Trump renews attack on Michigan Senate ahead of sanction hearing

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Former President Donald Trump on Saturday attacked the Michigan Senate and repeated unproven claims about fraud in Detroit's November 2020 election, two days ahead of a key court hearing.

In a statement, Trump criticized the media and singled out the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate. The Senate Oversight Committee released a report last month, saying lawmakers had found no evidence of fraud in the 2020 election after investigating the vote for more than seven months.

Trump lost Michigan to Democrat Joe Biden by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points. The GOP senators' review, a series of court rulings, bipartisan boards of canvassers and dozens of audits have reinforced the outcome.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

"The only reason Detroit, Michigan, is not yet under investigation is because the Republicans in the state Senate are a bunch of weak RINOs that are afraid to act," Trump said in the statement.

The term "RINO" stands for "Republicans in name only." Trump, along with others of his supporters have been pushing for a new audit of Michigan's election, which has become a point of division among the Michigan GOP.

"Detroit is one of the most corrupt places on Earth, and the information is coming out, and fast," the former president said.

Detroit, Michigan's largest city and a Democratic stronghold, has been a focus of unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the 2020 election since November. That's despite the fact that Trump actually performed better in the city in 2020 than he did in 2016.

Overall, Biden received 94% of the vote in Detroit, and Trump 5%, which marked an improvement for Trump. Four years earlier, Democrat Hillary Clinton got 95%, and Trump received just 3%.

Detroit U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker is scheduled on Monday to hold a hearing on motions to sanction a group of pro-Trump attorneys who unsuccessfully sought to overturn the state's election.

In January, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel asked the federal court to sanction Sidney Powell and three other attorneys, who worked on behalf of six Republicans who relied on conspiracy theories and discredited claims when they asked a judge to require that Trump be named the state's winner. 

Nessel has argued that "inaccurate statements" and "intentional misrepresentations" were presented to the court as part of the case.

The Democratic attorney general asked Parker to award attorneys’ fees, amounting to $11,071, to the state of Michigan. The City of Detroit has also sought sanctions in the case, including barring the attorneys from practicing in the Eastern District and a requirement that the plaintiffs and their counsel post a bond of $100,000 prior to filing any other action related to the case.

The pro-Trump attorneys have countered that they were "justified" in pursuing every arguably permissible avenue to assist their clients.

As for Michigan Senate Republicans, they have pushed back on Trump's criticisms in recent weeks.

On June 24, a day after their election report debuted, Trump said the Michigan Senate GOP's nearly-eight-month investigation into the election, which involved 28 hours of public committee testimony and a review of thousands of subpoenaed documents, was a "cover up."

During an appearance on Jackson TV on July 1, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said he "adored" what Trump did in terms of policy but "he didn't get elected."

"President Trump and his campaign, they could have asked for a recount. Let's say in  Michigan," Shirkey said. "They didn't."