By LUCIEN BRUGGEMAN, OLIVIA RUBIN, and ALEX HOSENBALL, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s legal team on Thursday staged a bizarre 90-minute press conference where they outlined plans to resurrect a crumbling legal strategy, in part by recycling a litany of false claims — including several that have already been rejected in the courts.
Rudy Giuliani led the effort in a winding, and at times, angry speech in which he lashed out at the mainstream press for failing to repeat his unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud. Giuliani, sweating profusely, told gathered reporters that the claims would be the foundation of new lawsuits in multiple states.
Criticism of Giuliani’s rhetoric came swiftly. Christopher Krebs, the recently dismissed chief of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity branch, called Giuliani’s performance “the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history. And possibly the craziest.”
The Biden transition team dismissed it as a spectacle that highlighted “the absurdity of Donald Trump’s thoroughly discredited claims of voter fraud.”
Sources inside the White House said the legal effort has the backing of the president. Here are some of the claims Giuliani and his legal team offered during Thursday’s press conference in Washington, D.C., and the facts surrounding them:
The Michigan affidavits
Giuliani focused considerable time and attention describing an affidavit signed by Jessy Jacob, a city of Detroit employee who said she witnessed fraudulent behavior in the processing of ballots. The affidavit is not new.
Last week, Michigan Judge Timothy M. Kenny found the allegations too “generalized” and said they had been largely debunked by other witnesses put forward by the defense. Kenny said that Jacobs wrongly “ascribes a sinister motive” to the actions she witnessed, which actually had clear and logical explanations.
Regarding Jacob’s allegation that she was instructed not to look at the signatures on ballots, for instance, Judge Kenny ruled that this was because the task was already being performed by another employee.
Kenny rejected the case, which is now pending an appeal in the state Supreme Court.
Pennsylvania’s poll watchers
Giuliani alleged that Republican poll watchers in several jurisdictions had been blocked from meaningful access to observe the ballot-tallying process. He said poll inspectors were “put in a corral so far away” from the ballot counters that they were unable to carry out their duties.
“Why would you not allow people to carry out the function they have been allowed to do for 50 years, 60 years?” Giuliani asked. “Why wouldn’t you allow inspections of those ballots? Because you knew you were going to use those ballots to catch Biden up.”
Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on a 5 to 2 vote that the this claim was false. The court found the Trump campaign was, in fact, granted reasonable access to elections officials opening mail-in ballots, and that the state legislature never prescribed how close the observers should be standing.
“The General Assembly, had it so desired, could have easily established such parameters; however, it did not,” Justice Debra Todd wrote in her opinion.
Even the dissenting justices cast doubt on the Trump campaign’s argument. Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor wrote that the campaign’s request to cancel large numbers of ballots “based on isolated procedural irregularities” was “misguided.”
“I fail to see that there is any real issue,” Saylor wrote.
In a cue, perhaps taken from the president’s Twitter feed, Giuliani and his colleagues repeated unfounded attacks on Dominion Voting, a Denver-based election software firm that provides voting machines to jurisdictions in 28 states. Sidney Powell, a recent addition to the president’s legal team, recycled several debunked conspiracy theories about the company on Thursday, including an unfounded claim that “one of its (software’s) most characteristic features is its ability to flip votes.”
A coalition of state and federal election officials have already categorically denied the possibility of voting software causing votes to “flip,” as Trump and his allies have repeatedly suggested.
“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” the statement read. “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”
Earlier Thursday, ABC News reported that Dominion employees were facing online harassment and threats in the wake of the president’s false attacks on the firm.
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