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Trump continues to blast election results in Wisconsin

Trump continues to blast election count claiming there was a suspicious dump of votes in Wisconsin for Biden the day after polls closed – as he pays $3 million for partial recount in the state

  • On Wednesday, the Trump campaign coughed up $3 million for a partial recount in two crucial Wisconsin counties
  • Joe Biden has a slim 0.62 percent lead in the state; the official count has him ahead by just 20, 565 votes 
  • On Wednesday night, Trump tweeted out a graph showing that a ‘dump’ of 143,379 votes for Biden were counted in the early hours after Election Day 
  • Officials say that number was not anything suspicious or fraudulent, and was simply the tabulation of absentee ballots that came in from Milwaukee
  • Meanwhile, Trump is continuing to rage about the vote count in other states
  • On Wednesday, he also cited alleged instances of voter fraud in Nevada and Michigan

Donald Trump is continuing to rage against the outcome of the presidential election, claiming his competitor Joe Biden received a suspicious ‘dump of votes’ in Wisconsin after polling booths had closed. 

The Commander-in-chief is contesting the outcome in the crucial swing state, which Biden won by a slender 0.62 percent margin (20, 565 votes). 

‘Look at this in Wisconsin! A day AFTER the election, Biden receives a dump of 143,379 votes at 3:42AM, when they learned he was losing badly. This is unbelievable!’ Trump raged in a tweet posted Wednesday evening. 

The President then attached a graph which showed the huge bounce in Biden votes coming in early on the morning of Wednesday, November 4. 

While Trump did not cite the original source of his graph, various news outlets confirm that Biden did add a huge number of votes to his tally at that time – but not because of any fraudulent activity. 

According to officials, the spike occurred because the city of Milwaukee tabulated its 170,000 + absentee ballots at that exact time, and a large majority of those were favorable to Biden. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the Trump campaign announced it will pay $3 million for a partial recount in Milwaukee and Dane Counties. 

Donald Trump is continuing to rage against the outcome of the presidential election, claiming his competitor Joe Biden received a suspicious ‘dump of votes’ in Wisconsin after polling booths had closed

Trump shared several tweets about the vote count in Wisconsin on Wednesday night, after it was revealed his campaign would spend $3 million on a recount in two crucial counties 

Following that news, Trump re-tweeted a post from Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt, who claimed that nervous Democrats at the state’s Elections Commission were subsequently trying to alter the recount rules. 

‘WI Elections Commission, after seeing President Trump’s recount petition and objections, is trying to change the recount manual at an emergency meeting tonight at 6 pm to make objections harder to make. This must be stopped,’ Hitt wrote.  

Recounts in Wisconsin and across the country have historically resulted in very few vote changes. A 2016 presidential recount in Wisconsin netted Trump – who opposed it happening – an additional 131 votes.

However, the President remains hopeful that he will be able to prove widespread voter fraud and secure a second term in office. 

He later tweeted out a quote, which stated: ‘Statistical sampling to prove widespread voter fraud…multiple accounts of fraud and voting irregularities may overturn election’.  

Members from the Wisconsin Board of Canvassers are seen sitting among ballots last week 

The President remains hopeful that he will be able to prove widespread voter fraud and secure a second term in office.

Wisconsin wasn’t the only state Trump tweeted about on Wednesday. 

The GOP is also challenging results in Nevada, and the President is keeping a close eye on their legal case. 

He re-tweeted a report from the conservative website, The Federalist, which alleged Nevada had a’ widespread cash-for-votes scheme’. 

He also shared a quote from a Las Vegas Review Journal article which stated that Republican attorneys say they ‘have evidence that more than 15,000 votes were cast in Nevada by people who also voted in another state, 1,000 from people who don’t meet Nevada’s residency requirements and 500 from people who were dead.’ 

Even if that were true, those numbers would not be enough to have Trump secure a victory in the state. 

Currently, Biden is ahead in Nevada by 33,596 votes.  

Trump also re-tweeted several pots alleging instances of voter fraud in the state of Nevada 

On Wednesday morning, the president retweeted a map from the New York Times showing that he won 10.1 million more votes than he got in 2016, including in areas with a majority of Hispanic voters. Trump and his top aides have regularly pointed to his raw vote totals, even while claiming the election was ‘rigged.’ 

