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VERIFY: Fact-checking Trump's Thursday post-election speech

The VERIFY team breaks down claims made by President Donald Trump in his speech from the White House Thursday.

President Donald Trump held a press conference on Thursday as key battleground states were continuing to count their ballots. Trump is contesting the ballot counting process in several states.

The VERIFY team is fact-checking the claims he made throughout the speech.

TRUMP: “If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us. If you count the votes that came in late. We’re looking at them very strongly, but a lot of votes came in late.”

This claim is FALSE on multiple levels.

At this point, no state has reported processing any “illegal” or “late” votes.
His talk about “votes that came in late,” is also misleading. At this point, there are no states reporting that they’re processing “late” ballots.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has a detailed breakdown of when states stopped accepting ballots via mail. In all states, as long as a ballot was received by Election Day, it is perfectly legal no matter how long it takes the state to process it. Many states also allowed ballots that were received after Election Day to be counted as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.

According to USA.gov, there are multiple types of voter fraud such as when someone “illegally casts a vote in the name of a dead person or someone who’s moved."

Voter fraud is considered a federal election crime. Trump’s campaign did not provide evidence to prove what he called “illegal votes” and his team hasn’t provided any evidence of that. 

Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures, USA.gov

RELATED: VERIFY: Votes don’t have to be counted by end of Election Day

TRUMP: “We kept the Senate despite having twice as many seats to defend as Democrats."

While it's possible the Republicans hold on to the Senate, that's not final yet. This claim is currently FALSE

Currently, both Democrats and Republicans are projected to hold 48 seats. There are four seats that are undecided.

One of the final three seats, that of North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis, looks likely to go in the Republicans’ favor, although the results are still not final. Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan is also expected to hold onto his seat.

That would only put the Republicans at 50. The final two seats are both in Georgia. The special election is heading into a runoff between Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democrat challenger Raphael Warnock. The other seat, between Republican incumbent David Perdue and Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff looks likely to head to a runoff as well. That would mean both seats, and thus control of the Senate, would be decided in January.

He is correct in saying that Republicans were fending off more seats than Democrats. There were 23 Republican seats in this contest and 12 Democrat seats.

It's also important to note that Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine are independents, but they caucus with Democrats. Generally, they are counted among the Democrats.

Sources: AP election map, Georgia runoff date, 270toWin Senate election info

RELATED: VERIFY: How news outlets call races with few precincts reporting

Trump: “We were winning in all the key locations by a lot actually. And then our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away in secret.”

This claim is FALSE.

Initial results in many states did show President Trump leading in the vote count, but the state is not won until all the votes are counted. 

As the VERIFY team investigated Wednesday, there were no surprise or "miraculous" changes to the voting results. The overnight changes in vote totals came as more ballots were counted in all of the states. 

Election officials in many states warned for weeks that results would likely not be known on Election Day and that the results from processing mail-in ballots would take longer than ballots cast on Election Day. 

Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures, “President Trump falsely claims that 'surprise' ballots are changing election outcome”, Michigan Secretary of State on Election Expectations

RELATED: VERIFY: President Trump falsely claims that 'surprise' ballots are changing election outcome

Trump: “And as you know, I've claimed certain states and he's claiming states and we can both claim the states."

This claim is FALSE.

A candidate “claiming” a state carries no actual weight or power. Nonetheless, President Trump publicly tweeted that he “claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes,” the States of Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan. At the time of the tweet none of those states had been called for either candidate. Michigan was called by the Associated Press and other outlets for Joe Biden shortly after the tweet.

The VERIFY team looked through transcripts of all of Joe Biden’s recent speeches and any recent social media posts by the candidate. Biden has not claimed any states.

Sources: “Why AP Called Michigan for Biden”, Biden Speech Nov. 5, Biden Speech Nov. 4, Biden Speech Nov. 3 

Trump: "The pollsters got it knowingly wrong. They got it knowingly wrong."

There is no evidence to support this claim.

While many polls appear to have been off by multiple points, especially in states like Florida, it won’t be possible to know how large the errors were until all votes are counted and certified. 

The claim that polling locations “knowingly” got the results wrong can’t be verified. No polling outfit has admitted intentional error and the president did not provide any evidence to support his claim.

Trump: "The election apparatus in Georgia is run by Democrats."

This claim is FALSE. It’s run by the Georgia Secretary of State, who is a Republican.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s website says, “The Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office organizes and oversees all election activity, including voter registration, municipal, state, county, and federal elections.”

The Georgia Secretary of State is Brad Raffensperger, who has been a Republican dating back at least to his time in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2015 to the start of 2019. In fact, Trump endorsed him on Twitter in November 2018 and Raffensperger assumed the position in January 2019.

Sources: Georgia SoS website, Georgia HoR website

Trump: "In Georgia there was a pipe burst – in a faraway location that was unrelated to the location of what was happening and they stopped counting for four hours."

This claim is FALSE.

The pipe that burst in Georgia created a water leak that affected the room where absentee ballots were being tabulated. No ballots or equipment were damaged and repairs were completed in two hours.

Here’s a statement from Jessica Corbitt-Dominguez, director of external affairs for the Fulton County Government.

"At approximately 6:07 a.m. on November 3, the staff at State Farm Arena notified Fulton County Registration & Elections of a water leak affecting the room where absentee ballots were being tabulated. The State Farm Arena team acted swiftly to remediate the issue. Within 2 hours, repairs were complete. No ballots were damaged, nor was any equipment affected. There was a brief delay in tabulating absentee ballots while the repairs were being conducted.”

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