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US Monthly Headline News November 2020 Page 3

By Amy Gardner, Emma Brown and Rosalind S. Helderman

Please note: The Washington Post is providing this important election information free to all readers. Get election results and other major news delivered to your inbox by signing up for breaking news email alerts. Wisconsin and Arizona on Monday became the last two of six states where President Trump has contested his defeat to finalize their vote counts, dealing a fresh blow to his quest to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as a chorus of Republicans and Democrats offered support for the election’s integrity.

Trump and his allies vowed to continue pressing legal claims challenging the election results in several states, but such efforts have met with resounding failures in the courts across the country. Monday’s certifications brought to a close a key period in which Trump and his advisers had said they would be able to derail Biden’s win.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) certified her state’s election results alongside the Republican governor and attorney general. Several hours later, the Democratic chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Ann Jacobs, completed her state’s canvass and declared Biden the winner of the state’s 10 electoral votes, a declaration that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers promptly certified. Their actions brought Biden one step closer to an official victory on Dec. 14, when the electoral college meets. While Trump has kept up a stream of baseless claims that the election was corrupted by fraud, a growing number of state officials on both sides of the aisle pushed back against that notion. more...

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

Trump is Trump. There's nothing new to say about the man. But there is still lots to learn about his enablers. So many people, from GOP functionaries to Fox News hosts, are helping him to undermine democracy by denying the election and attacking reality. So many people are complicit. People like Maria Bartiromo. Formerly an acclaimed journalist, known around the world for making CEOs tell the truth, now she tees up Trump to recite lie after lie. Her Sunday morning call with Trump on Fox News was his first "interview" since he lost the election, but it wasn't a real interview at all. He wasn't ready to acknowledge that he lost, and neither was she. He displayed delusional weakness. She was complicit. And she's far from the only one.

GOP leaders stay silent
Ron Brownstein on CNN Sunday night: As Trump's conspiracy theory about the "rigged" election "gets more and more fantastical and far-reaching, implicating the DOJ, the FBI, and Republican governors, the silence of Republicans in Congress — Mitch McConnell in particular, Kevin McCarthy in particular, who are allowing this poison to spread in the American political system — looks more and more like a modern analogue to the silence of Republican congressional leaders during the rampages of Joe McCarthy in the early 1950s. I think history will have no trouble finding a parallel between Mitch McConnell's efforts to kind of look the other way and what so many Republican leaders did until Joseph Welch said, at long last, sir 'have you no decency?'"

Trump is backsliding
He lost the election nearly four weeks ago yet he refuses to admit it. Judging by his tweets, he's spiraling even deeper into denial. The Bartiromo interview was a sign that he's prepared to do battle in public -- a disturbing display of weakness that some people interpret as strength. His Thanksgiving evening Q&A with reporters was another sign of the same thing. After holding a call with members of the military, he fielded questions for the first time in three weeks — the "longest gap" of his presidency — mostly by deflecting and deceiving. When he walked out, one reporter asked "Is this the language of a dictator?" and another said, "Mr. President, some people say you're denying reality." more...

By Emily Czachor

Fox News anchor Eric Shawn responded to Donald Trump's election fraud allegations on Sunday afternoon, highlighting the lack of existing evidence to support claims that unlawful conduct distorted results in his Democratic opponent's favor. Intertwining additional commentary into an interview with Axios political reporter Hans Nichols, which focused on Trump's conversation with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo hours earlier, Shawn noted that the president's efforts to challenge election results have earned widespread backlash.

"It seems that we have a president who, he can't wrap his brain or mind around the fact that, he can't process the fact that someone who he thinks is so inferior to him won the election," the Fox anchor said, after initially referencing comments from critics who "say [Trump's] claims are unsupported, reckless and incendiary."

Speaking to Bartiromo Sunday morning, Trump reiterated unproven accusations that seek to undermine the race's outcome during his first televised interview since Election Day. While addressing his campaign's efforts to challenge election procedures in court, Trump rattled off a number claims that echoed those frequently shared by his legal team as well as himself on social media. Trump suggested that ballots cast by Republican voters were discarded in parts of the country where a majority of support went to Joe Biden, and "massive dumps of votes" were illegitimately tallied after November 3. Those are two of many unfounded theories he shared during the interview. more...

By Juan Williams, opinion contributor

Here's what former President Obama thinks about the far right. Their brains are numbed by the din of the right-wing echo chamber. Conservative talk radio and clickbait websites drown their capacity to think with noisy, repeated messages of fear and grievance, he told The Atlantic magazine. It requires them to "go along with conspiracy theorizing, false assertion, fantasies that Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh and others in that echo chamber have concocted," the former president said in an interview to promote the release of his new book, "A Promised Land." The first Black president is baffled that right-wing talk hosts have succeeded in marketing Trump as a hero for working-class white people.

Trump is neither a stand-up for the little guy, a Robin Hood populist, nor a John Wayne or Clint Eastwood type of "classic male hero" in Obama's eyes. To Obama, Trump is a rich-guy cartoon character: "Richie Rich - the complaining, lying, doesn't-take-responsibility-for-anything type of figure," he told Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. He explained: "I would not have expected someone who has complete disdain for ordinary people to be able to get attention and then the following from those very same people." Obama did several interviews for his bestselling book last week. In every sitdown, he found his way back to discussing the political power of right-wing media. In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" he talked about "truth decay." more...

Jeff Cox

The Department of Labor has been both miscounting the number of people receiving unemployment benefits and underpaying those under a special program instituted to address the coronavirus pandemic, according to a government watchdog report Monday.

Issues dealing with the surge in those filing claims for the new programs aimed at addressing the special circumstances of the pandemic have led to some problems, the Government Accountability Office said. Mistakes have moved in both directions, with recipients sometimes undercounted and at other times overcounted due to multiple individual filings and issues particular to some states including California and Arizona.

At the same time, states also are underpaying those workers displaced because of the business restrictions associated with the pandemic. Rather than provide compensation based on previous pay, states are paying out just the minimum level required. That has resulted in potential economic hardship as federal programs addressing the situation are about to run out. more...

Ryan Young

Hey, it clearly worked. Mike Tyson wasn’t shy when asked whether he smoked marijuana just ahead of his exhibition bout with Roy Jones Jr. on Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. “Absolutely, yes,” he responded to the question, via USA Today. Tyson, 54, stepped back into the ring for the first time in 15 years on Saturday night for his exhibition match against Jones Jr. — which was eventually declared a draw by the celebrity judges from the WBC. Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole scored it six rounds to two, 78-74, for Tyson. While it wasn’t officially scored, the cannabis Tyson used before didn’t slow him down much if any. Because it was officially an exhibition, neither Tyson nor Jones Jr. were tested for marijuana before the fight — which is a good thing for Tyson, who quickly lit up after the fight ended, too. more...

By Sarah Mucha and Rachel Janfaza, CNN

Washington, DC (CNN) President-elect Joe Biden has hairline fractures in his "mid-foot" and will "likely require a walking boot for several weeks," his doctor said in a statement Sunday, after Biden slipped while playing with his dog, Major, Saturday. "Initial x-rays did not show any obvious fracture, but his clinical exam warranted more detailed imaging," Dr. Kevin O'Connor said Sunday. "Follow-up CT scan confirmed hairline (small) fractures of President-elect Biden's lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones, which are in the mid-foot. It is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks."

Earlier Sunday, Biden's office announced he was going to be examined by an orthopedist "out of an abundance of caution" after he twisted his ankle playing with the dog. On Sunday evening, President Donald Trump tweeted, "Get well soon!" Biden, who celebrated his 78th birthday on November 20, is set to be the oldest president in US history. During the campaign, the Biden campaign released a summary of Biden's medical history, which showed the former vice president was healthy and fit for the presidency. The release included the results of a physical exam by O'Connor, Biden's primary care doctor since 2009 and the director of executive medicine at The George Washington Medical Faculty Associates. O'Connor wrote that Biden is "a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency." more...

Benjamin Swasey

President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday named seven women to key communications roles in his incoming White House. His transition team says it's the first time in history that the positions will be filled entirely by women.

Biden also will tap Neera Tanden to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, a source familiar with transition discussions tells NPR's Franco Ordoñez. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported Tanden's nomination, says if confirmed, she will be the first woman of color to oversee the OMB.

Biden has emphasized the elevation of women to key roles in his administration. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first female vice president, and he is set to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be the first female treasury secretary. more...

President-elect examined by doctor after accident while playing with German shepherd, but ‘no obvious fracture’ found
Guardian staff and agencies

American president-elect Joe Biden has sprained his ankle after slipping while playing with his dog, according to his doctor. In a brief statement, Biden’s office said the incident happened on Saturday and that the 78-year-old was being examined by a bone specialist on Sunday “out of an abundance of caution”.

Biden later visited an orthopaedic specialist in Newark, Delaware. According to a statement from his doctor, Kevin O’Connor, Biden sustained a sprain of his right foot and while “initial X-rays are reassuring that there is no obvious fracture,” he’ll be receiving a CT scan for further review. Reporters travelling with him were held on a bus and could not see him enter the building. Biden will be the oldest person to assume the American presidency when he is sworn in next year and his health is likely to be watched closely by allies and opponents alike. more...

Trump wants to bring back a corrupt system of political patronage. Congress and Joe Biden must undo this attack on the capability of our government.
Max Stier

Federal agencies across the government are quietly moving ahead with an 11th hour plan to fill vacant, nonpartisan career jobs with political appointees as well as fire and replace civil servants with individuals loyal to President Donald Trump.

With only two months to go before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, agencies are rushing to implement an executive order that would undermine the merit-based, nonpartisan civil service system, eviscerate employee due process rights and replace professionals with partisans.

Although the Oct. 21 executive order has brought congressional scrutiny and legal challenges, and would most likely be rescinded by Biden, Trump administration appointees are hoping to place as many allies as possible into key government positions as they head for the exits.

Loyalty would replace competence
While the conversion of political appointees to career positions, often referred to as “burrowing,” has long been a concern during presidential transitions, such conversions have been rare and ordinarily undergo a rigorous review process. The Trump executive order sidesteps this process and has created a new job classification for “career employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy‑making and policy-advocating positions,” stripping these individuals of long-standing civil service protections and allowing politically appointed leaders to fire them at will. It is a stunning exercise of executive power and calls into question whether such a dramatic change is — or should be — permitted without a change in law. more...

