Biden confident of victory as his lead against Trump grows: Live

Joe Biden has narrow leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia, as Donald Trump doubles down on election ‘fraud’ allegations.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday night as his runningmate, Kamala Harris, looks on [Angela Weiss/AFP]
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday night as his runningmate, Kamala Harris, looks on [Angela Weiss/AFP]
  • Americans continue to watch and wait to see who will be declared the winner of Tuesday’s presidential elections.
  • Currently, Joe Biden is projected to have won 264 Electoral votes and President Donald Trump 214. The race goes to the contender with 270 votes.
  • Trump on Thursday repeated voting fraud claims without evidence in his first address since Tuesday’s elections.
  • Alaska, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are still counting ballots and winners have not been projected in those states.
  • Biden, who has urged patience, has taken the lead in Georgia and Pennsylvania.
  • Arizona has been projected for Biden, but officials say mail-in ballots are still being counted.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky, taking over from Jihan Abdalla and Linah Alsaafin.


Trump supporters in Arizona continue to protest for a third day

By Patrick Strickland

Tucson, Arizona – Supporters of President Donald Trump continued protests for a third day outside an election centre in Arizona’s capital, while the state’s Maricopa County said there were around 90,000 ballots left to count.

As of Friday night, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden still led Trump by around 30,000 votes across the state, according to the Arizona Republic.

In a statement released on Friday night, Maricopa County’s Elections Department said that it still need to process an estimated 72,000 early ballots, another 15,000 provisional ballots, and an additional 5,000 early ballots still needing verification.

“This is the highest number of ballots ever received by Maricopa County, and the Elections Department is on track to complete reporting faster than ever before,” the department said.

Continuing their third night of protests at the centre, demonstrators claim that what they see as slow ballot counting is part of an effort to steal the election from Trump.

Trump himself has made similar claims on Twitter and during press briefings, saying without evidence that supposedly illegal votes had been cast and that the Democrats had rigged the election.

But Matt Muchna, a Democratic voter, said that the results were looking “positive for a blue flip”, referring to the chance of the Democrats taking the state’s 11 electoral votes for the first time since 1996.

“We need forward thinking in the Grand Canyon state, and we have voted that way,” he told Al Jazeera.


Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows tests positive of COVID

Mark Meadows, the chief of staff of US President Donald Trump, has tested positive of the coronavirus.

According to reports from the White House late on Friday, Meadows has informed a close circle of advisors about his health condition.

Meadows is the leading the White House’s legal strategy as it challenges the result of the November 3 election, which currently shows the incumbent president losing his re-election to Democratic challenger Joe Biden.


Biden says he and Harris are on track to win over 300 electoral votes

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has declared that with the way things are going in the counting, he and his vice presidential runningmate Kamala Harris are on track to win over 300 electoral votes.

Speaking late on Friday, Biden also highlighted his popular vote margin of over four million against President Trump.

“The numbers tell us a clear and convincing story: We’re going to win this race.”

He also appealed for unity in the country following a divisive campaign and voting, saying “we may be opponents, but we are not enemies.”


Biden’s lead in Georgia up to 4,395

According to MSNBC, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has expanded his statewide lead against President Trump in the US state of Georgia to 4,395.

It is unlikely, however, that the state would be declared in Biden’s column soon as election officials have agreed to order a statewide recount due to the razor-thin margin between the two candidates.


Biden expands lead in Pennsylvania to over 27,000

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has expanded his statewide lead against President Trump in Pennsylvania to 27,130, according to the latest count.

This, after 9,175 votes came in from the state’s Allegheny County.

Of the latest votes counted, Biden received 7,300, while Trump received 1,875.

According to reports, all the military ballots from the county have also been tallied.


Trump demands ‘explanation’ about this electoral numbers

US President Donald Trump has posted anew on social media demanding “explanation” about his electoral prospects.

Trump is behind his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden in the electoral vote count, prompting him to complain about alleged “cheating” without offering any proof.


Supreme Court Justice Alito orders Pennsylvania vote counting to continue

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has ordered election officials in Pennsylvania to keep separate the mail ballots that arrived after Election Day, but before Friday at 5pm, according to NBC News.

But Alito also ordered to continue the counting of votes, rejecting demands by the Republicans to stop the count.