Trump added in all-capital letters: ‘AND I WON THE ELECTION. VOTER FRAUD ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!’ 

What the Times graphic didn’t note is that Democrat Joe Biden has received nearly 6 million more votes than Trump, eclipsing Hillary Clinton’s win over Trump in the national popular vote (a statistic that carries significance but does not determine the winner). 

If Trump were to click on the Twitter thread, he would see that the second post said Biden exceeded Hillary Clinton’s vote total by 12.6 million votes, performing better in urban and suburban counties. Biden also enjoyed ‘desertions’ from the ‘GOP white middle class,’ according to the tweets.  

The president claimed he ‘WON’ the election, renewing claims of fraud and that the election was ‘rigged.’ He retweeted a New York Times graphic thread, which indicated Trump grew his vote from 2016 – but President-elect Joe Biden grew Hillary Clinton’s by more 

STATE-BY-STATE: WHERE TRUMP IS SUING AND HOW IT’S GOING

PENNSYLVANIA

BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 82,092

The Trump campaign has made Pennsylvania a centerpiece of its legal efforts in hopes of prying its 20 Electoral Votes away from Joe Biden. The state was a focus of pre-election concern amid its vastly expanded mail-in ballots, court rulings about the state accepting mailed ballots after Election Day, and predictions voters would mishandle mail votes or fail to put their ballots inside a security sleeve before returning it.

The Trump campaign has raised broad public allegations of fraud and irregularities, while filing suits focused on restrictions placed on election observers – without immediate success.  

Amid a series of chaotic moves among Trump’s legal team, the president tasked personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani with overseeing his efforts. The former New York mayor appeared in federal court Tuesday, Nov. 17. He wove together a sweeping claim of a fraud conspiracy allegedly carried out by Democrats, saying there was a ‘widespread nationwide voter fraud.’ He added: ‘They stole an election.’ But Giuliani also acknowledged to the federal judge Matthew Brann that, ‘This is not a fraud case.’ The Trump campaign had shaved numerous allegations from its initial filing, now arguing that there had been constitutional violations because some counties allowed voters to ‘cure’ their mail-in ballots while others did not. ‘This is just disgraceful,’ said Mark Aronchick, representing the Allegheny County Board of Elections, in the county that includes Pittsburgh. 

Even as Giuliani was in court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled against the Trump campaign, 5-2, after the Trump camp argued that election observers weren’t allowed close enough to observe the electoral count and did not get ‘meaningful access.’ The 5-2 decision ruled that Pennsylvania counties could determine the particulars of election observers, and that state law only required they be ‘in the room’ when votes are counted. Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis blasted the ruling and said ‘We are keeping all legal options open to fight for election integrity and the rule of law.’

Even the two dissenting justices in the state’s highest court wrote that the idea of tossing out ‘presumptively valid’ ballots based on ‘isolated irregularities’ was ‘misguided.’

On Monday after Election Day, the Trump campaign filed their big shot at overturning all mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, claiming that Democratic and Republican counties did not administer them in the same way; instances of fraud; and that poll watchers could not see them being counted. On that basis, they say, the results should not be certified on November 23.

The case faces an uphill struggle. The largest law firm  involved in it, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, quit.

The Supreme Court has already allowed mail-in ballots to be issued in Pennsylvania, and the claim of poll watchers not seeing them being counted had failed before when a Trump agreed that a ‘non-zero number’ of Republicans had observed the count in Philadelphia.

The new suit provided no actual evidence of fraud. It did include a claim by an Erie mailman that he had heard his supervisors talking about illegally backdating ballots; he was said to have recanted that claim when questioned by U.S. Postal Inspectors.

Trump’s campaign then filed a motion to intervene in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a decision from the state’s highest court that allowed election officials to count mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday’s Election Day that were delivered through Friday after Election Day.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on the Friday night before Election Day ordered county election boards in the state to separate mail-in ballots received after 8 p.m. EST on Election Day.

Pennsylvania election officials have said those ballots were already being separated.

The justices previously ruled there was not enough time to decide the merits of the case before Election Day but indicated they might revisit it afterwards.

Alito, joined by fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, said in a written opinion that there was a ‘strong likelihood’ the Pennsylvania court’s decision violated the U.S. Constitution.

