Trump tweets ‘I concede nothing!’
US President Donald Trump on Sunday appeared to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden had won the 2020 race for the White House - but chalked up the outcome to the election being "rigged" - and then he tweeted again to clearly state that he did not concede defeat at all.
"He won because the Election was Rigged," Mr Trump tweeted.
"NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn't even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!" he continued.
He won because the Election was Rigged. NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more! https://t.co/Exb3C1mAPg— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020
RIGGED ELECTION. WE WILL WIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020
He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED ELECTION!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020
Twitter flagged the tweets with the warning "This claim about election fraud is disputed."
Mr Trump had previously accused Dominion Voting - which supplies voting machines throughout the US - of deleting 2.7 million votes that were cast for him, and changing 221,000 votes cast in Pennsylvania for him to favour Mr Biden.
The company said in a statement that it "denies claims about any vote switching or alleged software issues with our voting systems."
Mr Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani on Sunday said that the election result would be "overturned," insisting he had "evidence" that "corrupt machines" had deleted millions of votes for Trump - but couldn't share it.
In an interview on Fox News, Mr Giuliani claimed that the president had actually won the key swing states that were called for Joe Biden.
"They didn't allow Republicans in those key places to observe the mail vote. That makes the mail vote completely invalid," he told TV anchor Maria Bartiromo.
TRUMP FANS RAGE AGAINST DEFEAT
The night before, pro-Trump demonstrators were joined by members of far-right groups including the Proud Boys, some wearing helmets and bulletproof vests.
America's ABC described the clashes as "very ugly scenes" which resulted in multiple arrests.
Trump supporters rallied in Washington over the weekend to push the discredited theory that fraud denied him rightful victory in the election, though turnout for the protest was uncertain as further results cemented the president's defeat.
Mr Trump expressed his thanks and suggested he might "stop by and say hello" at rallies held under the banners of "Stop The Steal," "Million MAGA March" and "Women for America First."
ANTIFA SCUM ran for the hills today when they tried attacking the people at the Trump Rally, because those people aggressively fought back. Antifa waited until tonight, when 99% were gone, to attack innocent #MAGA People. DC Police, get going — do your job and don’t hold back!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020
He tweeted that MAGA people were "innocent" and leftist protesters were "scum" after a photo circulated of a Trump supporter being kicked in the head.
Right-wing militia groups such as the pro-Trump Proud Boys had planned to hold rallies, prompting a large security presence in the capital to prevent clashes with separate anti-Trump events that were scheduled outside the Supreme Court.
"The whole system's rigged … in the way that the information is getting to the people, it's filtered through these channels that makes it so that the truth never actually gets out," said marcher Darion Schaublin, 26, who drove to Washington from Columbus, Ohio.
"There is a good chance … he is not going to have a second term, and I'm not sure of the legitimacy of that."
The crowd - reportedly in excess of 10,000 - swarmed the US President's motorcade as he drove past on his way to his golf course in Virginia.
At least 20 people were arrested, reports said, including four for firearm violations and one for assault on a police officer.
The final two undeclared states were called on Friday by US television networks, with Democrat challenger Joe Biden winning the former Republican stronghold of Georgia in an extremely close race, and Trump getting North Carolina.
The latest tallies gave Biden a solid overall final win in the state-by-state Electoral College that decides the presidency, with 306 votes against Trump's 232. Two hundred seventy votes are required for election.
Mr Trump continues to impede Biden's ability to prepare for his transition ahead of inauguration on January 20 and has filed numerous lawsuits - so far unsuccessfully - to challenge vote counts around the country.
On Friday, a judge in Michigan issued another rejection of Republican claims of fraud.
Earlier on Saturday, Mr Trump went on a Twitter spree expressing several U-turns on previous expressed opinions.
But in the shadow of his election defeat, he's not apparently giving up the White House just yet.
He weighed in on the importance of a "big and focused" COVID-19 relief bill for the US, which is in direct contradiction to Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell's continued rejections of the Democrats' pleas for such a bill.
