Trump’s request to dismiss Stein recount bid focus of Monday hearing

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s bid for a recount of Pennsylvania’s election results took a new turn Friday afternoon.

A Commonwealth Court hearing Monday morning will focus on Republicans’ request to dismiss Stein’s petition, rather than on evidence her lawyers want to present challenging the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.

A change in the focus of Monday’s hearing was revealed Friday afternoon in a court order posted to the Commonwealth Court website.

That order directed the litigants to come prepared to address “the threshold question” of the court’s jurisdiction, and whether the case is strong enough to proceed.

A second hearing, on the evidence presented by Stein, “will be held, if necessary” on Thursday, the order states.

Stein has been seeking statewide recounts in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, three swing states where Republican Donald Trump eked out close victories.

Previous counts had indicated he won Pennsylvania by about 70,000 votes, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton 48.8 percent to 47.6 percent. Stein, meanwhile, only received about 48,000 votes in the state.

As of Friday, however, The Associated Press was reporting that state officials said an updated count had reduced Trump’s lead to just 49,000, and that was with some counties still finishing their counts for various reasons. That reduces Trump’s lead to 0.8 percent, still above the 0.5 percent threshhold required to initiate an automatic statewide recount.

Stein’s complaint in Pennsylvania, filed on Nov. 28, seeks a statewide recount, citing concerns about whether “computer intrusions or hacking of electronic election systems impacted the results.”

Commonwealth Court on Tuesday granted the hearing.

Thursday brought a motion to dismiss from the Republican party of Pennsylvania and the Trump campaign, arguing that the petition offers no proof of tampering. The same day Stein requested that the hearing be continued until next Thursday, which the Republicans opposed.

The result of that legal crossfire was Friday’s motion from the court, indicating that Monday’s proceedings will be limited to the Republicans’ application for dismissal.

In the meanwhile, Stein has continued her fight in the court of public opinion.

Stein’s campaign website carried a statement indicating that she will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday morning at Trump Tower in Manhattan, “vowing to fight tooth and nail to ensure a recount that will clarify for all Americans whether the election was accurate and secure.”

According to Billy Penn, that formal statement was supplemented by a longer message to supporters.

Trump supporters, meanwhile, continued their legal efforts to thwart the recounts in all three states, according to The Washington Post.

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at rdupuis@cpbj.com.

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