Trump plans to declare victory if he takes election night lead: Axios

President Trump has told those in his orbit he intends to prematurely declare victory on election night if early returns are favorable to him despite uncounted ballots that could lead to a loss, Axios reported Sunday.

The president has discussed the plan in detail with confidants, the publication reported.

On Tuesday night, the early count in the pivotal state of Pennsylvania is expected to favor the president because of state laws against counting mail-in ballots before Election Day. However, the ongoing count is expected to narrow the margin between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who leads in most polling of the state.

Kathy Boockvar (D), who leads Pennsylvania’s State Department, said the commonwealth expects the full count to take days because of the high volume of mail-in ballots this year, 10 times the number cast in 2016.

“I expect that the overwhelming majority of ballots in Pennsylvania, that’s mail-in and absentee ballots as well as in-person ballots, will be counted within a matter of days,” Boockvar said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Although Trump’s path to victory would likely require a victory in Pennsylvania, allies say he would also need to have won or be substantially ahead in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas on Tuesday.

The president’s team is also prepared to present mail-in ballots counted after Nov. 3 as illegitimate, according to Axios, even though it isn’t unusual for states to take several days or weeks to count ballots and certify results.

Most polling has indicated Election Day in-person votes will favor the president, while mail-in voting will favor Biden.

Republicans filed lawsuits in several battleground states seeking to toss ballots received after Election Day, even if they were postmarked before Nov. 3. The Supreme Court ruled last week that North Carolina can count ballots that arrive by Nov. 12 can be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day, but cemented a strict Nov. 3 deadline in Wisconsin.

The high court also left intact a Nov. 6 deadline for ballots to be received in Pennsylvania but left open the possibility of taking up a still-pending GOP request in the case.

Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller suggested Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Democrats would attempt “post-election … thievery.”

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Axios the report was “nothing but people trying to create doubt about a Trump victory. When he wins, he’s going to say so.”

The Hill has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden

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