With the voting over and Democratic Party Joe Biden being the president-elect, incumbent US President Donald Trump has given no indication he's preparing to concede.
Instead, Trump has resorted to legal battles to win a second term.
However, recognition is growing in Trump's inner circle that efforts to overturn Joe Biden's victory will be futile, though some advisers have urged the president to pursue focused legal challenges, according to people familiar with the matter, reports Bloomberg.
Donald Trump's closest aide, son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has recommended the president ask courts to ensure transparency around ongoing counts of ballots in several contested states.
Trump has fallen further behind Biden in three pivotal states - Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada - and has not made up enough ground in Arizona to make it likely the state will flip back to Trump's column. He now trails Biden by about 101,000 votes combined across the four states, with the largest deficits in Pennsylvania and Nevada.
There is awareness among Trump's aides that the election has been decided. But the president plans to explore all options to ensure legal votes are counted and votes the campaign contends are illegal are not, one of the people said.
Neither Trump nor his team have made public any evidence of widespread irregularities in the election or any illegal votes.
The Trump team is said to make additional legal moves starting on Monday.
Several foreign leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson swiftly issued statements congratulating the president-elect Joe Biden.
Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris delivered victory speeches Saturday evening. Trump was at his northern Virginia golf course on Saturday when the race was called and returned there on Sunday.
Former President George W Bush spoke to Biden and Harris on Sunday, his office said in a statement that referred to Biden as the president-elect.
Bush said Trump "has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges" but added that "the American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear."
Not much to back the "BY A LOT" claim
Donald Trump continues to insist he defeated Biden, a claim with no merit that's been echoed by others in his orbit including personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
The president tweeted Saturday he won the election "BY A LOT."
There are mixed feelings in Trump's circle about his decision to golf on Saturday, when it was possible the race might be called for Biden.
One adviser said it signaled the president didn't care whether he won or lost, even while campaign officials - at his orders - were forging ahead with legal and public-relations challenges.
Moments after the race was called, Giuliani held a news conference in the outskirts of Philadelphia, where he claimed fraud and irregularities in the election - without presenting credible evidence, and declared Trump would not concede.
Bellicose pledge for legal battle on baseless grounds
Trump's pledge to fight the outcome of the election in the courts crashed on Friday into skeptical judges, daunting Electoral College math and a lack of evidence for his claims of fraud, reports the New York Times.
The Republican National Committee announced it had activated "legal challenge teams" in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, saying: "This election is not over,"
Conservative political combatant David Bossie was named to lead the effort.
However, none of the dozen or so lawsuits they had brought in battleground states appeared to be gaining any traction in the courts; and none seemed likely to give Trump the edge he would need in vote counts in the states that will determine the outcome.
The campaign appears to seem less focused on substantive legal arguments that could hold up in court rather than on bolstering the president's political narrative, unsupported by the facts, that he was somehow being robbed of a second term.
The most high-profile step of the lawsuits came when Pennsylvania Republicans asked the US Supreme Court to step in and require election officials in the state to segregate ballots that arrived after Election Day and not to include them for now in the vote totals in the largest and most critical of the swing states. On Friday evening, Justice Samuel A Alito Jr. agreed to the request.
With Pennsylvania already segregating ballots, counting them separately and not including them in the announced vote totals, the move seemd more a show.
The secretary of state, over the objections of Republicans and Trump, has said they can be counted if they arrived by 5 pm on Friday, in line with a state court ruling that the Supreme Court has left open the possibility of reviewing again. A state official said the ballots in question number in the thousands but not tens of thousands.
Lack of progress in stopping the count or making a persuasive case for large-scale ballot fraud left Trump and his team increasingly reliant for political salvation on recounts - which appeared likely to take place in Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Wisconsin but which rarely result in big swings in vote counts.
Trump's effort may be getting a boost from state legislatures in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which are both controlled by Republicans.
In Wisconsin, Robin Vos, the speaker of the State Assembly, directed a legislative committee to "use its investigatory powers" to conduct a review of the election, again raising the specter of voter fraud without offering specific evidence, the New York Times reported.
In Pennsylvania, the two top Republicans in the legislature called on Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, to conduct "an immediate audit" of the election.
At the same time, allies of the president openly suggested an extreme move: to use baseless allegations of Democratic malfeasance to pressure Republican-controlled state legislatures in key states to send pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College regardless of the results of the popular vote.
The US Supreme Court temporarily granted the Pennsylvania Republican Party's request to affirm that late-arriving mail-in ballots in the state should be segregated case they are disqualified. But it's not clear how that would help Trump. He needs more ballots counted in order to gain votes in Pennsylvania after Biden took a lead.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Trump ally, said Sunday that Republicans must eventually acknowledge Biden's win but added the president's team has taken a while to accept that they lost a "very contentious" election.
"You have the president sitting in the White House not acknowledging it and I think there's lots of Republicans who are trying to feel their way around that. That's why it was so important to say early on to the president, 'if your basis for not conceding was voter fraud, then show us,"' Christie said.
Many Trump campaign aides signaled they would fight as long as the president wants to, even as the reality of defeat dawns upon them.