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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is pinning his hopes — and presidency — on a wild, relentless war against reality and truth, falsely claiming several states are stealing the election by adhering to their laws, rules, and long precedents. 

Why it matters: Trump fears the election will be called today, perhaps first by Fox News, and that his effort to get the Supreme Court to intervene will fail, officials tell Axios. 

  • Trump and his eldest son, Don Jr., are demanding Republicans support his campaign to paint the election as fraudulent and stolen.  

Important to note: It is not at all unusual, much less fraudulent, to count mail-in votes after Election Day — and for the results to change as new tallies come in. 

  • Each state sets its rules well in advance of the election. 

A Trump tweet at 3:10 a.m., which was labeled as "misleading" by Twitter, captures perfectly his war on truth:

  • "I easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST. The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL VOTES. U.S. Supreme Court should decide!"

Reality check:

  1. There's no evidence of widespread illegal votes in any state, much less the several he would need to flip to "easily win."
  2. Trump is trying, in several ways, to make it appear that observers — a normal part of the vote-counting process — are being shut out to cover up "illegal" votes. This is simply false. 
  3. The Supreme Court only steps into elections in exceptionally rare instances. Even lawyers sympathetic to Trump struggle to find legal rationale for the current state-specific disputes to rise to the highest court.  

The bottom line: The election could be called as soon as today. Trump can demand recounts and court cases — so be patient and allow the political and legal process to play out, as designed.

  • Truth is, the system, imperfect as it might be, works. 
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Go deeper

Updated Jan 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Donald and Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.