Trump lawyers withdraw on eve of key hearing in Pennsylvania election case

By Jan Wolfe and David Thomas

(Reuters) – Three more lawyers representing President Donald Trump’s campaign have asked to withdraw from his lawsuit challenging the U.S. election results in Pennsylvania, shaking up his legal team on the eve of a major court hearing.

The lawyers – Linda Kerns, John Scott and Douglas Bryan Hughes – made the request in a court filing on Monday, adding that the campaign consented to their withdrawal.

In a brief order on Monday night, the judge hearing the case allowed Scott and Hughes to withdraw but not Kerns.

Harrisburg-based lawyer Marc Scaringi has joined the case and will be Trump’s lead counsel. Scaringi and the three attorneys who sought to withdraw did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Scaringi on Monday asked the judge to postpone a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, saying he and a law partner “need additional time to adequately prepare.” The judge quickly denied the request.

Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser with the Trump campaign, said the change was routine.

“The president announced Saturday that he has asked Mayor Rudy Giuliani to lead the national legal team, along with local counsel. Our substitution of local counsel is consistent with routine managing of complex litigation,” Ellis said in a statement.

The filing did not give a reason for the change, which came days after a prominent regional law firm, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, also withdrew from the case.

In a court filing on Thursday, lawyers at Porter Wright said it had agreed that its clients – the campaign and two registered voters – “will be best served if Porter Wright withdraws.”

Kerns said in a recent court filing that she has faced a torrent of harassing emails and phone messages due to her work for the Trump campaign.

A federal judge in Williamsport will hear arguments on Tuesday in the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, filed on Nov. 9, which seeks to halt the state’s top election official from certifying Joe Biden, a Democrat, as the winner.

The Trump campaign is filing lawsuits that are “borderline frivolous” and will not change the election’s outcome even if successful, said Bruce Green, a professor of legal ethics at Fordham Law School.

“It’s doomed to fail anyway. So, does it really make a difference if another lawyer comes in? I think in most people’s view, these cases are not being filed with any expectation that they’ll prevail,” Green said.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe and David Thomas; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Christopher Cushing)

Trump tastes election defeat but finds some wins at White House watch party

Sunset is seen over the White House, on the day of the U.S. midterm election, in Washington, D.C., U.S., November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – By the time President Donald Trump and his team tucked into hamburgers and hot dogs at a White House election watch party on Tuesday night, he was ready for the bad news.

His closest aides tried to focus him on the positives.

Working on just a few hours’ sleep after a heavy final day of campaigning, Trump spent much of Tuesday on the phone, checking in with friends and advisers, talking to state and national Republican Party officials and White House aides to get a picture of what to expect.

What he heard from them was that Republicans would likely lose control of the House of Representatives but hang on to control of the Senate, adding seats to its majority there.

So when word came in that the projections were broadly correct, it did not come as a shock.

“It’s disappointing but it’s not surprising,” said Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.

The House loss meant Trump will face investigations into his tax returns, his businesses and his administration by Democratic lawmakers. His legislative agenda, including a vague proposal for a middle-class income tax cut, is likely stalled.

At his watch party, Trump was upbeat. In his only public comment on Tuesday night, he tweeted: “Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!”

He followed up with a tweet on Wednesday morning taking credit for Republican wins.

“Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye! Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!,” Trump said.

In another message on Twitter, Trump said he had received congratulations “from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!” He did not name any countries.


One Trump adviser said the president was probably not prepared for the onslaught of investigations that Democrats were likely to launch.

“I don’t think he fully comprehends what this means by giving the gavel to (Democratic House leader) Nancy Pelosi and her cronies,” the adviser said, asking to remain unidentified.

Some Trump advisers were already anonymously assigning blame for the expected loss of about 30 House seats, focusing on Corry Bliss, head of a political action committee that distributed money to House Republican candidates, and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.

There was also grousing about House Speaker Paul Ryan, who announced plans to resign at the end of the year instead of leaving sooner.

But there was some satisfaction among Trump and his aides that the losses were not as bad as had been projected by strategists who said a Democratic “blue wave” would take away 40 House seats.

The party that controls the White House usually loses seats in the first congressional midterm elections two years after a presidential victory. President Barack Obama’s Democrats lost 63 seats in 2010.