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar has said late-arriving ballots are a tiny proportion of the overall vote in the state.

Rudy Giuliani unveiled a ‘witness’ to his claims – a Republican poll watcher – at his infamous press conference outside Four Seasons Total Landscaping. But the man, Daryl Brooks, has not been included in any legal papers. He was previously convicted of exposing himself to underage girls. 

 

ARIZONA 

BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 9,543. RECOUNT IS LEGALLY IMPOSSIBLE

Trump’s campaign said the Saturday after Election Day it had sued in Arizona, alleging that the state’s most populous county incorrectly rejected votes cast on Election Day by some voters.

The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Maricopa County, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an ‘overvote.’

The campaign said that decision disregarded voters’ choices in those races, and the lawsuit suggested those votes could prove ‘determinative’ in the outcome of the presidential race.

It is a modification of an earlier suit which was submitted and then withdrawn claiming that Trump voters were given sharpies to mark their ballots and claiming this made them more prone to error. The ‘sharpie-gate’ claims have no basis in fact, Arizona’s secretary of state says.

On Thursday Nov. 12, a judge savaged the affidavits produced to back the case as ‘spam’ and a Trump lawyer said they were not alleging fraud in any form. 

On Nov. 13th, lawyers for the Trump campaign dropped a lawsuit seeking a review of all ballots cast on Election Day amid the daunting vote margin. The Biden camp had called the suit ‘frivolous’ and a ‘waste of time.’ 

Amid the setbacks, the state GOP asked a judge to bar Maricopa County from certifying the election results. A judge was scheduled to hear the motion Wednesday, Nov. 18, with a looming Nov. 23 deadline for state certification of election results. An audit in the vote-rich county found not ballot discrepancies there. 

One claim that President Trump blasted out to his Twitter followers alleging that Dominion voting machines and software were part of a nationwide scheme to ‘delete’ Trump votes and ‘switch’ votes from Trump to Biden never made it into legal filings by his campaign lawyers. 

NEVADA 

BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 33,596 

A voter, a member of the media and two candidate campaigns sued Nevada’s secretary of state and other officials to prevent the use of a signature-verification system in populous Clark County and to provide public access to vote counting.

A federal judge rejected the request, saying there was no evidence the county was doing anything unlawful. 

Trump campaign officials have also claimed evidence that thousands of non-residents have voted but have not sued. 

The Trump campaign filed a new lawsuit Tuesday Nov. 17, two weeks after Election Day, claiming irregularities, suing on behalf of Trump electors in Carson City. The campaign claimed 15,000 people voted despite moving out of state. Following earlier claims some people labeled ‘out of state’ were found to be military voters stationed outside of Nevada. It revisited allegations that a machine used to verify signatures was not reliable. The suit asks a judge to either declare Trump the winner or nullify the results and prohibit the appointment of state electors. It also states that 500 provisional ballots got included in totals without being resolved.

One suit targets a Democratic elector who says she is a homeless veteran, seeking to avoid the state’s electors to Trump and disregard the vote.  

GEORGIA 

BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 14,028 

The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in state court in Chatham County that alleged late-arriving ballots were improperly mingled with valid ballots, and asked a judge to order late-arriving ballots be separated and not be counted.

The case was dismissed on November 5, finding there was ‘no evidence’ ballots referenced in the suit came in after the state’s deadline, and no evidence Chatham County failed to comply with the law. 

The two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, called for the GOP Secretary of State to quit claiming there were election irregularities Monday. They offered no evidence and he scoffed: ‘That’s not going to happen.’

A suit by Atlanta attorney Lin Wood, who supports Trump and who represented Richard Jewell in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bomb case, is seeking a court order to prevent Georgia from certifying its results, and calling for mail-in ballots not to be included in totals.  He is seeking to throw out a March 6, 2020 consent agreement reached by the Georgia secretary of state and the Democratic Party. The decree put in place procedures for verifying ballot signatures.

A group of four voters voluntarily withdrew their suit after arguing in a complaint to exclude votes from eight counties, saying ballots were cast illegally. 

Three Trump campaign claims of dead people ‘voting’ in Georgia turned out not to be true. 

Georgia undertook an automatic recount due to the closeness of the margin, and conducted a hand count as part of an audit.  Officials were expecting to announce the result Nov. 18. Although the count uncovered additional tranches of ballots, it was not expected to change the result.   

