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With votes still being counted in several states, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election remains unknown. Former Vice President Joe Biden expressed confidence in his chance of winning but urged Americans to be patient for results. President Trump, meanwhile, launched unfounded attacks on the integrity of the vote. Yamiche Alcindor reports and joins Judy Woodruff and John Yang to discuss.
A divided nation is still waiting tonight to learn who will be the next occupant of the White House.
The tide has apparently turned in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden, after the Associated Press put Wisconsin and just moments ago Michigan in his column. That gives Mr. Biden 264 electoral votes. That is just six away from the 270 necessary for victory.
But President Trump, with 214 electoral votes, was having none of it.
White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports.
An undecided election, votes still being counted, and President Trump prematurely claiming victory.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
President Donald Trump:
A day after polls closed, the president spent the morning casting doubt on the vote tallies from the White House.
In a flurry of tweets, he blamed mail-in ballots for why he lost leads he had last night in Michigan and Wisconsin. President Trump wrote that his margins there — quote — "started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted."
There is no evidence of that. And Twitter hid that post and a number of others from users, flagging them as misleading. The tweets underscored what the president has long been laying the groundwork for. In a speech at the White House after 2:00 a.m., he charged that legal mail-in balloting was fraudulent.
Frankly, we did win this election.
So, our goal now is to ensure the integrity — for the good of this nation. This is a big moment. This is a major fraud on our nation.
We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So, we will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.
The voting has stopped. It's the counting that continues.
And former Vice President Joe Biden urged his supporters to be calm as the process goes on. Today, he spoke in Wilmington, Delaware.
Former Vice President Joe Biden:
I'm not here to declare that we won. But I am here to report, when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.
The Biden campaign says it is fully prepared to fight any legal challenge by the Trump campaign.
We have lawyers ready to go, papers ready to go within an hour of hearing of any step that they take.
Legal experts see the potential for litigation coming, largely targeting mail-in ballots in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Today, the Trump campaign vowed to request a recount in Wisconsin. It also filed lawsuits to stop the counting in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Campaign officials claim that they are not being given access to the counting sites. It's a charge that state elections officials denied.
But officials in all those states insisted the process is playing out as it should.
At this point, I ask for patience, out of respect to the will of our voters and the work of our election workers who are volunteering in communities all across the state.
I just feel so confident that every single valid ballot was counted in the state of Wisconsin.
In Philadelphia, city commissioners said they are working as fast as they can to tally the votes.
If you're going to get it right, and you're going to prevent problems which jeopardize voters' votes, it's more important that we do it right than meet artificial deadlines.
Outside, protesters gathered, calling for every ballot to be counted.
State Senator Sharif Street, vice chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, echoed that demand.
Sen. Sharif, Street, D-Pa.:
I am more concerned, as Governor Wolf has said, about getting an accurate count than getting a quick count. It is incredibly important that we count each and every vote and that we do so accurately.
In nearby Bucks County, GOP Chair Patricia Poprik said she is skeptical of ballots counted in cities, but that the loser should concede.
I just know there's been problem in the past in the big cities, and I think that's where we will be most having our problems.
I think whoever ultimately is found not to have been the winner, I think that person should then concede. But until we know that fact conclusively, I don't think they should.
Pennsylvania officials say it will likely be a few days before they have even an unofficial result. But a clearer picture of the next Congress is already emerging.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C..:
I'm going back to the Senate with a purpose.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:
You have given me the honor of a lifetime.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held off his challenger. Republicans also look poise to retain their majority in the Senate.
In the Lower Chamber, House Democrats appeared likely to maintain control, but with a sharply reduced majority, ensuring a divided legislative branch, no matter who becomes president.
So, we turn now to Yamiche — she is outside the White House — and to our John Yang. He is again in Wilmington, Delaware.
Hello to both of you.
So, Yamiche, I'm going to start with you. What exactly is the president saying right now, what is his campaign saying about the state of this race, given the fact that the AP is getting closer, it appears, to being comfortable calling it for Joe Biden?
We don't have other states in yet, but it's moving in that direction.
The president continues to do what no U.S. president has done in history, and that is declare victory prematurely and seek to delegitimize a U.S. election.
