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Latest On Trump's Efforts To Reverse Election Outcome

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

It's been nearly two weeks since President Trump's defeat in the election became clear, and more than two-dozen lawsuits from the Trump campaign have failed since Election Day. Now the president's team appears to want Republican-led state legislatures to overturn the results in key states based on debunked claims of voter fraud. Today, Republican leaders of the Michigan state House and Senate met with President Trump at the White House. Michigan is set to certify election results on Monday that confirm President-elect Biden won that state by more than 150,000 votes. Here with more is NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez.

Hey, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.

CHANG: Hey. So what do you know about what happened today during that White House visit?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, the two lawmakers, you know, Michigan state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, met with the president today. They released a pretty forceful statement after that meeting asserting that they plan to follow the normal process regarding certification. They said they have, quote, "not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan." And they said their state's process should be deliberate and, quote, "free from threats and intimidation." They put it quite simply that candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan's electoral votes. So they were very clear that they intend to go about their jobs as they planned to before.

CHANG: OK. So given that, what is your sense of what the Trump team's game plan is at this point?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah. I mean, it is clear that some on Trump's legal team want the results changed. During an interview with Fox Business' Lou Dobbs, Trump's attorney, Sidney Powell, said very clearly that the state legislators in swing states should overturn the results.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SIDNEY POWELL: The entire election, frankly, in all the swing states should be overturned. And the legislatures should make sure that the electors are selected for Trump.

ORDOÑEZ: You know, that was clearly part of the motivation to meet with these Michigan lawmakers, even though Chatfield described it in a tweet as just a chance to meet the president of the United States, which he said he would do regardless of party. But, you know, there are serious questions considering the attention that President Trump and his campaign have put on trying to convince state Republicans to stop the certification of results in key states.

CHANG: I mean, yeah, there are serious questions. So how has the White House explained why this meeting even happened today?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, they haven't commented since it happened, but press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked about it during a press briefing earlier today. She said that it was not an advocacy event and said it was nothing out of the ordinary. But, you know, the meeting was not on the White House schedule, not the official schedule. And Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, at least this morning, said he had planned to attend. But now his son has tested positive for the coronavirus, so there were a lot of questions about if he'd actually be there. The meeting also comes just days before the state is set to certify their election results.

CHANG: Right. OK, so meanwhile, President Trump did speak today just as states are starting to certify their election results, as you mentioned. Did he address in any way his intentions with respect to election results going forward?

ORDOÑEZ: Yes and no. He did hold a briefing, one of the very few public appearances since the election, to tout his administration's record on one of his top priorities, rules aimed at lowering prescription drug costs. But as you know, time is running out on the president. He did not directly address the election, and he certainly did not concede. But he also talked in somewhat parting ways, you know, kind of celebrating his record on one of his top priorities. He said he hoped they have the courage to keep the new rules. But, of course, he didn't explain who he meant by they.

CHANG: Interesting. That is NPR's Franco Ordoñez.

Thank you, Franco.

ORDOÑEZ: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.