It may never be known whether Donald Trump truly believed he won the 2020 US election, or if the last two weeks have been an extended face-saving exercise. Some senior Republicans, who have remained publicly silent, viewed the president's legal assault on the electoral system as akin to a tantrum, or to him working through the various stages of grief. Whatever his motivation, the president's decision on Monday to accept the formal transition process marked the end of an extraordinary interregnum. It began on Nov 7 when all major US television networks "called" the election for Joe Biden. At this point, it is traditional for one candidate to concede, although it is simply a custom. Instead, Mr Trump began making allegations of widespread voter fraud, and assembled a legal team to overturn counts in various battleground states. Three dozen cases were filed in six states. The vast majority were rejected by a judge, or withdrawn. Not a single case of voter fraud was upheld by a court. One legal expert described the strategy as like "throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, which I tell my law students is never a good strategy." Mr Trump became increasingly frustrated with his legal team. But the frustration went both ways, and several lawyers withdrew from representing him in court. Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump's personal lawyer, seized control. His all-out attack culminated in a bizarre, hour-long press conference on Nov 19. The claims Mr Giuliani made about voter fraud were overshadowed when black hair dye rolled down his cheeks. At the same event Sidney Powell, another firebrand lawyer, made claims including that voting software had been created at the direction of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Mr Giuliani later distanced himself from her, saying Ms Powell was "not a member of the Trump Legal Team". Then, on Monday, a number of things collided to force Mr Trump's hand. Rush Limbaugh, the massively popular conservative radio talk show host, and friend of the president, issued a rare attack.