US election 2020 live results: Joe Biden stretches his lead as he closes in on the White House

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Marcus Parekh
·77 min read
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US 2020 election
US 2020 election

Joe Biden's campaign have reiterated a stark warning to President Donald Trump warning that "the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House."

Mr Biden is on the verge of winning the race for US president after taking the lead in both Pennsylvania and Georgia, two key states vital in the final push for the White House. 

He and his vice-president Kamala Harris are set to deliver a primetime address to the American public if US television networks call the race in the next few hours.

As Mr Biden edges closer to the finish line, Donald Trump has doubled down on his campaign against the voting system.

"They are trying to rig an election," Mr Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room. Several TV news networks cut away from the president's address.

US Election article panel
US Election article panel

Follow the latest updates below.

11:55 PM

The state of the race

It's been another slow, tense day of counting, but as we approach the weekend here in the UK, here is the latest vote tally in those all important four swing states.

In Georgia, Joe Biden has a slim lead of 4,168 votes, with 99 per cent of the vote counted. However, local officials confirmed today there will be a recount due to the razor-thin margin. That will be completed by November 20.

Out in the deserts of Arizona, the former vice-president has his nose out in front by 38,455 votes, with 94 per cent left to tabulate.

In Nevada, The Democrat holds a 22,657 vote lead with 93 per cent of ballots still to be totted up.

In the Rust Belt state of Pennsylvania, Biden has a lead of 17,012 votes but 96 per cent of votes remain to be counted.

11:41 PM

What could Joe Biden's first 100 days look like?

Joe Biden has made a long litany of promises for his first 100 days if he is elected, but his overriding priority would be the coronavirus pandemic, writes Nick Allen.

In addition, he would try to roll the clock back as much as possible to January 2017, when he and Barack Obama left office.

That would involve using executive orders, as much as possible, to overturn orders introduced by Mr Trump, including those that loosened environmental regulations.

He would also prioritise international relations with a flurry of calls to world leaders, reassuring allies about the US role on the global stage.

Another immediate priority would be to act to save Obamacare by withdrawing from a federal legal case, brought under the Trump administration, that aims to end it.

READ MORE: What happens if Joe Biden wins the 2020 US Election? How his first 100 days could look

11:25 PM

QAnon supporting congresswoman-elect involved in Twitter spat with Republican colleague

Even before taking her seat Marjorie Taylor Greene has become embroiled in a feisty Twitter exchange with one of her future congressional colleagues, writes David Millward.

The newly-elected congresswoman from Georgia has urged party colleagues to back Donald Trump in his attempt to use the courts to head off defeat in the presidential election.

She was angered by a suggestion from Texas Republican, Dan Crenshaw, that the party should accept the results of the election.

"If Trump loses, he loses.," he tweeted. "It was never an impossible outcome and we must accept the final results when it is over. But the unfortunate reality is that there is very little trust in the process, where irregularities have been flagrant and transparency lacking."

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Ms Taylor Greene was incensed. "Republicans can’t back down. This loser mindset is how the Democrats win. President Trump has fought for us, we have to fight for him. We won’t forget. Trust me," she tweeted.

Mr Crenshaw was withering in his response. "Did you even read past the first sentence? Or are you just purposely lying so you can talk tough? No one said give up. I literally said investigate every irregularity and use the courts. You’re a member of Congress now, Marjorie. Start acting like one."

11:10 PM

Trump: 'Biden should not wrongfully claim presidency'

He's been quiet for a few hours, but President Trump has piped up on Twitter again, saying Joe Biden should not "wrongfully" claim the presidency and that he "could make that claim also".

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10:59 PM

What kind of VP would Kamala Harris be?

Speaking of Kamala Harris, in August, she was finally unveiled as the running mate for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (ending weeks of political coquetry from his campaign).

As the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, she would be not only the first woman in the White House but also the first black woman and the first Asian-American.

Many insiders have nothing but good things to say about her – and also describe her as a consummate politician adept at building alliances and charming big money donors. The former point would appear to be proof of the latter.

READ MORE:  Kamala Harris: what her role as vice president could look like if Joe Biden wins the 2020 election ​

10:48 PM

Kamala Harris set to speak before Biden in TV address

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris is expected to deliver remarks alongside Joe Biden.

Biden has scheduled a prime-time address on the presidential contest as votes continue to be counted in several battleground states. He is on the cusp of victory as he opened narrow leads over President Donald Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Ms Harris has appeared alongside Biden during his remarks in recent days but has not made any public comments herself on the state of the race. A campaign official confirmed she will speak before Biden does.

The California senator has been at a hotel in Wilmington, Delaware, with her family since Tuesday night.

10:37 PM

Trump campaign rudely demands fundraising help

Our US Editor Ben Riley-Smith has received a rather abrasive request for the Trump campaign for money! Take a look below:

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10:24 PM

Biden may take the White House, but this is hardly a new dawn for the Left

Voters have not cast out the Trump era as an aberration – and he has helped reinvigorate his party, writes Charles Moore.

As I write, Joe Biden would seem to have been chosen by the voters. If so, he will duly be elected the next President of the United States of America when the Electoral College meets next month. But note a certain tentativeness. Here in Britain, most of our media, following – as usual – the lead of the main US TV networks expressed outrage at President Trump’s claim that the election was being stolen by Democrat voting fraud.

READ MORE: Biden may take the White House, but this is hardly a new dawn for the Left

10:11 PM

Conciliatory moves by Lindsey Graham

Republican senator and close Trump ally, Lindsey Graham has proffered an olive branch to Joe Biden, writes David Millward.

While insisting he will oppose what he describes as the radical Democratic agenda, he added that Mr Biden deserves to have his cabinet appointees approved by the Senate, should he win the election.

“When it comes to finding common ground, I will do that. The vice president deserves a Cabinet. I will give him my input about who I could vote for as secretary of state, attorney general,” he said.

Cabinet appointees require Senate approval and Mr Graham's remarks suggest that a Republican-controlled Senate may not seek to derail a Biden presidency from the outset.

09:58 PM

Cannabis the big winner in Arizona

While Arizona continues counting presidential votes, Laurence Dodds reports that at least one undisputed winner has emerged from Tuesday's polls: the cannabis industry. 

Though Arizona has allowed medical pot since 2010, the landslide result of a referendum on recreational use is causing outside money to flood into the Grand Canyon State.

"We are already building walls and pounding nails," Steve Cottrell, local boss of the nationwide Curaleaf dispensary chain, told the Arizona Republic. His company plans to spend about $4m to upgrade and expand its existing medical shops here.

Ayr Strategies, a Canadian company, also announced it was buying three weed shops in the Phoenix metro area, as well as an 80,000 square foot growing facility.

Local companies are also acting with increased confidence. On Thursday, after the referendum result had become clear, the Arizona-based Copperstate Farms said it would bail out a smaller chain called Level Up, which had been mired in legal battles over its out-of-state owners' alleged financial struggles.

A Level Up employee declined to comment, saying: "We're in the midst of a transition right now, so this is not a good time."

09:44 PM

Winning the popular vote usually translates to winning the electoral college

Joe Biden currently leads Donald Trump by about 4 million votes in the popular count. 

09:31 PM

What a Democratic Presidential win would mean for America

Joe Biden has wanted to be president for at least 30 years, writes Ben Riley-Smith. He first ran in 1988, crashing out in his bid for the Democratic nomination over a plagiarism scandal. 

In 2008, Mr Biden took on Barack Obama but again stumbled at the first hurdle, securing less than one per cent of the vote at the all-important Iowa caucus. 

At the last election it was tragedy that intervened, with the then-vice president declining to run after his son Beau’s death from cancer.

READ MORE:  Joe Biden 2020: What a Democratic Presidential win would mean for America ​ 

09:19 PM

Wall Street makes big weekly gain on prospects for Washington gridlock

U.S. stocks hovered near unchanged today to close out with a big weekly gain as Democratic challenger Joe Biden edged closer to victory in the presidential election.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched their biggest weekly percentage gains since April as the prospect of a policy gridlock in Washington eased worries a Biden administration might tighten regulations on U.S. companies.

"It’s not fairytale land, we don’t go up every day so at some point you would think we would see a little bit of downward pressure," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

Control of the U.S. Senate could hinge on four as-yet undecided races. If Republicans retain their majority, they would likely block large parts of Biden's legislative agenda, including expanding healthcare and fighting climate change.

"There is some concern with regards to if Biden creeps ahead or wins Georgia then there is chance that those (Senate) seats will follow. That’s what people are reading into this," said Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist at Stonex Group Inc, New York.

09:03 PM

Stacey Abrams: The Democrat who may turn Georgia blue

There was only one name being celebrated across Georgia last night as it appeared the state was within touching distance of turning blue for the first time in almost 30 years - and it was not Joe Biden.

