The president had also hoped a bevy of court cases, including a long-shot lawsuit before the Supreme Court, would help force state legislatures’ hands. But in court case after court case, Mr. Trump was dealt a string of losses, often coupled with withering opinions denouncing the effort as meritless.
Under normal circumstances, the Electoral College sessions on Monday would be the last procedural vote of any consequence. The next step in the process, a congressional vote validating the Electoral College results in early January, is a formality barring extraordinary circumstances, such as if a state were to send competing slates of electors.
But Mr. Trump, his aides and his supporters, who have sought to disrupt the technical aspects of formalizing Mr. Biden’s victory in ways that have never been done before, made a last-gasp claim that they could engineer Congressional approval, as well.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning, the senior White House adviser Stephen Miller said, “An alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote, and we’re going to send those results to Congress.” He said that those slates would “ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open.”
Republicans in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and Michigan followed the White House’s lead, making or discussing moves to form their own competing slates of pro-Trump electors — a theatrical effort that has no legal pathway. Electoral College slates are tied to the winner of the popular vote, and for 2020 they are now formally certified.
Reporting was contributed by Nicholas Fandos, Michael D. Shear, Reid J. Epstein, Kathleen Gray, Kay Nolan and Hank Stephenson.