The president is claiming that he won states that the AP and other trusted sources say he did not win. He has claimed victory several times today. He is saying that he won Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, states that have not been officially called by the AP, which, of course, is a source we here at the "NewsHour" are using.
He's also saying that he won Michigan, that he possibly might have won Arizona. Those are states that have already been called for Joe Biden. So what we have seen from the president today is really a flood of misinformation.
Twitter has been labeling tweet after tweet with labels that say that this information is not true. If you look at the president's timeline right now on Twitter, it looks like a collage of labels warning people against listening to any of the information that the president is putting out.
I have been talking to people close to the president, people who want to see the president win, and even they are concerned, Judy, that the president has gone too far, that he is really threatening U.S. democracy and being dangerous in this way.
Another thing to note, Judy, there's really, in some ways, the campaign has been a bit more cautious than the president at times, saying not that he has won completely, but that he has multiple pathways to get there.
But, that being said, they are now saying that he might announce as early as Friday that he is a victor in an election that, of course, is not to be — not decided.
It's really, in some ways, remarkable behavior, remarkable rhetoric coming from the president, but he is doubling down and showing no signs of doing this, of course, as Joe Biden is urging patience and saying that he feels like he will win, but not all the way has won yet.
So, given all that, John Yang, in Wilmington, tell us what the Biden campaign is saying. How are they responding?
Well, you might — might not be surprised, Judy, to realize that they have a different take on this.
As you heard the vice president, the former vice president say in Yamiche's tape, they firmly believe that they are on track to win this election. With this call in Michigan just a few minutes ago, this puts them within six electoral votes of the 270 that they need.
They have — there are four states outstanding. They feel minutes ago, this puts them within six electoral votes of the 270 that they need. They have — there are four states outstanding. They feel that — or four big states outstanding.
Any one of those will put them over the top. They're not so much looking at North Carolina anymore. But Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, any one of those would give them victory. And they feel that they're going to get that within the next day, most likely Nevada tomorrow. But they are very bullish about Georgia. They have been since last night, where they're still counting some mail-in ballots, mostly from Atlanta and the Atlanta suburbs.
They feel that's fertile ground for Joe Biden. They say they have been winning those mail-in ballots by about 78 percent. And they think that that margin will continue. And they could win Georgia, but they believe firmly that they will win Nevada.
So, Yamiche, we know the president's path to victory at this point much more difficult, narrower than the path is potentially for Joe Biden. But they do see something. What do they tell you they're looking at?
Well, they are really looking at the state of Pennsylvania, claiming victory there, of course, without the AP claiming victory for President Trump.
But they're really also leaning in on a strategy that is a legal strategy to try to wrestle back some of the states that they think were wrongly called, of course, without evidence that any voter fraud or any sort of issue was happening in these states.
But the president is saying that he's going to be fund-raising. We also saw the vice president who last night was a little bit more cautious in the president. He did not prematurely declare victory.
But Vice President Pence put out a fund-raising e-mail today saying that Democrats are trying to possibly steal the election, and that you need to give money to the Trump campaign to fight these legal battles. The president wants to try to get to the Supreme Court. Critics of the president say it's nearly impossible for him to launch any sort of successful bid to try to win this in the courts.
That being said, another thing to note is that the president is feeling really good, still, campaign aides say to me. They're also looking at demographics, saying that the president was able to up his numbers with Latinos, with Black men, find new white voters overwhelmingly.
But, that being said, the path is so, so narrow. They're feeling very, very anxious. But the president is continuing to put on a brave face, saying that he feels like he can still win this.
And, John, for the Biden folks, what are they doing right now? I mean, how do they see their next moves?
They're waiting to say to see. They say they're waiting for all the votes to be counted. They're confident that those votes are going their way.
They point out that they're winning both the popular vote and the electoral vote. They say that they are on track to have the most votes cast for any ticket in American history for Biden and Harris. And they're anticipating these court challenges from the Biden camp — from the Trump campaign, which they say have no basis.
As Bob Bauer, you heard in the tape, the legal adviser to the Biden campaign, says that they have won the votes and that they are prepared to defend those votes in the courts when challenged by the Trump campaign. And Bob Bauer says that, if Trump goes to the Supreme Court, Mr. Trump will be embarrassed.
Strong words from the Biden campaign.
John Yang and Yamiche Alcindor, thank you both.
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