As it happenedended1605996435

Trump news - Republican senators begin to turn on president as Georgia confirms Biden win

US election: Final result confirmed as Biden wins Georgia recount

Donald Trump is facing an increasing revolt among Republican senators, with at least three having openly criticised the US president in the last 48 hours.

Mitt Romney, Lamar Alexander and Susan Collins have all called on the US president to give up his attempts to pressurise state election officials into supporting his baseless claims of mass voter fraud.

Several House Republicans, including Liz Cheney, have made similar calls, describing the legal efforts of the Trump campaign as “embarrassing”.

The criticism comes as Georgia’s secretary of state on Friday certified Joe Biden as the winner of the state’s recount. With the official results reported, Brad Raffensperger certified that Mr Biden won the recount by 12,670 votes. 

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s up-to-the-minute coverage of all the latest from the White House and beyond. 

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Trump accuses Pfizer and Moderna of working to stop his re-election

Donald Trump has baselessly accused Pfizer and Moderna of working to stop his re-election by delaying their Covid vaccines.

The outgoing president again made the false claim he had “won” the election as he gave a White House press conference on lowering drug prices.

And he claimed that regardless of a vaccine breakthrough the Democrats would “have found the ballots someplace” to beat him.

Read more:

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Trump tells reporters he has been ‘loyal to special interests’

In a bizarre moment from yesterday’s press conference, Donald Trump in an apparent slip of the tongue said he had “been loyal to the special interests” before saying he had also been loyal to patients while talking about lowering drug prices. 

Mr Trump appeared to be reading from a pre-prepared speech, so it remains unclear whether it was a mistake or not, but the US president has generally cast himself as a leader who opposes so-called special interests, even if his policies often demonstrate the opposite.

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White House aide and Rudy Giuliani’s son, Andrew Giuliani, becomes latest administration official to contract Covid

Andrew Giuliani, a White House aide and son of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, said on Friday he had tested positive for COVID-19.

“This morning, I tested positive for Covid-19,” the younger Giuliani, who joined the Trump White House's Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs in 2017, said on Twitter. “I am experiencing mild symptoms, and am following all appropriate protocols, including being in quarantine and conducting contact tracing.”

Andrew attended his father's press conference Thursday at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, according to multiple reports. The elder Giuliani and other Trump campaign lawyers spoke without masks from an indoor podium, to an audience of dozens.

Jenna Ellis, another Trump lawyer who spoke at the press conference said on Twitter Friday that she and the elder Giuliani “have both tested negative for COVID-19.”

“The entire legal team will continue to follow the advice and protocols of our doctors,” Ellis wrote.

Several White House staffers have tested positive for the disease in recent weeks, including chief of staff Mark Meadows, while six members of Congress have tested positive this week.

At least four other people who work in the White House, in addition to Andrew, have contracted the disease in recent days, the New York Times reported Friday afternoon.

Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. has also tested positive for the disease, his spokesman said Friday evening. 

Reuters

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Ed Norton calls on America to ‘call Trump’s bluff’ over his refusal to concede election

The Hollywood actor Ed Norton has gone viral on social media for a long Twitter thread in which he calls on Americans to call Donald Trump’s “bluff” over his refusal to concede an election he lost to Joe Biden.

Norton suggests Mr Trump is refusing to concede because the president is worried about his legal jeopardy once he is no longer in the White House, and is looking to gain immunity by creating ‘chaos and anxiety’ about the peaceful transfer of power. 

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Donald Trump Jr tests positive for coronavirus

Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, has tested positive for the coronavirus, having long played down its seriousness and made fun of Joe Biden for wearing a face mask.

The 42-year-old, who has emerged as one of his father’s most strident and aggressive champions and a potential candidate for the 2024 election, tested positive earlier this week, according to his spokesperson.

“Don tested positive at the start of the week and has been quarantining out at his cabin since the result,” his spokesperson told reporters.

Read more:

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Former acting DNI for Trump makes false claim about media

The former acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, who is regularly pilloried by opponents for his false and misleading claims on Twitter, has again been caught making a bizarre assertion after he attacked media outlets for reporting Donald Trump Jr has contracted coronavirus. 

“Reporters need to stop announcing protected health information. This is a violation of HIPAA rules,” Mr Grenell said in relation to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Reporters were quick to point out the news had in fact been released by Mr Trump Jr’s spokesperson. 

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Republicans betting that Trump ultimately admits loss to Biden

Republicans in Congress are engaged in a risky but calculated bet that once President Donald Trump has exhausted his legal challenges to the election, he will come to grips with his loss to President-elect Joe Biden.

But the opposite is happening.

As one Mr Trump court case after another falls by the wayside, Mr Trump is doubling down on efforts to disrupt the election outcome. Rather than accept the reality of the vote, the president is using the weight of his office to try to squash it. He summoned Michigan state lawmakers to the White House on Friday after personally reaching out to GOP officials ahead of next week's deadline to certify election results. Others from Pennsylvania may similarly be invited in.

Republicans are standing by as it all unfolds. What started as a GOP strategy to give the president the time and space he needed to process his defeat is now spiraling into an unprecedented challenge to the election outcome like nothing since the Civil War.

“It's hit the point where the Republican Party's letting Mr Trump's pout go on too long,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, a professor at Rice University in Texas.

With their silence, the Republican lawmakers are falling in one step deeper with the president they have spent four years trying to appease. A few have spoken up. But mostly the Republicans are enabling Mr Trump as he wages an unsubstantiated attack on the election that threatens to erode civic trust and impede Biden's transition to the White House.

AP

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Trump falsely claims he ‘won’ the election

Here is the clip of Donald Trump falsely claiming he “won” the presidential election. Joe Biden in fact won the election, and is projected to have taken 306 electoral college seats - the same number Mr Trump received in 2016.

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NBC News’ Ali Velshi reports there were 194,160 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US on Friday, with a reported 1,880 deaths. 

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