Trump vows to fight election ‘fraud’ in courts as battle with Biden continues

Election 2020 Trump

Donald Trump threatened to drag the US election process into the courts as his contest with Joe Biden came down to the outcomes in a handful of battleground states.

The Republican incumbent falsely claimed he had won and warned of a "fraud on the American nation" as he vowed to go to the US Supreme Court to get vote counting stopped.

Mr Biden's campaign said the president's extraordinary comments – made in the White House against a backdrop of US flags – were a "naked attempt to take away the democratic rights of American citizens".

42 PHOTOS
America goes to the polls
See Gallery
America goes to the polls
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 05: President Donald Trump supporters protest outside the Clark County Election Department, where ballots from the election are being counted, on November 5, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a slim lead over Donald Trump in the battleground state, which is still too close to call after Tuesday's election. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 5: Supporters of President Trump gather outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center to protest mail in ballots being counted to determine the winner of the 2020 Presidential election in the state on November 5, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
A woman yells her anger in a microphone as Trump supporters gather in front of the Maricopa County Election Department where ballots are counted after the US presidential election in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5, 2020. - President Donald Trump erupted on November 5 in a tirade of unsubstantiated claims that he has been cheated out of winning the US election as vote counting across battleground states showed Democrat Joe Biden steadily closing in on victory. (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 5: Anti-Trump voters hold a dance party and demand that every ballot be counted outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center where mail in ballots are being counted to determine the winner of the 2020 Presidential election in the state on November 5, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jake A, 33, aka Yellowstone Wolf, from Phoenix, holds a QAnon sign, as he presents himself as a shamanist and consultant for the Trump supporters gathered in front of the Maricopa County Election Department where ballots are counted after the US presidential election in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5, 2020. - President Donald Trump erupted on November 5 in a tirade of unsubstantiated claims that he has been cheated out of winning the US election as vote counting across battleground states showed Democrat Joe Biden steadily closing in on victory. (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 05: President Donald Trump supporters protest outside the Clark County Election Department, where ballots from the election are being counted, on November 5, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a slim lead over Donald Trump in the battleground state, which is still too close to call after Tuesday's election. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 05: Trump supporters mix with counter protesters outside the TCF election center November 05, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Two days after the U.S. presidential election, states continue counting votes as protesters stage dueling demonstrations outside election centers. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump looks on after speaking during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, early on November 4, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters burn the American flag outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, on November 4, 2020. - President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling it out for the White House, with polls closed across the United States Tuesday -- and a long night of waiting for results in key battlegrounds on the cards. (Photo by Ankur Dholakia / AFP) (Photo by ANKUR DHOLAKIA/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 04: Vice President Mike Pence speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump watch on election night in the East Room of the White House in the early morning hours of November 04, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spoke shortly after 2am with the presidential race against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden still too close to call. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 04: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in election night event as Dr. Jill Biden looks on at the Chase Center in the early morning hours of November 04, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden spoke shortly after midnight with the presidential race against Donald Trump still too close to call. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
TRAVERSE CITY, MI - NOVEMBER 02: Guests wait for President Donald Trump to speaks at a rally on November 2, 2020 in Traverse City, Michigan. President Trump and former Vice President Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are making multiple stops in swing states ahead of the general election on November 3rd. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, UNITED STATES - 2020/11/03: Young students female voters with "Every Vote Counts" hoodies. On the University of Pittsburgh campus many students organizing get out the vote campaigns through signs, stickers, and text messaging their friends during the United States Election Day. (Photo by Aaron Jackendoff/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 04: A waitress wears a protective mask as she watches a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump on a television during an election watching event at a local bar on November 4, 2020 in Beijing, China. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - November 03: The fence at Lafayette park draws souvenir hunters on Election day at BLM plaza, in Washington, DC on November 03. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: President Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Marine One on November 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. The President is returning from his final campaign rallies before polls open for the Presidential Election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - NOVEMBER 03: A woman casts her vote at the Hazel Parker Playground on Election Day on November 3, 2020 in Charleston, United States. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - NOVEMBER 3, 2020: A voter wears a face mask and a face shield outside a polling station on Election Day during the 2020 general elections. The USA elect a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Yegor Aleyev/TASS (Photo by Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images)
Kosovo artist Alkent Pozhegu works on the final touches of an image made with grain and seed, depicting the portrait of Joe Biden, the US Democratic presidential nominee, in the town of Gjakova on November 3, 2020. - The United States started voting on November 3, 2020, in an election amounting to a referendum on Donald Trump's uniquely brash and bruising presidency, which Democratic opponent and frontrunner Joe Biden urged Americans to end to restore "our democracy." (Photo by Armend NIMANI / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo by ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - NOVEMBER 3, 2020: A voter wears a face mask outside a polling station on Election Day as she waits in line to vote in the 2020 general elections.The USA elect a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Yegor Aleyev/TASS (Photo by Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images)
Conservative activists prepare flags as they gather to mark the US election day outside the US embassy in Seoul on November 3, 2020. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
