Pompeo backs Trump's refusal to concede election

POMPEO: "We must count every legal vote."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday joined other top-ranking Republicans, refusing to acknowledge the results of the election days after the race was called for Democrat Joe Biden and providing oxygen to President Donald Trump's desperate effort to somehow stay in office for a second term.

REPORTER: "Is the State Department currently preparing to engage with the Biden transition team and, if not, at what point does a delay hamper a smooth transition or pose a risk to national security?"

POMPEO: "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration. Right? We're ready. The world is watching what's taking place here. 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, successful today, and successful with the president who's in office on Jan. 20th, a minute after noon, will also be successful."

The country's top diplomat appeared to reject Biden's victory, even as world leaders from Britain, Germany and France all called President-elect Biden to congratulate him on his win.

REPORTER: "Should foreign leaders not be calling..."

POMPEO: "We're in good shape."

REPORTER: "...President-elect Biden?"

POMPEO: "Yeah."

But Trump is not giving up, vowing to push ahead with longshot legal challenges to his election loss, as he makes sweeping claims of widespread election fraud, for which he has offered no evidence.

On Monday, the leading Republican in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also failed to acknowledge Biden's victory.

MCCONNELL ON TUESDAY: "No reason for alarm."

On Tuesday, McConnell reiterated his support for Trump to pursue lawsuits.

MCCONNELL: "Anyone who's running for office can exhaust concerns about counting in any court of appropriate jurisdiction."

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General William Barr -- who met with McConnell privately on Monday -- has told federal prosecutors to "pursue substantial allegations" of voting irregularities and the counting of ballots.

In Pennsylvania, Republican state lawmakers called for an audit of results in the state that on Saturday pushed Biden above more than the 270 votes in the Electoral College that he needed to win the presidency.

Video Transcript

MIKE POMPEO: We must count every legal vote.

- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday joined other top ranking Republicans refusing to acknowledge the results of the election days after the race was called for Democrat Joe Biden, and providing oxygen to President Donald Trump's desperate effort to somehow stay in office for a second term.

- Is the State Department currently preparing to engage with the Biden transition team? And if not, at what point does a delay hamper a smooth transition or pose a risk to national security?

MIKE POMPEO: There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration. Right, 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-- successful today-- and successful with the president who's in office on January 20, a minute after noon, will also be successful.

- The country's top diplomat appeared to reject Biden's victory, even as world leaders from Britain, Germany, and France all called President-elect Biden to congratulate him on his win.

- Should foreign leaders not be calling--

MIKE POMPEO: We're in good shape.

- --President-elect Biden?

- There was an upset.

MIKE POMPEO: Yeah.

- But Trump is not giving up vowing to push ahead with long-shot legal challenges to his election loss as he makes sweeping claims of widespread election fraud, for which he has offered no evidence.

MITCH MCCONNELL: 100% within his rights.

- On Monday, the leading Republican in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also failed to acknowledge Biden's victory.

MITCH MCCONNELL: No reason for alarm.

- On Tuesday, McConnell reiterated his support for Trump to pursue lawsuits.

MITCH MCCONNELL: Anyone who's running for office can exhaust concerns about counting in any court of appropriate jurisdiction.

- Meanwhile, US attorney General William Barr, who met with McConnell privately on Monday, has told federal prosecutors to, quote, "pursue substantial allegations of voting irregularities and the counting of ballots."

In Pennsylvania, Republican state lawmakers called for an audit of results in the state that on Saturday pushed Biden above the 270 votes in the electoral college that he needed to win the presidency.