•   
  •   
  •   

Politics Sen. Lindsey Graham faces ethics complaint over call to top election official in Georgia about ballots

22:06  19 november  2020
22:06  19 november  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Fact check: Partly false claim about discarded ballots in Pennsylvania amplified by Eric Trump

  Fact check: Partly false claim about discarded ballots in Pennsylvania amplified by Eric Trump Viral posts are partly false about less than a dozen discarded ballots in Pennsylvania. They weren't found in a ditch and aren't evidence of fraud.A post on Facebook on Sept.

Lindsey Graham , accusing the South Carolina Republican of pressuring a Georgia elections official to The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia , where Biden leads President Donald Trump by It is AP’s practice not to call a race that is – or is likely to become – subject to a recount.

top Georgia election official was about toughening voter ID laws, not tossing out legal ballots . Turkey-linked event at Trump hotel raises ethics concerns. Trump Organization won't track foreign Exiting ethics boss hits Trump for property visits. Kushner meeting with Russian: Business or politics?

WASHINGTON – Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch ally of the president, is the target of an ethics complaint after his controversial phone call with a key election official in Georgia over how the state counts ballots.

Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger accused Graham earlier this week of pressuring him to find ways to exclude or invalidate legally cast absentee ballots and reverse Trump’s loss in the state, an accusation the South Carolina Republican called "ridiculous."

Graham said he had also spoken with Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and was briefed about the process in Nevada, both swing states that helped Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump for the White House.

Georgia counties must start hand count audit by Friday morning. Here's how it works.

  Georgia counties must start hand count audit by Friday morning. Here's how it works. Georgia counties must start auditing the presidential race Friday at 9 a.m. and finish by midnight Wednesday. Here's everything you need to know about the process. "One of the most important parts of this process is that it's to be open and that people are to be able to see this," Chris Harvey, the director of elections in Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office, said Thursday. "To our county election directors and their staffs, the -- the eyes of the of the state and nation are on you guys and on you performing this -- this really important task.

A top staffer for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Tuesday that he was on the line when Sen . Lindsey Graham asked his boss whether he had the power to reject certain absentee ballots , a question Nearly 5 million votes were cast in the presidential election in Georgia , and

Sen . Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is disputing Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's claim that Graham had hinted that he should try to discard some ballots in Georgia , where a recount is underway. Graham also made calls to officials in Arizona and Nevada, two other states

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

The senator's contact with other states over election counting efforts came as  Trump and his campaign have lodged multiple lawsuits over baseless voter fraud allegations in a longshot attempt to overturn the election results.

A complaint filed Wednesday to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics asks the panel to investigate Graham's phone call with Raffensperger, whether Graham suggested not counting all legal votes and whether he had threatened election officials, who are in the midst of a recount, with a Senate investigation. The complaint was filed by Walter Shaub, a former top ethics watchdog for the federal government under President Barack Obama; Richard Painter, the top ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush; and Claire Finkelstein, who heads the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law.

Trump says the battleground states saw election fraud. Republican officials running those states disagree.

  Trump says the battleground states saw election fraud. Republican officials running those states disagree. Republican officials in swings states have responded by assuring voters there have been no signs of fraud.State leaders and election officials – many of them Republican – in those crucial swings states have responded by assuring voters there have been no signs of widespread fraud despite what Trump and his supporters have alleged.

Pressure mounts on Trump ally Lindsey Graham over controversial Georgia ballots phone call . Senator has rejected claims he is meddling in state’s election . But Gabriel Sterling, who oversees voting systems in Georgia , told reporters he had listened in on Mr Graham ’s call to his boss.

Three top ethics experts and prominent critics of President Donald Trump on Wednesday formally requested the Senate Ethics Committee investigate whether Republican Sen . Lindsey Graham of South Carolina violated the chamber's rules in his probe over how mail-in voting was conducted in the

Lindsey Graham wearing a suit and tie: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., watches during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. © J. Scott Applewhite, AP Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., watches during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.

"If these allegations are true, Senator Graham's conduct constitutes an abuse of office and conduct unbecoming of a senator," the complaint states.

A quick guide: Trump’s lawsuits dispute election results as presidency is called for Biden

Congressional ethics probes are notorious for their length and often do not result in any disciplinary actions. Complaints can also be filed by anyone for any reason and do not indicate wrongdoing. Kevin Bishop, a spokesman for Graham, dismissed the complaint in a statement and pointed to previous remarks from the authors of the complaint criticizing Graham and Trump numerous times over the years.

Democratic Party waging a war over its future just as Joe Biden takes helm

  Democratic Party waging a war over its future just as Joe Biden takes helm Joe Biden will take the White House as a fractured Democratic Party battles over its future, with moderates and progressives blasting each other.House Democrats were stunned by their losses after weeks of forecasting had predicted a big win on Election Day. Whispers of leadership change swirled, and House lawmakers soon moved from privately bashing one another to a public airing of grievances on social media and in the media.

