Democrat counters US president's lawsuits with vow to push ahead
Joe Biden said on Tuesday that nothing would stop the transfer of power in the US government following a presidential election in which he claimed victory.
The Democrats' standard-bearer made the assertion as the incumbent, Donald Trump, pursues lawsuits in several states in a long-shot bid to hold on to the presidency.
Trump's campaign said it would file a lawsuit to stop Michigan from certifying Biden as the winner there until the state could verify that votes were cast lawfully. It was the latest in a flurry of lawsuits in battleground states to try to back up the Republican president's unsupported claims of widespread fraud.
Legal experts have said Trump's litigation has little chance of changing the outcome, and state officials have said there were no significant irregularities in the Nov 3 election.
Trump's accusations of fraud do not appear to be gaining traction with the public. Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed, including more than half of Republicans, recognize Biden as the winner, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Top Republicans in Congress, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said Trump had a right to challenge Biden's claimed victory, and others echoed the president's unfounded accusations of fraud.
Privately, some aides said Trump would need to produce credible evidence soon to retain their support.
Major media outlets said Biden secured more than the 270 votes in the Electoral College needed to take the presidency by winning the state of Pennsylvania on Saturday after four tense days of counting. The process had been delayed by a surge in mail-in ballots.
Biden said in a speech in Delaware, his home state, that his team was pushing ahead with forming a new administration to take over on Jan 20, no matter what.
"We're going to be going, moving along, in a consistent manner, putting together our administration, the White House, and reviewing who we're going to pick for the Cabinet positions, and nothing's going to stop that," he said on Tuesday.
Biden said it was an "embarrassment" that Trump has not conceded the election.
Comments at odds
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicted a "second Trump administration", in comments at odds with congratulatory phone calls to Biden from the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Ireland.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he spoke to Biden on Tuesday by phone about working together on priorities like climate change, promoting democracy and recovering from the pandemic.
Trump administration officials have instructed federal agencies not to move forward with transition activities with Biden's team until a winner is formally identified by the General Services Administration, or GSA, news reports said.
Biden has had Secret Service protection since being named the Democratic nominee for the White House, but the normal increase in such protection when a candidate wins the presidential election has not been approved by the GSA.
Some US news outlets reported on Tuesday that Trump has blocked his Democratic rival from receiving the intelligence briefings traditionally shared with incoming presidents.
Judges have tossed out election lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia brought by the Trump campaign.
Agencies, Ai Heping in New York and Xinhua contributed to this story.