“Trump should be feeling good right now. They finished strong. They picked up seats in the Senate and they minimized the ‘blue wave’ in the House. These midterms are historically tough for a White House,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed.

Trump and his advisers felt that adding at least two seats to the Republicans’ Senate majority helped blunt the impact of the House outcome.


For Trump, the evening unfolded at a watch party in the White House residence, where the East Room and the State Dining Room were set up with large-screen TVs. Buffet tables were laden with some of Trump’s favorite foods.

The guest list included major donors Sheldon Adelson, Harold Hamm and Stephen Schwartzman, Cabinet members like Steven Mnuchin of Treasury and Kirstjen Nielsen of Homeland Security, evangelical leader Jerry Falwell, top aides like Conway, his wife Melania and children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, and Vice President Mike Pence.

Cheers rang out among the guests when Republican victories were scored, particularly when Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded defeat in the Florida governor’s race.

Trump was described by aides as content in how he performed on the campaign trail, not prone to soul-searching, and believing his focus on illegal immigration – he warned of an “invasion” from a caravan of Central American migrants weaving through Mexico – had helped give his candidates a needed boost.

Trump held 30 get-out-the-vote rallies in the past two months, including 11 in the last six days across eight states, the last three on Monday when he returned to the White House about 3 a.m.

Aides said the president was delighted at the projected victories by Republican Senate candidates he had campaigned for, such as Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rick Scott of Florida, Mike Braun of Indiana and Josh Hawley of Missouri, as well as Republican Brian Kemp’s victory in the Georgia governor’s race.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump’s agenda remained the same, and that he would be willing to work with Democrats on immigration, the opioid crisis and funding infrastructure projects.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Kieran Murray, Peter Cooney and Chizu Nomiyama)

The Jim Bakker Show goes LIVE for Election Night Results, Don’t miss it! Vote!

Election night coverage- November 6th, 7PM central

By Kami Klein

We are Americans.  The United States of America has given us the freedom of choice in voting for who we believe are the right people to lead us.  With this great freedom lies great responsibility. It is YOUR responsibility to VOTE!

These mid-term elections are critical and the outcome is not to be taken lightly which is why The Jim Bakker show will be going LIVE on election night to cover this momentous vote of the people.  There have been multiple guests on the show that have spoken out on the importance of Christians getting out to vote. Many of these amazing teachers and prophets such as Rick Joyner, General Boykin, Lance Wallnau, David Horowitz, Jim Garlow, Carl Gallups and more will be discussing election results with us via Skype.  Connect and pray with us as we discuss the implications and Biblical view on America and what we must be ready for as Believers in Christ RIGHT NOW!

Join us LIVE on election night, Tuesday, November 6th, beginning at 7 pm CT on the PTL Television Network on your Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV or by going to or the PTL Television Network at

The Church must be heard in this election.  You must not throw your vote away! Recently in an interview with Dr. David Barton on The Jim Bakker Show, we were amazed at the statistics he brought to us regarding not our “right” to vote but our “responsibility” to make our voice heard.  Please take a few minutes to truly hear this insightful message.

We look forward to election night, Tuesday, November 6th at 7 pm CT as we go LIVE!  Join with us as we exercise our freedom to vote and send a message to the world that God is in control and we believe in His plans for us.  

Please pray for this great country and for God’s continued blessing upon us all.  


Identical twins and ‘carousels’: Russia’s fairground election

Ludmila Sklyarevskaya, who denied voting multiple times, casting a ballot at polling station number 215 (L) and casting a ballot at polling station number 216, in Ust-Djeguta. REUTERS/Staff

UST-DJEGUTA, Russia (Reuters) – Ludmila Sklyarevskaya, a Russian hospital administrator, voted on Sunday in an election that gave Vladimir Putin another term as Russia’s president.

Then she went to another polling station and voted again, according to Reuters reporters who witnessed her movements.

Sklyarevskaya, who denied any wrongdoing, was among 17 people who were photographed by Reuters apparently casting ballots at more than one polling station Sunday in the town of Ust-Djeguta, southern Russia.

Many appeared to be state employees, and some showed up in groups and in mini buses bearing the names of state-provided services.

An employee at the hospital where Sklyarevskaya worked confirmed the woman captured in photos at the two polling stations was Sklyarevskaya and identified her as the hospital’s deputy director of health and safety.