Lindsey Graham responds to 'stunning' charge from GOP official . Graham , even as he was defending his call to Raffensperger, revealed to reporters that he had also reached out to election officials in Because why is a sitting US senator not from Georgia , Arizona or Nevada suddenly so

Sen . Lindsey Graham denied that he asked Georgia 's secretary of state to toss ballots during a phone call , but he did discuss the process to verify signatures.

“These are long-time vocal critics of both Senator Graham and the Trump Administration," Bishop said. "Their complaint should be viewed in that light."

More: Lindsey Graham says he's spoken with multiple battleground state officials about ballot counting

More: Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger fires back against Trump’s false claims about election

But questions have been raised about Graham's contacts with election officials in other states. He has donated $500,000 to the president's legal efforts, where Trump and his campaign have argued baseless accusations of voter fraud in multiple states where Trump lost to Biden.

"Bottom line, we have a senator calling a key election official in the middle of an election as they're counting the vote – in a state he does not even represent – and apparently making suggestions to toss ballots," Painter said in an interview. "I find that to be clear interference in the electoral process and it's troublesome if he's doing it in order to help Trump."

Graham has continued to defend himself amid criticism. Asked in what capacity he was making these calls, Graham said “as a United States senator who is worried about the integrity of the election process nationally, when it comes to vote by mail.”

Fact check: What's true and what's false about the 2020 election

  Fact check: What's true and what's false about the 2020 election False claims about the election process are spreading online in wake of the 2020 election. Here's a list of recent fact-checks.Fact check: Pennsylvania voters exposed to COVID-19 can still vote

He told reporters this week he was stepping in to check on other states because the future of the country hangs in the balance. He denied claims he was pressuring officials to exclude ballots but was rather attempting to understand the method for which different states examine ballots.

Fact check: Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted twice on certifying election results

  Fact check: Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted twice on certifying election results The Wayne County Board of Canvassers didn't "refuse" to certify election results. After an initial tie, the board unanimously agreed to certify results.The lawsuit asks the judge to block the county Board of Canvassers from certifying election results if they contain fraudulent ballots and alleges that election officials backdated late-received ballots and excluded challengers from a “meaningful opportunity” to observe ballot processing.

His explanation differed from how Raffensperger saw the conversation with Graham. He told The Washington Post Graham questioned whether he had the power to reject certain absentee ballots, something Raffensperger said he interpreted as a suggestion to toss out legally cast votes.

Graham asked him whether political bias might have caused elections workers to accept ballots with non-matching signatures, Raffensperger said, and asked whether workers could throw out all absentee ballots in counties with higher rates of non-matching signatures. Graham has said he called merely to better understand how verifying signatures worked and said the suggestion that he was attempting to pressure Raffensperger to toss ballots was "ridiculous."

Fellow lawmakers largely haven't weighed in on the controversy but were interested in Graham's motivations in the calls.

Asked about Graham's efforts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., didn't weigh in on whether the contacts were appropriate. He instead outlined that each state runs their own elections and highlighted the lack of foreign interference in this cycle.

Fellow Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said he didn't see anything wrong with Graham contacting the officials.

"I mean every senator can talk to anybody who will pick up the phone and talk to them and any secretary of state should be willing to talk to any senator who calls them in my view," he explained. "I didn't see it as troublesome."

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said officials in these states shouldn't "give a hoot what a United States senator says to you."

Fact check: Joe Biden outperformed Hillary Clinton in most major metro areas

  Fact check: Joe Biden outperformed Hillary Clinton in most major metro areas Claims that vote counts could not be accurate due to the sheer number of votes Biden received are circulating online. Rasmussen Reports, a conservative-leaning pollster, shared an article by right-wing media group Gateway Pundit on Twitter, which was screenshotted and shared to Instagram and Facebook. Rasmussen’s tweet pulls a quote from the article.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning. “Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton in every major metro area around the country, save for Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta and Philadelphia ...

"I have no idea what Sen. Graham said but there is no reason any secretary of state should feel intimidated," Blumenthal said, pointing back to his days as an attorney general and getting similar calls from politicians.

"I'm not going to pass judgment on what he is doing because I don't know exactly what he is doing," Blumenthal said of Graham's conversations with state officials. "It really depends upon what he said, but I'm going to certainly presume he was careful to avoid any violation of law. But the judgment should be made by people who know exactly what he said."

Fellow Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island similarly did not pass judgement on Graham but said it came down to the rationale behind the calls.

"If all he’s trying to do is get information, people are entitled to do that," Whitehouse said. "If he’s trying to influence the way they perform their duty, that becomes a bit problematic. And without knowing what was said, I can’t tell which is which."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sen. Lindsey Graham faces ethics complaint over call to top election official in Georgia about ballots

Election 2020 updates: Michigan elections board faces deadlock; Trump requests recount in Georgia .
Trump's efforts to change the election outcome continue this week with Michigan scheduled to certify its results on Monday and Nevada on Tuesday.Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.

usr: 1
This is interesting!