Jubilant Democrats were quick to spotlight the work of Stacey Abrams, a former candidate for governor of Georgia, and a rising star within the party, whom they credited for the surprise lead Mr Biden has taken in the state, writes Rozina Sabur.

Ms Abrams first made national headlines with her surprisingly strong show in the 2018 governor's race.

Despite narrowly losing to Republican Brian Kemp, the race had been mired in allegations of voter suppression, which particularly affected Democrat-leaning African Americans, and which many blamed for her defeat.

After losing by less than two points in the ruby red state, Ms Abrams told Vogue she mourned for ten days. “Then,” she said, “I started plotting.” 

READ MORE: The Democrat who may turn Georgia blue​

08:51 PM

Old friend of Joe Biden elated by result

Long time friend of Joe Biden Lou  D'Allesandro was delighted by the result, writes David Millward.

"He has been a good friend of mine since the 1980s," said Mr D'Allesandro, a leading Democrat in New Hampshire.

"I got to go to his home in Delaware and his office. I marched with him in the same St Patrick's Day parade here in New Hampshire. He went to the University of Delaware and I went to the University of New Hampshire, we were athletics rivals."

“I feel elated and it’s like a dream come true. It's the best thing to happen to this country in a long time.  Trump was gross and very unpresidential . We need a decent honourable person who tells us the truth. Joe is a decent honourable man and I can say that for sure."

“I think he has the toughest job of anyone in the world.  Who knows what will happen; the world can throw a lot of curveballs, But I know he will do his best"

08:39 PM

Joe Biden nears victory as camp vows to kick 'trespassers' out of the White House

Joe Biden’s campaign yesterday vowed to kick out “trespassers” from the White House as Donald Trump clung to power despite the Democratic nominee’s lead increasing in critical swing states, writes Ben Riley-Smith.

As Mr Biden pulled into a commanding lead with the election result still in the balance, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, declared that the war was “won” amid signs Mr Biden was preparing for the US presidency.

Last night a major split in the Republican Party was emerging, with senators and grandees chastising Mr Trump for claiming the election was being stolen but the president’s sons and loyalists calling for support.

There were reports from Fox News that some White House aides were urging Mr Trump to concede, even as others encouraged him to fight one, with the president himself showing no sign of backing down.

READ MORE: Joe Biden nears victory as camp vows to kick 'trespassers' out of the White House​

08:28 PM

Philadelphia mayor tells Trump to accept 'he lost'

08:16 PM

Republicans ask Supreme Court to segregate mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Republicans are turning to the U.S. Supreme Court to ask for an order that mail ballots arriving after Election Day in the battleground state be segregated. The state's top elections official already had ordered those ballots be kept apart.

The emergency request came as Democrat Joe Biden inched ahead of President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania.

The plea is part of an ongoing Republican appeal to the Supreme Court to try to keep ballots received in the mail after Election Day from being counted. The state's top court granted a three-day extension, and the Supreme Court refused to block it.

But Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told local officials to keep the ballots separate because the high court hasn't ultimately decided whether to step in.

Republicans presented no evidence that counties are not adhering to Ms Boockvar's orders, but said, "It is unclear whether all county boards are following them in the post-election chaos."

08:02 PM

Republicans seek to raise $60m to fund Trump's legal challenges

Reports from Reuters, citing two anonymous sources, say that the Republican National Committee is seeking to raise $60 million in order to fund the various legal challenges launched by President Trump in the aftermath of Tuesday's vote.

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

07:52 PM

How the picture changed for Joe Biden and Donald Trump

They say it is darkest before the dawn, and at 9pm on Tuesday it looked pretty gloomy for Joe Biden.

The polls on America's east coast had only been closed for a few hours, but already the picture was bleak for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Florida, a critical swing state into which he had poured time and money, was all but gone. Georgia and North Carolina were probable Donald Trump wins, according to the forecasting needles.

Even as other states were beginning their counts, one undeniable reality was clear – there would be no Biden landslide, no vast reshaping of the electoral map, a country turned blue.

What must Mr Biden have been thinking as he watched the results unfold with his family in Wilmington, Delaware? Did he fear his third presidential bid would end, like the others, in defeat?

READ MORE: How the picture changed for Joe Biden and Donald Trump​

07:40 PM

Battleground state update

Here's the latest from the vote tally from all the key states who have yet to declare.

In Arizona, Biden has a lead of 41,302 votes with 93 per cent of the ballots tallied.

In Pennsylvania, Biden in front by 13,662 with 96 per cent of the votes tabulated.

In Georgia, it's Biden in front by a nose. he leads by 1,553 with 99 per cent of the ballots counted. Local officials have already confirmed there will be a recount.

In Nevada, the Democrat is ahead as well by 20,137 votes with 92 per cent of the votes totted up.

US Election article panel
US Election article panel

07:29 PM

How does US postal voting work?

With so much chatter about postal votes and postal voting, it's worth refreshing our memories on exactly how the system works and why it has proved so controversial.

How does US postal voting work and when are the votes counted?
How does US postal voting work and when are the votes counted?

07:21 PM

Bolsonaro abandons Trump

'Trump of the Tropics' Jair Bolsonaro has distanced himself from the president, calling on him to show "humility" in the wake of the US election.

Formerly one of Donald Trump's closest allies on the world stage, the Brazilian president said that Trump is "not the most important person in the world. The most important person is God."

Mr Bolsonaro has previously publicly expressed his support for Trump in his re-election bid, saying in October "God willing, I will be able to attend" a second Trump inauguration,

07:11 PM

Twitter flags 'president-elect Biden' posts as premature

Twitter has flagged posts posts calling Joe Biden "president-elect," as premature with the vote count continuing in the knife-edge US election.

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.

"Official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted," read a 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 and Facebook have been scrambling to flag, mask and limit the spread of premature claims of victory or false attacks on the voting process since the polls closed late Tuesday.

"As votes are still being counted across the country, our teams continue to take enforcement action on tweets that prematurely declare victory or contain misleading information about the election broadly," Twitter said. "This is in line with our civic integrity policy and our recent guidance on labeling election results."

Unfounded claims by Trump regarding the voting process as well as premature claims of victory about either candidate in the race have been flagged or masked, with links provided to reliable sources of information.

07:02 PM

Does mail-in voting actually lead to election fraud like Donald Trump has claimed?

06:52 PM

U.S. Postal Service delivered 40,000 votes nationwide on Thursday

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) delivered about 40,000 ballots yesterday as it continues to conduct court-ordered twice-daily sweeps before various state deadlines to receive ballots, a lawyer said.

In a court filing, USPS said 1,076 ballots, had been found at the USPS Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center. About 300 were found at the Pittsburgh processing center, 266 at a Lehigh Valley facility and others found at other Pennsylvania processing centers.

In court, a Justice Department lawyer said it appears 668 of the 1,076 ballots in Philadelphia were discovered on Wednesday and not Thursday.

Ballots must be received by Friday evening in Pennsylvania in order to be counted. The vote for the U.S. president remains extremely close and Pennsylvania is one of the states that remains undecided.

There are about 15 states that have ballot receipt deadlines next week. About 500 ballots were also discovered in North Carolina during sweeps, USPS said on Friday.

06:43 PM

Trump: 'I will never give up fighting'

President Trump has released a fresh statement via his campaign in which he claimed that he was fighting to "preserve the integrity of our entire election process".

“We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election. This is about the integrity of our entire election process," he said. 

"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."

He then went on to threaten litigation again, saying: "We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government. I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”

06:31 PM

Election day 4 (!) in pictures

A supporter of President Trump waves a flag in front of the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas - Jae C. Hong /AP
A supporter of President Trump waves a flag in front of the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas - Jae C. Hong /AP
A supporter of President Donald J. Trump wears a mask of vice-president Joe Biden as he attends a protest outside the vote counting center in Philadelphia - MÁRIO CRUZ/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
A supporter of President Donald J. Trump wears a mask of vice-president Joe Biden as he attends a protest outside the vote counting center in Philadelphia - MÁRIO CRUZ/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
Lehigh County, Pennsylvania workers count ballots as vote counting in the general election continues - Mary Altaffer /AP
Lehigh County, Pennsylvania workers count ballots as vote counting in the general election continues - Mary Altaffer /AP
A Trump supporter screams at activists dancing in celebration after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden overtook President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania - MARK MAKELA /REUTERS
A Trump supporter screams at activists dancing in celebration after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden overtook President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania - MARK MAKELA /REUTERS

06:20 PM

Update from Las Vegas

Joe Gloria, the Clark County registrar of voters, has just provided an update on the vote count in Nevada.

