President Donald Trump called into a bizarre “hearing” on voter fraud organized by Rudy Giuliani and Pennsylvania Republicans on Wednesday—part of a doomed attempt to overturn an election result that has been certified by the state.
After canceling an in-person appearance, Trump called campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis’ phone, which was held up to a microphone as people in the Gettysburg hotel room cheered.
“We have to turn the election over because there’s no doubt we have all the evidence, we have all the affidavits, we just need some judge to listen to it properly,” Trump said, after weeks of not producing any evidence of mass fraud in court. “Evidence is pouring in now as we speak.”
Giuliani, who previously admitted to a Pennsylvania judge in a failed lawsuit that the campaign was not alleging massive fraud, once again hyped the hearing as an exercise in uncovering massive fraud.
He rolled out witnesses that included a lawyer not licensed in Pennsylvania, a statistician who said he was not good at math, and other first-time polling place volunteers, local bureaucrats, and voters who complained about what appeared to be legal procedures or one-off incidents presented without corroborating evidence.
One woman, who said she was a Democrat and volunteered as a minority observer, complained about an argument that broke out over how to submit one woman’s mail-in ballot. She said someone threatened to slap her.
An elderly woman complained that she voted for Trump but, when she printed off her vote, she couldn’t see his name.
Asked by state lawmakers if he had any whistleblowers who were part of the fraud, Giuliani replied, “I believe we have. I have to check this but I believe, sometimes I get the states a little confused, but I believe there are three that would need a subpoena to protect themselves in order to testify.”
The hotel room “hearing” won’t change the election outcome in the state that Joe Biden won by 80,555 votes.
In his rambling phone call from the Oval Office, Trump repeated his vague claims about the entire election being rigged, about winning every swing state, and about Republican poll watchers in Pennsylvania being “treated like dogs.” (In fact, COVID-19 restrictions meant all observers couldn’t be nearer than 25 feet to counters—a decision the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld.)
“This election was lost by the Democrats, they cheated, it was a fraudulent election, they flooded the market, they flooded everybody with ballots and I just want to thank everybody for being there,” Trump said. “This is a very important moment in the history of our country.”
Giuliani said he wanted a special prosecutor to probe those who ran the election.
“I think you have more than enough to say that this election, the numbers don’t add up,” he said. “It’s easy to figure out what the right numbers are by excluding the illegal votes. Out of the honest votes, the winner of the election changes.”
Judge Matthew Brann of the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania threw out the Trump campaign’s Pennsylvania lawsuit last week, noting that it sought to “disenfranchise almost seven million voters” without providing any evidence of fraud.
Brann lamented that after making such bold claims about corruption in the voting process, the legal team had provided only “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”
Much like Giuliani, Pennsylvania state Republicans complained during Wednesday’s performance that they’d heard about weird things happening, or had constituents contact them about weird things happening—but they openly admitted they had no idea what it meant.
Rep. Mike Jones ran through some election results that he thought seemed suspicious, like Trump over-performing against some down-ballot local Republicans in the in-person voting but getting beaten against the same candidates in mail votes, sometimes by tens of thousands.
“It doesn’t prove anything,” he said, describing the results as “head scratchers.”