The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Trump’s own lawyers keep undermining his voter fraud claims

Since the election, the Trump campaign has repeatedly alleged widespread fraud in the 2002 election. In court, his lawyers say the opposite. (Video: The Washington Post)

President Trump’s legal challenges are still floundering, as lawyers are forced to wage a battle based on specious and baseless claims in an effort to hold up the certification of the 2020 election.

But what’s often just as notable as the failure of the efforts is in how little they resemble Trump’s actual allegations.

In fact, despite Trump’s claims of massive fraud and other nefarious occurrences, his lawyers have repeatedly acknowledged that there is no evidence of such things or said they weren’t making the same allegations Trump is.

They have also undermined Trump’s claims when it comes to whether observers were allowed to witness vote-counting, so-called glitches in voting machines and the idea that dead people voted.

Below is a comparison between what Trump has said and what his lawyers have said about the same subjects.

Massive fraud


“ … There were massive improprieties and fraud … ” (Nov. 17)

What his lawyers say: Appearing in a Pennsylvania courtroom Tuesday in the state’s biggest case, Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani conceded, “This is not a fraud case.”

In the same case, a judge asked Trump lawyer Linda Kerns whether she would “agree with me that you are not proceeding based on allegations of fraud or misconduct; is that correct?” Kerns responded, “I am not proceeding on those allegations."

In Montgomery County, Pa., Trump lawyer Jonathan S. Goldstein was asked by a judge, “Are you claiming that there is any fraud in connection with these 592 disputed ballots?” Goldstein responded: “To my knowledge at present, no.”

In Maricopa County, Ariz., home to Phoenix, Trump lawyer Kory Langhofer said, “We are not alleging fraud in this lawsuit. … This is not about fraud.”

And in a joint stipulation signed by the Trump campaign’s lawyers this week in Bucks County, Pa., they acknowledged that they had no evidence of fraud:

27. Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any fraud in connection with the challenged ballots.
28. Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any misconduct in connection with the challenged ballots.
29. Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any impropriety in connection with the challenged ballots.

A stolen election

What Trump says: “This is a case where they’re trying to steal an election, they’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen.” (Nov. 5)

“We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election.” (Nov. 3)

What his lawyers say: Langhofer said, “We are not alleging anyone is stealing the election.” He added: “It is not a stealing-the-election case.”

Dead people voting

What Trump says: ” … There were massive improprieties and fraud — including dead people voting … ” (Nov. 17)

What his lawyers say: In the joint stipulation in Bucks County, the Trump legal team conceded, “Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence, that any of the challenged ballots were cast by, or on behalf of, a deceased person.”

Glitches as fraud

What Trump says: “All of the mechanical ‘glitches’ that took place on Election Night were really THEM getting caught trying to steal votes.” (Nov. 15)

“This was a rigged election [including] voting machine ‘glitches’ all over the place (meaning they got caught cheating!)” (Nov. 18)

“Now it is learned that the horrendous Dominion Voting System was used in Arizona (and big in Nevada). No wonder the result was a very close loss!” (Nov. 11)

What his lawyers say: The voting machine glitches have been central to allegations in Arizona. But Langhofer, while stressing that the Arizona case wasn’t about fraud, said, “The allegation here is that, in what appear to be a limited number of cases, there were good-faith errors in operating machines …”

Observers allowed in the room

What Trump says: “They didn’t even allow Republican Observers into the building to watch [in Pennsylvania]. A terrible insult to our Constitution!” (Nov. 18)

“This is why they kept our poll watchers and observers out of the ‘SACRED’ vote counting rooms [in Pennsylvania]!” (Nov. 16)

“There were massive improprieties and fraud — including … Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations … ” (Nov. 17)

What his lawyers say: From last week:

JUDGE PAUL S. DIAMOND: Are your observers in the counting room [in Philadelphia]?
TRUMP LAWYER JEROME MARCUS: There’s a nonzero number of people in the room.
JUDGE: I am asking you as a member of the bar of this court: Are people representing the plaintiffs in the room?