The report sets out to analyze the many fraud claims that the Republican former president, Donald Trump, and his allies have offered to explain Trump’s loss by 7 million–plus votes (306-232 in the Electoral College) to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Among the noted figured behind the report are retired federal appeals court judges Thomas B. Griffith, J. Michael Luttig and Michael W. McConnell; former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who served under President George W. Bush; former U.S. senators John Danforth and Gordon Smith; longtime Republican election lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg; and veteran Republican congressional chief of staff David Hoppe. Each one has been elected as a Republican, been appointed to their office by a Republican, or is otherwise associated with the GOP.
From the archives (June 2022): Conservative legal scholar, Pence lawyer, other witnesses tell Jan. 6 committee of ‘crazy,’ anti-democratic scheme to hand Trump a second term
And (November 2020): Trump campaign’s election-fraud claims aren’t really designed to win in court
Also see: Paul Ryan was ‘sobbing’ and ‘horrified’ while watching the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, book says
“Once they had lost, Trump and his supporters had an obligation to recognize that the election debate was over,” the report states. “Questions of election legality must be resolved dispassionately in courts of law, not through rallies and demonstrations.”
Weeks after Biden’s win — called by major-media decision desks on Nov. 7, 2020, four days after Election Day, and affirmed by the Electoral College on Dec. 14 — Trump supporters infiltrated the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, immediately following a Trump rally near the White House dubbed “Stop the Steal” and, not coincidentally, as Congress was meeting to certify Biden’s electoral victory. The attack on the Capitol complex halted for hours that bedrock democratic process and led to millions of dollars’ worth of damages and more than 140 injuries along with five deaths. The incident is being investigated by a bipartisan House committee, which has been holding public hearings over the past several weeks.
Don’t miss: Republicans still favored in midterm elections, but their chances for taking back Senate are dropping
The “Lost, Not Stolen” report highlights Nevada, a state that Biden won in 2020, as one notable site of baseless fraud claims.
According to the report, Trump and his legal team called Nevada “the big treasure trove of illegal balloting,” but were not able to produce evidence to support such a claim. The Nevada secretary of state, a Republican, highlighted just 100 cases of potential fraud out of the 1.4 million votes cast in Nevada during the 2020 election. Biden won Nevada by more than 33,000 votes.
Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud have continued to be aired as recently as this week, as he sought to cast new doubt on the Wisconsin result, appearing to believe that a state court’s ruling restricting the use of ballot drop boxes could, and should, be applied retroactively — notwithstanding, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel observed, that Trump’s 2016 win in the state over Democrat Hillary Clinton would also be placed in jeopardy.
Biden beat Trump in the Badger State by some 20,600 votes in 2020, while Trump outpolled Clinton by just under 22,750 votes four years earlier, when Gary Johnson and Jill Stein combined to draw about 140,000 votes.
From the archives (June 2022): Trump attorney general William Barr calls vote-fraud claims ‘bullsh—,‘ ‘bogus’ and ‘idiotic’: ‘I didn’t want to be a part of it’
Trump is not alone in believing, or professing to believe, the 2020 election was not legitimately conducted. In polls cited by Politifact, a majority of self-identifying Republicans have said they do not think Biden was “legitimately elected.” One Quinnipiac poll conducted six months after the election found as much as two-thirds of Republicans agreeing with the claim that Biden’s election to the presidency was not legitimate.
See also: Elon Musk tells Trump to ‘hang up his hat and sail into the sunset’
But in reality, as Ginsberg and Griffith relayed in an MSNBC interview, not only was there insufficient fraud to be found to change the outcome of the election; no single state — indeed, no single precinct — could have had its legitimate result undermined by voter fraud.
Don’t miss (January 2021): Pennsylvania’s Democratic lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, suggests he’s owed a reward being offered by the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, for anyone coming forward with evidence of voter fraud
From the archives (October 2021): Right-wing Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pays out promised $25,000 bounty over illegal voting — by a registered Republican
The “Lost, Not Stolen” report comes as Biden’s overall approval rating has fallen from percentages in the mid-50s in April 2021 to below 40% of late, adding credence to what many self-identifying Republicans have described as a gut feeling that Biden could not have won 81.3 million votes (to Trump’s 74.2 million). Biden’s average favorable rating, at 42.2%, is also underwater.
See: Most Democrats want an alternative to Biden in 2024, poll finds
Not helping is a persistently high inflation rate, which the Federal Reserve, echoed by the Biden White House, had expected to be “transitory” and to have moved well lower by this summer. Instead, according to June data, inflation, as measured by the consumer-price index, has climbed to a 41-year high of 9.1%.
From the archives (March 2021): Voting rights intensify as partisan battleground, with Democrats pushing H.R. 1 and Republicans altering election procedures at state level