Mr Gloria said there are 63,000 ballots left to be counted and that the majority will be counted by Sunday. However, he did say a fresh batch of results will be released at 4pm local time, which is 11pm GMT.

Clark County is home to Nevada's largest city, Las Vegas. The county is also home to about two-thirds of the entire population of the state.

Joe Biden currently leads by 20,137 votes in the fight for Nevada's six electoral college votes.

06:05 PM

Philadelphia mayor says Biden will win, from what he's seen

The Mayor of Philadelphia has said Joe Biden will win the presidency, reports Josie Ensor.

Jim Kenney was asked by a reporter if, based on what he had seen, whether Joe Biden would be declared the next president of the United States, he replied: “yes”.

He spoke out against President Donald Trump’s “baseless claims of fraud, without one iota of evidence. "What we’ve seen is democracy plain and simple," he said. "God willing, we’ll see a peaceful transition of power in January."

"Frankly, he needs to put his big-boy pants on,” he said of Mr Trump’s reaction to how the vote in this must-win state was going.

05:56 PM

Update from Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Chair of the City Commissioners Lisa Deeley has been speaking at a press conference in Philadelphia to provide an update on the vote count.

She stated that there are approximately 40,000 ballots left to be counted but that it will take "several days" to count as there are issues with voter eligibility on some ballots. The majority of those that are uncounted are provisional and military ballots.

At the latest count, Joe Biden has a lead of 12,390 votes in Pennsylvania.

05:45 PM

Mitt Romney: Trump 'wrong to say election rigged'

Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president in 2012, has tweeted his disapproval for Trump's actions, calling the president's rhetoric "reckless" and "destructive".

The Utah Senator said that it was "wrong to say the election was rigged corrupt and stolen" and that "doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world."

Mr Romney has been a critic of Trump and was the only Republican senator to vote to impeach the President during his 2019 trail in the Senate.

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05:37 PM

Biden to 'address the nation'

Joe Biden will deliver a "primetime address to the nation" this evening, according to a person familiar with his campaign.

The content and exact timings of his address are not yet known, but we will of course keep you updated with all the details as we know them right here.

05:23 PM

Boris Johnson vows to 'work closely' with whoever wins presidency

Boris Johnson has said that the UK Prime Minister will "always work closely" with the American President, and he will continue to do so, "whatever the outcome" of this election.

 "The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is always going to work very closely with whoever is the President of the United States. That's going to be the case whatever is the outcome of this election," the PM said

"I don't think at this stage you'd expect any foreign international leader to comment on the democratic processes of a very friendly country. That's just not what we do," he added.

05:17 PM

Doug Emhoff on course to be America's first 'second gentleman'

Kamala Harris as vice-president would come with plenty of firsts. Not only would she be the first female, the first African American and first Asian American to hold the post, but her husband Doug Emhoff would also be the nation's first “second gentleman”, writes Venetia Rainey.

Mr Emhoff, 56, has already shown himself to be a proud supporter of his wife. In August, he took a leave of absence from the law firm where he is a partner in order to work on her election campaign with Joe Biden. He also

A lawyer born in New York who spent much of his childhood in New Jersey, the pair met on a blind date in 2013 and instantly hit it off, with Mr Emhoff emailing the following morning with a series of dates for the next meeting, saying: "I want to see if we can make this work." They married a year later. 

Kamala D. Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff wave after she was introduced by Joe Biden as his running mate - The Washington Post /The Washington Post 
Kamala D. Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff wave after she was introduced by Joe Biden as his running mate - The Washington Post /The Washington Post

Ms Harris is his second wife. He has two adult children - Cole and Ella - from his first marriage who apparently affectionately call Ms Harris “Momala”. He is still close to ex-wife, Kerstin, and she volunteered on Ms Harris’ vice presidential campaign.

Over the last few months, his days and nights have been dedicated to helping his wife and Mr Biden triumph, but he has been clear that his is a supporting role. “I'm not overly political. I'm overly her husband,” he told Marie Claire.

In March 2019, shortly after Harris had announced her presidential bid, TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel joked that he wasn't sure America was “ready for a first lady named Doug”.

05:09 PM

Street parties break out among Biden supporters in Philadelphia

The result in Pennsylvania is not yet official, but Biden supporters don't seem to care. A few hundred people have gathered on the streets to celebrate what they see as the inevitable, which is a Biden win in their state.

Joe Biden currently leads by 9,746 votes in his home state, with 5 per cent of the vote left to be counted.

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An update on the count is expected from Philadelphia at 5.30pm GMT.

05:01 PM

Biden grows lead in Nevada

The latest round of counted ballots is coming in from Nevada and Joe Biden continues with his momentum towards 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

He has stretched his lead over Donald Trump to 22,209 in the hunt for Nevada's six electoral college votes, a lead of 1.7 per cent, although 8 per cent of the vote remains to be counted.

04:54 PM

Donald Trump's Twitter account will lose protections and could face ban if Biden wins

If Joe Biden is confirmed as President elect in the coming days and weeks, Donald Trump will not merely lose his hold on America’s highest office. The outgoing President would also lose special protections that have allowed him to tweet with relative immunity.

While in office, Mr Trump’s personal account has enjoyed a “public interest” exemption that allows his tweets to remain online even when they are considered to break Twitter’s rules.

But if he were to leave office on January 20, he would no longer be considered a government official, meaning he would be bound by the same rules as the vast majority of Twitter’s 187 million daily users. 

This means Mr Trump, who has more than 88 million followers, could see tweets removed or his account banned if he consistently breaks rules on calling for violence, harassment or seeking to undermine elections. 

READ MORE:  Donald Trump's Twitter account will lose protections and could face ban if Biden wins

04:45 PM

Philadelphia police probe alleged plot to attack vote counting venue

Further to our post at 3.25pm, Philadelphia police said they were investigating an alleged plot to attack the city's Pennsylvania Convention Center, where votes from the hotly contested U.S. presidential election were being counted.

Local police received a tip about a Hummer truck with people armed with firearms driving toward the vote counting venue late on Thursday, a Philadelphia Police spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Police arrested two men and seized their firearms as well as the Hummer truck about which they had received the tip, the spokesman said, adding the probe was being conducted by the police and the FBI.

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"The males acknowledged that the silver Hummer was their vehicle, and an additional firearm was recovered from the inside the Hummer," the spokesman added.

No injuries were reported and no further details about the alleged plot were disclosed.

04:37 PM

Nancy Pelosi: Biden is a 'unifier'

More is coming in from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's news conference, as she said Joe Biden "is a unifier", while labelling Donald Trump a "domestic enemy".

"This has been a life or death fight for the fate of our democracy," she added. "It appears that the Trump administration will use it's final moments in office in a desperate last step to destroy every possible protection for American health and wellbeing."

The Speaker also mentioned that she was "disappointed" by the Democrats performance in House races: "We did not win every battle in the House, but we did win the war. We lost a few seats ... the Democrats for Congress across the country helped contribute to Biden's success. So we're very proud to be part of that mandate."

04:30 PM

Biden grows lead in Pennsylvania

The latest batch of counted votes from Pennsylvania are in and it's more good news for Joe Biden.

He has extended his lead to 8,867 over Trump in the Keystone State, according to CNN. Five per cent of the vote still needs to be counted, but if the Democrat can hold on to his lead he will claim the White House.

READ MORE:  Pennsylvania 2020 election results: why all eyes are on Biden's home state ​

04:21 PM

Nancy Pelosi calls Joe Biden 'President-elect'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, called Joe 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," Ms Pelosi told reporters after Biden overtook President Donald Trump in the potentially decisive state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania would be enough to put Biden past the magic number of 270 votes in the state-by-state Electoral College, which determines the presidency.

Ms Pelosi started her news conference by saying she was "officially" pleased with the outcome of the election and referred to Biden as the president-elect - Stefani Reynolds /Bloomberg
Ms Pelosi started her news conference by saying she was "officially" pleased with the outcome of the election and referred to Biden as the president-elect - Stefani Reynolds /Bloomberg

04:13 PM

Even Ivanka can't control her father now

It is thought that Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka will have a calming influence on the firebrand Republican president in the event of him losing the election, writes Venetia Rainey.

Mr Trump is known to have a very close relationship with his second child, who was appointed as an official White House advisor to the president in 2017.

When he was first elected back in 2016, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly said Ivanka would be good to have in Mr Trump’s team to help “talk him down off the ledge” during the “craziest moments”.

That is according to investigative reporter Vicky Ward’s explosive 2019 book, “Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption.”

But for now, any hopes that she might intervene to restrain her father’s continuing allegations of voting fraud - without presenting any evidence - and calls to “stop the count” have proven misplaced.

