1/ Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to “double down” on precautions as the U.S. recorded more than 145,000 coronavirus cases Wednesday – yet another record. The nation’s top infectious disease expert said that while “help is on the way […] it isn’t here yet,” referring to the early results from the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine candidate, which was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections. The rise in infections comes with new highs in the number of deaths. The U.S. reported 1,549 deaths Wednesday – the highest since May 14. Fauci, meanwhile, added that working alongside the Trump administration has been “very stressful.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~52,553,000; deaths: ~1,291,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~10,514,000; deaths: ~243,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
2/ Corey Lewandowski tested positive for the coronavirus. The Trump campaign advisor, who has helped lead efforts to undermine Biden’s victory, was in Philadelphia for the news conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, alongside Rudy Giuliani and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Lewandowski also attended the election night party at the White House, where several other people later tested positive. (New York Times / CNBC / CNN)
Republic National Committee chief of staff Richard Walters tested positive for coronavirus. Walters was not at the White House election night party. (NBC News)
3/ Biden formed a COVID-19 transition team to coordinate the coronavirus response across the government. While the team has not yet been formally announced – and is different from the coronavirus task force that Biden unveiled Monday – it consists of 52 transition officials across most federal agencies. Biden’s 13-member coronavirus task force will eventually be integrated into the COVID-19 transition team. (Politico)
4/ Several Senate Republicans warned that Trump’s continued refusal to concede and allow Biden to begin the transition jeopardizes national security. Senate Republicans have said that Biden should at least be given access to the President’s Daily Brief. Sen. James Lankford, who chairs a Homeland Security subcommittee, said he will intervene if the the General Services Administration doesn’t certify the election by Friday. Without sign-off from Trump, Biden cannot receive the intelligence briefings. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post)
5/ Biden named long-time aide Ron Klain as his White House chief of staff. In a statement, Biden called Klain an “invaluable” adviser, noting the work they did together during the economic crisis in 2009 and the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Klain has also been a senior adviser to Democratic presidents, vice presidents, candidates and senators. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)
6/ The White House forced two senior Department of Homeland Security officials to resign. Bryan Ware, the Assistant Director for Cybersecurity for the DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and Valerie Boyd, DHS assistant secretary for international affairs, were both pressured to resign. (CNN / Reuters)
7/ The Trump administration notified Congress of its intent to sell $23 billion in weapons to the United Arab Emirates. While there have been bipartisan efforts in Congress to block potential arms sales to Persian Gulf states, the sale will go forward after 30 calendar days unless both houses of Congress pass a resolution of disapproval by a veto-proof majority. (CNN / New York Times / CNBC / Axios)
8/ Trump told friends that he wants to start a digital media company to “wreck” Fox News. The subscription-based streaming platform would be similar to Fox Nation and would leverage Trump’s database of email and cellphone contacts collected during his campaign to launch. (Axios / Bloomberg / CNN)
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