WASHINGTON – Rudy Giuliani and other lawyers leading President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his defeat for re-election described a widespread and implausible fraud on behalf of Joe Biden in a news conference on Thursday (Nov 19), but they offered no new allegations of fraud and presented no evidence for their claims.
Their allegations ranged from complaints that Republican observers were not allowed to observe vote-counting in Philadelphia and Detroit to a claim by Trump lawyer Sidney Powell that US voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems used software made in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez.
Chavez, who served as the country’s president, died in 2013.
Powell said her claim was substantiated by an affidavit filed with a lawsuit in Georgia.
Dominion Voting Systems is an American company that has said it has no connection to Venezuela.
“President Trump won by a landslide,” she said.
“We are going to prove it.”
Trump tweeted on Thursday that the news conference would show “a very clear and viable path to victory. Pieces are very nicely falling into place.”
“I don’t know if we’re going to have time to develop all that,” Giuliani said of the claims about Venezuelan influence in the US election, adding that Republican bogeymen such as financier George Soros were also involved.
Trump’s lawyers spoke in front of a map that read, “multiple pathways to victory,” with the states Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona.
The lawyers spoke without masks inside a conference room at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington that was crowded with journalists. Giuliani, a former New York mayor, repeatedly mopped sweat off his face.
“This is real. This is not made up,” Giuliani said.
“I know crimes, I can smell ’em.”
A third lawyer, Jenna Ellis, scolded news organisations for accurately reporting that Trump’s team has not shown evidence of widespread irregularities or fraud. During the news conference, Giuliani repeatedly said he could not share the names of witnesses to the alleged conspiracy, saying they would be harassed.
“This is an elite strike force team that is working on behalf of the president and the campaign,” Ellis said.
Giuliani reviewed lawsuits Trump’s team has filed in Pennsylvania and Michigan that seek to stop the states from certifying their elections.
But Giuliani said earlier on Thursday that the campaign had voluntarily dismissed its Michigan suit, claiming it had achieved its goal after two Republican members of the canvassing board in the county that includes Detroit tried to rescind their votes in favour of certifying the county’s election.
Michigan’s secretary of state has said the two board members can’t rescind their votes and that the next step is for the state canvassing board to certify Michigan’s election results.
Giuliani said an additional suit would soon be filed in Georgia.
On Wednesday, Giuliani described at length to a federal judge in Pennsylvania a vast but vague Democratic conspiracy to steal the election that justified the invalidation of hundreds of thousands of votes – enough to flip the state from Biden to Trump.
Pennsylvania Attorney-General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, blasted Giuliani on Thursday, saying he has “no facts to fit his client’s false narrative about election fraud.”
On Thursday, Giuliani repeated his complaints that Republican observers were kept too far away to be able to monitor ballot processing.
Election officials across the country dispute that claim, saying Republican observers were present at all times.