OAKMONT, PA - NOVEMBER 03: Cookies representing the presidential candidates for sale at the Oakmont Bakery on November 3, 2020 in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden departs Wilmington, Delaware on November 3, 2020. - The United States started voting Tuesday in an election amounting to a referendum on Donald Trump's uniquely brash and bruising presidency, which Democratic opponent and frontrunner Joe Biden urged Americans to end to restore "our democracy." (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, USA - NOVEMBER 3, 2020: A polling station in Manhattan on Election Day. The USA elect a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Maria Khrenova/TASS (Photo by Maria Khrenova\TASS via Getty Images)
03 November 2020, Berlin: The flag of the United States of America is waving in the wind at the US embassy in front of the moon. The US votes on the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives. More than 200 million Americans are called upon to elect a new President and the members of the House of Representatives. In addition, one third of the 100 Senate seats are up for election. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/dpa (Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump stands on stage with Vice President Mike Pence at the conclusion of his final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport November 3, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (back) leaves after speaking at his final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport November 3, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Tom Tillotson drops his son's Tanner's ballot into the ballot box at the Hale House at the historic Balsams Resort during midnight voting as part of the first ballots cast in the United States Presidential Election in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire on November 3, 2020. - Voters in Dixville Notch, a village of 12 residents in the US state of New Hampshire, kicked off Election Day at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday by voting unanimously for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
The votes are tallied, five in favor of Former vice-president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden against zero for US President Donald Trump during the historic midnight vote at the Hale House at the historic Balsams Resort during midnight voting as part of the first ballots cast in the United States Presidential Election in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire on November 3, 2020. - Voters in Dixville Notch, a village of 12 residents in the US state of New Hampshire, kicked off Election Day at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday by voting unanimously for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
KENOSHA, WISCONSIN, USA - NOVEMBER 2: Supporters gather for U.S. President Donald J. Trumpâs a campaign rally held at the Kenosha Regional Airport in Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States on November 02, 2020. (Photo by Joshua T. Kozlowski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence before US President Donald Trump's final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on November 2, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
A supporter of US President Donald Trump wears an anti Gretchen Whitmer mask as people arrive to attend his final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on November 2, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
Supporters of US President Donald Trump arrive for his final Make America Great Again rally of the 2020 US Presidential campaign at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on November 2, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 2, 2020: Election commission members at Super Vote Center at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) during early voting in the 2020 US presidential election. The country elects a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Vladimir Kostyrev/TASS (Photo by Vladimir Kostyrev\TASS via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 2, 2020: A woman in a face mask at Super Vote Center at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) during early voting in the 2020 US presidential election. The country elects a president and vice president, 35 Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of 11 states and two US territories, as well as state and local government officials. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden are running for president. Vladimir Kostyrev/TASS (Photo by Vladimir Kostyrev\TASS via Getty Images)
AVOCA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 02: President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on November 02, 2020 in Avoca, Pennsylvania. Donald Trump is crossing the crucial state of Pennsylvania in the last days of campaigning before Americans go to the polls on November 3rd to vote. Trump is currently trailing his opponent Joe Biden in most national polls. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 02: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and husband, Douglas Emhoff, embrace on stage after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke in Pittsburgh at a simultaneous drive-in election eve rally on November 2, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, remains ahead of President Donald Trump by about six points, according to a recent polling average. With the election tomorrow, Trump held four rallies across Pennsylvania over the weekend, as he vies to recapture the Keystone State's vital 20 electoral votes. In 2016, he carried Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast, less than a 1 percent differential, becoming the first Republican to claim victory here since 1988. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 02: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) takes the stage to speak at a drive-in election eve rally on November 2, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, remains ahead of President Donald Trump by about six points, according to a recent polling average. With the election tomorrow, Trump held four rallies across Pennsylvania over the weekend, as he vies to recapture the Keystone State's vital 20 electoral votes. In 2016, he carried Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast, less than a 1 percent differential, becoming the first Republican to claim victory here since 1988. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 2, 2020: A woman in a face mask casts a ballot at Super Vote Center at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) during early voting in the 2020 US presidential election. Yegor Aleyev/TASS (Photo by Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images)
BETHLEHEM, PA - NOVEMBER 02: Greg Snyder wears a campaign themed face mask while listening to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at a drive-in rally on the eve of the general election on November 2, 2020 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, remains ahead of President Donald Trump by about six points, according to a recent polling average. With the election tomorrow, Trump held four rallies across Pennsylvania over the weekend, as he vies to recapture the Keystone State's vital 20 electoral votes. In 2016, he carried Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast, less than a 1 percent differential, becoming the first Republican to claim victory here since 1988. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 02: Model Chrissy Teigen, wife of singer John Legend, waits before taking the stage before Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at a drive-in election eve rally on November 2, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, remains ahead of President Donald Trump by about six points, according to a recent polling average. With the election tomorrow, Trump held four rallies across Pennsylvania over the weekend, as he vies to recapture the Keystone State's vital 20 electoral votes. In 2016, he carried Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast, less than a 1 percent differential, becoming the first Republican to claim victory here since 1988. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 04: Workers with the Detroit Department of Elections inspect absentee ballot at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Elaine Cromie/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The Democratic challenger has long anticipated an attempt by Mr Trump to cast doubt on the results, particularly due to the high level of advance voting this year.

