The Trump administration’s director of national intelligence on Sunday refused to acknowledge a Biden administration, the latest denial as the president and his allies launch increasingly desperate bids to stall or overturn the transfer of power.
“Well, these election issues, we’ll see who’s in what seats and whether there is a Biden administration,” said DNI director John Ratcliffe, after Fox News host Maria Bartiromo asked what the official thought of Mr Biden’s cabinet picks and their approach to China.
During the interview, Mr Ratcliffe also cast doubt on the use of mail-in voting, long considered safe and used by the president himself this election, and further echoed conspiracies from the president and his allies. They have continued to spread false claims about the integrity of the election even though federal officials have declared it was secure and no evidence of meaningful voter fraud has been found.
Mr Ratcliffe called on federal authorities to reassure the public about the integrity of the election.
“I would hope that the leadership at the FBI and the Department of Justice would speak to those things, directly to the American people, because there is a lack of confidence there,” he said. "There are a lot of people in this country who don’t think the votes were counted fairly.”
Earlier this month, Trump appointee attorney general William Barr told the Associated Press that federal authorities were following through on complaints about election issues, but hadn’t found anything meaningful.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” he said.
The DNI director also said he thinks courts will settle remaining questions about the election.
“It’s not just one person or one group of people,” he said in the interview. “It’s across the country, and it’s little wonder because we have procedures we haven’t had before. This is what the court system is for.”
Thus far, the Trump campaign has mounted numerous cases challenging the election outcome in various states but hasn’t won any verdicts suggesting the sort of mass voter fraud they’ve repeatedly claimed is taking place.
Mr Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman from Texas, was confirmed in May, after previously withdrawing his nomination following a bipartisan backlash against his candidacy and questions about his intelligence experience. Prior to his confirmation, Mr Ratcliffe had never worked in intelligence, and was alleged to have exaggerated his record as a prosecutor.
The intelligence official’s failure to acknowledge the Biden administration comes as the clock winds down and the Trump team launches increasingly frantic appeals to try and stall or reverse the election result. On 14 December, electors representing each state’s vote meet to formally cast their choice for president.
That did not stop the Trump campaign from filing a state lawsuit on Friday urging that Georgia’s election results for Mr Biden be overturned or that the state’s Republican legislature decide the state’s presidential choice, rather than voters.
The president also personally called Georgia’s governor to push for a challenge to the results, but the state’s Republican lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan said that wouldn’t be happening.
“We’re certainly not going to move the goal posts at this point in the election,” Mr Duncan said on CNN on Sunday.
He also chided the president for spreading “misinformation” about the election system, worried it was harming Republican’s chances in January’s runoff election for Georgia’s US senate, where two Republicans are defending their seats.
"I worry that this continuous, you know, fanning of the flames around misinformation puts us in a negative position with regards to the January 5 runoff," Mr Duncan told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday on State of the Union. "The mountains of misinformation are not helping the process, they're only hurting it.”
Those concerns apparently didn’t stop the president from repeating numerous false claims at a Saturday rally in Georgia for the Republican senate incumbents defending their seats, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
The president had one brief interaction with reality, seeming to nod to his loss while talking about “what we would have done in the next four years”, but largely stuck to his same old script of conspiracy and denial.
"They cheated and they rigged our presidential election, but we'll still win it," Mr. Trump falsely said. "And they're going to try to rig this election too."
The rally also aired video from conservative channel Newsmax featuring false and debunked claims about voter fraud. In his remarks, the president seemed to have largely abandoned the idea that voters will propel him to another four years, but rather that he was counting on Republican legislators and court nominees to tip things in his favor.
"Hopefully our legislatures or our Supreme Court will save our country," Mr. Trump said.