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Integrity Trumping Trump

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

Perhaps surprising and certainly disappointing to Donald J. Trump, Republican state officials and numerous judges, including Republicans, are standing up for the rule of law by repeatedly denying unfounded claims of voter fraud and blocking attempts to overturn the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

In effect, integrity is trumping Donald Trump.

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It's happened in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan, where various efforts by Trump and his "legal" team of Rudolph Giuliani and Jenna Ellis have been met with failure and in some cases, ridicule.

And, of course, it was the Trump administration's own Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency chief Chris Krebs who Trump fired for debunking Trump election misinformation.

Apparently it was this tweet by Krebs that sent Trump around the bend:

"On allegations that election systems were manipulated, 59 election security experts all agree, 'in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent. #Protect2020."

And so, he was fired, with Trump tweeting that he axed Krebs because of his "highly inaccurate" comments about the integrity of the vote.

But it's been in the Trump-contested states where the most significant action has taken place and where the embattled president has seen his slim hopes for overturning the election fall apart like a rotten pumpkin left outside too long after Halloween. Pennsylvania and Georgia are just two examples.

In Pennsylvania

Judges there pretty much have laughed Giuliani & Co. out of court. Judge Matthew W. Brann, a conservative Republican, rebuked Trump and his lawyers for trying to overturn the state's election results and disenfranchise more than 6 million voters.

“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state,” Brann wrote when two individual voters claimed their ballots had been rejected.

Before that, just three days after the election, the Trump campaign argued in federal court in Philadelphia that the election count should be stopped because Republican observers had been barred. However, questioned by Judge Paul S. Diamond, campaign lawyers admitted that Trump had "a nonzero number of people in the room."

"I'm sorry, then what's your problem?" Diamond asked.

And then, on Friday, November 27, Trump-appointed federal appeals court judge Stephanos Bibas, and two other GOP-appointed judges, unanimously rejected Trump's request for an emergency injunction to overturn the certification of Pennsylvania's election results claiming that some Democratic-leaning areas allowed voters to correct administrative errors on their mailed-in ballots.

“Charges of unfairness are serious," wrote Judge Bibas. "But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here. Voters, not lawyers, choose the President. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections.”

Ellis immediately said the decision would be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which Trump has packed to a 6-3 conservative majority by rushing the nomination and confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If that happens, the question, of course, will be whether the justices also uphold the sanctity of the vote or whether they bend to the will of Donald J. Trump.

In Georgia

Georgia also provides an example of Republican state officials following the rule of law in rejecting Trump's fraudulent claims of election malfeasance.

There, the Trump campaign attempted to pressure Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who voted for Trump, to embrace the campaign's fraud allegations and block certification of the results. Even Trump pal Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried to put the arm on Raffensperger.

“It was like a rumor Whac-A-Mole,” said Raffensperger, adding that he refused repeated attempts by Trump allies to get him to cross ethical lines. “I don’t think I had a choice. My job is to follow the law. We’re not going to get pushed off the needle on doing that. Integrity still matters.”

“People made wild accusations about the voting systems that we have in Georgia,” Raffensperger said. “They were asking, ‘How do we get to 270? How do you get it to Congress so they can make a determination?’ ” But, he said, “I’m not supposed to put my thumb on the Republican side.”

It took no small amount of courage for Raffensperger to stand up to Trump, as he and his wife, Tricia, received threats to their safety and a family member's home was broken into, resulting in a state security detail being assigned.

“If Republicans don’t start condemning this stuff, then I think they’re really complicit in it,” he told The Washington Post. “It’s time to stand up and be counted. Are you going to stand for righteousness? Are you going to stand for integrity? Or are you going to stand for the wild mob? You wanted to condemn the wild mob when it’s on the left side. What are you going to do when it’s on our side?”

Those are all good questions, and Republicans in Congress should consider them as they decide how to respond when President Biden comes calling post inauguration. To date, most have sat on their hands allowing Trump to pursue his craziness, which has done nothing but further divide -- and weaken -- our nation.

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