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Joe Biden

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Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez are to perform at the inauguration ceremony for President Joe Biden.

It is well-known that Lady Gaga campaigned for Joe Biden during the election, appearing with him on the eve of the presidential election last November.

Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem at the ceremony on January 20. Jennifer Lopez, who also endorsed Joe Biden last year, will give a separate musical performance.

After the ceremony, Tom Hanks will host a star-studded TV special.

Titled Celebrating America, the 90-minute prime-time program will also feature musicians Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons, and will be broadcast live by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC.

Joe Biden’s inaugural committee said it would “celebrate the beginning of a new national journey toward an America united” and “showcase the American people’s resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild”.

FBI Warns of Possible Armed Protests Before Joe Biden’s Inauguration

Trump Inauguration: More than 50 House Democrats Boycott Ceremony

When Joe Biden is inaugurated, Washington DC will still be under a state of emergency after a mob stormed the Capitol on January 6. More than 10,000 National Guard troops will be in the city, with about 5,000 more on standby.

Otherwise, the ceremony’s attendance will be “extremely limited” in line with social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Biden team, which has urged Americans to avoid travelling to the capital.

Donald Trump announced last week that he will avoid the ceremony after disputing the election result, becoming the first president to skip the inauguration of his successor since 1869.

When President Donald Trump was inaugurated four years ago, 16-year-old former American Idol contestant Jackie Evancho sang the national anthem, while country stars Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood, and rock band 3 Doors Down were among the attractions at a special concert the night before.

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Image source: Anadolu Agency

The FBI has warned of possible armed protests across the US as Trump supporters and far-right groups call for demonstrations before Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration.

According to the agency, armed groups are planning to gather at all 50 state capitols and in Washington DC in the run-up to Biden’s inauguration.

Security will be tight for the event after a pro-Trump mob stormed Congress on January 6.

House Democrats say a vote to impeach President Donald Trump will happen on January 13.

Democrats accuse President Trump of “incitement of insurrection” and say the vote will be held unless VP Mike Pence invokes constitutional powers to remove President Trump from office. There is no sign Mike Pence is prepared to do so.

Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris are expected to be sworn in at a ceremony at the Capitol. The Biden team had already urged Americans to avoid travelling to the capital because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a call that is now being repeated by local authorities.

According to security officials, there will be no repeat of the breach seen on January 6, when thousands of pro-Trump supporters were able to break into the building where members of Congress were voting to certify the election result.

Pro-Trump Protesters Storm Capitol Building

Five people died in the riot, which happened after President Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the November vote and encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol.

Since then, calls for Donald Trump’s resignation, removal from office or impeachment have grown among Democrats and some Republicans.

President Trump has made no public statements since he was banned from several social media platforms – including Twitter – on January 8.

Donald Trump became the third president to be impeached in December 2019 over charges of breaking the law by asking Ukraine to investigate his rival in the presidential election. The Senate cleared him.

Image source: Anadolu Agency

Chaos has broken out within the Capitol as pro-Trump supporters break into the building.

The ongoing special House and Senate sessions have been recessed amid the escalating clashes between protesters and police.

Lawmakers had gathered to confirm the election of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden – an outcome rejected by protesters.

Photos show demonstrators gathered just outside the Senate chamber. Other images show demonstrators carrying firearms.

Capitol Police have put the Capitol Building on lockdown amid violent clashes between police and Trump supporters, gathered to protest the 2020 election results.

Footage shows demonstrators swarming the Capitol building, breaking the temporary barrier that had been put in place ahead of today’s events. Media describe some protesters climbing on parts of the Capitol building, attempting to get inside.

Capitol police have detained some protesters as they continue to storm the building.

Some demonstrators have broken into the Senate chamber, climbing on the side of the walls as police drew their weapons.

President Donald Trump has just tweeted another message to protesters who have stormed the US Capitol, saying: “No violence!”

He tweeted: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

Georgia Voters Head to Polls in Senate Runoff Elections

Capitol Hill police are calling for reinforcements as the violence continues at the Capitol.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said members of the Secret Service and the Federal Protective Service are currently meeting calls to provide assistance.

The Department of Defense has not yet decided to deploy the National Guard to back up law enforcement on the scene.

Protesters who have stormed the US Capitol are trespassing on federal property and may face charges.

After a summer of protests against coronavirus lockdown measures, including in Michigan where armed militia members stormed the state capitol, we’re now seeing similar scenes playing out in Washington DC.

While both chambers of the US Congress were meeting on January 6 to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump, the proceedings were interrupted by police clashes with rioters in adjoining corridors.

President Trump has for weeks claimed to have been the true winner, saying without evidence that the votes cast for Biden in crucial swing states were fraudulent.

He and his supporters have been pressing VP Mike Pence to overturn the election result by refusing to certify Joe Biden’s win, something that experts agree he does not have the legal power to do.

In the days leading up to the certification, President Trump said that he would attend the “Save America” rally happening in Washington on January 6, promising on Twitter that it would be “very big” and “wild”.

About an hour after President Trump addressed thousands on the National Mall, promising to “never concede” that he had lost, chaos was unleashed.

Lawmakers and reporters inside the building say they have been asked to evacuate, shelter in place and put on gas masks.

Both chambers of Congress abruptly stopped proceedings as they were debating November’s election results.

As his supporters storm into the Capitol in quickly-escalating protests, President Trump has broken his silence and tweeted for demonstrators to “support Capitol Police and Law Enforcement”.

Media report that tear gas has now been used inside the Capitol building as a growing number of demonstrators enter the building.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew beginning at 18:00 EST.

Image source: Getty Images

Georgia is going to the polls for a second-round vote that will decide whether President-elect Joe Biden’s Democrats control the Senate.

The Democratic Party needs to win both seats in the state’s runoffs to gain full control of Congress – and with it the power to push forward his agenda.

The Republican Party of outgoing President Donald Trump needs only to win one in order to retain the Senate.

Joe Biden said Georgians could shape the US for years to come.

Meanwhile, President Trump told voters it was their “last chance to save the America” they loved.

Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue currently hold Georgia’s two Senate seats.

Kelly Loeffler is taking on Reverend Raphael Warnock and David Perdue is battling Jon Ossoff.

None of the candidates reached the 50% needed to win outright in the elections in November, forcing Tuesday’s runoffs under Georgia’s election rules. Voting began at 07:00.

The vote will decide the balance of power in the Senate.

President Trump Recorded Telling Georgia’s Secretary of State to “Find” Votes to Overturn Biden Win

Texas Judge Rejects Gohmert Suit Aimed at Empowering Mike Pence to Overturn Election Results

The Republicans currently hold 52 of the 100 seats. If both Democrats win on December 5, the Senate will be evenly split, allowing incoming Democratic VP Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote.

This would be crucial for pushing through Joe Biden’s agenda, including on key issues such as healthcare and environmental regulations – policy areas with strong Republican opposition.

The Senate also has the power to approve or reject Joe Biden’s nominees for cabinet and judicial posts.

If Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock both win, it would bring the White House, Senate and the House of Representatives under Democratic control for the first time since President Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

Voting should last about 12 hours, ending at 19:00 local time, although all those still in line to vote at that time will be allowed to do so.

