Sanders vows to help Clinton beat Trump, but keeps campaign alive

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Will Bernie bow out?

WASHINGTON, June 16 (Reuters) - Bernie Sanders promised on Thursday to work with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to defeat Republican Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 election, but did not formally pull out of the race for the White House.

Sanders did not endorse Clinton during an online speech to his supporters, but made it clear he was shifting his focus to building a grassroots movement to fight for his liberal policy agenda and transform the Democratic Party.

"The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly, and I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time," the U.S. senator from Vermont said.

Sanders on the campaign trail:

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Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail
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Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to a crowd gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center during a campaign rally on March 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary elections in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, while Missouri and Illinois remain tight races. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, pumps his fist as he arrives for at a rally at the Macomb Community College, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Warren, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks at the FOX News town hall at the Gem Theatre, Monday, March 7, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves as he leaves a news conference after voting in the Vermont primary at the Robert Miller Community and Recreation Center in Burlington, Vermont, Tuesday, March 1, 2016, on Super Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)???
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, and his wife, Jane arrive for a rally in Norfolk, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. smiles while speaking at the Kansas City Convention Center during a campaign event in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, meets 3-month-old Oliver Lomas, of Venice, Calif., who was dressed as Sanders during a rally at Bonanza High School, on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a canvass kick-off event at the Reno Sparks Convention Center, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Reno, Nev. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to a crowd outside of a rally at Bonanza High School, on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., boards his plane for a campaign rally in Las Vegas, on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The Rev. Al Sharpton talks with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. as they sit down for a breakfast meeting at Sylvia's Restaurant, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in the Harlem neighborhood of New York. Sanders defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday in the New Hampshire primary. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reacts to the cheering crowd at his primary night rally Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for a selfie during a campaign rally on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 26: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the media after holding a campaign event with United Steelworkers Local 310L, on January 26, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders continues his quest to become the Democratic presidential nominee.. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, January 24, 2016, ahead of the Iowa Caucus. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a CNN town hall at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. jokes with members of the media and pretends to slip as he steps off his bus before speaking at a town hall, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, at Santa Maria Winery in Carroll, Iowa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., leaves after speaking to a crowded room during a campaign stop Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, is joined by his wife Jane, right, and grandchildren, Dylan, 4, and Ella, 7, on stage after speaking at a town hall at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, participates in the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. Hours before Sunday's Democratic debate, the two top Democratic contenders held a warm-up bout of sorts in multiple separate appearances on political talk shows, at a time when the polling gap between the pair has narrowed in early-voting states. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shakes hands with supporters after outlining his plan to reform the U.S. financial sector on January 5, 2016 in New York City. Sanders is demanding greater financial oversight and greater government action for banks and individuals that break financial laws. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, to discuss gun control and related amendments to the reconciliation bill. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders at the NHDP annual Jefferson Jackson dinner in Manchester, N.H., Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., steps onstage to speak at a campaign event at the Fox Theatre, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. left, sits with rapper Killer Mike at The Busy Bee Cafe Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Atlanta. Killer Mike is scheduled to introduce Sanders at a campaign event at the Fox Theatre later in the evening. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign event at the Fox Theatre Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
The crowd cheers as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign event at the Fox Theatre Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign event at the Fox Theatre Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Supporters for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., cheer at the Jenkins Orphanage in North Charleston, S.C., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, during the Blue Jamboree event. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, about the meaning of "democratic socialism" and other topics. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pauses to wipe his brow as he speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, about the meaning of "democratic socialism" and other topics. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
LEBANON, NH - NOVEMBER 11: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) marches in the Veterans Day Parade November 11, 2015 in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Sanders goes into the Democrats second debate this weekend still running strong in the polls.(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. While next Tuesday's first Democratic presidential debate will probably lack the name-calling and sharp jabs of the Republican face-offs, there's still potential for strong disagreements between the party's leading contenders. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks about the Workplace Democracy Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks during a campaign rally in Springfield, Mass., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2105. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the Des Moines Youth Summit, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, at Creative Visions in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Senator Bernie Sanders at Late Show with Stephen Colbert at the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City on September 18, 2015. Credit: RW/MediaPunch/IPX
US Senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses striking low-wage contract workers from the US Capitol and religious leaders at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2015 for an interfaith service ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis for a six-day visit to the US. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talks on stage during the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention on September 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Five Democratic presidential candidates are all expected to address the crowd inside the Verizon Wireless Arena. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves as he marches with supporters in the Labor Day parade Monday, Sept. 7, 2015, in Milford, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a television interview before a town hall meeting, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Grinnell, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I -Vt., reacts during a fundraiser reception Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greets supporters during the opening of his Cedar Rapids field headquarters, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Marion, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at the Iowa at the Iowa State Fair Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, in Clear Lake, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., lifts his arms in celebration as he speaks at a rally, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Troy Wayrynen)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., during a visit to the National Nurses United office Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
A supporter takes a photo with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, at a rally, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Troy Wayrynen)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., smiles before a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. The afternoon rally was the first of several weekend appearances by Sanders in Seattle and Portland. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nurses take "selfies" with Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., after her spoke at a rally with registered nurses and other community leaders on the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, Thursday, July 30, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at the 2015 International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART) Conference, Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., joined by federal contract workers, speaks during a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 22, 2015, to push for a raise to the minimum wage to $15 an hour. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gives an opening statement at a Netroots Nation town hall meeting, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waits to speak at the Alliance for Retired Americans 2015 National Legislative Conference in Washington, Thursday, July 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to the media about his agenda in running for president, Thursday, April 30, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for a portrait before an interview, Wednesday May 20, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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"I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors," he said in a speech broadcast from his hometown of Burlington, Vermont.

Sanders, who has resisted pressure from Democrats to exit the White House race and back Clinton since she clinched the party nomination last week, said he would keep fighting for his goals of reducing income inequality, removing big money from politics and reining in Wall Street.

"Defeating Donald Trump cannot be our only goal. We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become," he said. "And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia where we will have more than 1,900 delegates."

Sanders has kept his campaign alive as leverage to force concessions from Clinton on his policy goals during deliberations on the party's issues platform, and on the reforms he seeks in the Democratic Party's nominating process.

But he has laid off some staff, stopped campaigning and dropped plans to court unbound delegates in an unspoken acknowledgment the former secretary of state will be the nominee.

Sanders, who met with Clinton on Tuesday night after the nominating process ended, said he would continue his discussions with her campaign to make certain "the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in its history, and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda."

"Our vision for the future of this country is not some kind of fringe idea. It is not a radical idea. It is mainstream. It is what millions of Americans believe in and want to see happen," Sanders said. (Editing by Peter Cooney)

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