MICHIGAN 

BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 148, 152

On Monday Nov. 9 Trump filed a federal case alleging fraud and then later a separate demand that the votes are not certified on November 23.

In the first case, one witness – possibly misgendered by the Trump lawyers – claimed that they had been told by another person that mysterious ballots arrived late on vehicles with out of state plates and all were for Biden; that they had seen voters coached to vote for Biden; and that they were told to process ballots without any checks.

It also included poll watchers and ‘challengers’ who said they could not get close enough to see what was happening.  

A federal judge has yet to issue any response on when and how it will be looked into. The Trump campaign also filed the same case again to the wrong federal court on Thursday Nov. 12 for no apparent reason. 

Trump’s campaign last Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Michigan to halt the vote count in the state. The lawsuit alleged that campaign poll watchers were denied ‘meaningful access’ to counting of ballots, plus access to surveillance video footage of ballot drop boxes.

On Thursday 6, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens dismissed the case, saying there was no legal basis or evidence to halt the vote and grant requests.

The Trump campaing also asked a court to stop canvassing boards in Michigan and in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, from certifying the results. 

A week after filing its federal case, the Trump campaign had yet to serve Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson with a copy of its complaint. 

U.S. District Judge Janet Neff gave the campaign a Nov. 17 deadline or face dismissal ‘for failure to diligently prosecute this case.’

There was drama the evening of Nov. 17 when two Republican officials refused for a time refused to certify the results from Detroit. They backtracked hours later in the face of outrage and accusations of racism. President Trump hailed them online for their ‘courage’ Tuesday night, but they flip-flopped minutes later and agreed to certify the result. The initial refusal had been seen as a first step towards Trump having the Republican-held Michigan legislature ignore the election results and seat its own Electoral College electors who back Trump, in a bid to force a contested election into the Congress.

WISCONSIN  

BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 20,565 

On Nov. 18th, the Trump campaign paid $3 million to get a partial recount in two Wisconsin counties, Milwaukee and Dane, that went heavily for Joe Biden. The request came hours before a deadline Wednesday.

The race was close enough, with a difference of more than 20,000, that Trump could request a recount, but was required to pay. Counties must complete their work by December 1. 

Past recounts have had only marginal impacts on the final count. A recount of the 2016 presidential election netted Trump just 131 additional votes, with a victory margin of 23,000. That recount was requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein and opposed by Trump. 

 

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE 

The U.S. Postal Service said about 1,700 ballots had been identified in Pennsylvania at processing facilities during two sweeps on Thursday after Election Day and were being delivered to election officials, according to a court filing early Friday.

The Postal Service said 1,076 ballots, had been found at its Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center. About 300 were found at the Pittsburgh processing center, 266 at a Lehigh Valley facility and others at other Pennsylvania processing centers.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington is overseeing a lawsuit by Vote Forward, the NAACP, and Latino community advocates.

Sullivan on Thursday ordered twice-daily sweeps at Postal Service facilities serving states with extended ballot receipt deadlines. 

TRUMP’S POSSIBLE ROADMAP TO KEEPING THE WHITE HOUSE

Donald Trump does have a precarious – and politically explosive – path to keeping the White House. To do it he needs to get Joe Biden’s wins in a series of states set aside. 

With his claim that the Supreme Court would do that looking to have evaporated, instead he has to use the procedures of the Electoral College to turn it round. 

And he needs to do it in a lot of states: if Georgia and Arizona stay on track for Joe Biden, he will have 306 votes, far above the 270 needed. Trump appears to be taking legal action, or intending to, in six states: Pennsylvania, with 20 Electoral College votes; Georgia, with 16; Michigan with 16; Arizona with 11; Wisconsin with 10; and Nevada with six.

He needs to get at least any two of the larger three states plus one more state to go Republican to get Biden under 270. 

Here is how he might manage it: 

STEP ONE: GET COURTS TO PUT HOLDS ON CERTIFYING THE VOTE IN TARGET STATES 

The vote is not official until it is ‘certified’ – that is officially declared valid – which happens later in November. Georgia certifies on November 20, and Nevada and Wisconsin are last on December 1. 

