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Rudy Giuliani speaks at an election hearing in Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 2. Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani called Ken Cuccinelli, second in command at the Department of Homeland Security, on Thursday night and asked him whether DHS could seize voting machines, a source familiar with the call confirmed to Axios.

The state of play: Cuccinelli responded that DHS does not have that authority, the source said.

Why it matters: The call, first reported by the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, is another manifestation of President Trump's increasingly extreme efforts to contest an election that was called for President-elect Joe Biden six weeks ago.

On Friday night, as first reported by The New York Times, Trump discussed commandeering voting machines and appointing conspiracy-minded election lawyer Sidney Powell as special counsel to inspect the machines.

  • Axios reported Saturday afternoon that senior Trump administration officials are increasingly alarmed at what Trump might do to unleash the power of government to try to overturn the clear result of the election.

The backstory: Giuliani is part of a dwindling remnant of Trump loyalists who is trying to act on his continued protests about the election. On Saturday, he tweeted again that Biden "didn't win."

  • Giuliani, who was briefly hospitalized for COVID-19 earlier this month, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.