The Road to Jan 6 Final

Donald Trump Griped about His Lack of Airtime as States Certified Joe Biden's Win

In this daily series, Newsweek explores the steps that led to the January 6 Capitol Riot.

On Monday, December 14, the 538 presidential electors that make up the Electoral College met in all fifty states and the District of Columbia to cast paper ballots as directed by law ("Monday after the second Wednesday in December on which the electors meet and vote"), confirming Joe Biden as the nation's next president.

Amidst heightened security in state capitols and legislature buildings, and with masks on and practicing social distancing (Nevada electors met over Zoom), the electors counted the popular votes, casting their own ballots. The electors then signed six Certificates of the Vote, each containing two lists, one the electoral votes for the president and the other, the electoral votes for vice president.

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Donald Trump griped about his lack of airtime as states certified Joe Biden's win. The president on the South Lawn of the White House on September 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The governor then signed six Certificates of Ascertainment, certifying the vote and sealing the packages, which were then to be delivered, one to the president of the U.S. Senate (Vice President Mike Pence); two to the state-level secretary of state (or equivalent officer); two to the nation's Archivist; and one to the judge of the U.S. district court of the district in which the electors met.

The presidential electors gave Biden a solid majority of 306 electoral votes to Donald Trump's 232, the same margin that Trump bragged was a landslide when he won the White House four years earlier. The results were to be tallied at the January 6 joint session of Congress over which Vice President Pence would preside. Any objections there to the electoral votes must be supported by at least one member of the House and one senator. The two chambers then meet separately to consider the objection.

"Once again in America, the rule of law, our Constitution, and the will of the people have prevailed," Joe Biden said. "Our democracy—pushed, tested, threatened—proved to be resilient, true, and strong."

The "enormous political pressure, verbal abuse, and even threats of physical violence" regarding the election were "unconscionable," Biden said, and he labeled President Trump's efforts to overturn the election an "abuse of power."
"In America, politicians don't take power—the people grant it to them," Biden said.
"In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed," he added. "We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal."

With the state-level Ascertainment, publicly ignored in most years because it is merely a formality, several Republican senators—Mike Braun (IN), Rob Portman (OH), John Thune (SD)—spoke out, saying that they accepted the final count and called for closure.

In Arizona and Pennsylvania, Trump supporters marched outside their state capitols to protest the electoral college vote. A handful showed up in Michigan. There the state capitol complex was on lockdown for the electoral vote. Electors in Arizona met at an "undisclosed location" due to threats there.

"This year's proceeding, which only occurs every four years, has unfortunately had an artificial shadow cast over it in the form of baseless accusations of misconduct and fraud—for which no proof has been provided and which court after court has dismissed as unfounded," said the state's Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

There was no concession from the White House.

In a Fox News interview that he had taped over the weekend, Trump said: "I worry about the country having an illegitimate president, that's what I worry about. A president that lost and lost badly."

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Joe Biden called Donald Trump's election-fraud claims "an abuse of power." The president-elect in Wilmington, Delaware on December 22, 2020. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Coming off his triumphant Saturday, the president had no intention of backing down. He spent much of Monday watching television, complaining that his challenges were not getting any airtime in the electoral college story, White House sources said.

During the day, the Oath Keepers' website published a letter titled, "Open letter to President Trump: You Must Use Insurrection Act to 'Stop the Steal' and Defeat the Coup." The letter cited "well-orchestrated mass vote fraud" resulting in the "install[ation]" by "Communist Chinese and their domestic enemy allies" of "illegitimate puppet, Joe Biden. The letter implored President Trump to:

[A]ct NOW as a wartime President, pursuant to your oath to defend the Constitution, which is very similar to the oath all of us veterans swore. We are already in a fight. It's better to wage it with you as Commander-in-Chief than to have you comply with a fraudulent election, leave office, and leave the White House in the hands of illegitimate usurpers and Chinese puppets. Please don't do it. Do NOT concede, and do NOT wait until January 20, 2021. Strike now."

"If you fail to act while you are still in office, we the people will have to fight a bloody civil war and revolution against these two illegitimate Communist Chinese puppets, and their illegitimate regime."

Attorney General Barr went to the White House in the late evening to speak to the president alone. According to Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker's "I Alone Can Fix It," the conversation between Trump and Barr was nothing like their last meeting two weeks earlier.

"I think you know how much I've supported your administration and your policies," Barr said. At this point, he told Trump, the two were just butting heads and he would "just as soon leave now."

Minutes after Electoral College final counts came in, Trump tweeted that Barr would be resigning, effective December 23.

He tweeted: "Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job! As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family..."