Trump is already trying to get certification put on hold in Pennsylvania and Michigan, claiming large-scale irregularities.  

OR: GET AN ‘AUDIT’ REQUESTED OR EVEN BETTER ORDERED – AND KEEP IT GOING PAST CERTIFICATION

Michigan Republican state senators have asked for an ‘audit’ claiming that allegations of irregularity need to be looked into.  This could be a useful tool if courts don’t come through: at the very least it would allow Republicans to say they don’t trust the certification because it has not been audited.

STEP TWO: KEEP THE CERTIFICATION ON HOLD PAST DECEMBER 8

This is the ‘safe harbor’ deadline when all election disputes must be resolved. If they are not fully played out, whoever has a court ruling in their favor at this point keeps that result. So if Trump has certification on hold in target states, he has a chance to flip them to him starting now. 

STEP THREE: GET REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURES TO AGREE TO APPOINT THEIR OWN ELECTORS

You were not voting for the president directly: you were voting for electors to the electoral college. But the Constitution does not say that electors are winners of a popular vote. Instead the Constitution says: ‘Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.’ In the early 19th century, states rapidly moved to make the appointment of the electors the result of the popular vote; by 1832 South Carolina was the only holdout. It stuck with that approach until secession.

So Republicans in at least three and possibly more states would have to decide that because the results are not certified – or because they claim they don’t trust the certification because of an audit or the lack of one – that they can take back control for themselves. They would argue that because the results aren’t certified or trustworthy, it’s up to them to work out the will of the people.

Then – undoubtedly in the face of huge public protest – they would appoint Republicans who will vote for Trump.  

This has happened in recent history: in 1960 Hawaii had disputed elections and sent two slates of electors. 

STEP FOUR: SWEAT IT OUT WHEN GOVERNORS APPOINT THEIR OWN ELECTORS

All three of the biggest target states – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – have Republican legislatures and Democratic governors. So now the governors could simply appoint their own electors – voting for Biden – and say that their votes are what counts on January 6, when the Electoral College is counted and record in Washington D.C.

STEP FOUR: SURVIVE A SUPREME COURT CHALLENGE TO THE REPUBLICAN ELECTORS 

Such a dramatic change would go to the Supreme Court. It has never directly ruled whether states could do that: in 2000, three of the five justices who gave the election to Bush over Gore said that state legislatures had complete control – but that is not a precedent. Now Trump’s fate would be in the hands of nine justices, three of whom he appointed and one of whom – Clarence Thomas – said that legislatures are in charge.  

Democrats would of course argue that the governors’ electors are the right ones, and a titanic battle would play out. If Trump wins – again in the face of likely huge public protest – he is on to the final stage. 

STEP FIVE: HOPE THAT THE PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN SLATES DON’T GO FAITHLESS

If Pennsylvania is one of the states to ignore the popular vote, Trump needs its 20 Republican electors to stick to the plan – but the state allows faithless electors. So all, or even some, could make a difference in an already mathematically fraught bid to keep the presidency. But assuming he has enough votes not going to Biden, it is on to Washington D.C.

STEP FIVE:  MAKE IT TO JANUARY 6 

This is D-day for the plan: The newly-sworn in Congress meets to count the Electoral College votes. The vice-president, Mike Pence, presides, over a joint session. Normally the ‘certificates’ showing how each state voted are opened in front of the vice-president, the count is recorded and with a bang of the gavel, the electoral college winner is officially declared.

Now Trump needs Republicans in the House and Senate to work together. A member of the House and a senator can jointly object to a state’s certificate when it is opened. The last time this happened was in 1877, which caused a months-long crisis, ended by compromise and followed by the Electoral Count Act of 1887. 

This time the 1887 rules come into play. If there is an objection, they split into the House and Senate and there are two hours for debate. This has only happened once, in 2005, when a tiny number of Democrats objected to Ohio’s vote count. But it was voted down overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate. 

And finally, the vote count is in alphabetical order, so Arizona will be the first battleground state where all this could be tested. 

STEP SIX: MAKE SURE THE RULES ARE IN YOUR FAVOR

As the Trump ships enters uncharted waters, one issue is unresolved: how do you work out what a majority of the Electoral College is? That seems simple but it might not be. If the House and the Senate come to different conclusions on a state with rival slates of electors, then the question is what happens next. 

