Despite president-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump is “100 per cent within his rights” to question election results and consider legal options.
The Republican leader’s remarks, his first public comments since Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election, come as Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill have been reluctant to congratulate Biden or push the president to accept the outcome.
McConnell said the process will play out and “reach its conclusion.”
Trump has declined to concede the presidential race and is mounting legal fights, but there has been no indication or evidence of voter irregularities or widespread fraud in the election.
“Our institutions are actually built for this,” McConnell said as he opened the Senate Monday.
“We have the system in place to consider concerns and President Trump is 100 per cent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”
New lawsuit filed
Hours after the comments, Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit alleging Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting system “lacked all of the hallmarks of transparency and verifiability that were present for in-person voters.”
The lawsuit seeks an emergency injunction to stop state officials from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
Previous lawsuits filed by the campaign in Michigan and Georgia were dismissed.
McConnell’s comments came after four Senate Republicans, including a prominent Trump critic, acknowledged Biden’s victory. Before addressing the Senate, McConnell met privately with Attorney General William Barr.
Biden cleared the threshold of 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency on Saturday after four days of ballot counting. Biden leads in two of the four states yet to be called, and is ahead by more than 4.4 million ballots in the popular vote.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the Republicans’ refusal to stand by the election results is “extremely dangerous, extremely poisonous to our democracy.”
Schumer said election lawsuits can be valid but they must be based in evidence and facts.
“Joe Biden won the election fair and square,” he said.