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story.lead_photo.caption Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks during a news conference at South Austin neighborhood Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, in Chicago. - Photo by AP Photo / Tae-Gyun Kim

WASHINGTON -- The top lawyer for Hillary Clinton's presidential bid said Saturday that the campaign would join a third-party candidate's effort to seek a full recount in Wisconsin, and potentially two other states, though he said the campaign had seen no "actionable evidence" of vote hacking.

In a post on the online news site Medium, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias wrote that the campaign had received "hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton," especially in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the "combined margin of victory for Donald Trump was merely 107,000 votes."

Elias described in his post an intensive behind-the-scenes effort by the campaign to look for signs of Russian hacker activity or other irregularities in the vote count.

The essay suggested that the campaign was joining the recount effort with little expectation that it would change the result. But many of the campaign's supporters, picking up on its frequent complaints of Russian interference in the election, have enthusiastically backed the recount effort led by Jill Stein, who was the Green Party candidate.

[INTERACTIVE: 2016 electioncoverage]

She has raised more than $5 million for the effort.

Stein filed for a recount in Wisconsin on Friday afternoon, about an hour before the deadline. In Michigan, Stein must wait for a Monday meeting of the state's Board of Canvassers to certify the results of the Nov. 8 balloting before filing for a recount. In Pennsylvania, where paper ballots are used only in some areas, election officials said that the deadline to petition for a recount had passed but that a candidate could challenge the result in court before a Monday deadline.

In his post, Elias sounded less enthusiastic than the recount's supporters.

"Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology," he wrote, "we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves."

He added, "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."

Should Stein pursue additional recounts, "we will take the same approach in those states as well," he wrote. But he noted 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 in a recount."

The Clinton campaign will not contribute financially to the effort, which has been funded by small contributions. But it will pay to have its own lawyers present at the recount, campaign officials said.

'scam,' trump says

Trump issued a statement Saturday calling the recount push "ridiculous" and "a scam by the Green Party."

"The results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing," said Trump, who himself suggested in the weeks before the election that the vote could be rigged.

During the campaign, Clinton criticized Trump for refusing to say that he would accept the election results if Clinton won. Asked during an October debate whether he would do so, Trump responded that he would "keep you in suspense." Clinton called that answer "horrifying" and said Trump was "talking down our democracy."

"Donald Trump refused to say that he'd respect the results of this election," her campaign later posted on Twitter. "By doing that, he's threatening our democracy."

President Barack Obama's administration issued a statement to The New York Times on Friday in response to questions about intelligence findings related to Russian interference in the election. In the statement, it said it had concluded that the election had been free of interference.

The administration issued a second statement Saturday saying that "the federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyberactivity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on Election Day."

It added: "As we have noted before, we remained confident in the overall integrity of electoral infrastructure, a confidence that was borne out on Election Day. As a result, we believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective."

Clinton conceded the race to Trump early on Nov. 9, when it became clear that he would have a large margin of victory in the Electoral College. But as her lead in the popular vote has grown -- it now exceeds 2 million votes -- her base has increasingly pressured her to challenge the results.

That has been fueled in part by how aggressively the Clinton campaign spread the word of Russian involvement in the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and from the personal account of John Podesta, the campaign's chairman. The campaign also claimed that the Russians were behind fake news about Clinton's health, among other stories -- a claim supported to some extent by recent studies.

Some critics saw those accusations as an effort to shift the discussion from mistakes the Clinton campaign had made in taking on Trump.

Now Clinton finds herself in a position of not wanting to lead the charge for a recount that Democrats believe will go nowhere, but also not wanting to abandon supporters who have donated to Stein's last-ditch effort.

secret investigation

Elias' post offered a revealing look at how much time and energy the campaign has spent in the past two weeks looking for evidence of Russian hacking or other irregularities, and how it has tried to keep those efforts secret.

"Since the day after the election, we have had lawyers and data scientists and analysts combing over the results to spot anomalies that would suggest a hacked result," Elias wrote. "These have included analysts both from within the campaign and outside, with backgrounds in politics, technology and academia."

He said those efforts had been followed by "numerous meetings and calls with various outside experts to hear their concerns and to discuss and review their data and findings." The campaign shared its data as well.

"Most of those discussions have remained private, while at least one has unfortunately been the subject of leaks," he wrote, referring to conversations between Podesta and a group of experts that included J. Alex Halderman, a computer scientist with experience in the vulnerabilities of voting systems.

Medium also published a post by Halderman, early Thursday, describing his suspicions and the case for recounts. But even he doubted the election result would change.

Meanwhile, Trump, scrambling to address unfilled administration jobs, planned to return to his New York home today ahead of a series of Monday meetings with prospective hires.

One of those includes Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wis., who is seen as a possible Homeland Security pick. Clarke's vocal opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement has made him popular with many conservatives.

Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence also have Monday meetings scheduled with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt; Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa.; a former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Paul Atkins; World Wide Technology Chairman David Steward; and General Growth Properties Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Mathrani.

