President Trump has abandoned his plan to win reelection by disqualifying enough ballots to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s wins in key battleground states, pivoting instead to a goal that appears equally unattainable: delaying a final count long enough to cast doubt on Biden’s decisive victory.
On Wednesday, Trump’s campaign wired $3 million to election officials in Wisconsin to start a recount in the state’s two largest counties. His personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has taken over the president’s legal team, asked a federal judge to consider ordering the Republican-controlled legislature in Pennsylvania to select the state’s electors. And Trump egged on a group of GOP lawmakers in Michigan who are pushing for an audit of the vote there before it is certified.
Giuliani has also told Trump and associates that his ambition is to pressure GOP lawmakers and officials across the political map to stall the vote certification in an effort to have Republican lawmakers pick electors and disrupt the electoral college when it convenes next month — and Trump is encouraging of that plan, according to two senior Republicans who have conferred with Giuliani and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter candidly.
But that outcome appears impossible. It is against the law in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin law gives no role to the legislature in choosing presidential electors, and there is little public will in other states to pursue such a path.’
Behind the thin legal gambit is what several Trump advisers say is his real goal: sowing doubt in Biden’s victory with the president’s most ardent supporters and keeping alive his prospects for another presidential run in 2024.
The shift in strategy comes after the president has suffered defeat after defeat in courtrooms around the country. And it serves as a tacit acknowledgment that Trump has failed to muster evidence to support his unfounded claims about widespread fraud.