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Michigan lawmakers meet with Trump, say they haven’t seen evidence of voter fraud

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump met Friday with Michigan lawmakers as part of an overall effort to reverse election losses in key states – but his guests said later that Michigan’s electoral votes should go to the winner of its popular vote, and that is Joe Biden.

“The candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes,” said a joint statement from Mike Shirkey, the majority leader in the Michigan state senate, and Lee Chatfield, speaker of the Michigan House. “These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections.”

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Trump did not plan the session as “an advocacy meeting.” But other aides said the president has discussed the long-shot idea of pressuring Republican-led state legislatures to send a pro-Trump slate of electors to the Electoral College – even in states like Michigan where the voters went for Biden.

The statement by the legislative leaders seemed to throw cold water on the idea. Shirkey and Chatfield said allegations of fraud should be investigated, but “we have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome” in Michigan.

The legislators also said they asked Trump for more federal money to help Michigan fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The White House meeting came as Trump continues to dispute the outcome of the Nov. 3 election, filing lawsuits in several states and making baseless allegations about voter fraud.

Numerous legal analysts said Trump has no path to reverse the election results and seems more interested in undermining the emerging Biden presidency by having backers question the integrity of the process.

“This is very dangerous for our democracy, as it is an attempt to thwart the will of the voters through political pressure from the president,” said Rick Hasen, a professor specializing in election law at University of California at Irvine School of Law. “Even though it is extremely unlikely to work, it is profoundly antidemocratic and a violation of the rule of law. It’s inexcusable.”