Democrats are hoping for a large turnout and have been buoyed by the fact that more than three million Georgians have already cast their ballots – nearly 40% of the state’s registered voters. Early voting was a key benefit for Joe Biden in the presidential election.

The Democrats will be looking to turn out supporters in major urban areas, particularly the suburbs of Atlanta. The issue of long lines of voters could be more of a problem for them.

For the Republicans, getting out voters on the day is even more crucial, and they will be looking to the stronghold of north Georgia, as well as rural areas and smaller towns.

Generally, results come in quickly but if these races are close, it could take days.

David Perdue nearly won first time out against Jon Ossoff in November, falling just short of the needed majority with 49.7%. The other seat had more candidates, with Democrat Raphael Warnock recording 32.9% to Kelly Loeffler’s 25.9%.

A Democrat has not won a Senate race in Georgia in 20 years but the party will be boosted by Joe Biden’s presidential election win over Donald Trump there. Joe Biden’s margin of victory was about 12,000 votes among five million cast.

Georgia’s black community is more than double America’s national proportion, making up a third of the population.

Across America, nine in 10 black voters supported Joe Biden in the presidential election, according to a survey of more than 110,000 voters for the Associated Press.

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump has been recorded telling Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.

The president told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recording released by the Washington Post: “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”

Brad Raffensperger is heard replying that Georgia’s results are correct.

Joe Biden won Georgia alongside other swing states, winning 306 Electoral College votes to Donald Trump’s 232.

VP-elect Kamala Harris called President Trump’s comments “a bold abuse of power”.

It comes ahead of two crucial runoff elections in Georgia on January 5 that will decide which party controls the Senate.

Since the November 3 vote, President Trump has been making unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud.

All 50 states have certified the election result, some after recounts and legal appeals.

Congress is due to formally approve the election result on January 6 and Democrat Joe Biden is due to be inaugurated as president on January 20.

In excerpts of January 2 phone call released by the Washington Post, President Trump can be heard alternately cajoling and pressurizing Georgia’s secretary of state.

He insisted that he had won the election in Georgia and told Brad Raffensperger that there was “nothing wrong with saying you have recalculated”.

Brad Raffensperger responded by saying: “The challenge you have, Mr. President, is that the data you have is wrong.”

Later in the call, President Trump said the rumor was that ballots had been shredded and voting machinery had been removed from Fulton County in the state – claims denied by Brad Raffensperger’s lawyer.

The president then threatened the official with possible legal consequences.

He said: “You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal offence. You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”

Joe Biden’s Presidential Election Victory Confirmed by Electoral College

The president then called for the extra 11,780 votes – which would have given him a total of 2,473,634 votes in the state, one more than Joe Biden, who received 2,473,633 votes.

President Trump told Brad Raffensperger he should re-examine the result in the state.

He said: “You can re-examine it, but re-examine it with people who want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers.”

Brad Raffensperger replied: “Mr. President, you have people who submit information and we have our people that submit information, and then it comes before the court and the court has to make a determination.

“We have to stand by our numbers, we believe our numbers are right.”

President Trump also warned Brad Raffensperger that by refusing to recalculate the election result he would deter Republicans from turning out to vote in January 5 runoff elections for the Senate.

If the two Democratic contenders win, then there will be equal numbers of Republican and Democratic senators, and Kamala Harris, as vice-president-elect, will have the deciding vote.

Joe Biden’s Democrats already control the lower House of Representatives.

Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are due to visit Georgia on January 4 to campaign ahead of the elections.

On January 3, President Trump tweeted that Brad Raffensperger had not given details of the fraud the president alleges: “He has no clue!”

Brad Raffensperger tweeted back: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”

The White House has not commented on the release of the audio.

Image source Twitter

A Texas judge dismissed a lawsuit by Republican Louie Gohmert that aimed to give Vice President Mike Pence the power to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Lawyers for VP Pence had asked for the case to be thrown out on December 31.

Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, will oversee the session on January 6 and declare the winner of the White House race.

President-elect Joe Biden is due to take office on January 20.

President Donald Trump is yet to concede.

Louie Gohmert told Newsmax TV that he planned to appeal against the verdict.

President Trump’s friends and colleagues in the Republican party have presented dozens of legal challenges to the November outcome which delivered a decisive win to Joe Biden.

Joe Biden’s victory was announced after days of vote-counting that took longer than in recent years because of the huge number of postal ballots cast due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Donald Trump Continues to Deny Election Defeat

CISA Rejects Donald Trump’s Vote Fraud Claims

Trump Still Planning Legal Challenges in Key States

President Trump has made numerous unsubstantiated claims that Joe Biden’s win, which saw the president-elect gain 306 Electoral College votes to his rival’s 232, was fraudulent.

Congressman Gohmert’s case sought to allow VP Mike Pence to reject some Electoral College votes when they are ratified by Congress on January 6.

The vice-president presides over the vote certification in Congress in a ceremonial role that involves opening and tallying the envelopes containing Electoral College votes before announcing the result.

Gohmert’s case aimed to expand that role to allow VP Pence to cast judgment on the validity of the votes and potentially replace votes for Joe Biden with ones for Donald Trump.

Judge Jeremy Kernodle, who was appointed to the Texas court in 2018 by President Trump, rejected the case, saying it was based on speculative events.

On December 31, a lawyer from the DoJ representing Mike Pence urged Louie Gohmert to drop the case, suggesting that it was not the vice-president’s office that should be scrutinizing the outcome.

Although most Republicans in Congress are expected to vote in favor of certifying the results, a small number including Senator Josh Hawley, say they plan to object. But their vote is not expected to change the outcome.

Joe Biden is due to be sworn in as president on January 20 at a scaled-back ceremony with just 1,000 tickets available due to Covid-19 precautions.

Image source Flickr

President Donald Trump failed to sign the Covid relief bill into law leaving millions of Americans without their unemployment benefits.

President-elect Joe Biden had warned of “devastating consequences” if President Trump continued to delay signing but the December 26 deadline has now passed.

Unemployment benefits and a ban on evictions will be affected.

The package worth $900 billion was approved by Congress after months of difficult negotiations and compromises.

President Trump says he wants to give people bigger one-off payments.

The bill includes the payment of $600 to Americans earning less than $75,000 a year.

President Trump Threatens to Block Covid-19 Relief Bill

President Trump says he wants Americans to receive $2,000 but Republicans in Congress refused to agree to the change.

In a tweet on December 26, President Trump again defended his position on the issue, blaming China for the coronavirus outbreak.

The coronavirus economic relief is part of a $2.3 trillion spending package that includes $1.4 trillion for normal federal government spending. A partial government shutdown will begin on December 29 unless legislators pass a stopgap bill before then – but this would not include coronavirus aid and President Trump would still have to sign it.

About 14 million Americans would be affected by a lapse in unemployment benefit payments and new stimulus cheques.

In a strongly worded statement published on the transition website on December 26, Joe Biden described President Trump’s refusal to sign the bill as an “abdication of responsibility”.

He said: “It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority.”

Joe Biden praised the example of members of Congress in compromising and reaching a bipartisan agreement, adding: “President Trump should join them, and make sure millions of Americans can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads in this holiday season.”

President Trump had reiterated his objection to the bill, saying: “I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill.”

