Washington Post: Trump spoke to GOP official who now wants to ‘rescind’ vote to certify Detroit’s results

(CNN) — President Donald Trump called at least one of the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers on Tuesday evening, before the GOP board members said Wednesday they wanted to “rescind” their votes to certify the presidential results from the county in Michigan, even though the board has already certified the results, The Washington Post reported.

Monica Palmer, a GOP board member in Wayne County, the largest in Michigan and home to the city of Detroit, told the Post she received a roughly-two minute call from the President on Tuesday, saying she felt no pressure to change her vote from him. TheDetroit Free Press and Associated Press also reported Palmer spoke to Trump.

“I did receive a call from President Trump, late Tuesday evening, after the meeting,” Palmer told the Post. “He was checking in to make sure I was safe after hearing the threats and doxing that had occurred.”

The pushback against certifying the election is the latest long-shot strategy from the Trump campaign as it is quickly running out of legal options to challenge the presidential election result. 

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The GOP board members in Wayne County threw the normally typically election certification process into chaos on Tuesday when they initially voted against certifying the county’s results, leaving the board in a 2-2 deadlock. 

After hours of public pressure and complaints that they were brazenly disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of voters from the majority-Black city of Detroit, the Republicans changed their votes and the certification passed unanimously.

But then Wednesday, Palmer and Republican board member William Hartmann sent sworn affidavits to the county’s attorney disavowing their previous votes to certify. But given that the deadline for county certification has already passed, it is unclear what legal remedy or legitimate argument these two Republican officials can make to formally rescind their votes and undo the certification.

“There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote,” said Michigan Secretary of State spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer. “Their job is done and the next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify.”

The Trump campaign dropped its lawsuit in Michigan alleging voting irregularities on Thursday, including the two affidavits from the GOP board members and misrepresenting that Wayne County’s election results had not been certified. 

Certification is usually a formality, but Trump is trying to block or delay the process in key states as part of a long-shot effort to overturn his election defeat through the Electoral College. Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other allies have suggested that GOP state legislatures in battleground states Biden won should try to use a delay in certification to appoint their own slate of electors and ignore the states’ popular votes for Biden.

The next step in Michigan is for the state’s Board of Canvassers to certify the election results, which is scheduled for next week. That board includes two Republicans and two Democrats, and the spouse of one of the Republican board members, Norm Shinkle, filed an affidavit supporting the Trump campaign’s Michigan lawsuit.

Asked by the Post if she had discussed the presidential vote count with Trump, Palmer said: “It’s hard for me to describe. There was a lot of adrenalin and stress going on. There were general comments about different states but we really didn’t discuss the details of the certification. … It was not pressure. It was genuine concern for my safety.”

CNN has reached out to Palmer and Hartmann about the calls.

Democratic Vice Chair Jonathan Kinloch said on Thursday that the county certification date of November 17 is a definitive deadline and that board members’ votes cannot be changed after the fact. The GOP officials sent their affidavits to the county, but the action stops there. They have not filed any lawsuits to try to force the county to call a new meeting.

“There is no further action that can be taken in regards to the certification,” Kinloch told CNN.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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