Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks says he will challenge Electoral College results
WASHINGTON – Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., says he will challenge the tally of Electoral College votes when Congress officially certifies the results of the presidential election on Jan. 6.
The move, while unlikely to succeed, has generated praise from President Donald Trump.
In a plan first reported by Politico, Brooks told USA TODAY in a Thursday phone interview he would challenge the election results in Congress, saying he wanted to "reject the count of particular states" like Georgia and Pennsylvania that had "flawed election systems."
"In my judgment, if only lawful votes cast by American citizens are counted. Donald Trump won the Electoral College,” Brooks claimed. The large numbers of mail-in ballots in key states, the majority of which broke for Biden, were "illegal," he claimed.
There is no evidence for widespread illegal voting or fraud in the election.
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"Double figures" of House lawmakers had come to him in support of the proposal, he continued, but "I've also not solicited any senators or anyone at the White House at this point."
Trump tweeted his support for Brooks, and the congressman responded on Twitter, but Brooks said he had "no conversations" with anyone at the White House on the issue.
Challenge unlikely to succeed
A move by Congress to overturn the results of the Electoral College would be highly unusual. Biden won enough key swing states to win a majority of electoral votes, and the states the Trump campaign and its allies have contested have certified their results.
Brooks' effort is unlikely to succeed. Although members of Congress can raise objections to Congress' counting of electoral votes and declaration of results, both a member of the House and Senate must raise the objection, and then both the House and Senate would have to approve it for electoral votes to be excluded – an unlikely scenario with a Democratic-controlled House.
Several Democratic House lawmakers attempted to object to Congress' January 2017 Electoral College count, but their objections were made without the support of senators and were overruled.
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Brooks' comments come as the president and his close allies continue to challenge the legitimacy of the election with false claims of mass voter fraud or corruption.
There is no evidence to substantiate the claims made by Trump or Brooks, though the Trump campaign continues to file lawsuits claiming impropriety. The cases have almost uniformly been thrown out by courts.
A small but growing number of Republican officials at the state and federal level have begun to break with the president by acknowledging Biden's victory in the election.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told reporters he "can’t imagine" that Congress would overturn the Electoral College results, acknowledging that while a Republican “could” protest it is unlikely “that goes anywhere.”
On Tuesday, Attorney General Bill Barr said the Justice Department found no evidence of wrongdoing in the 2020 election.
But the Justice Department and courts do not decide the election, Brooks said. Instead, he said, Congress is the "final arbiter" of presidential elections, and the congressman plans to give a speech on the election every day on the House floor he was permitted to until Jan. 6, when Congress would officially declare the election results.