President Donald Trump pulled the plug on a plan to travel to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Wednesday to hear lawyer Rudy Giuliani stitch together claims of voter fraud at a Republican hearing.
White House reporters were preparing to make the journey to the historic town when they suddenly got word that the trip was off.
Just minutes earlier, yet another members of Trump’s legal team, Boris Epshteyn, revealed he had tested positive for COVID-10.
Epshteyn had been at Republican National Committee headquarters for a bizarre press conference last Thursday that included Giuliani, Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis, and attorney Sidney Powell, who the Trump camp now says is not part of its legal effort.
Epshteyn, a campaign advisor who worked briefly in the administration, posted on Twitter: ‘I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am experiencing mild symptoms, and am following all appropriate protocols, including quarantining and contact tracing.
According to a pool report from reporters designated to follow the president Wednesday: ‘The traveling pool was getting ready to leave for Pennsylvania but was told at the last minute that their trip has been canceled.’ That report came at 10:50 AM, about 40 minutes after Epshteyn’s tweet.
A follow-on report stated: ‘There was never a trip on the president’s schedule. Still no public events on POTUS schedule.’
The president is said to have insisted on making the trip to Gettysburg for the event l. It will be the first time he has left the Washington DC area since Election Day. Trump is pictured walking ut of the Oval Office to pardon the national Thanksgiving turkey Tuesday
Trump had been expected to join Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg Wednesday for a hearing on allegations of fraud in the 2020 election.
The president is said to have insisted on making the trip to join his personal attorney at the event set to be held in a local hotel, sources told CNN.
Ellis tweeted Wednesday morning that she was en route to the event with Giuliani. That would mean Giuliani was going despite being exposed to two people in the last week who had tested positive for COVID-19: Epshteyn and Giuliani’s son, Andrew.
As it all unfolded, Trump tweeted that ‘2020 is a long way from over!’
He also tweeted that Giuliani was on conservative OANN news, and wrote: ‘RIGGED ELECTION!’
When Giuliani spoke at the all-Republican hearing, he repeated allegations about a ‘massive’ voter fraud.
‘It is very, very similar in at least six states that we’ve been able to study,’ he said. He then named five states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia, leaving out Pennsylvania, where the hearing-style event occurred.
‘The primary device were the mail-in ballots,’ he said. ‘They were hidden from Republicans,’ he claimed.
‘A Republican never got to see a single ballot,’ he said, although witnesses said they were allowed to observe the count from 20 feet away.
‘In your state, Republicans were uniformly, not allowed, kept out, put in chutes, like they were cows, to keep them from seeing these ballots,’ Giuliani said.
Giuliani also pointed to Virginia, in addition to the six states that went for Biden where he alleged fraud.
‘I think we may have actually won Virginia. That’s another battle,’ he said in a one-off comment.
Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano enters a public hearing on US President Donald J. Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud at a Wyndham hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
He once again raised questions about why Trump was leading in some states when he went to bed election night but Biden took the lead later. ‘What are the odds that they all switched overnight? They just switched,’ he said.’
He took on a federal judge who he said ‘mistakenly’ said he wanted to disenfranchise 6.8 million Pennsylvania voters.
‘We don’t want to disenfranchise anyone. We want to disqualify 682,000 votes so that 74 million people are not disenfranchised. That’s what happened by the cheating that went on here,’ he said, referencing Trump’s vote total. Joe Biden won upwards of 80 million in the latest count.
He made a quip about checking Pennsylvania cemeteries for their records, a reference to dead people voting.
‘I know crooks really well. You give them an inch and they take a mile. And you give them a mile and they take your whole country,’ he said.
One witness, Phil Waldron, a retired colonel, got introduced as a statistician, but had to clarify that he wasn’t.
‘I am not a statistician. I’m a combat officer and didn’t do well in math,’ he said.
None of the witnesses were put under oath.
Waldron raised accusations against voting machine systems used around the country and the world.
‘I personally debriefed the son of a Cuban intelligence officer who had first-hand knowledge of Hugo Chavez’ family members who told him not to worry about the populist threat against Maduro’s election in Venezuela. Quote unquote that it was guaranteed. Their father invested the money to build the SGO voting machine system,’ he said.
Another witness, Gary Feldman, took his yellow poll watcher certificate out of his packed wallet. He said his role was ‘to be the watcher for President Donald Trump’ and serve as his ‘eyes and ears.’
But he claimed he didn’t get satisfaction when he tried to observe the count inside a Philadelphia funeral parlor.
He said two people who did not identify themselves doubted his certificate and asked to discuss it outside.
‘I walked in with the watcher certificate in both hands to make sure they wouldn’t snag it out of my hand,’ he said.
