'Hoax!': Defiant Trump refuses to budge

 

Welcome to our live coverage of the fallout from the US election.

President Donald Trump spent the morning after his defeat to Joe Biden watching TV and fuming from the White House.

Mr Trump tweeted quotes from guests on Fox News' morning programs to bolster his baseless claims that the election result was fraudulent.

"We believe these people are thieves. The big city machines are corrupt. This was a stolen election. Best pollster in Britain wrote this morning that this clearly was a stolen election, that it's impossible to imagine that Biden outran Obama in some of these states," former Republican politician Newt Gingrich said, in one statement repeated approvingly by the President.

"Where it mattered, they stole what they had to steal."

He also quoted lawyer Jonathan Turley, who is a professor at George Washington University.

"We should look at the votes. We're just beginning the tabulation stage. We should look at these allegations. We're seeing a number of affidavits that there has been voter fraud. We have a history in this country of election problems," Mr Turley said.

"In Pennsylvania you had an order by a Supreme Court Justice to compel them to separate ballots that were received after the legislative deadline. It required the intervention of Justice Alito. That's a large group of ballots."

The Trump campaign has not produced evidence to support its claims of widespread fraud in the election.

I'll address the Supreme Court order cited by Mr Turley directly. In Pennsylvania, mail-in ballots are counted as long as they arrive up to three days after the election.

Mr Trump has been complaining repeatedly about that rule, falsely claiming such votes are "illegal", when they are in fact in full compliance with the law.

To be clear, these ballots were not cast after the election. They were sent on or before election day, and arrived afterwards.

The order from Justice Samuel Alito compelled officials to keep these late-arriving ballots "segregated" from the mail-in ballots that arrived by election day. Officials in Pennsylvania say they were already doing that anyway. So the order requires them to do something they were already doing.

According to Pennsylvania's Attorney-General, Josh Shapiro, there are only a few thousand of these late-arriving ballots - "not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands". Mr Biden currently leads the state by 42,000 votes, and that lead is growing. So even if every single late-arriving ballot was thrown out, it would not change the result.

Anyway, we are sure to here more about this from the President and his legal team in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Mr Biden is in the process of setting up his transition team, which will prepare him to take over as president on January 20.

 

Trump to 'brandish obituaries' of voters

Axios has the inside scoop on Donald Trump's upcoming legal warfare strategy.

Mr Trump will reportedly brandish obituaries of people who have supposedly died but voted in the election.

The obituaries will be "specific pieces of evidence" cited to bolster the Trump camp's allegations of widespread voter fraud in favour of Joe Biden, Axios reports.

He will also bring back campaign-style rallies to maintain enthusiasm among supporters and prolong his battle.

 

ScoMo invites Biden to Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has invited Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden to Australia for the 70th anniversary of the ANZUS treaty next year.

"ANZUS has been the bedrock of our security foundations here in Australia. I look forward to inviting the President elect to join us next year to celebrate 70 years of peace, stability and security," Mr Morrison said in his congratulations, The Daily Telegraph reports.

"President elect Biden comes to this relationship with a deep experience, and a deep history, a history that has seen him come to Australia before … he deeply understands this part of the world."

He thanked the Trump administration for a "good working relationship" over the past four years. "But as one chapter opens, another closes," he said.

Trump campaign photoshops newspaper's front page

Ah. You might have seen one of our earlier posts, which mentioned the new decorations at the Trump campaign's headquarters.

Communications director Tim Murtaugh posted a picture of the HQ's kitchen, which was plastered with dozens of copies of a newspaper's front page from 2000.

Said front page said, quite wrongly indeed, that Al Gore had won the election against George W. Bush.

"A reminder that the media doesn't select the president," Mr Murtaugh said.

Turns out the front page in question was photoshopped. Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler found the real version, which literally says the opposite - that Mr Bush won.

I cannot fathom why the Trump campaign would have gone to the trouble of creating a fake version. But here we are.


