President Donald Trump personally asked Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas if he would argue a long-shot election lawsuit seeking to overturrn the election results in four battleground states, should the Supreme Court agree to take it up, two sources told CNN on Wednesday.
Trump inquired on Tuesday whether Cruz would argue the case, which was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday night in an effort to block election results from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all of which were won by President-elect Joe Biden. Cruz agreed to do so, according to a spokesperson.
A source familiar with the conversation said Trump has asked Cruz to argue a number of these election challenges.
The New York Times first reported Trump’s request and Cruz’s answer. The White House declined to comment.
News of Cruz’s potential involvement comes after Trump got involved in Paxton’s case on Wednesday, asking the Supreme Court in a court filing to block millions of votes from the four states. The President is being represented by a new attorney, John Eastman, who is known for recently pushing a racist conspiracy theory that claimed Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was not eligible for the role because her parents were immigrants.
In the challenge, Paxton argues that the battleground states exploited the Covid-19 pandemic to justify ignoring federal and state election laws. Seventeen Republican-led states have also filed a brief in support of Paxton’s position.
Several members of Congress have now backed efforts by the Trump administration and the Republican Party at large to overturn the results of the 2020 election in court.
CNN reported on Wednesday that Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, a close Trump ally, sent an email from a personal email account to every House Republican soliciting signatures for an amicus brief in the Texas case. The email said Trump is “anxiously awaiting the final list” to see who signs on.
Attorney General William Barr stated earlier this month that the Justice Department has not found evidence to support allegations of widespread fraud that could have changed the result of last month’s presidential election.
Cruz, who has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court, tweeted Monday that he stood “ready to present the oral argument” in a case from Pennsylvania Republicans urging the court to block certification of the commonwealth’s election results.
On Tuesday, the court denied the petitioners’ request to hear the Pennsylvania case, delivering a near fatal blow to the GOP’s long-shot bid to invalidate Biden’s victory.
CNN’s Ariane de Vogue, Jake Tapper, Kristin Wilson and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.