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Despite more setbacks, Donald Trump won't concede

The Times of India logo The Times of India 5 days ago Chidanand Rajghatta
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WASHINGTON; The walls are closing in on defeated US President Donald Trump after Republican lawmakers and GOP officials in Georgia and Michigan refused to go along with his efforts to subvert the election verdict. They moved towards certification of results that effectively would award the presidency to Joe Biden.

While Georgia formally certified Biden as the winner on Friday after its Republican Secretary of State withstood pressure from Trump and his acolytes to invalidate a large number of ballots, GOP lawmakers in Michigan said after a meeting with the lame duck President that they had no information “that would change the outcome of the election" while pledging they will follow the law and the normal process of awarding the state's electors to the candidate who won the popular vote.

Biden leads Trump by 150,000 votes in Michigan (15x times the 10,000 margin that Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by in 2016), and poll analysts do not see a small number of defective or invalidated votes overturning the result. A recount in Georgia illustrated this after state officials rejected Trump campaign's implicit effort to throw out votes from black majority Atlanta, a tactic they are also trying out in Detroit, Michigan.

"I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the will of the people," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, said of the result, adding, "Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don't lie."

Hours later, Trump tweeted, "Big voter fraud information coming out concerning Georgia. Stay tuned!"

And from Michigan lawmakers who were summoned to the White House came this: “Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation. Allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections.”

The twin setbacks for a beleaguered Trump came even as his attorneys continued to whip up conspiracy theories, invoking interference by foreign countries and domestic operatives, for which they have not produced evidence or been able to prove in courts. Earlier this week, Trump fired an official from his own administration who had debunked election misinformation, most of which came from Trump and the White House.

The election result now appears so foregone that Twitter said on Friday that it would transfer the @Potus account to Joe Biden at noon on January 20 even if Trump does not concede the election. “Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021,” a company spokesman told Politico. “As we did for the presidential transition in 2017, this process is being done in close consultation with the National Archives and Records Administration.”

Trump will however retain his personal account @realDonaldTrump, which has been flagged several times for posting false information about the elections.

Historians though are grappling with the one scenario that the country's Founding Fathers had not visualized: What happens if Trump simply does not relinquish the Presidency? While the Biden Campaign has said “the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House," and former President Barack Obama joked in a late night show about Navy Seals going in to evict Trump from the White House, the US national security establishment and the military has so far steered clear of any hint of interference should the President decide to dig in.

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