The months of disinformation on social media generated by President Trump and his allies and supporters about the outcome of the election "is directly tied to the domestic terrorism we saw at the Capitol," says CBS contributor David Becker, an election law expert.
Becker said that the storming of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday by pro-Trump rioters who had been spurred on by the president as Congress tallied Electoral College votes was "a shameful episode in American history."
President Trump, who on Wednesday was still claiming the election had been stolen from him despite his repeated inability to prove this was the case, has in Becker's view created "a completely false alternate reality that is being spread by the president of the United States and his allies and being facilitated by social media platforms."
Becker, the executive director and founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, spoke with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett in this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast. He said that despite false claims spread by Mr. Trump, foreign interference, budgetary issues in Congress and the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 general election "worked better than any election in history" and was "a triumph of American democracy."
"Joe Biden is a legitimate president. He won a legitimate election," Becker said.
Becker dismissed the numerous legal challenges brought to court by Mr. Trump and his lawyers as "frivolous," noting that, "there has never been a presidential campaign that has had more of an opportunity to be heard in court by judges from across the political spectrum and present evidence than the Trump campaign," but no proof of voter fraud or hacked voting machines was proved in court.
He called allegations that the evidence and affidavits presented by the Trump campaign were never considered in court "100% false," and said that the Trump legal team was "unwilling to submit these affidavits because they had fatal flaws."
On Thursday, incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Mr. Trump from office, and the House Democratic Caucus will be holding a call Friday to discuss impeaching Mr. Trump for a second time over his involvement in the assault on the Capitol.
- Becker on the Trump campaign's legal challenges to the 2020 election: "Frivolous would probably be kind...the fact is, there has never been a presidential campaign that has had more of an opportunity to be heard in court by judges from across the political spectrum and present evidence than the Trump campaign."
- Security of the 2020 election: "The fact is we came through with flying colors. This was a triumph of American democracy… We heard very little about lines. We heard very little about problems with the machines. This all worked better than any election in history, and this is with the highest turnout we'd ever seen."
- Who bears responsibility for the domestic terrorism on Capitol Hill this week? "The responsibility for this resides, 100 percent, with the current occupant of the White House. Let's be absolutely clear about this, [President Trump] incited insurrection. He encouraged an attempted coup, and it was all because he could not process the idea that he lost an election."
For more of Major's conversation with Becker, download "The Takeout" podcast on Art19, iTunes, GooglePlay, Spotify and Stitcher. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).
Producers: Arden Farhi, Jamie Benson, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson
CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin, Julia Boccagno and Grace Segers
Show email: TakeoutPodcast@cbsnews.com