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Michigan's GOP Lawmakers Head To White House As Trump Contests Election Results

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

After six days of recounting ballots by hand, election officials in Georgia confirmed last night President-elect Joe Biden has indeed won the state. Joe Biden also won the state of Michigan by more than 150,000 votes, but that hasn't stopped President Trump from trying to overturn that result. The president and his lawyers tried to sue Michigan over the count, but it didn't go anywhere, so the president is taking things into his own hands. He's reportedly invited two Republican lawmakers from Michigan to the White House today.

Rick Pluta of Michigan Public Radio is following all of this and joins us now. Good morning, Rick.

RICK PLUTA, BYLINE: Good morning.

MARTIN: So Michigan has long been in Joe Biden's column. Why is President Trump disputing the result?

PLUTA: Well, in part because the result isn't official yet. The statewide vote has been counted, but it hasn't been certified. And it can't be accurately certified - and this is important - without results from Detroit - the state's largest city - and Wayne County. But the Wayne County Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on Tuesday night - two Republicans, two Democrats - on certifying that vote based on returns from Detroit. It's got to be bipartisan.

So there was this blowback during the public comments part of the meeting, and so the Republicans on the board then reversed themselves, and they voted to approve. And now they want to reverse again. They want to do a double reversal and uncertify what they've already certified.

MARTIN: Just quickly, what's their justification?

PLUTA: Well, their justification is that there are what they're calling irregularities in the vote from Detroit. But these are normal things that - you know, elections aren't perfect - fair, but not perfect. And so the Republicans said that based on that, that they weren't going to certify. And then again, because of this angry blowback during the public comments, they quickly changed their minds. And now they want to change their minds again after one of the board members - one of the Republican board members reportedly got a phone call from President Trump.

MARTIN: Right. So the Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in multiple states. They have mostly imploded. But the campaign did just drop its lawsuit in Michigan altogether. Why?

PLUTA: Well, because they've decided, apparently, that another route might be better. And that's why the two Republican leaders from the Legislature, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, are reportedly on their way to D.C. to meet with the president and I guess hear what he's got to say, although, you know, our secretary of state is saying that this deal is done, that you can't change the votes now.

MARTIN: So you just mentioned this. The president has reportedly invited Michigan Republicans to the White House. I mean, it is hard not to assume he is doing so in order to pressure them. Have you heard anything from their camp?

PLUTA: We have not heard what is on the agenda. But look. Considering where things are at, there's only one thing, presumably, that they will be talking about, and it's what could be done about the Michigan results.

MARTIN: Rick Pluta of Michigan Public Radio, thank you.

PLUTA: A pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.