Donald Trump has expressed doubt that the US Supreme Court will hear his allegations of electoral fraud, as his hopes of overturning the 2020 election result through the courts dwindle.
The president has continued to insist that the US presidential election was “total fraud”, despite one court after another dismissing his campaign’s lawsuits. The latest blow came late on Saturday, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed a Republican attempt to invalidate the state’s mail-in ballots.
Mr Trump has vowed to take the case all the way to the US Supreme Court which, with three of his appointees, has a firm conservative majority. But the president sowed doubts about that strategy on Sunday.
“The problem is it’s hard to get into the Supreme Court,” he told Fox’s Sunday Futures programme.
“I’ve got the best . . . lawyers that want to argue the case, if it gets there, but they said, it’s very hard to get a case up there.”
Mr Trump has engaged in an unprecedented attempt to cling to power since the November 3 election, filing several lawsuits that have almost all been dismissed by the courts and urging state lawmakers and governors to declare him the winner of the election.
He has suffered repeated legal blows in recent weeks and faces an increasing number of prominent Republicans pressing him to stand aside and concede the election to Joe Biden.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt on Sunday said it was assumed Mr Biden would be inaugurated on January 20, even though he refused to call the Democrat “president-elect”.
“We are working with the Biden administration, likely administration, on both the transition and the inauguration as if we are moving forward,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union programme.
The critical swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada have all certified Mr Biden as the winner of their elections. On Sunday morning, Wisconsin completed its recount of the ballots and reconfirmed that Mr Biden had defeated Mr Trump by more than 20,000 votes.
When asked on Sunday if he still believed there was a path to victory, Mr Trump replied: “I hope so. It will take a brave judge, or a brave legislature.”
He added that he “would like to file one big beautiful lawsuit,” claiming again that he had “tremendous proof” of widespread election fraud across multiple states, but said his advisers had told him he did not have standing to do so.
Mr Trump declined to give a date on which he would accept that his avenues of legal challenge had been exhausted, and accused both the FBI and of being “missing in action” for failing to properly investigate his claims.
Despite his continued insistence that the election was fraudulent, the president last week said his administration would begin co-operating with Mr Biden’s transition team, bowing to Republican pressure to start the transfer of power while still refusing to concede.
Mr Trump on Thursday confirmed that he would leave the White House if Mr Biden was confirmed as the president by the electoral college, but said it would be “very hard thing to concede”.
Meanwhile, the Biden team has begun appointing top administration officials, beginning with national security posts.
Former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Michael Mullen on Sunday warned that a delayed transition would be “particularly difficult” in the area of national security, because “national security issues do not wait”.