Fact-Checking Trump Defenders’ Claims After Indictment in Election Case


What Was Said

“All of the people who claim that the 2016 election wasn’t legitimate, all of the people who claimed in 2004, with a formal objection in the Congress, that that election wasn’t legitimate, and in fact, objected to the point where they said that the voting machines in Ohio were tampered with and that President Bush was selected, not elected — and not to mention former presidents of the United States and secretary of states, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter and a whole slew of House Democrats who repeatedly led the nation to believe — lied to the nation, that they said Russia selected Donald Trump as president, that the election was completely illegitimate — all of that was allowed to pass, but, yet, once again, we see a criminalization when it comes to Donald Trump.”
— Representative Michael Waltz, Republican of Florida, on CNN on Wednesday

This is misleading. Mr. Trump’s supporters have long argued that Democrats, too, have objected to election results and pushed allegations of voting malfeasance. None of the objections cited, though, have been paired with concerted efforts to overturn election results, as was the case for Mr. Trump.

Democratic lawmakers objected to counting a state’s electors after the elections of recent Republican presidents in 2001, 2005 and 2017. In 2001 and 2017, objecting House members were unable to find a senator to sign on to their objections, as is required, and were overruled by the vice president. In 2005, two Democrats objected to counting Ohio’s electoral votes. The two chambers then convened debate and rejected the objections.

In each case, the losing candidate had already conceded, did not try to overturn election results and did not try to persuade the vice president to halt proceedings as Mr. Trump is accused of doing in 2020.

Mrs. Clinton has said repeatedly that Russian interference was partly to blame for her defeat in the 2016 presidential election. But she is not accused of trying to overthrow the results of the election. Prosecutors have not detailed any involvement on her part in a multifaceted effort to stay in power, including by organizing slates of false electors or pressuring officials to overturn voting results.


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