'Just baseless': Bay Area political, legal experts weigh in after Trump campaign sues 3 states

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Thursday, November 5, 2020
Political, legal experts weigh-in after Trump sues 3 states
Bay Area political and legal experts are weighing in after President Donald Trump promised a legal battle against Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Bay Area political and legal experts are weighing in after President Donald Trump promised a legal battle on Tuesday night, with millions of ballots still left to be counted.

"This is a major fraud in our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So, we'll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop," he told supporters. "We don't want them to find any ballots at 4 o'clock in the morning and add them to the list."

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By Wednesday, his campaign echoed those claims of fraud. They filed lawsuits against Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

His campaign, ultimately questioning the integrity of the voting process in states where the result could cost him the presidency.

Among their demands, better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted.

"It's a shame that we have to do that," Eric Trump announced at a press conference Wednesday. "It's the last thing that we wanted to do. It's the last thing that my father wanted to do. But this is rampant corruption and it can't happen."

"This is not serious litigation here. This is political strategy," Donna Crane told ABC7 News.

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Crane spent nearly 30 years as a legislative strategist and is now a lecturer with the Political Science Department at San Jose State University.

"I very quickly move to a place of concluding that these are just baseless," she shared. "Every credible analyst I know finds these threats to be anywhere between frivolous and absurd."

She added, "Biden is ahead. If they stopped the count, Biden wins the state. There's no rhyme or reason to this."

Speaking as a political practitioner, Crane said she believes the Trump campaign is trying all that it can to essentially "buy some time." She assumes they're attempting to see what they can do to stop what she said is starting to look like an "inevitable loss for the president."

"In the short term, I think it's a real shame," Crane said. "Because what's happening right now with our election is kind of a wondrous thing. The whole country came together, there was a huge increase in voter participation, everybody by and large behaved themselves."

Those aspects of the presidential election seemingly overshadowed by litigation.

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"We should and we are going to count everyone's ballot, and everyone should abide by the results," Crane told ABC7 News. "This is the hallmark of a democracy. Let's be grown up about this."

She maintained, "This is a fantastic moment. We can have an orderly transition of power, if it's a change from one administration to another. That's what Americans should be focusing on."

Crane said America can let the lawyers skirmish, "And we can let the Trump campaign go through the stages of grief, if that's what it needs to do to come to terms if it's a loss. But really, I think we should just be focused on the bigger picture here. This is kind of an amazing moment."

With President Trump's mention of the Supreme Court, ABC7 News asked about any comparisons to Bush v. Gore.

"I didn't think Bush v. Gore would get where it got. I think very few people did," she said. "But, I don't see anything like that shaping up at this stage. I don't think we can credibly say that that is likely to happen."

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However, Crane said, "I think it's pretty unseemly for the president to have been laying groundwork over recent days that the Supreme Court is going to quote, help him. He continues to say that."

"First of all, that's not how any of this works. And second, it's not a great look for democracy when the person who appointed three out of nine justices then sort of gives a little wink and a nod at a rally to say, 'Hey, my friends over there, they're going to help me out,'" she told ABC7 News.

At this point, she and others don't expect the Supreme Court will get involved in the way the president wants.

However, she is bracing for the possibility the list of litigation could grow longer.

ABC7 News learned lawyers across the country and in the Bay Area are backing Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

"It is just an abuse of our system," lawyer, Joe Cotchett told ABC7 News.

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"It's as if these wonderful people that dedicate their time and energy to making sure that the ballots are cast right, counted right, and what have you on not doing their job and acting fraudulently. That's been the claim in many of the lawsuits," he shared. "That there is a fraud being committed by many people turning in their ballots. I mean, it is scandalous. It is outrageous. Most of the lawsuits are getting dismissed."

Cotchett said he has known Biden for 45 years.

Currently, Cotchett said he and hundreds of lawyers across the U.S. are preparing to meet legal challenges brought on by the GOP or President Trump.

"We have a group of lawyers here in California, all volunteer all pro bono, that are working on the West Coast," he explained. "The Biden campaign has lawyers in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and all the other states that are contributing their time and their effort, pro bono, to help make sure that we have the United States it believes in- the electoral process."

Cotchett continued, "I don't want to be harsh, but I'm going to be... The Trump people just want to abuse the court system to hold up who's going to be our next president. That's the bottom line."

He referenced the more than 300 lawsuits filed in the last month alone, by Republicans.

"I think it's a tragedy that young people are seeing this. When I say young people, I mean millennials that are seeing that we operate in this fashion," Cotchett said about the current contention. "We shouldn't be doing that."

He told ABC7 News, "In some states, they want to stop the counting of ballots- that's where they're ahead. In other states, they want to move ahead with the counting of ballots where they're behind. So, it's a terrible abuse of the legal system."

Cotchett said the Lawyers for Biden group is gearing up to assist in any way possible.

"You wait and see that Trump will attempt one way or another to push this all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court," he shared. "He's got volunteer lawyers all over the country that are stepping up to do what's right."

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