Biden visits his son's grave

Joe Biden's day so far has included a trip to church, and a visit to the grave of his late son Beau, who died in 2015.


Pushback against Jared Kushner story


Other US media is pushing back on a report from earlier that Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is among those pushing him to accept his defeat in the election.

According to The New York Times, a White House official has disputed that report, saying Mr Kushner has advised the President to pursue "legal remedies".

Reporter Maggie Haberman adds some extra detail, saying Mr Kushner was at a meeting with political advisers yesterday where they concluded the chances of actually changing the election result through legal action were small.

Mr Kushner reportedly asked some of the advisers to go to the White House and tell his father-in-law the same thing. Asked whether he should also be there, he said he "would be part of the next level of discussions".


Melania posts public response on Twitter

Melania Trump has posted an implicit response to the swirling reports that she is urging her husband to concede.

It's essentially the same thing Republican politicians have been saying today. None of them are going as far as Donald Trump - i.e. they're not saying he won and had it stolen from him - but there's a lot of talk about illegal votes and whatnot.


Trump complains about the way elections always work


We've had a quiet few hours from Donald Trump as he visited his golf course in Virginia, but the President is now back on Twitter.


I mean, to answer his question … since forever. The way states were called in this election, with news organisations projecting the result based on the vote count, is how election coverage has always worked.

It's the same in every other country. You've watched Australian elections on TV, right? We don't wait weeks for the Electoral Commission to officially state so-and-so has won a seat (and yes, it does take weeks for that to happen). The news networks wait until it's obvious who has won the seat, then call it.

That doesn't mean Channel 9, or Antony Green, or news.com.au is deciding who wins the election. The voters do that. We're just telling you who has won as soon as it's clear. Which is our job.

Romney: Trump 'is who he is'

Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a frequent critic of Donald Trump, was on State of the Union.

He was asked about Mr Trump's claims about election fraud, and acknowledged no evidence had emerged to support them.

"President Trump's out there saying that he won. It's not just a question of, 'Oh we have questions about this place, or that place,'" host Jake Tapper said.

"Does it concern you at all that President Trump and his team are out there saying that he won, and lying about the integrity of the election with wild allegations?"

"You're not going to change the nature of President Trump in these last days, apparently, of his presidency," Mr Romney responded.

"He is who he is, and he has a relatively relaxed relationship with the truth. And so he's going to keep on fighting until the very end.

"But I'm convinced that, once all remedies are exhausted, if those are exhausted in a way that's not favourable to him, he will accept the inevitable. But don't expect him to go quietly in the night. That's not how he operates."

Tapper played Mr Romney footage of his own speech conceding to Barack Obama on the night of the 2012 election.

"The difference between that statement, which I'm sure was not easy to give, and what we've heard from President Trump is like night and day Senator. Is it important, do you think for the country, that President Trump - in the immortal words of the mayor of Philadelphia - 'put on his big boy pants' and formally concede, reassuring his supporters that Joe Biden is the elected president?" he asked.

"I just don't think you can expect President Trump to respond and react the way presidential candidates have in the past. He's a very different person.

"He has his own manner, and he is responding in a way that is entirely consistent with what we have seen during his campaigns and, of course, during his presidency.

"He's going to do what he's going to do. But in the final analysis, there's going to be a recount I'm sure in a number of states, there will be an investigation carried out, and there will be a resolution in the courts if necessary.

"When that's all said and done, the President doesn't have a choice.

"If he does not win on a legitimate basis, then he ceases to be President when Joe Biden is sworn in. It's as simple as that.

"I would prefer to see the world watching a more graceful departure, but that's just not in the nature of the man."

George W. Bush congratulates Biden

An interlude from the Sunday show interviews here to note that former president George W. Bush has called Joe Biden to congratulate him on his victory.

Mr Bush just released a statement.

"I just talked to the president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden. I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night. I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election to the vice presidency," he said.

"Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country. The president-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans.

"I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can."

The former president also had words of encouragement for Donald Trump and those who voted for him.

But he slapped down the idea that the election had been anything other than fair.

