Votes are still being counted in a handful of key battleground states as the 2020 election between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden remains too close to call. Yahoo News is providing complete coverage throughout the night, with instant updates and analysis as the results come in.
Where things stand
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The Associated Press called the presidential election for Joe Biden on Saturday after projecting he would win Pennsylvania. Kamala Harris, shattering racial and gender barriers, made history as first woman to be elected vice president.
President Trump is refusing to concede the race, making baseless claims that the election was stolen and vowing to fight the result in court.
The latest on key races
• Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona: The AP called Pennsylvania for Biden on Saturday, giving him more than the 270 electoral votes he needed to secure the presidency. Nevada was called for Biden shortly thereafter. The AP called Arizona for Biden around 2:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
• Georgia: Biden leads Trump more than 10,000 votes, and the secretary of state has already announced that there will be a recount.
• North Carolina: Trump has a lead, but this race remains too early to call.
Electoral vote count
A candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes — a majority of the 538 votes in the Electoral College — to become president of the United States. Here's where the count currently stands:
Joe Biden: 290
Donald Trump: 214
COVID and the election
While the votes continue to be counted, the number of U.S. coronavirus cases continues to climb. More than 9.9 million have been infected so far in the U.S., and more than 237,00 have died.
Trump’s election challenge is continuing, but the campaign is already shedding staff
Two days after Joe Biden was declared the winner in the presidential election, President Trump and his allies have vowed to keep on fighting, but his campaign team has already let go of some staff and isn’t extending others beyond this week, multiple sources told Yahoo News.
“They just laid off people,” a former Trump campaign adviser said Monday.
Another source familiar with the campaign told Yahoo News they were unaware of layoffs, but knew many staffers who were not being extended beyond this week and next.
“I’ve heard a lot of people have just one week left,” the source said, adding that those staffers were getting their “last paycheck.”
It’s standard operating procedure for presidential campaigns to let staff go after the election, particularly people involved in work like hosting live events, which are typically no longer needed once all the votes are cast. “Every campaign has a sell-by date, even successful ones,” a Republican source said.
McConnell: 'President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities'
In a floor speech Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Trump was well within his rights to contest the election — and that Democrats and Republicans should allow him the time to do so.
"In the United States of America, all legal ballots must be counted, any illegal ballots must not be counted," McConnell said, mimicking talking points used by Trump and his campaign surrogates. "The process should be transparent or observable by all sides, and the courts are here to work through concerns.
"Our institutions are actually built for this," McConnell continued. "President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options."
McConnell pointed to the protracted legal battle following the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, whose legal challenge of the results dragged on for more than a month.
"Notably, the Constitution gives no role in this process to wealthy media corporations," McConnell added. "The projections and commentary of the press do not get veto power over the legal rights of any citizen, including the president of the United States."
While Trump is mounting legal challenges, he has yet to provide evidence of widespread irregularities or fraud.
President Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Montoursville, Pa., on Oct. 31. (Alex Brandon/AP)
How Trump fumbled the coronavirus crisis and sabotaged his own reelection
There were plenty of opportunities in the nine months between Feb. 4 and Nov. 3 for President Trump to recognize the seriousness of the pandemic, to convey that seriousness to the American people. He took none of them, in what would prove a series of tragic ironies: elected as an unorthodox truth teller, he tried to spin the coronavirus out of existence as if it were just another aggrieved contractor from his Manhattan real estate days. Fond of depicting himself as a steely decision maker, he routinely made it seem as if he were held captive by his own administration, frequently resorting to undermining officials whom he employed.
If the Trump presidency was marked with errors in judgment — strange overtures to foreign dictators, political appointments that deviated wildly from his populist promise — none would be as costly to him or the American people than the conviction that the coronavirus was not an enemy to be taken seriously.
Within mere weeks of his Feb. 4 denunciation of socialism, the coronavirus would become the main story in the United States, and the world at large. The spring would be marked by lockdowns, nervous shoppers frantically searching for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Millions lost jobs, then millions more. And through it all, the man who had run as the capable corporate executive willingly — and inexplicably — relegated himself to the role of “cheerleader” (his own word), a sideline enthusiast who often discussed the nation’s response to the pandemic as if he were a cable news host, not the man in charge.
Raised on Norman Vincent Peale’s gospel of “positive thinking,” he could not admit to the obvious reality of the pandemic, because doing so would pierce the armor of machismo that constituted his allure. Later, he would depict face masks as weakness, facts as the luxury of coddled elites.
“Don’t be afraid of Covid,” he tweeted after contracting the disease himself — and receiving the best care imaginable at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, which led to a relatively speedy recovery for the president. He did not seem to grasp that ordinary Americans did not have the same access to cutting-edge treatments, and they were not attended to by a team of first-rate doctors. He had gotten over the disease, and he believed the rest of the country should too.
Thirty thousand Americans have died in the month that has passed since Trump’s urging to not fear the disease.
GOP Sen. Susan Collins congratulates 'President-elect Biden on his apparent victory'
Which President Trump still refusing to concede defeat, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, released a carefully-worded statement congratulating President-elect Biden on "his apparent victory" and urging patience while Trump works through the "process" of contesting the election results.
Collins joined Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Ben Sasse (Nebraska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) as the only Republicans in the Senate to publicly congratulate Biden.
Trump says he has fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper
In what amounts to his first major post-election personnel move, President Trump announced on Twitter Monday that he had fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Esper had reportedly prepared a resignation letter last week amid reports that Trump had planned to fire him. But Politico reported over the weekend that Trump was not expected to terminate Esper, who had clashed with the president over the withdrawal of U.S. forces from key bases abroad, using active-duty troops to quell domestic protests and banning Confederate symbols.
Back in June, after Pentagon officials announced it would consider the removal of Confederate leaders' names from Army bases, Trump tweeted this:
"My Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!"
Trump also reportedly erupted over Esper's ban on displaying the Confederate flag.
Biden announces COVID-19 advisory board: 'We'll follow the science'
Speaking in Wilmington, Del., Monday, President-elect Joe Biden announced his COVID-19 advisory board during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.
"We're ready to get to work addressing the needs of the American people," Biden said. "Today, that work begins. It starts by doing everything possible to get the COVID-19 under control."
Biden said that he will employ a robust contact tracing program — something that the Trump administration failed to do.
The president-elect also urged Americans to put political differences aside and wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, which has killed more than 237,000 Americans, and infected nearly 10 million.
"I implore you, wear a mask," Biden said. "Do it for yourself. Do it for your neighbor. A mask is not a political statement.”
"I will spare no effort to turn this pandemic around once we're sworn in on January," Biden continued. "To get our kids back to school safely. To get our businesses growing and to get our economy running at full speed again. And to get an approved vaccine manufactured and distributed as quickly as possible to as many Americans as possible free of charge."
Earlier Monday, Biden welcomed the announcement by Pfizer Inc. that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90 percent effective, but stressed the "end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away."
He added: "We'll follow the science. We'll follow the science, let me say that again."