On Friday she parroted the same language as Mr Trump, drawing a distinction between legal votes and illegal votes that appears so far to be baseless.

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04:04 PM

Republicans continue to condemn Trump claims

A key Republican senator said Friday he saw no evidence to support President Donald Trump's baseless claim that Democrats are trying to "steal" the election and called the president's words "very disturbing."

Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, whose state is a key battleground in the presidential election, said "There's simply no evidence anyone has shown me of any widespread corruption or fraud" to supported Trump's claim Thursday of fraud in balloting.

"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 told CBS This Morning.

He added: "I voted for President Trump. I endorsed President Trump. I want the next president to be the person who legitimately wins the Electoral College and I will accept whoever that is."

03:58 PM

What could come next for Donald Trump?

What next for Donald Trump? That is the question being mulled over in Washington DC even as the US president had a rapidly narrowing – but still existent – path to re-election.

Mr Trump may still win – that must be said. But if he doesn't, what path could the man who upended the norms of the Oval Office take in the months and years ahead? There are many possibilities.

US Editor Ben Riley-Smith investigates here.

03:43 PM

Georgia to recount votes

The state of Georgia will recount its votes, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said today.

Mr Raffensperger added that the race remains too close to call, promising transparency in the voting process. 

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Joe Biden surpassed Donald Trump by more than 1,000 votes in Georgia earlier today. 

There are still around 10,000 ballots to be tallied, which means it is possible that either candidate could pull further ahead.

But as things stand, the candidates are within 0.5 per cent of each other. 

03:36 PM

Biden campaign responds to reports Trump won't leave White House

Joe Biden's campaign has spoken out against reports that Donald Trump will not concede the election - even if his path to victory is lost. 

"As we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House,” campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. 

Even as the president trails behind Mr Biden in key states, those close to Mr Trump say he has not prepared a concession speech and has no plans to admit defeat, according to CNN.

03:25 PM

Police guard Pennsylvania vote count

Police are on guard outside the Philadelphia Convention Center where votes are being counted.

Police officers stand outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center  - AP
Police officers stand outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center - AP

03:18 PM

Trump weighs in via Twitter

Donald Trump has weighed in on Joe Biden's lead in Pennsylvania in true Trump fashion: by taking to Twitter. 

The tweet managed to misspell “Philadelpiha".

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 “Philadelpiha has got a rotten history on election integrity,” he said, seeming to quote to Stuart Varney of Fox Business.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election. 

03:12 PM

150,000 ballots not delivered by Election Day, according to Postal Service

More than 150,000 postal ballots got stuck in US Postal Service processing facilities and were not delivered by Election Day, Nick Allen reports.

The US Postal Service said in a court filing, reported by the Washington Post, that the number may grow as more data was collected. It included thousands of ballots in key states.

In some states, including Pennsylvania, those ballots can still be counted as varying post-election day time periods are allowed for them to arrive, But the delayed votes will not count in Arizona and Georgia.

The figures for delayed votes in key states were given by the Postal Service as - Pennsylvania, 3,439; Nevada, 4,518; Arizona, 864; and Georgia, 853.

There had been controversy before the election over whether the Postal Service, under Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, would have enough resources to cope with the deluge of postal ballots.

03:03 PM

Biden lead increases in Pennsylvania

Joe Biden's lead in the crucial state of Pennsylvania has increased by 1,150 votes, bringing his advantage to 6,737.

People across the state have reacted by dancing in the streets.

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02:52 PM

The four key states

Here are how things stand in the four key states as the race nears the finish line:

  1. Pennsylvania: Joe Biden leads by 5,587 votes, with 95 per cent of the state’s precincts having reported their results. It is thought the remaining ballots are likely to back the former vice president as they are mail-in. If Mr Biden wins, he will have the 270 electoral votes needed for the presidency. 

  2. Georgia: Mr Biden pulled ahead today, with 1,096 votes more than Donald Trump. So far 99 per cent of votes have been counted. Around 8,197 votes remain, as well as those from overseas and the military, meaning the race will be extremely tight. 

  3. Nevada: Another tight lead for Mr Biden, at 11,438 votes. A total of 89 per cent of the votes have been counted and 190,000 ballots are outstanding, according to election officials. 

  4. Arizona: Like Nevada, a high number of ballots still need to be counted, but Mr Biden has a 1.6 per cent lead. A total of 300,000 votes, or around 10 per cent, need tallying. 

02:37 PM

Trump campaign: 'This election is not over'

Donald Trump's campaign has released a statement following Joe Biden's lead in Pennsylvania, saying the race to the presidency "is not over".

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“This election is not over," Matt Morgan, Trump 2020 campaign general counsel, said. "The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final. Georgia is headed for a recount, where we are confident we will find ballots improperly harvested, and where President Trump will ultimately prevail."

02:32 PM

First polling group calls Biden presidency

Independent polling group Decision Desk HQ has become the first outlet to call Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election.

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The outlet collects and reports election night results and provides election related data to media outlets including the Economist, the Atlantic and Reuters.

As of yet, no other media outlets have followed Decision Desk’s lead in announcing the 46th President of the United States, believing the race too close to call. 

02:16 PM

Airspace now restricted over Biden's home

Joe Biden’s home has been placed under additional restrictions as he verges on the presidency.

The airspace above his residence in Wilmington, Delaware is now  "national defense airspace", meaning a no-fly zone is now active until next Wednesday morning. 

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Airspace is also restricted over the Chase Centre nearby, where Mr Biden could give a victory speech if he wins the election, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. 

02:11 PM

Where key states stand for Biden

Right now, Joe Biden is ahead in four key states:

  1. Pennsylvania - 5,987 votes

  2. Georgia - 1,096

  3. Nevada - 11,438

  4. Arizona - 47,052

02:05 PM

Trump has no path to White House without Pennsylvania

As Joe Biden takes the lead in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump’s path to the White House looks more uncertain than ever. 

The Trump campaign’s entire election relies on developments in the state: Mr Trump will be unable to gain the 270 electoral votes needed without the state’s 20.

As things stand, Mr Biden has 253 electoral votes. A Pennsylvania victory would push him over the edge. 

Projections are pending in five key states: Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska. 

Mr Biden has the upper hand in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, while the president claims Alaska and North Carolina so far. 

01:52 PM

BREAKING: Biden leads in Pennsylvania

Democratic nominee Joe Biden has pulled ahead in the Pennsylvania race, meaning he now has the advantage in four key states.

Mr Biden leads Donald Trump by 5,987 votes in the state. 

Pennsylvania just dropped 30,000 mail-in votes cast by Philadelphia, with Mr Biden winning 27,396 votes - 87 per cent of the share. 

Mr Biden has 49.4 per cent, while Donald Trump is close behind with 49.3 per cent. 

Voting continues in the state, so a win for Mr Biden remains uncertain. 

01:51 PM

Stacey Abrams: Biden's secret weapon in Georgia

If Georgia does go blue for the first time since 1992, it will be in large part thanks to a mammoth effort led by Stacey Abrams, reports Venetia Rainey. 

Seen as part of Joe Biden’s inner circle and a potential frontrunner for a position in his cabinet - if he wins - the law graduate, tax attorney and legislator was propelled to fame when she ran for governor of the Peach State in 2018. Her bid was backed by Oprah and John Legend.

Ms Abrams narrowly lost the race against Republican Brian Kemp amid allegations of racially motivated voter suppression. It was a formative experience. She has since moved heaven and earth to boost voter registration in Georgia, particularly among non-white communities. 

Stacey Abrams - AFP
Stacey Abrams - AFP

Ms Abrams is now one of the US’ pre-eminent voting rights activists and recently featured in a documentary about voter suppression. Through the nonprofit Fair Fight that she set up, she has helped register an estimated 800,000 new voters since 2018, 45 per cent of which are reportedly under 30 and nearly 50 per cent of which are people of colour.

She was considered and vetted for the post of vice president and even flirted with the idea of running for president at one point.

If Georgia’s 16 electoral votes do end up going to Mr Biden, it will be a vindication of her efforts to get Democrats to take seriously the prospect of victory in the traditional red state, which is experiencing dramatic demographic change.

“Back in 2019, I met with every major candidate who was running for president and I had two messages,” she told Politico. “One, voter suppression is real and it’s one of the reasons that we lost across the country. But two, Georgia is a competitive state and it would be malpractice to not pay attention. Luckily both of those messages broke through.”

01:38 PM

All eyes on Pennsylvania

Good morning from Josie Ensor in Philadelphia, who gives us the latest from the all-important state of Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump's lead over Joe Biden shrunk to 18,000 votes overnight. Pennsylvania election officials announced in the early hours of this morning that there are nearly 164,000 mail ballots left to count across the state.

