1/ Attorney General William Barr authorized federal prosecutors to investigate “substantial allegations” of voter fraud – if they exist – before the results of the election are certified, despite no evidence of widespread fraud. In a reversal of long-standing Justice Department policy, Barr wrote that investigations “may be conducted if there are clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State.” In Barr’s directive, he said he had already approved probes related to the 2020 election “in specific instances,” but did not elaborate on the circumstances or whether they remained open. (New York Times / Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post)

  • Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania to block state officials from certifying President-elect Biden’s victory in the state. The lawsuit, brought by the campaign and two registered voters, alleged Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting system “lacked all of the hallmarks of transparency and verifiability that were present for in-person voters.” (Reuters / Bloomberg)

2/ The Justice Department’s top election crimes prosecutor resigned in protest after Barr authorized U.S. attorneys to probe alleged elections fraud. Richard Pilger told colleagues in an email that Barr’s memorandum breaks with the Justice Department’s policy on avoiding interference with elections that has stood for 40 years. A Justice Department official confirmed that the department is “looking into” allegations of ineligible voters in Nevada and mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania. (NPR / NBC News / CNN / Axios / The Guardian)

3/ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ignored Biden’s victory and claimed there will be a “smooth transition” to a second Trump term. “We must count every legal vote,” Pompeo said. “We must make sure that any vote that was not lawful ought not be counted, that dilutes your vote if it’s done improperly, gotta get that right. When we get it right, we’ll get it right.” When asked whether the State Department was prepared to engage with Biden’s transition team, Pompeo replied: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” (CNBC / Bloomberg / Axios / The Hill)

  • Trump installed Kash Patel as chief of staff to new acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller. (Wall Street Journal)

4/ The White House budget office instructed federal agencies to proceed with plans for Trump’s February budget. “The decision to proceed with Trump’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year has rankled and surprised several career staffers given Biden’s victory, as well as the fact that the incoming Biden administration is expected to submit its budget plan to Congress early next year.” The White House budget proposal is typically issued in February, which would be at least two weeks after Trump leaves office. (Washington Post)

5/ The White House continues to vet political appointees for Trump’s nonexistent second term. The White House Presidential Personnel Office is in the process of vetting candidates for job openings in the federal government and the White House intends to fill early next year. (Daily Beast)

6/ The Biden-Harris transition team is considering legal action if the Trump administration doesn’t formalize Biden’s win and give him access to agencies and transition funding. The General Services Administration is tasked with “ascertaining” the results of the presidential election, but GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee, has refused to sign the paperwork to begin the transition. Biden, meanwhile, called Trump’s refusal to concede the election an “embarrassment” that “will not help his legacy.” (CBS News / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / ABC News / The Guardian)

  • Trump’s adviser leading his post-election challenge tested positive for the coronavirus. David Bossie joins Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who both contracted the virus in the past week. (Bloomberg / CNBC)

7/ The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for a monoclonal antibody therapy to treat mild to moderate coronavirus infections in adults and children. The single antibody treatment is similar to the therapy given to Trump after he contracted the coronavirus. Eli Lilly said that its treatment should be administered as soon as possible after a positive coronavirus test, and within 10 days of developing symptoms. (New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN / Washington Post)

8/ Lawyers can’t find the parents for 666 migrant kids separated by the Trump administration – a higher number than the 545 previously reported. (NBC News)

9/ Trump removed the official in charge of the program that produces the federal government’s scientific report on climate change. Michael Kuperberg, a climate scientist who had been executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program since July 2015, had been expected to stay on through the production of the fifth edition of the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment. The move comes days after the White House tapped Betsy Weatherhead to lead the climate study. (Politico / Washington Post)

poll/ 70% of Republicans do not believe the election “free and fair” despite no evidence of fraud. (The Guardian)