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Growing number of Republicans join Trump’s effort to overturn Biden’s election win

Ted Cruz of Texas announced a coalition of 11 senators who will object to the state tallies during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress

Image: Brynn Anderson/PA

A GROWING NUMBER of Republican lawmakers have joined President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the election, pledging to reject the results when Congress meets next week to count the Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

Yesterday, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced a coalition of 11 senators who will vote against certain state electors unless Congress appoints an electoral commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results.

This follows the declaration from Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who was the first to buck Senate leadership by saying he would join with House Republicans in objecting to the state tallies during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress.

Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat is tearing the party apart as Republicans are forced to make consequential choices that will set the contours of the post-Trump era. Hawley and Cruz are both among potential 2024 presidential contenders.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had urged his party not to try to overturn what nonpartisan election officials have concluded was a free and fair vote.

The 11 senators largely acknowledged Saturday they will not succeed in preventing Biden from being inaugurated on 20 January after he won the Electoral College 306-232.

But their challenges, and those from House Republicans, represent the most sweeping effort to undo a presidential election outcome since the Civil War.

“We do not take this action lightly,” Cruz and the other senators said in a joint statement.

They vowed to vote against certain state electors on Wednesday unless Congress appoints an electoral commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results.

They are zeroing in on the states where Trump has raised unfounded claims of voter fraud. Congress is unlikely to agree to their demand.

The group, which presented no new evidence of election problems, includes senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Mike Braun of Indiana, and senators-elect Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Trump, the first president to lose a reelection bid in almost 30 years, has attributed his defeat to widespread voter fraud, despite the consensus of nonpartisan election officials and even the attorney general that there was none.

Of the roughly 50 lawsuits the president and his allies have filed challenging election results, nearly all have been dismissed or dropped. He has also lost twice at the US Supreme Court.

The days ahead are expected to do little to change the outcome.

mcconnell-vandalism Graffiti reading, Where's my money is seen on a door of the home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in Louisville, Source: Timothy D. Easley/PA

Vandals lashed out at the leaders of the US House and Senate, blighting their homes with graffiti and in one case a pig’s head, after Congress failed to approve an increase in the amount of money being sent to individuals to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Spray paint on Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s door in Kentucky read “WERES MY MONEY”. “MITCH KILLS THE POOR” was scrawled over a window. A profanity directed at the Republican senator was painted under the mailbox.

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At House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home in San Francisco, someone spray-painted graffiti and left a pig’s head and fake blood on New Year’s Day, police said.

KGO-TV reported that graffiti found on the garage door of the Democratic leader’s home included the phrases “$2K,” “Cancel rent!” and “We want everything,” apparently referencing Democratic legislators’ failed efforts to increase the coronavirus relief checks from 600 dollars to 2,000 dollars.

The news station said security cameras surround the three-storey brick home in the Pacific Heights district.

McConnell released a statement on Saturday condemning the vandalism at his home in Louisville.

“I’ve spent my career fighting for the First Amendment and defending peaceful protest,” he stated. “I appreciate every Kentuckian who has engaged in the democratic process whether they agree with me or not. This is different. Vandalism and the politics of fear have no place in our society.”

McConnell said he and his wife were not intimidated by the vandalism. “We just hope our neighbours in Louisville aren’t too inconvenienced by this radical tantrum.”

Louisville police are investigating the incident at Mr McConnell’s home, which occurred at around 5am on Saturday.

On New Year’s Day, Senate Republicans refused to allow debate over a bill to increase the amount of Covid-19 relief. The increase, supported by President Donald Trump, passed the Democratic-led House but was blocked by McConnell.

The government has begun sending out the smaller payments to millions of Americans. The 600 dollar payment is going to individuals with incomes up to 75,000 dollars. Congress approved the payment in late December.

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