McCain’s wife Cindy says Biden ‘to bring back ethics’ to the White House

Cindy McCain, wife of the former Republican presidential nominee, the late Senator John McCain, said in an interview with ABC News that she is confident that Democratic candidate Joe Biden “would put the country back together” when he becomes president.

US President Donald Trump has famously clashed with the former Arizona senator on policy and personally.

Cindy McCain has been credited as among those who made Biden’s victory in the state of Arizona, a reliably Republican state.


Biden’s lead in battleground Pennsylvania grows

Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump is growing in the state of Pennsylvania.

By Friday evening, the Democratic candidate held a lead of over 19,500 votes out of more than 6.5 million ballots cast. That’s an edge of about 0.29 percent.

State law dictates that a recount must be held if the margin between the two candidates is less than 0.5 percent.

The Associated Press news agency has not declared a winner in the state.

A canvas observer photographs Lehigh County provisional ballots as vote counting in the general election continues in Allentown, Pennsylvania [Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press]


Supreme Court Justice orders late arriving ballots in Pennsylvania temporarily segregated

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has ordered election officials in Pennsylvania to temporarily segregate mail ballots postmarked by election day that arrived within three days after the election.

Those ballots are accepted under Pennsylvania’s current election guideline, which has been repeatedly challenged by Republicans in the state. The Supreme Court had previously declined to hear the Republican challenge before the election. The order came after a post-Election Day request from Republicans.

The order from Alito changes little in the short term, as the state’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar had already instructed election officials to count those ballots but keep them separate from other ballots. If the Supreme Court does later rule on the case, those votes could be invalidated.


Protesters converge on Philadelphia vote counting centre

Pro-Trump protesters rallied outside the Philadelphia Convention Center Friday, responding to groundless accusations from Trump that the Democrats were trying to steal the White House.

Supporters of Democrat challenger Joe Biden held a counter-demonstration, some holding placards that read “Trump must concede”.

Vote counting for the US election was ongoing inside the center to determine the winner of key battleground state Pennsylvania. Pro-Trump protesters also gathered at the Maricopa County ballot counting centre in Arizona, another battleground where Biden maintains a lead.

Police separate President Donald Trump supporters and pro-vote counting demonstrators outside the Philadelphia Convention Center where votes were still being counted on Friday [John Minchillo/The Associated Press]

Trump tweets Biden should ‘not wrongfully claim the office of the president’

Trump, who erroneously said he had won the election with only early results in on Wednesday morning, tweeted on Friday that Biden “should not wrongfully claim the office of the president”.

“I could make that claim also,” Trump said. “Legal proceedings are just now beginning!”

No winner has been projected so far in the contest, although Biden was leading in several key battleground states.

The Biden campaign has taken a cautious approach to the vote count, with no indication they planned to claim victory before it is certain there is no path to victory for Trump. Biden was set to address the country later on Friday night.


Twitter flags ‘president-elect Biden’ posts as premature

Twitter has flagged as premature posts referring to Joe Biden as “president-elect”, as the vote count continues in several battleground states.

Tweets referring to the former vice president with the victor’s title and his running mate Kamala Harris as “vice president-elect” were tagged with messages saying counts were not yet final. The Associated Press and other news agencies had not projected a winner of the election. Biden currently holds narrow leads in several key battleground states.

“Official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted,” read a Twitter message below a post from Democratic Coalition co-founder and podcaster Scott Dworkin using the two titles for Biden and Harris.

The notice came with a link to information about the status of the election. Twitter told the AFP news agency that the move was in line with its Civic Integrity Policy and in keeping with the position it has taken since the polls closed late on Tuesday.


US stocks hit pause on post-election rally but gain for week

Wall Street’s main stock indexes posted a mixed finish on Friday as presidential ballots continue to be tallied in key battleground states and investors took heart from a better-than-expected monthly jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session down a little more than 66 points, or 0.24 percent, at 28,323.40. The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings reports – finished down 0.03 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index eked out a plus-side finish to close up 0.11 percent.

Though Friday hit pause on Wall Street’s blistering four-day post-election rally, all three leading indexes turned in their strongest weekly performance since April.

While the “blue wave” many on Wall Street had predicted this election season has thus far failed to materialise, investors are focusing on the narrowing prospects for Democrats to take control of the Senate.


Lessons not learned from Trump’s 2016 election victory

Analysis by Al Jazeera political editor Steve Chaggaris

Following Trump’s shocking presidential victory in 2016, there was no shortage of post-mortems looking at why his victory came as such a surprise.