By Christina Zhao

Outgoing Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman of Virginia on Saturday unleashed a barrage of criticism against Donald Trump, his allies and "anti-American" supporters, as the president continues to cast doubt on his election loss. Riggleman is among the few Republicans who have acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden's victory over Trump. Most media outlets called the election for the Democrat, who has secured 306 Electoral College votes, over two weeks ago, but Trump has refused to concede.

In an interview with Forbes, Riggleman condemned his fellow Republicans for remaining quiet amid Trump's attempts to cast doubt on the election process by claiming a "rigged" and "stolen" election. It's "completely unethical," he said, explaining that some of his colleagues believe that breaking with Trump would "cost them their careers."

"The career is more important than the facts, it's that simple," Riggleman added. "I'm so damn sick of it. I'm sick of it." Riggleman admitted that there were "true believers" of Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud, but he went on to suggest that they were not smart people. "[It] really speaks to where your intelligence level is... to believe in that type of operation," he said.

The lawmaker also criticized Trump for embracing "anti-Semitic" and "anti-American" supporters and added that it was "irresponsible" for the president to retweet QAnon conspiracies. "He got so desperate to retain power that he forgot he was serving people and not himself," Riggleman said of Trump, adding that the president has "never served anything but himself, when you talk about his businesses and what he's done." more...

By Alanne Orjoux and Melissa Alonso, CNN

(CNN) A tall, silver, shining metal monolith discovered in the desert in southeastern Utah -- which prompted theories of alien placement and drew determined hikers to its secret location -- has now disappeared, the state's Bureau of Land Management said Saturday. The monolith was removed by an "unknown party" sometime Friday night, the agency said in a Facebook post. "We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the 'monolith,' has been removed" from BLM public lands, the post said. "The BLM did not remove the structure, which is considered private property."

'We've got to go look at it!'
The monolith was first discovered November 18 by officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety's Aero Bureau.
They were flying by helicopter, helping the Division of Wildlife Resources count bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, when they spotted something that seemed right out of "2001: A Space Odyssey." more...

By Lauren Vella

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Saturday rejected a last-ditch bid from Republicans including Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) to halt the certification of the 2020 election results in the Keystone State. The court's decision delivered the latest blow for Republicans, President Trump and his campaign to overturn election results in a battleground state that President-elect Joe Biden won by over 1 percentage point. In an order released on Saturday night, the state supreme court vacated a preliminary order by the Commonwealth Court and dismissed the case.

"Upon consideration of the parties’ filings in Commonwealth Court, we hereby dismiss the petition for review with prejudice based upon Petitioners’ failure to file their facial constitutional challenge in a timely manner," the order read. The ruling comes after state Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough on Wednesday ordered state officials to halt further steps to certify the state's election results one day after Gov. Tom Wolf (D) certified the Keystone State's results for Biden. Following McCullough's order, Pennsylvania secretary of commonwealth Kathy Boockvar and Wolf appealed the order to the state supreme court. The latest order by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reverses McCullough's decision. more...

By Benjamin Fearnow

Frustrated supporters of President Donald Trump in Georgia challenged Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on why they should even vote in the upcoming Senate runoffs if "rigged" elections are "already decided." McDaniel's Saturday campaign stop in Marietta, Georgia, appeared to backfire as Trump supporters who have adopted the president's conspiratorial accusations about "voter fraud" asked why their vote even matters. The scene doesn't bode well for Republicans as they look to hang onto a thin U.S. Senate majority that hinges on prevailing in two January 5 runoff elections. Both incumbent Georgia GOP senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, face stiff challenges from Democratic candidates Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

One baffled Trump supporter at the event asked how Republicans turned out in such "crazy numbers," but somehow Joe Biden still defeated the president. He claimed "machines are switching the votes," a baseless accusation lifted directly from Trump. McDaniel was forced to defend the U.S. election system despite Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud. The GOP chairwoman found herself pushing back against the Republican president's messaging, telling state GOP voters to worry about election fraud issues "later," or at least to hold their concerns until after the all-important U.S. Senate runoffs. more...

By Natalie Colarossi

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that President Donald Trump should "leave quietly," after Georgia certified its election results for Joe Biden last week. In an interview published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday, Raffensperger, a Republican, said he's received threats and angry messages from the president and fellow GOP politicians who disagree with his decision to certify the election. "My job as secretary of state is to make sure we have fair and honest elections, follow the law, follow the process," Raffensperger said in the interview. "When you lose an election, you should leave quietly. It's the will of the people that has been expressed," he added.

Raffensperger's office certified the election results after a laborious hand recount on November 20. According to data released by his team, the recount confirmed that Biden won by more than 12,000 votes out of the 5 million cast in Georgia. "As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct," Raffensperger said during news conference on November 20. "The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state's office or of courts or of either campaign." But the announcement came at the dismay of the Trump campaign, who sought to maintain the president's early lead in Georgia. On Twitter, the president attacked Raffensperger and accused him of participating in fraud. more...

Camille Caldera USA TODAY

The claim: There is a warrant for Joe Biden's arrest and detainment

This month, some individuals took to Facebook and Instagram to post screenshots of a document that claims to be an arrest warrant for President-elect Joe Biden. The warrant calls for Biden to be arrested and detained at Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. It also claims he is "wanted for questioning related to the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., treason, fraud, human trafficking, pedophilia and crimes against humanity." The users behind the posts on Facebook and Instagram have not responded to requests from USA TODAY for comment.

More:Fact check: Joe Biden was never 'wanted' in Ukraine; prosecutors rejected a complaint
The 'warrant' came from a fake court with no legal authority The purported warrant carries no legal weight. The document first appeared on YouTube on Nov. 13 in a video titled "ARREST WARRANT 2020-11-13.1 Joseph Biden, Jr." In the video, Cindy K. Currier claims she has a warrant to present and reads out the document. more...

The president got steamrolled statewide, but 2020 was the best year for California Republicans in more than a decade.

LOS ANGELES — Joe Biden trampled Donald Trump by nearly 30 percentage points in California. But down-ticket in this heavily Democratic state, the Republican Party found new life. Republicans are poised to win as many as four of the seven House seats that Democrats flipped from GOP control in 2018. Voters sunk business tax and rent control measures, as well as a bid to reinstate affirmative action. And Republicans reclaimed their status as the second biggest party in terms of voter registration after falling embarrassingly behind “no party preference” voters in 2018. It was the best year for Republicans in California in more than a decade.

In May, when Rep. Mike Garcia won a special House election in suburban Los Angeles, it was the first time since 1998 that the GOP had flipped a Democratic-held House seat in the state. It had been even longer, since 1994, that Republicans took out an incumbent House member. Yet in the election this month, they have already done that three times — with Republican Michelle Steel beating Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda in a coastal Orange County district, Republican Young Kim dispatching Rep. Gil Cisneros, and former Rep. David Valadao defeating Democratic Rep. TJ Cox to reclaim his Central Valley seat. Garcia is currently running ahead of Democrat Christy Smith in a race that remains too close to call. more...

Guardian staff and agencies

Pope Francis has installed 13 new cardinals, including the first African American to hold the high rank, further expanding the pontiff’s impact on the group that will one day elect his successor. Wilton Gregory, the 72-year-old archbishop of Washington DC becomes the first African American cardinal at a time the United States is examining race relations after a spate of police killings of unarmed black people.

He was the only American among those elevated to the College of Cardinals during Saturday’s ceremony. Brunei and Rwanda got their first cardinals. Gregory, already the highest-ranking African American Catholic in US history, made headlines in June when he blasted Donald Trump after police and soldiers used teargas and rubber bullets to clear protesters so the president could be photographed in front of a historic Washington church holding a Bible. more...

Language diversity within the AAPI community means misinformation is difficult to track.
By Terry Nguyen Nov 27, 2020, 11:00am EST

Less than a week after Election Day, a spreadsheet titled “Battling Asian American Misinformation” began circulating in progressive Asian American social media circles, primarily among those of Vietnamese and Chinese descent.

The most popular YouTube channels flagged on the spreadsheet accumulated hundreds of thousands of subscribers, in which pundits discussed misleading claims about election fraud, Hunter Biden’s relationship with China (a conspiracy disseminated by pro-Trump figures), and the Chinese Communist Party’s meddling in the presidential election. Below some of these clips, YouTube included a label informing viewers that the Associated Press had called the election for Joe Biden.

But beyond that small disclaimer, most channels were still monetized and still easily discoverable. Flagging it to YouTube, as some soon realized, amounted to doing nothing. The election might be over, but the uphill battle against online misinformation, notably within first-generation immigrant communities, wages on. more...

By Brendan Cole

The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan has traded Twitter barbs with Texas Senator Ted Cruz over the killing of a top scientist believed to be behind Iran's nuclear program. Brennan, who was director of the CIA between 2013 and 2017, condemned the shooting ambush of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh as a "criminal act" and "highly reckless".

Fakhrizadeh, an officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was named as the director of Iran's nuclear weapons project in 2018. Tehran, which has always insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, reacted with anger to the death and suggested Israeli involvement. Neither Israel nor the U.S. has commented on the incident thus far. In a tweet on Friday, Brennan said that the killing "risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict." more...

By Kathryn Watson

The Trump campaign lost another battle Friday in their attempt to prove mass fraud in the election, something thus far they've been unable to do. This time, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the campaign's request for an injunction in Pennsylvania to undo the Keystone State's certification of its votes.

Trump-appointed Judge Stephanos Bibas, who wrote the opinion for the three-judge panel, said the campaign's arguments have no merit. Pennsylvania certified its election results last week, and the federal government's General Services Administration has allowed for the formal transition process to take place. "Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. 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," Bibas wrote in his opinion. more...

Between February and June, an estimated 14.6 million people lost their employee-sponsored health insurance. Elements of Obamacare helped shore up those losses.
By Phil McCausland

This year, Americans’ access to health care took the spotlight like never before. Since March, more than 250,000 people infected by the coronavirus have died and millions more have lost their health insurance in the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. During the presidential campaign, both President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden promised much to address these health and economic issues, sparring on how best to provide Americans access to health care. Central to both of their arguments remained a decade-old law: the Affordable Care Act — landmark health care legislation that showed its continued significance during this particularly difficult year.

Trump wanted to dismantle it, while consistently promising a replacement plan that never materialized, and Biden promised to build on the current law with hopes of offering a public option. “Healthcare is the kitchen table issue for most Americans, both because of cost, and because of what it means to go through life without coverage,” said Leslie Dach, a former senior counselor at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration.

