giuliani announced the president’s intention to litigate over claims of voter fraud.

Defeated Trump Denies

Sunday 8 November

Although the nonpartisan Center for Presidential  Transition released a statement urging Trump to let the transition proceed, Emily W. Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), refused to sign a letter allowing Biden’s transition team to formally begin work.

On Twitter, Trump continued to hype his claims of election fraud. He sent 25 tweets with links to right-wing media supporting him or rumors about the count in some states — many of which were flagged by the platform as disputed.

Defeated Trump Denies

Monday 9 November

President-elect Biden states at a press conferenceThis election is over. It’s time to put aside the partisanship and the rhetoric that is designed to demonize one another.

Trump continued to file challenging lawsuits in various key States.

Defeated Trump Denies

A Week Later…

Tuesday 10 November

Trump continued his refusal to concede and continued to unsuccessfully challenge the results. Biden said that Trump’s refusal is “an embarrassment, quite frankly … At the end of the day, you know, it’s all going to come to fruition on January 20”

The New York Times reported that it had contacted the offices of the top election officials in at least 45 states and not one of them suspected or had evidence of voting fraud.

The Nevada Supreme Court dismissed the Trump campaign’s appeal challenging Clark County, Nevada’s election processes, ruling that there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joked in a press conference about preparing for a “second Trump administration,” for which he was later praised by the president.

Thursday 12 November

Two coalitions of federal and state election officials, the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council, issued a joint statement saying, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

The Trump administration prevented President-elect Biden from receiving messages from foreign leaders according to State Department officials familiar with the messages.

Friday 13 November

The Third Circuit Court in Wayne County, Michigan rejected a petition by two Republican poll challengers seeking to stop the county’s vote certification, alleging fraud by poll workers. The court ruled that the plaintiffs’ “interpretation” of the events were “incorrect and not credible” and “decidedly contradicted” an election expert that was put forth by the defense.

Seven days after Biden’s win was confirmed , he still did not have access to the Presidential Daily Brief — the highest level of security information–as he was supposed to.

Sunday 15 November

In a series of tweets, Trump stated that Bidenwon because the Election was Rigged”, referencing an unproven conspiracy theory held by right wing groups alleging that voter tabulation machines manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems had been compromised, resulting in millions of votes for Trump being deleted or switched to Biden. Trump further tweeted that Biden “only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go.”

Defeated Trump Denies

Two Weeks Later

Tuesday 17 November

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court delivered a 5-2 decision against Trump’s lawsuit alleging that its poll observers were unlawfully restricted from inspecting the counting in Philadelphia.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that an audit of Georgia’s voting machines had found no evidence of tampering.

The Trump campaign filed a new lawsuit in the Nevada First Judicial District Court alleging that “fraud and abuse renders the purported results of the Nevada election illegitimate” and thus either Trump “be declared the winner of the Election in Nevada” or that the results be annulled and no Nevada winner certified.

Wednesday 18 November

The Trump campaign filed a third version of its federal lawsuit over the Pennsylvania results, claiming that 1.5 million mail-in or absentee votes in seven counties should be thrown out and thus either he should be named the winner in Pennsylvania or the Pennsylvania Legislature should be given the authority to appoint presidential electors pledged to Trump.

Thursday 19 November

The Maricopa County Superior Court dismissed the Arizona Republican Party’s lawsuit seeking to order an audit of the county’s ballots.

US District Judge Steven D. Grimberg dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit seeking to delay the certification of Georgia’s election results, ruling, “It is well established that garden-variety election disputes do not rise to the level of a constitutional deprivation. The fact that [Trump] didn’t win doesn’t rise to the level of harm“.

Friday 20 November

Nevada District Court Judge Gloria Sturman dismissed a lawsuit brought by conservative activist Sharron Angle and her organization, the Election Integrity Project seeking to nullify the entire Nevada November election, not just the presidential results. Sturman noted in her ruling that “if the election was thrown out there would be no one holding office, including me”

Saturday 21 November

US District Judge Matthew W. Brann dismissed the Trump’s campaign lawsuit seeking to block the certification of the Pennsylvania results, ruling that the president’s legal team merely presented “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” that were “unsupported by evidence.

Sunday 22 November

Michael Steel, a spokesperson for Dominion Voting Systems, defended the company’s voting machines during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, saying, “It is not physically possible for our machines to switch votes from one candidate to the other.”

Trump appealed to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to overturn Judge Brann’s previous day ruling and block the certification of the Pennsylvania results.

Three Weeks Later

Tuesday 24 November

President Trump, Emily Murphy, and the GSA reversed course and formally allowed Biden’s transition team to have access to the required federal resources.

