Trump facing increasing pressure from Republicans to concede election
With legal failures mounting, more Republicans urge US President to concede to Biden
WASHINGTON: After a scathing court setback in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump faces increased pressure from his fellow Republicans to drop his effort to overturn the US presidential election and concede to Democrat Joe Biden.
Since Mr Biden was declared the winner two weeks ago, Mr Trump has launched a barrage of lawsuits and mounted a pressure campaign to prevent states from certifying their vote totals.
So far, attempts to thwart certification have failed in courts in Georgia, Michigan and Arizona.
On Saturday, Mr Matthew Brann, a Republican federal judge nominated by former President Barack Obama, dismissed a similar effort in Pennsylvania, writing that the case amounted to "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations".
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 state is due to begin certifying its results today.
Mr Trump's lawyers vowed a quick appeal, but lawyers who opposed him in court say he is out of time.
"This should put the nail in the coffin on any further attempts by President Trump to use the federal courts to rewrite the outcome of the 2020 election," said Ms Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Some of Mr Trump's fellow Republicans in Congress are now breaking ranks.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey said the ruling closed off any chance for a legal victory in Pennsylvania and called on Mr Trump to concede the election.
Ms Liz Cheney, a member of the Republican leadership team in the House of Representatives, earlier called on Mr Trump to respect "the sanctity of our electoral process" if he does not succeed in court.
Mr Biden got six million more votes than Mr Trump in the Nov 3 election, and also prevailed 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College system that determines who will take the oath of office on Jan 20.
In order to remain in office, Mr Trump would somehow need to overturn election results in at least three large states - an unprecedented feat in US history.
A recount in Georgia affirmed Mr Biden's win there, and officials certified the result on Friday.
Mr Trump's campaign said late on Saturday it would request another recount.
In Wisconsin, election officials have criticised Trump volunteers for slowing a partial recount that is not expected to overturn Mr Biden's victory.
With recounts and lawsuits coming up short, Mr Trump is now pressuring Republican-led state legislatures to throw out the vote totals and declare him the winner.
"Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have... the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections and the United States of America itself," he wrote on Twitter after the Pennsylvania ruling.
On Friday, he summoned two top Republicans in Michigan's legislature to the White House.
After the meeting, they said they saw no evidence that would lead them to intervene. Mr Biden is leading Mr Trump in Michigan by 154,000 votes. - REUTERS