“We are now at a time this year when people needed the ACA more than ever, and years of studies have shown how its coverage has positive impact on people’s health, life expectancy and the ability to get a job,” added Dach, the founder of Protect Our Care, a liberal group aimed at protecting the law. “And yet for purely partisan or ideological reasons, people are trying to take it apart.” Those efforts haven’t been particularly fruitful. more...

By Samira Said, CNN

(CNN) President-elect Joe Biden saw a small net gain in votes as Milwaukee County, Wisconsin's largest, certified its presidential general election results Friday after a recount requested by the Trump campaign. The results showed a net gain of 132 votes for Biden, with President Donald Trump receiving 134,482 votes and Biden receiving 317,527 after the recount, the Milwaukee County Board of Canvassers announced Friday night. CNN election results But more than 27,000 ballots that are part of the count are being segregated after two objections by the Trump campaign. The campaign objected to more than 25,000 absentee ballots cast by individuals who self-identified as "indefinitely confined," which allowed them to vote absentee because of pandemic fears. more...

By Kara Scannell, CNN

(CNN) A federal appeals court denied the Trump campaign's effort to revive a federal lawsuit challenging the election results in Pennsylvania, ruling "the claims have no merit." A panel of three judges for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request by the Trump campaign, led by Rudy Giuliani, to amend its lawsuit, which had been previously rejected.

"The Campaign never alleges that any ballot was fraudulent or cast by an illegal voter," the judges wrote. "It never alleges that any defendant treated the Trump campaign or its votes worse than it treated the Biden campaign or its votes. Calling something discrimination does not make it so. The Second Amended Complaint still suffers from these core defects, so granting leave to amend would have been futile." The President and some of his allies have been questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election, saying without evidence that it was fraudulent and seeking to use legal battles to overturn results in key states.

The judges also rejected the President's motion to undo Pennsylvania's certification of votes. "The Campaign's claims have no merit. The number of ballots it specifically challenges is far smaller than the roughly 81,000-vote margin of victory. And it never claims fraud or that any votes were cast by illegal voters. Plus, tossing out millions of mail-in ballots would be drastic and unprecedented, disenfranchising a huge swath of the electorate and upsetting all down-ballot races too. That remedy would be grossly disproportionate to the procedural challenges raised," the judges wrote.

The President's campaign appealed a scathing ruling last weekend when Judge Matthew Brann threw out the lawsuit ruling it could not be amended and refiled. Brann compared it to "Frankenstein's monster ... haphazardly stitched together," and slammed the request to disenfranchise nearly seven million voters in a complaint littered with "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations." The appeals court referenced the Trump campaign's multiple attempts to alter its lawsuit and praised Brann's handling of the matter. more...

James Crump

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has been accused of overseeing a “killing spree”, after he extended a ban on cities in the state imposing their own mask mandates. On Wednesday, Mr DeSantis extended an executive order issued in September, which prevented local governments from fining residents who refused to wear face masks, or from closing restaurants not complying with coronavirus measures.

The decision on 25 September prompted the start of the state’s third phase of pandemic measures, which allowed restaurants and bars to open at 100 per cent capacity. Florida Democratic officials criticised the governor for the extension of the executive order on Wednesday, amid a spike in cases in the state. Chris King, the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, quote tweeted a local news story about the decision, adding: “Alternate headline: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Continues Killing Spree.” more...

“Calling an election unfair does not make it so,” the court wrote.
Tracy Connor

A federal appeals court has shot down the Trump campaign’s attempt to overturn the election result in Pennsylvania—with a judge appointed by the president writing the scathing decision. “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. 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,” 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Stephanos Bibas wrote in a 21-page opinion issued Friday.

The three-judge panel noted that the campaign’s grievances amounted to “nothing more” than allegations that Pennsylvania restricted poll watchers and let voters fix technical defects in their mail-in ballots. “The Campaign tries to repackage these state-law claims as unconstitutional discrimination. Yet its allegations are vague and conclusory,” the opinion says. “It never alleges that anyone treated the Trump campaign or Trump votes worse than it treated the Biden campaign or Biden votes.”

The decision comes after Pennsylvania already certified that President-elect Joe Biden was the winner but makes clear that Trump does not have a legal leg to stand on in contesting the outcome. The court said it would not issue an injunction to undo the certification because “the Campaign’s claims have no merit.” “The number of ballots it specifically challenges is far smaller than the roughly 81,000-vote margin of victory. And it never claims fraud or that any votes were cast by illegal voters,” the court found.

“Plus, tossing out millions of mail-in ballots would be drastic and unprecedented, disenfranchising a huge swath of the electorate and upsetting all down-ballot races too. That remedy would be grossly disproportionate to the procedural challenges raised. So we deny the motion for an injunction pending appeal.” “Voters, not lawyers, choose the President. Ballots, not briefs, decide election.” — Judge Stephanos Bibas

By Brendan Cole

Former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge has accused President Donald Trump of staging a "bogus event on the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg" to overturn the result of the election. Ridge, who served as the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush administration, tweeted his disdain for a meeting held on Wednesday by Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Trump continues to insist he won the election despite battleground states such as the Keystone State already certifying their results, in effect locking in a victory for President-elect Joe Biden. On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf certified election results showing Biden won the state by more than 81,000 votes. The next day, a Pennsylvania judge ordered state officials to halt any further steps toward certifying election results which is being appealed by the Wolf administration. more...

By Vivian Salama, CNN

Washington (CNN) President-elect Joe Biden and his team will soon have to decide whether to share transcripts of presidential calls with foreign leaders to a broad, security clearance-holding audience, or maintain a lockdown on official transcripts of the calls and other highly sensitive information imposed by the Trump administration over concerns they might be leaked.

A person close to the Biden transition team told CNN that no decisions have been made about how these sensitive materials will be handled when the President-elect takes office on January 20, and that it's likely they will maintain the Trump administration's close hold on such information, at least at first, until they are settled in and Jake Sullivan, Biden's pick for national security adviser, can assess their information security needs.

A senior US official said that the Biden team will be given access to a secret server containing sensitive information related President Donald Trump's more controversial conversations with foreign leaders on a need-to-know basis and the Trump administration is prepared to share any information that they deem to be relevant to their future decision-making process. While Biden's team will likely aim to be more transparent, much has changed since many of his senior appointees were in government and the politically charged atmosphere in Washington on the heels of the election has some officials urging caution in the early months, to prevent leaks and assess the needs and boundaries of sharing sensitive information. more...

Ian Timberlake, AFP USA

“President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it,” Sidney Powell, an attorney for the president, said in a clip posted November 19, 2020 on this pro-Trump Facebook page. It features her speaking that day at a press conference with two other attorneys, Jenna Ellis and Rudy Giuliani, who said they were representing the president and his campaign.

Powell’s “landslide” claim was repeated on Facebook here in a post that called for people to “surround her with prayer” in her efforts to alter the election’s outcome. The claim also featured in this article from the Falungong-linked Epoch Times, headlined this Daily Wire article, and captioned this YouTube clip of an interview with Powell on Newsmax, a channel that is seeking to attract viewers from Fox News. That November 18 clip was viewed almost 700,000 times.

“The election could not have been more rigged than it was... The math just doesn’t add up for anything,” Powell said in the Newsmax interview. “The will of the people in this country was that Donald Trump win in a landslide. If we can get to the bottom of it, and I am determined to do that, I think we’ll find he had at least 80 million votes.” more...

*** Pardons are for the guilty. If Trump did nothing wrong why does he need a pardon? If the Trump administration did nothing wrong why does he need to pardons them? If Trump’s family did nothing wrong why do they need pardons? ***

By Sarah Polus

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) called on President Trump to “wield the presidential pardon power effectively and robustly” while appearing on Fox News’s "The Ingraham Angle" on Tuesday. The House Judiciary Committee member, a vocal Trump ally, told anchor Tammy Bruce that "President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn. He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. He should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to.” He continued, “You see from the radical left a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration with the policies and the vigor and the effectiveness that delivered for the American people.” more...

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

(CNN) Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Wednesday lambasted President Donald Trump, saying that the commander in chief threw him under the bus although he voted for him. "By all accounts, Georgia had a wildly successful and smooth election. We finally defeated voting lines and put behind us Fulton County's now notorious reputation for disastrous elections," Raffensperger wrote in a USA Today op-ed. "This should be something for Georgians to celebrate, whether their favored presidential candidate won or lost. For those wondering, mine lost -- my family voted for him, donated to him and are now being thrown under the bus by him."

The Republican, who has maintained there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state's election, was attacked by Trump and GOP allies in the days leading up to Georgia's certification of election results last week. Georgia Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue called for him to resign, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp pressured him to investigate baseless charges of election fraud. President-elect Joe Biden was certified the winner in the Peach State, as Trump, who filed a lawsuit to block the certification, has continued his refusal to concede the election. more...

*** Trump tried to rig the election. Rigging the mail did not work now Trump is openly trying to steal the election. ***

Christina Wilkie, Kevin Breuninger

President Donald Trump on Wednesday called for President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory to be overturned, and spread unproven claims of voter fraud while falsely insisting he won a series of key swing states that went to Biden. Facing defeat after a string of court losses, Trump made a surprise call-in appearance at a Republican state legislature hearing in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he stated bluntly that “we have to turn the election over.” Trump claimed his team has gathered “all the evidence,” even though judges in numerous states have rejected his campaign’s legal efforts to halt the certification of ballots or have swaths of mail-in votes invalidated.

“All we need is to have some judge listen to it properly, without having a political opinion or having another kind of a problem,” Trump said from the speaker of a mobile phone held up to a microphone by Jenna Ellis, a member of his campaign’s legal team. She sat next to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. “This election has to be turned around,” Trump asserted elsewhere in the speakerphone speech. “We won Pennsylvania by a lot, and we won all of these swing states by a lot.” In fact, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday announced that he had signed the “Certificate of Ascertainment” certifying Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the victors in the Keystone State. Nevada, another key state, on Tuesday also certified Biden and Harris as the winners. Michigan and Georgia, too, have certified their votes, dragging Trump’s long-shot bid to undo the election result even further out of reach. more...

VIRAL MOMENT: Trump bolts as reporters ask if he'll PARDON HIMSELF
The Hill

President Trump leaves the Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony as reporters ask him if he'll end up pardoning himself. video...

Trump Pardons Michael Flynn, Ending Case His Justice Dept. Sought to Shut Down
The president’s former national security adviser twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador. video...

