Biden Takes Georgia to Solidify Victory

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has won Georgia, the BBC projects, the first Democratic candidate to do so since 1992.

The win solidifies Mr. Biden's victory, earning him a total of 306 votes in the electoral college, the system used by the US to elect its president.

President Donald Trump is projected to win North Carolina, reaching 232 votes.

For the first time in January, Mr Trump, who declined to accept, alluded to a possible new administration.

Looking subdued, the president stopped short of conceding the race and did not mention Mr. Biden by name in his first official appearance since the election of his Coronavirus Task Force briefing.

"This administration will not be going to a lockdown," Mr Trump said at the White House Rose Garden, as the country faces growing outbreaks of the virus. "Hopefully... whatever happens in the future - who knows which administration will be. I guess time will tell."

The President did not take any questions from reporters. There is increasing pressure on Mr Trump, a Republican, to accept Mr Biden's victory and help prepare for the transition from one administration to another.

Georgia and North Carolina were the last states to be called in the race for the White House. Mr Biden's electoral votes equal the tally Mr Trump achieved in his victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. At the time Mr Trump referred to it as "a landslide".

A manual recount is to be carried out in Georgia due to the slim margin between the two candidates, but the Biden team said they did not expect it to affect the outcome.

President Trump has initiated a number of legal challenges in key states and leveled unsubstantiated charges of systematic electoral fraud. His team dropped a complaint in Arizona on Friday after it became apparent that his rival's lead was unassailable.

Biden team urge access to briefings

Mr Biden's victory has not yet been made official, and his transition team has not been granted access to the federal agencies and the funding required to ensure a smooth transition of power.

The Trump administration's denial of access to confidential intelligence briefings could have an effect on Mr. Biden's ability to rule, said Biden spokesperson Jen Psaki.

"You need real-time information to deal with crises of the moment," she said, highlighting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. "It's imperative that our team and our experts have that access".

Earlier, a group of more than 150 former national security officials warned that delaying the transition posed "a serious risk to national security".

In a letter, they urged the General Services Administration - the government agency tasked with beginning the transition process - to officially recognise Mr Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris so that they could access "pressing national security issues".

Meanwhile a small but rising number of Republicans are also endorsing demands for President-elect Biden to obtain regular intelligence briefings.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a key Trump ally, was among those who said that Mr. Biden should begin to receive a hidden presidential memo, as usual for the new presidents.

Trump continues to dispute result

Mr Trump continued to dispute the election result with a series of tweets on Friday, without providing evidence for his claims of fraud. He suggested he might join his supporters at a rally planned in Washington on Saturday.

His messages came hours after election officials said the vote was the "most secure in American history", the most direct rebuttal from federal and state authorities of the president's claims.

The Statement by the Electoral Infrastructure Government Co-ordinating Council was issued after Mr Trump tweeted that the voting software used in 28 states had removed millions of votes but had not given evidence.

The assertion claimed to have originated from the obscure One America News (OANN) television network and was flagged as contested by Twitter.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany also told Fox News: "President Trump believes he will be President Trump, have a second term".


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