Voting twice is a misdemeanor under Russian law, carrying a penalty of a fine. Shown pictures of some of the people who apparently voted twice, including at Ust-Djeguta’s polling station no. 217, Leila Koichuyeva, a member of the election commission there, said: “They could be twins.”

Sklyarevskaya, when it was pointed out she had been seen voting at polling stations 216 and 215, said “that’s not me.”

Reuters was able to speak to seven of 17 people photographed casting multiple votes. They either denied voting more than once or declined to comment.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were established procedures for reporting election violations. “If these reports from the respected Reuters agency are backed up by corresponding statements to law enforcement agencies from the observers who were at each polling station, then it’s a worry. If they are not backed up, then it does not worry us at all.”

A voter casting a ballot at a polling station number 216 (L) and approaching a box before casting a ballot at a polling station number 217, in Ust-Djeguta, Russia. REUTERS/Staff

A voter casting a ballot at a polling station number 216 (L) and approaching a box before casting a ballot at a polling station number 217, in Ust-Djeguta, Russia. REUTERS/Staff

Putin’s opponents, and independent election observers, say Sunday’s vote was skewed across the country by officials loyal to Putin using a variety of tricks to inflate the turnout.

Putin is genuinely popular but a low turnout caused by apathy at a one-sided contest would have deprived him of the resounding mandate he sought. In the end, he won by a landslide and on a strong turnout of nearly 70 percent.

As well as multiple voting in Ust-Djeguta – a practice known in Russia as a “carousel” – Reuters reporters who monitored 12 polling stations around the country witnessed other irregularities though they were mostly narrow in scale.

In all 12 polling stations, the turnout declared by election officials exceeded a tally kept by Reuters of how many people voted. In one case in Simferopol the difference between the two figures was significant: 528 votes, or 66 percent of the votes cast.

Reuters reporters also uncovered a loophole in the voter registration system that could allow multiple voting by obtaining authorization to vote in more than one location. Under a new system designed to make it easier for people to vote when away from home, a voter can apply online to register temporarily at a different polling station. Three Reuters reporters who registered through the new system as well as at their local election office were able to vote once and then get the go-ahead by officials to vote a second time at a different polling station.

A Central Election Commission spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A voter casting a ballot at a polling station number 217 (L) and casting a ballot at a polling station number 216, in Ust-Djeguta, Russia. REUTERS/Staf

A voter casting a ballot at a polling station number 217 (L) and casting a ballot at a polling station number 216, in Ust-Djeguta, Russia. REUTERS/Staff



On election day in Ust-Djeguta, Sklyarevskaya arrived just after 17:30 local time (10.30 a.m. ET), leading a group of eight other women and one man through the gates of polling station number 216.

About twenty minutes later, Reuters reporters observed the same group voting again a few hundred meters away at polling station no. 215.

Several of the women with her were wearing surgical scrubs, and the man wore a jacket with the word “ambulance” written on it. Ust-Djeguta, a town of 30,000 people and 1,500 km (930 miles) south of Moscow, has only one hospital, the state-run Central District Hospital.

In an interview next to her office on the hospital’s fourth floor, Sklyarevskaya said she had voted only once, at a third polling station, number 217. “Who directed you to do this investigation?” she asked when approached by Reuters reporters. “You do not have the right to get involved in the electoral system.”

Marat Shakmanov, head doctor at the hospital, said he didn’t believe anyone from the hospital violated election rules.

Another woman, wearing sparkly heels, also appeared to vote twice on Sunday.

When approached by Reuters in the town hall on Monday, the woman said her name was Jamila Tebueva, a social-care specialist in the town administration. She said she voted only once, and went to a second polling station to accompany friends.

When told she had been photographed with a voting slip in her hand at the second location she said: “Is it alright if I don’t reply?”

Zukhra Chomaeva, the head election official at polling station number 217, said she could not answer for what happened outside her precinct when asked about multiple voting.

“How do I know if they’re the same person? They might look the same.”

Larissa Tekeyeva, head of the election commission for polling station 216, said after looking at a picture of a woman in a pink coat who voted at polling stations 216 and 217: “We all have the same mentality. We all look alike.”