The coronavirus aid relief bill – with the larger budget bill rolled in – overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives and Senate on December 21 but, a day later, President Trump issued an implied veto threat, describing the package as a “disgrace” full of “wasteful” items.

He baulked at the annual aid money for other countries in the federal budget, arguing that those funds should instead go to struggling Americans.

According to his schedule, President Trump spent Christmas at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida with his family, where he held “many meetings and calls”.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Deborah Birx has resigned after it emerged she hosted a Thanksgiving gathering.

Deborah Birx, 64, cited the criticism she had faced for a family get-together over Thanksgiving in Delaware in her decision to step aside.

She said: “This experience has been a bit overwhelming.

“It’s been very difficult on my family.”

Dr. Birx had reportedly been seeking a job from President-elect Joe Biden.

A world-renowned AIDS researcher, Deborah Birx has worked in the US government since the Reagan administration.

In December 22, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted President Donald Trump’s good wishes, saying he “has great respect for Dr. Birx and likes her very much. We wish her well”.

In an interview with Newsy aired on December 22, a masked Dr. Birx did not specify when she would stand down, but said she would help the incoming Biden administration and “and then I will retire”.

Dr. Birx had urged Americans in the days before Thanksgiving to restrict gatherings to “your immediate household”.

But it emerged on December 20 she had travelled from Washington to one of her other properties, on Fenwick Island in Delaware, where she was joined by three generations of her family from two households.

While in Delaware, Dr. Birx did an interview with CBS in which she noted that some Americans had “made mistakes” over Thanksgiving by travelling and they “should assume they were infected”.

Coronavirus: Dr Fauci and Other Members of White House Task Force Self-Isolate

VP Mike Pence Receives Covid Vaccine on Live TV

Joe Biden Receives Covid Vaccine Live on TV

The CDC, whose director has often joined Dr. Birx on the podium during briefings, has warned Americans not to travel over the holidays.

As the US coronavirus caseload surges, the CDC has also cautioned against indoor gatherings with people from different households.

Dr. Birx had insisted she went to the property in Delaware to prepare it for a potential sale, though she acknowledged sharing a meal with her family during the visit.

Explaining her decision to gather with her husband, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, Deborah Birx told Newsy: “My daughter hasn’t left that house in 10 months, my parents have been isolated for 10 months.

“They’ve become deeply depressed as I’m sure many elderly have as they’ve not been able to see their sons, their granddaughters.

“My parents have not been able to see their surviving son for over a year. These are all very difficult things.”

According to the Associated Press, Deborah Birx owns another home in Potomac, Maryland, where her parents live, and where she visits from time to time.

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Image source: AP

Joe Biden has received his first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine live on TV.

The president-elect said he was getting the vaccine to show Americans it is “safe to take”.

Joe Biden joins a growing number of political leaders getting the jab, including VP Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

On December 20, the roll-out began for a second vaccine, by Moderna, which was approved last week.

More than 500,000 Americans are said to have now been vaccinated.

Joe Biden said from Newark, Delaware, where he got the vaccine live on TV: “I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine.

“There’s nothing to worry about.”

The president-elect said the Trump administration “deserves some credit” for launching the country’s vaccine program.

His wife, Jill Biden, received her first dose earlier in the day, the president-elect said.

VP Mike Pence Receives Covid Vaccine on Live TV

Coronavirus: 3 Million Pfizer Vaccine Doses to Be Shipped Across US

Joe Biden Sets 100M Covid Vaccinations Goal for First 100 Days

Joe Biden’s running mate, VP-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff are expected to receive their first shots next week.

The Biden team has set a goal of 100 million Covid-19 vaccinations during the administration’s first 100 days in the White House.

During the pandemic, the US has recorded more than 18 million cases and 319,000 deaths.

President Donald Trump, who spent three days in hospital with the coronavirus in October, has not said when he intends to get the vaccine.

He is now one of last of the country’s top elected officials to have not received the first of the course of two jabs.

President Trump wrote in a December 13 tweet: “I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time.”

Some of the president’s advisers have defended the delay, saying he is still protected by the treatments he received to beat the virus.

According to the CDC, roughly three million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been shipped and more than 500,000 Americans have been vaccinated so far.

On December 20, distribution of the Moderna vaccine began in the country too, with some six million vaccine doses available for immediate shipment.

Joe Biden has vowed 100 million Covid-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.

The president-elect said his first months in office would not end the outbreak and gave few details on a rollout plan but he said he would change the course of Covid-19.

Introducing his health team for when he takes office on January 20, Joe Biden urged Americans to “mask up for 100 days”.

On December 8, a report paved the way for a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be approved and rolled out for Americans.

Emergency authorization for its use could be issued by the FDA on December 10, with the country’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci saying mass vaccination could start as soon as next week.

Also on December 8, President Donald Trump attended a summit at the White House of his Covid-19 vaccination program, Operation Warp Speed, and hailed the expected approval of vaccines. His administration hopes to vaccinate as many as 24 million people by mid-January.

According to Johns Hopkins University research, the US has recorded more than 15 million cases so far and 285,000 deaths, both global highs.

Many parts of the US are seeing peak infections, with record numbers of people in hospital, with some experts blaming travel by millions over the recent Thanksgiving holiday.

Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Approved in UK

Pfizer Vaccine Appears to Protect 94% of Adults over 65 Years Old

Moderna Vaccine Shows Nearly 95% Protection Against Covid-19

At a news conference in Delaware on December 8, Joe Biden laid out how he plans to address the pandemic in his first 100 days in office. That period is traditionally seen as a benchmark for new presidents to make their mark with new policies and ideas.

He vowed to get “at least 100 million Covid vaccine shots into the arms of the American people”.

Last week, Joe Biden complained he had been given no rollout plans by the Trump administration. Operation Warp Speed’s top scientist Moncef Slaoui has still to meet the Biden team and is expected to do so this week.

Getting children back to school would also be a priority, he said.

Joe Biden also introduced California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his nomination for health secretary and his choice of Rochelle Walensky as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among his other aides will be Dr. Anthony Fauci as chief Covid medical adviser. The expert also advised the Trump team and often fell foul of the president for his views.

Getting 100 million vaccines to Americans in just over three months is not expected to be easy. The large geographical size of the US and the logistics of rolling out a new vaccine could present challenges in achieving the goal.

Image source: Getty Images

The Trump campaign’s attempt to block President-elect Joe Biden from being declared winner in Pennsylvania has been rejected by a federal appeals court.

The panel of three judges deemed the case was without merit, saying the Trump campaign had not made specific allegations or provided proof.

The ruling is another major setback for Donald Trump in his attempts to overturn the November 3 election.

On November 26, President Trump said he would give way if Joe Biden was declared the winner.

However, on the next day he again made unfounded allegations of “massive voter fraud”, tweeting: “Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained.”

Trump Administration Allows Biden Transition to Begin

Joe Biden Wins Georgia Recount by 12,000 Votes

Donald Trump Continues to Deny Election Defeat

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals had been asked to consider a lower court’s decision to dismiss the Trump campaign’s attempts to invalidate millions of mail-in votes in Pennsylvania.

The lower court ruling had paved the way for the battleground state to certify Joe Biden’s win, giving him 20 vital Electoral College votes and effectively the presidency.

