Donald Trump has stepped up his argument that the presidential election will be rigged in favour of Hillary Clinton, claiming that the only way he can lose Pennsylvania is “if cheating goes on”.

Whereas Trump regularly cited opinion polls when he was winning the Republican primaries, his poor showing in recent national surveys has left him sowing doubt about the integrity of the process, even before a vote is cast.

Speaking at a rally in Altoona, Pennsylvania, on Friday evening, the celebrity tycoon said: “We’re gonna watch Pennsylvania. Go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times. The only way we can lose, in my opinion – and I really mean this, Pennsylvania – is if cheating goes on. I really believe it.”

Trump went on: “I looked over Pennsylvania and I’m studying it. And we have some great people here. Some great leaders here of the Republican Party, and they’re very concerned about that, and that’s the way we can lose the state, and we have to call up law enforcement, and we have to have the sheriffs and the police chiefs and everybody watching.

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