Ludmila Djukayeva, head of the town’s polling station 215, said she hadn’t witnessed any multiple voting. Ruslan Shagarov, a spokesman for the town administration, said he knew nothing about any employees breaking voting rules.

Official results released on Monday showed the three polling stations had an average turnout of 81.5 percent and delivered a majority for Putin of 89.86 percent. National turnout was 67 percent, according to the central election commission.


Reuters reporters used mechanical counters to count everybody who cast a ballot at the 12 polling stations they monitored from open to close on Sunday.

In some places, the discrepancies between the official count and the Reuters tally were small, with local election officials putting it down to the margin of error. But in nine of the 12 polling stations, the discrepancies were 10% or greater.

The biggest divergence, as a share of the total vote, was in polling station number 265, inside a technical college in Simferopol, Crimea. Moscow annexed the region from Ukraine four years ago.

Reuters reporters saw 797 voters at that station, while the official figures state that 1,325 people voted on the day and in person.

Asked about the discrepancy, the chairwoman of the polling station’s election commission, Oksana Mediyeva, said independent monitors had watched the vote and had raised no issues.

The three monitors, two from the governing party and one who said he would vote for Putin, didn’t appear to be keeping count of the turnout.

Typically in elections, the official turnout figures are produced when election tellers count the number of ballots cast.

But in three polling stations, in Ust-Djeguta and in Simferopol, the election officials weren’t seen physically counting all the ballot papers.

At Ust-Djeguta’s polling station number 216, a count revealed there were not enough ballot papers to tally with the figure for Putin votes, of 1,299, that officials there had provisionally penciled in.

After a recount produced the same outcome, the election officials said they were going home.

When a Reuters reporter asked how they could do that without finishing the count, Tatiana Chernyaeva, the director of the school hosting the polling station, said: “You want to cast doubt on Putin’s victory.”



Under the new registration system the three Reuters reporters were able to register online to vote in one location and also obtain authorization to vote in another location by using the old procedure of going to the local election office where they are resident.

All three reporters were offered a ballot paper in their second location after they had already voted in their first, though none cast a second vote.

Djukayeva the head of the election commission at polling station 215, where one of the reporters was offered a ballot to cast a second vote, said: “I don’t know whose mistake that was …. They gave us lists yesterday of voters who should be included and excluded.” She was in the list to be included, Djukayeva added.

(Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova, Polina Nikolskaya, Tatiana Voronova and Polina Ivanova in UST-DJEGUTA; Olesya Astakhova, Olga Sichkar, Alla Afanasyeva and Kevin O’Flynn in SIMFEROPOL; Vladimir Soldatkin, Jack Stubbs and Gleb Stolyarov in KEMEROVO; Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, Darya Korsunskaya and Anastasia Lyrchikova in ZELENODOLSK; Maxim Rodionov, Andrey Kuzmin and Andrey Ostroukh in GRYAZI.; Writing by Maria Tsvetkova and Christian Lowe; Editing by Cassell Bryan-Low)

Join us at Morningside for Live Commentary on Election Night

By Kami Klein

Today, November 8th, election day, a deeply divided America are heading to their polling locations to submit their vote for the new President of the United States of America.  On election night at 6:00pm Central Standard Time, we invite you to join Pastor Jim and Lori Bakker, Zach Drew and Sasha Volz on Grace Street or watch us on our live feed as we come together in unity and prayer while awaiting the voting results. Many decisions will be made that day as other elected state and federal seats and issues will be on the line. Today, November the 8th, is the day we share our voices on what WE, the People, want for this nation.

Please join us at Morningside on Election night! Admission is free to this event.  We will also be streaming this event live beginning at 6:00pm Central Standard Time from the PTL Television Network on Roku and Apple TV, and of course, you can also watch it via internet on watch us live.  

We will be having some of our most amazing guests calling in with their comments on this election night.  So far Jim Garlow, Ramiro Peña, Michael Snyder. Lance Wallnau, Rick Wiles, Bishop Ron Webb, and Frank Amedia are scheduled and more will be announced!

There is no gentle way to put this. The future of the United States is truly at stake and beginning November 9th we will be waking to a different America.  We ask that you PLEASE… get out and VOTE!!  If you need a ride, we encourage you to contact your city offices and ask them for information.  Most cities have volunteers that will drive you to the polls.

We look forward to spending the evening with you TONIGHT on election night!