In giving the appeal court’s opinion, Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote: “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so.”

“Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” wrote Judge Bibas, who was nominated by President Trump.

Following the ruling, Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis wrote: “On to SCOTUS!”

The Trump campaign has filed a slew of lawsuits alleging voter fraud in several states, but with little success.

Joe Biden is projected to defeat President Trump 306 to 232 in the US electoral college, which determines who becomes president – far above the 270 he needs to win.

Time is running out as states have until December 8 to resolve election disputes before the Electoral College meets on December 14 to formally declare the victor.

Donald Trump’s refusal to concede has upended the process that normally follows a US election.

However, it is not a requirement for Donald Trump to concede in order for Joe Biden to be sworn in as the 46th US president.

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump has accepted a formal transition should begin for President-elect Joe Biden to take office.

He said the federal agency overseeing the handover must “do what needs to be done”, even as he vowed to keep contesting his election defeat.

The General Services Administration (GSA) said it was acknowledging Joe Biden as the “apparent winner”.

It came as Joe Biden’s victory in the state of Michigan was officially certified, a major blow to President Trump.

The GSA announcement means the president-elect now has access to top security briefings, office space and government officials as he prepares to take office on January 20.

Joe Biden’s transition website has now changed to a government domain. He will begin announcing the people he wants in the top jobs in his cabinet on November 24.

Biden’s team welcomed the start of the transition process as the Democratic president-elect gears up to be sworn in.

A statement said: “Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”

Earlier, Joe Biden unveiled his nominations for his foreign policy and national security team, consisting of old colleagues from his years in the Obama administration.

Joe Biden Wins Georgia Recount by 12,000 Votes

Donald Trump Continues to Deny Election Defeat

CISA Rejects Donald Trump’s Vote Fraud Claims

Joe Biden is set to appoint Anthony Blinken as secretary of state and John Kerry as climate envoy, while Janet Yellen is tipped to be the first female US treasury secretary.

The list of selections came ahead of a formal announcement on November 24. Most of the appointments will require Senate confirmation.

President Trump tweeted as the GSA, which is tasked with formally beginning presidential changeovers, informed the Biden camp that it would start the transition process.

GSA administrator Emily Murphy said she was making $6.3 million in funds available to the president-elect.

President Trump said: “In the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”

However, Donald Trump did not concede and went on to repeat unsubstantiated claims of corruption, pledging to keep up the “good fight”. It is worth noting that Donald Trump does not have to concede for Joe Biden to be sworn in as the 46th US president.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

President-elect Joe Biden has won Georgia by 12,284 votes, according to the audit required by state law.

His narrow victory in Georgia will be officially certified by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

It comes as legal efforts by President Donald Trump’s allies to challenge his defeat were dismissed in three other states.

On November 20, Brad Raffensperger said he was disappointed that his party lost but that “numbers don’t lie”.

Joe Biden is set to take office in January as the 46th US president.

His victory margin in the public vote overall stands at more than 5.9 million. His victory in the Electoral College system is projected to be 306 to 232 – far above the 270 he needs to win.

President Trump has so far refused to concede and has made allegations of widespread electoral fraud, without providing any evidence.

The latest defeat comes as he has summoned Michigan state lawmakers to the White House on November 20 ahead of that state’s deadline to certify election results.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany denied that President Trump was holding a campaign “advocacy meeting” with the lawmakers, saying it was instead a routine check-in with local officials.

On November 19, Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger – who oversees the election process – said the hand audit of ballots had not altered Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

He said in a statement: “Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results.”

On November 20, the self-proclaimed Trump supporter went on to say: “Like other Republicans. I’m disappointed, our candidate didn’t win Georgia’s electoral votes.

“I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct.”

Donald Trump Continues to Deny Election Defeat

CISA Rejects Donald Trump’s Vote Fraud Claims

Trump Still Planning Legal Challenges in Key States

The Democrats’ victory is their first in a presidential race in Georgia since Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.

The recount found the error rate was no greater than 0.73% in any county and Joe Biden’s margin of victory over Donald Trump remained at under 0.5%. The results will be certified on November 20.

Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis said the audit had gone “exactly as we expected” because, she said without evidence, the state had recounted illegal ballots.

Gabriel Sterling, a Republican who serves as Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, told CNN on Thursday: “One of the big complaints is these machines somehow flipped votes or changed votes or did stuff. They didn’t, at least not in Georgia. We proved it.”

During the audit this week, nearly 6,000 untallied votes were found – paring back Joe Biden’s lead slightly – but they were the result of human error and not fraud, Gabriel Sterling said.

Officials in Floyd County have fired their election manager over the matter, local media reported on November 19.

He was speaking after a virtual meeting with governors, including Democrats and Republicans, about the coronavirus crisis.

Asked about President Trump’s lack of concession, Joe Biden said the president was sending “incredibly damaging messages… to the rest of the world about how democracy functions” and that he would be remembered “as being one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history”.

Republicans lost their final lawsuit in Georgia as a court rejected their effort to block the results’ certification, which happened on November 20. The judge who dismissed the case was appointed by President Trump last year.

In Arizona, a judge rejected a lawsuit filed last week by the state Republican Party seeking a new audit of ballots in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix – the state capital and largest city.

In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign lost their bid in state court to throw out more than 2,000 postal ballots.

At a briefing on November 19, Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani continued to lay out unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and accusations of electoral fraud.

He railed against the reporting of his team’s legal challenges, saying the media had shown an “irrational pathological hatred for the president”.

Rudy Giuliani also said the campaign was withdrawing its last remaining lawsuit in Michigan. He said it had achieved its aim of stopping the certification of the result in one key county.

“Donald Trump” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump is still planning legal challenges to the results in some key states as Joe Biden has been declared president-elect.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox News that it would be wrong for the president to concede because: “There is strong evidence that this was an election that in at least three or four states, and possibly 10, it was stolen.”

The Trump campaign is yet to provide this “strong evidence” but says it plans to lodge lawsuits in several key states on November 9.

In Georgia

A lawsuit was filed in Georgia’s Chatham County to pause the count, alleging problems with ballot processing.

Georgia Republican chairman David Shafer tweeted that party observers saw a woman “mix over 50 ballots into the stack of uncounted absentee ballots”.

On November 5, a judge dismissed this lawsuit, saying there was “no evidence” of improper ballot mixing.

In Michigan

Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by his slimmest margin – just over 10,700 votes – and Joe Biden has been projected as the winner here in 2020.

On November 4, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit to stop the count over claims of a lack of access to observe the process.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying there was insufficient evidence that oversight procedures weren’t being followed.

In Pennsylvania

Rudy Giuliani says further lawsuits will be filed over a lack of access for poll watchers in the state.

Poll watchers are people who observe the counting of votes, with the aim of ensuring transparency. They are allowed in most states as long as they are registered before Election Day.

In some areas this year, there were restrictions put in place before Election Day, in part due to coronavirus pandemic. There are also capacity limits set to avoid intimidation.

A 20-foot perimeter was set in the Philadelphia counting facility but this was challenged and a court ruling on November 5 said it should be reduced to six feet – as long as poll watchers adhered to Covid-19 protocols.

The Trump campaign has filed a federal lawsuit accusing election officials of violating the judge’s order.

