US President Donald Trump met with two leading Republicans from the US state of Michigan in a highly unusual session as the president continues to try to overturn his election defeat.
Trump met at the White House with Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Mike Shirkey, head of the state’s Senate.
The two lawmakers play a key role in ensuring the state’s electoral college votes are assigned to president-elect Joe Biden, the popular vote winner, by assigning Michigan residents to serve in the typically symbolic role of “electors.”
Sidney Powell, one of Trump’s lawyers, has called for state legislatures to appoint electors for Trump, an action that would circumvent the popular vote and would be met with legal challenges.
But following the meeting the lawmakers released a statement indicating that they do not agree with Trump’s claims of wide-spread voter fraud and intend to appoint the electors to Biden as legally mandated.
“We have not yet 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 the election,” the lawmakers said.
Biden was declared the winner in Michigan by all major US broadcasters, with a lead of more than 150,000 votes.
The state has been at the centre of election controversy after Republican members of a local election board refused to certify the results from Detroit, a Democratic stronghold, until massive backlash twisted their arms and forced a reversal.
The president’s longshot bid to overturn the election was dealt another defeat on Thursday and Friday when a state-mandated recount in Georgia affirmed Biden’s victory and the state’s Republican authorities certified the results.
Governor Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state – both Republicans – independently certified the results, which give Biden an over 12,000-vote margin of victory, with nearly 5 million votes cast.
“Working as an engineer throughout my life I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” said Raffensperger earlier on Friday. “The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office, or of courts, or of either campaigns,” he added.
Each state must officially certify its vote tallies in the coming days and weeks before deadlines in early December.
In other states, including pivotal Pennsylvania, the Trump legal team is losing nearly all of the suits it is filing, as deadlines near to certify results.