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Analysis: With silence, GOP enables Trump's risky endgame

the White House
the Republican Party’s
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The Associated Press

Donald Trump
Joe Biden
Douglas Brinkley
Liz Cheney
Pat Toomey
Josh Hawley
Mitch McConnell
Kevin McCarthy
Lisa Mascaro


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The New York Times
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Nowhere has evidence been presented of widespread voter fraud on a scale that could alter the outcome.The Republican lawmakers will soon be forced into a moment of truth with key upcoming deadlines.States are expected to certify election results by Dec. 6, and Republican lawmakers have been eyeing the Dec. 14 Electoral College deadline as their own offramp from Trump’s presidency.That’s when GOP lawmakers believe they can start saying publicly what many of them already suggest in private — that Biden, in fact, won the election.But there’s no guarantee their gamble will work. “We’ll find that out.”Almost none of the top Republican leaders in the House or Senate responded directly Friday when asked by The Associated Press if they believe the states have any reason not to certify their election results.Only Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, and the daughter of the former vice president, said if Trump is unsatisfied with the outcome of the legal battles, he can appeal.“If the president cannot prove these claims or demonstrate that they would change the election result,” Cheney said in a statement to The AP, “he should fulfill his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by respecting the sanctity of our electoral process.”One key lawmaker, Sen. Pat Toomey, from battleground Pennsylvania, “believes that states should certify their results” in accordance with election laws, his spokesman said.Once the states certify, he said, “these results should be accepted by all parties involved.” In Pennsylvania, the state law “is unambiguous: The winner of the state’s popular vote is awarded the state’s electoral college votes.”With the Capitol still partly shuttered due to the COVID-19 crisis and emptying out for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, lawmakers are able to deflect many questions about their positions.Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said Friday he wasn’t really familiar with what Trump was doing inviting the Michigan lawmakers to the White House.“I don’t really have concerns with him talking about the situation with elected officials,” Hawley said at the Capitol as he opened the Senate for a perfunctory session.Asked if Trump could overturn the election, Hawley was noncommittal: “Anything’s possible.”Republicans are calculating that it’s better not to provoke the president — he may do something more severe — but let time take it’s course.It’s a strategy they have used throughout the Trump presidency, keeping him close so as not to alienate his supporters — whom they need for their own reelections — and not getting too involved when he strains the nation’s civic norms.With the upcoming Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will decide which party controls the Senate in January, Republicans are beholden to Trump’s supporters to turn out the vote.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to portray the extraordinary week as ordinary.“In all the presidential elections we go through this process,” he said.

As said here by LISA MASCARO