Rudy Giuliani said: “Even when a court order was obtained to allow the Republican inspectors to get six feet closer, they moved the people counting the ballots six further feet away.”

However, the election officials insist they behaved properly.

On November 5, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said: “Every candidate and every political party is allowed to have an authorized representative in the room observing the process. Some jurisdictions including Philly are also live streaming, so you can literally watch their counting process.”

Another ongoing case disputes how long voters should be able to provide proof of identification if it’s missing or unclear on their postal ballots. Voters are currently allowed to fix their ballots up to November 12, but the Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit seeking to reduce this deadline to November 9.

The legal challenge in Pennsylvania also centers on the state’s decision to count ballots that are postmarked by Election Day but arrive up to three days later. Republicans are seeking an appeal.

In Arizona

On November 7, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in Arizona, claiming some legal votes were rejected.

The case cites declarations by some poll watchers and two voters who claim they had problems with voting machines.

The lawsuit is under review, but Arizona’s Secretary of State said it was “grasping at straws”.

In Wisconsin

The Trump campaign has said it will request a recount in the state “based on abnormalities seen” on Election Day, although this wouldn’t require a lawsuit.

It’s unclear when this recount would take place, since typically these don’t happen until after officials finish reviewing the votes.

Wisconsin’s deadline for this part of the process is November 17.

Columbia University Law School professor Richard Briffault says there was a recount in Wisconsin in 2016 as well, and it “changed about a hundred votes”.

Joe Biden Wins Presidency as Donald Trump Does Not Plan to Concede

In Nevada

The Nevada Republican Party tweeted saying: “Thousands of individuals have been identified who appear to have violated the law by casting ballots after they moved from Nevada.”

Donald Trump’s legal team produced a list of people who it claimed had moved out of state but voted.

However, the list alone does not prove a violation of law.

People who leave the state within 30 days before an election can still vote in Nevada. Students from Nevada – who are studying elsewhere – can also vote.

The case is focused on voters in Clark County, but the county’s registrar has said: “We are not aware of any improper ballots that are being processed.”

In a separate case, a federal judge blocked attempts by the Republicans to stop the use of a signature verification machine, rejecting allegations that it wasn’t able to check signatures correctly.

On November 4, Donald Trump claimed voting fraud – without providing evidence – and said: “We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court.”

If the election result is challenged, it would first require legal teams to challenge it in the state courts.

State judges would then need to uphold the challenge and order a recount.

The Supreme Court could then be asked be asked to weigh in.

To date, the 2000 election is the only one to be decided by the Supreme Court.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore lost Florida – and the presidential election – by 537 votes out of a total of almost six million cast in the state.

This was followed by a highly controversial recount process that lasted over a month – until the Supreme Court ruled to stop recounting and in favor of Republican George W. Bush who became president.

Image source: Getty Images

The US is voting in one of the most divisive presidential elections in decades, pitting incumbent Republican Donald Trump against his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

The first polls opened from 05:00 EST in Vermont.

Nearly 100 million Americans have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the US on course for its highest turnout in a century.

Both rivals spent the final hours of the race rallying in key swing states.

National polls give a firm lead to Joe Biden, but it is a closer race in the states that could decide the outcome.

Among the first states to begin election-day voting on November 3 are the key battlegrounds of North Carolina and Ohio, followed half an hour later by Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. Arizona will follow.

To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the electoral college. Each state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.

This system explains why it is possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally – like Hillary Clinton did in 2016 – but still lose the election.

The coronavirus pandemic has hung over the election campaign, with the epidemic in the country worsening over the final weeks of the race. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than anywhere else in the world, and fear of infection has contributed to an unprecedented surge in early and postal voting.

As the nation counts down the hours to the vote, there are fears that pockets of post-election violence could break out.

A new “non-scalable” fence has been put up around the White House in Washington DC. Businesses in the nation’s capital and also in New York City have been seen boarding up their premises due to concerns about unrest.

On November 2, President Trump sprinted through four more battleground states.

In North Carolina, the president told supporters that “next year will be the greatest economic year in the history of our country”. Economists however warn the damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic – the biggest decline in the US economy in more than 80 years – could still take years to overcome.

White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Hit Swing States

White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Trade Attacks in Critical State of Florida

Final Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash over Covid-19 and Race

After North Carolina, Donald Trump headed to Scranton, Pennsylvania, the city where his opponent lived until he was 10. At a rally there he reminded his supporters that he won the state in 2016, despite polls suggesting he would lose.

Joe Biden also went to Pennsylvania where he was joined by singer Lady Gaga at a rally in Pittsburgh. Musician John Legend addressed voters with vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

In Ohio, Joe Biden repeated the core message of his campaign, telling voters that the race was about the soul of America. He said it was time for President Trump to “pack his bags”, saying “we’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility”.

On November 2, Donald Trump also held rallies in Traverse City, Michigan, and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha was rocked by violent protests in August after the police shooting of a black man.

In Traverse City the president asked for the votes of black Americans.

He travelled to Grand Rapids, Michigan for his last rally, the same city where he held the final event of the 2016 election race.

In the last hours of the campaign, Twitter and Facebook labelled a post by President Trump as “misleading”, after he claimed that postal ballots in the key state of Pennsylvania could lead to rampant fraud. They also added a link to a website explaining why mail-in votes were safe.

It came after the Supreme Court allowed Pennsylvania to count postal ballots received three days after the election.

President Trump and his campaign have indicated they will sue to block the move.

Legal fights over ballots have also been unfolding in Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas.

When will we get a result?

It can take several days for every vote to be counted after any presidential election, but it is usually pretty clear who the winner is by the early hours of the following morning.

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden have been travelling across the nation as the US election enters its closing stage.

Donald Trump visited five battleground states while Joe Biden spoke at a campaign event in Pennsylvania.

Joe Biden maintains a solid national lead in the polls ahead of November 3 general election.

However, his advantage is narrower in key states which could decide the result.

More than 90 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century.

The election comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide, reporting more than 99,000 infections on October 31 alone.

Top virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has sharply criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, drawing a rebuke from the White House on November 1.

President Trump had a punishing schedule on November 1, holding rallies in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia, followed later by Florida – all states where polls suggest a tighter race.

Speaking in Washington, a town in Michigan north of Detroit, President Trump told his supporters that under his leadership “the economy is now growing at the fastest rate ever recorded”.

He predicted he would take the state again as he did in 2016, and said that the state known for its car manufacturing “didn’t have any auto plants four years ago” when he was elected.

He said: “We brought back your car industry. Your car industry was finished. You would have had nothing left.”

At a later rally in Dubuque, Iowa – joined by high-profile supporters like his daughter Ivanka and aide Hope Hicks – President Trump promised secure borders and more conservative judges in the courts.

Addressing Covid-19, the president told supporters they had a choice between a “deadly Biden lockdown” or “a safe vaccine that ends the pandemic”.

White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Trade Attacks in Critical State of Florida

Final Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash over Covid-19 and Race

White House 2020: States Break Early Voting Records

Donald Trump’s comments came after Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Post that the US is “in for a whole lot of hurt” in the coming months.

“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors,” he told the newspaper.

Joe Biden was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective”, while President Trump had a different perspective and was focusing on “the economy and reopening the country”, he added.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said on November 1 that Dr. Fauci’s comments were “unacceptable”, saying that the expert chose “to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent”.

Joe Biden meanwhile headed to Pennsylvania, place of his birth and another key state in the election. President Trump narrowly won there in 2016 but polls suggest Joe Biden is slightly ahead this year.

At a rally in Philadelphia the former vice-president addressed the city’s black community, vowing to address “systemic racism” in the US and attacking the president’s handling of the pandemic – something which has disproportionately affected African Americans.

He said: “It’s almost criminal the way he’s handled it.

“It’s a mass casualty event in the black community and it’s totally unnecessary.”

Earlier in the day Joe Biden also courted Latino voters with a tweet in Spanish, speaking of the separation of migrant families at the border and his response to Hurricane Maria after it hit Puerto Rico.

He tweeted: “President Trump has attacked the dignity of Latino families time and again…This will end when I am president.”

Joe Biden also addressed a report by news site Axios which says the president will declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks as if he is ahead.

“The president’s not going to steal this election,” he told reporters.

Joe Biden also criticized President Trump for encouraging his supporters after some forced a Biden campaign bus to stop on a Texas highway, something the FBI has now confirmed it is investigating.

Donald Trump tweeted on November 1 that in his opinion, “these patriots did nothing wrong.”

The president denied the Axios report, but told journalists before his North Carolina rally that counting ballots after Election Day was a “terrible thing”.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” he said.

Joe Biden’s campaign said he and his running mate Kamala Harris would “fan out” to “all four corners” of Pennsylvania on November 2, joined by their partners and Lady Gaga and John Legend.

On November 1, Kamala Harris campaigned in Georgia, another state which President Trump won in 2016 but which the Democratic Party is trying to win this year.

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump and his Democratic White House challenger Joe Biden have held dueling rallies in the critical election state of Florida.

Joe Biden told supporters: “You hold the power. If Florida goes blue [Democratic], it’s over.”

Celebrating soaring economic figures, President Trump said of his rival: “He’s going to lock you down.”

With just five days to go until Election Day, Joe Biden has a solid lead nationally in opinion polls.

However, his advantage looks less assured in the battleground states, such as Florida, that will decide who ultimately wins the White House.

More than 81 million people have already voted, 52 million of them by mail, setting the US on course for its highest electoral turnout rate in more than a century.

On October 29, at a rally in Tampa, President Trump reveled in a new federal projection that the US economy had expanded at an unprecedented 33.1% annual rate in the most recent quarter, following a record 31% contraction in the previous three months during the coronavirus crash.

Florida is a must-win for President Trump and a key opinion poll average shows him just 1.4 points behind Joe Biden, which amounts to a statistical dead heat.

At a 100-minute outdoor rally, President Trump told thousands of people, many of them crowded together without masks: “Joe Biden’s plan is to deliver punishing [coronavirus] lockdowns. He’s going to lock you down.”

“Look, we were compared to Europe,” noted the president.

“‘Germany is doing so well, France is doing so well, everyone’s doing so well.’ No, they’re not doing well.”

While emphasizing Europeans were allies, he continued: “They’re spiking up big, they’re shutting down, they’re locking down.

“I disagree with that because we’re never going to lock down again. We locked down, we understood the disease and now we’re open for business.”

Final Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash over Covid-19 and Race

White House 2020: States Break Early Voting Records

The president was introduced by First Lady Melania Trump, making a rare appearance on the campaign trail. Her biggest applause line came when she said: “We are a country of hope, not a country of fear or weakness, and we have a leader who shows us that every single day.”

Donald Trump had been due to hit another key state, North Carolina, on October 29, but canceled that event in Fayetteville because of foul weather from Tropical Storm Zeta in the area.

The storm reportedly disrupted early voting in another election battleground, Georgia, sparking power cuts in some precincts and toppling trees that blocked off mobile polling sites.

President Trump – who began this month in hospital with coronavirus – is visiting 10 states in the last week of the campaign and will host 11 rallies in the final two days, a campaign official said.

He is hoping that media coverage of his rallies will compensate for his chronic deficit in ad spending as a result of his now-limited campaign coffers.

In Florida alone, according to data from ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG, Joe Biden and his allies are outspending Donald Trump by more than three to one.

In a potential boost for President Trump, on October 29 he won a rare thumbs-up from an African American celebrity, rapper Lil Wayne, who appeared to endorse him.

Lil Wayne tweeted: “Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done.”

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden clashed over Covid-19 and race while trading corruption charges, in their final live TV debate which took place on Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee.

The first debate was a chaotic, insult-filled exchange between the two candidates. But on October 22, the personal attacks were (mostly) out – instead audiences got the chance to hear some of what Biden and Trump had to offer to Americans.

The muted mics probably helped to cool temperatures and the moderator, Kristen Welker, has been celebrated for encouraging a higher standard of debate.

With arguments on coronavirus, race, climate change and corruption, both candidates made it clear how different their visions for the US were.

On the pandemic, Joe Biden would not rule out more lockdowns, while President Trump insisted it was time to reopen the US.

Donald Trump cited unsubstantiated claims Joe Biden personally profited from his son’s business dealings. The Democrat brought up President Trump’s opaque taxes.

Joe Biden has a solid lead with 11 days to go until the presidential election.

However, winning the most votes does not always win the election, and the margin is narrower in a handful of states that could decide the race either way.

More than 47 million people have already cast their ballots in a voting surge driven by the pandemic.

This is already more than voted before polling day in the 2016 election. There are about 230 million eligible voters in total.

In snap polls – from CNN, Data Progress and US Politics – most respondents said Joe Biden had won the debate by a margin of more than 50% to about 40%.

The final debate was a less acrimonious and more substantive affair than the pair’s previous showdown on September 29, which devolved into insults and name-calling.

Following that political brawl, debate organizers this time muted microphones during the candidates’ opening statements on each topic to minimize disruption.

However, the 90-minute debate, moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, was the scene of plenty of personal attacks between the opponents, whose mutual dislike was palpable.

White House 2020: States Break Early Voting Records

Second Presidential Debate: President Trump Refuses to Take Part in Virtual Debate

In individual closing argument to voters, they offered starkly different visions for the nation on everything from shutting down the US to tackle coronavirus, to shutting down the fossil fuel industry to confront climate change.

Nowhere was the distinction between the two candidates more apparent than in their approach to the pandemic.

Asked about his support for more lockdowns if the scientists recommended it, Joe Biden, a Democrat, did not rule it out.

Donald Trump, a Republican, said it was wrong to inflict further damage on the economy because of an infection from which most people recover.

“This is a massive country with a massive economy,” said the president.

“People are losing their jobs, they’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level nobody’s ever seen before.”

Donald Trump, 74, declared that the virus was “going away” and that a vaccine would be ready by the end of the year, while Joe Biden, 77, warned the nation was heading towards “a dark winter”.

President Trump said: “We’re learning to live with it.”

Joe Biden countered: “Come on. We’re dying with it.”

He laid blame for the 220,000-plus American deaths as a consequence of the pandemic at President Trump’s door.

“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the United States of America,” he said.

During a back-and-forth on race relations, President Trump said: “I am the least racist person in this room.”

