Even as a growing number of top Republicans urged President Trump on Sunday to allow for an orderly presidential transition, the president himself, after briefly appearing to acknowledge his election loss, resumed spreading the kinds of baseless accusations about election fraud that his supporters have continued to embrace.
Though his tweet on Sunday morning appeared to provide some recognition of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, the president quickly walked back his statement, asserting in a separate post that “WE WILL WIN!” He continues to claim, without evidence, that the election was rigged, including falsely asserting that poll watchers were not allowed to observe ballot counting and that the tabulation machines were tainted. His campaign has filed lawsuits in several states challenging the results, which were met by a series of losses in court.
Thousands of the president’s supporters rallied behind him in Washington on Saturday, though Mr. Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, offered an exaggerated assessment that over a million marchers attended. The day’s events were largely carried out in an orderly manner, but the night became more violent, and the police had made 21 arrests and one person was stabbed.
John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, on Sunday urged Republican leaders to acknowledge Mr. Trump’s election defeat, and is part of a growing list of party members who are either rebuking the president’s baseless claims of election fraud or calling for a smooth presidential transition.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Mr. Bolton implored Republicans to discredit claims of election fraud that Mr. Trump has propagated. He warned of the threat to the country if Mr. Trump made “life as difficult as he can” for the incoming administration and called recent litigation by the Trump team “the legal equivalent of pitching pennies.”
“I think it’s very important for leaders of the Republican Party to explain to our voters — who are not as stupid as the Democrats think — that, in fact, Trump has lost the election and that his claims of election fraud are baseless,” Mr. Bolton said.
Another former Trump national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, admonished the president for his claim on Twitter that the presidential election was rigged against him.
“What the president says in this tweet, it’s just wrong, it’s regrettable, it’s counterproductive,” General McMaster said in an appearance on CNN on Sunday. “I think our democracy could be stronger than ever.”
Some Republican governors have also acknowledged the need for a smooth transition. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said he expected that Mr. Biden would be the next president of the United States and stated that Mr. Biden should have access to intelligence briefings. Mr. Hutchinson also stressed the need for a smooth transition of power for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. He acknowledged, however, that there was “a process” to accepting the outcome of the election, including the recount in Georgia.
Likewise, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, who is a supporter of Mr. Trump, said on Sunday that it was “important for a normal transition” to the next presidential administration to begin. Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. DeWine said, “We have to have faith in our judicial system, faith in our electoral system.”
He voiced support for the president’s various legal challenges to the election, saying, “No one should begrudge him that or say that there’s anything irregular about that.” But he stopped short of agreeing with their purpose.
“On the other hand,” Mr. DeWine said, “it’s clear that, certainly based on what we know now, that Joe Biden is the president-elect. For the country’s sake, it’s important for a normal transition to start through.” He added, “We need to begin that process.”
Miles Taylor, a former top official at the Department of Homeland Security who wrote the 2018 anonymous New York Times Op-Ed criticizing the president, joined a list of over 150 former national security, senior military and elected officials who called on the leader of the General Services Administration, Emily W. Murphy, to recognize the president-elect and vice president-elect. The letter was reported earlier by Politico.
Anthony Scaramucci, who served a brief stint as White House communications director, had also denounced Mr. Trump’s claims of election fraud as “absolutely shameful” and “dishonest.”
John F. Kelly, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, told Politico that Mr. Biden should begin to receive intelligence briefings, and that a delayed transition was detrimental to the country’s national security.
With the presidential election essentially in the rearview, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his administration have begun looking forward, choreographing the policy steps they could take in a government no longer under the direction of President Trump.
Ron Klain, who Mr. Biden announced last week would be his chief of staff, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, where he discussed plans for addressing the surging coronavirus outbreak alongside Michael Osterholm, a member of Mr. Biden’s coronavirus advisory team.
During his appearance, Mr. Klain said that the team’s top scientific advisers and officials at drug companies would begin consultations this week.
Mr. Klain served as the “Ebola czar” under President Barack Obama when the Ebola outbreak temporarily threatened to spill into the United States, and Mr. Biden’s coronavirus plans draw heavily from Mr. Klain’s experience. An average of more than 1,000 Americans are dying of the coronavirus every day, a 50 percent increase in the last month, and on Friday, the United States shattered yet another record, recording 181,194 cases in a single day, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
However, if Mr. Biden is to enact even mildly ambitious coronavirus relief efforts, he will need the support of two Democratic candidates facing runoffs for Senate seats in Georgia in January.