"I want to congratulate President Trump and his supporters on a hard-fought campaign. He earned the votes of more than 70 million Americans, an extraordinary political achievement. They have spoken, and their voices will continue to be heard through elected Republicans at every level of government," said Mr Bush.

"The fact that so many of our fellow citizens participated in this election is a positive sign of the health of our democracy and a reminder to the world of its strength. No matter how you voted, your vote counted.

"President Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges, and any unresolved issues will be properly adjudicated. The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.

"The challenges that face our country will demand the best of president-elect Biden and vice president-elect Harris, and the best of us all.  We must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors, and for our nation and its future. There is no problem that will not yield to the gathered will of a free people.

"Laura and I pray for our leaders and their families. We ask for God's continued blessings on our country. And we urge all Americans to join us in wishing our next president and vice president well as they prepare to take up their important duties."

Trump ally: 'Why is everybody so scared?'

It's Sunday here in the US, which means most of our big political news is coming from the networks' Sunday shows.

We've heard from a diverse group of politicians, some of them criticising Donald Trump's baseless claims about election fraud, and others standing by the President.

I'll run through the highlights one by one over the next few posts.

"Why is everybody so scared just to have a fair election and find out?" South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, asked on ABC's This Week.

Ms Noem, incidentally, is one of the most pro-Trump governors in the country. She has been strongly opposed to lockdowns, mask mandates and other measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Along with neighbouring North Dakota, Ms Noem's state has been the worst-hit in the US during the current resurgence of the virus.

"We gave Al Gore 37 days to run the process before we decided who would be president," she continued, citing the 2000 election between Mr Gore and George W. Bush.

That election was decided by a legal dispute over the results in a single state, Florida, which Mr Bush eventually won by 537 votes.

"Why would we not afford the 70.6 million Americans that voted for President Trump the same consideration?" Ms Noem asked.

"If Joe Biden really wants to unify this country, he would wait and make sure we can prove we had a fair election."

Host George Stephanopoulos was not convinced.

"Governor, Al Gore was behind by about 500 votes in one state, Florida. Joe Biden is ahead in all of the close states - 10,000 votes in Georgia, 27,000 votes in Nevada, almost 20,000 votes in Arizona, more than 30,000 votes in Pennsylvania. That is not close. That is not within the margin that elections are usually turned around on," he pointed out.

"Many, many more states are in play this time around," Ms Noem said.

"And that's what I think is interesting, is this declaration from some individuals, saying it was an overwhelming victory for Joe Biden. It simply wasn't, because you have so many of these states that are still in play."

To be clear about this, the states still in play are Arizona (where Mr Biden leads), North Carolina (where Mr Trump leads) and Georgia (where Mr Biden leads, but there will be a recount).

The rest have all been called, because one of the two candidates has an unassailable lead.

"All I'm asking for, George, is that we don't break this country. When you break the process on which we elect our leaders, you will break America forever," said Ms Noem.

"So this isn't just about this election. This is about every election in the future, and the fact that the American people, the everyday people who get up and work hard, who are suffering through this pandemic, that have tragically lost family members, that they need to know at least America still functions and we care about doing things right."

"It starts with providing evidence. You still have not provided it," Stephanopoulos told her.

Here's the interview.


'Virtually everybody' telling Trump to acknowledge defeat

ABC News reporter Jon Karl has also been looking into the efforts from Donald Trump's family and closest advisers to convince the President to concede.

"Virtually everybody in the president's inner circle, his true closest advisers, including his family members, are fully aware that this is over," Karl reported today.

"There have been conversations that I am told include the First Lady about how to convince him to make something of a graceful exit, how to go to him and talk to him about the movement he has built, about his role in the Republican Party, about the way he can be a kingmaker in 2022, 2024, and maybe even run again, and how if he doesn't leave in the right way, he could jeopardize all of that."

If Mr Trump were to concede, what would it look like? Not a like any normal concession, Karl said.

"Everybody fully expects him to eventually make this concession speech," he reported.