So far the mail ballots so far have been breaking 76 per cent to Mr Biden and 23 per cent to Mr Trump. Philadelphia, a traditionally blue city, has 50,000 left to count and says it will update us any minute.

Allegheny County, which covers another blue city, Pittsburg, is due to start counting again at 9am local (2pm UK time). It's possible in the next batch that Mr Biden takes the lead here for the first time.

Once he overtakes the president, he could then be projected to win if the lead is convincing. With 20 electoral votes that would be enough for Mr Biden to win the election.

01:26 PM

The US media reacts

Another day, another round-up of how the US media reacted as the election hangs in limbo. 

The front page of the Miami Herald
The front page of the Miami Herald
The New York Times
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal 
The Wall Street Journal
USA Today
USA Today
The Washington Post
The Washington Post

01:13 PM

Trump under fire for YMCA dance

Donald Trump was criticised for his "massive and unauthorised" use of the Village People's song YMCA by the son of one of the band's founding members.

Jonathan Belolo, son of the late musician Henri Belolo, criticised the president for using the song in campaign videos. On the day of the election, Mr Trump shared a video featuring clips of him dancing at campaign rallies while the song played in the background.

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Jonathan, who is also the president of Scorpio Music, said: "The beneficiaries of (band co-founders) Messrs Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo, like the company Scorpio Music, owner of the work, discovered with amazement this illicit appropriation, which is more for partisan and electoral purposes of Donald Trump, which they would never have accepted."

"This infringing use of the YMCA work will therefore be the subject of a complaint in the next few days, both in France and in the United States, against any initiator or accomplice of what constitutes outright theft of the property of others."As of now, they are banning anyone from disseminating the contentious video in question without their authorisation."

12:58 PM

Pennsylvania update expected any moment

An updated vote count in Pennsylvania is expected very soon, according to officials. 

Joe Biden is behind Donald Trump by around 18,00 votes currently, but this advantage has been shrinking as mail-in votes are counted.

So far, 76 per cent of mail-in ballots have gone to Mr Biden, while 23 per cent favour Mr Trump

As mail-in ballots cut into Mr Trump's lead, Philadelphia demonstrators danced. Two people wearing postal box costumes bounced to pulsating music while carrying a banner that read, "The battle isn't over."

Activists dressed as the White House, Philadelphia City Hall and the United States Postal Service mailboxes stand on a street in Philadelphia - REUTERS
Activists dressed as the White House, Philadelphia City Hall and the United States Postal Service mailboxes stand on a street in Philadelphia - REUTERS

Others, backed by a live drum corps, marched behind the sign, "Union members fight to count every vote."

Trump activists waved flags and carried signs saying, "Vote stops on Election Day," and "Sorry, polls are closed." Biden backers showed their support for the civil servants who were at work inside.

"We can't allow the ballot counters to be intimidated," said Bob Posuney, 70, a retired social worker. "We're not going to create a disturbance, or get anybody hurt."

12:45 PM

America's virus hotspots overwhelmingly voted for Trump

America's virus hotspots overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump, with the vast majority of the worst affected counties backing the Republican candidate, according to research. 

A review by Associated Press of the 376 counties in America which have the highest number of new cases per head found that 93 per cent of them voted for Mr Trump this week.

Many of the hotspots currently bearing the brunt of America's autumn surge in cases are rural counties of states such as Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Covid precautions such as mask-wearing social distancing have been less well observed in such areas and they have been badly hit by the latest surge in cases.

America's acute political polarisation over public health measures has been credited with worsening the pandemic in the country. Voters went to the polls starkly divided on Mr Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ben Farmer has the full story here

12:30 PM

In pictures: the election as it stands

12:14 PM

Trump's diminishing hopes, unpacked

US Editor Ben Riley-Smith has this on where we are:

Good morning from Washington DC. Residents in America’s capital went to bed on Wednesday evening awaiting results from the five key battleground states.

They wake on Friday… awaiting results from the five key battleground states.

However not everything is the same. Joe Biden has, of course, taken the lead in Georgia, cementing a trend in the last 36 hours of him closing on Donald Trump.

Let that sink in for a moment. A Deep South state that has not voted for a Democratic president for 28 years may well have just turned on Mr Trump. 

The reason partly is turnout. Five million people voted there this cycle. That was around 4.1 million in the 2016 election - a staggering jump. It reflects a big Democratic voter registration drive.

It is not over of course. Mr Trump could still yet win Georgia - Mr Biden leads by only around 1,000 votes. The president perhaps needs pro-Trump military ballots outweigh postal votes.

In the other states it is a bleak picture for the White House. Take Pennsylvania. Given its large electoral college vote if Mr Biden wins that state alone, he is president (barring the courts overturning results).

Mr Trump is around 18,000 votes ahead. But there are around 160,000 votes being counted. A big chunk of those - 50,000 - are from the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia.

CNN just went through the numbers on their infamous ‘magic wall’, seeing where outstanding votes were from. They speculated Mr Biden could end up some 60,000 votes ahead there. 

But even if we presume somehow the president reverses the trend in those two states, retaking the lead in Georgia and holding off in Pennsylvania, he still needs more wins.

Mr Trump is widely expected to take North Carolina. The Biden camp sounded downbeat about that state on their briefing call yesterday, even while not giving up hope.

So that leaves Arizona and Nevada. Mr Biden is ahead in both, 47,000 in the first and 11,000 in the second. Here Mr Trump is catching up - the reverse of the Georgia and Pennsylvania trend.

Are there enough votes to take the lead? Perhaps. But it comes down to postal ballots again. Mr Biden does better in mail-in ballots across the board and they are counted near the end.

So, Mr Trump has to hold Pennsylvania (he is just ahead), retake the lead in Georgia (he is just behind), win North Carolina (as expected) and overtake Mr Biden in either Arizona or Nevada.

That is a tough ask.

12:00 PM

Protests erupt across the country

Thousands of people took to the streets across the US as protesters from Arizona to Pennsylvania fought over whether votes should continue to be counted in the hotly contested election.

Supporters of Donald Trump chanting, "Stop the count!" descended on a ballot-tallying centre in Detroit on Wednesday night, while across the country hundreds of voters shouted the exact opposite - "Count my vote" - in Philadelphia, in a sign of how fraught the election has become.

Pro-Trump protesters repeated the president’s demand to stop tallying absentee ballots, which he says have been “corrupted” without providing any evidence.

11:51 AM

What you need to know about Georgia

Thousands of uncounted ballots  - many in counties where Democrat Joe Biden was in the lead - make the Georgia contest too early to call.

The secretary of state's office said Thursday that 18,936 absentee ballots still needed to be counted in seven counties.

This total does not include provisional ballots and absentee ballots that have to be "cured" before being scanned. Ballots cast before Election Day by military voters and citizens living overseas and received by 5pm Friday also will be tallied.

There is a potential that the race could go to a recount. Under Georgia law, if the margin between Mr Biden and Mr Trump is under half a percentage point, a recount can be requested.

Georgia has long been a Republican stronghold. Voters there have not swung for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992. Mr Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by 5 percentage points in 2016, and the state's government is dominated by the GOP.

But the party's grip has loosened. As older, white, Republican-leaning voters die, they are being replaced by a younger and more racially diverse cast of people, many of whom moved to the booming Atlanta area.

Overall, demographic trends show that the state's electorate is becoming younger and more diverse each year. 

Read more here.

11:37 AM

Election officials worried for staff safety

Election officials in several states say they are worried about the safety of their staff amid a cascade of threats and protesters responding to Donald Trump's baseless insistence of widespread voter fraud. 

“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” the president said. 

The National Guard defends City Hall in response to a "Stop the Steal" protest by Trump supporters, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Shutterstock
The National Guard defends City Hall in response to a "Stop the Steal" protest by Trump supporters, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Shutterstock
Demonstration supporting Trump in Miami, Florida - Shutterstock
Demonstration supporting Trump in Miami, Florida - Shutterstock

Groups of Trump supporters have gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Joe Biden leading or gaining ground. 

While the protests have not been violent or very large, local officials were exasperated and concerned by the relentless accusations.

11:23 AM

What you need to know right now

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took a narrow lead over President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Georgia early today, putting the White House within his reach as it and other undecided states continued to count votes. Here is everything you need to know:

  • As it stands, both Mr Trump and Mr Biden still have a pathway to victory and the race is too close to call.

  • There are no immediate results in the states of Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina.

  • Trump backers are ramping up demonstrations against an election they believe was rigged or being stolen.

  • Mr Trump's campaign lost court rulings in the closely contested states of Georgia and Michigan on Thursday as it vowed to bring a new lawsuit challenging what it called voting irregularities in Nevada.

