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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Texas Governor Appoints Former Trump Lawyer To Monitor Election

HUSTON – Amid pressure from former President Donald Trump to support a broad overview of the 2020 elections in Texas, Greg Abbott on Thursday appointed a lawyer as Secretary of State who briefly joined Mr Trump’s call for the 2020 results in Pennsylvania.

New Secretary of State John Scott will oversee the Texas elections at a time when new legislation imposing additional restrictions on voting and the Republican plan for redistributing constituencies have raised alarm among advocates that the state’s growing non-white population will not be represented fairly.

What’s more, Mr. Scott, a Fort Worth lawyer who worked for Mr. Abbott when he was state attorney general, will take responsibility for the limited review of the 2020 election results that Mr. Abbott, a Republican, ordered last month in four of the most populous counties in Texas.

“I am confident that John’s experience and knowledge will enhance his oversight and leadership in the largest and most rigorous election scrutiny in the country,” Mr. Abbott said in his appointment statement.

Although he must eventually be approved by the State Senate, Mr. Scott may temporarily fill this role. The Senate will not meet regularly until 2023.

This appointment drew immediate criticism from Democrats and constituency groups. “The timing for this announcement is clearly aimed at undermining our democratic process in such a way as to allow the grossly inappropriate candidate Greg Abbott to observe our 2022 election without the need for a confirmation hearing,” said Stephanie Gomez, deputy director of general affairs from state of Texas.

Mr Scott was among lawyers representing Mr Trump’s campaign when she filed a lawsuit to challenge the November 2020 election results in Pennsylvania, the state that President Biden received 80,555 votes.

But Mr. Scott dropped the case, as did another member of his law firm, Brian Hughes, ahead of a hearing following a district court ruling that effectively denied their arguments. The case was eventually dropped.

“The lesson from the Pennsylvania case is that John Scott is a guy you can trust to enforce the law,” said Mr. Hughes, a Republican Senator from Tyler, Texas. He added that while at the attorney general’s office, Mr. Scott represented Texas in the state’s voter identification law litigation, “so this area of ​​the law is familiar to him.”

Mr. Hughes was the lead sponsor of new restrictive election rules in Texas this year, despite concerted opposition from Democrats. The new rules expand the powers of the Secretary of State in elections.

There was no credible evidence of widespread vote rigging during the 2020 elections in Texas or any other state. Mr Trump backed the state of the state by more than 5 percentage points, and Republicans retained control of the state building despite well-funded Democratic efforts to shift control.

Nonetheless, as Mr. Trump’s supporters believe he should have won the state by an even wider margin, Mr. Abbott has faced growing calls for legislation to allow a “forensic examination” of the 2020 Texas presidential election. Mr. Trump wrote a letter to Mr. Abbott last month urging him to support the law.

“Despite my big win in Texas, I’ve heard that Texans want an election audit! You know your fellow Texas fellows have big questions about the November 2020 elections, ”reads the letter, written in cryptic Texas legislative vocabulary and signed by the former president.

State politicians suspect the former president received help in his foray into Austin politics from Texas conservatives, possibly Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who twice led Trump’s campaign in the state. Under Patrick’s leadership, the Senate has already passed the 2020 election revision bill.

Hours after Mr Trump published his September 23 letter to Mr Abbott, the governor appears to have responded. The secretary of state’s office issued a short statement stating that a “full and comprehensive forensic review” had already begun in Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin counties. The first two became reliably democratic. The last two left the Republicans.

The office stressed that the state would oversee the audit and that no outside contractor would be brought in, as happened during the recent audit in Arizona. This circus attempt confirmed President Biden’s victory in the state.

There was no secretary of state in Texas at the time after Mr. Abbott’s previous appointee, Ruth Ruggiero Hughes, resigned in May due to lack of action on Senate approval.

The announcement of Mr Scott’s appointment came the day after Mr Patrick tweeted a statement urging Mr Abbott to urge lawmakers back to the capital for a fourth special session. “House needs to pass the election forensic bill,” Patrick wrote.

Mr. Patrick’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Mr Scott did not respond to email and text requesting comment.

In addition to observing the elections, the Secretary of State is the Governor of Texas’ liaison for international affairs with Mexico.

World Nation News Desk
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