By Charlie Savage

WASHINGTON — President Trump pardoned on Wednesday his former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his conversations with a Russian diplomat and whose prosecution Attorney General William P. Barr tried to shut down. “It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. The presidential pardon brings to an end the drawn-out legal saga of Mr. Flynn. The Justice Department had moved in the spring to withdraw the charge against him after a public campaign by Mr. Trump and his allies, but the judge overseeing the case, Emmet G. Sullivan, had held up the request to scrutinize its legitimacy.

Though Mr. Trump had said months ago that he was “strongly considering” pardoning Mr. Flynn and was said to be planning for it after he lost the election, the intervention by Mr. Barr had held out the possibility that his administration could end the prosecution of a presidential favorite without requiring Mr. Trump to take explicit political responsibility for the act. But as the case has lingered — delayed first by Mr. Flynn’s unsuccessful attempt to get an appeals court to block Judge Sullivan from reviewing the basis for Mr. Barr’s move, and then by further weeks of inaction from the judge — Mr. Trump ultimately moved to do so anyway.

Mr. Flynn was the only White House official to be convicted as part of the Trump-Russia investigation that was completed by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Under Mr. Trump and Mr. Barr, the administration has been trying to discredit and dismantle that inquiry. Mr. Trump also commuted the sentence of his longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. on seven felonies in a case brought by prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller. more...

Investigators focused on a sale of at least $1 million of stock in Cardlytics, a financial firm whose board the senator once sat on. They closed the case this summer without charges.
By Katie Benner, Adam Goldman, Nicholas Fandos and Kate Kelly

WASHINGTON — Early this year, Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, sold more than $1 million worth of stock in the financial company Cardlytics, where he once served on the board. Six weeks later, its share price tumbled when the company’s founder announced he would step down as chief executive and the firm said its future sales would be worse than expected. After the company’s stock price bottomed out in March at $29, Mr. Perdue bought back a substantial portion of the shares that he had sold. They are now trading at around $120 per share.

The Cardlytics transactions drew the attention this spring of investigators at the Justice Department, who were undertaking a broad review of the senator’s prolific trading around the outset of the coronavirus pandemic for possible evidence of insider trading, according to four people with knowledge of the case who described aspects of it on the condition of anonymity. Though Mr. Perdue alluded to the federal inquiry in a campaign ad this fall, its details have not been previously reported.

Investigators found that Cardlytics’ chief executive at the time, Scott Grimes, sent Mr. Perdue a personal email two days before the senator’s stock sale that made a vague mention of “upcoming changes.” The timing of the message prompted additional scrutiny from investigators in both Washington and Atlanta. But ultimately they concluded the exchange contained no meaningful nonpublic information and declined to pursue charges, closing the case this summer. more...

Analysis by Ronald Brownstein

(CNN) President Donald Trump appears determined to end this stage of his political career the same way he began it: by promoting a racist conspiracy theory. Just as he began his long march to the White House by touting the racist "birther theory" that Barack Obama was not an American citizen, Trump and his allies are choregraphing his slow walk away from the Oval Office to a backbeat of accusations that the election was stolen from him in heavily African American cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Atlanta. These charges of urban voting fraud -- the distant bookend to his birther slanders -- underscore how much Trump's political message revolves around convincing his coalition that an insidious combination of disdainful elites and dangerous minorities is unfairly taking away "our country," as he often calls America.

"This is in the continuum of the conversation about people losing their country," says Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster. "When talking about the election being stolen from them, what they are really saying is, again, those people are taking our country. When they say, 'Let's disqualify the votes in Milwaukee ... the votes in Philadelphia ... in Atlanta and Detroit,' they are all but saying it: The votes of 'those people' should not count." That Trump and his allies would return to this imagery so quickly after an election in which he made modest but meaningful gains with Black voters, and even larger advances with Hispanics in some areas, shows how difficult it will be for the GOP to disentangle itself from the President's racist messaging and expand beyond those beachheads in the minority community to truly build the "multiracial working class" coalition that some GOP thinkers yearn for.

"If you look at Blacks ideologically, politically, it's a stereotype that they are ultraliberal," says Katherine Tate, a Brown University political scientist who studies Black voting behavior. "Higher percentages of them should have been voting Republican a while ago." Had Republicans nominated another candidate, she says, who avoided Trump's open appeals to racial resentments but offered "the same political agenda, securing the border, skepticism about Covid, withdraw troops from overseas wars and ban immigration as best you can ... that candidate would have done better [with Black voters] than Donald Trump." more...

Julian Routh

Pennsylvania is prohibited from certifying the rest of its election results in down ballot races — and from taking any further action in regards to yesterday’s certification of the presidential race — pending a hearing on Friday in an appellate court. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, in an order signed by Judge Patricia McCullough, issued an injunction Wednesday that stops the state from continuing its certification, and intends to hear evidence in a case filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and GOP congressional candidate Sean Parnell about the constitutionality of mail-in ballots.

The hearing will be held on Friday at 11:30 a.m. The state certified the results in the race for president on Tuesday, giving its 20 electoral votes to Democrat Joe Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris. The court order said the state is prohibited from acting “to the extent that there remains any further action to perfect the certification of the results" of the races for president and vice president.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wrote on Twitter, “This order does not impact yesterday’s appointment of electors. We will be filing an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court momentarily.” Mr. Kelly and Mr. Parnell are arguing that state lawmakers violated Pennsylvania’s Constitution by adopting Act 77 last year, which expanded the mail-in balloting option to let all qualified voters to vote by mail without an excuse. They allege that absentee voting — which required an excuse from a set of allowed reasons — was rebranded as no-excuse mail-in voting “absent any constitutional authority.” more...

The GOP lawmaker's buying and selling of shares in a financial tech company on whose board he once served has become a campaign issue.
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — As the ravages of the novel coronavirus forced millions of people out of work, shuttered businesses and shrank the value of retirement accounts, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged to a three-year low. But for Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, the crisis last March signaled something else: a stock buying opportunity. And for the second time in less than two months, Perdue’s timing was impeccable. He avoided a sharp loss and reaped a stunning gain by selling and then buying the same stock: Cardlytics, an Atlanta-based financial technology company on whose board of directors he once served.

On Jan. 23, as word spread through Congress that the coronavirus posed a major economic and public health threat, Perdue sold off $1 million to $5 million in Cardlytics stock at $86 a share before it plunged, according to congressional disclosures. Weeks later, in March, after the company’s stock plunged further following an unexpected leadership shakeup and lower-than-forecast earnings, Perdue bought the stock back for $30 a share, investing between $200,000 and $500,000. Those shares have now quadrupled in value, closing at $121 a share on Tuesday.

The Cardlytics transactions were just a slice of a large number of investment decisions made in the early days of the pandemic by Perdue and other senators. They stirred public outrage after it became clear that some members of Congress had been briefed on the economic and health threat the virus posed. The transactions were mentioned briefly in a story published by the Intercept in May. Now that Perdue is locked in a pitched battle for reelection in a Jan. 5 runoff, his trades during a public health and economic crisis have become an issue in what already has become a negative, expensive campaign that will determine which party controls the Senate. more...

“The fraud is honestly staggering,” a prosecutor said.
By Tim Stelloh

Tens of thousands of prison and jail inmates, including convicted serial killers and notorious inmates like Scott Peterson, have carried out what prosecutors described Tuesday as possibly the largest fraud scheme in California history. The alleged crimes, which center on pandemic unemployment benefits, could total as much $1 billion, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said. “The fraud is honestly staggering,” she said.

Between March and August, Schubert said, inmates housed in every California prison and in jails across the state filed 35,000 claims totaling $140 million in benefits. Sometimes those benefits were paid directly to inmates inside the facilities, she said. In other cases, the money was sent to relatives and friends outside the prisons and jails. In Kern County, district attorney Cynthia Zimmer said investigators were alerted to the scheme in September after the arrival of numerous money orders destined for inmates. Sometimes the benefits included fake Social Security numbers and names like John Doe, John Adams or, in one case, “poopy britches,” Schubert said. more...

The guilty plea is part of a settlement with the Justice Department.
By Aaron Katersky

More than two decades after it started marketing OxyContin, Purdue Pharma on Tuesday admitted its tactics contributed to the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic that has been blamed for hundreds of thousands of American deaths. Purdue pleaded guilty during a video hearing before a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, to conspiracy charges that stemmed from the company’s aggressive marketing of OxyContin and other opioid products.

The plea to three felonies -- conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback statute -- was part of a settlement with the Justice Department that required Purdue to pay more than $8 billion, though the actual amount will likely be far less and determined through bankruptcy.

Purdue Chairman Steve Miller, who was appointed in 2018, entered the guilty plea on the company’s behalf, conceding Purdue failed to account for 1.4 million OxyContin prescriptions written by questionable providers. "Did Purdue knowingly and intentionally conspire with others to defraud the DEA?" asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Ferketic. "Yes," Miller replied. "Did Purdue offer payments to health care providers in the form of speakers fees?” Ferketic later asked. Miller again replied, "Yes." “How does Purdue Pharma LP plead to the charges?” asked Judge Madeline Cox Arleo. "Guilty, your honor," Miller responded. more...

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Washington (CNN) President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that communication from the Trump administration to help with his transition has been "sincere" since the General Services Administration ascertained his election win on Monday. "Immediately, we've gotten outreach from the national security shop to just across the board," Biden told NBC News' Lester Holt in his first interview as President-elect. "And they're already working out my ability to get presidential daily briefs, we're already working out meeting with the Covid team in the White House and how to not only distribute but get from a vaccine being distributed to a person able to get vaccinated." "So I think we're gonna not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past," he added.

Biden's comments come one day after the GSA informed him that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process. His transition team is now in talking to all federal agencies, a transition official told CNN. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases doctor, said Tuesday he has had preliminary conversations with members of Biden's team and looks forward to more substantive discussions in the future. The GSA letter was the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge President Donald Trump's defeat and marked a considerable turning point against his bid to overturn his loss. more...

The group becomes the latest in a growing list of Trump backers who are encouraging people to either not vote in the runoffs or write in the president’s name.
Lachlan Markay, Will Sommer

Conservative operatives and a super PAC with ties to infamous GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone are calling for Trump supporters to punish Republicans by sitting out Georgia’s crucial Senate runoffs or writing in Trump’s name instead. And though their efforts remains on the party’s fringes, the trajectory of the movement has Republicans fearful that it could cost the GOP control of the Senate. The most aggressive call to boycott or cast protest ballots in the two runoff races has, so far, come from a dormant pro-Trump super PAC with ties to Stone, which unveiled a new initiative to retaliate against the Republican Party’s supposed turncoats by handing Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.

