Trump lawyers’ wild, sweaty press conference
Donald Trump's legal team have held an extraordinary press conference to make their case for overturning the election results, claiming the election was stolen by "crooks" and infiltrated by "Communist money".
The President's legal team, headed by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Former Assistant US Attorney Sidney Powell, along with lawyers Jenna Ellis, Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, outlined various cases the campaign was bringing in key swing states where Mr Trump narrowly lost to Joe Biden.
Mr Giuliani, hair dye dripping down the side of his face at one point, repeated claims of massive absentee ballot fraud, including during the counting in key Democrat-controlled urban centres where Republican poll watchers say they were illegally prevented from observing the process.
"In the states we have indicated in red, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona, we have more than double the number of votes needed to overturn the election in terms of provable, illegal ballots," Mr Giuliani told reporters at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington DC.
"Look at the lawsuits, look at what's alleged, look at the affidavits. We have a thousand at least."
Brandishing affidavits from witnesses, Mr Giuliani berated the assembled media, telling them it was "your job to read these things and not falsely report that there's no evidence".
Citing four witnesses in the campaign's Michigan case, he said they described an incident "that in any other circumstances would have been on the front page of your newspapers" if it weren't for the "irrational, pathological hatred you have for the President".
"What they swear to is that at 4.30am, a truck pulled up to the Detroit centre where they were counting ballots," he said.
"The people thought it was food so they all ran to the truck. It wasn't food - it was thousands and thousands of ballots, and the ballots were in garbage cans, they were in paper bags, they were in carboard boxes. They were taken into the centre, they were put on a number of tables."
Mr Giuliani said the witnesses swore that "every ballot they could see, every thing they could hear, these were ballots for Biden, and when they saw a ballot, these were ballots only for Biden, meaning there was no down-ticket".
"Many of them didn't have anything on the outer envelope because these ballots were produced very quickly, very swiftly, and they're estimated to be minimum of 60,000, maximum 100,000," he said. "Many of them were triple-counted, meaning they were put into the counting machine once, twice, three times."
Mr Giuliani argued the campaign was not alleging "singular voter fraud in one state" but a "pattern (that) repeats itself in a number of states", in big cities - namely Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Atlanta.
"What happened on the morning of November 3? Did every Democrat leader in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona, did they all wake up separately and have the same idea?" he said.
"That we are going to put Republican inspectors in pens and corrals, we're not going to let them look at mail-in or absentee ballots? I think the logical conclusion is this was a common plan, a common scheme, that comes right from the Democratic Party and candidate. That's the reason why he probably didn't have to go out and campaign - he had to have known that they were going to do this."
The lawyers also doubled down on wild allegations of fraud by voting machine company Dominion, which Mr Trump last week sensationally claimed had "switched 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide".
"We use largely a Venezuelan voting machine, in essence, to count our vote," Mr Giuliani said.
"If we let this happen we're going to become Venezuela. We cannot let this happen to us. We cannot allow these crooks, because that's what they are, to steal an election from the American people."
Ms Powell, who focused on the Dominion allegations, said what "we are really dealing with here and uncovering more by the day is the massive influence of Communist money through Venezuela, Cuba and likely China in the interference with our elections here in the US".
"The Dominion Voting Systems, the Smartmatic software and the software that goes in other computerised voting systems here as well, were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez to make sure he never lost another election," she said.
"We have one very strong witness who has explained how it all works. It is a stunning, detailed affidavit because he was with Hugo Chavez while he was being briefed on how it worked, he saw it operate to make sure the election came out his way. That was the express purpose of creating the software."
Ms Powell said as soon as the witness "saw multiple states shut down the (counting) on the night of the election, he knew the same thing was happening here". She alleged that "one of its most characteristic features is its ability to flip votes".
"It can set and run an algorithm, that probably ran all over the country, to take a certain percentage of votes from President Trump and flip them to Biden, which we might never have uncovered had the votes for President Trump not been so overwhelming in so many of these states that it broke the algorithm that had been plugged into the system," she said.
"That's what caused them to have to shut down in the states they shut down in, that's when they came in the back door with all the mail-in ballots, many of which they had actually fabricated."
She also claimed the campaign had "mathematical evidence in a number of states of massive quantities of Trump votes being trashed, like you would on your computer with any file, and Biden votes being injected".
Ms Powell said witnesses described ballots "on pristine paper with identically matching, perfectly circled dots for Mr Biden", and that "people would re-run the same batch".
"This corresponds to our statistical evidence that shows incredible spikes in the vote counts at particular times, and that corresponds to eyewitness testimony of numerous people who have come forward and said they saw ballots come in the back door at that time," she said.
"This is a massive well-funded coordinated effort to deprive we the people of the United States of our most fundamental right under the Constitution to preserve this republic that we all cherish. It is of the greatest concern.— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) November 19, 2020
"It the 1775 of our generation and beyond."
Dominion and Smartmatic have vehemently denied the allegations.
Mr Trump, who has not been seen in public in several days, tweeted to promote the press conference. "An open and shut case of voter fraud. Massive numbers!" he said.
Mr Biden was declared the presumptive winner after edging ahead of Mr Trump in several key battleground states in the days following the election, as absentee ballots continued to be counted.
The Trump campaign has made as-yet-unproven allegations of widespread voter fraud, and is attempting to overturn the results through a combination of legal challenges - most of which have fallen flat - and requests for audits and recounts.
A number of the claims referenced by Mr Giuliani appeared to be some of the same testimony contained in a separate lawsuit, filed in Michigan on behalf of two Republican poll watchers, that was thrown out by a state judge last week.
In that case, Chief Judge Timothy Kenny found that many of the allegations of fraud were based on an unfamiliarity with the vote counting process. "Sinister, fraudulent motives were ascribed to the process and to the City of Detroit," he wrote.
"Plaintiffs' interpretation of events is incorrect and not credible."
Americans are "witnessing incredible irresponsibility, incredibly damaging messages being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions,” President-elect Joe Biden says about President Trump not publicly acknowledging the election outcome. https://t.co/Qt91MxLgoi pic.twitter.com/eHkzuVowD5— CNN (@CNN) November 19, 2020
During the press conference, Mr Giuliani came close to accusing some judges of corruption.
"Each one of these cities are controlled by Democrats, which means they can get away with anything they want to do," he said.
"It means they control the election boards completely, and they control law enforcement, and unfortunately they have some friendly judges that will issue ridiculously irrational opinions just to come out in their favour."
The President has so far refused to concede to Mr Biden, but time is running out for him to make his case. The electoral college meets in each state on December 14 to formally vote on the winner.
Speaking to reporters in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday afternoon, Mr Biden was asked by a journalist what he thought Mr Trump was "doing" by refusing to concede. "What do you think Americans are witnessing here?" she said.
"Let me choose my words," Mr Biden said.
"I think that what we're seeing (is) incredible irresponsibility, incredibly damaging messages being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions. It think it is uh, um ... well, I don't know his motive but I just think it's totally irresponsible."
Originally published as Trump lawyers' wild press conference