Mr. Klain suggested on Sunday that Mr. Biden was likely to campaign for Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia as the runoff approaches.
While the pandemic and the economic fallout it has caused are likely to command the attention of Mr. Biden and his top advisers for some time, the president-elect has also stated other policy goals that he is expected to develop in the weeks ahead.
Chief among them is immigration. Mr. Biden has made clear his intent to do away with some of the most restrictive immigration policies put in place under Mr. Trump, but that would require reorienting multiple agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, that have focused narrowly on many of the president’s campaign promises over the past four years.
Mr. Klain said on Sunday that Mr. Biden already has plans for his first day in office.
“We’re going to protect the Dreamers on Day 1,” he said, while also noting that the new administration would take action on health care and rejoin the Paris climate accord on Day 1.
Mr. Biden stayed relatively tight-lipped about the members of his inner circle and their plans while the final votes were counted in battleground states last week. But since he has now won more electoral votes in Georgia and Arizona, the details of his plans may begin to emerge.
Reflecting the magnitude of a pair of January Senate runoffs in Georgia, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will most likely campaign in the state before he takes office and funnel personnel and resources into the two Democratic campaigns there, a top official said on Sunday.
“You’ll see the president-elect campaign down there as we get closer to Election Day,” Ron Klain, whom Mr. Biden tapped as his chief of staff last week, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We’re going to put people, money, resources down there to help our two good candidates win. I’m very hopeful that we can win those seats.”
Mr. Biden’s political engagement, at the same time he is trying to build his administration, reflects the unusual and staggeringly high stakes for his presidency in the Jan. 5 contests. Though Mr. Klain insisted victories were not a prerequisite to Mr. Biden’s agenda, snatching up both seats would give Mr. Biden’s party de facto control of the Senate, making it far easier to enact his policy agenda on the coronavirus, health care, taxes, the environment and other issues. If Republicans retain control, they could thwart anything they did not support.
“We want to win those seats in Georgia,” Mr. Klain said. “It will certainly be helpful to win those seats in Georgia, but we’re not going to let anything deter us from moving forward with our agenda.”
The Democratic Senate candidates themselves took slightly different approaches to discussing the implications of the race on Sunday.
Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Rev. Raphael Warnock sought to downplay the national significance of the races. Instead, he stressed the vast wealth of his opponent, Senator Kelly Loeffler; his own experience as the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once led; and health care, the issue Democrats put at the center of most of their congressional campaigns this year.
“This race is not about me. And Chuck Schumer’s name is certainly not on the ballot,” he said, referring to the Senate Democratic leader who would take control if Democrats snatched up both Georgia seats. “I’ll tell you what is on the ballot. Health care is on the ballot. Access to affordable health care.”
At almost the same time, Jon Ossoff, the other Democratic candidate, was eagerly outlining the sweeping implications of the contests in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” Declaring that “Trump is leaving, whether he knows it or not,” he said victories in Georgia would give Mr. Biden that chance to meaningfully address the coronavirus pandemic and lead the country.
“With Trump departing, we have the opportunity to define the next chapter in American history, to lead out of this crisis,” he said. “But only by winning these Senate seats.”
Mr. Warnock and Mr. Ossoff are working closely together, too. They planned a joint campaign appearance on Sunday in suburban Cobb County and share a focus on health care. But the differences in how they are talking about the race stood out as their Republicans opponents, Senator David Perdue and Ms. Loeffler, campaign as a packaged ticket, reading from the same carefully coordinated playbook that warns that Democratic victories would alter the course of the country in dangerous ways.
“We are the last line of defense against this liberal socialist agenda that the Democrats will perpetrate,” Mr. Perdue said on Fox News. “We heard Schumer say just last week, ‘If we take Georgia, we change America.’”
On Sunday, Mr. Warnock also rebutted an attack by Ms. Loeffler, who accused him last week of having “celebrated” and “welcomed” Fidel Castro, the Cuban communist leader, to his church in the 1990s. Mr. Warnock said flatly he had “nothing to do with that program” organized by a New York church where he was a youth pastor in the 1990s.
And Mr. Ossoff also made clear that Democrats are relying on the enthusiasm of Black and young voters whom their allies are racing to register.
