Trump campaign announces Michigan House hearing that's not happening

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — President Donald Trump's campaign announced Tuesday that the Michigan Legislature would hold a hearing on election integrity Dec. 1, but the event won't occur, a key GOP state lawmaker said.

Trump's campaign said Michigan was one of three states where lawmakers will "hold public hearings on the election" in the coming days. There were discussions about having Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, testify, state House Oversight Committee Chairman Matt Hall, R-Marshall, told The Detroit News.

"We’ve just determined that logistically it’s not something we’re going to be able to do," said Hall, adding that the Trump campaign has been invited to submit written testimony.

In this Nov. 19, 2020, file photo former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington.

On Monday, the Board of State Canvassers certified statewide election results, cementing President-elect Joe Biden's 51%-48% or 154,000-vote victory over Trump in Michigan.

Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, has previously said the Trump campaign identified 300,000 "illegitimate ballots" in Michigan — but he has not provided evidence to back up his claim. A Wayne County judge labeled similar allegations made in a lawsuit challenging the certification of results in the county "not credible."

During a Monday night appearance on MSNBC, Trump legal team member Jenna Ellis said the Michigan House is "going to grant us a hearing and that is going to be announced on their website" on Tuesday morning.

No announcement came Tuesday on the Michigan Legislature's website. However, the Trump campaign put out a statement saying the Pennsylvania Senate plans to hold a hearing on Wednesday, the Arizona Legislature plans to hold one on Monday, and the Michigan Legislature plans to hold one on Dec. 1.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to have a full vetting of election irregularities and fraud,” Giuliani said in a statement. "And the only way to do this is with public hearings, complete with witnesses, videos, pictures and other evidence of illegalities from the November 3rd election."

President Donald Trump walks out to speak in the Brady Briefing Room in the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Washington as Vice President Mike Pence looks on.

Hall said no hearing will take place on Dec. 1.

The Trump campaign statement also noted that under the U.S. Constitution, state legislatures have the "sole authority to select their representatives to the Electoral College."

"State legislatures are uniquely qualified and positioned to hold hearings on election irregularities and fraud before electors are chosen," the Trump campaign statement added.

But House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, have repeatedly said they wouldn't interfere with Michigan law that awards the state's 16 electors to the winner of the popular vote as certified by the Board of State Canvassers.

The Senate and House oversight committees have been jointly looking into the administration of the Nov. 3 election. The panels have subpoenaed documents from the Department of State and so far held two hearings.

On Friday, seven Republican lawmakers from Michigan traveled to Washington, D.C.,  to meet with Trump for about an hour.

Shirkey told WJR on Tuesday that Trump didn't ask Michigan lawmakers to interfere with the state's awarding of electoral votes but did "inquire to make sure he understood what Michigan laws were like."

Shirkey made the revelation in an interview with host Frank Beckmann, adding that Giuliani called into the meeting at the Oval Office.

"Speaker Chatfield and I explained to him in great detail so he was satisfied with that explanation," Shirkey said of the president.