Trump Allies in Battleground States Rush to Stop Jill Stein's Recount Efforts
Lawyers and super PACs in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania file federal lawsuits to halt or block efforts, some already underway
President-elect Donald Trump's allies are trying to block the ballot recount being pushed by the Green Party's Jill Stein.
Late Thursday, two super PACs and a team of Trump attorneys filed lawsuits in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, respectively, to try to block the efforts in those states. And on Friday morning, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette followed suit, filing a lawsuit to stop the recount that is set to begin today.
In Wisconsin, where the process is already underway, the Great America PAC, the Stop Hillary PAC, and an individual voter claimed the recount request Stein filed last week violates the due process of voters in the state, and could "unjustifiably cast doubt upon the legitimacy of President-Elect Donald J. Trump's victory." They also say the short window for the process could result in errors.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit in Pennsylvania argues that Stein lacks a valid claim and only "alleges speculative illegality."
David Cobb, Stein's campaign manager, responded to the conflict in Pennsylvania on Friday, stating that "Donald Trump will do anything and everything to block Pennsylvania voters from knowing whether their votes counted. Why is he so worried about letting this recount move forward? We will continue to help Pennsylvania voters make sure that the election in Pennsylvania had integrity and that their votes counted."
And Schuette, a Republican, asked the Michigan Supreme Court to stop the recount effort poised to begin Friday on the grounds that "[i]f allowed to proceed, the statewide hand recount could cost Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars and would put Michigan voters at risk of being disenfranchised in the electoral college."
That's an argument state Republicans put forward when Stein officially filed there on Wednesday. The advocacy group Progress Michigan countered at the time that "the integrity of the electoral process is priceless."
"It's been Michigan Republicans' wrong priorities that favor corporations that are the cause of the financial stress that local governments find themselves in, not this recount," the group's executive director Lonnie Scott said at the time, referring to the party spending $134 million in Capitol View building renovations and allowing Governor Rick Snyder to use public funds to pay for his legal defense in the Flint water crisis.
Stein fired back at Schuette on Friday, saying Republicans' "cynical efforts to delay the recount and create unnecessary costs for taxpayers are shameful and outrageous."
The recount in Michigan would have to be completed by December 13.
And her lead recount lawyer, Matthew Brinckerhoff, pushed back at opponents in Wisconsin as well, warning that the campaign "plans to intervene and join the Wisconsin Elections Commission in defending the recount. Citizens in Wisconsin and across the country have made it clear that they want a recount and deserve to see this process through to ensure integrity in the vote."
As Politico reports, while there's no indication that the pro-Trump actors coordinated their effort, they all filed roughly within 24 hours of each other. Reporters Nolan D. McCaskill and Daniel Strauss note that it wasn't until Hillary Clinton's campaign got involved in Stein's effort that it began to gain traction—and the attention of Republican opponents.
Trump himself only mentioned the recount after Clinton's team publicly announced its support. He tweeted, without evidence, that he won the popular vote in a landslide "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."