“The G.O.P. at the national level has no leader, has no message and has no vision other than stopping Joe Biden,” he said. “But we are in a crisis. We need leadership. We need to make sure that Joe Biden can govern and this administration is successful.”
WASHINGTON — In the days since he prevailed in the election, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has made several public remarks and released summaries of his calls with foreign leaders as reporters track his every public movement. But Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has barely appeared on the public radar since her acceptance speech on Nov. 7 in Wilmington, Del., where she declared “a new day for America.”
She shared a stage again with Mr. Biden in Wilmington two days later, after a coronavirus briefing they had attended together. Ms. Harris stood silently several feet away while Mr. Biden spoke, without giving remarks of her own.
It is not unprecedented for a vice president-elect to keep a low profile in an election’s aftermath. “You know, you’ve been fairly invisible since the election,” the ABC News host George Stephanopoulos said to Mr. Biden in an interview more than a month after his own election as Barack Obama’s vice president.
Mr. Biden replied by insisting he had “been in the room” for every one of Mr. Obama’s important transition meetings. Because of social-distancing restrictions related to the coronavirus, Ms. Harris has no such luxury, at least not in the physical sense.
After spending election week in Delaware, she has returned to the two-bedroom Washington condominium she bought after she was elected to the Senate in 2016. From there, she is in regular touch with Mr. Biden, by text message or telephone, according to aides with the Biden-Harris transition team, and with other transition officials.
One focus of her time is the quantum leap Ms. Harris is soon to make from the legislative to the executive branch. Whereas Mr. Biden will have virtually no learning curve upon returning to the White House after eight years as vice president, Ms. Harris has spent little, if any, substantive time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (A transition official could not immediately say when she had last visited there.)
That process is made no easier by President Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the election results and authorize an official transition process in which Ms. Harris and her aides would have access to White House officials and documents. Ms. Harris has not been contacted by her departing counterpart, Vice President Mike Pence. Days after the 2016 election, Mr. Biden hosted Mr. Pence for nearly two hours at the official vice-presidential compound at the U.S. Naval Observatory.
WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has said that one of his first priorities will be rolling back his predecessor’s restrictive immigration policies. To do it, he may have to overhaul the Department of Homeland Security, which has been bent to President Trump’s will over the past four years.
The department, created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has helped enforce some of Mr. Trump’s most divisive policies, like separating families at the border, banning travel from Muslim-majority countries and building his border wall. When the president tried to reframe his campaign around law and order this year, Homeland Security leaders rallied to the cause, deploying tactical officers to protect statues and confront protesters.
Interviews with 16 current and former Homeland Security officials and advisers involved with Mr. Biden’s transition, and a review of his platform, suggest an agenda that aims to incorporate climate change in department policy, fill vacant posts and bolster responsibilities that Mr. Trump neglected, including disaster response and cybersecurity.
But undoing Mr. Trump’s immigration policies will initially dominate.
The Trump administration enacted more than 400 changes to tighten or choke off immigration, and while Mr. Biden can roll back the ones issued through executive orders or policy memorandums, rescinding policies that went through the full regulatory process will take time, according to Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst for the Migration Policy Institute.
“On immigration, I expect them to stick to things that are high profile, very easy procedurally and come with minimal logistical burden,” Ms. Pierce said.
That includes ending travel bans that restrict travel from 13 mostly Muslim and African countries and halting the Trump administration’s efforts to strip protections for about 700,000 young immigrants brought to the country as children.
The new administration will end the national emergency declaration that allowed Mr. Trump to divert billions of Pentagon dollars to the border wall, but an adviser involved in the transition said there were no plans to dismantle the 400 miles of wall already up.
Other regulations will prove more challenging to unravel, like the maze of asylum restrictions imposed by the Trump administration and the public charge rule that allows green cards to be denied to immigrants who are deemed likely to use public assistance.
WASHINGTON — President Trump appeared to briefly acknowledge for the first time Sunday morning that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had defeated him in the presidential election, but quickly reversed himself less than two hours later, insisting that “I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go.”
The dueling tweets came as Mr. Trump continued to lie about the conduct of the vote-counting process, falsely insisting that Mr. Biden’s victory was the result of a “Rigged” election orchestrated by the “Fake & Silent” media.
