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Trump campaign drops Michigan lawsuit over certification of election results

Michigan AG on certification of election
Michigan AG on certification of election 09:33

Washington — The Trump campaign on Thursday dropped its federal lawsuit in Michigan that sought to block certification of the state's election results, inaccurately claiming the Wayne County Board of Canvassers declined to certify the results even though it did just that earlier this week.

In a filing with the federal district court in Michigan's Western District moving to dismiss the lawsuit, lawyers for the Trump campaign included affidavits from two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers stating they oppose certification of the results, despite voting to approve them Tuesday.

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for the Trump campaign, said in a statement the campaign decided to withdraw its lawsuit "as a direct result of achieving the result we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted."

Mr. Trump and his lawyers asked the court to block the Michigan board of state canvassers and the Wayne County canvassing board from certifying election results over unsubstantiated claims ballots were illegally cast.  

The Trump campaign's lawsuit in Michigan was part of its broader efforts to halt the certification of election results in that state and others where Mr. Trump was defeated by President-elect Joe Biden. The Associated Press and the Washington Post reported the president called Monica Palmer, one of the two Republican members of the canvassing board, after the panel gathered for its contentious meeting Tuesday. Palmer then released her affidavit seeking to rescind her vote certifying the election results.

Trump pressures Michigan officials in electio... 02:20

Mr. Trump also summoned two of Michigan's Republican state legislative leaders, House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, to Washington, D.C., for a meeting Friday, according to a source familiar with the plans. It's unclear if anyone else will be on the trip, or what will be discussed.  

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers met Tuesday to certify its results in a meeting marked by twists and turns. An initial vote by the four-member board deadlocked 2-2, but after several hours of public comment from Wayne County residents, the canvassing board voted unanimously to certify the result. The board also called for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to conduct a "comprehensive audit" of all "unexplained precincts" in the county.

Mr. Trump cheered the initial vote on Twitter, claiming the state refused to certify its election results. After the unanimous vote, however, he alleged without evidence the two Republican members of the canvassing board were "forced" to change their vote.

In their affidavits included in the Trump campaign's filing Thursday, William Hartman and Palmer, both Republican members of the canvassing board, said they believe the Wayne County results should not be certified and claimed they voted to certify the results based on the assurance of the independent audit.

Despite their efforts to walk back their votes, Tracy Wimmer, a spokeswoman for Benson, said "there is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote. Their job is done and the next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify."

Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump in Michigan by more than 154,000 votes.

While Mr. Biden was projected the winner of the presidential race nearly two weeks ago, Mr. Trump has yet to acknowledge his defeat and instead falsely claims he has won the election. The president and his campaign have filed a slew of last-ditch lawsuits in key battleground states, including Michigan, in an effort to block certification of election results. But Mr. Trump's efforts have been largely unsuccessful.

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