WASHINGTON, DC — Members of the Michigan state legislature’s Republican leadership who met with President Donald Trump at the White House Friday afternoon said they “have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.”
The Michigan lawmakers — who visited the White House at the invitation of the President — didn’t say anything to suggest they were going along with Trump’s long-shot effort to overturn the results of the election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden.
“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,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield said in a joint statement after the meeting.
“Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation,” the lawmakers continued in their statement. “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.”
Trump, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and other allies have continued to peddle false claims of nationwide voter fraud.
The leaders said they also talked about Covid-19 relief with the President, and delivered a letter requesting more federal funds to fight the pandemic. They also said that they had accepted Trump’s invitation to the White House meeting “as we would accept an invitation from any sitting President if asked to meet at the White House.”
State House Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth was also scheduled to attend, a source familiar said ahead of the meeting.
There are also discussions currently underway with Trump about inviting Republican state legislators from Pennsylvania to the White House, two sources told CNN.
It’s not clear if those invitations have been extended yet, but Trump has expressed interest in doing so as he tries to insert himself into the vote certification process. The deadline for counties in Pennsylvania to certify their totals is Monday.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany would not say what Trump will discuss with the Michigan lawmakers.
“So he will be meeting later on. This is not an advocacy meeting. There will be no one from the campaign there. He routinely meets with lawmakers from all across the country,” McEnany said.
Despite McEnany’s claim that campaign officials would not attend, Giuliani, who has been leading the campaign’s legal effort, had told Fox 5 New York he would be at Friday’s meeting. But ahead of the meeting, an official familiar with the situation told CNN that Giuliani would no longer attend because he was in contact with someone with coronavirus.
Giuliani is self-isolating in Washington, DC, after his son, Andrew — a special assistant to the President — tested positive for coronavirus Friday morning.
Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis tweeted Friday that both she and Giuliani tested negative for the coronavirus, adding, “The entire legal team will continue to follow the advice and protocols of our doctors.”
Certification is usually a formality, but Trump is trying to block or delay the process in key states as part of a long-shot effort to overturn his election defeat through the Electoral College. Giuliani and other allies have suggested that GOP state legislatures in battleground states Biden won should try to use a delay in certification to appoint their own slate of electors and ignore the states’ popular votes for Biden.
Trump extended the invitation on Wednesday evening to the Michigan lawmakers by calling Shirkey.
Shirkey has not responded to emails from CNN either, and his phone mailbox was also full.
Earlier this week, Trump called two Republican canvass board members from Wayne County to offer his support, after they went back and forth on voting to certify the election results from the state’s largest county, which includes Detroit. The board members filed affidavits Wednesday seeking to “rescind” their votes to certify the election result.
Both Shirkey and Chatfield have said that they will honor their state’s popular vote and not stray from the process of how electors in Michigan are selected. Biden currently has a 154,187 vote lead over Trump in the Great Lakes State.
On September 24, Shirkey led the Senate to pass a resolution assuring that electors will vote for the candidate with the most votes as certified by election officials.
“The Michigan Senate commits to the selection of electors to the Electoral College that will be faithful to voting for the candidate with the most votes for President in Michigan as certified by Michigan election officials,” the resolution read.
Meanwhile, a growing number of veteran GOP lawmakers are objecting to Trump’s tactics. Rep. Fred Upton, a senior Michigan Republican who was targeted by Democrats but won his reelection bid by 16 points, said, “Yeah. I think it’s all said and done.”
“No one has seen any real identification of any real fraud,” Upton said,