  • ABC, CBS and NBC were among US networks that chose to cut away and fact-check Mr Trump during a 16 minute statement from the White House.

  • Philadelphia police said on Friday they were investigating an alleged plot to attack the city's Pennsylvania Convention Center where votes are being counted.

  • A federal judge denied an emergency request from Trump's campaign on Thursday to stop ballot counting in Philadelphia so long as Republican observers were not present.

  • Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg hit back at Trump on Twitter late on Thursday saying the president should "chill" about the election. ​

11:08 AM

Philadelphia count update expected within next hour

An update on the vote count in Philadelphia is expected within the “next hour or two” according to the city’s commissioner. 

“We have been counting for the past several hours. And I expect you'll see another update in the next hour or two,” Al Schmidt told CNN.

Donald Trump is currently 18,229 ahead in Pennsylvania, but Philadelphia is likely to lean towards the Democrats. If Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania he wins the presidency. 

National Guard members stand guard near Philadelphia City Hall after police probing an alleged plot to attack vote counting venue - REUTERS
National Guard members stand guard near Philadelphia City Hall after police probing an alleged plot to attack vote counting venue - REUTERS

A total of 50,000 votes are left to count in the state’s largest county and urban area, with 306,000 mail-in votes tallied so far. 

“The counting in Philadelphia has continued uninterrupted from the beginning. We had a brief pause yesterday for about two hours as a result of some litigation, but it's just critically important that we continue counting every eligible vote cast by voters in Philadelphia.”

10:54 AM

What are the recount rules in key states?

The presidential race still remains too close to call as votes as counted in key states. The exceptionally thin margins between the two candidates in many of these states could mean voting recounts - but what are the rules?

  • Georgia - Nominees can request a recount if the margin is lower than 0.5 percent of votes cast. This request must come within two days of the result being certified. So far, this could be on the cards for Georgia as the race tightens.

  • Arizona - State law requires a recount if the gap between the two candidates is the same as to or lesser than one-tenth of 1 per cent of the total number of votes cast. Currently, it doesn't look like this will be necessary.

  • Pennsylvania - Recounts are required by law if the winner is 0.5 per cent or lower ahead. This would need to be ordered by 5pm on November 12, then completed by November 24. 

  • Nevada - It's down to the loser to demand a recount here, but if the recount confirms they lost the financial cost is their responsibility. 

  • Michigan - A compulsory recount happens if fewer than 2,000 votes divide the candidates. Nominees can also ask for a recount if they allege fraud or a mistake, but this request must be made with 48 hours of the end of the count.

  • Wisconsin - If the margin is lower than 1 per cent, both candidates can request a recount. The request must be made by 5pm the next working day.

10:38 AM

Broadcasters cut away from Trump live on air

ABC, CBS and NBC were among US networks that chose to cut away and fact-check Donald Trump during a 16 minute statement from the White House.

Mr Trump took no questions from reporters after his statement during which he made unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud and winning undeclared states.

 Read more here: Major American TV networks cut off Donald Trump mid-speech​

10:23 AM

China revels in US chaos

In China, state media has revelled in the chaos and conflict erupting across the US as vote tallies slowly roll in, reports China correspondent Sophia Yan.

A range of pieces delight in painting a picture of a crumbling America. Indeed one columnist in a state news outlet proclaimed: “Hopeless America.”

“The US presidential election has seriously impacted Covid-19 prevention, resulting in an untold negative influence,” crowed a state newspaper editorial, going on to ridicule the US for politicising public health rather than relying on scientists. 

“It is not too much to describe the situation as unbelievable,” the piece goes on. “The US’ epidemic fight and its election have set a terrible example to the world…. The entire US system of decision making has gone wrong.” 

“The US has to some extent degraded,” announced another Chinese state media editorial, ticking off a list of problems: racial tensions, pandemic, politics. “This is the conclusion.”

China’s state broadcaster beamed footage showing President Donald Trump’s supporters trying to break into polling stations, while chanting, “Stop the count!”

Another state newspaper editorial took the opportunity to remind the public that democractic elections have “obvious drawbacks “ and “splits US society” and that such a political system had no place in China. 

For China’s ruling Communist Party, it plays well to portray the US as a country in turmoil with leadership that cannot get a grip on the pandemic, or its people. 

Doing so boosts Beijing’s image at home and abroad – compared to the US, China seems rather tame with only a handful of daily coronavirus infections and no political turmoil. That, of course, is only what’s visible on the surface. 

Privately some Chinese grumble about a lack of privacy with detailed contact tracing, while a few brave citizens have filed lawsuits to seek reparations from the government, whose cover-up of the pandemic, they say, led to the untimely death of loved ones.  

Still, it’s no surprise that Beijing has seized an opportunity to gloat over the troubles of the US, a superpower that generations of Chinese had before admired. 

10:08 AM

Biden leads in three of four key states

As things stand, Joe Biden is ahead in three of the four key states:

  1. Georgia - 917 votes

  2. Nevada - 11,438

  3. Arizona - 47,052

Votes are still being counted, and Donald Trump is currently 18,229 ahead in Pennsylvania. 

10:00 AM

Greta Thunberg hits back at Trump

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg hit back at Donald Trump on Twitter saying the president should "chill" about the election, a riposte to his tweet last year mocking the teenager over what he called her anger management issues.

Commenting on Mr Trump tweeting "STOP THE COUNT!" on Thursday, 17-year-old Ms Thunberg tweeted: "So ridiculous. Donald must work on his Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Donald, Chill!"

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The tweet has been liked 1.2 million times so far and re-tweeted 266,000 times.

Mr Trump took to Twitter in December last year after Ms Thunberg was named Time's Person of the Year for 2019, mocking the 17-year-old in exactly the same manner for her impassioned pleas to governments to act to stop global warming.

"So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!" Mr Trump wrote, commenting on a tweet from another person congratulating Thunberg on the Time prize.

09:46 AM

Arizona protests take alarming turn

Vote count protests in Arizona took an alarming turn last night after the far-Right shock jock Alex Jones called on jubilant supporters to be prepared for "war", reports Laurence Dodds.

It was the second night of pro-Trump demonstrations outside the election centre in Maricopa County, with the crowd swelling to several hundred. But the temperature had clearly risen since Wednesday as some protesters chased away counter-protesters.

Addressing the crowd, Mr Jones said: "If they want a fight they'd better believe they've got one... they will be hiding, they will pay, they will be destroyed." Many joined him in chanting "1776", a reference to the American Revolution.

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Elected Republicans in the state government tried to quench the fire. Mark Brnovich, Arizona's attorney general, announced that he was "confident" that the "sharpiegate" conspiracy theory was not true, while governor Doug Ducey urged voters "not [to] jump to conclusions".

Joe Biden’s lead here has been shrinking further with each new tally of votes. At one point Mr Trump was on track to surmount the gap, but his gains have slowed since then. 

09:32 AM

BREAKING: Biden takes lead in Georgia

Joe Biden has pulled ahead in Georgia by 917 votes - but the race is not yet over.

Votes are still being counted in the state, meaning the race could continue to be exceptionally close. 

As things stand, Mr Biden has 49.39 per cent ( 2,449,371 votes), while Donald Trump has 49.37 per cent ( 2,448,454 votes).

Georgia is a vital state for the president, who needs to win more of the remaining states than Mr Biden in order to grab the presidency. 

If Joe Biden wins Georgia he will have 269 of the electoral votes - a razor thin margin. 

09:20 AM

A path to victory for both candidates

As it stands, both Donald Trump and Joe Biden still have a pathway to victory. Here are the states they need to win to gain the presidency:

  1. Joe Biden: Mr Biden’s fate hinges on his ability to win two of either Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina or Nevada. He can also win with a victory in Pennsylvania. 

  2. Donald Trump: The president’s road is a little tighter. He needs to win three of either Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina, as well as Pennsylvania.

09:11 AM

In pictures: the never-ending election night

Time has swung from Monday to Friday in one never ending swoop: Americans continue to hang in no-man's land days after the election. As the race stretches on, protests have broken out across the country with citizens voicing their frustrations. 

A person opposing the re-election of US President Donald J. Trump waves an upside-down US national flag at Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House in Washington - Shutterstock
A person opposing the re-election of US President Donald J. Trump waves an upside-down US national flag at Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House in Washington - Shutterstock
A supporter of President Donald J. Trump wears a mask of vice-president Joe Biden as he attends a protest outside the vote counting center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Shutterstock
A supporter of President Donald J. Trump wears a mask of vice-president Joe Biden as he attends a protest outside the vote counting center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Shutterstock
Trump supporters demonstrate against the election results in Detroit - AP
Trump supporters demonstrate against the election results in Detroit - AP
A man wearing a protective face mask with the message "Vote" takes part in a rally outside of the Philadelphia Convention Center - REUTERS
A man wearing a protective face mask with the message "Vote" takes part in a rally outside of the Philadelphia Convention Center - REUTERS
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather for a protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election in the Westchester neighborhood in Miami, Florida - REUTERS
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather for a protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election in the Westchester neighborhood in Miami, Florida - REUTERS

08:54 AM

Biden victory will lead to Israel-Iran escalation, claims minister

An Israeli minister has claimed that a Joe Biden victory would lead to an outbreak of war with Tehran due to his softer stance on the Iran nuclear deal, reports James Rothwell, Middle East correspondent. 