Mr Trump said: "This is a fraud on the American public, this is an embarrassment to our country.

"We were getting ready to win this election – frankly we did win this election.

"So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation. This is a very big moment.

"We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we will be going to the US Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop."

Joe and Jill Biden
Joe Biden and his wife Jill (AP)

It is unclear what – if any – legal basis the president would have, with Mr Biden's camp insisting that the law required every "duly cast vote" to be counted.

Mr Trump has nominated three of the Supreme Court's nine justices – including, controversially, Amy Coney Barrett, whose appointment was confirmed just a week before the election.

After a divisive election campaign overshadowed by the complexities of voting during the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Biden's campaign had been braced for Mr Trump to seize on record numbers of postal votes to allege he was being cheated.

Mr Biden's campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said: "If the president makes good on his threat to go to court to try to prevent the proper tabulation of votes, we have legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort.

"And they will prevail."

Neither candidate has achieved the 270 electoral college votes necessary for victory and counting is still under way in key battleground states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Mr Trump continued complaining about the election process as a late burst of votes in Michigan and Wisconsin gave Mr Biden a small lead in the key contests.

The president said on Twitter: "Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the 'pollsters' got it completely & historically wrong!"

Mr Biden has 238 expected electoral college votes to Mr Trump's 213.

Further results in Nevada, where the two candidates are neck-and-neck, will not be announced until Thursday, leaving six college votes up for grabs.

ELECTION US

Mr Trump, however, has seized major victories in the key bellwethers of Florida and Ohio, which both have long records of choosing the winner of the White House.

Former vice president Mr Biden won Arizona, a state that has only backed a Democrat in the race once in 72 years.

Earlier in the fraught night, Mr Biden took to a stage in Delaware to say "we believe we're on track to win this election", but called for patience and stressed that: "It ain't over until every vote is counted."

Florida's 29 electoral college votes were a must-win for Mr Trump to reach the 270 required for victory, with no Republican having won the White House without the Sunshine State's support since 1924.

It has backed the winner in every election since 1996 and has only gone with the losing candidate twice since 1928.

Ohio is also a significant victory for Mr Trump, having been key to his chances of remaining in the White House, and whoever has won the state has gone on to take the presidency since 1964.

Mr Trump held on to Texas in a fiercely-contested battle and claimed the swing states of Ohio and Iowa, while Mr Biden won modest victories in Minnesota and New Hampshire.

Mr Biden has painted the election as the "battle for the soul" of the nation, saying democracy itself is at stake. Mr Trump reprised his "Make America Great Again" mantra during the bitter campaign.

Economic fairness and racial justice have been key issues in the election race. Both men have also clashed over the Covid-19 response as the nation reels from more than 230,000 coronavirus deaths and millions of job losses.

Steady queues of voters flocked to the polls on Tuesday after around 100 million Americans voted early, setting the nation on course for a record turnout figure.

Each state gets a number of electoral college votes roughly in line with its population and they largely hand them all to the winner in that state. With 538 up for grabs across the country, 270 is the winning number – a target which remains within reach for either candidate, depending on how the results unfold over the coming hours and days.

In the UK, Boris Johnson refused to criticise Mr Trump's actions, telling MPs: "We don't comment as a UK Government on the democratic processes of our friends and allies."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was "important the process is given sufficient time to reach a conclusion".

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS