US President Donald Trump and senior members of his administration continued to dispute the outcome of the presidential election, declining to accept the designation of Joe Biden as president-elect.
“WE WILL WIN!” Mr Trump wrote on twitter on Tuesday morning, one of several tweets posted by the president disputing Mr Biden’s victory in last week’s election.
In one tweet he warned of “massive ballot counting abuse”, prompting a warning from twitter.
The president's continuing claims that he will win the election, which has already been called for Mr Biden, appeared to be echoed by secretary of state Mike Pompeo. At his first press conference since the presidential election a week ago, Mr Pompeo was asked if the State Department was prepared to engage with the Biden transition team. "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration," he responded. It was unclear if he meant the comments as a joke.
He continued: “We’re ready. The world is watching what’s taking place. We’re going to count all the votes. When the process is complete, there’ll be electors selected. There’s a process. The constitution lays it out pretty clearly. The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today ... and successful with a president who’s in office on January 20th, a minute after noon, will also be successful.”
The states of Arizona and Georgia have yet to be called in the election, but Mr Biden is leading as the final votes are counted. Even if Mr Trump was to win those two states, Mr Biden would still win the election given that he won Pennsylvania.
Mr Trump’s campaign has launched multiple legal actions, though have yet to offer publicly any evidence of widespread voter fraud.
But he has received broad-based support from Republicans for his efforts, with most saying that he should pursue legal actions in court and demand recounts where needed.
Speaking as he was re-elected Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell doubled-down on his defence of Mr Trump’s right to challenge the election result. He told reporters on Tuesday that the legal cases being brought by the Trump campaign are “no reason for alarm” and would not prevent a new administration from taking office in January, though he said “if there is one”.
But speaking on the Senate floor, minority leader Chuck Schumer chastised Republicans for endorsing the president's position.
"The extent to which the Republican Party is legitimising the president's assault on our democracy is infuriating and deeply, deeply wrong," he said. "He is declaring himself to be the winner of an election that he lost. He is claiming to win states that he lost. His legal team is filing scores of frivolous, unsubstantiated lawsuits."
He was speaking as the two Republican senators facing run-off elections in Georgia in January called on the state secretary of state Brad Raffensperger – himself a Republican – to resign, claiming that his “mismanagement” and “lack of transparency” were “unacceptable”.
But Mr Raffensperger responded: "This is not going to happen. The voters of Georgia hired me and the voters will be the one to fire me. As secretary of state I'll continue to fight every day to ensure fair elections in Georgia, that every legal vote counts, and that illegal votes don't count."