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onald Trump’s campaign has paid $3million for a recount of votes in Wisconsin’s two largest Democratic counties in a desperate new bid to halt Joe Biden’s succession to the White House.  

The recount in the battleground state was getting underway today following the request from Mr Trump, who claimed without evidence that Milwaukee and Dane County saw the “worst irregularities” in the November 3 presidential election.  

Mr Biden received 577,455 votes in the two counties compared with 213,157 for Mr Trump, with the Democrat winning the state by 20,608 votes.

The recount petition, signed by Mr Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday, alleged unspecified “mistakes and fraud” were committed all over Wisconsin but particularly in the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, which both voted overwhelmingly for Mr Biden.

Pressing Mr Trump’s case, Wisconsin attorney Jim Troupis said voters need to know that voting and counting “worked in a legal and transparent way”.

Mr Trump could have requested a recount of the entire state – but it would have cost him $8m.  

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, called the recount “an attack on cities, on minorities, on places that have historically voted Democratic. Don’t let anyone fool you that this is about irregularities.”

Mark Thomsen, a Democratic member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said the president was trying to change the rules of the election after he lost, but only in two counties.

“That’s like losing the Super Bowl and then saying `I want a review of a certain play using different rules than what applied to the rest of the game’,” Mr Thomsen said. “That is the essence of hypocrisy and cheating and dishonesty.” 

Even if Mr Trump were able to overturn Mr Biden’s victory in Wisconsin – which experts say is highly unlikely – he would still have to reverse the outcome in two other states where he is contesting the result.  

In one of those, Georgia, officials were today expected to confirm a narrow win for Mr Biden following a hand recount.  

The Wisconsin recount will be done as the state, like much of the rest of the US, battles a huge surge of coronavirus cases.

The country passed a grim milestone today as its death toll from Covid-19 passed 250,000, after single-day fatalities linked to the disease hit 1,800 – the highest level in six months.  

New York’s public schools were ordered to close today, forcing 1.1million children to return to online learning, as the city struggles with rising infections

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