Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Sunday that he would not let President Trump “steal” the election after a report that the commander in chief planned to prematurely declare victory on Tuesday if early results indicated he was ahead.
“My response is the president is not going to steal this election,” Biden told reporters on Sunday when asked about the report, published by Axios.
Axios, citing three sources familiar with Trump’s private comments, reported that the president has told confidants he’ll declare that he has won the Nov. 3 election, even if the Electoral College outcome is still unclear, with large numbers of uncounted votes in key battleground states like Pennsylvania.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Trump denied that he would declare an early victory, calling the Axios story a “false report.” But he warned that he’s prepared to send in a team of attorneys to dispute ballots in states like Pennsylvania.
“I think it’s a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election,” he said. “I think it’s a terrible thing when states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over. I think it’s terrible that we can’t know the results of an election the night of the election. … We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”
Democrats have repeatedly pushed for more relaxed rules regarding mail-in ballots and how and when they are counted, while Republicans have warned that such changes could lead to fraud and abuse.
In a pair of decisions last week, the Supreme Court ruled that election officials in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, two key battleground states that are vital to Trump’s reelection efforts, can accept absentee ballots several days after the Nov. 3 election.
Biden’s campaign is also prepping for a possible post-election legal battle, with an operation overseen by Dana Remus, who served as Biden’s general counsel on the 2020 campaign, and Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel during the Obama administration.
Millions of Americans are expected to vote by mail this November due to the coronavirus pandemic, increasing the chances the winner of the presidential race won’t immediately be known on election night. State election officials in several key battleground states have warned it could take days to count all of the votes.
Trump has repeatedly claimed — with little evidence — that mail-in voting would allow for widespread fraud.