Judge throws out Donald Trump's bid to stop Pennsylvania vote certification

Atlanta Georgia. Georgia finished the hand recount of ballots which confirmed President-elect Joe Biden's win

Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his ruling that Trump's team had presented "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations" in their complaints about mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.

For Mr Trump to have any hope of remaining in the White House, he needs to eliminate Mr Biden's 81,000-vote lead in Pennsylvania.

The Trump campaign's lawyers said in a statement that they are "thankful" to the judge who dismissed their Pennsylvania campaign lawsuit in a scathing opinion on Saturday. The state is due to begin certifying its results on Monday.

The judgement in Pennsylvania came hours after Republicans also requested a delay in certification in MI, another battleground, in a letter that repeated allegations of irregularities in the state which Biden won by 155,000 votes.

Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference held by Donald Trump in the Briefing Room of the White House on September 27, 2020.

Biden received 6 million more votes nationwide than Trump and prevailed 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College system that determines the election's victor.

Some of Trump's fellow Republicans in Congress are now breaking ranks though many, including the most senior ones, have not.

He has spent the past several weeks preparing to take office, though Trump's administration has refused to provide funding and security clearances to do so.

With the clock ticking down to Biden's January 20 inauguration, Trump's team has focused on trying to stop battleground states from certifying election results while continuing to pursue legal challenges that have so far failed.

But Trump's refusal to concede has complicated the process and drawn concerns that he could cause long-term damage to Americans' trust in their voting system.

Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield was among seven Republican legislators who met with Trump for about an hour on Friday, amid his longshot efforts to block Biden's win.

Biden has so far limited his criticism of Trump's actions, though he has spoken of "incredibly damaging messages being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions", adding: "It's hard to fathom how this man thinks".

Republican Senator Kevin Cramer on Sunday told NBC's Meet The Press programme that the start of the presidential transition process is overdue, though he still defended Trump's continuing efforts to challenge the election and declined to recognise the Biden victory.

Twitter flagged the tweet as containing claims of election fraud that are disputed. Mr Biden is leading Mr Trump in MI by 154,000 votes.

Giuliani, who had swept into the case at the last minute ahead of a hearing on Tuesday before Brann, has been widely criticized for ignoring legal reasoning, leading a team that's made sloppy mistakes in its filings, and for pushing nonsensical and unfounded claims of conspiracy against Trump in Democratic-leaning cities. Half of Republicans believe the election was stolen from Mr Trump, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling, and supporters have staged rallies across the country to protest the outcome.

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