Day 1401: "Incredible irresponsibility."
1/ Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders met with Trump at the White House ahead of the state’s canvassing board meeting on Monday, when the election results are expected to be certified. Details of the meeting with Mike Shirkey, the leader of the State Senate, and Lee Chatfield, the speaker of the state House, are unclear. Trump and his campaign have openly floated the idea that the board of canvassers could choose to not to certify the results, forcing the state legislatures to appoint new electors who would overturn the will of the voters. All 83 counties, however, have certified their vote counts, giving Biden a 156,000-vote margin of victory. The state board of canvassing is scheduled to meet Monday to certify the final state tally. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, meanwhile, refused to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory – her first press briefing since October 1 and since Trump lost the election – and denied that Trump had invited officials from the Michigan state legislature to the White House as part of an “advocacy meeting.” Rudy Giuliani was involved in arranging the meeting, but won’t attend after being exposed to the coronavirus. Giuliani’s son, Andrew Giuliani, a White House aide, tested positive for COVID-19. And, finally, Trump has expressed interest in inviting Republican state legislators from Pennsylvania to the White House for a similar meeting. (NPR / Bloomberg / Politico / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / The Hill / CBS News / Axios / Reuters / CNN)
Trump is using the power of his office to try to reverse the results of the election, orchestrating a pressure campaign to persuade Republican officials in Michigan, Georgia, and elsewhere to overturn the will of voters in what critics call an unprecedented subversion of democracy. “In an extraordinary news conference Thursday at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Trump’s attorneys claimed without evidence there was a centralized conspiracy with roots in Venezuela to rig the U.S. presidential election. They alleged voter fraud in Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and other cities whose municipal governments are controlled by Democrats and where President-elect Joe Biden won by large margins.” (Washington Post)
Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election are unprecedented in American history. “Mr. Trump has only weeks to make his last-ditch effort work: Most of the states he needs to strip Mr. Biden of votes are scheduled to certify their electors by the beginning of next week. The electors cast their ballots on Dec. 14, and Congress opens them in a joint session on Jan. 6.” (New York Times)
Trump’s election power play: Persuade Republican legislators to do what U.S. voters did not. “Trump’s strategy for retaining power despite losing the U.S. election is focused increasingly on persuading Republican legislators to intervene on his behalf in battleground states Democrat Joe Biden won.” (Reuters)
Trump and his allies are taking increasingly frantic steps to subvert the results of the 2020 election. “Election law experts see it as the last, dying gasps of the Trump campaign and say Biden is certain to walk into the Oval Office come January. But there is great concern that Trump’s effort is doing real damage to public faith in the integrity of U.S. elections.” (Associated Press)
2/ Georgia certified the state’s general election results, then issued a correction to say certification is still on-going because a staffer “sent out the wrong press release,” and then officially certified the results. The certification ensured that Biden received the state’s 16 electoral votes. The certification followed a hand recount of the state’s five million votes that was requested by the Trump campaign. The recount found that Biden beat Trump by more than 12,000 votes. (New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / Bloomberg)
- Trump-Biden Transition Daily Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / CNN
3/ The United States reported a record high of more than 185,000 new coronavirus cases, a record number of hospitalizations, and more than 2,000 deaths. Less than three weeks ago, the U.S. reported 100,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, said, “This is faster, it is broader and, what worries me, is it could be longer.” Health experts and epidemiologists, meanwhile, added that the U.S. hasn’t seen the peak and that the worst is yet to come. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~57,366,000; deaths: ~1,369,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~11,855,000; deaths: ~254,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNN
4/ Pfizer asked the FDA for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine after initial results showed the vaccine was safe and 95% effective. The process is expected to take a few weeks, and an advisory committee meeting to review the vaccine has been tentatively scheduled for early December. Emergency use authorization would allow limited groups of Americans to get the vaccines before the FDA has completed the typical approval process. (New York Times / Stat News / CNBC)
5/ The Trump Administration vaccine distribution team will not brief Biden’s transition team and has “no plans to do so.” Trump’s unwillingness to share plans with the incoming administration “risks President-elect Biden’s team not being ready on day one to implement the plan or make adjustments to it,” Senator Chris Murphy said. Biden, meanwhile, called Trump’s refusal to concede “incredible irresponsibility, an incredibly damaging message being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions.” (Reuters / NBC News / New York Times)
6/ Biden named four more officials to White House posts and Judge Merrick Garland is under consideration to serve as attorney general. Louisa Terrell was named director of White House Office of Legislative Affairs, Cathy Russell was named director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, Carlos Elizondo was named White House social secretary, and Mala Adig was named policy director for Jill Biden. Garland, meanwhile, joins former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former civil rights chief Deval Patrick, and former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, among others, on Biden’s short list for attorney general. (USA Today / NPR)
7/ The Census Bureau won’t be able to produce the state population totals required to reallocate seats in the House of Representatives until after Trump leaves office in January. In July, Trump said he wanted to remove unauthorized immigrants from the count, which would leave an older and whiter population as the basis for divvying up House seats, shifting the number of House seats held by Republicans over the next decade. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham cited “anomalies” discovered in processing that could delay the report past January 20, 2021. (New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
8/ Two separate New York State fraud investigations into Trump and his businesses have expanded to include about $26 million in consulting fee tax write-offs – some of which went to Ivanka Trump. The two inquiries — a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney and a civil one by the state attorney general — are being conducted independently, but both offices issued subpoenas to the Trump Organization in recent weeks. On a 2017 disclosure Ivanka filed when joining the White House, she reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, which totaled $747,622 – exactly matching consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organization. Ivanka, meanwhile, called the investigations “harassment […] motivated by politics, publicity and rage.” (New York Times / Politico)
9/ The Supreme Court postponed a planned hearing into congressional efforts to see Robert Mueller’s secret grand jury material from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The House Judiciary Committee said the status of the case has changed because of the election, and that Biden and the new Congress should decided whether to pursue the grand jury material. (Washington Post)
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