The most likely answer is that they are simply removed from Biden’s total but not added to Trump. But does that mean the states still count in the Electoral College? The 1887 law is not clear: it seems to suggest both options are available, so Congress might have to try to decide – or Pence as president of the joint session could rule.

If Congress goes for the shrinking college, that favors Biden unless Trump has Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – all the states being targeted by Trump. But if it stays at 538, then Biden could well lose without Trump actually winning: once it falls below 270, there is no majority and therefore it is up to the House to decide.

STEP SEVEN: KEEP MITT ROMNEY, SUSAN COLLINS AND LISA MURKOWSKI ON TRUMP’S SIDE (AND HOPE PENCE CAN VOTE)

If Trump is to win, he has to have the Republicans in the Senate vote for Arizona’s Republican slates as the first order of business. 

This is where the Georgia Senate race comes into play. 

If the Georgia runoffs are decided and Democrats take both seats, Pence would have to tie break in Trump’s favor – if that is allowed. The rules say he is president of the joint session. But they are unclear on whether he retains his tie-break power as president of the Senate. The two roles are not identical and the 1887 law appears to give him a passive, rather than active, role in the session – more like the chief justice presiding over Trump’s impeachment trial than a regular Senate session.

But if Republicans get one or both Georgia seats, the Senate will be 51-49 or 52-48, which means that any rebellion by Republicans is extremely dangerous. Assuming that Pence has a tie-break, it would take only two or three rebels to end Trump’s run. There are three obvious candidates: Mitt Romney voted to impeach him, Susan Collins owes him nothing after he refused to campaign for her, and he has called for Lisa Murkowski to be primaried. 

STEP EIGHT: WATCH A DEBATE WHICH HAS NO PRECEDENT

The 1887 law sets some ground rules for how the House and the Senate debate which slate of electors are valid. They have to decide what the true vote was at the safe harbor deadline – back on December 8 – and which slate of electors were appointed in line with state law. So the debate should – in theory – not be partisan but a determination of which side is valid. In principle, that could mean different outcomes for different states. But assuming that  a Arizona goes Trump’s way in the Senate and Biden’s way in the House, that state is tied – and then it’s on to a new constitutional crisis. 

STEP NINE: NOW IT’S GETTING REALLY MESSY – COULD THERE BE TWO PRESIDENTS

The law says that Congress can’t move on to the next state until debate is resolved over the one in question. But it also says that the meeting cannot be dissolved until all states are decided.

So the whole proceeding could be deadlocked at Arizona. And as long as it remains deadlocked, there is a looming deadline of January 20 – at which point Pence and Trump are out of office anyway. In that scenario, Nancy Pelosi becomes president automatically at noon. 

However, Pence could break the deadlock on Arizona by ruling that the votes are not to be counted at all, and debate can resume on the next item.

Democrats clearly would not agree. In that scenario, it is impossible to say what would happen. They could walk out, say the debate is not resolved – which it would not be – and therefore Pelosi would be sworn in on January 20.

But Pence can then rule that the debate in fact is going on even without Democrats, run through the votes with only Republicans and come up with a Trump victory: meaning two rival presidents both claiming they are in charge. Both can be sworn in at noon on January 20, with only one with their personal items in the White House.

What happens then is impossible to say: the Supreme Court could try to rule between them, or the military might have to decide who is commander-in- chief. 

THE OTHER STEP NINE: KEEP DEBATING (ALTHOUGH WHY WOULD DEMOCRATS WANT TO? 

Of course Democrats could stick with the debate and keep going, debating each state as they go along. 

If Trump overturns six states’ votes, it is inevitable that Democrats lose, regardless of the rules. If he has fewer states, he will want the 538 figure kept in play to get Biden into a minority. This highly unlikely step gets to neither having a majority in the Electoral College.

STEP NINE: THE HOUSE DECIDES – TRUMP HAS DONE IT

If Trump and Biden end up here this is safer ground: the House has decided before. It does not vote under normal rules. Instead each state delegation gets one vote and has to decide among the delegation how to allot it. 

So going by current House results, 27 states have Republican majorities, and all Trump has to do it get a simple majority of them. Trump has triumphed – but it is an exhaustingly long process to get back on the platform on January 20 to be sworn in. 

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