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Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to members of the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Monday, November 9.
Despite their public rhetoric backing President Trump’s fight against the election results, top Republicans recognize there is little chance the outcome can be changed — and hope that the court fights will be resolved quickly.
Several senior Republicans told CNN Monday evening that Trump is within his rights to make his case court. But senators all were either doubtful about Trump’s chances of overturning tens of thousands of votes in several key states — or wouldn’t say if they agreed with the President that there was mass voting fraud.
“He’s got every right to go through the process,” said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and member of GOP leadership. “Right now it looks like an uphill climb for him to be sure. …This could be over pretty quickly.”
Asked if Trump should concede if his lawsuits fall short, Cornyn said, “Unless he’s got some evidence that would change the numbers. The numbers are pretty compelling. But I don’t think we’re there yet.”
“I personally haven’t seen any,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the most senior Senate Republican when asked about widespread voting fraud that could change the election. “But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some. I would have no way to go beyond what I know and I just know that I haven’t seen any. But there could be fraud.”
The message was consistent among a number of Republicans, who don’t want to break with the leader of their party who won more than 71 million votes. But they also see the reality that Joe Biden is on his way to the White House.
“We are going to scrutinize the system,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said of mail-in voting. “We’re going to accept the results of court decisions and vote totals. But we’re not stopping.”
When asked if Trump would accept a loss in the courts, Graham only said, “I will.”
Graham also said he spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to set up a joint committee to investigate mail-in voting. “We need to put this new way of voting under a lot of scrutiny. .. [McConnell] said it’s something to think about — but he’s more worried about keeping the Senate.”
The President’s uphill legal fight has put Republicans in awkward spot, especially as some in their party — like former President George W. Bush — have begun to refer to Biden as “President-elect.”
“I think I’ve said all I’m going to say about that,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican and member of GOP leadership, when asked if Biden should be called “President-elect.”