His first tweet came Sunday morning at 7:47. Referring to Mr. Biden, the president said that “he won.” That represented the first time Mr. Trump had publicly said what his advisers have been telling him for days privately: His re-election bid failed and Mr. Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.
After a flurry of tweets and news reports about his “concession,” Mr. Trump insisted that he had been misunderstood.
At 9:16, he insisted falsely: “RIGGED ELECTION. WE WILL WIN!” And three minutes later, he wrote that Mr. Biden “only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED ELECTION!”
The rapid online flip-flop made it clear that Mr. Trump is still refusing to abandon the lies about the election being rigged and stolen that he has been spreading since Election Day, inflaming anger among his supporters about his defeat.
In the same tweet in which he appeared to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory, Mr. Trump claimed again that “all of the mechanical ‘glitches’ that took place on Election Night were really THEM getting caught trying to steal votes.” Twitter quickly labeled almost all of Mr. Trump’s Sunday morning tweets “disputed.”
Ron Klain, who Mr. Biden announced last week would be his chief of staff, said on Sunday that Mr. Trump’s tweet provided “further confirmation” of Mr. Biden’s victory.
“Donald Trump’s Twitter feed doesn’t make Joe Biden President or not president,” Mr. Klain said. “The American people did that.”
Mr. Trump’s online commentary followed a series of tweets on Saturday in which he egged on thousands of his supporters at a pro-Trump gathering in Washington with fake allegations about voter fraud as he continued to push legal challenges and deny that Mr. Biden was the president-elect.
“The hand recount taking place in Georgia is a waste of time,” Mr. Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon, making false claims about election officials in that state where a recount had been called by Brad Raffensperger, a Republican and the state’s secretary of state. “They are not showing the matching signatures. Call off the recount until they allow the MATCH. Don’t let the Radical Left Dems STEAL THE ELECTION!”
After reports of some violent clashes between the president’s supporters in Washington and anti-Trump activists, Mr. Trump did not seek to calm tensions but instead lashed out, saying that “ANTIFA SCUM ran for the hills,” and urged the police to move in aggressively.
“DC Police, get going — do your job and don’t hold back!!!” the president wrote.
It appears certain that the president’s initial Twitter acknowledgment of Mr. Biden’s victory was not an indication that he intends to offer a more formal concession any time in the near future. And there was no indication that his tweet would immediately cause the administrator of the General Services Administration to officially allow the Biden transition team to have access to money and information they are due.
Mr. Trump played golf at his Virginia club on Sunday and had no public events on his official schedule.
Like President Bill Clinton, Joseph R. Biden Jr. is an empathetic extrovert with a sprawling network of friends. Like President George W. Bush, he respects American political traditions, and with President Barack Obama, he shares eight years of history, experiences and some Washington battle scars.
But when Mr. Biden enters the White House in January, after four turbulent years of the Trump presidency and a chaotic transition period, he will bring with him his own set of instincts.
He has honed the ways he operates in Washington over 36 years as a senator and eight years as vice president. Based on his actions and attitudes throughout his most recent 18 months as a presidential candidate, here are four key elements of how Mr. Biden may approach governing come January, 48 years after he first arrived in Washington.
He consults experts, elected officials and his inner circle.
Mr. Biden relied this year on a blend of expert opinion and conversations with elected officials across the country as he formulated his plans to confront the extraordinary public health and economic crises at hand.
He can be loose with deadlines.
At key inflection points throughout the campaign, Mr. Biden wanted to take in as much information as possible. Mr. Biden ultimately is decisive, his allies argue, saying that he is not the kind of person to second-guess or to walk back a promise once he has arrived at a deal in a negotiation. But on major political and personnel decisions, at least, he has demonstrated that he cannot be rushed.
He’s a man of the Senate at heart.
His experience in the Senate defined his political outlook — one that prizes consensus, civility and bipartisanship as essential to at least some progress — and helps explain why he will enter the White House with great respect for Congress.
Joe Biden has a mandate to be Joe Biden.
After four years with President Trump in the White House, Mr. Biden promises, in many respects, a return to the past norms and traditions that have typically defined the office, whether that’s embracing the traditional role of serving as consoler in chief in times of tragedy or refusing to use Twitter to deliver messages to the American people.
In the days after the election, journalists from The New York Times’s video team went to some of the most divided counties in some of America’s most divided states to see how voters were feeling now that one of the most polarizing elections of our lifetimes was over. They set up in front of a place where basically all of us have to go sometimes, a symbolic location for this election: the post office.