Congress must now do a Covid Relief Bill. Needs Democrats support. Make it big and focused. Get it done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2020
Negotiations on such a package remain stalled even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a press conference on Thursday that they are not willing to change their call for a large coronavirus package.
Mr Trump also tweeted that he loves New York City, despite earlier threats to withhold the vaccine from the Empire State alone out of all the other states, purely as retaliation against its governor Andrew Cuomo.
I LOVE NEW YORK! As everyone knows, the Trump Administration has produced a great and safe VACCINE far ahead of schedule. Another Administration would have taken five years. The problem is, @NYGovCuomo said that he will delay using it, and other states WANT IT NOW...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2020
....We cannot waste time and can only give to those states that will use the Vaccine immediately. Therefore the New York delay. Many lives to be saved, but we are ready when they are. Stop playing politics!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2020
Mr Trump also tweeted a message to Indians in honour of Diwali, the Festival of Lights mainly celebrated by Hindus, despite being anti-immigration for the duration of his presidential term.
Vice-president elect Kamala Harris is of South Asian (Indian Tamil) descent.
While Mr Trump spoke publicly on Friday for the first time since Joe Biden was declared the winner of the US presidential election a week ago, he has declined to formally acknowledge his defeat.
Mr Trump spoke from the Rose Garden at the White House, delivering an update on vaccine efforts, but only hinted at the possibility that he will no longer be president at that time, saying only, "time will tell."
With just two months until the United States Presidential Inauguration, president-elect Joe Biden has moved ahead with transition plans including launching a COVID-19 task force, despite Mr Trump remaining unwilling to yet concede the election.
TRUMP'S 'GET OUT OF JAIL FREE' CARD
Trump is desperately trying to cling to power. When he hands over the presidency on January 20, the outgoing President will also lose the "cloak of immunity" which has protected him for four years against a range of lawsuits and prosecutions.
It may be that only the power of the White House will save him in the end.
Since becoming the 45th president of the United States in 2016, Mr Trump has been inundated by civil lawsuits and criminal investigations directed at himself, his family and his close associates.
But when you're dealing with the leader of the free world, the wheels of justice can turn very slowly indeed.
"Part of it is the power of the presidency," said Norm Eisen, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.
"Part of it is the slowness of the system. He is the target of a number of litigation matters and investigations, but he's been able to take advantage of the extreme slowness of the system."
Yet Mr Trump may still have a "get out of jail free" card to stymie his accusers. More on this later.
CLOAK OF IMMUNITY
The so-called "cloak of immunity" - the Justice Department's unwritten policy to not pursue criminal matters against a sitting President - has also been a key factor which has allowed Mr Trump to dodge and weave litigators for the past four years.
Special counsel Robert Mueller pointed to this code when his team decided not to pursue obstruction of justice charges against Mr Trump after they investigated allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
But the "cloak of immunity" only relates to actions Mr Trump took while he was in the White House.
Without the ability to invoke the cloak, Mr Trump's legal team will no longer be able to shield him from having to testify in inquiries levelled against him. Experts say that Mr Trump could potentially face more than a dozen serious legal suits and, potentially, time behind bars.
PENCE COULD PLAY A ROLE
If the long list of lawsuits facing Mr Trump, detailed below, seems likely to disturb his post-presidential life on the golf course, he may have a couple of lifelines left to save him.
The President of the USA has the power to pardon not only people convicted of crimes, but also people yet to face the courts, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling more than 150 years ago.
The pardon "may be exercised at any time after (the act's) commission, either before legal proceedings are taken or during their pendency or after conviction and judgment".
This is pre-emptive pardoning - absolving someone of their sins before they face judgment.
And there is precedent, with Richard Nixon being cleared by his successor Gerald Ford before he was charged with any wrongdoing over the Watergate scandal.
