Republican-appointed former U.S. attorneys 'hereby' call on Trump to let vote counting continue
WASHINGTON – A group of former U.S. attorneys who were appointed by Republican presidents criticized President Donald Trump for prematurely declaring victory while votes are still being counted and called his claims of voter fraud "premature, baseless, and reckless."
"Unfounded allegations of fraud and threats to initiate litigation aimed at stopping the vote count are clearly inappropriate and have the potential to undermine the rule of law as it applies to our electoral process," the group said in a statement Thursday.
Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden are locked in tight races in key battleground states as local election officials continue to count mail-in ballots. Biden is a few electoral votes away from victory, while the Trump campaign has started laying the groundwork for what could be a prolonged legal battle to dispute the results.
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits to stop ballot counting in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Biden is leading in Michigan and is projected to carry the state. The president is leading in Pennsylvania and Georgia, but his leads there have narrowed as mail-in ballots from mostly urban and suburban areas are tallied.
In Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign alleged there was lack of transparency in the counting process and that its poll observers were not given access to counting locations. The campaign is also seeking to intervene in a Supreme Court case in which the justices upheld a three-day extension of the deadline by which Pennsylvania absentee ballots must be received.
In Georgia, Trump's legal team claimed that late absentee ballots were mixed with others that arrived on time.
Judges have dismissed the lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia, citing lack of evidence in both cases. In Pennsylvania, an appeals court allowed Republican and Trump campaign poll watchers to more closely observe election workers as they count absentee ballots.
The president has taken to Twitter, claiming voter fraud in states where Biden is projected to win and calling for the counting of votes to stop.
In their statement, the former U.S. attorneys called on Trump to let the vote-counting process take its course.
"We hereby call upon the President to patiently and respectfully allow the lawful vote-counting process to continue," the group said, an apparent quip about Trump's tweet in which he said: "We hereby claim the State of Michigan" – a state where Biden is the projected winner.
The Trump campaign has not responded to a request for comment.
Ex-DOJ officials endorse Biden:Former U.S. attorneys appointed by Republican presidents cite politicization of DOJ
The former U.S. attorneys were appointed by Republican presidents, including including George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower. The group endorsed Biden last month, citing what they described as politicization of the Justice Department under Trump.
"The president has clearly conveyed that he expects his Justice Department appointees and prosecutors to serve his personal and political interests in the handling of certain cases – such as the investigations into foreign election interference and the prosecution of his political associates – and has taken action against those who have stood up for the interests of justice," the group said.
Contributing: Dave Boucher, Kevin McCoy, Kevin Johnson, the Savannah Morning News and the Detroit Free Press