Times journalists spoke with Americans from various parts of the political spectrum about how they felt now that all the votes had been cast. In a word? Divided. In more words: Anxious. Unsatisfied. Surprised. Somewhat hopeful. Filled with dread.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, made it clear on Sunday that President Trump’s coronavirus task force has not been allowed to communicate with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s transition team, a step that he said was critically important to curbing the pandemic.
Responding to a question from Jake Tapper, the host of the CNN program “State of the Union,” about President Trump’s refusal to allow a normal transition to the incoming administration, Dr. Fauci said a smooth “handing over of the information” was in the interest of protecting public health.
“It’s almost like passing a baton in a race, you don’t want to stop,” Dr. Fauci said, adding later, “Of course it would be better if we could start working with them.”
When Mr. Tapper asked how he thought history would remember the U.S. government’s response to the pandemic, Dr. Fauci replied, “Obviously it’s not going to be a good report, because of the extent of suffering that we’ve had.”
He added, however, that the answer was complex, and that many variables were involved in the failure, including the nation’s “flare of independence” and the fact that many Americans simply “don’t want to be told what to do.”
Asked when President Trump had last attended a meeting of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Fauci said it had been “several months.”
Dr. Fauci praised Mr. Biden’s choice of Ron Klain, who led the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola pandemic, to be chief of his White House staff, saying Mr. Klain had been “absolutely terrific” during his tenure as “Ebola czar” in 2014 and 2015.
Dr. Fauci also expressed cautious optimism that Pfizer’s vaccine candidate would continue to prove effective and that it, and perhaps other vaccines as well, would be rolled out successfully with a high degree of acceptance. But he warned that life would not return to normal until the second or third quarter of next year, and that Americans would have to continue adhering to public health measures, like wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings, even after vaccination begins.
“It’s not like a light switch,” he said. “We’re not going to turn it on and off, going from where we are back to normal.”
WASHINGTON — It was an election where Republican charges of fictitious voter fraud took center stage before, during and after the count, backed by a barrage of lawsuits intent on making it harder to cast or tally votes.
Yet by its end, Americans had cast ballots at a rate not seen in a century. A Democrat was elected president. And Republicans drew surprising support from Black and Latino voters — the very groups the party historically targeted with restrictive voting laws in state after state.
That a strategy Republicans long relied on largely fell flat, experts say, can be explained by the partisan divisions that drove record turnout, by self-inflicted wounds on the part of President Trump and by a pandemic that turned a gradual trend toward voting early — by mail or in person — into a stampede.
Some of those factors may be one-offs. But aspects of this election — especially the shift from Election Day voting to mail ballots, and the party’s gains with some racial groups — raise questions of whether the Republican strategy of voter restrictions served the party’s interests as it once did. Also unclear is whether the changes in how people voted this year, in the middle of a pandemic, reflect long-term changes pointing to higher turnouts or factors unique to the 2020 vote.
“As long as the Republican Party is going to depend on whiter, older and more rural electorate,” said Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, “they’re going to make it harder for some people to register and vote.” Assertions of fraud, he said, fire up loyalists, increase political contributions and delegitimize Democratic victories.
“Already,” Dr. Hasen said, “Biden is going to come into office with millions of people believing falsely that he cheated his way into the presidency.”
But the election also highlighted how trying to place limits on casting a ballot might actually motivate voters to turn out. And even ignoring the toxic effects on democracy, some experts say, this was an election in which the results suggested that the Republican voting playbook may no longer be as effective as before.
Twelve days after the election, the results are increasingly clear: Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the presidency by a significant margin, growing his Electoral College lead with wins in Georgia and Arizona. Democrats kept control of the House but with a smaller majority, and control of the Senate will hinge on runoffs in January for Georgia’s two seats.
But 11 House contests remain uncalled. Here’s an overview of the vote counts in the House races as of Sunday morning.
California, 21st District: Republican David Valadao is leading Representative T.J. Cox, a Democrat, by 1.4 percentage points with over 98 percent of estimated votes reported.
California, 25th District: Representative Mike Garcia, a Republican, is leading Christy Smith, a Democrat, by just three-hundredths of a percentage point — 104 votes — with more than 98 percent of estimated votes reported.
