US Attorney General William Barr said on Tuesday the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in last month's election, even as President Donald Trump kept up his flailing legal efforts to reverse his defeat.
"To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election," Barr, a Trump appointee widely seen as loyal to the Republican president, told the Associated Press.
Barr told federal prosecutors last month to pursue investigations into credible allegations of election fraud, but warned them to avoid probes into "fanciful or far-fetched claims."
Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump in the November 3 election by 306 to 232 in the state-by-state Electoral College that chooses the president - the same margin that Trump declared a "landslide" when he won four years ago - as well as by more than 6.2 million ballots in the popular vote.
Despite that, Trump has continued to claim loudly and without evidence that the election was marred by widespread fraud. Those claims that have been repeatedly rejected by state and federal officials.
The Trump campaign's legal team responded to Barr's comments by saying the Justice Department did not do enough to investigate allegations of voter fraud.
Trump's campaign has had no success advancing election-fraud claims in court, but his continued complaints appear to have yielded political benefit as polls show a large percentage of Republicans now believe the election was not conducted fairly.
A top election official in Georgia implored Trump to stop his baseless claims, saying they were leading to threats and potential acts of violence against him and other authorities.
"Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed," said Gabriel Sterling, manager for the state's voting systems. "It has all gone too far. ... It has to stop."
In Wisconsin, Trump's campaign asked the state's top court to consider throwing out 221,000 absentee ballots that allegedly lacked information. Biden won that battleground state by about 20,000 votes.
Biden, for his part, has focused on setting up his administration before he takes office on Jan. 20.
On Tuesday, he urged Congress to pass a coronavirus aid package that has been stalled for months, and promised more action to help the economy after he becomes president.
At its peak over the summer, expanded federal unemployment benefits funneled some $12 billion weekly into individual bank accounts, money that propped up spending, padded savings and fueled rehiring.
But those benefits are expiring by the end of this year, prompting calls for a more extended safety net while a coronavirus vaccine is rolled out.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Congress should include a fresh wave of stimulus in a spending bill that must be passed by December 11. Separately, a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a $908 billion relief bill aimed at breaking the deadlock.
Biden said any such package passed by Congress before he takes over next month would be "at best just a start."
"My transition team is already working on what I'll put forward in the next Congress to address the multiple crises we're facing, especially our economic and COVID crises," Biden said at an event in Wilmington, Delaware.
He was speaking alongside his selections for senior economic roles, including his nominee for Treasury secretary, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who said the pandemic and economic damage it caused in the United States was "an American tragedy." Yellen would be the first female Treasury secretary.
Other picks include Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton economist who would be the first Black woman to lead the Council of Economic Advisers. Economists Heather Boushey and Jared Bernstein would also serve on that council, which advises the president on economic policy.
Biden has also chosen Neera Tanden, who heads the Center for American Progress think tank, to head the Office of Management and Budget. She would be the first woman of color to hold that post.
The economic team's makeup reinforces Biden's view that a more aggressive approach to the economic recovery from the pandemic is required.
Yellen, Rouse and Tanden would require Senate confirmation, and several Republicans in that chamber have said they oppose Tanden's nomination. Control of the Senate will be decided in a pair of runoff election in Georgia on Jan. 5.
The United States is in the grip of a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections, with more than 4 million new cases and over 35,000 coronavirus-related deaths reported in November, according to a Reuters tally of official data.