LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:
After we recorded the interview with Dr. Jill Stein, a lawyer with the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign posted on the website Medium that the campaign is going to participate in the recount process. To get some clarification on what that actually means, we’ve reached NPR’s Tamara Keith. She covered the Clinton campaign. Hi, Tamara.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi.
SINGH: Tam, what is the Clinton campaign saying about this Wisconsin recount and what its role is going to be?
KEITH: So the role would be to participate. What that means is to watch, to take part in legal hearings, should they happen. Marc Elias who is the lead lawyer for the Clinton campaign said that they had been looking into these things, they’ve spoken to a lot of experts. And here is the really significant part from his post on Medium. He says, quote, “because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves.” That option being asking for a recount. “But now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.”
SINGH: Participate – what does that mean? Does it actually mean supporting the recount?
KEITH: No, it doesn’t necessarily support it. It didn’t think that this was necessary. The campaign would not have taken this step on its own, but because Jill Stein and Rocky De La Fuente, actually another third-party candidate, took this step to ask for a recount in Wisconsin, because Clinton is on that ballot, her campaign feels that they need to have a presence. Anyone can actually witness recount activities in Wisconsin, and a candidate who is on the ballot certainly can be present for any court hearings should any sort of challenges or legal matters arise as part of that recount process.
SINGH: Tamara, what about President-elect Donald Trump? Surely he’s weighed in on this, right?
KEITH: Yeah. And he is not a fan of this recount effort, not surprisingly. I mean, I read from a statement that his campaign put out from Donald Trump it says – he says (reading) the people have spoken and the election is over. He says Hillary Clinton called to concede and said that the country should move forward. And then the language gets very colorful in response to Jill Stein. Trump’s statement says (reading) this recount is just a way for Jill Stein who received less than 1 percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount. All three states were won by large numbers of voters, especially Pennsylvania, which was won by more than 70,000 votes. This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.
Again, that is a statement from Donald Trump.
SINGH: Where does it go from here?
KEITH: The recount is likely to proceed assuming Stein and De La Fuente have the money that they would need to pay for the recount because they will be paying for it. The Wisconsin Election Commission is reaching out to county and municipal clerks to get cost estimates and is planning a press conference on Monday. Stein is planning also to call for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. But to go back to that Medium post from the Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias, he says that they head into this fully aware – and this is a quote – “that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states, Michigan, well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome by a recount.”
SINGH: That’s NPR’s Tamara Keith who covered the Hillary Clinton campaign. Thank you, Tam.
KEITH: You’re welcome.
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