By Linda So, Raphael Satter and Simon Lewis
US President Donald Trump has questioned whether the Supreme Court would ever hear a case airing his unproven allegations of widespread election fraud, as President-elect Joe Biden names more officials for leading roles in his new administration.
Although Trump pledged to continue his legal fight to overturn the 3 November election, his comments in a Fox News telephone interview suggested the Republican president was growing resigned to the fact that his Democratic opponent will move into the White House on 20 January.
Trump's team was dealt another blow with the completion on Sunday local time of recounts in Wisconsin's two largest counties that confirmed Biden won the hotly contested state by more than 20,000 votes.
Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis said the recounts "revealed serious issues regarding the legality of ballots cast," without elaborating or providing evidence.
Biden's campaign responded that the recount "only served to reaffirm" that he won the state by more than 20,000 votes and praised Wisconsin election workers for their efforts.
His team has pushed ahead with making key appointments, with the Wall Street Journal reporting on Sunday that Biden had picked top members of his economic team.
Neera Tanden, president of the progressive Center for American Progress think tank, will be named director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Cecilia Rouse, a labour economist at Princeton University, to chair the Council of Economic Advisers.
Biden also tapped key campaign staff and advisers to lead an all-woman communications team, naming campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield as White House communications director and veteran Democratic spokeswoman Jen Psaki as press secretary.
Separately, Biden visited an orthopaedic doctor as a precautionary measure on Sunday after twisting his ankle when playing with one of his dogs.
Despite Trump's pledge to keep fighting, a few Republicans appeared to endorse the notion that Biden had won.
Senator Roy Blunt, chair of the congressional inaugural committee, said the panel expected Biden to be sworn in as president on 20 January.
"We're working with the Biden administration, the likely administration, on both the transition and the inauguration as if we're moving forward," Blunt told CNN's State of the Union, stopping short of acknowledging that Trump lost.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, one of a few Republicans to refer to Biden as president-elect, told Fox News Sunday that "the transition is what is important. The words of President Trump are not quite as significant."
Trump used his Fox News interview to repeat unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud. His campaign and legal team have lost dozens of lawsuits by failing to convince judges of election irregularities in states including Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.
Trump was unclear about what he would do next.
"The problem is it's hard to get it to the Supreme Court," Trump said.
Trump's team has offered conflicting statements on its likely course following a defeat in a federal appeals court on Friday in a case challenging Biden's win in Pennsylvania.
The Supreme Court had always been unlikely to tip the election in Trump's favour, and the president finally seemed to be acknowledging that reality, said Jessica Levinson, who is a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
Trump's Pennsylvania challenge was a particularly poor vehicle for getting to the high court because at its core it involves a procedural question about whether Trump's campaign should have been allowed to expand the case, Levinson said.
"There is nothing for the Supreme Court to decide," she said.
Trump said he would continue to fight the results of the election after he is due to leave office, saying: "My mind will not change in six months."
Aides say Trump has discussed starting a television channel or social media company to keep himself in the spotlight ahead of a potential 2024 White House bid.
Biden won the presidential election with 306 Electoral College votes - more than the 270 required - to Trump's 232. The former vice president also leads Trump by more than 6 million in the popular-vote tally.