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Trump maintains unproven 'massive' fraud claim as Michigan lawmakers depart his hotel

By Craig Mauger and Melissa Nann Burke, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

On Saturday morning, Trump initially retweeted a post from Shirkey about the meeting.

"This is true, but much different than reported by the media. We will show massive and unprecedented fraud!" Trump wrote.

Then, he retweeted a post from Chatfield, saying, "Massive voter fraud will be shown!"

State Sens. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, and Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, two of the seven lawmakers who attended the meeting, were spotted leaving the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on foot on Saturday morning but did not respond to questions about their meeting with Trump or whether Michigan's election results should be certified.

Moments later, Shirkey and Sen. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, did not respond to questions about the meeting as they loaded their luggage into a black SUV and left the Trump hotel.

A spokeswoman for Shirkey said the majority leader covered the cost of his D.C. trip, including accommodations. She said he no comment on the president's tweet from Saturday morning. A spokesman for Chatfield said the House Republicans who participated in the trip paid their own expenses.

Shirkey returned to a group of reporters at Detroit Metro Airport at about 1:45 p.m. but declined to answer questions.

 

Chatfield and Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, were photographed having drinks, including what appeared to be champagne, at the Trump hotel on Friday night after their meeting with the president. The Michigan Democratic Party asked on Twitter Saturday, "Who funded the Dom Perignon fueled vacation while Michigan reported almost 10k new cases of COVID-19?"

Michigan reported 9,779 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, a new record for daily coronavirus cases.

Bob Bauer, a legal adviser for Biden's campaign, blasted the meeting between the president and the Republican leaders of the Michigan House and Senate as the state prepares to certify its election results.

"It's an abuse of office," Bauer told reporters Friday. "It's an open attempt to intimidate election officials. It's absolutely appalling."

The Board of State Canvassers, which features two Republicans and two Democrats, is scheduled to discuss the certified county results and possibly vote on certifying the statewide election results. All 83 Michigan counties have already voted to certify their individual results.

Biden won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, more than 14 times Trump's 2016 margin of victory: 10,704 votes.

(c) 2020 The Detroit News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC