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Trump’s Pa. allies appeal legal bid to overturn the election to SCOTUS, even as Barr says there’s no evidence of widespread fraud

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Butler), one of Trump’s top boosters in Congress, asked the court to issue an emergency order Tuesday to decertify the state’s election results.

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Butler), photographed on the floor of the U.S. House in 2019.
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Butler), photographed on the floor of the U.S. House in 2019.Read moreJose Luis Magana / AP

Even as the nation’s top prosecutor said Tuesday that the U.S. Justice Department had not uncovered evidence of widespread voting fraud that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump and his allies in Pennsylvania persisted with their unsupported claims of a stolen election and sought to revive rejected legal bids to overturn the results.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Butler), one of Trump’s top boosters in Congress, turned to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to issue an emergency order decertifying the state’s returns, which declared President-elect Joe Biden the victor by some 81,000 votes.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, continued his barnstorming of battleground states that started with a raucous GOP rally in Gettysburg last week by announcing plans for a similar event on “election irregularities” in Michigan on Wednesday.

But despite the continued refusal of the president and his allies to concede his loss, Attorney General William Barr broke significantly with them Tuesday during an interview with the Associated Press, saying there was little reason to doubt the results.

He said: “We have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in this election.”

» READ MORE: Attorney General William Barr: No evidence of fraud that would change election outcome

Giuliani immediately attacked Barr’s credibility on the issue, saying he “appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud.”

The issues that Giuliani has raised in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have all been either dismissed by courts or are indicative of the isolated problems that routinely crop up in every election. They are not, as Barr said Tuesday, indicative of widespread fraud.

Still, after each loss in and out of court Giuliani has attacked those who have cast doubt on his claims.

When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit dismissed his challenge to Pennsylvania’s election results last week, Giuliani dismissed the Trump appointee who wrote the opinion as part of Pennsylvania’s “activist judicial machinery.”

Despite vows to take that case to the U.S. Supreme Court, Giuliani has not yet filed an appeal.

Meanwhile, the appeal that Kelly, the congressman, put before the high court Tuesday followed a lower court’s rejection of his case. He sought to have every mail ballot cast in the state thrown out, arguing that the law that enabled them had been unconstitutionally passed.

Kelly maintained that the 2019 statute that permitted widespread mail voting should have been enacted through an amendment to the state’s constitution, not a mere legislative vote.

On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying Kelly had waited too long to file his challenge and balking at his proposed solution of disenfranchising some 2.5 million of voters.

In his filings before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the congressman accused the state court of using the issue of timing to avoid addressing the merits of his claims.

“When a state fails to correct a violation of the state’s constitution in the context of federal elections and fails to provide any avenue for relief … it violates the U.S. Constitution,” his attorney, Gregory H. Teufel, wrote.

Election law experts agreed it was unlikely that the Supreme Court will opt to intervene in the case, given that it focuses primarily on a debate about state law.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, meanwhile, dismissed Kelly’s legal gambit in a terse tweet. “Meritless,” it read.