U.S. President Donald Trump is seen reflected while boarding Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 31, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The media played ping-pong Monday with a leaked, hour-long recording of President Donald Trump on Saturday afternoon asking Georgia’s secretary of state to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have” to win the state. Republicans argued with each other over whether to back the president’s actions.  

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri remains set to challenge the general election results Wednesday, an effort backed by a coalition of senators and senators-elect, including former Trump rival Sen. Ted Cruz Jr. of Texas and both Republican senators fighting for their seats in Georgia’s runoff election Tuesday. “My logic is this. If you voted in November for Donald Trump you need to stand up and fight,” said Sen. David Perdue, who along with fellow Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler has said Trump has a right to challenge the state’s results. “Fight with the rest of us trying to get him a fair accounting in the state and vote tomorrow.”

But that fight was also condemned by an outpouring of current and former prominent Republicans. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement that “Biden’s victory is entirely legitimate.” Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, warned in a memo that the challenges “set an exceptionally dangerous precedent,” and her father, Dick, the former vice president under George W. Bush, signed a letter with the 10 living Pentagon chiefs to warn that any actions to involve the military in claims of election fraud would take the country into “dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory.”

Even Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, an outspoken Trump ally, said he will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes on Jan. 6. “I’m grateful for what the president accomplished over the past four years, which is why I campaigned vigorously for his reelection,” Cotton said. “But objecting to certified electoral votes won’t give him a second term—it will only embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government.” Trump challenged Cotton on Twitter: “How can you certify an election when the numbers being certified are verifiably WRONG,” Trump wrote. “You will see the real numbers tonight during my speech, but especially on JANUARY 6th.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, suggested Monday that Trump may face criminal charges for pressing him to overturn election results. The Fulton County District Attorney could launch a criminal probe, Raffensperger said, but a conflict of interest stemming from a conversation he had with the president prevented his own office from investigating him. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Perdue Rips GA Secretary of State for Leaked Audio — ‘Disgusting’ – Breitbart – 1/4/2021
Monday ahead of his Senate runoff election, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) slammed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for leaking audio of a phone call with President Donald Trump to The Washington Post. 

It’s LIkely This Won’t Stop On January 6, Or January 20 – Crooks and Liars – 1/4/2021
We know this effort is doomed to defeat in both the House (which is Democratic) and the Senate (where a handful of Republicans are likely to join with Democrats to defeat it). So what happens after it fails? I predicted a few weeks ago that Pence would acknowledge Biden’s win, but proclaim that the fight was ongoing.

President Trump is set for his last stand: Goodwin – New York Post – 1/2/2021
With apologies to Mark Twain, reports about the death of Trumpism are premature. At least for a few days more, Donald Trump has license to keep upsetting apple carts in Washington.

Analysis: The 37 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump’s call with the Georgia secretary of state – CNN – 1/4/2021
Thanks to The Washington Post, which broke the news, the full audio of the call is available. I went through the transcript of the call and pulled out the lines you need to see.

Once a Foe of Trump, Cruz Leads a Charge to Reverse His Election Loss – New York Times – 1/3/2021
Four years later, Mr. Trump is suffering yet another defeat — this time a loss by more than seven million votes to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. — and, once again, he is making baseless claims of fraud. But this time, Mr. Cruz is singing a different tune.

Battle lines drawn in GOP over planned Electoral College challenges, certification set for Wednesday – Fox News – 1/4/2021
The Wednesday showdown in the Capitol, which could bleed into Thursday or even beyond depending on how long Trump allies in Congress try to drag it out, will set up the ultimate loyalty test to the president for Republicans. Do they back Trump’s unsubstantiated claims to the bitter end or do they break with the president, potentially leading to a Trump-backed primary challenge, as the president has already promised against several high-profile members of his party?

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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