Minnesota, Nevada, and Pennsylvania certify their respective election results, with Biden as the official winner in all three states

Thanksgiving 26 November

During a Thanksgiving Day press conference, his first such presser since the election, Trump admitted that he would leave the White House if Biden were officially declared the winner of Electoral College, but added, “If they do, they made a mistake … It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede“.

Friday 27 November

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Trump campaign’s challenge to the Pennsylvania election results, ruling that the “campaign’s claims have no merit … Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here”.

The recount in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin ended with Biden getting a net increase of 132 votes.

Monday 30 November

Arizona and Wisconsin certified their respective election results, with Biden as the official winner in both states

Defeated Trump Denies

December 2020

A month later

Tuesday 1 December: the Trump campaign filed a new lawsuit in the Wisconsin Supreme Court seeking to overturn the state’s certified election results.

In an interview with the Associated Press, US Attorney General William Barr stated that the Department of Justice  had not found any evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the election.

Wednesday 2 December

Trump posted a pre-recorded video address on Facebook, repeating his allegations of voter fraud.

Thursday 3 December

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch bid by Republican challengers to halt further action on the certification of the state’s election results.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear Trump’s latest lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s certified election results, stating that the case needed to go through state’s lower courts first. (see Dec 14 below)

Friday 4 December

The Michigan Court of Appeals rejected the Trump campaign’s appeal to overturn a lower court’s previous decision, ruling that “the only valid recourse at the time would have been to request a recount, but the window to do so had passed … Because plaintiff failed to follow the clear law in Michigan relative to such matters, their action is moot.”

The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of Minnesota Republicans seeking to stop the certification of the state’s election results and order a full recount. The ruling cited the late filing of the petition on November 24, just hours before the elections results were officially certified, and that two of their key arguments regarded events and policies that took place before early voting began on September 18.

With California certifying its election results, Biden officially clinched enough pledged electors needed for the December 14 Electoral College vote to capture the presidency.

Monday 7 December

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger officially re-certified Georgia’s election results following the second state recount completed during the previous week, still showing Biden winning the state.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in order to invalidate the presidential election results in those states; the lawsuit, Texas v. Pennsylvania, is filed with the U.S. Supreme Court .

Defeated Trump Denies

Five Weeks Later

Tuesday 8 December

The Nevada Supreme Court unanimously ruled to dismiss the Trump’s campaign’s appeal seeking to overturn the state’s election results, affirming the Nevada First Judicial District Court’s ruling that they failed to identify any direct “unsupported factual findings”

Wednesday 9 December

U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa tossed out a lawsuit by Arizona voters, the last one against the state’s election results, citing “baseless claims.”

Plaintiffs append over 300 pages of attachments, which are only impressive for their volume,” Humetewa said. “The various affidavits and expert reports are largely based on anonymous witnesses, hearsay, and irrelevant analysis of unrelated elections.”

U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper dismissed  Trump team attorney Sidney Powell’s lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, stating that the “federal court has no authority or jurisdiction to grant the relief the remaining plaintiff seeks.

Friday 11 December

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an unsigned order declining to hear Texas v. Pennsylvania on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article Three of the Constitution: “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections“. Justice Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, partially dissents, writing that the Court was duty-bound to hear the case, referencing Arizona v. California: “I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint but would not grant other relief, and I express no view on any other issue.

Saturday 12 December

U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, ruling that the allegations “fail as a matter of law and fact.”

Trump supporters held rallies in Washington, D.C. in front of the Supreme Court, the Capitol, and the Department of Justice.

Sunday 13 December

In an interview with Fox News that aired on Sunday and was taped on December 12,  President Trump said, “It’s not over. We keep going.  And we’re going to continue to go forward.”

Defeated Trump Denies

Six Weeks Later

Monday 14 December

The Wisconsin Supreme Court denied President Trump’s attempt to invalidate more than 200,000 votes in the state’s two biggest Democratic bastions for the second time this month.

The ruling ends the president’s efforts to overturn the result of the election just hours before the Electoral College is set to cast the state’s 10 votes for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In a 4-3 decision, the conservative-leaning court rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to throw out votes in Milwaukee County and Dane County, which includes Madison.

Electoral College

Defeated Trump Denies

December 14: the NY Times reported that Joseph R. Biden Jr. was affirmed as the president-elect as members of the Electoral College pushed him past the 270 threshold to win the White House, all but ending a disruptive chapter in American history in which President Trump sought to use legal challenges and political pressure to overturn the results of a free and fair election.


The president-elect passed the threshold after California cast its 55 votes for Biden, capping a day marked by heightened security in battleground states and an unusual level of scrutiny for what is normally a formal, procedural affair.