One, written by the New York Times public editor, Liz Spayd, the day after the election, said, “As The Times begins a period of self-reflection, I hope its editors will think hard about the half of America the paper too seldom covers.”

That half of the US – the 63 million who voted for Trump in 2016 – stunned the world again in 2020, after months of polling and analysis suggested not only a resounding defeat for Trump, but also for Republicans in the US Senate and House.

We still do not know if Trump will be handed a second term in the White House, but we do know that he shattered his 2016 vote total, receiving at least seven million more votes. Regardless of whether Trump wins or loses, these questions are raised: Did those who help shape the political narrative in the US “think hard” about that half of the US that is seldom covered?

Read more here.


Republican Party hopes to raise $60m to fund Trump legal challenges

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has reached out to donors as it seeks to raise at least $60m to fund legal challenges brought by Trump over the results of the presidential election, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency.

The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in several states following the November 3 election pitting the president against former Vice President Joe Biden.

“They want $60 million,” a Republican donor who received solicitations from the RNC told the news agency.

Both campaigns have reportedly been raising money in preparation for possible prolonged legal fights.


 

Biden increases lead in Nevada

Biden has increased his lead over Trump in Nevada to 20,137 votes.

Results released on Friday from Democrat-heavy Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and three-quarters of Nevada’s population, along with two rural counties, put Biden at 627,104 votes and Trump at 606,967.

Biden’s lead nearly doubled from Thursday, when he was leading Trump by about 11,000 votes. The Associated Press has not called the presidential race. Votes are still being counted in several battleground states.

Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria says his county has an additional 63,000 mail ballots to be processed over the next few days and 60,000 provisional ballots to be processed later. Gloria said Clark County would release more results on Friday afternoon but he said he did not know exactly how many ballots could be included in that release. The state has said it will provide an update later on Friday on how many ballots are yet to be counted statewide. On Thursday, they reported that number at 190,150.

An election warehouse worker moves polling place equipment at the Clark County Election Department in North Las Vegas, Nevada [Jae C Hong/The Associated Press]

Trump passes Obama’s vote record after Biden

Trump has passed Barack Obama’s 2008 vote record, days after Biden passed that mark.

In the 2008 presidential election, Obama won 69,498,516 votes, making history at the time.

As of Friday afternoon, Trump had won 69,970,484 votes, passing Obama by more than 470,000 votes. Meanwhile, Biden had 73,781,942, passing Obama’s record by 4.28 million votes.

The increase in votes comes amid an overall increase in eligible voters in the US, with 212,313,508 in 2008 increasing to 239,247,182 in 2020. That is a difference of about 26 million.


Trump strikes different tone in new statement

After alleging election fraud for days, without evidence, and calling for the counting of legally cast ballots to be halted, Trump has released a statement casting his campaign’s efforts as an attempt to achieve “full transparency into all vote counting and election certification”.

In the statement released by the Trump campaign, the president said “this is no longer about any single election. This is about the integrity of our entire election process.”

“From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we have met resistance to this basic principle by Democrats at every turn,” the statement said. “We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government.”

Despite the more staid tone, the Trump campaign has so far not offered any evidence that there has been widespread fraud or failure to meet transparency standards, which are set by state governments, in the count.


Biden to address the country

Biden will address the country on Friday night, his campaign said.

The former vice president has been monitoring the results from his home city of Wilmington, Delaware.

The campaign did not release further detail or timings.


Philadelphia mayor says Trump has not produced ‘one iota of evidence’ to fraud claims

The Democratic mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, has said Trump and his team have not produced “one iota of evidence” in their repeated, and baseless, claims of fraud.

The statement came as Biden held a small but widening lead in the key state, in which a victor had not yet been called by the Associated Press news agency.

In the days leading up to the election, Trump had continued to allege fraud in Philadelphia, again, without offering evidence.

“So while some, including the president, continue to spew baseless claims of fraud, claims for which his team has not produced one iota of evidence, what we have seen here in Philadelphia is democracy, pure and simple,” Kenney said. He called on Trump to “put on his big boy pants” and acknowledge “the fact that he lost” like previous presidents Jimmy Carter and George HW Bush and former Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore.

While Biden maintained a lead in key battleground states, at the time of Kenney’s statement, no winner had been declared in the presidential race.