The group, dubbed the Committee for American Sovereignty, unveiled a new website encouraging Georgia Republicans to write in Trump’s name in both of the upcoming Senate runoff elections, which could determine the party that controls the upper chamber during President-elect Joe Biden’s first two years in office. The PAC argued that doing so will show support for the president in addition to forcing Republicans to address the wild election-fraud conspiracy theories floated by Trump supporters and members of his own legal team.

“If we can do this, we have a real chance at getting these RINO senators to act on the illegitimate and corrupt election presided over by a Democrat party that is invested in the Communist takeover of Our Great Nation,” the group wrote on its new website, writeintrumpforgeorgiasenate.com. “We will not stop fighting for you, the American Patriot, against the evils of Socialism and inferior Religions.” more...

A longtime Trump ally calls his legal effort "a national embarrassment."
By Matthew Mosk, John Santucci, Katherine Faulders, Alex Hosenball, and Olivia Rubin

When a federal judge rendered his opinion in President Donald Trump's effort to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election by alleging fraud in Pennsylvania, the ruling not only dismissed the case, it was dismissive of the president's legal team. Judge Matthew Brann, a Republican, described the legal case Saturday as a "Frankenstein's monster" that was "haphazardly stitched together." Some longtime Trump allies were even less charitable. On Sunday, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney, did not mince words when describing the legal bid: "Quite frankly, the conduct of the president's legal team has been a national embarrassment," Christie said on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

On Monday, even as Trump accepted steps be taken to begin cooperating with the transition process, he tweeted that the legal effort "STRONGLY continues" and that "I believe we will prevail!" The last time a presidential campaign became embroiled in a protracted legal battle, in 2000, some of the nation's most prestigious lawyers signed on with then-Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. The case catapulted many of them to greater heights in the legal world. Three of the attorneys on that Bush legal team -- John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett -- now sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Coming into this Election Day, Democrat Joe Biden had built a high-powered legal team that included former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and former White House Counsel Bob Bauer. But as the election approached, Trump struggled to assemble a core group of legal advisers. Over the three weeks since the election, the president's legal bid has unfolded in unpredictable ways, with a revolving cast of characters. To date, the Trump campaign and its allies have lost a succession of legal challenges totaling at least 30 adverse rulings. Of the 19 lawsuits the Trump legal team has brought across five states, 17 of the cases have been denied, dismissed or withdrawn, leaving both his supporters and critics to question whether the post-election legal effort has been worthwhile. more...

Dinkins, who spoke lovingly of New York City at his inaugural address as a "gorgeous mosaic," beat Rudy Giuliani in 1989 to become mayor.
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK — David Dinkins, who broke barriers as New York City’s first African-American mayor, but was doomed to a single term by a soaring murder rate, stubborn unemployment and his mishandling of a riot in Brooklyn, has died. He was 93. Dinkins died Monday, the New York City Police Department confirmed. The department said officers were called to the former mayor’s home in the evening. Initial indications were that he died of natural causes. Dinkins’ death came just weeks after the death of his wife, Joyce, who died in October at the age of 89.

Dinkins, a calm and courtly figure with a penchant for tennis and formal wear, was a dramatic shift from both his predecessor, Ed Koch, and his successor, Rudolph Giuliani — two combative and often abrasive politicians in a city with a world-class reputation for impatience and rudeness. In his inaugural address, he spoke lovingly of New York as a “gorgeous mosaic of race and religious faith, of national origin and sexual orientation, of individuals whose families arrived yesterday and generations ago, coming through Ellis Island or Kennedy Airport or on buses bound for the Port Authority.”

But the city he inherited had an ugly side, too. AIDS, guns and crack cocaine killed thousands of people each year. Unemployment soared. Homelessness was rampant. The city faced a $1.5 billion budget deficit. Dinkins’ low-key, considered approach quickly came to be perceived as a flaw. Critics said he was too soft and too slow. “Dave, Do Something!” screamed one New York Post headline in 1990, Dinkins’ first year in office. Dinkins did a lot at City Hall. He raised taxes to hire thousands of police officers. He spent billions of dollars revitalizing neglected housing. His administration got the Walt Disney Corp. to invest in the cleanup of then-seedy Times Square. more...

Brian Naylor, Alana Wise

President-elect Joe Biden can finally, formally begin his transition to power, after the General Services Administration on Monday officially ascertained the Democrat's victory over President Trump. The news came shortly after Trump, who has still yet to concede in the White House race, tweeted that he was recommending the GSA and others in his administration begin "initial protocols" to kickstart the formal transfer of presidential power. Emily Murphy, the Trump appointee who heads the GSA, has faced weeks of criticism from Democrats, national security experts and health officials, who argued that delaying the formal transition was hampering the incoming Biden administration from getting up to speed on the response to the coronavirus pandemic and jeopardizing national security. A handful of GOP lawmakers also called for the Murphy to allow the transition to get underway.

In a "letter of ascertainment" to Biden, Murphy wrote that she was now making available resources for his campaign to begin the transition process. "As you know, the GSA Administrator does not pick or certify the winner of a presidential election. Instead, the GSA Administrator's role under the Act is extremely narrow: to make resources and services available in connection with a presidential transition," Murphy wrote. more...

“Joey Electric,” “Louie Sheep,” and a dozen other operatives of a Philly crime family were indicted on charges including racketeering, illegal gambling, and drug trafficking.
Kate Briquelet

“Joey Electric,” “Louie Sheep,” “Tony Meatballs” and a dozen other operatives of a Philadelphia mob crime family were indicted last week on charges including racketeering conspiracy, illegal gambling, extortion and drug trafficking. A superseding indictment unsealed today reveals how members and associates of the Sicilian Mafia organization La Cosa Nostra, ages 33 to 81, worked to “reclaim territory in Atlantic City by extorting local bookmakers and loansharks” and distributed cocaine, oxycodone, heroin and fentanyl and other illegal drugs.

According to federal prosecutors, the mob also conspired to kidnap or murder a drug dealer who sold members fake methamphetamine. The purpose of the abduction plot was “to protect the reputation of the Philadelphia LCN,” the indictment says. Throughout 2016 and 2017, LCN members allegedly collected debts from loans that had annual interest rates as high as 156 percent to 400 percent. In one case, 70-year-old defendant Joseph Malone directed an unindicted co-conspirator to attack a victim to collect a loan-sharking debt, specifically ordering the stooge to “go over there with a baseball bat and hit” the unnamed borrower, the indictment states.

And, the indictment adds, alleged mobster Victor “Big Vic” DeLuca, 56, “made implicit threats” to another unidentified borrower “about what would happen if he failed to repay” the loan with 400-percent interest. Prosecutors also describe how underboss Steven Mazzone, capo or “captain” Domenic Grande, and Salvatore Mazzone participated in a “making ceremony” in August 2015, when “several new soldiers” showed up to a home in South Philly to be initiated into the mob. “As part of a making ceremony, a soldier swears allegiance to LCN over and above all other interests and obligations, including his biological family,” the indictment says. “He swears a vow of secrecy, agreeing not to divulge LCN business to non-members, or even to acknowledge the organization’’s existence. more...

By Zahra Ahmad | zahmad@mlive.com

The Board of State Canvassers certified Michigan’s November general election results in a 3-0-1 vote Monday. The board, made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, met Nov. 23 to make the vote count official after all 83 Michigan counties certified their election results, which include Joe Biden’s 2.8% statewide victory over President Donald Trump. The state certification of the more than 5.5 million ballots cast comes after Trump and his attorneys and supporters persistently called for delaying certification. Board of State Canvasser Norman Shinkle abstained from the vote. more...

The U.S. senator from Texas was spectacularly wrong in his "guarantee" about what would happen immediately after the 2020 election.
David Mikkelson

One of the many striking aspects of the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. was that the public response to social distancing restrictions intended to curb the spread of the virus was sharply divided over partisan political lines. As one (of many) academic studies found that year, “Individuals’ social distancing has more to do with whether they are Republicans or Democrats than the incidence of COVID-19 in their communities, and the effect of partisanship on the willingness to social distance is increasing over time, especially among Republicans.”

Each side blamed the other for “weaponizing” the pandemic response, with President Donald Trump accusing Democrats of hypocrisy during the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign by repeatedly asserting that come the day after the Nov. 3 election (i.e., when COVID would no longer be a useful political issue), Americans wouldn’t be hearing much about the coronavirus any more:

If it ends up that Biden wins in November — I hope he doesn’t, I don’t think he will — but if he does, I guarantee you the week after the election, suddenly all those Democratic governors, all those Democratic mayors, will say, “Everything’s magically better, go back to work, go back to school, suddenly all the problems are solved.” You won’t even have to wait for Biden to be sworn in. All they’ll need is Election Day, and suddenly their willingness to destroy people’s lives and livelihoods … they will have accomplished their task. That’s wrong, It’s cynical, and we shouldn’t be a part of it. - ted Cruz.  more...


Accused killer Kyle Rittenhouse got some help from a few famous people this week, and as a result, he's free on bail. Ricky Schroder made a "significant contribution" which led to Rittenhouse posting $2 million cash bail ... this according to Rittenhouse's famed lawyer, Lin Wood. We're told Schroder contributed $150,000 to the bail fund. Wood posted a photo of his client and Schroder, saying, "Thank you, All Donors. Thank you, All Patriots. Thank God Almighty." more...

by Will Bunch

OK, so you haven’t seen so many slam dunks since the USA “Dream Team” won the 1992 Olympics, as Team Trump’s ace legal department actually embraces My Cousin Vinny while racking up a courtroom won-loss record that rivals the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s been more than two weeks since the media and all other reputable observers called the 2020 election as a resounding win for Joe Biden, and yet President Donald Trump and his minions continue to press a case for overturning the result that’s melted faster than the stuff running out of Rudy Giuliani’s hair or his wherever.

Yes, it’s so easy to laugh at the ridiculousness of Trump’s scheme — which he telegraphed for months before Election Day — to somehow get judges, or state legislatures, or the Electoral College to anoint him the victor of an election he couldn’t win by getting the most votes, even in the battleground states that handed him the White House in 2016.

The latest proof of the pathetic nature of the president’s plot to allege widespread voter fraud, with zero actual evidence, came Saturday when a Republican, straight-outta-the-Federalist-Society jurist here in Pennsylvania — U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann — dismissed his campaign’s latest election challenge with prejudice,” using words like a “Frankenstein’s monster” and “unhinged” to describe the case argued by Giuliani last week. Yet as that was happening, the Trump campaign was demanding a reality-defying third recount that will surely ratify his loss in Georgia, much like the quadruple-amputated knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail continuing to insist that “it’s only a flesh wound.”