December 15: NPR reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had congratulated Joe Biden on his win in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, becoming one of the last world leaders to do so.

“For my part, I am ready for interaction and contacts with you,” Putin said in his message to Biden, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

December 28, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden that his transition team had encountered “roadblocks” from political leaders at both the Defense Department and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and called on the Trump administration to provide more information to avoid hiccups that adversaries could take advantage of during the transfer of power.

“My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies,” Biden said in remarks following a meeting with national security and foreign policy advisers in Wilmington, Del. “We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch-up that our adversaries may try to exploit.”

“We have encountered roadblocks from the political leadership at the department of defense and the Office of Management and Budget. Right now, we just aren’t getting all of the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” he continued. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.” [The Hill article]

Defeated Trump Denies


Friday 1 January

Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle of the Eastern District of Texas dismissed a lawsuit led by President Trump’s allies in Congress that aimed to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the election, dealing a blow to lawmakers’ last-ditch effort to challenge President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

Kernodle ruled that Republican lawmakers, led by Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, lacked the proper standing to sue Mr. Pence in the matter. The lawsuit challenged the more than century-old law that governs the Electoral College process, in an attempt to expand an otherwise ceremonial role into one with the power to reject electoral votes that were cast for Mr. Biden. [NYT article]

Saturday 3 January

Vice President Mike Pence signaled support for a futile Republican bid to overturn the election in Congress on January 5, after 11 Republican senators and senators-elect said that they would vote to reject President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory when the House and Senate met to formally certify it.

The announcement by the senators — and Pence’s move to endorse it — reflected a groundswell among Republicans to defy the unambiguous results of the election and indulge President Trump’s attempts to remain in power with false claims of voting fraud.

Every state in the country had certified the election results after verifying their accuracy, many following postelection audits or hand counts. Judges across the country, and a Supreme Court with a conservative majority, had rejected nearly 60 attempts by Trump and his allies to challenge the results. [NYT article]

Defeated Trump Denies
Sunday 3 January 
Trump asks to “find” some votes

President Trump demanded that Georgia’s Republican secretary of state “find” him enough votes to overturn the presidential election, and vaguely threatened him with “a criminal offense,” during an hourlong telephone conversation with him on Saturday, according to audio excerpts from the conversation.

Mr. Trump, who had spent almost nine weeks making false conspiracy claims about his loss to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., told Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top elections official, that Mr. Raffensperger should recalculate the vote count so Mr. Trump would win the state’s 16 electoral votes.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Mr. Trump said on the call, a recording of which was obtained by The Washington Post, which published excerpts from the audio on its website Sunday. “Because we won the state.”

President Trump demanded that Georgia’s Republican secretary of state “find” him enough votes to overturn the presidential election, and vaguely threatened him with “a criminal offense,” during an hourlong telephone conversation with him on Saturday, according to audio excerpts from the conversation.

Mr. Trump, who has spent almost nine weeks making false conspiracy claims about his loss to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., told Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top elections official, that Mr. Raffensperger should recalculate the vote count so Mr. Trump would win the state’s 16 electoral votes.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Mr. Trump said on the call, a recording of which was obtained by The Washington Post, “Because we won the state.” [NYT article]

US defense secretaries

All 10 living former US defense secretaries declared that the US presidential election is over in a forceful public letter published in The Washington Post as President Donald Trump continued to deny his election loss to Joe Biden.

The letter — signed by Dick Cheney, James Mattis, Mark Esper, Leon Panetta, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Chuck Hagel, Robert Gates, William Perry and Ashton Carter — amounted to a remarkable show of force against Trump’s subversion efforts just days before Congress was set to count Electoral College votes.
Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived,” the group wrote. [CNN article]
Defeated Trump Denies

Nine Weeks Later

January 6 Insurrection

January 6, 2021: on the day that the joint Houses of Congress convened to confirm the election of Joe Biden, a mob of President Trump’s supporters surged into the U.S. Capitol with relative ease.

Armed with pro-Trump banners, the rioters far outnumbered and swiftly overwhelmed the U.S. Capitol Police as they charged up the steps, smashed windows, broke into the Senate chamber and occupied offices, including the one belonging to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

More than 50 people were arrested, at least a dozen police were injured, and officers confiscated guns, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails. [NPR story]

January 7, the day after

Ending a day of public silence, Trump posted a 2½-minute video on Twitter denouncing the mob attack in a way that he had refused to do a day earlier. Reading dutifully from a script prepared by his staff, he declared himself “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” and told those who broke the law that “you will pay.”

