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Photo by Sarah Silbiger via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told HuffPost in an interview that "we're ready for it all" in the face of a contested election and an unpredictable President Trump.

Why it matters: Whether Trump attempts to claim an early victory, as Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports, or refuses a peaceful transition, Pelosi's team of lawyers, constitutional experts and institutions has a plan, she said on Friday.

What they're saying: The House speaker was clear that she would pursue action should Trump declare victory on election night while millions of people’s votes remain uncounted, calling it "unconstitutional."

  • “We have been prepared for the worst for a long time because what we have seen is the worst on the part of this president in terms of his disrespect for the Constitution, his disregard of free will of the people and his stooping to any level for his own reelection," Pelosi said.
  • She added that the Trump campaign has essentially telegraphed its plan to stop votes from being fully counted: "We knew that it was in their playbook ... to scare people off from voting. So again, when they made it known, they made it easier for us to counter.”
  • Attorneys with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Republicans and former Attorney General Eric Holder have worked with Pelosi for months to prepare for the election, she told HuffPost.

The big picture: The president has repeatedly made attempts to delegitimize the election, claiming mail-in voting fraud, using voter intimidation tactics and pursuing legal challenges to prevent states from counting absentee ballots received after Election Day.

  • Millions of absentee ballots could take days, if not weeks, to count. Both Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have stressed in recent days that elections are never called on election night.
  • Joe Biden's campaign echoed Pelosi's warnings on Monday, with campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon telling reporters: “Under no scenario will Donald Trump be declared a victor on election night."

The other side: Justin Clark, Trump’s deputy campaign manager, claimed on Monday that Democrats are trying to "delegitimize" Election Day results by pushing to count ballots past state deadlines.

  • A Trump adviser also falsely claimed on Sunday that Democrats would "steal" electoral votes after election night, despite the fact that electoral votes aren't awarded until December.

The bottom line: “Don’t panic. Be confident. We will make sure that we will have a fair count,″ Pelosi told HuffPost.

Go deeper

Conservatives warn culture, political wars will worsen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The verdict is clear: The vast majority of Republicans will stand firm with former President Trump. The next phase is clear, too: Republicans are rallying around a common grievance that big government, big media and big business are trying to shut them up, shut them out and shut them down. 

Why it matters: The post-Trump GOP, especially its most powerful media platforms, paint the new reality as an existential threat. This means political attacks are seen — or characterized — as assaults on their very being. 

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.