But it’s time now for all the laughter to die in outrage. Because we need to state in the clearest and most unambiguous terms what is happening in America in November 2020: The president of the United States is using the power of his office to try to overturn, by any means necessary, the fair and democratic election that will remove him from office. In a nation that stakes its claim to “exceptionalism” on 44 peaceful transfers of power (despite one that wasn’t) over 231 years, its current leader is attempting a coup. more...

Matthew Brown USA TODAY

President Donald Trump continues to refuse to concede the 2020 presidential election to rival president-elect Joe Biden. Accompanying Trump's unprecedented denial of the election results are various lawsuits in which the Trump campaign has alleged voter widespread voter fraud or a conspiracy to thwart the president. These claims are baseless.

Democrats have fumed at the president's stonewalling of the transition process while federal courts have thrown out several of the Trump campaign's lawsuits. Republican lawmakers have largely stood on the sidelines. A small but growing minority of congressional Republicans and elected leaders around the country, however, have begun to acknowledge Biden's victory. Some have called on Trump to step aside, and others have issued threats of action themselves. Here is a running list of the Republican officials who have acknowledged Biden's victory. more...

Biden's win obscures deeper problems in the party that have left it with an uncertain future.
By Alex Seitz-Wald and Benjy Sarlin

WASHINGTON — Heading into the election, Democrats dreamed it would go something like Star Wars, with rebel forces blowing up the Death Star and celebrating in the streets as a blue wave swept them into power in Washington and state capitals across the country. But President-elect Joe Biden's victory ended up looking more like the horror movie Alien, with the last bedraggled survivor kicking the monster out the airlock and then drifting off to an uncertain fate in deep dark space. And wherever they ended up, there would probably be another alien.

Yes, Biden soundly defeated President Donald Trump — and there was even some partying in the streets — but the results were brutal down the ballot for Democrats in ways that could haunt them for years. The party fumbled key Senate races, lost ground in the House, and failed to capture state legislatures in a redistricting year despite having the political winds at its back, more money in its bank account and a hyper-activated grassroots that had spent four years preparing for this moment.

If this wasn't the year for Democrats to win big, then when can they? "It’s really hard for our party psychology to learn any lessons when we keep winning," said Democratic strategist Danny Barefoot, referring to the presidential race. "But someone needs to have the hard conversation of saying: It's not enough." more...

The president’s comment comes after a series of legal defeats, and with his options dwindling.

President Donald Trump made explicit Saturday the strategy his legal team has been hinting at for days: He wants Republican-led legislatures to overturn election results in states that Joe Biden won. "Why is Joe Biden so quickly forming a Cabinet when my investigators have found hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes, enough to “flip” at least four States, which in turn is more than enough to win the Election?" Trump said, despite refusing to produce any such evidence either publicly or in court cases filed by his attorneys.

"Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself," Trump said. Trump's comment came after a string of legal defeats, including a rejection by a federal judge in Pennsylvania Saturday who said the Trump team presented no evidence of election fraud or misconduct, despite seeking to invalidate millions of votes. Trump's lead lawyer in the case, Rudy Giuliani, said he intends to appeal the case to the Third Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court.

But with few cases pending in courts, Trump's options have narrowed and he is becoming increasingly reliant on longshot scenarios where election results are not certified and Republican-controlled statehouses in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia intervene to declare him the winner. GOP legislative leaders in those states have not endorsed this approach. Trump summoned Michigan legislative leaders to the White House on Friday, but they later issued a statement indicating they had not seen any reason to intervene on Trump's behalf.

To succeed, Trump's plan would require several unprecedented legal steps. First, Republican-led legislatures in states Biden won would need to move to overturn their state's popular vote and appoint a slate of Trump electors when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14. In Pennsylvania and Michigan, such maneuvers would be certain to meet vetoes from Democratic governors, so the lawmakers would also need to secure a legal determination that they hold the sole power to appoint electors — a disputed legal premise that has never been tested. more...

By James Crowley

President Donald Trump supporters protesting the outcome of the 2020 election have a new and surprising opponent: the Republican Party. A viral video of protesters, as well as posts on social media platform Parler, indicate that Trump supporters are looking to boycott the upcoming Georgia Senate runoff elections.

A video, shared on Twitter on Saturday, shows a protester speaking into a mic criticizing Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who are both Republicans. The protester calls them "traitors." Seemingly reacting to certification from Georgia election officials that President-elect Joe Biden had indeed won the Peach State following an election recount, the protesters disavowed the GOP.

"Any Republican who allows this to happen is complicit, and we will finish you," the protester, donning a camo sweatshirt with an elephant on it, shouts into the microphone. "For any Republicans not explicitly helping Trump to 'stop the steal,' we will make sure you are never elected ever again." more...

By Tami Luhby, CNN

(CNN) With special pandemic unemployment benefits set to expire in the next few weeks, opera singer Brian Montgomery is making plans to leave the country. Since March, Montgomery -- a New Yorker who also works as a voice teacher and tour guide -- has not been able to find steady work, but he's gotten weekly payments thanks to the historic expansion of benefits under the $2 trillion federal stimulus package. But now, with Congress stalled on a fresh relief deal, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will run out just after Christmas.

If that happens, Montgomery and his wife, a part-time home health aide, might go to Japan, where Montgomery's wife is from, or Hong Kong, where he lived for 12 years and believes he can get work. "I had hoped our wonderful Congress would have figured it out by now," said Montgomery, 63. "We would be paying rent. We would be putting that money back into the economy. It's not as if we are just going to hoard it. We need to spend it."

Montgomery is among the 7.3 million independent contractors, gig workers, freelancers and self-employed folks who would lose unemployment benefits, according to a recent estimate by The Century Foundation. The program is also available to certain people affected by the coronavirus, including those who are ill or quarantined or have families members who are and those whose children's schools have closed.

A second measure, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, is also due to expire. That one provides the jobless with an additional 13 weeks of payments after they exhaust their traditional state benefits, which typically last 26 weeks. Some 4.6 million recipients will see these extra payments expire prematurely unless Congress acts, The Century Foundation estimated -- and many of those people won't be eligible for extended state benefits, which can last up to 20 weeks. more...

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and Michigan Republican Chair Laura Cox urged the board to adjourn for 14 days to allow a full audit and investigation.

National and state Republicans have mounted a last-ditch effort to keep Michigan's Board of State Canvassers from certifying results from the presidential election. In a letter sent Saturday, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and Michigan Republican Chair Laura Cox urged the board to adjourn for 14 days to allow a full audit and investigation so "numerical anomalies and credible reports of procedural irregularities" can be addressed.

"To simply gloss over these irregularities now without a thorough audit would only foster feelings of distrust among Michigan's electorate," the letter reads, echoing talking points from the Trump campaign. Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James also has requested a delay for similar reasons. The letter was first reported by MLive.com. more...

Heard on All Things Considered
Ryan Lucas

Of all the perks of being president, Donald Trump may soon miss most the legal protection that it affords. For four years, Trump has benefited from the de facto immunity from prosecution that all presidents enjoy while in office. But that cloak will pass to Joe Biden when he's sworn in on Jan. 20, leaving Trump out in the legal cold.

"Clearly, the president enjoyed immunity when he was in office," said Danya Perry, a former state and federal prosecutor in New York. "And it's possible, as a matter of law, that he could be indicted on Jan. 21." There's no indication that an indictment is imminent, and it's possible that Trump could emerge entirely unscathed. But there's also no doubt that once he's out of office, he'll be facing a higher level of legal jeopardy than he has in years. "His legal risks increase immeasurably come Jan. 21, both on the civil and the criminal side," Perry said.

Potential federal liability
The most developed case that could ensnare Trump might be out of the Southern District of New York. It stems from the federal prosecution against Michael Cohen, Trump's onetime personal attorney and fixer. Cohen pleaded guilty to a range of crimes, including arranging illegal hush money payments to keep women silent during the 2016 campaign about extramarital affairs they say they had with Trump before he was president. Trump has denied the allegations. Cohen has said he acted at the direction of and in coordination with Trump. Prosecutors, meanwhile, referred to the president in court papers as "Individual 1." more...

By Richard Miniter, Zenger News

The real endgame for President Donald Trump's lawyers is to throw the 2020 election into the U.S. House of Representatives, where Trump would prevail, says former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz. "I think the strategy of the Trump team is not to get him to 270, but to keep [Joe] Biden from getting to 270," Dershowitz told Zenger News in a video interview, referring to the minimum number of Electoral College votes required to capture the White House. Today Biden would have 306 electoral votes if all 50 state governments were to certify their unofficial vote totals.

"I don't think this is a charade of some kind," he said of the many legal efforts of Trump's legal team, now spread thin across Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He believes the legal claims advanced by the Republicans appear to be largely sound. "Vice President Biden is not yet the president-elect. He hasn't gotten the 270 certified votes yet," Dershowitz said. "There are so many contingencies that could occur, that anyone who tells you now with 100 percent certainty they can predict the outcome is not being straight with you," he said. more...

By Elliot Hannon

The litany of prosecutions President Donald Trump may be facing when he turns back into a plain old real estate magnate frog on Jan. 20, 2021, just got a little longer, the New York Times reported Friday. Trump’s unseemly business dealings have manifested themselves in some murky tax filings, both of which have been a source of interest for New York state investigators: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is conducting a criminal investigation while state Attorney General Letitia James carries out a civil one. Both probes, the Times reports, have recently expanded to include tens of millions of dollars in tax write-offs by Trump and his business, the Trump Organization, including deductions taken for paying his daughter Ivanka as a consultant while she was simultaneously on the payroll of the company as an executive officer. The investigations have ramped up of late, and, the Times reports, subpoenas have been issued to the Trump Organization.

Trump has paid essentially no taxes for decades by exploiting tax loopholes that allowed him to cover his substantial business losses, but also by deploying accounting methods that look an awful lot like fraud. To help keep his tax bill close to nonexistent, the Times now reports Trump took $26 million in tax deductions from 2010 to 2018 for fees paid to unidentified consultants that Trump classified as business expenses. When it comes to Ivanka, $747,622 in payments were made to Trump’s daughter through the consulting company TTT Consulting LLC, of which Ivanka is a co-owner. Ivanka disclosed the income when joining the White House in 2017. The exact same amount was listed in the Trump Organization’s tax deductions for a pair of hotel projects.