Tzachi Hanegbi, the Israeli minister for settlements, claimed on Wednesday night: "Biden has said openly for a long time that he will go back to the nuclear agreement.

"I see that as something that will lead to a confrontation between Israel and Iran.” He added: “If Biden stays with that policy, there will, in the end, be a violent confrontation between Israel and Iran."

Israel strongly opposed the Obama-era nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions in return for an end to Tehran's nuclear programme, and was delighted when President Trump withdrew from the accord in 2018. 

Mr Biden has vowed to adopt a tough stance on Iran, the arch-enemy of both Israel and the United States, but says he wants to pursue a "smarter" and "better" deal to curb the regime's nuclear programme. 

08:41 AM

Donald Trump Jr: Trump will fight every election battle 'to the death'

Donald Trump Jr delivered a strong statement in support of his father, the US President, who is battling for a second term against Democratic hopeful, Joe Biden.

Speaking in Georgia, where the vote margin is on a knife edge, Trump Jr said the Democrats are used to dealing with a Republican Party "without a backbone".

08:20 AM

Georgia hangs in the balance

Tens of thousands of still-uncounted ballots - many in counties where Democrat Joe Biden was in the lead - are what's making the Georgia contest between the pair too early to call.

Georgia is a must-win state for Donald Trump, who has a narrower path to victory than Biden.

Mr Trump prematurely declared he was winning it early Wednesday morning. Yet by early Friday his lead over Biden had narrowed to less than 700 votes.

The secretary of state's office said Thursday that 18,936 absentee ballots still needed to be counted in seven counties.

The 2020 Presidential Election result remains undetermined  - Shutterstock
The 2020 Presidential Election result remains undetermined - Shutterstock

That did not include provisional ballots and absentee ballots that have to be "cured" before being scanned. Ballots cast before Election Day by military voters and citizens living overseas and received by 5pm (ET) Friday also will be tallied.

There is a potential that the race could go to a recount. Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.

Georgia has long been a Republican stronghold. Voters there haven't swung for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992 - but this year could buck the trend. 

08:05 AM

Biden takes to Twitter to urge calm

Democratic nominee Joe Biden spent Thursday trying to ease tensions and project a more traditional image of presidential leadership via Twitter.

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07:55 AM

What you need to know this morning

Good morning and welcome back to another day of election madness. As it stands, here is everything you need to know:

  • No immediate results in the states of Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina.

  • Joe Biden has 253 of the electoral college votes, bringing him closer than the 270 needed than Donald Trump, who tails with 214

  • Mail-in voting and delays relating to the pandemic have kept the race razor thin.

  • A win in Pennsylvania and two of the four remaining states would be enough to push Mr Biden over the edge. 

  • Mr Trump would need Pennsylvania and three of the remaining states.

  • In Pennsylvania, Mr Trump's lead has slipped to about 18,000 votes. We could get a result from the state by the end of the day.

  • Mr Trump holds miniscule edge in Georgia, just 700 votes ahead of Mr Biden. Results could come soon, but with 98 per cent of the vote already counted, a narrow victory may cause a recount. 

  • Mr Biden leads in Nevada by 11,000 votes. The next batch of results is expected to be announced around noon Eastern on Friday, but the state will accept votes arriving as late as November 10. 

  • In Arizona, where Mr Biden leads by around 47,000 votes, Maricopa county will post its next report on Friday at 11am ET.

  • A senior official in the Trump administration said Mr Trump does not plan to concede in the event of a Biden victory, according to CNN. 

  • Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has predicted Mr Trump will be back for 2024 if he loses. 

07:38 AM

The Nevada conundrum

What exactly is happening in Nevada? Even Nevada doesn't seem to know, reports Laurence Dodds.

First the Trump campaign held a press conference that claimed, without offering any basis, that as many as 10,000 illegal ballots had been cast by dead people, outside residents and other ineligible voters.

Then Republicans dropped an earlier lawsuit after agreeing a settlement with local officials that gave poll watchers expanded observation rights. A judge in that case had flatly said there was no evidence of any improper counting.

And then, late last night, the Trump campaign resurrected those claims in a new federal complaint attempting to halt the count in Democrat-friendly Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and is still chewing through about 63,000 ballots.

Nevada has permissive voting and registration laws that make it easy for citizens to have their say. The flipside is that there is no shortcut to a decisive tally, meaning the state could remain a nail-biter for days yet.

07:12 AM

Why we don't have a winner in Pennsylvania

A winner in the battleground state of Pennsylvania is yet to be called because there were hundreds of thousands of votes left to count Thursday.

Pennsylvania is among a handful of battleground states Donald Trump and Joe Biden are narrowly contesting as they seek the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

Mr Trump, who held a 675,000-vote lead early Wednesday, prematurely declared victory in the state.

"We're winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount. We're up 690,000 votes in Pennsylvania. These aren't even close. It's not like, 'Oh, it's close,"' Mr Trump said during an appearance at the White House.

But by early Friday his lead had slipped to about 18,000 votes, as mail-in ballots from across the state continued to be counted. The late counted ballots were overwhelmingly in Mr Biden's favor.

One reason for the tightening race: Under state law, elections officials are not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day. It is a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Mr Biden's favor after Mr Trump spent months claiming - without proof - that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.

There is a possibility the race will not be decided for days. If there is less than a half percentage point difference between Biden and Trump's vote total, state law dictates that a recount must be held.

Democrats had long considered Pennsylvania a part of their "blue wall" - a trifecta that also includes Wisconsin and Michigan - that for years had served as a bulwark in presidential elections. In 2016, Trump won each by less than a percentage point.

06:52 AM

Comment: PM will be secretly hoping for a Biden victory

If Joe Biden finds himself in the Oval Office in January, he is expected to re-extend the hand of friendship to Europe which Donald Trump deliberately rescinded.

There is plenty of rebuilding to do, redefining relationships that became dominated by antagonism these past four years. The concern, however, is that Biden’s friendliness will stop short of the UK.

Read Kate Andrews's full comment 

06:27 AM

Philadelphia police probe alleged plot to attack vote counting venue

Philadelphia police said on Friday they are investigating an alleged plot to attack the city's Pennsylvania Convention Center, where votes from the hotly contested presidential election are being counted.

Local police received a tip about a Hummer with armed people driving up from Virginia with plans to attack the convention center, a police representative said.

Police took at least one man into custody and seized a weapon as well as the Hummer about which they had received a tip. No injuries were reported and no further details about the alleged plot were disclosed.

Read more: Donald Trump Jr calls for 'total war' as Republican rifts open over fraud claims

05:51 AM

1,700 votes 'found at US Postal Service offices'

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

In a court filing on Friday, USPS said the ballots had been found at its Philadelphia processing and distribution centre. About 300 were found at the Pittsburgh processing centre, 266 at a Lehigh Valley facility and others found at other Pennsylvania processing centres.

Ballots must be received by Friday evening in Pennsylvania in order to be counted. The vote for the US president remains extremely close and Pennsylvania is one of the states that remains undecided. 

The late counting of votes has been controversial in this election, drawing protests in Philadelphia:

 

05:27 AM

YouTube 'hosting debunked election claims'

At least nine popular YouTube channels promoted debunked accusations about voting fraud in the presidential race, according to Reuters.

The news agency found the channels, ranging from ones with 1,000 followers to more than 629,000, endorsing claims that fact-checking units at other organisations have deemed false or inaccurate.

YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc's Google, has rules that forbid channels using its revenue-generation tools from making "claims that are demonstrably false and could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process."

Google said it was reviewing videos from the nine channels as well as others and may suspend ads and membership sales, a penalty commonly known as "demonetisation", if violations are found.

05:20 AM

Actress 'breaks her arm while reading results'

Actress and activist Rose McGowan said she broke her arm after reading US election results while on the stairs.

The #MeToo campaigner shared a picture from a hospital bed in Mexico showing her with her left arm in a cast.

"Reading US election results while on the stairs bone break," McGowan wrote in the caption.

The actress, 47, used the opportunity to criticise the US healthcare system.

She said: "It cost 250 in Mexico for my emergency room visit, compared to a likely 10k hospital bill in California for the same accident.

