News World US US Election Donald Trump ‘watching lights go out’ on his presidency
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Donald Trump ‘watching lights go out’ on his presidency

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The spectre of Donald Trump’s reign as president appears to be drawing closer to an end with Joe Biden continuing to make gains in the battleground states that will decide the next occupant of the White House.

The Democrat nominee is now within 1,800 votes of taking Georgia and its 16 electoral votes with about 14,000 ballots waiting to counted.

Biden has to win 56 per cent of the vote to take the lead.

If stable leads in Nevada and Arizona hold for Mr Biden, winning the Peach State will clinch him as the 46th president of the United States – pending legal challenges and a potential recount.

In Pennsylvania, Donald Trump’s lead has narrowed to less than half of one per cent, or a difference of about 26,000 votes, with thousands of mail-in ballots still to be tallied.

But outside voting centres, legal battles and demonstrations continue.

Supporters of Joe Biden rallied around the slogan to “Count every vote,” believing a complete tally would show the former vice president had beaten Republican President Donald Trump.

Some ardent Trump backers have countered with cries to “Protect the vote” in support of his campaign’s efforts to have some categories of ballots, including some votes submitted by mail, discarded.

Both factions appeared outside a vote-counting centre in Philadelphia on Thursday morning, where election staff steadily worked through a mountain of still-uncounted mail-in ballots that will determine whether Biden or Trump will take Pennsylvania’s crucial 20 Electoral College votes.

Earlier, Mr Trump again claimed, without evidence, the election is being stolen from him, and blasted “Big Media” and “Big Tech” for so-called interference.

Trump made a lengthy address from the White House briefing room, his first appearance since early Wednesday morning.

He claimed that he will win if “legal votes” are counted, but alleged that local election officials are working to hand the victory to Joe Biden.

“If you count the legal votes I easily win,” he said.

“If you count the illegal votes they can try to steal the election from us.”

Trump made the claims without offering supporting evidence.

He cited several legal cases around the country, where his campaign has alleged that Republican observers were not allowed to view the counting process.

“There’s going to be a lot of litigation,” he said.

“It’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land. We can’t have an election stolen like this.”

Trump had earlier made a series of similar claims on Twitter, where they were flagged for being potentially misleading. One read “STOP THE FRAUD!”

MSNBC cut away from the briefing after Trump’s opening remarks. CNN carried the briefing but warned that it would contain misinformation.

“The president is watching the lights go out on his presidency,” CNN correspondent Jim Acosta said before the briefing.

Acosta suggested that the president’s remarks should come with a Surgeon General’s warning: “What you’re about to hear from the president of the United States may not be in line with the facts, may be hazardous to your democracy.”

His sentiments were echoed by fellow anchor Jake Tapper.

“What a sad night for the United States of America to hear their president say that, to falsely accuse people of trying to steal the election, to try to attack democracy that way with his feast of falsehoods. Lie after lie after lie about the election being stolen,” he said.

“It’s time for some Republican lawmakers to find their spine and talk to the president about what he needs to do for the good of the country.”

The race remains too close to call, but Joe Biden is holding leads in enough states to claim the presidency.

Trump’s campaign has gone to court in Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan, but has not succeeded in stopping the vote counting.

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