1/ Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the United States reached an all-time high of 93,238 on Sunday – surpassing Saturday’s record of 91,635 COVID-19 patients. The number of coronavirus infections in the U.S., meanwhile, surpassed 13 million on Friday and Sunday marked the 27th consecutive day that the U.S. reported more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases. (ABC News / Bloomberg / The Guardian / New York Times)

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that Thanksgiving travel could make the current surge in COVID-19 cases worse. “What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,” Dr. Fauci said. (NBC News / NPR / The Guardian / CNBC)
  • 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~63,119,000; deaths: ~1,466,000
  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~13,512,000; deaths: ~268,000
  • Source: Johns Hopkins University
  • Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / ABC News

2/ Moderna applied for FDA emergency authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, becoming the second company to do so. Moderna’s vaccine was 94.1% effective in a 30,000-person clinical trial at preventing COVID-19 and 100% effective at preventing severe cases of the disease. If approved, vaccinations for Americans could begin as early as Dec. 21. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / CNN)

3/ Biden’s senior White House communications team will be composed entirely of women – a first, with Jennifer Psaki, a veteran of the Obama administration, as White House press secretary. The transition team also announced that Kate Bedingfield will serve as the White House communications director; Karine Jean Pierre will be the principal deputy press secretary; Pili Tobar will serve as the deputy White House communications director; Symone Sanders will serve as the senior adviser and chief spokeswoman for Kamala Harris; and Ashley Etienne will serve as the communications director for Harris. Biden is also expected to nominate Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Cecilia Rouse to be chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Tanden would be the first woman of color to oversee the agency and Rouse would be the first woman of color to chair the council. Biden will also nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be the first female treasury secretary. (New York Times / Washington Post / The 19th / Politico / NPR / Wall Street Journal)

  • Trump-Biden Transition Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / CNN / ABC News
  • Several members of Biden’s team and others under consideration for high-ranking posts have done work for undisclosed corporate clients and a fund that invests in government contractors. The consulting firm, WestExec Advisors, and the investment fund, Pine Island Capital Partners are strategic partners with an overlapping team of officials. WestExec’s founders include Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, and Michèle Flournoy, one of the leading candidates to be his defense secretary. This year, Pine Island Capital purchased a weapons system parts manufacturer and another company that sells weapons training systems to the Pentagon and law enforcement agencies. Pine Island Capital, where Blinken and Flournoy have also served as advisers, raised $218 million this month for a new fund to invest in additional military and aerospace companies. In addition, Avril Haines, Biden’s pick to be director of national intelligence, Christina Killingsworth, who is helping with Biden’s White House budget office, Ely Ratner, who is helping organize the Biden transition at the Pentagon, and Jennifer Psaki, Biden’s pick for White House press secretary, all came out of WestExec. (New York Times)

4/ Arizona certified its election results, awarding the state’s 11 electoral votes to Biden. The certification came as Rudy Giuliani appeared before some Republican Arizona lawmakers in an unofficial hearing to ask lawmakers to overturn the election results, citing baseless claims of widespread election fraud. Biden beat the president in Arizona by more than 10,000 votes. (Politico / Axios / CNN)

5/ Two recounts in Wisconsin – requested by the Trump campaign – were completed and confirmed that Biden won the state. Trump’s campaign paid $3 million to cover the cost of recounts in two counties, which resulted in Biden gaining an additional 87 total votes. Biden won Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. (Washington Post/ USA Today / Axios)

6/ A federal appeals court unanimously rejected the Trump campaign’s emergency appeal to challenge Pennsylvania’s election results, writing that the campaign’s lawsuit lacked proof and its allegations in Pennsylvania “have no merit.” In five hours of oral arguments last week, Rudy Giuliani argued that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court. The three-judge panel for the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals denied the campaign’s effort to refile its lawsuit, saying “Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here. Voters, not lawyers, choose the President. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections.” (Associated Press / CNN / Axios / Washington Post / BuzzFeed News)

7/ Trump said he’ll leave the White House if the Electoral College affirms Biden’s win next month. When asked whether he would acknowledge defeat, Trump said it would “be a very hard thing to concede” – even if the Electoral College confirms Biden’s victory – adding: “If they do, they’ve made a mistake. This election was a fraud.” A day later, Trump reiterated his baseless claims of voter fraud, tweeting that Biden “can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained.” (Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / CBS News)

  • Trump continued to discredit the Georgia voting system, attacking both GOP Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump called Kemp “hapless,” urging him to use his “emergency powers… to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State.” Kemp’s office, meanwhile, responded Trump’s demands to overturn the election results, saying state law “prohibits the governor from interfering in the election.” (ABC News / Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • 👑 Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election. “The result was an election aftermath without precedent in U.S. history. With his denial of the outcome, despite a string of courtroom defeats, Trump endangered America’s democracy, threatened to undermine national security and public health, and duped millions of his supporters into believing, perhaps permanently, that Biden was elected illegitimately.” (Washington Post)

poll/ Since the election, Biden’s favorability rating has risen six percentage points (55%) while Trump’s favorability has dropped three points (42%). (Gallup)


✏️ Notables.

  1. The Supreme Court heard arguments on Trump’s efforts to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the census count, which is used to allocate seats in the House. The Court reportedly sounded skeptical that Trump could categorically exclude people living in the country illegally from the population count. Census Bureau officials have said they cannot produce the required data until after Trump leaves office in January. (Associated Press / New York Times / NPR / NBC News)
  2. The Justice Department created a new rule that would allow methods – including firing squads and electrocution – to be used for federal executions. “Last week, the Justice Department announced that it plans to execute three more inmates on federal death row. If the administration does so, along with two other executions already scheduled, it will have put 13 prisoners to death since July, marking one of the deadliest periods in the history of federal capital punishment since at least 1927.” (New York Times)
  3. The Trump administration moved to relax rules on companies’ liability for killing birds, releasing an analysis that says that modifying the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act would not cause any substantial environmental harm. (Washington Post / Axios)
  4. FCC Ajit Pai announced that he would step down when Biden is sworn in. Pai led the partisan repeal of Obama-era net neutrality regulation in 2017, which prohibited internet providers from blocking or slowing traffic to particular sites and offering higher speed “lanes” at higher prices. (CNBC / Politico / Washington Post)
  5. Carter Page filed a $75 million lawsuit against the FBI, Justice Department, and James Comey, claiming he was the victim of “unlawful spying” during the bureau’s Russia investigation. (Axios)
  6. The Government Accountability Office reported that the system for providing unemployment benefits consistently produced inaccurate data and lower-than-appropriate payouts to millions of workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Labor Department’s weekly reports on jobless claims have published “flawed estimates of the number of individuals receiving benefits each week throughout the pandemic,” the GAO said. (CNN / Wall Street Journal)