- Trump Says ‘Millions’ Voted Illegally, Decries Recount
President-elect Donald Trump asserted Sunday that he would have won the US popular vote were it not for “millions of illegal” ballots, while dramatically sharpening his criticism of a recount in Wisconsin, calling it “a waste of time.”
With the recount threatening to revive debate about the legitimacy of Trump’s victory — his rival Hillary Clinton won far more popular votes, while he carried the all-important Electoral College count — Trump and his aides pushed back hard on Sunday.
Trump let fly a series of early-morning tweets in which he quoted Clinton about the need to respect the electoral process, while continuing to wage an extraordinarily public battle over the makeup of his future cabinet.
By late afternoon, Trump furthered that “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
Trump had warned before the election that the result might be “rigged,” but he had offered no such complaint after his unexpected victory November 8 — until now.
Neither he nor any of his aides has offered any evidence of the “millions” alleged to have voted illegally, nor did Trump explain why he would oppose a recount if illegal voting was such a serious problem.
No election observers have pointed to any such widespread fraud.
It was the latest bizarre twist in an increasingly rough and jolting presidential transition, with much of it fought on social media and on the nation’s television screens.
Trump’s top aide Kellyanne Conway, in the middle of the turbulence, appeared on Sunday to at least hint that if the Clinton team pushes too hard on the Wisconsin recount, the president-elect might rethink his vow not to seek Clinton’s prosecution for using a private email server when she was secretary of state.
While the recount was requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who received a minute fraction of the total vote in Wisconsin, Clinton’s campaign has said it would join the process despite having seen no irregularities in the White House contest so far.
Conway said on ABC that while Trump was being “magnanimous” toward Clinton, “I guess her attitude towards that is to have her counsel go and join this ridiculous recount.”
And Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, said that while the president-elect is not “seeking methods and ways to persecute and prosecute Hillary Clinton,” Trump would probably be “open to listening” should any new findings against her emerge from future investigations.
– Legal right –
Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s Democratic rival in the primary race and now a member of the Senate leadership, defended the recount.
“The Green Party has the legal right to do it,” he said on CNN. “We have recounts probably almost every election. No one expects (there) to be profound change.”
Marc Erik Elias, an election lawyer for the Democratic candidate, said in a post on Medium.com on Saturday that the campaign would also participate in recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania if they are arranged.
Most election experts see almost no chance the election outcome could be reversed — Clinton trails in each state by several thousand votes.
Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by a total of just over 100,000 votes, even while compiling many more than the 270 votes needed for victory in the Electoral College.
– Blowback against Romney –
But the dispute continued to roil what has already been a rough transition period, as serious signs of internal discord over cabinet picks again emerged on Sunday.
The discord centers around the position of secretary of state, with some in the Trump camp supporting Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, as a more mainstream choice while others favor the more divisive former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
In what political analysts considered a highly unusual public airing of those tensions from within the Trump team, Conway last week tweeted that she had received “a deluge” of concern from people warning against Romney.
Asked about that on Sunday, she told NBC that she was not “campaigning” against Romney but was “just astonished at the breathtaking volume and intensity of blowback” to a possible Romney nomination.
Trump supporters were infuriated in March when the former Massachusetts governor delivered a passionately worded attack on Trump on the part of the Republican Party’s establishment, calling him a “fraud,” given to “absurd third-grade theatrics.”
However, the two seemed to have put their differences behind them when they met on November 19 to discuss a possible cabinet position.
Buhari Declares Oct 1 Public Holiday
The Federal Government has declared Thursday, October 1, 2020, as a public holiday to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who made the declaration, congratulated all Nigerians on the celebration of the country’s Diamond Jubilee while stressing the government’s commitment to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘FG Declares Thursday, October 1, 2020, Public Holiday To Mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary’ and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah.
According to the statement, the minister praised Nigerians for the feats in economy, education, the creative sector, amongst others.
The statement also quoted Aregbesola as saying, “Though celebrating sixty years of independence really calls for pomp and pageantry, but with the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced all nations in the world to think and act cautiously, we cannot avoid the imperative of a low-keyed celebration at this time.”
It added, “While wishing Nigerians a fruitful independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that our founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue came together for Nigeria’s independence.”
INEC To Introduce E-voting, Talking to Machine Manufacturers
INEC Commences Process of Introducing E-voting, Discussing With Manufacturers
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday said it has commenced plans to replace manual voting with an electronic voting system.
According to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this during the demonstration of electronic voting machines, the commission has invited manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world to demonstrate how the machines work and preparatory to the full migration.
He said, “Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.
“In addition, the combination of biometric voter cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter Card and the Smart Card Reader have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.
“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.
“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.”
Yakubu explained that more than 40 companies have indicated interest and would be demonstrating to the commission how the IT solutions meet its specifications.
“The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of the EVMs in elections in earnest,” the INEC chairman said.
Mali Sworn In Bah Ndaw as Transition President
Mali’s interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional government following a coup last month, was sworn in during ceremonies in the capital Bamako on Friday, AFP journalists witnessed.
A committee appointed by the junta which seized power on August 18, toppling President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, selected Ndaw, a 70-year-old retired colonel, as interim president.
Ndaw is due to lead a transition government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.
Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.
The ceremony on Friday took place in a theatre filled with officials dressed in military fatigues, senior judges, and foreign diplomats.
During the ceremony, Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor Boya Dembele said the challenges facing both men were “enormous”.
“It will truly require a reformulation of the state,” said the judge, dressed in red fur-lined robes.
The swearing-in comes as the fragile Sahel state’s neighbours have leaned on the military junta to appoint civilians as interim president and prime minister.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) slapped sanctions on the poor country on August 20 to push for a swift return to civilian rule.
A decision by the bloc on whether to ease the measure is possible on Friday, according to former Nigerian president and ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are optimistic that this event will signal the beginning of the return to normalcy in Mali,” he said on Twitter on Thursday night, referring to the swearing in of interim-government leaders.
Last month’s coup followed weeks of mass protests against Keita, spurred by frustrations over a brutal jihadist conflict, perceived corruption and the country’s slumping economy.
Mali has struggled to quell an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.
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