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James Baker led the political and legal team during the 2000 Florida recount battle. Photo: David Hume Kennerly via Getty

James Baker, the former secretary of state who led the political and legal team during the 2000 Florida recount battle that ensured George W. Bush's presidency, told the New York Times on Thursday that President Trump should not try to halt voting counting.

Why it matters: Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, has said he is looking for a "James Baker-like" figure to lead the president's legal efforts to dispute votes in several states, the Times reported Wednesday.

  • In televised remarks on Thursday, Trump baselessly claimed "[i]f you count the legal votes, I easily win, if you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”
  • A judge in Michigan said earlier on Thursday she will deny the Trump campaign's request to stop the counting of mail-in ballots in the state.

What he's saying: If there is legitimate concern about the integrity of the election, Trump should pursue it after the votes are counted, Baker told the Times.

  • "Our whole argument was that the votes have been counted and they’ve been counted and they’ve been counted and it’s time to end the process," Baker said.
  • "That’s not exactly the message that I heard on election night. And so I think it’s pretty hard to be against counting the votes.”
  • Telling the country to not count votes is a "very hard decision to defend in a democracy," he added.
  • Baker has not publicly endorsed Trump, but he did vote for the president, per the Times. He served in cabinet positions under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Go deeper: New GOP campaign: Argue election stolen, Biden illegitimate

Go deeper

Scoop: Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman says Trump lost

Trump with Schwarzman in 2017. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It's over. That's what Blackstone chairman, CEO and co-founder Steve Schwarzman — one of President Trump's most loyal allies — and other top Republicans are signaling to the defeated president, 16 days after Joe Biden clinched the win.

Why it matters: It’s all theatrics now. Even if Trump doesn't move on fast, you can. It is safe to ignore the fearful Republicans who insist the process is legit and plausible, because they tell us privately it is not. 

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The top Republicans who have acknowledged Biden as president-elect

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Some elected Republicans are breaking ranks with President Trump to acknowledge that President-elect Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The relative sparsity of acknowledgements highlights Trump's lasting power in the GOP, as his campaign moves to file multiple lawsuits alleging voter fraud in key swing states — despite the fact that there have been no credible allegations of any widespread fraud anywhere in the U.S.

Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign says Sidney Powell isn't a member of its legal team

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's campaign said in a Sunday statement that Sidney Powell is neither a member of its legal team nor a lawyer for Trump in his personal capacity.

Why it matters: Powell was a part of the campaign's wild, conspiratorial Thursday press conference and baselessly floated unfounded conspiracy theories that included a claim that President-elect Biden won the 2020 presidential election thanks to "communist money" from the Venezuelan regime.

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