He brought up the 1994 crime bill that Joe Biden helped draft and which Black Lives Matter blames for the mass incarceration of African Americans.

However, Joe Biden said Donald Trump was “one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire”.

He added: “This guy is a [racial] dog whistle about as big as a fog horn.”

President Trump brought up purported leaked emails from Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, about his business dealings in China.

However, Joe Biden denied the president’s unfounded insinuation that the former US vice-president somehow had a stake in the ventures.

“I think you owe an explanation to the American people,” said President Trump.

Joe Biden said: “I have not taken a single penny from any country whatsoever. Ever.”

He referred to the New York Times recently reporting that President Trump had a bank account in China and paid $188,561 in taxes from 2013-15 to the country, compared with $750 in US federal taxes that the newspaper said he had paid in 2016-2017 when he became president.

President Trump said: “I have many bank accounts and they’re all listed and they’re all over the place.

“I mean, I was a businessman doing business.”

Image source: Getty Images

A record numbers of voters casted their ballots ahead of Election Day on November 3, state election officials across the US have reported.

More than 22 million Americans had voted early by October 16, either in person or by mail, according to the US Election Project.

At the same point in the 2016 race, about 6 million votes had been cast.

According to experts, the surge in early voting correlates to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused many people to seek alternatives to Election Day voting.

On October 13, Texas, a state that has relatively tight restrictions on who can qualify for postal voting, set a record for most ballots cast on the first day of early voting.

On October 12, the Columbus Day federal holiday, officials in Georgia reported126,876 votes cast – also a state record.

In Ohio, a crucial swing state, more than 2.3 million postal ballots have been requested, double the figure in 2016.

White House 2020: Joe Biden Criticizes President Trump’s Handling of Covid-19 While Courting Erderly Voters in Florida

Second Presidential Debate: President Trump Refuses to Take Part in Virtual Debate

VP Debate 2020: Kamala Harris and Mike Pence Clash over Coronavirus Pandemic

Reports indicate that registered Democrats have so far outvoted registered Republicans – casting more than double the number of ballots. And of these early voting Democrats, women and black Americans are voting in particularly high numbers. Some are motivated by dislike for President Donald Trump, while others have been energized by racial justice protests throughout the summer following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

However, this early advantage does not mean that Democrats can already claim victory. Republicans, who claim postal voting is vulnerable to fraud, say Democrats may win the early vote, but that Republicans will show up in large numbers on Election Day.

According to a 2017 study by the Brennan Center for Justice, the rate of voting fraud overall in the US is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%.

The enormous numbers of voters have led to long queues, with some people waiting for up to 11 hours for an opportunity to vote.

Younger people, who historically have been difficult to get to the polls, appear to be turning out in larger numbers this year. The youth vote may be the highest it’s been since 2008 for the election of Barack Obama – the US’s first black president.

A recent survey by Axios found that four in ten university students said they planned to protest if President Trump wins. Six in ten said they would shame friends who could vote but choose not to.

By contrast, only 3% of surveyed students said they would protest if Joe Biden was elected.

Image source: Getty Images

Vice-presidential contenders Kamala Harris and Mike Pence have clashed over the coronavirus pandemic in their only debate ahead of next month’s election.

Democrat Kamala Harris called President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic “the greatest failure of any presidential administration” in history.

Republican VP Mike Pence said the Democratic Party’s pandemic plan amounted to “plagiarism”.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads President Trump with 26 days to go to the vote.

Opinion polls indicate President Trump is trailing by single digits in a handful of battleground states that will decide who wins.

Vice-presidents have tie-breaking power in the Senate and are required to step in if a president is unable to perform their duties. Their day-to-day responsibilities vary with each administration, but they typically serve as top advisers and some take on specific policy portfolios.

October 7 meeting was a civil debate between two smooth communicators compared to last week’s belligerent showdown between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which degenerated into insults and name-calling.

Mike Pence did not interrupt as much as the president last week, but when he did, Kamala Harris interjected: “Mr. Vice-President, I’m speaking, I’m speaking.”

The viral moment on October 7 was a fly landing on Mike Pence’s head and remaining there for some two minutes.

Presidential Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash in Bitter Debate

The 90-minute TV debate at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City was marked by disagreements over the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic.

The 55-year-old California senator accused VP Mike Pence and the president of deliberately misleading Americans about the lethality of coronavirus.

“They knew, and they covered it up,” she said, adding that they had “forfeited their right to re-election”.

Mike Pence accused the Biden-Harris campaign of copying the White House’s pandemic strategy, alluding to a blunder that ended Joe Biden’s 1987 run for the presidency when he plagiarized a speech by then-British Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

Kamala Harris was asked by the moderator whether she would take an approved Covid-19 vaccine distributed ahead of the election.

She said she would not take a jab touted by President Trump without the say-so of medical professionals.

Mike Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force, retorted: “The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration I think is unconscionable.”

The Plexiglas barriers separating the two debaters seated 12ft apart were a vivid reminder of the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans.

President Trump – who is himself recovering from the virus – returned to the White House on October 5 after three nights in hospital, with his opinion poll numbers drooping.

On October 7, the president declared that catching the disease was a “blessing from God” that exposed to him to experimental treatments he vowed would become free for all Americans.

The virus, meanwhile, has spread through the West Wing of the White House and infected figures inside the president’s re-election campaign.

ABC News reported that an internal government memo, dated October 7, said “34 White House staffers and other contacts” had been infected in recent days.

The White House has not yet commented on this.

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Image credit: Getty Images

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have clashed over the violence that has erupted at protests in Portland, Oregon.

President Trump blamed the Democrat mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, for allowing the “death and destruction of his city”.

However, Joe Biden said the president was “recklessly encouraging violence”.

A man was shot dead in Portland on August 29 as elsewhere in the city a pro-Trump rally clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.

Portland has become a flashpoint for demonstrations against police brutality and racism since the police killing of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 triggered a wave of national and international outrage.

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Mayor Ted Wheeler warned against people coming to the city to seek revenge amid a flurry of social media posts.

He said: “For those of you saying on Twitter this morning that you plan to come to Portland to seek retribution, I’m calling on you to stay away.”

The mayor also hit back at President Trump’s criticism, saying it was the president who had “created the hate and the division”.

He said: “I’d appreciate it if the president would support us or stay the hell out of the way.”

Some activists have called for Mayor Wheeler’s resignation, saying that he was not capable of resolving the protests.

In a series of tweets on August 30, President Trump said that “Portland will never recover with a fool for a mayor”, and suggested sending federal forces to the city.

He also accused Joe Biden of being “unwilling to lead”.

The president tweeted: “…The people of Portland, like all other cities & parts of our great Country, want Law & Order. The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland, or the guy right now in his basement unwilling to lead or even speak out against crime, will never be able to do it!”

In response, Joe Biden said in a statement: “[President Trump] may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong – but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is.”

Law and order is a major theme of Donald Trump’s bid for re-election, painting the Democrats and their candidate Joe Biden as soft on crime.

Earlier, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Democrats officials in Portland had allowed “lawlessness and chaos” to develop, saying “all options” were on the table to resolve the situation.

Democrats have responded by saying the violence is happening under President Trump’s presidency, and accuse him of worsening the situation with his rhetoric.

