President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign withdrew their federal lawsuit in Michigan on Thursday, claiming they had already accomplished their goal of preventing vote certification in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. But that was not actually the case.
The Michigan election lawsuit argued the vote should not be certified based on claims by Republican poll watchers who said they saw voter fraud at Detroit’s TCF Center. A similar lawsuit in Michigan state court was dismissed last Friday. A judge found that the claims were not credible and lacked evidence to support them.
The Wayne County Board of Canvassers met on Thursday to decide whether to certify the vote count, but canvassers were deadlocked in a 2-2 standoff. The two Republican members, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, refused to certify the Wayne County vote count, citing inconsistencies with absentee ballot records.
They offered to certify the vote in some of the county’s municipalities, but held out on affirming the count in Detroit. Members of the public urged canvassers to certify the vote during the meeting’s open comment period. Attendees alleged that the Republican members’ refusal to certify Detroit, where Black residents make up 79% of the population, was racially motivated.
The Republican canvassers ultimately agreed to certify the vote after Democratic members offered an independent audit of the results. But despite the outcome, the Trump campaign released a statement regarding the lawsuit which suggested they thought differently.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said:
This morning we are withdrawing our lawsuit in Michigan as a direct result of achieving the relief we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted.
Attached to the filing were affidavits from Hartmann and Palmer attempting to rescind their votes. They said they only certified the vote because of the audit agreement, which Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson later said was not binding.
State election officials said that once the vote is certified, it cannot be revoked. David Fink, attorney for the city of Detroit, asked the court to sanction Trump’s attorneys for using a motion to dismiss to spread disinformation about the election results.