Two weeks after Biden was named president-elect, Trump faces stinging setbacks

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© Reuters. US President-elect Joe Biden meets with President Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer in Wilmington, Delaware

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By Matt Spetalnick and Michael Martina

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Joe Biden hit the two-week mark on Saturday since taking office as President-elect, with President Donald Trump back-to-back scathing setbacks in his desperate and unprecedented attempt to reverse his electoral defeat.

Biden, a Democrat, is preparing to take office on January 20, but Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede and is seeking to invalidate or overturn the results through lawsuits and recounts in a number of states, claiming – without proof – widespread electoral fraud.

The effort, which critics call an unprecedented push by a sitting president to overthrow the will of voters, has met with little success. Trump’s campaign has suffered a series of legal defeats and appears to have failed to convince leading Republicans in states he has lost, such as Michigan, to accept his baseless conspiracy theories.

Trump’s attempt to cling to power emerged increasingly tenuous on Friday after Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that a manual recount and audit of all ballots cast in the state of south had confirmed that Biden was the winner.

Two Michigan Republican leaders dealt another blow when they said Friday night after a White House meeting with Trump: “We have yet to receive any information that would change the outcome of the Michigan election.”

Trump, in his first public comments in days on the election result, once again asserted “I won” during a White House event on falling drug prices earlier Friday.

After a string of court defeats, Trump’s team is hoping Republican-controlled legislatures in the battlefield states won by Biden overrule the results and declare Trump the winner, according to three people familiar with the plan.

This is a long-term effort focused on Michigan and Pennsylvania for now, but even if those two states look to the president, he would have to cancel the vote in another state to get past Biden in the Electoral College. .

Such an event would be unprecedented in modern American history.

PRESSURE TO BEGIN THE FORMAL TRANSITION

Biden, who became president-elect on Nov. 7 after his victory in Pennsylvania prompted major television networks to call the election, was due to spend Saturday in a meeting with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and transition advisers.

Trump will participate virtually this weekend in the last summit of the 20 largest global economies (G20) of his term.

Trump’s nationalist “America First” approach has often created waves at multilateral summits like the G20, and many allies of the United States have quietly welcomed the coming change of direction in Washington.

Pressure for Trump to begin the formal transition process has intensified, and a few more Republicans have expressed doubts about his unsubstantiated allegations of fraudulent voting.

There is a “right and a wrong way” for Trump to challenge what he considers election irregularities, Senator Susan Collins from Maine said in a statement. “The right way is to gather the evidence and mount legal challenges in our courts. The wrong way is to try to pressure state election officials.”

The General Service Administration, led by a person appointed by Trump, has still not acknowledged Biden’s victory, barring his team from accessing government offices and funding normally provided to a new administration.

Critics say Trump’s refusal to concede has serious implications for national security and the fight against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 250,000 Americans.

Cut off from government funds, Biden’s team stepped up fundraising for the transition on Friday. After receiving more than an initial goal of $ 7 million largely from wealthy donors, they turned to their extensive small-donor campaign mailing list, asking – according to a fundraising memo – for contributions as small as $ 25.

Even though the Biden team remains unable to access government resources and experts to help take on the US government’s management of $ 4 trillion on inauguration day, Trump officials have made some unexpected changes to the programs, policies and agencies that could affect the incoming administration.

The Treasury Department’s surprise request for the Federal Reserve to return hundreds of billions of dollars in credit to support business loans sparked a sharp reaction on Friday from Biden’s team, who called it “deeply irresponsible.” , given the acceleration of COVID cases and new lockdowns.



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