Michigan lawmakers pledge to 'follow the law' on picking electors after meeting with Trump

Two Michigan lawmakers summoned to the White House Friday in apparent connection with President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results in that state said they would “follow the law” in regards to certifying a winner.

Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield issued a statement upon leaving a highly unusual White House meeting that has been criticized by Washington lawmakers of both parties.

“The Senate and House Oversight Committees are actively engaged in a thorough review of Michigan’s elections process and we have faith in the committee process to provide greater transparency and accountability to our citizens,” a joint statement from the two committees read. “We have not been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election.”

Trump has sought to convince Republicans in the legislatures of key battleground states he lost to President-elect Joe Biden to go against the vote totals and select electors that could overturn Biden’s lead in the Electoral College. Such a move would be unprecedented in U.S. history.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a briefing Friday that the visit from the lawmakers was not about the election results.

“There will be no one from the campaign there, he routinely meets with lawmakers from all across the country,” McEnany said.

Mike Shirkey, right
Michigan state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, right, arrives at the White House to meet with President Trump. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

On Thursday, the Trump campaign announced it was dropping a lawsuit it had filed in Michigan because it had been successful in halting the certification of results in Wayne County, which includes Detroit. That claim was not true, as Wayne County did certify Biden the winner earlier that day. As a result, the campaign’s only remaining way of winning the state was to convince Republican lawmakers to ignore the votes of their constituents.

Trump has made a series of unfounded claims about the election results in Michigan and other states where rules put in place by Republican legislatures ensured that mail-in ballots were counted after in-person votes.

Shirkey and Chatfield did not reveal whether they spoke to Trump about voting on electors that run counter to the state’s vote, saying instead that they discussed federal funding for COVID-19.

“We used our time in the White House to deliver a letter to President Trump making clear our support for additional federal funds to help Michigan in the fight against COVID-19. We have since sent the same correspondence to our congressional leaders,” the lawmakers’ joint statement read.

The two men did not explain why they needed to travel to Washington to deliver the letter to Trump, but their statement did offer the president some measure of reassurance: “Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation. Allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections.”


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