“While companies can deduct professional fees, the Internal Revenue Service requires that consulting arrangements be market-based and reasonable, as well as ‘ordinary and necessary’ to running a business,” the Times notes. “The I.R.S. has sometimes rejected attempts to write off consulting fees if they were meant to avoid taxes and did not reflect arms-length business relationships.” While these federal returns would fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, the Times points out that they would also be included Trump’s New York state returns, which would provide an avenue for state-level prosecution. more...

Republican support for Trump’s election-fraud claims isn’t just damaging to Biden and democracy—it’s damaging to Republicans too.
Ronald Brownstein

Congressional Republicans may be engaged in the political equivalent of a murder-suicide by abetting Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen from him. By reinforcing Trump’s baseless narrative that he actually won the vote, Republicans could be suffocating President-elect Joe Biden’s already-slim chances of attracting any meaningful support from rank-and-file Republican voters, which will make it much tougher for him to build bipartisan coalitions in Congress. But by supporting Trump’s claims—either overtly or through their silence—Republicans are simultaneously cementing his position as the dominant figure in the GOP, snuffing out their chances of reconsidering the course he has set for their party.

“Clearly, a lot of Republicans in Congress hoped that the election would be a bookend to Trump’s influence in the party,” the GOP consultant Alex Conant told me. “By allowing this episode to prolong, it’s created a near certainty that his influence will persist.” The longtime GOP strategist Bill Kristol, a leading Trump critic, says this dynamic shows how deeply Trumpism is engrained in the party. It increases “the chances of mindless partisan opposition to Biden and a refusal to repudiate conspiracy theorists,” Kristol told me. “It just makes for a more extremist Trumpism party even if Trump retires from politics on January 20.” more...

Commentator Guy Benson said Republicans would have screamed their heads off if Democrats tried to reverse the 2016 election.
By Ron Dicker

Conservative commentator Guy Benson said on Fox News Thursday that Donald Trump’s maneuvering to overturn his election defeat would have enraged Republicans if Hillary Clinton had tried the same thing after losing to Trump in 2016. (See the video below.) “I think conservatives would rightly have been in the streets screaming their heads off and I would have been right there with them because that’s not what we do in this country,” Benson, a Fox News contributor and Fox News Radio host, told Martha MacCallum. “That would be a shocking departure from our system of governance and the transfer of power in this country. I think this is a very dangerous path to even consider, let alone go down.”

Benson touched on some of Trump’s strategies, including his “longshot” plot in Michigan to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s convincing victory in the battleground state. Trump invited two top GOP state legislators to Washington on Friday in what is seen as an attempt to pressure them into decertifying the result. MacCallum tried to “both sides” the lame-duck president’s disruptive, baseless and undemocratic election flailing.

“There are some that say that the seeds of distrust in the election are sort of paving the way for the president to say that it was illegitimate over the course of the next few years if he decides that he wants to run again,” the host said. “We know that on Hillary Clinton’s side, she told Joe Biden not to concede under any circumstances in this election. So it’s been fraught on both sides from day one and who knows what we would be seeing on their side if the outcome had been different.” more...

By Matthew Chapman

On Thursday, writing for The Atlantic, Ron Brownstein broke down how the GOP is jeopardizing its own political future by letting outgoing President Donald Trump wage war against the results of the election. “Congressional Republicans may be engaged in the political equivalent of a murder-suicide by abetting Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen from him,” wrote Brownstein. “[B]y supporting Trump’s claims — either overtly or through their silence — Republicans are … cementing his position as the dominant figure in the GOP, snuffing out their chances of reconsidering the course he has set for their party.”

The behavior of Republicans in the wake of Trump’s loss, from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) allegedly leaning on the Georgia secretary of state to throw out mail-in ballots to Wayne County GOP canvassers trying to block certification of votes in Detroit, have set the tone, wrote Brownstein. Meanwhile, “The grassroots change is that fewer voters from the losing party in the presidential race are willing to give the winner any honeymoon.”

All of this points to a divided government that will see more Republican obstruction than ever before, wrote Brownstein — “Yet as much as the GOP’s continuing deference to Trump constrains Biden’s options, it also limits the ability of congressional Republicans and potential 2024 candidates to question, or even just recalibrate, the outgoing president’s polarizing direction for the party.” And the fact that Trump is floating a 2024 run himself makes it less likely rivals will even enter the field. more...

By Travis Gettys

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley doesn’t appear to live in the state he represents. The Missouri Republican frequently rails against “coastal elites,” and has even sponsored legislation to redistribute thousands of federal workers from Washington, D.C., to the heartland, but the Kansas City Star reported that he no longer has a home in the state.

Hawley is currently registered to vote at his sister’s home in Ozark, but he currently does not own a home in Missouri and instead spends most of his time with his wife and three children at their $1.3 million house in the Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. The first-term senator’s parents purchased a lot in Christian County, Missouri, in October 2019 and added him to the deed, property records show, but a house on the property is still under construction. more...

By Dana Bash and Gloria Borger, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump told an ally that he knows he lost, but that he is delaying the transition process and is aggressively trying to sow doubt about the election results in order to get back at Democrats for questioning the legitimacy of his own election in 2016, especially with the Russia investigation, a source familiar with the President's thinking told CNN on Thursday. The President's refusal to concede, as CNN has previously reported, stems in part from his perceived grievance that Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama undermined his own presidency by saying Russia interfered in the 2016 election and could have impacted the outcome, people around him have said.

Trump continues to hold a grudge against those who he claims undercut his election by pointing to Russian interference efforts, and he has suggested it is fair game to not recognize Joe Biden as the President-elect, even though Clinton conceded on election night in 2016 and the Trump transition was able to begin immediately. Trump is also continuing to process the emotional scars of losing to a candidate he repeatedly said during the campaign was an unworthy opponent whose win would amount to humiliation. He again made no public appearances on Thursday, skipping the first coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in more than six months. He is planning to participate in a virtual Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Friday, a senior administration official told CNN.

Trump has heard from a multitude of friends and business associates who have been urging him to at least let the transition begin, even if he doesn't want to concede, another source who is also familiar with the President's thinking told CNN. His answer: No. You're wrong. "Absolutely wrong," according to one source. When Trump has been told to get Rudy Giuliani and other members of his legal team off the case, the President has disagreed. He wants to continue the fight, and people close to the President have even expressed concern that he is buying into Giuliani's false claims that his legal efforts can change the election's outcome. He has shown no signs of backing down, even as those around him continue indicating that the end is near. Those allies have expressed worry that a sizable faction of the country thinks the election was stolen from Trump and that Biden isn't receiving national security briefings. more...


Despite a lack of evidence of widespread irregularities or fraud, President Donald Trump’s legal team used a Thursday press conference to go through a laundry list of far-fetched, thoroughly debunked claims on the 2020 election. Trump attorney Sidney Powell spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez” — the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. She also said Trump beat Democrat Joe Biden “by a landslide,” which he decidedly didn’t — Biden was the clear winner.

A look at the claims and reality: POWELL: “The Dominion Voting Systems, the Smartmatic technology software, and the software that goes in other computerized voting systems here as well, not just Dominion, were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez to make sure he never lost an election after one constitutional referendum came out the way he did not want it to come out.”

THE FACTS: No, Dominion does not have any ties to Venezuela, nor does it have a partnership with Smartmatic, according to Eddie Perez, a voting technology expert at the OSET Institute, a nonpartisan election technology research and development nonprofit. Smartmatic is an international company incorporated in Florida by Venezuelan founders. The company states on its website that it’s not associated with governments or political parties of any country. more...

Rivera blasted the Trump campaign’s allegations of an “international conspiracy,” quipping: “What about Elvis?!”
Justin Baragona

Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera warned Fox News host Jesse Watters on Thursday that he was “giving false hope to people” by lending credence to the unhinged election conspiracies peddled by the Trump campaign as it attempts to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Hours after Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani held an off-the-rails 90-minute press conference in which he and other Trump legal advisers alleged a global conspiracy to steal millions of votes from President Donald Trump, Watters—who has largely backed Trump’s baseless voter fraud allegations—applauded Team Trump’s performance.

“It was a big shot of adrenaline today,” the Trump-boosting host declared during Thursday’s broadcast of The Five, adding that Giuliani says “he has hundreds of sworn affidavits” that allege corruption in the election. After Watters echoed many of the unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud that have recently been peddled by the president and his allies, Rivera threw cold water on the Giuliani claims. “Come on, Jesse,” he exclaimed. “The Clinton Foundation, George Soros, Hugo Chavez! I’m probably the only one in this building who has actually met Hugo Chavez!” more...

You probably guessed it from the headline: It’s truly nuts.
Will Sommer

The Trump campaign presented the public with a cornucopia of bogus new election fraud claims on Thursday, including one that seemed to have its roots in a 2016 conspiracy involving perpetual GOP boogeyman George Soros. The press conference will be remembered best for Rudy Giuliani, who in between trying to wipe up the apparent hair dye dripping down his face, promised that he had over 100 affidavits showing voter fraud, but alas, just couldn’t show them to anyone. But the real star was attorney Sidney Powell, who has been at the vanguard of absolute election nonsense since election night.

On Thursday, Powell declared that she had found the real villains behind Trump’s election defeat: billionaire Soros and deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. In Powell’s telling, Chavez had been pulling the strings on American voting software this whole time. “The Dominion Voting Systems, the Smartmatic technology software, and the software that goes in other computerized voting systems here as well, not just Dominion, were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” Powell declared. more...

Trump is not just a childish man having a tantrum or a selfish man who can't accept defeat. His actions are dangerous to America's health and security.
Dr. Kenneth Paul Rosenberg and Norman Ornstein

One of us is a psychiatrist, the other a political scientist. We have watched the fiasco since the election with mounting trepidation, from two very different perspectives. But we have a common bond: For more than a decade, each of us has worked to advocate for people with serious mental illness to get treatment. We are coming together now to advocate for immediate intervention for our president.

Since President Donald Trump’s election, the psychiatric community has debated calling out his illness(es). The American Psychiatric Association says we should remain silent out of fear that we would violate the Goldwater Rule — an APA rule adopted largely to prevent the partisan misuse of psychiatric diagnoses to unduly influence an election. But it is clear what many psychiatrists know privately, and a few have said publicly. The threat to our democracy is too great to remain silent. more...

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden has won Georgia and its 16 electoral votes, an extraordinary victory for Democrats who pushed to expand their electoral map through the Sun Belt. The win by Biden pads his Electoral College margin of victory over President Donald Trump. Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election on Nov. 7 after flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to the Democrats’ column. Biden now has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. more...