Counting in Philadelphia could take a few more days to complete

Ballots continue to be counted in Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia – a process that could take several more days, says Lisa Deely, chairwoman of Philadelphia City Commissioners, with about 40,000 ballots still to be counted.

She said she did not know the number of overseas military ballots, which have until November 10 to arrive.

Biden’s lead in the state has grown to above 12,000 since he pulled out in front on Friday morning.

Mayor Jim Kenney said the US founding fathers, who built the system “15 minutes walk from here … would be proud” of how the US democracy is working.


Romney says Trump ‘wrong’ to say election ‘rigged, corrupt and stolen’

Mitt Romney, one of the few Republican senators to publicly criticise Trump throughout his presidency, has condemned Trump’s baseless allegations of fraud in the election.

While the president is “within his rights to request recounts, to call for investigation of alleged voter irregularities where evidence exists, and to exhaust legal remedies”, Romney wrote on Twitter, “he is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen”.

“Doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that at the foundation of the Republic, and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions,” he wrote.

The president and his team have, to date, offered no proof to their claims.


UK’s Johnson says he is confident in US election checks and balances

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he has confidence in the US election process, after Trump and his allies have repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of fraud following Tuesday’s presidential vote.

“I have every confidence in the checks and balances of the American Constitution,” Johnson told reporters on Friday.

He declined to comment on what a US administration led by Biden would mean for Britain.

“If I were a voter in America I don’t think I’d want anybody in another government commenting on my election,” Johnson said. “I think while the votes are being counted we should we should wait and see.”


White House economic adviser: ‘I think there will be peaceful transfer of power’

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told business news network CNBC on Friday that Trump “intends to keep up the fight” as votes continue to be tallied in key battleground states, and “wants to make sure ballots are counted legally”.

When asked if he felt a peaceful transfer of power in the US is necessary to keep financial markets stable, Kudlow said, “I think there will be a peaceful transfer of power and I think the markets have been remarkably calm and resilient and actually rather bullish.”

He added: “This is a great country, this is the greatest democracy in the world and we abide by the rule of law and so will this president.”


Republican leaders weigh in on Trump voter fraud allegations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, urged Trump to fight to defeat Biden.

“Every legal vote should be counted,” McConnell tweeted early on Friday. “All sides must get to observe the process.”

 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took a more confrontational tone, insisting inaccurately that Trump “won” the election – even though officials in several states are still counting Americans’ ballots.

“So everyone who’s listening, do not be quiet, do not be silent about this. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes,” McCarthy said on Thursday on Fox News. “Join together and let’s stop this.”


Biden maintains lead over Trump in Pennsylvania’s vote count

According to the latest count, Biden leads Trump in the state of Pennsylvania by about 9,000 votes. Votes are still being counted and the contest is still too early for The Associated Press to call.

Trump’s lead dwindled after Election Day when state officials began processing mail-in ballots, a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden’s favour.

If there is less than a half percentage point difference between Biden’s and Trump’s vote totals, state law dictates that a recount must be held.

Joe Biden making a statement on the 2020 US presidential election results during a brief appearance before reporters in Wilmington, Delaware [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Republican senator says there’s no evidence of vote fraud

A Republican senator said there is no evidence to support Trump’s claim that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election and called the president’s words “very disturbing”.

“There’s simply no evidence anyone has shown me of any widespread corruption or fraud,” said Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania – whose state is a key battleground in the presidential election – told CBS This Morning.

“The president’s speech last night was very disturbing to me because he made very, very serious allegations without any evidence to support it,” Toomey said.

“I voted for President Trump. I endorsed President Trump,” he added, “I want the next president to be the person who legitimately wins the Electoral College and I will accept whoever that is.”


Election officials worried by threats and protesters

Election officials in several closely contested states said they are worried about the safety of their workers amid threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside vote tabulation centres, drawn by Trump’s baseless claim of widespread fraud in the election.

Groups of Trump supporters gathered at vote tabulation sites in Detroit and Philadelphia again on Friday, decrying counts that showed Biden leading in those and other key states.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, tweeted a plea on Thursday to “stop making harassing & threatening calls” to her staff.

 

Dozens of Trump supporters rallied outside Detroit’s convention centre on Friday morning, where election workers have counted ballots.

“Stop the steal,” the protesters chanted. Some carried signs that read, “Make Elections Fair Again” and “We Love Trump”. Police cordoned off streets leading to the tabulation centre and maintained a close watch on the protest.


