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US election: Republican lawyer urges Trump to accept election outcome

Donald Trump remains determined to challenge his defeat to Joe Biden in the courts, despite mounting pressure from within his own party.

The latest is Republican election lawyer Ben Ginsberg who spoke with American 60 Minutes programme. Ginsberg has represented the conservative side of US politics in election disputes for decades, and is best known for spearheading the legal strategy that won the presidency for George W. Bush in 2000.

Ginsberg called Trump’s strategy “incoherent”, and urged him to accept the election result.

“I’ve been doing this a long time. This is the type of litigation strategy where you throw the kitchen sink at the wall and see what sticks,” he said.

“It’s lawyers reacting to a client who is disjointed, and unhinged, and not terribly accepting of defeat.”

He suggested the President’s lawyers might be trying to slow down the states’ efforts to count all their votes and certify the results before the Electoral College meets to officially decide the presidency.

The logic being that Trump could then pressure electors to vote for him in the Electoral College, even if Biden has been declared the winner in their state.

60 Minutes asked Ginsberg what advice he would give Trump, given the chance.

“Sir, you need to take a step back, look at the results. It is a democracy,” he replied.

“It is a country that’s been very good to you. And you need to respect the institutions, and the greatest institution of all is our elections that lead to the peaceful transfer of power. And you cannot be destructive of that.”

The programme also spoke to Al Schmidt, another Republican, who is one of three city commissioners responsible for the vote count in Philadelphia.

The city is heavily Democratic, and was a key part of winning Pennsylvania for Biden. Many of Trump’s baseless claims about fraud have focused on Philadelphia in particular.

“We are counting eligible votes cast by voters. The controversy surrounding it is something I don’t understand,” Schmidt said.

“It’s people making accusations that we wouldn’t count those votes, or that people are adding fraudulent votes, or just coming up with, just, all sorts of crazy stuff.”

He revealed election officials were receiving calls from people telling them “this is what the Second Amendment is for”. The Second Amendment to the US Constitution is the one that protects Americans’ right to bear arms.

“That’s a not so veiled death threat,” said the interviewer, CBS reporter Bill Whitaker.

“Yes. For counting votes in a democracy,” Schmidt said.

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