As top Republicans remained divided Sunday over congratulating President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and declaring the election over, President Trump’s closest advisers continue to brief him on possible “legal remedies,” according to a White House official.
That path has been encouraged most strongly by Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, while most other Trump advisers have said privately that the chances of changing the results of the election through various court challenges are exceedingly slim.
Mr. Trump’s campaign announced on Sunday that Representative Doug Collins of Georgia will lead its recount team in the state, where the effort will begin as soon as the canvassing of ballots has concluded.
Some within the Republican Party have made it clear that it was time for the president to concede. On Sunday, former President George W. Bush became the highest-profile Republican to publicly declare the election over in defiance of Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept the results.
“I extended my warm congratulations” to Mr. Biden “and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night,” Mr. Bush said in a statement released after he spoke with Mr. Biden by telephone. “I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election to the vice presidency. Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”
Although Mr. Bush said Mr. Trump had “the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges,” his statement made clear that he did not think those efforts would succeed. Mr. Bush’s position could encourage other Republicans to speak out and increase pressure on Mr. Trump to stop fighting the results with unsubstantiated claims….
Republican leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have refused to publicly acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory without necessarily embracing Mr. Trump’s wild claims. Many of them have either remained silent or have straddled the line with statements calling for all legal votes to be counted, suggesting that the president should be permitted to file any lawsuits or call for any recounts allowed under the law.
Only a few well-known Republicans, like Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have congratulated Mr. Biden.