Michigan lawmakers arrive at the White House amid urgent push to head off Trump's pressure campaign

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There have been numerous attempts to reach out to the two Republican state leaders to persuade them not to embrace Trump's claims, according to people familiar with the efforts.
President Trump stands in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Friday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Michigan's top Republican lawmakers arrived at the White House Friday afternoon to meet with President Trump amid an urgent effort to keep them from endorsing the president's baseless allegations of widespread fraud and his attempt to delay their state's certification of the vote.

Senate President Mike Shirkey, House Speaker Lee Chatfield and other state GOP lawmakers are expected to meet with the president at 4 p.m. in what White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany described as a routine visit with elected leaders.

But the visit comes as Trump has personally intervened to try to upend Michigan's vote certification process. All 83 counties have certified their vote counts, giving President-elect Joe Biden a 156,000-vote margin of victory, and the state board of canvassing is scheduled to meet Monday to consider certifying the final state tally.

This week, the president called a GOP official who voted to certify the results in Wayne County, home of Detroit. She and her fellow Republican board member subsequently tried to rescind their votes, a move the secretary of state's office said was not permitted.

Trump's invitation to Shirkey and Chatfield ratcheted up alarm among current and former elected officials in Michigan, who expressed fear that he would pressure them into embracing his unfounded claims of massive voter fraud in Detroit and encourage the state canvassing board not to certify the vote.

One of the two Republicans on the state canvassing board, Norman Shinkle, told The Washington Post Thursday that he was leaning toward seeking a delay and requesting an audit of the vote, citing debunked conspiracy theories touted by Trump and his attorneys about voting machines.

"Right now the idea to check into some of these accusations seems to make sense to me," he said.

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