Iowa, Second District: Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, is leading Rita Hart, a Democrat, by two-hundredths of a percentage point — just 48 votes — with 89 percent of estimated votes reported.
New Jersey, Seventh District: Representative Tom Malinowski, a Democrat, is leading Thomas Kean, a Republican, by one percentage point with 96 percent of estimated votes counted. The Associated Press called this race for Mr. Malinowski days ago, but the race has tightened since then, and The Times has withdrawn its call.
New York, First District: Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican, is leading Nancy Goroff, a Democrat, by more than 20 percentage points with 77 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, Second District: Andrew Garbarino, a Republican, is leading Jackie Gordon, a Democrat, by more than 16 percentage points with 79 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, Third District: George Santos, a Republican, is leading Representative Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, by three-hundreths of a percentage point — just 918 votes — with 74 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, 18th District: Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat, is leading Chele Farley, a Republican, by four percentage points with 79 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, 19th District: Representative Antonio Delgado, a Democrat, is leading Kyle Van De Water, a Republican, by four percentage points with 83 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, 22nd District: Claudia Tenney, a Republican, is leading Representative Anthony Brindisi, a Democrat, by 11 percentage points with 80 percent of estimated votes reported.
Utah, Fourth District: Burgess Owens, Republican, is leading Representative Ben McAdams, a Democrat, by about half a percentage point with more than 98 percent of estimated votes counted.
ATLANTA — Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia, was on the verge Sunday of completing its hand recount of more than half a million votes cast there in the general election, a major milestone for the statewide audit of the presidential election.
The audit, which began Friday morning in many of Georgia’s 159 counties, must be finished by Wednesday just before midnight. Thus far it appears to be going smoothly, with an official from the secretary of state’s office saying that as of Saturday, roughly 50 counties had completed their new counts.
At the same time, however, President Trump continued over the weekend to make the unfounded assertion that the country had conducted a “rigged election,” and specifically raised specious claims of absentee voter fraud in Georgia.
The arduous process of counting Georgia’s roughly five million votes — as well as the president’s effort to denigrate the process overseen by the Republican secretary of state, who has defended the process as legitimate — unfolded amid the ineluctable reality that Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. had won the national election, as well as the battle in Georgia.
The state was called for Mr. Biden on Friday; Mr. Trump trails by about 14,000 votes.
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, ordered the statewide hand recount after the Trump campaign and the state Republican Party requested one. Fulton County, which covers much of Atlanta, was watched particularly closely: It is a Democratic stronghold, and it has historically struggled with its administration of elections.
But at a Sunday morning news conference, Robb Pitts, the chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, said that the work was wrapping up early. “We are finishing in record time,” he said.
Mr. Pitts stood at a lectern in a yawning, high-ceilinged space inside the Georgia World Congress Center, a massive convention center in downtown Atlanta. Fulton County employees, working at folding tables in groups of two began counting ballots Saturday morning. It had been, Mr. Pitts said, “a beehive of activity.”
But on Sunday morning, many of the tables were abandoned. A few bipartisan adjudication panels, which scrutinize hand-marked ballots in the case of ambiguous voter intentions, continued to pore over individual ballots as observers from the two major parties looked on, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Carter Center, which more typically monitors elections abroad.
A number of conservative observers were also present Sunday morning, among them Scott G. Hall, 56, who works in the bail bonding business and asserted that he and his allies had discovered data at 2 a.m. Sunday that he said showed that thousands of Fulton County residents had voted twice.
“How can you assure us that there haven’t been any duplicate votes?” he asked.
“We haven’t received any reports of that,” said Richard L. Barron, Fulton County’s registration and elections director.
Indeed, a few hours later, Mr. Hall said that the information about double votes turned out to be wrong. “Looks like that was incorrect information,” he said.
As Mr. Trump continued to disparage the process in Georgia, lawyers with the Biden campaign argued that the alarm bells the president had been ringing are unfounded.
“What we are seeing in every state thus far in this post-election period is that the Trump campaign’s claims about the election do not survive first contact” with details on the ground, said Patrick Moore, a Biden campaign lawyer. “And in Georgia, that’s what we are seeing in the audit.”
Mr. Moore said that he was aware of 48 counties that had completed their recounts, and that vote totals had shifted, “but almost imperceptibly, and thus far in favor of Joe Biden.” Elections officials said they did not expect anything to change the fact that Mr. Biden had received more votes the president.