👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations reached an all-time high of 61,964, as new daily cases passed 139,000 for the first time. The previous record for hospitalizations was 59,780 on April 12. The U.S., meanwhile, recorded more than 1 million new coronavirus cases in the past 10 days and is averaging more than 111,000 new cases a day – a record. More than 1,440 new deaths were also reported, pushing the the seven-day average to more than 1,000 new deaths a day for the first time since August 19. Public health experts, meanwhile, warn that the U.S. is heading for a “dark winter,” a “Covid hell,” and the “darkest days of the pandemic” – aka the next few months of the coronavirus pandemic will be unlike anything the nation has seen yet. (New York Times / CNBC / The Guardian / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)
Two more people who attended Trump’s Election Night party at the White House have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, bringing the current tally of COVID-19 cases from the event to at least five. (CNBC)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~51,927,000; deaths: ~1,281,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~10,362,000; deaths: ~241,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
2/ Election officials in 45 states representing both political parties said there was no evidence of voter fraud or irregularities. State officials and secretaries of state in four of the five remaining states reported no major voting issues. Officials in Texas did not respond when asked whether they suspected or had evidence of illegal voting. (New York Times)
- Election Live Blogs: Washington Post / New York Times / The Guardian / NPR / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal
3/ A Pennsylvania postal worker admitted that he fabricated the allegations that a postmaster instructed postal workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day. Richard Hopkins told investigators from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General that the allegations of widespread voting irregularities were not true, and he signed an affidavit recanting his claims. Hopkins’s claim was cited by Lindsey Graham in a letter to the Justice Department calling for a federal investigation. Attorney General William Barr subsequently authorized federal prosecutors to investigate credible allegations of voting irregularities and fraud before results are certified. The Trump campaign also cited Hopkins’s allegation in a federal lawsuit seeking to prevent Pennsylvania election officials from certifying the states’ results. (Washington Post)
Georgia will conduct a statewide hand recount of ballots cast in the election amid baseless accusations of election fraud from Republicans. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the hand recount, which will likely be both less accurate than a machine recount and more costly, “will help build confidence.” Meanwhile, Georgia’s Lieutenant Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, said there have not been “any sort of substantial instances” of voter fraud in the state. (NPR / CNBC / CBS News / CNN)
The Trump campaign filed another lawsuit in Michigan challenging the election results over alleged irregularities, seeking to stop the state from certifying results that show Biden leading by about 146,000 votes. (Bloomberg)
4/ The Office of the Director of National Intelligence won’t provide Biden with intelligence reports until the General Services Administration recognizes that Biden won the election. GSA chief Emily Murphy has yet to sign the letter of “ascertainment,” which allows Biden’s transition team to begin the transfer of power. As a result, Biden is not receiving the President’s Daily Brief and it’s not clear whether any of his top advisers are getting access to any classified material at all. (NBC News / New York Times)
5/ Trump made his first public appearance in six days to visit Arlington National Cemetery for a ceremony commemorating Veterans Day. He did not speak at the event. Trump’s official schedule has been devoid of public events since Biden surpassed the 270 electoral votes. (Associated Press / CNN)
6/ Trump named three loyalists to top Pentagon jobs a day after firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper. James Anderson, who had been acting undersecretary for policy, resigned and was replaced by Anthony Tata, a retired Army one-star general and former Fox News commentator who failed to get through Senate confirmation earlier this year. Joseph Kernan, a retired Navy vice admiral, stepped down as undersecretary for intelligence, and was replaced by Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who becomes acting undersecretary for intelligence. Trump also named Christopher Miller as defense chief. (Associated Press)
poll/ 86% of Trump voters don’t think Biden legitimately won the election, but can’t provide any evidence to support the claim. (Washington Post)
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