‘Two poll workers, I don’t know who they were, they were wearing masked and everything. I produced a certificate and she starts saying it’s not good her,’ he said. He said a gentleman who was with her said ‘would you like to go outside and talk about this.’
‘I did have my bandana on, they had their face shield but they weren’t practicing social distancing. They were right on top of me,’ he said.
Later, Feldman passed his microphone to the next witness, who then coughed and passed it back so Feldman could make an additional point.
Another witness, Justin Kweder, complained about having to witness the count from too far away. ‘These masked workers were arranged throughout the 120,000 square feet at a distance from the observers from 10 feet to 200 feet,’ he said.
He raised complaints about ballots he said weren’t going through the scans properly, prompting workers to fix them with pink highlighters, only to have to do it again with a color that worked properly.
Kim Peterson, a Pittsburgh poll watcher, also complained about the distance. ‘We were kept in a corral that was at least 15 to 20 feet from any of the representatives,’ she said.
Observer Leah Hoops began her statement with praise of Trump. ‘To our fearless and brave president thank you for being our shield and putting us first,’ she said. She complained about an inaccessible back room.
She said TV monitors provided to observe the process were ‘pathetic.’
‘These were prob from the 60s,’ she claimed.
She said the counting center she observed was in the middle of a ‘huge parking’ lot and is located ‘next to loading docks.’
‘It has multi-million connections to the company Power HRG and Subaru Park soccer stadium,’ she said.
She complained about the back room with ‘no line of sight’ for observance. After getting an injunction she called a ‘joke,’ she was granted five minutes every two hours to go there.
The trip would have been the first time Trump would have left the Washington DC area since Election Day. Since then he has continued to insist he is not giving up his fight to overturn the results.
The Gettysburg battlefield is the site of one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. It marked a turning point in the war where the Union army pushed back advancing Confederate soldiers in 1863.
The historic Pennsylvania town is also where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic Gettysburg Address, citing the U.S. Declaration of Independence that proclaimed all people are created equal.
Trump’s visit was not listed on his daily schedule. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said: ‘I’d refer you to tomorrow’s public schedule. I have no additional updates at this time.’
Donald Trump had been expected to join Rudy Giuliani, pictured, in Gettysburg Wednesday for a hearing on allegations of fraud in the 2020 election
The event is set up to expose ‘irregularities’ in the election, according to the Trump campaign and Pennsylvania Senate Republicans.
Giuliani said in a statement Tuesday: ‘It’s in everyone’s interest to have a full vetting of election irregularities and fraud.
‘And the only way to do this is with public hearings, complete with witnesses, videos, pictures and other evidence of illegalities from the November 3rd election.’
The Trump campaign on Monday said it had set up two more of the hearings in Arizona and Michigan. Trump was also said to be considering traveling to Michigan.
But Republican official in Arizona told Fox News that ‘any such hearing’ has not been authorized by the Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.
The historic Pennsylvania town is also where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic Gettysburg Address, citing the U.S. Declaration of Independence that proclaimed all people are created equal
And Michigan GOP lawmaker Matt Hall told The Detroit News: ‘We’ve just determined that logistically it’s not something we’re going to be able to do.’
Michigan certified Biden’s victory in the battleground state on Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.
Giuliani said in a statement Tuesday: ‘It’s in everyone’s interest to have a full vetting of election irregularities and fraud’
Pennsylvania certified its results, and its 20 electors for Biden, on Tuesday morning, followed hours later by Nevada.
Trump, who has not formally conceded to Biden — and may never — continued to sow doubt about the vote Tuesday, despite his own administration’s assessment that it was conducted without widespread fraud, misconduct or interference.
The president has maintained a low profile since his defeat.
He made a quick appearance in the briefing room on Tuesday to deliver just over one minute of remarks on the Dow Jones Industrial Average trading at record levels and later delivered the traditional pre-Thanksgiving turkey pardon in the White House Rose Garden. He has not taken questions from journalists in weeks.
Across the federal government, preparations were beginning in earnest to support President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration.
It is not known if Trump will speak at Tuesday’s event. The day will include ‘testimony from witnesses who have filed affidavits attesting to 2020 election fraud’, his team said.
Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis said: ‘There were serious irregularities, we have proof of fraud in a number of states, and it is important for all Americans to have faith in our electoral process.
‘All we have wanted from the outset is to count every legal vote and discount every illegal vote.’
A day after Trump said his administration should begin working with Biden’s team, Republican allies filed two more lawsuits attempting to stop the certification in two battleground states.
One in Minnesota was swiftly rejected by a state court Tuesday before the state certified its results for Biden. Shortly after, another was filed in Wisconsin, which doesn’t certify until December 1.