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Attorney General William Barr speaks during a press conference about Operation Legend at the Dirksen Federal Building Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in Chicago. Barr said the operation was "critical in cutting Chicago's murder rate roughly in half since before the operation." (Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

NASHVILLE — Three Tennessee Republican congressmen are among 39 GOP representatives urging U.S. Attorney General William Barr to ensure the vote-counting process in states where Democrat Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump is run in a manner "fully consistent" with state and federal law and "completely transparent."

In the letter signed by Tennessee U.S. Reps. Scott DesJarlais of Sherwood, John Rose of Cookeville and Mark Green of Ashland City, the Republicans wrote that given "widespread reports of irregularities, particularly in the vote-counting process, it is time for you to use the resources of the Department to ensure that the process is conducted in a manner that is fully consistent with state and federal law.

"And," they added, "it is also important that the process be completely transparent, so that the American people will have full confidence in the result."

Retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, has previously stated that "after counting every valid vote and allowing courts to resolve disputes, it is important to respect and promptly accept the result. The orderly transfer or reaffirming of immense power after a presidential election is the most enduring symbol of our democracy."

The GOP congressmen's letter, sent Friday, also was signed by U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Georgia. It sought an "immediate response" from Barr on what he is doing "to ensure the integrity of the voting and counting process right now? Will you commit to using all the resources at your disposal to ensure that only legal votes are being counted and being counted in a fully transparent manner immediately?"

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Tennessee, Georgia GOP congressional members' letter to U.S. attorney general

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Rose spokeswoman Elissa Tew said Monday that "at this time, our office has not received a response from Attorney General Barr."

A day after the letter was sent, cable and broadcast news networks as well as The Associated Press projected former Vice President Biden the winner over Trump. The president has charged the election was stolen without offering evidence sufficient to persuade any judge at this juncture.

Trump handily won Tennessee by a 60.7%-37.4% margin over Biden. His margin was even stronger in the Chattanooga region, with 70.6% of the vote to Biden's 27.6%.

Four Republican members of Tennessee's congressional delegation did not sign the letter: U.S. Reps. Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah, Tim Burchett of Knoxville, Phil Roe of Johnson City and David Kustoff of Memphis.

Fleischmann spokeswoman Justine Sanders said Monday "we got notified of the letter asking us to sign it on Friday and the letter also went out on Friday. So it was a very quick turn-around to get a signature, and we didn't see it on time. But the congressman supports it — he supports it in its entirety. He just, unfortunately, didn't see it in time to sign on."

On Friday, Fleischmann tweeted, "I agree with President @realDonaldTrump: every LEGAL vote must be counted. You can do your part by donating to the President's legal defense fund" and provided a link to the national GOP's fundraising platform, WinRed. A disclaimer on the website states that 50% of any donation will go toward Trump's presidential campaign's general election debt retirement, with the other half going toward the campaign's recount account.

 

Georgia: Biden leading, still too close to call

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported early Monday that while the contest there remained too close to call, former Vice President Biden has steadily expanded his lead over Trump as elections officials count remaining outstanding ballots.

Georgia Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan told CNN Monday morning that his office had been in close contact with Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger as well as Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, also a Republican, and "made sure that if there's any sort of systemic examples of fraud or voter disenfranchisement across the voting base to let us know. We have not had any sort of credible incidents raised to our level yet."

Duncan said Georgia officials will "continue to make sure that the opportunity to make sure every legal ballot is counted is there. But at this point we've not seen any sort of credible examples [of fraud]."

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has named U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican who lost his U.S. Senate bid on Tuesday, to lead recount efforts in Georgia.

"Republicans stand by the ideal that every eligible voter should be able to vote legally and have it counted," Collins said in a statement.

Contact Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.

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Staff photo by Doug Strickland / U.S. Reps Scott DesJarlais, left, and Chuck Fleischmann sit on a panel during a tax policy event hosted by America First policies at Lee University's Pangle Hall on Saturday, July 21, 2018, in Cleveland, Tenn.
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