Donald Trump refuses to engage in a peaceful transfer of power

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Donald Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, raising further concerns about the November 3 poll.

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” the president said to the question at a press conference.

Mr Trump repeated his mantra that the ballots sent out to millions of voters – to avoid having to vote in person during the coronavirus pandemic – were an “out of control” disaster that would skew the result.

His comments came hours after he said he wanted the Senate to approve his next Supreme Court nominee ahead of the election because he believed the High Court should rule on a contested outcome.

“It will end in the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine judges,” Trump said on Wednesday, when the outcome will not be clear immediately after the election.

Mr Trump will announce his choice for the ninth seat of the High Court, which has become vacant following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on Saturday. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, has said he will hold a vote on the candidate this year, but the Kentucky lawmaker has not clarified whether that will happen before or after the election.

“I think it’s better if you go [hold a vote] before the election, because I think about this scam the Democrats are pulling. . . will be before the US Supreme Court, ”he told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

In the clearest sign that he thinks putting a Tory judge in court before Nov. 3 would help his political fortunes, Mr Trump has said he wants insurance against a 4-4 decision.

“Having a four-four situation is not a good situation,” he said. “I think it should be eight-nothing, or nine-nothing.” But just in case it’s more political than it needs to be. . . it is very important to have a ninth righteousness.

Five of the eight judges were appointed by Republican presidents. John Roberts, the chief justice who was appointed by George W Bush, has at times sided with the liberal wing, citing the possibility of the court being stuck with a 4-4 decision.

Mr Trump declined to promise he would accept the result as he accuses Democrats of trying to organize a “mock” election due to the expected increase in postal voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. Joe Biden, his Democratic rival, said this week he would accept the outcome.

Some Republicans argue that holding a Senate confirmation vote on a new Supreme Court judge after November 3 would encourage their voters to go to the polls. But others want to act faster to ensure a reliable conservative bench for years to come.

Republicans appear to have the votes to endorse Mr Trump’s choice after Mitt Romney, the only Republican senator to vote to impeach Mr Trump in February, signaled he would not stand in the way.

Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – Republican senators from Maine and Alaska – have voiced opposition to the vote ahead of the election, but with a 53-47 majority in the chamber, the GOP should still have enough votes.

Ginsburg, a pioneering justice who fought for equality and women’s rights and who was only the second woman to sit on the Supreme Court, rested in court on Wednesday.

Bill Clinton, the former president who put her on the bench in 1993, paid tribute to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, and Mr. Trump is expected to follow suit on Thursday. On Friday, Ginsburg will rest in the United States Capitol, becoming the first woman in history to receive the honor.

To follow Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter



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