Top Democrat Pelosi calls Biden ‘president-elect’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, has called Biden the “president-elect” of the United States after he pulled ahead in key election results.

“President-elect Biden has a strong mandate to lead,” Pelosi told reporters after Biden overtook  Trump in the potentially decisive state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania would be enough to put Biden past the number of 270 electoral votes needed for victory, however, the Associated Press has not yet projected victory for Biden in the state. Biden also holds a tight lead in several other key battleground states, which have not yet been called for either candidate by the AP.

 


Escalating rhetoric amid concerns Trump won’t concede

The Biden campaign responded to concerns that Trump may not concede if Biden is declared the winner of the election.

“As we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Al Jazeera, “and the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

Officials work on ballots at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Office, in Lawrenceville, near Atlanta [John Bazemore/AP Photo]

Recount in battleground state Georgia

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – citing a very small margin that gave Biden a very slight edge in the battleground state of Georgia on Friday – that the state will head into a recount.

Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system implementation manager, said in a news conference on Friday morning that there are fewer than 5,000 votes that need to be counted.

An additional approximately 8,900 military and overseas absentee ballots have been sent out to requesters but not yet returned. Such ballots, he said, if postmarked by Election Day, can be accepted within three days of Election Day.


Police give additional details about Philadelphia plot

Police in Philadelphia provided additional details about a plot to attack the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Thursday night – where ballots are being counted.

“Philadelphia police received a tip on Thursday that two people with firearms were en route to the convention centre in a silver Hummer,” police told Al Jazeera’s Hilary Beaumont.

“At 10:27pm, two officers on bicycles saw two men carrying firearms,” police said, “neither of them had valid carry permits in Pennsylvania, so police arrested and charged them with firearms violations. Another firearm was recovered from the Hummer.”

Demonstrators gathering outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center where votes are being counted in Philadelphia [Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo]

US stocks tread water as post-election rally takes a pause

Wall Street’s main stock indexes were hovering near unchanged on Friday as presidential ballots continue to be tallied in key battleground states and investors take heart from a better-than-expected monthly jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.95 points or 0.03 percent to 28,399.13 points at the open of trading on Wall Street.

Though Friday marks a pause in Wall Street’s post-election rally, US stock markets are still on track for their best week since April.

Read more here.


US economy adds 638,000 jobs in October as recovery faces headwinds

The US economy added 638,000 jobs in October, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday – 34,000 fewer than September’s revised number – while the unemployment rate ticked down to 6.9 percent.

While the headline numbers are solid, the US economy still has a way to go to recover its pre-pandemic strength.

The unemployment rate is still nearly twice February’s level of 3.5 percent.

Read more here.


Report: Trump campaign urged voters to mail late ballots

Trump’s campaign gathered volunteers in Wisconsin to call voters in Pennsylvania urging them to mail in absentee ballots by Friday, according to a new report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – in stark contradiction to his railing against late votes and the ongoing vote count.

The publication reported that it received an email titled “Volunteers Urgently Needed” that read: “Trump Victory urgently needs volunteers to make phone calls to Pennsylvania Trump supporters to return their absentee ballots. These phone calls will help President Trump win the election!”

An effort to get the votes to count would be slim, according to the Sentinel as a Friday postmark would be too late. But Fox News has reported that, in Pennsylvania, postage is prepaid on some ballot envelopes, which are not automatically postmarked.

Activists dressed as the White House, Philadelphia City Hall and the US Postal Service mailboxes stand on a street two days after the presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

Biden takes lead in Pennsylvania

After more than two days of vote counting, Donald Trump’s early lead in Pennsylvania’s vote count has vanished. Democrat Joe Biden leads by just more than 5,000 votes in the key battleground state, which has 20 electoral votes.

Almost 6.6 million votes have been counted in Pennsylvania and the counting is on as localities continue to verify and count mail-in and provisional ballots.

Biden earlier on Friday had taken the lead in Georgia, which has 16 Electoral votes.

If Biden winds up winning both Pennsylvania and Georgia, it would be mathematically impossible for Trump to reach the 270 Electoral vote threshold needed for victory.