Under one scenario, Mr Trump would resign from the White House before the January 20 inauguration of Joe Biden, handing power to his Vice President Mike Pence, who would then deliver pardons to his ex-boss for the many allegations he faces.
There is also another bizarre way for Mr Trump to be pardoned - and that is by doing it himself.
"All we can say is that a president could try to pardon himself, and that it might or might not work," opined the Washington Post.
In the Trump era, anything is possible, right?
There is a certain irony in the fact that the major lawsuits facing Mr Trump when he leaves office are coming mainly from his former hometown of New York City, with which he has, at best, a fractious relationship these days.
Manhattan District lawyer Cyrus Vance is leading the charge, along with New York Attorney-General Letitia James, both of whom are looking into legal issues surrounding Mr Trump's business empire.
Mr Vance's office is investigating allegations that "hush money" was paid to two women during the 2016 campaign who claimed to have had affairs with Mr Trump before he entered the White House.
Manhattan prosecutors are also looking into possible criminal activity within the Trump business empire. At the heart of these issues are Mr Trump's tax returns and other financial information that he has battled to keep out of the public eye. Mr Trump has repeatedly sued to keep his tax records hidden and launched legal action which has wound up in the Supreme Court.
Yet the Supreme Court, which became a feature of the 2020 election campaign when Mr Trump successfully nominated conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill a vacancy, rejected claims that he cannot be subject to criminal investigation while he is in the White House.
"Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding," Chief Justice John Roberts declared.
"We reaffirm that principle today and hold that the president is neither absolutely immune from state criminal subpoenas."
The court sent the case back to the lower court to resolve other legal issues.
And last month, a federal appeals court again ruled that Mr Trump must show his financial records to Mr Vance's office.
Mr Trump appealed to the Supreme Court once more. It has not yet decided whether to hear the case again.
Meanwhile, another investigation is underway to determine whether the Trump Organisation improperly overvalued assets in financial statements to secure loans and gain tax advantages, allegations levelled by Mr Trump's one-time personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Then his son Eric Trump was ordered to give an interview under oath about the family business, but his testimony has been marked "confidential" for the time being.
There are also two lawsuits being brought against Mr Trump by women who claim he sexually assaulted them and then proceeded to defame them after he denied their allegations.
Mr Trump accused former Elle magazine writer E. Jean Carroll of lying about her accusation that he raped her in a NYC dressing room more than 20 years ago to generate interest in her tell-all memoir. She filed a defamation case against him and is trying to find DNA evidence to prove his genetic material is on clothing she said she was wearing during the alleged assault.
Mr Trump has also been accused of kissing and groping a former contestant on The Apprentice, Summer Zervos. She is suing for defamation after Mr Trump called her a liar.
Even the outgoing president's family are pursuing him in the courts. His niece Mary Trump, the daughter of his older brother Freddy, has claimed that she was fiddled out of millions of dollars of her inheritance.
Her legal team said in a lawsuit that "fraud was not just the family business - it was a way of life".
Meanwhile, Washington DC's Attorney-General, Karl Racine, has begun legal action alleging that Mr Trump illegally gained financial benefit when the non-profit inaugural committee and two other Trump-owned bodies misused the committee's money.
The allegations include the committee spending over $US1 million ($A1.3 million) to rent space and pay for food in the Trump International Hotel - well above market rates.
In yet another lawsuit, a group of men who protested outside New York's Trump Tower say that security guards shoved them, punched them in the head and choked them.
Then there is the allegation levelled in a class action that Mr Trump, his adult children, and an affiliate of the Trump Organisation misled people to sell products for American Communications Network.
The group alleged that the Trump family wanted to benefit themselves by promoting the company, which charged people $US499 ($A685) to sell the goods, Reuters reported.
"Trump attracts lawsuits and prosecutors like metal filings to a magnet, "former Bill Clinton aide Michael Waldman said.
Mr Trump will be hoping desperately that he can reverse polarity when he leaves office.
Originally published as Trump tweets 'I concede nothing!'