US election hots up as Trump hits out at FBI probe over Biden battle bus incident

Donald Trump has hit out at an FBI investigation after his supporters were accused of trying to run a Joe Biden battle bus off the road, as both politicians enter the final election campaign stretch.

Tensions hotted up in the final day before Americans head to the polls when the US president dismissed a probe into “patriots” who “did nothing wrong”.

Mr Biden’s team said they were forced to call 911 when the caravan of cars bearing Trump flags surrounded their bus and those in front tried to slow it down to a stop in the middle way of a Texas motorway.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 01: A front yard placard states "VOTE HIM OUT BEFORE HE KILLS US ALL!!" and multiple campaign signs in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on the penultimate day before the general election on November 1, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The grassroots get of the vote campaign efforts of canvassing, door knocking, literature drops, phone calling, and texting, will prove crucial in determening the outcome of voter turnout and ultimately the presidency. With the election only two days away, Trump held four rallies across Pennsylvania yesterday, as he vies to recapture the Keystone State's vital 20 electoral votes. In 2016, he carried Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast, less than a 1 percent differential, becoming the first Republican to claim victory here since 1988. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Image:Mr Biden said his opponent ‘is the virus’

The row intensified as the incumbent Republican leader and his Democrat challenger make their last-ditch appeals to voters in swing states.

With polls due to open on Tuesday morning but a record number of Americans voting early or by mail, Mr Trump is holding five events across North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

OPA LOCKA, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 01: A cowboy hat is held up as people wait for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump for his campaign event at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport on November 1, 2020 in Opa Locka, Florida. President Trump continues to campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading up to the November 3rd Election Day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Image:Mr Trump is holding five events on Monday

Meanwhile, Mr Biden is focusing his efforts on one event in Ohio and three in Pennsylvania, even employing the star power of Lady Gaga.

Attention is also turning to the possible outcomes after Tuesday, with predictable scenarios thrown into the air due to the coronavirus pandemic and record high numbers of early voters and mail-in ballots.

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Mr Trump’s strategy seems to be that if he sees good margins in states early on then he will declare himself the winner, and that if high numbers of mail-in ballots supporting Mr Biden threaten that lead, then he will declare them illegitimate.

But in anticipation of further campaigning and legal action, Mr Biden’s team have dispatched Barack Obama to call for last-minute donations to “make sure they can keep up the fight after election day, if necessary”.

Barack Obama speaks at a campaign drive-in, mobilization event for Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden
Image:Barack Obama will be sent to Georgia and Florida

He is also using the former president to drive turnout with events in two other crucial toss-up states – Georgia and Florida.

Seeking to put COVID-19 and the US death toll of over 230,000 central to his campaign message, Mr Biden said to get control of the pandemic voters had to oust Mr Trump as “he is the virus”.

And continuing a row that has dominated the weekend, the former vice president addressed the video of Trump supporters encircling his bus.

“We’ve never had anything like this – at least we’ve never had a president who thinks it’s a good thing,” he said during a campaign event.

Image:There have been record numbers of early voting

But Mr Trump defended his supporters against the FBI investigation, saying the organisation “should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat-run cities and hurting our people”.

He also revealed at a rally in Georgia that aides told him he did not have to visit the state, because “we have it made” there.

Analysis: What Trump and Biden’s final campaign stops say about their aims

By Greg Milam, US correspondent

Donald Trump has dusted off his 2016 manual in the hope it contains the secret to another election upset.

Four years ago, a breathless sweep through swing states in the final few days of the campaign reversed what the polls had been saying.

Trump believes the same is possible this year, with polls again showing him heading for defeat.

But they also show the president has so far failed to reach beyond the noisy, enthusiastic loyalists at his rallies and attract voters in the middle. That could be decisive.

Joe Biden needs to rebuild the “blue wall” Democrats used to count on in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to ensure poll predictions become reality.

His focus on places like Detroit, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is an attempt to drive up turn-out among Black voters which, his campaign believe, could tip him into winning territory.

Florida and Arizona are also Biden targets – America’s “sun belt” and “rust belt” are where this election will be won and lost.

Sky News US election coverage

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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