President Trump and 17 Republican-led states gave their support Wednesday to a Supreme Court lawsuit brought by Texas that seeks to overturn Democrat Joseph R. Biden’s wins in four swing states, while the president also urged congressional Republicans to join in the last-ditch complaint against election fraud.
“This is the big one,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet as his legal team filed a motion to join the case. “Our Country needs a victory! How can you have a presidency when a vast majority think the election was RIGGED?”
Congressional Republicans also were being urged to sign on to the Texas case in a “friend of the court” brief. The president called Rep. Mike Johnson, Louisiana Republican, to thank him for recruiting GOP colleagues to support what Mr. Trump called the “very strong” lawsuit.
“He specifically asked me to contact all Republican members of the House and Senate today, and request that all join on to our brief,” Mr. Johnson told House GOP colleagues in an email. “He said he will be anxiously awaiting the final list to review.”
Texas was joined in the case Wednesday by Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.
They argued in a brief that the changes to voting procedures by Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all of which were won by Mr. Biden — “undermined the liberty of all Americans,” including the voters in other states.
Mr. Trump, in his personal capacity as a candidate for reelection, also filed his motion to intervene Wednesday. The petition said it’s “not necessary” for him to prove election fraud, only that states “materially deviated” from the method of choosing electors established by their legislatures.
“Election officials in each of the defendant states altered or otherwise failed to enforce state election laws in the conduct of the 2020 election,” his filing read.
The brief argues that Mr. Trump was successful by historical markers, claiming that no presidential candidate has ever lost the election when winning Florida and Ohio, as he did.
That claim is incorrect. In the 1960 presidential election, Republican Richard Nixon won Ohio and Florida, but he lost the presidency to Democrat John F. Kennedy.
The brief also says that Mr. Trump won 18 of the country’s 19 bellwether counties.
“The fact that nearly half of the country believes the election was stolen should come as no surprise,” the president’s court filing read.
The lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is co-chairman of the Lawyers for Trump campaign coalition, argues that the election in the four swing states was illegal due to expansion of mail-in voting that wasn’t approved by elected officials.
Mr. Paxton is asking the high court to invalidate Mr. Biden’s wins in those states and to order the selection of presidential electors by their legislatures, all of which are controlled by Republicans.
“We can’t go back and fix it, but we can say, OK, let’s transfer this to the legislature … and let them to decide the outcome of the election. That would be a valid constitutional situation,” Mr. Paxton said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends.”
The justices told the four battleground states to respond to Texas’ complaint by Thursday afternoon. Legal analysts in both parties have said the case has little chance of success.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, called the lawsuit an “attack on our democracy.”
“I feel sorry for Texans that their tax dollars are being wasted on such a genuinely embarrassing lawsuit,” he said.
He and the Democratic attorneys general of Michigan and Pennsylvania said in a joint statement that it’s “well past time for the president and our fellow states and elected officials to stop misleading the public about this year’s election and to acknowledge that the results certified in our states reflect the decisions made by the voters in a free, fair, and secure election.”
The office of Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican, also has criticized Texas’ complaint.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected without comment the first challenge it received over alleged fraud in the November election. The justices turned away a case brought by Rep. Mike Kelly, Pennsylvania Republican and a Trump ally.
But the president said he wasn’t involved in that case, calling the Texas lawsuit “the case that everyone has been waiting for.”
“I received hundreds of thousands of legal votes more, in all of the Swing States, than did my opponent,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “ALL Data taken after the vote says that it was impossible for me to lose, unless FIXED!”
Georgia’s Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, also voiced support for the Texas lawsuit against their state even as they face runoff elections Jan. 5 against two Democratic candidates.
“This isn’t hard and it isn’t partisan. It’s American,” they said in a statement. “No one should ever have to question the integrity of our elections system and the credibility of its outcomes.”
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah was one of the few Republicans in Congress to voice opposition to the action.
“It’s just simply madness,” he told reporters. “The idea of supplanting the vote of the people with partisan legislators is so completely out of our national character that it’s simply mad. Of course, the president has the right to challenge results in court, to have recounts. But this effort to subvert the vote of the people is dangerous and destructive of the cause of democracy.”
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, also said he’s “not convinced” about his state’s lawsuit.
“I frankly struggle to understand the legal theory of it,” he told CNN. “Number one, why would a state, even such a great state as Texas, have a say-so on how other states administer their elections?”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, thanked Mr. Cornyn for his comments, tweeting, “there is no legal theory and the conservative majority Supreme Court will reject it out of hand.”
The lawsuit is something of a “Hail Mary” effort, since courts have been dismissing election contests across the country, refusing to invalidate tens of thousands of ballots.
The Nevada Supreme Court and Arizona’s Supreme Court both dismissed challenges earlier this week concerning mail-in ballots. Mr. Trump lost Arizona by 10,457 votes and Nevada by 33,596 votes.
But a case brought by Republican legislatures in Pennsylvania is still pending before the Supreme Court, alleging that the secretary of state of Pennsylvania violated state law by extending the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots beyond Election Day. Officials in Pennsylvania said the late-arriving ballots wouldn’t be enough to make up the roughly 81,000-vote deficit between Mr. Biden and the president.
Pressure is building on the courts and state legislatures to get involved.
After seeing judges buck Mr. Trump’s lawsuits, his personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani has presented evidence of election irregularities before state lawmakers in Michigan, Georgia and Arizona, asking them to probe the issue and not award their electors to Mr. Biden.
Members of he Electoral College are set to meet Dec. 14 in their respective state capitals to officially cast their votes for president.
Advocacy groups are also adding pressure to their representatives.
Citizens for Free Elections launched a 30-second television ad in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada urging their state lawmakers to “audit the vote.”
So far, none of the GOP-majority state legislatures that Mr. Trump’s team has appealed to have suggested they’re willing to overturn the state results.
More than two-dozen lawmakers in Pennsylvania have asked the governor to call a special session to weigh election integrity, and a handful of Georgia Republicans have sought to collect enough signatures to force Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, to call a special session in the Peach State.
Thus far, no governor has obliged.
Mr. Trump lost Georgia by 11,779 votes.
There is also a move by some congressional Republicans to object to Mr. Biden’s electoral votes when Congress meets on Jan. 6, to accept officially the various states’ electoral votes, usually a pro forma move.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, announced Wednesday that he will hold a hearing next week on the 2020 election results and election security.
He also told reporters that he wouldn’t rule out joining the effort to challenge a state’s results when Congress meets in a joint session early next month.
“It depends on what we find out,” Mr. Johnson said.