DETROIT – Speaking on Fox News Sunday morning Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield said President Donald Trump did not ask GOP lawmakers to do anything illegal surrounding Michigan’s election results during their controversial meeting at the White House on Friday.
“There was this outrage that the president was going to ask us to break the law, was going to ask us to interfere and that just didn’t happen,” Chatfield said.
However, on Twitter Saturday the President called for the exact thing Chatfield denied writing in a pair of Tweets, “…hopefully the courts and/or legislatures…will have the courage to do what has to be done...”
“We all know the president did not invite them to Washington to talk about COVID relief. He’s not really interested in COVID relief these days,” University of Michigan professor Richard Primus said.
Primus teaches constitutional law and is a contributor for the Federalist Society. He said the president’s efforts to undermine the election, including the invitation sent to GOP leaders, are troubling for the election process by spreading distrust in democracy.
“We’re in a very dangerous situation,” Primus said. “Once people distrust the election process we have a real problem. Once people in power become obstructionist rather than saying win some lose some. There’s no magic in the system that keeps it going.”
Then there are questions about whether Michigan Republicans have opened themselves to legal investigations. Primus says he hasn’t seen anything so far.
“It doesn’t look to me like Speaker Chatfield and Senator Shirkey have done anything criminal, they haven’t taken any actions that a bribe was made to them or they accepted one.
When asked about a potential investigation, the office of Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “we can’t comment on any pending investigations.”
The State Board of Canvassers is set to meet Monday to vote on certifying the state’s election.
They are being called on by Republicans to delay that vote so an audit can be done. However, under state law, an audit cannot happen until an election is certified.