Al Jazeera’s Hilary Beaumont reports about 163,000 mail ballots remain to count, plus the overseas military and provisional ballots, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

National Guard members stand guard near Philadelphia City Hall after police investigating an alleged plot to attack vote counting venue of the presidential election at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

Trump campaign: ‘This election is not over’

Facing the potential for narrow losses in multiple battlegrounds, and while Trump’s campaign is already mounting legal challenges in several states, Trump’s campaign put out a statement saying that they will demand a recount of the vote in the state of Georgia.

“The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final,” Matt Morgan, Trump’s campaign general counsel said in a statement. “Georgia is headed for a recount, where we are confident we will find ballots improperly harvested, and where President Trump will ultimately prevail.”

Morgan added that there are “many irregularities in Pennsylvania, including having election officials prevent our volunteer legal observers from having meaningful access to vote counting locations”.

It is important to note that The Associated Press has not yet projected a winner in this election.


US Postal Service: More mail ballots found in Pennsylvania facilities

The US Postal Service said about 1,700 ballots had been identified in Pennsylvania at processing facilities during two sweeps on Thursday and were in the process of being delivered to election officials, The Associated Press news agency reports.

In a court filing early on Friday, the USPS said about 1,070 ballots had been found at a processing centre in Philadelphia, 300 were found at a centre in Pittsburgh, 266 at a facility in Lehigh Valley and the remainder were discovered at other Pennsylvania processing centres.


US-France trade relations would be ‘improved’ under Biden: French minister

If Joe Biden emerges victorious in the US presidential vote, France’s trade minister said he expects “improved” trade relations with the US, Reuters news agency reported.

“We would surely see an improvement in relations. We would be more aligned on matters of sustainable development and perhaps also on multilateral work,” France trade minister, Franck Riester, said.

Under President Donald Trump and his “America First” philosophy, the US imposed tariffs on French wines and threatened tariffs on Champagne, French cheese and luxury handbags.

Biden’s campaign promises to end the “artificial trade war” with Europe that has developed under Trump.


Police investigating plot to attack Pennsylvania Convention Center

Al Jazeera’s Hilary Beaumont sent in this dispatch from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia police are investigating an alleged plot to attack the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Thursday night where election workers are counting votes, according to the Philadelphia television station WPVI.

Police received a tip that a group was driving in a Hummer from Virginia to attack the convention centre. They found a weapon and arrested two people.

The Hummer is still parked in downtown Philadelphia, only one block from the convention centre. Inside is a hat with a blue Q-Anon logo. The vehicle has several Q-Anon stickers and a large weathered American flag hanging from the back.

The alleged plot follows a Trump campaign lawsuit that accused Philadelphia election officials of “hiding” the vote count. The Trump campaign was allowed to enter the convention centre on Thursday to observe the count.

The Hummer under investigation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [Hilary Beaumont/Al Jazeera]

Pro-Orban Hungary media push US vote ‘fraud’ claims

Hungarian pro-government media outlets have pushed out unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in the US election, with nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban also appearing to lend credence to the allegations.

“Huge tension in America over the many signs pointing to fraud,” said a headline on the main pro-Orban news portal Origo.hu.

In 2016, Orban was the first European prime minister to endorse Trump and backed him for re-election in September.

“I have always stood beside President Trump,” he said in an interview with a public radio channel on Friday.

Describing Trump as “Hungary’s friend” he said the Hungary-US bilateral and economic relations have been in the “best shape ever” since Trump came to power.


Georgia vote can be disputed legally

Fulton County election workers examine ballots while vote counting, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia [Tami Chappell/AFP]
Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is less than 0.5 percentage points of difference, a recount can be requested.

“Even if Georgia goes to Joe Biden, that can still be contested,” Robert Gutsche, an associate professor at Lancaster University, told Al Jazeera.

“This will be a test for American democracy. Donald Trump certainly has some concerns he can take to the courts, and we have to see how the American public is going to handle that.”


German foreign minister says US is more than a one-man show

The United States is more than a one-man show and good losers are more important for the working of democracy than great winners, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview with Funke media group.

“The USA is more than a one-man show. Those who continue to add fuel to the fire in the current situation are acting irresponsibly,” Maas said in the interview, which appeared in Berliner Morgenpost and other newspapers.


Biden gains narrow lead over Trump in Georgia

Biden has gained a narrow lead over Trump in battleground Georgia.

Biden pulled ahead in Georgia by 917 votes, US media and Edison Research reported, as the tallying of votes continues in the state.

This marks a major shift in Georgia, traditionally a Republican stronghold, which has not backed a Democrat for president since 1992.


