After a scathing court setback in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump faces increased pressure from his fellow Republicans to drop his effort to overturn the U.S. presidential election and concede to Democrat Joe Biden.
Since Biden was declared the winner two weeks ago, Trump has launched a barrage of lawsuits and mounted a pressure campaign to prevent states from certifying their vote totals.
So far, attempts to thwart certification have failed in courts in Georgia, Michigan and Arizona.
On Saturday, Matthew Brann, a Republican federal judge nominated by former President Barack Obama, dismissed a similar effort in Pennsylvania, writing that the case amounted to “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”
For Trump to have any hope of remaining in the White House, he needs to eliminate Biden’s 81,000-vote lead in Pennsylvania. The state is due to begin certifying its results on Monday.
Trump’s lawyers vowed a quick appeal, but lawyers who opposed him in court say he is out of time.
“This should put the nail in the coffin on any further attempts by President Trump to use the federal courts to rewrite the outcome of the 2020 election,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Some of Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress are now breaking ranks.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey said the ruling closed off any chance for a legal victory in Pennsylvania and called on Trump to concede the election.
Liz Cheney, a member of the Republican leadership team in the House of Representatives, earlier called on Trump to respect “the sanctity of our electoral process” if he does not succeed in court.
Biden got 6 million more votes than Trump in the Nov. 3 election, and also prevailed 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College system that determines who will take the oath of office on Jan. 20.