Trump was spending the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with family at his Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago. He had planned to focus on filling key administration posts over the working vacation.

Also Saturday, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said Trump offered him the job of secretary of education, but he turned it down for personal reasons.

Falwell said Trump wanted a four- to six-year commitment, but Falwell said he couldn't leave Liberty for more than two years. Trump announced Wednesday that he had selected charter-school advocate Betsy DeVos for the job.

Information for this article was contributed by David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick of The New York Times; by Matt Zapotosky of The Washington Post; and by Steve Peoples of The Associated Press.

A Section on 11/27/2016

Print Headline: Clinton will join recount in 1 state

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  • KCSAP
    November 27, 2016 at 7:15 a.m.

    The democrats are so dishonest. Before the election they beat up Trump because he said he would wait to see if there was evidence of voter fraud before mounting a challenge. Then after the idiots (dems) lose, without any evidence of voter fraud, they now want to challenge the vote results. The danger here is like Minnesota's Al Franken, the dems will miraculously find enough votes stuffed in someones trunk to give them just enough + 1 to win. This 3rd world country crap that Obama and the dems have foisted upon us must end. We need law and order or the crooks will never stop gaming the system.

  • Jackabbott
    November 27, 2016 at 8:27 a.m.

    Stein is doing it for money. Trying to be like Sanders, who though got cheated, received a cool $600k to "buy" a new house in Vermont, where homes are cheap. Clinton, not satisfied that Trump might have given her a out of jail pass or at least not push her criminal case, now will face the hammer, which she richly deserves. She just has no common sense.

  • JerryC2011
    November 27, 2016 at 8:57 a.m.

    KCSAP, you are correct. Being a former MN resident, I watched the Norm Coleman, Al Franken race with interest. They just kept counting until Franken had enough votes. Coleman said he had to go back to work to earn a living, unlike Franken, who had the backing of the Obama supporters. They needed his vote to pass Obamacare.

  • skeptic1
    November 27, 2016 at 10:22 a.m.

    What did Hillary say, "A candidate that will not accept the outcome of an election is a threat to democracy." Well Hillary, looks like the threat is you and proof of why you lost, you are dishonest and crooked, good riddance and maybe Trump should rethink prosecuting you.

  • Ouachita9
    November 27, 2016 at 10:59 a.m.

    Sore losers proving once again, that they are sore losers.

  • cliffcarson
    November 27, 2016 at 12:29 p.m.

    Since the Republicans are not going to ask for a recount and of course would certainly not help such a witch hunt, those millions of dollars must have come from somewhere. And since the Green Party couldn't raise that much money for Stein's campaign, we must assume the only source of money for a recount must have come from a Democrat source. I wonder how much Stein got paid to launch a miscount?
    Remember only those on a ballot would have standing to request such a recount.

    Could it have come from a Clinton Foundation pot of Gold?

  • TimberTopper
    November 27, 2016 at 2:06 p.m.

    LOL! You folks are grasping at straws. It plainly said that Clinton got more votes where paper ballots were used, they probably are just going to check out the voter machines. And when they find them to be in good shape it'll all be over. It is OK if you win, fair and square. This is not MN. where Franken is from. Have some confidence in your elected officials. Remember, George W. Bush had a recount in FL. some time back, and the Supreme Court stopped it from being a total FL recount and Bush was sworn as POTUS. It'll all be fine. Take your BP pill or a drink of something nice and smooooth!

  • RaylanGivens
    November 27, 2016 at 2:26 p.m.

    Have at it; wasting more money seems like such a great idea. It sure wouldn't do any good trying to help people in need instead

  • Packman
    November 27, 2016 at 2:35 p.m.

    Hey Timber - Nate Silver performed relative statistical analysis that showed the voting models to be consistent with the demographic voting trends for both electronic and paper ballots. Plainly, Clinton received more of a percentage of the vote in urban areas than rural areas. Was this because paper ballots were used or because those people are more likely to vote a certain way?
    .
    It is curious, however, why Clinton would join the idiot Stein in this fool's errand? Any ideas?

  • Nodmcm
    November 27, 2016 at 6:06 p.m.

    "President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday made the astonishing claim that “millions of people who voted illegally” contributed to opponent Hillary Clinton’s victory in the popular vote, following a campaign based largely on spreading conspiracy theories and claiming that the election was “rigged” against him. 'In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally'— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
    "Trump’s latest lie seems to have originated from the conservative conspiracy website Infowars, which published an article claiming that Trump actually won the popular vote because '“three million votes in the U.S. presidential election were cast by illegal aliens.”' The tweet followed an earlier string of posts in which Trump railed against Clinton, claiming her campaign was hypocritical to participate in a vote recount because she criticized him when he would not affirm whether he would accept the results of the election. Now it seems that Trump won’t even fully accept the results of the election even though he won it." --by Marina Fang, Associate Politics Editor, Huffpost

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