President Donald Trump plans to travel to Pennsylvania on Wednesday for a meeting of state Republican lawmakers examining accusations of election impropriety, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Trump’s visit to Gettysburg for a hearing by the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee was not listed on the president’s public schedule. He is expected to appear alongside former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been leading a longshot legal effort in several states to reverse the results of the Nov. 3 election, the people said.
Giuliani’s efforts have gained little traction – and widespread derision – and the president’s appearance alongside his longtime private lawyer risks further tarnishing his legacy.
In Pennsylvania, where President-elect Joe Biden leads by more than 80,000 votes, Trump supporters have complained that observers in Philadelphia were not allowed to be closer to workers counting the ballots, but have failed to present evidence of widespread fraud.
Last weekend, a federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed a lawsuit that Giuliani personally argued after the other attorneys working on the campaign’s lawsuits in the commonwealth asked to be removed from the case.
Trump’s lawyers presented “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” that were not supported by evidence, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his opinion dismissing the lawsuit. Giuliani has pledged to appeal.
Still, Trump has publicly struggled to accept his election loss, only this week agreeing to give Biden’s team access to government resources as part of the transition process. And he’s sought to appeal to lawmakers in Republican-controlled state governments to refuse to certify results that show him losing to the former vice president.
Last week, he invited Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, both Republicans, to the White House. But they issued a joint statement after their meeting with Trump saying they had “not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.”
Those efforts also fell short in Georgia and Nevada, which each progressed through the ordinary process of certifying election results. And Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that his state had certified the results and appointed representatives to the Electoral College.
Earlier this week, his campaign distanced himself from lawyer Sidney Powell after she accused Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, of having been bribed by an election systems company. Last week, tabloid newspapers and late-night television hosts mocked Giuliani for holding a press conference during which he sweat so profusely that hair dye appeared to drip down his cheeks.
Trump could also use the event as a launchpad for his political future, amid speculation that he could look to harness discontent over the election results to mount another presidential bid in 2024 or launch his own media network.
Wednesday’s event, which was reported earlier by CNN, is expected to include opening statements from the state senators as well as testimony from witnesses alleging fraud, in addition to a presentation from Giuliani.
“It’s in everyone’s interest to have a full vetting of election irregularities and fraud,” Giuliani said in a statement. “And the only way to do this is with public hearings, complete with witnesses, videos, pictures and other evidence of illegalities from the November 3rd election.”
Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano said he had requested the public hearing because voters in his state “lost faith in the electoral system.”
“Over the past few weeks, I have heard from thousands of Pennsylvanians regarding issues experienced at the polls, irregularities with the mail-in voting system and concerns whether their vote was counted,” Mastriano said in a statement. “We need to correct these issues to restore faith in our republic.”
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