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Texas Is Asking Supreme Court To Throw Out Election Results From 4 Key Swing States


President Trump and his allies have repeatedly tried and failed to overturn the results of the presidential election. Their court cases have been dismissed, and their claims of fraud have been rejected. Now the state of Texas is asking the Supreme Court to throw out election results from four key swing states that helped Joe Biden win - Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin's attorney general is Josh Kaul. He is a Democrat, and he joins us now. Welcome.

JOSH KAUL: Thanks for having me, Ari.

SHAPIRO: What's your first reaction to this filing?

KAUL: I was surprised to see it, frankly. You know, the Trump team has brought a variety of lawsuits that are currently pending. But seeing another state file a suit and then an original action in the Supreme Court was definitely a surprise. And then seeing all these other AGs and members of Congress join into this suit was frankly really disappointing. They are asking for millions of voters to be disenfranchised.

SHAPIRO: You know, the president's own election security chief, Chris Krebs, said that November's vote was the most secure in history. After that, President Trump fired him. Attorney General Bill Barr has said investigators found no evidence of widespread fraud, and yet this petition repeats many familiar unfounded claims of fraud. Why do you think these conspiracy theories keep persisting despite prominent authorities, including within the Trump administration, saying the election was secure?

KAUL: Well, certainly a part of the problem is that the president keeps fanning these conspiracy theories. And the other issue here is that the basic facts of the matter are that Joe Biden won more votes than President Trump, millions more nationwide and more than President Trump in some of these key battleground states. And instead of accepting that reality, the president has embraced this conspiracy theory so that he can try to keep hope alive that something might happen that clearly isn't going to happen, which is that the outcome is going to change.

SHAPIRO: Well, let's just take one specific claim from the suit that relates to your state, Wisconsin. The filing says in Wisconsin, the largest cities all deployed hundreds of unmanned, unsecured absentee ballot drop boxes that were all invalid means of returning absentee voters under state law. Is that what happened?

KAUL: No, that's totally false. There were secure drop box locations in many cities in the state of Wisconsin. And that's a procedure that had been announced well before the election. And had the Trump team or the state of Texas decided that they wanted to challenge that, they could have done so at the time. But instead, they're bringing these challenges after the fact, after voters cast their ballot in reliance on those procedures, and they're now trying to silence the voice of those voters.

SHAPIRO: These unfounded claims of fraud are familiar. What's very new is the idea that a state, Texas, is asking the Supreme Court to throw out election results from other states. That seems pretty extraordinary. What do you make of that?

KAUL: It is. As far as I'm aware, this is unprecedented. And it's frankly a sign of decay in Republican AGs' commitment to the rule of law and to our democracy. You know, we have election results here that are very clear. And it's really notable how cynical this effort is because, you know, Republican elected officials know that we have very little, if any, fraud in our elections. There's nobody who's going out to say that their own elections shouldn't be certified and that they shouldn't take office in January. It's just the presidential election they're focused on. If they really believed that fraudulent or illegal elections have taken place, you have to imagine that some of those folks would have the integrity to stand up and say, I'm not going to participate in that process. But we're not seeing that, and that's because people know that this is just a cynical ploy to try to undermine confidence in our system.

SHAPIRO: You know, one of the arguments that this petition makes is that large majorities of Republicans and significant numbers of Americans believe that the election was marked by fraud, so by the logic of this petition, something must have gone on. More than half the Republican members of the House have signed on to this suit, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. And even if the Supreme Court throws it out, those attitudes are not likely to change. In your opinion, does that point to a larger crisis in American democracy right now?

KAUL: It does. You know, these suits really have no merit, and I am certain that they are going to be rejected and that the Electoral College is going to vote and things are going to move forward. The lawsuits that are pending are really insignificant. But what is significant is that we have an open attack on our system of government here from a lot of elected officials, both AGs and members of Congress, and that can do long-term harm to a democracy.

Part of what makes our democracy successful is that people know that our system is safe and secure and that the results are reliable. And we do have a lot to be proud of in that respect because we do have those kind of reliable, accurate results. We are not one of those countries like Iran or like Russia where elections really are rigged. And the idea that Republican members of Congress and Republican AGs are suggesting that we do have that kind of system really is a betrayal of our democracy.

SHAPIRO: Josh Kaul is the attorney general of Wisconsin. Thank you for speaking with us.

KAUL: Thanks for having me, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.