"USA is not the land of the free, it's the land of the overcharged."

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04:29 AM

Dispatch: On the ground in pivotal Arizona

If Joe Biden really does win Arizona, he will have air conditioning to thank, Laurence Dodds reports.

It was the arrival of smaller, more affordable cooling units in the Forties that allowed home-building in the Valley of the Sun – and unlocked a wave of migration within the US that may have helped flip this red state blue.

The votes were still being counted on Thursday night, and Mr Biden’s lead had narrowed. But reversing it entirely would be a tall order for Mr Trump, and both the Associated Press and the Republican-supporting Fox News both called it for the Democrats.

If they were right, it would be the first such win since Bill Clinton in 1996, and only the second since 1948.

To even come that close reveals how much Arizona’s electorate has changed in 10 years.

Read more: The chilling effect that gave the red state of Arizona a dose of the blues

Democrat Mark Kelly campaigned for a seat in the Senate - EPA
Democrat Mark Kelly campaigned for a seat in the Senate - EPA

03:12 AM

Cruz claims counters are 'finding' Democrat votes

Amid deafening silence from many senior Republicans Ted Cruz has popped up on Fox News, Nick Allen reports.

Mr Cruz, who finished second to Mr Trump in the 2016 Republican primary race, was also on the legal team of George W Bush in the Florida "hanging chads" legal battle in 2000.

Mr Cruz offered some backing for the president, saying: "I'm a little frustrated that every time they shut the doors and turn out the lights they find more Democratic votes."

He said he had witnessed Democrats trying to "steal an election" in Florida 20 years ago.

"The answer is don't give them the chance," he said, adding that there was "unfortunately a partisan operation" going on with counts. He said: "The outcome I want to see is count every vote that is legally cast."

But he said observers should be allowed in. He said: "We need to get observers in there now."

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker, told Fox News: "I'm the angriest I have been in six decades. You have a group of corrupt people who have contempt for the American people trying to steal the presidency.

"The Philadelphia machine is corrupt, the machine in Detroit is corrupt. You are watching an effort to steal the presidency of the United States. Are we just sheep?"

Mr Gingrich said the situation was "comparable to Lincoln and Gettysburg".

Read more: 'Steal the election': What happens next and can Trump stop Biden in the Supreme Court?

02:42 AM

Georgia tied

In the latest count in Georgia, Joe Biden and Donald Trump are neck and neck, with each of them on 49.4 per cent of the vote.

Mr Trump's lead has slipped to 1,902 votes with 99 per cent of the vote recorded.

Georgia has 16 electoral college votes.

Mr Trump must win Georgia to stay in the White House.

Trump supporters in Atlanta, Georgia are keeping the faith - GETTY IMAGES
Trump supporters in Atlanta, Georgia are keeping the faith - GETTY IMAGES

02:31 AM

Court allows Pennsylvania count observers

In Pennsylvania, where Donald Trump is narrowly leading but Joe Biden is gaining, the Trump campaign and other Republicans have filed legal challenges.

An appeals court in Pennsylvania on Thursday ordered that Trump campaign officials be allowed to more closely observe ballot processing in Philadelphia, which led to a brief delay in the count.

A judge later in the day helped negotiate an agreement that a fixed number of observers from each campaign — up to 60 — could be admitted into parts of the city’s ballot-counting area inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

02:28 AM

US networks have had enough

US news networks ABC, CBS and NBC all cut away from Donald Trump on Thursday as he spoke from the White House to make an unfounded accusation that the election was being stolen from him.

Mr Trump addressed the nation at a time when the evening newscasts are shown on the east coast of the US, after a day when the slow drip of vote counting revealed his leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia dwindling.

MSNBC host Brian Williams also interrupted the president.

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Fox News Channel and CNN aired the president's full address, after which CNN's Anderson Cooper said Trump was "like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun realising his time was over."

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02:09 AM

Trump's Georgia lead disappearing

Donald Trump's lead is shrinking in the vital state of Georgia.

His lead is down to about 3,500, leading Joe Biden by 0.1 per cent.

Two hours ago, the president had a lead of more than 10.000.

Georgia is so important because a win for Mr Biden would all but take him to the White House.

Geographical US election map
Geographical US election map

Read more: Georgia 2020 election results: why Democrats are optimistic

02:01 AM

Former Trump adviser calls for officials to be beheaded

Twitter has banned an account associated with a former adviser to Donald Trump after he called for the beheadings of two federal officials, Margi Murphy reports

Steve Bannon said he wanted to put the heads of FBI director Christopher Wray and the US pandemic chief Anthony Fauci “on pikes” on display at the White House “as a warning to federal bureaucrats”.

The comments were made in a recording of Mr Bannon’s podcast where he discussed what Mr Trump should do if he won a second term with co-host Jack Maxey.

Twitter said it had removed Mr Bannon’s account for violating its policy on the glorification of violence. 

YouTube said it had given the account which shared the video a strike for violating a similar policy. The Google-owned video website has a three strike policy before it deletes an account. Accounts that earn a strike are barred from uploading for a week. 

Steve Bannon used to advise the president and is now a right-wing pundit - AP
Steve Bannon used to advise the president and is now a right-wing pundit - AP

01:52 AM

Watch: 'If you count the legal votes, I easily win'

Donald Trump has repeated claims that he is the lawful winner of the US presidential election.

Watch his address to reporters at the White House on Thursday evening:

01:11 AM

'Sharpiegate' lawsuit unravels

A "sharpiegate" lawsuit launched by conservatives against Democrat election officials in Arizona began to unravel before an open court on Thursday afternoon, Laurence Dodds reports.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation, which has a long history of false claims about voter fraud, backed a complaint against the county of Maricopa by a voter who said she had been tricked into invalidating her own ballot by filling it out with a Sharpie pen.

But her lawyers offered no additional evidence, and gave little rebuttal to detailed and categorical denials from opposing counsel Thomas Liddy, who said the pens had been recommended by the county's tabulation machine vendor because they dry fast and don't smudge the reader lenses.

"Voters have a right to know that the allegations flying around the internet, about sharpies being dropped from black helicopters to cheat people out of their votes, are fake. It's not true, but it's really scaring people," said Mr Liddy (who is, coincidentally, the son of Watergate villain G Gordon Liddy). 

In the end, the plaintiffs retreated to demanding public access to the counting process, in addition to existing Republican volunteers. Mr Liddy argued that this would create an unacceptable risk of coronavirus transmission.

Meanwhile, Arizona's Republican attorney general announced that despite hundreds of voter complaints he had found no evidence of a sharpie plot, and that he trusted the explanations of Maricopa officials.

12:35 AM

Trump allies beg for support

Donald Trump's speech at the White House came moments after his son, Donald Trump Jr, took to Twitter and urged his father to launch “total war” on the result.

The Republicans are disputing the result of the count in late-posting states — such as Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada — and claiming with no evidence that the election has been subject to fraud.

Donald Trump Jr said:

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He also attacked the Republican party for failing to show unwavering support to the president as he attacked the result of a democratic vote.

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Later he was joined by Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer:

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12:29 AM

Trump: 'We think we will win election very easily'

President Trump told reporters at the White House that he believed that he will win the 'election' easily, but it will take litigation to prove his point of view.

"We think we will win the election very easily. There will be a lot of litigation as we can't have this election stolen like this," he said.

"There have been a disturbing number of irregularities in this election," the president claimed, without providing any evidence to support any of his claims.

He went on to make a series of unsubstantiated claims of corruption in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

"I think the Democrats should say they only want 'legal' votes counted, not just every vote. I want every vote counted. I want openness and transparency. We want an open election."

"It's not a question of who wins, Republican or Democrat, Joe or myself. But we can't let something like this happen to out country," he added

The president then refused to answer any questions from the media after delivering his remarks.

Read more: Trump claims he has won 'easily' and suggests Supreme Court will rule on result

Trump repeated baseless claims of fraud - AP
Trump repeated baseless claims of fraud - AP

12:25 AM

Assault on the result

Good morning, everyone.

Donald Trump has launched an extraordinary attack on American democracy, telling reporters at the White House that he has won the vote and claimed, with no proof, that Democrats are stealing the election.

We are expecting an announcement from Pennsylvania at any moment and a win for Joe Biden in his home state would give him enough electoral college votes to get the keys to the White House.

But Mr Trump’s team have launched an all-out assault on the result, filing lawsuits in a number of states where the vote is close. Will the president be prepared to quietly hand over power if Mr Biden hits 270 college votes tonight? Something suggests he might not.

Follow every vote, every count and every declaration with us through the night.

Here’s where we are right now:

Geographical US election map
Geographical US election map

Read more: