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Trump news – live: Biden concerned at reports president to pardon children, as court rejects election lawsuit

Trump news – live: Biden concerned at reports president to pardon children, as court rejects election lawsuit
Presidente de los Estados Unidos, Donald TrumpDonald Trump's refusal to admit his defeat to Joe Biden in November’s presidential election has trickled down to Republicans in Congress, 90 per cent of whom have failed to publicly acknowledge the loss.In a survey of all 249 Congressional Republicans by The Washington Post, just 25 recognised Mr Biden…
Presidente de los Estados Unidos, Donald Trump

Donald Trump‘s refusal to admit his defeat to Joe Biden in November’s presidential election has trickled down to Republicans in Congress, 90 per cent of whom have failed to publicly acknowledge the loss.

In a survey of all 249 Congressional Republicans by The Washington Post, just 25 recognised Mr Biden as the President-elect. The vast majority failed to respond to the newspaper, while two falsely claimed Mr Trump had won.

It comes as Mr Trump prepares to head to Georgia to deliver his first rally since his election defeat.

The president is due to appear alongside Republican senate candidates David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are in run-off elections against their Democratic opponents.

What the president will say during the rally remains unknown, but it comes after he tweeted against the governor and secretary of state, both of whom are Republicans, for Georgia. Mr Trump implored the pair to do a full audit of absentee ballot signatures, claiming this would prove his victory in the state. 

Georgia already certified its election results, giving the win to President-elect Biden. But Mr Trump refuses to accept those results. 

The goal of his evening rally tonight is to boost support for Mr Purdue and Ms Loeffler as they face off against Democratic challengers for their US Senate seats. Both races are important because they will determine which party has control of the US Senate come January. 

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But Mr Trump could make matters worse for the Republican Party if he chooses to attack the US election process instead of boosting enthusiasm among GOP voters at the upcoming rally. 

Key stories:

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s up-to-the-minute coverage of all the post-US election news from the White House and beyond.

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 09: 01

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Biden officially secures enough electors to become president

California certified its presidential election Friday and appointed 55 electors pledged to vote for Democrat Joe Biden officially handing him the Electoral College majority needed to win the White House.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla s formal approval of Biden’s win in the state brought his tally of pledged electors so far to 279, according to a tally by The Associated Press. That’s just over the 270 threshold for victory.

These steps in the election are often ignored formalities. But the hidden mechanics of electing a US president have drawn new scrutiny this year as Donald Trump continues to deny Mr Biden’s victory and pursues increasingly specious legal strategies aimed at overturning the results before they are finalised.

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 09: 05

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Trump ‘now 46-1’ in post-election court defeats

The Trump campaign has now lost 46 court challenges seeking to overturn the result of the election, according to lawyer and Democrat Marc Elias. 

Legal challenges were dismissed or denied in states including Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona on Friday, Mr Elias said. 

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 09: 18

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Trump administration must accept new DACA applications

The Trump administration must accept new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme that protects some young immigrants from deportation, a federal judge ruled on Friday, in vacating a memo from the acting Homeland Security secretary that had suspended it.

US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said the government had to post a public notice within three days — including on its website and the websites of all other relevant government agencies — that new DACA applications were being accepted.

The ruling follows one from November where Judge Garaufis said Acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf was unlawfully in his position.

On Friday, the judge said that invalidated the memo Mr Wolf had issued in July suspending DACA for new applications and reducing how long renewals were valid from two years down to one year.

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 09: 37

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Trump campaign files lawsuit to ‘order a new election’ in Georgia

The Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit in Georgia asking a state court to “order a new election to be conducted in the presidential race,” citing “tens of thousands of illegal votes” in a statement to the press on Friday.

“What was filed today clearly documents that there are literally tens of thousands of illegal votes that were cast, counted, and included in the tabulations the Secretary of State is preparing to certify,” Ray S. Smith III, lead counsel for the Trump campaign, said in the statement. “The Secretary of State has orchestrated the worst excuse for an election in Georgia history,” he added.

Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, a Republican and Trump supporter, has repeatedly reinforced that the election results are valid. There has been no evidence yet of widespread voter fraud in the state. 

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 09: 50

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Trump prepares for first rally since election defeat

Donald Trump will travel to Georgia later today to attend a rally in support of Republican senate candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are in a run-off contest with their Democratic opponents. 

Republicans are likely to be anxious about what the US president might say during the rally, as he has repeatedly assailed Republican officials there who he perceives as not doing enough to overturn the state’s election result, which saw Mr Trump lose to Joe Biden. 

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 10: 14

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Lewandowski and Bossie appointed to Pentagon advisory board after purge

Donald Trump has appointed two of his most loyal lieutenants to the volunteer board advising the defense department on their business interests, shortly after shocking the existing team by firing their chair, vice chair and seven members.

Corey Lewandowski, who briefly served as Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, and David Bossie, who was Mr Lewandowski’s deputy, were appointed to the Defense Business Board on Friday.

The Defense Business Board is made up of more than a dozen industry and academic leaders who volunteer to provide independent business advice to Pentagon leadership and are appointed by top Pentagon leaders.

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 10: 34

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Arizona judge throws out Republican bid to overturn Biden victory

A judge on Friday threw out a Republican bid to undo Biden’s victory in Arizona, concluding the state’s GOP chief failed to prove fraud or misconduct in her challenge of election results in metro Phoenix. The judge also noted the evidence presented at trial wouldn’t reverse Trump’s loss in the state.

Judge Randall Warner dismissed Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward’s challenge of ballots in metro Phoenix that were duplicated because voters’ earlier ballots were damaged or could not be run through tabulators. Poll observers called to testify by Ward said they witnessed problems in the processing of duplicated ballots, but the judge said those problems were pointed out to election workers, who then fixed the mistakes.

Warner wrote “there is no evidence that the inaccuracies were intentional or part of a fraudulent scheme. They were mistakes. And given both the small number of duplicate ballots and the low error rate, the evidence does not show any impact on the outcome.”

Courts there had already dismissed four other cases. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, certified Arizona’s results Monday. In a touch of symbolism, he declined a phone call from Trump while signing the certification papers. Lawyer Sidney Powell, who was recently kicked off Trump’s legal team and has been pushing wild conspiracy theories about the election, has also filed a lawsuit there.

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 11: 02

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Trump tweets overnight election misinformation

This live blog would usually share Donald Trump’s overnight tweets, and reveal what is true and what isn’t in his often wildly inaccurate messages on Twitter. 

But in posting almost exclusively video clips from far-right news organisations OAN and Newsmax, the amount of misinformation around false claims about the 2020 election makes it impossible to adequately fact-check. 

The last tweet by the US president that wasn’t a video clip is a thank you to Republican leaders in Arizona, who are pushing for an audit of the result in the state, which was won by Joe Biden. 

Despite Mr Trump’s claims, there is no evidence of widespread election fraud, and indeed on Friday an Arizona court rejected Republican attempts to challenge the result, ruling it could not prove allegations of fraud.

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 11: 12

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Giuliani’s witness at voter fraud hearing ‘just got off probation for computer crime’

One of the Trump campaign’s key witnesses at a hearing about alleged voter fraud before the Michigan legislature just got off probation for an unspecified digital crime, the Daily Mail reports.

Mellissa Carone, a former contractor for Dominion Voting Systems, went before the Michigan House Oversight Committee on Wednesday and claimed in bizarre, oftentimes belligerent testimony that instantly went viral, that she witnessed a host of election misconduct at a Detroit counting center. 

According to the Mail, Ms Carone, 33, was sentenced last September to 12 months of probation for an as-yet-unreported incident in 2018, which court documents refer to as “disorderly circumstances warranting alarm” and “computers-using to commit a crime.”

Tom Embury-Dennis5 December 2020 11: 31

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