Trump campaign plans legal battle as Biden 17 Electoral College votes short of victory

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With the count standing at 253, Mr Biden was predicted to claim Maine leaving him even closer to the 270 needed while Mr Trump had 214.

In a statesman-like speech, Mr Biden appealed for unity after a divisive election.

He said: “We have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. We are not enemies.

“What brings us together as Americans is so much stronger than anything, that can tear us apart. So let me be clear. I was campaigning as a Democrat, but I will govern as an American president.

“The presidency itself is not a partisan institution. It’s the one office in this nation that represents everyone.

“And it demands a duty of care for all Americans. And that is precisely what I will do. I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote as those who did vote for me.”

It could be tomorrow before a winner is declared.

President Trump last night demanded a recount in Wisconsin, where Mr Biden was leading by 20,000 votes.

The president stuck to his line that “fraud” was robbing him of US election victory after he had declared himself the winner while millions of votes were still being totted up.

Mr Trump made unfounded allegations and warned he would go to the Supreme Court to try to shut the election down prematurely.

Earlier Mr Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien said: “President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law.

“We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted.

“We demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access.” The Trump campaign yesterday also filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania to stop the counting of ballots.

After hitting out at postal votes being counted after polls closed on Tuesday, Mr Trump attacked America’s democratic process. The US leader listed states where he falsely claimed he had already won. He said: “So we’ll be going to the Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.”

After a few hours sleep, he then tweeted: “Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat-run and controlled. Then, one by one, they started to ­magically ­disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted.

He later added: “They are finding Biden votes all over the place – in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.”

But Mr Biden defended the democratic process. He said: “Here, the people rule. Power can’t be taken or asserted. It flows from the people and it’s their will that ­determines who will be the president of the United States, and their will alone.”

Mr Trump was referring to how Mr Biden began to gain ground and in some states overtake the US leader as states reported the results of postal votes that have shown massive support for the ­former vice president.

Democrats have historically tended to vote by post at higher rates than in person.

On-the-day in-person results are faster to count and are favoured by Republican voters as mailed ballots are slower.

Mr Trump’s campaign said the President’s lawyers were in several states in anticipation of filing suits challenging results.

Under Wisconsin state law, candidates can ask for a recount if the margin is less than one per cent.

Following the President’s outburst Mr Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, called his remarks “outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect,” saying they were “a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens”.

Pennsylvania, a state Mr Trump falsely claimed he had won, yesterday began counting hundred of thousands of early votes mailed in that are expected to be heavily Democrat. Governor Tom Wolf tweeted that the state had more than one million mail ballots to count.

Even Mr Trump’s allies were disgusted by his claim of ­victory and demands to stop counts.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who helped Mr Trump prepare for his debates, said: “There’s just no basis to make that ­argument tonight. All these votes have to be counted.”Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator, said: “I was very distressed by what I heard the President say. “Using the word ‘fraud’ [to describe] people counting votes is wrong.”

For the several months, Mr Trump has laid the groundwork for a legal battle over how votes should be counted.

It was unclear what sort of Supreme Court challenge the President could launch as there is no legal argument to compel states to stop counting ballots correctly filled.

Lawyers had been expecting a move by the Trump campaign to get the Supreme Court to stay a decision by Pennsylvania’s high court to allow election workers to count ballots postmarked on November 3 or earlier for three days after election day.

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