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Trump's final campaign pitch is a false warning of 'cheating' in Pennsylvania
(CNN)President Donald Trump closed out his bid for a second term with a false warning that "cheating" in the key state of Pennsylvania could lead to violence in the streets. It was his latest attempt to tarnish the integrity of an election clash with Democrat Joe Biden that nearly 100 million Americans have already validated by casting early votes in the middle of the pandemic.

Trump's inflammatory behavior threatened to exacerbate already fraught national tensions amid fears of civil unrest that prompted businesses in some cities to board up their premises. Trump will spend Election Night behind a high iron fence that is now ringing the White House.

The President's final act of the campaign threatens to rock a surreal election at a destabilizing moment in history, with the US battling a once-in-a century public health crisis, a consequent economic slump and embroiled in an unresolved racial reckoning. But the massive turnout already and the potential of new records being set on Tuesday suggest voters are taking their civic duty extraordinarily seriously.

Trump told reporters that a Supreme Court decision allowing Pennsylvania to count mail-in votes that arrive up to three days after the election would lead to cheating at a "very high level" and was "very dangerous." In a later tweet, tagged as possibly misleading by Twitter, Trump warned it could "induce violence in the streets." At a rally in Wisconsin he claimed the decision could "put our country in danger."

His gambit was a fitting coda for nearly four years in office so far, in which he has constantly stretched the pillars of American democracy almost to breaking point and a campaign in which he has repeatedly spread misinformation about a "rigged" election.

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