Both before and after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, Trump and a group of congressional Republicans repeated some of the same baseless election-related nonsense that has agitated much of the President’s base.
Trump was speaking at a rally near the White House. Members of the House and Senate were speaking as they objected to some of Joe Biden’s electoral votes.
Trump peppered his rally speech with his usual series of wildly false claims about the presidential election he lost — claiming that “we won it by a landslide,” that the election was “so corrupt,” that unnamed people “rigged” the process, and that Joe Biden got “80 million computer votes” rather than legitimate votes.
According to Trump, “if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.” He added, “all Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify,” which Trump claimed Pence has “the absolute right to do.”
According to CNN contributor and law professor Steve Vladeck, Trump’s claim is “just not true.”
“There’s no discretion on [the Vice President’s] part, nor has any Vice President previously claimed the power to reject any properly formatted certificates,” Vladeck told CNN.
Even the President’s longtime attorney Jay Sekulow has said Pence doesn’t legally have the authority to trigger such an outcome.
“Some have speculated that the vice president could simply say, ‘I’m not going to accept these electors,’ that he has the authority to do that on the Constitution. I actually don’t think that’s what the Constitution has in mind. If that were the case, any vice president could refuse any election,” Sekulow said on his radio show this week, adding that Pence’s role is “more of a ministerial procedural function.
The President claimed that while many people were watching the Georgia election unfold Tuesday night “they cheated like hell anyway.”
“Last night was a little bit better because of the fact that we had a lot of eyes watching one specific state,” Trump said, “but they cheated like hell anyway.”
Facts First: This is false. Whether in the general election or in Tuesday’s Senate runoff, there is no evidence of mass voter fraud in Georgia. Trump’s allegations have been personally and repeatedly debunked by Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting systems implementation manager.
Trump tweeted out several false claims Tuesday and Wednesday, alleging fraud in the election.
But there was no stealing or cheating. On Tuesday morning there were some issues with security keys in Columbia County, Georgia. The problem was resolved, according to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, by 10 a.m. and people were able to vote through backup paper ballots in the meantime.
“We saw record Election Day turnout,” Sterling added. “As of Monday 970,000 absentees had been accepted. 31k more were added in yesterday’s totals. That leaves 60k that came in yesterday.”
Votes in Pennsylvania
Trump claimed that, in Pennsylvania, there were “205,000 more ballots than you had voters.”
Trump claimed that the election “was over at 10 o’clock in the evening” on Election Night, when he had leads in the vote counts in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, but then “explosions of bullshit” occurred.
Facts First: It is obviously false that the election was over at this early stage of the counting process. There is a simple explanation for Trump’s big initial leads in some states he ended up losing, including Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan: he led because many mail-in ballots had not yet been counted. There is no indication he lost the leads for any suspicious reason.
Trump continued to lie about mail-in voting, saying there was widespread fraud in mail-in voting.
“This year, using the pretext of the China virus and the scam of mail-in ballots, Democrats attempted the most brazen and outrageous election,” he said. “Theft and there’s never been anything like this. It’s a pure theft in American history, everybody knows it.”
“Suitcases” of ballots
Trump said that in Fulton County, Georgia, on election night, officials pulled “suitcases of ballots out from under a table,” which was “totally fraudulent.”
Facts First: Trump’s claims are entirely baseless. After reviewing footage of the polling station in question, state and county officials determined the poll workers’ actions were part of the normal process, not fraud. And the objects pulled from under the table were ballot bins, not suitcases, according to election officials.
Trump claimed “not a single swing state has conducted a comprehensive audit to remove the illegal ballots.”
Facts First: This is false. At least two swing states conducted audits but found no evidence of widespread fraud.
On the floor of the House, New York Rep. Lee Zeldin echoed Trump’s claims that poll watchers were banned from counting locations or otherwise prevented from observing the count and denied the access they legally deserved.
According to Zeldin, “There were poll watchers denied the ability to closely observe ballot counting operation.”
Facts First: There have been no reports of systematic irregularities with poll watchers anywhere in the US. There is no evidence supporting claims that poll watchers were shut out of the process.
Election Day extended
Objecting to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan claimed the Supreme Court extended Election Day in the commonwealth.
“Pennsylvania law says mail-in ballots have to be in by 8 p.m. election day. Democrat Supreme Court said, ‘Nope we’re going to extend it, Election Day doesn’t end on Tuesday now.’ They took it to Friday,” Jordan said.
Facts First: This is misleading and needs context. While it’s true that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended the deadline for Pennsylvania to accept mail-in ballots, Election Day itself was not extended and it’s false to suggest that votes cast after Tuesday were somehow counted.
Prior to the election, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed ballots received up to three days after the election, even without a valid postmark, to be counted.
Rep. Mo Brooks claimed that “Joe Biden gained roughly 1,032,000 votes from illegal alien voting.”
Facts First: This is entirely unfounded.
There is no evidence that more than a million undocumented immigrants voted, and experts say voter fraud of any type is exceedingly rare.
This story is being updated
CNN’s Melissa Tapia contributed to this article.