While he did not give up his false claims of election fraud, he finally conceded defeat. “A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

Trump initially resisted taping the video, agreeing to do it only after aides pressed him and he appeared to suddenly realize he could face legal risk for prodding the mob, coming shortly after the chief federal prosecutor for Washington left open the possibility of investigating the president for illegally inciting the attack by telling supporters to march on the Capitol and show strength. [NYT article]


Following the insurrection, several Trump administration officials announced that they were resigning

Defeated Trump Denies

Social Media Blowback

By January 11, several major social media platforms banned or restricted Donald Trump:

  • Reddit: banned the subreddit group “r/DonaldTrump,
  • Twitch: disabled Trump’s channel, citing the move as a “necessary step” to protect its community and “prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence.”
  • Shopify: ook down two online stores affiliated with Trump — his organization and his campaign’s merchandise sites — for violating its policies on supporting violence.
  • Twitter: announced  the platform will permanently ban President Trump’s account effective immediately.
  • Google: pulled Parler, a social media app for conservatives and far-right extremists.
  • YouTube: accelerated its enforcement of election misinformation and voter fraud claims against Trump and other channels. 
  • Facebook & Instagram:  banned Donald Trump from posting on his Facebook accounts for at least two weeks until the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden was complete.
  • Snapchat: disabled Trump’s Snapchat account because it believed the account promoted and spread hate and incited violence.
  • Tictok: removed content violations and redirected hashtags like #stormthecapitol and #patriotparty to its community guidelines.
  • Apple: threatened to remove right-wing-friendly social media app Parler from its App Store if Parler did not lay out a plan to moderate its content.
  • Discord: banned server The Donald
  • Pinterest: had been limiting hashtags related to pro-Trump topics such as #StopTheSteal since around the November election.
  • Stripe: would no longer process payments for President Trump’s campaign, which continued to fundraise.

Political Contribution Blowback

According to the DealBook newsletter, a number of companies reviewed political contributions via their corporate political action committees, a

  • Morgan Stanley suspended all PAC contributions to members of Congress who did not vote to certify the results of the Electoral College, a spokesman said.

  • Marriott said it would pause donations from its PAC “to those who voted against certification of the election,” a spokeswoman told DealBook. She did not say how long the break would last or how the hotel chain would decide when to resume donations.

  • The chemicals giant Dow said it was suspending all PAC contributions “to any member of Congress who voted to object to the certification of the presidential election.” The suspension will last for one election cycle — two years for representatives and up to six years for senators.

  • Shopify terminated online stores affiliated with President Trump. “Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause,” the company said in a statement.

  • Hallmark requested the return of campaign contributions its PAC made to Senators Josh Hawley Missouri and Roger Marshall of Kansas, both of whom voted against certifying the presidential election results. “Hallmark believes the peaceful transition of power is part of the bedrock of our democratic system, and we abhor violence of any kind,” the company said in a statement. “The recent actions of Senators Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall do not reflect our company’s values.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boston Scientific and Commerce Bancshares are taking a similar, targeted approach to donation freezes. The newsletter Popular Information tracked  the responses of these and other companies that donated to lawmakers who challenged the election result. [NYT article]

Defeated Trump Denies

More Court Refusals

Monday 11 January: in a series of unsigned orders, the Supreme Court refused requests from President Trump and his allies to expedite consideration of various challenges to the results of the presidential election. The court would consider whether to hear the cases in the ordinary course in the next month or two, but the orders in effect made the challenges moot.

As is the court’s custom, the orders gave no reasons. There were no dissents noted.

Trump had hoped that the court, which included three of his appointees, would overturn the results of the election. But the court, notably in a terse order rejecting an audacious lawsuit in which Texas sought to sue four other states, has consistently rejected the requests. [NYT article]

Defeated Trump Denies

Wednesday 10 January 2021

Defeated Trump Denies

Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia initiated a criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results, including a phone call he made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Mr. Trump pressured him to “find” enough votes to help him reverse his loss.

fani Willis, the recently elected Democratic prosecutor in Fulton County, sent a letter to numerous officials in state government, including Mr. Raffensperger, requesting that they preserve documents related to Trump’s call, according to a state official with knowledge of the letter. The letter explicitly stated that the request was part of a criminal investigation, said the official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal matters.

The inquiry cames as Trump faced a his second impeachment trial. [NYT article]

Defeated Trump Denies

Seizing Voting Machines

February 1, 2022: the NY Times reported that “…six weeks after Election Day, with his hold on power slipping, President Donald J. Trump directed his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to make a remarkable call. Mr. Trump wanted him to ask the Department of Homeland Security if it could legally take control of voting machines in key swing states, three people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Giuliani did so, calling the department’s acting deputy secretary, who said he lacked the authority to audit or impound the machines.”

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