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Election 2020 Today: Democracy challenged, GOP reckoning

Here’s what’s happening Tuesday in Election 2020 and President-elect Joe Biden's transition.

TODAY’S TOP STORIES:

DEMOCRACY CHALLENGED: America’s democratic institutions are holding firm despite facing unprecedented strain from President Donald Trump as he fights to hold power despite losing his bid for reelection. The latest is the Electoral College, which formally confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Electors in all 50 states backed the will of their voters. But Trump has vowed to fight on, putting pressure on congressional Republicans who have to give final approval to the election on Jan. 6.

Democratic Georgia Senate challenger the Rev. Raphael Warnock addresses supporters during a rally with Jon Ossoff in Atlanta on the first day of early voting for the senate runoff Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (AP PhotoBen Gray)

GOP RECKONING: For the first time, a groundswell of leading Republicans says Biden is the winner of the presidential election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was silent. But a number of senators said the time has come to move on. They’re essentially abandoning Trump’s assault on the outcome. Some vow to stick with Trump, carrying the fight to next month, when Congress votes on the Electoral College results. Others are simply keeping quiet until Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

GEORGIA BOUND: As Republicans try to brand Georgia’s Democratic candidates as puppets who would ensure a leftist takeover of the Senate, Democrats believe they have a helpful counter to the exaggerated attacks: Biden. Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since 1992, and he will return to the state to campaign alongside Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff elections that will determine Senate control.

BARR OUT: Attorney General William Barr, one of Trump’s staunchest allies, is departing amid lingering tension over the Republican president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter. Trump has publicly expressed his anger about Barr’s statement to The Associated Press earlier this month that the Justice Department had found no widespread fraud that would change the outcome of the election.

QUOTABLE: “The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can extinguish that flame.” — Biden, after the Electoral College formally confirmed his victory.

Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.