"It won't be a concession speech like any we have seen. He won't concede he has lost. What I would expect him to do is effectively concede that the election was 'stolen' from him, and have a long list of grievances."

"Which, of course, is not a concession at all," host George Stephanopoulos pointed out.


Melania reportedly urges Trump to concede

CNN reports First Lady Melania Trump is among those in the President's inner circle advising him to accept defeat and concede.

It cites an unnamed source "familiar with the conversations", who says Mrs Trump has given her husband her opinion on the matter.

"She has offered it, as she often does," the source said.

This follows a report from the network's White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins earlier, in which she said Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner was urging him to concede.

Biden team sets up transition website

Over in Joe Biden's camp, the focus is now on the presidential transition period.

He won't become president until Inauguration Day on January 20. Mr Biden has until then to come up with his team, including the people who will staff his White House and those who will be named members of his cabinet.

Usually, the incumbent president helps make the transition as smooth as possible - you might recall those awkward scenes from four years ago when Barack Obama invited Donald Trump to the White House to show him the ropes, and they pretended not to hate each other's guts.

It doesn't look like Mr Trump will be helping much this time. So that adds another layer of difficulty to the transition period.

First things first though. There's a glitzy new website for the Biden transition team. It's not quite on the same level as that one Meghan and Harry set up when they left the royals, but still, similar vibe.


President goes to his golf course again

When Americans first gathered in the streets outside the White House to celebrate Donald Trump's defeat yesterday, he actually wasn't there.

Mr Trump had gone to one of his golf courses in Bedminster, Virginia.

I'm not sure the crowds chanting outside the White House knew that at the time, but he did eventually return and was seen looking out at the celebrations from his car.

I bring this up because the White House press pool says the President just arrived at his golf course again. So we know how he's going to be spending the next few hours.

'Thieves': Trump fumes from the White House

Welcome back to our live election coverage. For once, I don't need to bombard you with a bunch of vote totals to start the day.

First up, let's check in on President Donald Trump, who has still refused to concede.

Mr Trump spent his morning watching TV and fuming about the election result from inside the White House.

He tweeted quotes from guests on Fox News' morning programs to bolster his baseless claims that the result was fraudulent.

"We believe these people are thieves. The big city machines are corrupt. This was a stolen election. Best pollster in Britain wrote this morning that this clearly was a stolen election, that it's impossible to imagine that Biden outran Obama in some of these states," former Republican politician Newt Gingrich said, in one statement repeated approvingly by the President.

"Where it mattered, they stole what they had to steal."

He also quoted lawyer Jonathan Turley, who is a professor at George Washington University.

"We should look at the votes. We're just beginning the tabulation stage. We should look at these allegations. We're seeing a number of affidavits that there has been voter fraud. We have a history in this country of election problems," Mr Turley said.

"In Pennsylvania you had an order by a Supreme Court Justice to compel them to separate ballots that were received after the legislative deadline. It required the intervention of Justice Alito. That's a large group of ballots."

The Trump campaign has not produced evidence to support its claims of widespread fraud in the election.

I'll address the Supreme Court order cited by Mr Turley directly. In Pennsylvania, mail-in ballots are counted as long as they arrive up to three days after the election. Mr Trump has been complaining repeatedly about that rule, falsely claiming such votes are "illegal", when they are in fact in full compliance with the law.

To be clear, these ballots were not cast after the election. They were sent on or before election day, and arrived afterwards.

The order from Justice Samuel Alito compelled officials to keep these late-arriving ballots "segregated" from the mail-in ballots that arrived by election day. Officials in Pennsylvania say they were already doing that anyway. So the order requires them to do something they were already doing.

According to Pennsylvania's Attorney-General, Josh Shapiro, there are only a few thousand of these late-arriving ballots - "not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands". Mr Biden currently leads the state by 42,000 votes, and that lead is growing.

So even if every single late-arriving ballot was thrown out, it would not change the result.

 

Originally published as 'Thieves': Trump seethes in White House


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