Biden will have ‘difficult task’ ahead of him if he wins presidency

Biden will likely face opposition not only from the Republican Party but also from members within his Democratic Party should he secure the presidency, an analyst told Al Jazeera.

“It will be a struggle for Biden to find partners in the Republican Party and to pacify members of his own party who are going to want to continue to battle with Republicans in a confrontational way,” Joseph Ura, a political science professor at Texas A&M University in Doha, said.

“I think Biden is going to have a very difficult task, but he campaigned on the issue of bringing the country together and governing in a new style and doing his best to find common ground. I think if he makes that a priority, he’ll most likely be able to reset the country on a more positive footing.”


ECB’s de Guindos: Very likely Biden will win US election

European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos has told Spain’s Antena 3 TV it seems very likely that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will win the US election.

De Guindos said he expected the next administration to work with Europe like in the past.

“It is fundamental the US economy do well and maintains its leadership in multilateral institutions and keeps its cooperation with Europe,” de Guindos said. “We are open to this cooperation.”


Election officials worried by threats and protests

Election officials in several states on Thursday said they are worried about the safety of their staff amid a stream of threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside their doors, drawn by President Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the race for the White House.

“I can tell you that my wife and my mother are very concerned for me,” said Joe Gloria, the registrar in Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas. He said his staff was bolstering security and tracking vehicles coming and going from the election offices.

But he added that he and others would not be stopped from “doing what our duty is and counting ballots”.


Trump tweets he wins presidency with ‘legal votes cast’

Trump has fired off several tweets in the early morning hours on Friday, reiterating the complaints he aired earlier at the White House.

“I easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST,” he said on Twitter, without offering any evidence that any illegal votes have been cast.

Trump has made repeated unsubstantiated claims of “fraud” with Twitter slapping warning signs on post after post, saying the president is apparently spreading misinformation. No election officials have reported fraud.

The president blamed a conspiracy of “big media, big money, and big tech” for the whittling away of his lead as votes were counted, casting doubt about the integrity of the election.


Biden gains ground on Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania

Democratic presidential candidate Biden has gained more ground on President Trump in the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, Biden cut Trump’s lead to just more than 18,000 by the early hours of Friday, while his deficit in Georgia, which has 16 Electoral votes, shrunk to about 650.

Those numbers were expected to continue to move in Biden’s favour, with many of the outstanding ballots from areas that typically vote Democratic, including the cities of Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Biden, meanwhile, saw his lead in Arizona shrink to approximately 47,000 by early on Friday; he was still ahead in Nevada by only 12,000 votes.

According to The Spectator Index, Trump’s lead in Georgia is down at 665 votes.


Poll watchers emerge as a flashpoint in battle over ballots

Election officials in key battleground states have pushed back on claims by the Trump campaign that Republican poll watchers were being improperly denied access to observe the counting of ballots, saying rules were being followed and they were committed to transparency.

Tasked this year with monitoring a record number of mail ballots, partisan poll watchers are designated by a political party or campaign to report any concerns they may have. With a few reports of overly aggressive poll watchers, election officials said they were carefully balancing access with the need to minimise disruptions.

“There were certainly a lot of eyes on the process in every absentee counting board all across our state,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat and the state’s top election official. “I’m proud of how transparent and secure our process has been. I know that the truth is on our side here.”


Two arrested outside Pennsylvania vote centre: US media

US police have arrested two men outside a Philadelphia polling station in Pennsylvania, local media reported on Friday.

Ballot counting continues in four crucial states days after Tuesday’s vote, with Biden still confident of capturing the presidency from incumbent Trump.

Trump, narrowly ahead in Pennsylvania, has made unsubstantiated claims about vote-rigging in these key states.

Shortly after 10pm (03:00 GMT), two men were arrested outside the Philadelphia Convention Center where vote counting is continuing, according to the Philadephia Inquirer.

The local newspaper said the men were arrested following a tip-off, first reported by 6ABC Action News on Thursday night, that an armed group was heading to the centre.

US networks pull the plug on Trump’s live address due to ‘lies’

Several US TV networks late on Thursday halted live coverage of Trump’s first public appearance since election night after concluding the president was spreading disinformation.

“OK, here we are again in the unusual position of not only interrupting the president of the United States but correcting the president of the United States,” said broadcaster MSNBC anchor Brian Williams, as the network quickly ended its live coverage.

Read more here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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