Police are investigating the shooting in Portland, which has seen months of demonstrations.

Portland police said in a statement: “Portland Police officers heard sounds of gunfire from the area of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street. They responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest.”

According to Oregon Live, a “camouflage gear” with “thin blue line patches” was seen next to the body – a common sign of support for the police.

Another image shows police trying to restrain a man who was apparently with the person who was shot.

Police have not identified the dead man or specified whether the shooting was directly linked to the clashes which broke out elsewhere in the city.

The founder of the far-right group Patriot Prayer identified the victim as Aaron “Jay” Danielson, adding that he was “a good friend and a supporter”, the Associated Press reports.

The shooting came amid fights between the Trump supporters and BLM protesters in Portland.

Tension rose after a convoy of some 600 vehicles flying flags and carrying an estimated 1,000 Trump backers gathered at a mall in Clackamas County on the outskirts before entering Portland’s downtown.

According to police, 10 people were arrested over the clashes.

Speaking on the final night of the Republican convention, President Donald Trump has warned Joe Biden will “demolish” the American dream if he wins the White House in November.

The president depicted his Democratic challenger as “the destroyer of American greatness”.

Donald Trump said the Democrats would unleash “violent anarchists” upon US cities.

Joe Biden has a steady single-digit lead in opinion polls over President Trump with 68 days until voters return their verdict.

The end of the RNC heralds a 10-week sprint to Election Day, and the coming campaign is widely expected to be one of the ugliest in living memory.

On August 27, President Trump asked voters for another four years in office, vowing to dispel the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the US economy and quell civil strife ignited by police killings of African Americans.

He accepted the GOP’s re-nomination from the South Lawn of the White House.

Donald Trump said: “This election will decide whether we save the American dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.”

He added: “Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens.”

His reference to the sometimes violent racial justice protests that have swept the nation in recent months came as hundreds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators gathered outside the White House gates.

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DNC 2020: Michelle Obama Launches Stinging Attack on President Trump

Some of their shouts and car horns could be heard on the South Lawn despite new fencing being erected this week along the White House perimeter to keep protesters at a distance.

President Trump said the Democrats at their party convention last week had disparaged America as a place of racial, social and economic injustice.

He said: “So tonight, I ask you a very simple question – how can the Democrat party ask to lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?

“In the left’s backward view, they do not see America as the most free, just and exceptional nation on earth. Instead, they see a wicked nation that must be punished for its sins.”

In a blistering attack on his opponent’s decades-long political life, Donald Trump continued: “Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars.”

While President Trump portrayed his challenger as “a Trojan horse for socialism”, Joe Biden’s lengthy record as a political moderate was a hindrance for him as he competed to capture his party’s nomination.

Donald Trump mentioned Joe Biden more than 40 times; the Democrat did not once name Donald Trump in his speech last week, though criticism of the president permeated Joe Biden’s remarks.

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Democrats have announced the House will vote on January 15 on sending articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told fellow Democrats she would also name the House managers who will prosecute the case against President Trump in the Senate trial.

Nancy Pelosi has been withholding the articles of impeachment in a row with Republicans over allowing witnesses.

Donald Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House last month.

The president is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

He denies trying to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation into his would-be Democratic White House challenger Joe Biden.

President Trump has been touting unsubstantiated corruption claims about Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who accepted a lucrative board position with a Ukrainian energy company while his father handled American-Ukraine relations as US vice-president.

The impeachment trial by the Senate will be only the third ever of a US president.

Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans control the chamber 53-47, and are all but certain to acquit him.

Once the resolution is approved, the House managers will walk to the Senate and formally present the articles of impeachment in the well of the chamber, escorted by the sergeant-at-arms. The articles of impeachment will be read out.

On January 14, Senate leader Mitch McConnell met Republican senators behind closed doors to map out the ground rules.

He said the trial was likely to begin in earnest on January 21.

The first couple of days will involve housekeeping duties, possibly later this week.

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Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in to preside, and he will administer an oath to all 100 senators to deliver “impartial justice” as jurors.

Lawmakers may hear opening arguments next week. The House managers will lay out their case against President Trump, and his legal team will respond.

The trial is expected to last up to five weeks, with the Senate taking only Sundays off.

President Trump suggested over the weekend that he might prefer simply dismissing the charges rather than giving legitimacy to the “hoax” case against him.

Moderate Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah have made clear they would oppose any such motion.

On January 14, the White House said the president is “not afraid of a fight” in his trial.

Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said President Trump was in fact eager for witnesses to testify that “this man did nothing wrong”.

One of the biggest sticking points between House Democrats and Senate Republicans has been whether testimony will be allowed during the trial.

Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Rounds said on January 14 the Senate’s trial plan will guarantee votes on whether to call witnesses and hear new evidence.

It takes just 51 votes to approve rules or call witnesses, meaning four Republican senators would have to side with Democrats to insist on testimony.

The White House is understood to have identified several possible defectors in the Republican ranks, including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney.

The others are Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is retiring this year.

Republicans say that if witnesses are allowed, they may try to subpoena Joe Biden and his son, and the unidentified government whistleblower whose complaint about President Trump sparked the whole impeachment inquiry.

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Former White House aide Fiona Hill has told the impeachment inquiry that President Donald Trump disregarded the advice of senior advisers to push a false theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

She said the president had instead listened to the views of his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Fiona Hill called the claims about Ukraine a “fictional narrative”.

The inquiry is assessing if President Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

President Trump denies any wrongdoing.

According to a discredited theory, it was Ukrainians or individuals with Ukrainian connections who interfered in the 2016 vote, rather than Russia.

In a phone call with the Ukrainian president, President Trump urged him to look into the claims as well as open an investigation into Joe Biden, one of the main Democratic presidential candidates.

November 21 is fifth and last scheduled day of public hearings by the House Intelligence Committee.

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In her opening statement, Fiona Hill – the former top Russia experts to the White House – accused other Republicans of sowing doubt about Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

She said: “Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country – and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did.”

Fiona Hill urged lawmakers not to promote “politically driven falsehoods” that cast doubt on Russia’s interference in US elections.

“This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” she said.

During Fiona Hill’s testimony, Democratic lawyer Daniel Goldman asked her: “So is it your understanding then that President Trump disregarded the advice of his senior officials about this theory and instead listened to Rudy Giuliani’s views?”

“That appears to be the case, yes,” she replied.

In her later testimony, Fiona Hill warned that Rudy Giuliani had been making “explosive” and “incendiary” claims about Ukraine.

She said: “He was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would, you know, probably come back to haunt us.

“I think that’s where we are today.”

Fiona Hill testified that she had a couple of “testy encounters” with Gordon Sondland – the US ambassador to the EU who testified on November 20 – over Ukraine, because the ambassador did not keep her informed of “all the meetings he was having”.

US ambassador to Ukraine David Holmes also testified at November 21 hearing.

In his opening statement, David Holmes said that his work at the embassy in Kiev became overshadowed in 2019 by the actions of Rudy Giuliani.

He said: “I became aware that Mr. Giuliani, a private lawyer, was taking a direct role in Ukrainian diplomacy.”

David Holmes added that he was “shocked” on July 18 when an official from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that military aid to Ukraine was being withheld.