Trump decries election as fraudulent with zero evidence

In his first address since his post-election speech in the early hours of Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump appeared to shrug off his Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s growing lead in the presidential election and made baseless claims that the election was driven bfraud and corruption.

‘If you count the legal votes I easily win. If you count the illegal votes they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room, repeating a statement his campaign sent out earlier Thursday on his behalf.

The president’s comments came as his lead in several states including Georgia and Pennsylvania continued to shrink as more ballots were counted, narrowing his path to victory as Biden inched toward the majority threshold of 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.

He acknowledged that a few states had yet to be decided in the presidential race but said they the elections were run “by Democrats.” Georgia and Arizona, two states that still have outstanding votes, are run by Republican governors.

“We were winning in all the key locations by a lot, actually. And then our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away in secret,” Trump said.

There has been no evidence of voter fraud. Several states have experienced delays in counting a surge of mail-in ballots – legally cast – this year due to the pandemic.

The president’s campaign has mounted several legal challenges in states that could tip the election in favor of Biden, undercutting the validity of the election system. Two lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia were dismissed earlier on Thursday.

“Our goal is to defend the integrity of the election,” he said. “We will not allow the corruption to steal such an important election.”

Trump has been out of the public eye since early Wednesday morning, when he prematurely declared victory even as hundreds of thousands of ballots had yet to be counted. . He also threatened to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the counting of legally cast absentee ballots.

Trump, without providing any evidence, also accused Democrats of trying to “steal” and “rig the election. He refused to take questions about his claims after the 17-minute speech.

Earlier on Thursday, Biden urged Americans to be patient as votes were counted but said he had “no doubt” that he and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris would win the White House.

“It is the will of the voters, no one, not anything else, that chooses the president of the United States of America,” he said. “Democracy is sometimes messy. It sometimes requires a little patience as well. But that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that’s been the envy of the world.”

Trump’s remarks drew swift criticism. Republican strategist Doug Heye called it “dangerous rhetoric.”

Yet again, dangerous rhetoric from the President. Appalling. Proactive and self-serving irresponsibility,” he said. “These dangerous lies are not improv, these are prepared remarks. A team effort. Shameful.”

David Jackson and Courtney Subramanian

Trump’s lead over Biden narrows in Georgia

Georgia’s secretary of state said Thursday evening there are 36,331 ballots that still needed to be counted as of Thursday evening, as the gap between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continues to close.

“With counting continuing in numerous counties throughout #Georgia, as of 5:45 p.m. today there are approximately 36,331 ballots still outstanding,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wrote in a tweet.

Election workers count ballots at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta.

Just hours earlier, Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, said during a Thursday afternoon briefing that there were 47,300 outstanding ballots.

Shortly after Raffensperger’s tweet, Chatham County, where Savannah is located, reported the bulk of their outstanding votes.

There are now 3,635 votes, or about 0.1%, that separate Trump and Biden.

– Rebecca Morin

Pennsylvania races to finish counting ‘overwhelming majority’ of ballots

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boochvar said election officials hope to have the “overwhelming majority” of the state’s outstanding absentee ballots counted by Friday.

“We’re coming into the homestretch,” Boochvar said at a news briefing Thursday evening, adding that the plan is to count into the night.

Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes in play in the race for president, had 326,248 outstanding absentee ballots still to count as of 6 p.m. EST.

A Republican observer watches as Lehigh County workers count ballots as vote counting in the general election continues, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Allentown, Pa.

President Donald Trump holds a 78,314-vote lead over Democratic challenger Joe Biden. But Biden has made up significant ground – and is expected to continue to so – as mail-in ballots that skew Democratic are tallied across the state, including from two Democratic strongholds, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

State law prevented election officials from beginning to process mail-in ballots until Election Day, making it will take days to get a final tally.

Mail-in ballots can be received in Pennsylvania by Nov. 6 if they are postmarked by Election Day. Officials are segregating these ballots from others, however. Boockhar said the absentee ballots now being counted only include those that arrived by Election Day.

“I don’t expect it to be a significant amount,” she said of the ballots received post-Election Day.