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Trump Concedes White House to Biden; Condemns Siege on US Capitol

'Our incredible journey is only just beginning...'

After exhausting every possible avenue of recourse, President Donald Trump conceded the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden, despite the evidence of widespread vote fraud.

In a new video message Thursday, Trump said that now that Congress has certified the results, the “new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20” and his “focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power.”

He told his supporters that, while he knows they are “disappointed,” he wanted them to know “our incredible journey is only just beginning.”

Trump also condemned violent protesters who stormed the nation’s Capitol—many of them presumed to be supporters of the president—and called for a cooling of tensions and restoration of calm.

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He denounced the “heinous attack” that left him “outraged by the violence lawlessness and mayhem.”

The president’s video Thursday—which was released upon his return to Twitter after his account was restored—was a distinct change in tact from the one he put out just 24 hours earlier in which he said to his supporters occupying the Capitol: “We love you. You’re very special.”

Trump, who pressed Biden during the presidential debates over his reluctance to condemn Antifa’s violent acts of domestic terrorism, denounced the demonstrators’ “lawlessness and mayhem.”

As for his feelings on leaving office, he told the nation that “serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime” while hinting at a return to the public arena.

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But Democrats scrambled to seek options that would make such a return impossible—trying to use the final two weeks of his presidency to ram through an impeachment do-over that would prohibit his serving in federal office.

That effort, as with the previous failed impeachment, would require votes of two-thirds of both chambers of Congress.

In the West Wing, shell-shocked aides were packing up, acting on a delayed directive to begin offboarding their posts ahead of the Biden team’s arrival.

The slowdown before now was due to Trump’s single-minded focus on his challenges against the fraud that transpired in the November election.

Few aides had any sense of the president’s plans, with some wondering if Trump would largely remain out of sight until he left the White House.

Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the protest at the U.S. Capitol “appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way.”

McEnany took pains to try to draw a distinction between the “violent rioters” and other Trump supporters who attended the president’s rally in Washington.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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