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Alabama's AG wouldn't say whether Biden is 'duly elected' president

Steve Marshall repeatedly refused to answer whether the president was "lawfully serving" in his testimony against Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall declined Thursday to say whether he thought Joe Biden had been "duly elected" as president as he testified against Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on the fourth day of her Senate confirmation hearings.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., asked Marshall, a Republican who challenged the results of the 2020 election and was called to testify as a GOP expert witness at Jackson's hearing, whether Biden was "the duly elected and lawfully serving president of the United States of America."

"He is the president of this country," Marshall said. He gave the same answer when Whitehouse asked a second time.

"Are you answering that, omitting the language 'duly elected and lawfully serving,' purposefully?" Whitehouse continued.

"I’m answering the question. He is the president of the United States," Marshall replied.

"You have no view as to whether he was duly elected or is lawfully serving?" Whitehouse pressed, to which Marshall replied: "I'm telling you he's president of the United States."

Marshall, who became the 48th attorney general of Alabama in 2017, signed a brief in support of a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in December 2020, asking the Supreme Court to throw out election results in key battleground states that had voted for Biden.

“The unconstitutional actions and fraudulent votes in other states not only affect the citizens of those states, they affect the citizens of all states — of the entire United States,” Marshall said at the time, referring to former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.

Marshall was also the head of the Republican Attorneys General Association, a national group representing the top law enforcement officers in their states, on Jan. 5, 2021, when its fundraising arm sent out robocalls urging people to march to the U.S. Capitol the next day.

“At 1 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” the voice on the robocall recording said. The calls did not advocate violence or suggest the building should be breached.

After a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and disrupted the Electoral College certification process, Marshall said he hadn't known about the robocalls.

Marshall said he didn't know how the calls were funded when asked by Whitehouse on Thursday. "We have denounced lawlessness, not only as it related to what took place on Jan. 6 but also the lawlessness that continues to go on across our country with violent crime," he said.

In his opening statement, Marshall said he opposed Jackson's confirmation because he fears she “believes that a fundamental redesign is needed in our criminal justice system and that she would be so inclined to use her position on the court to this end.”