Hansi Lo Wang

The U.S. Census Bureau has uncovered routine "anomalies" in the results of this year's national count that may force the bureau to miss a legal reporting deadline. That outcome could thwart President Trump's unprecedented attempt to change who is counted in numbers that determine each state's share of congressional seats and Electoral College votes for the next decade. "These types of processing anomalies have occurred in past censuses," the bureau's director, Steven Dillingham, said in a statement released Thursday. "I am directing the Census Bureau to utilize all resources available to resolve this as expeditiously as possible."

The first set of census results — the latest state population counts — is due to the president by Dec. 31 after the bureau reviews all of the information it has collected to try to spot and fix any errors. Beginning in May, career officials at the bureau gave early warning they could no longer deliver the state numbers by year's end because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, a month earlier in April, the Trump administration asked Congress to extend the census reporting deadlines by four months — a proposal that has been picked up by House Democrats and a small bipartisan group of senators but has yet to become a law. more...

GOP officials can't take back their votes to approve election results, state says.

DETROIT — Michigan's largest county can't yank certification of election results, officials said Thursday, after two Republicans who approved Joe Biden's local landslide after first refusing to bless the vote wanted to change their stance again. Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two Republican canvassers in Wayne County, said they only voted to certify the results after “hours of sustained pressure" and after getting promises that their concerns about the election would be investigated.

“We deserve better — but more importantly, the American people deserve better — than to be forced to accept an outcome achieved through intimidation, deception, and threats of violence,” they said in the statement Wednesday night. “Wayne County voters need to have full confidence in this process." Officials said, however, that certification of the Detroit-area vote will stand.

“There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote. Their job is done and the next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify,” said secretary of state spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer. The four-member state board is expected to meet Monday and also is split with two Democrats and two Republicans. President Donald Trump's campaign believes the latest about-face by Palmer and Hartmann is legitimate: It withdrew a federal lawsuit challenging the Detroit-area results, citing the pair's statement. more...


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and his allies are taking increasingly frantic steps to subvert the results of the 2020 election, including summoning state legislators to the White House as part of a longshot bid to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. Among other last-ditch tactics: personally calling local election officials who are trying to rescind their certification votes in Michigan, suggesting in a legal challenge that Pennsylvania set aside the popular vote there and pressuring county officials in Arizona to delay certifying vote tallies. 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.

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. “It’s very concerning that some Republicans apparently can’t fathom the possibility that they legitimately lost this election,” said Joshua Douglas, a law professor at the University of Kentucky who researches and teaches election law. “We depend on democratic norms, including that the losers graciously accept defeat,” he said. “That seems to be breaking down.” more...

By Tara Subramaniam, Holmes Lybrand and CNN staff, CNN

(CNN) In a wild, tangent-filled and often contentious press briefing led by President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, the Trump campaign's legal team laid out its case for widespread voter fraud in the election. The roughly 90-minute briefing was overflowing with falsehoods and conspiracy theories. At no point did Trump's legal team offer any proof for their allegations of widespread fraud. Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser for the campaign, said the group was laying out an "introductory statement" with more to come, and called the team an "elite strike force." Also working for the campaign, attorney Sidney Powell made extreme, baseless claims about communist Venezuela and George Soros supposedly interfering in the US election. Giuliani on multiple occasions made allegations citing individuals he said couldn't be revealed for their own safety and wellbeing. Many of their specific claims have already been refuted by federal election security experts and a wide, bipartisan array of election administrators across the country.

Certification in Wayne County
Giuliani said the Trump campaign withdrew one case in Michigan because its goal was to get the Wayne County board to decertify and they did.

Facts First: This is false. The county's results were certified on Tuesday night. Two Republican members of the Board initially deadlocked the vote but then reversed their decision and voted to certify Tuesday night. They have since sent in affidavits to rescind their vote but have not filed any lawsuits to try to force the county to call a new meeting. Since the deadline has passed, the certification still stands. Democratic Vice Chair Jonathan Kinloch said Thursday that board members' votes cannot be changed after the fact. -- Tara Subramaniam and Annie Grayer

'Overvotes' in Michigan
"One of the reasons why the Republicans did not certify in Wayne County, Michigan, was because the over-vote was so high," Giuliani claimed. He added, "what I'm describing to you is a massive fraud."

Facts First: This is false. What Giuliani called an over-vote is often referred to as an imbalance where the number of ballots tabulated does not equal the number of people signed in to vote at a specific polling location. Past elections in Michigan with larger imbalances have been certified without issue, including in 2016 when Trump won the state, according the Michigan Secretary of State. "They certified the vote in 2016 with 80% of Detroit precincts out of balance. And yet today, 42% were out of balance and yet it didn't get certified, so clearly there is no valid point here," Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. Benson told CNN it's "quite common" for precincts to be out of balance but "it doesn't indicate there's any malfeasance," adding "it's more of a bookkeeping, clerical issue." more...

Pam Fessler at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Though all evidence points to the contrary, President Trump's campaign is insisting that Trump has a path to reelection victory and that it will pursue legal challenges to results in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. To date, the campaign has lost more than two dozen challenges filed since the Nov. 3 election in which Joe Biden has been declared the decisive winner.

But the president has repeatedly and falsely said the election was riddled with fraud, and in a lengthy, conspiracy-filled news conference in Washington, D.C., his attorneys, led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, claimed they had hundreds of affidavits from voters and election workers that would prove Trump won the election.

Giuliani alleged that cheating in Democratic-controlled cities, such as Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee, was part of a "nationwide" voter fraud conspiracy. He said they "made significant mistakes, like all crooks do, and we caught them" — although he backed up the allegations with vague assertions and theories that have yet to be argued in a court of law.

The campaign's continued push to question the results comes as states are in the process of certifying votes and as almost every top election official in the country — both Republican and Democratic — insists the election ran smoothly with no signs of widespread fraud.

The recently fired federal cybersecurity official Chris Krebs called the Giuliani press conference "the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history" on his personal Twitter account. Krebs led efforts against disinformation around voter fraud, including baseless information promoted by Trump. more...

Biden needs a government-wide audit to find every ounce of Trump administration mismanagement and corruption. Unity hinges on transparency and trust.
Kurt Bardella Opinion columnist

For four years, the institutions meant to safeguard our democracy have come under a relentless assault from within, leaving our government vulnerable to corruption. We have seen a systemic and successful effort by President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to strip away these safeguards. Of the many challenges the incoming Biden administration must confront, the restoration of checks and balances is the most vital if we are to continue on as a united and functioning republic.

It’s easy in the midst of a pandemic to lose sight of things like whistleblowers, inspectors general, U.S. attorneys, and congressional oversight and independence. But they are all linchpins of a healthy democracy. It’s no surprise or accident that under the Trump presidency, these guardians of government have been eviscerated.

Trump's rise was fueled in part by a belief among disaffected and jaded Americans that the federal government could not be trusted. That the hidden hand of bureaucracy was working against the interests of everyday Americans. In his campaign for the presidency, he created an “us vs. them” chorus united behind the chant of “drain the swamp.” The theme of a “deep state” within the federal workforce, actively working to undermine the American people, is a reoccurring narrative Trump has advanced on many occasions. more...

Adam Payne

Three ethics experts, including two former government officials, wrote to the Senate Ethics Committee requesting an investigation into claims that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to disqualify thousands of legal mail-in ballots. Richard Painter, who was President George W. Bush's chief ethics lawyer, Walter Shaub, a former government ethics official, and Claire Finkelstein of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law asked the committee to look into whether Graham encouraged Raffensperger to "disenfranchise Georgia voters by not counting votes lawfully cast for the office of president," CNN reported on Wednesday.

Raffensperger this week said Graham directly asked him on a phone call whether he could disqualify thousands of mail ballots over mismatched signatures in Georgia, a battleground state that President-elect Joe Biden won. It was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had won in Georgia in nearly 30 years. Raffensperger told The Washington Post that Graham, an ally of President Donald Trump, asked whether election workers could have accepted ballots with mismatched signatures because they were biased toward Democrats and whether Raffensperger could throw out all mail ballots cast in counties with higher rates of signature issues. As The Post pointed out, Raffensperger does not have the authority to do so. more...

*** Trump could not win after trying to rig the election now he is trying to steal it in court. ***

By Marina Pitofsky

President Trump's campaign filed a lawsuit on Wednesday over election results in Pennsylvania, arguing that he should be named the winner in the battleground state and that the GOP-controlled state legislature should be given the authority to assign its electoral votes, according to reports. The suit also argues that the campaign’s constitutional rights were violated because observers were not given adequate access as election officials processed mail-in ballots. The claim was dropped in an earlier version of the lawsuit. The campaign said in its new filing said that the claim was dropped due to a miscommunication among attorneys for the president. It also argues that 1.5 million votes across the state “should not have been counted” and that they led to “returns indicating Biden won Pennsylvania.”

Attorneys for the Trump campaign also criticized a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court earlier this week. The court ruled on Tuesday that election observers had adequate opportunity to watch to the vote-counting process, even if they could not see the individual ballots. “In contrast to the 2002 International Electoral Standards ... the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck out in a unique direction among democracies and declared that meaningful observers are not part of verification and votes may be counted without any review by political campaigns and parties,” Trump's lawyers wrote in Wednesday's filing. The latest suit came one day after U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann appeared skeptical during a hearing in Williamsport, Pa., that the Trump campaign’s call to reject votes was justified in the wake of allegations over poll watching or other claims targeting mail-in ballots, Politico noted. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Fresh off a surprisingly pedestrian election win on November 3, Lindsey Graham has decided to take on a new role: The most aggressive enforcer of the idea that President Donald Trump maybe -- just maybe! -- didn't lose the 2020 election. In recent days, the South Carolina Republican has reached out to election officials in at least three states -- Georgia, Arizona and Nevada -- to inquire about the process by which, among other things, signatures are verified on mail-in ballots. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, told CNN that Graham had called him to urge the removal of ballots amid the ongoing hand recount in the state. "I got the sense it implied that then you could throw those out for any, if you look at the counties with the highest frequent error of signatures," Raffensperger told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday night. "So that's the impression that I got."

Graham told CNN that Raffensperger's allegations was "ridiculous." But a staffer for the Georgia secretary of state affirmed Raffensperger's version of events to CNN on Tuesday. "What I heard was basically discussions about absentee ballots and if a potentially ... if there was a percentage of signatures that weren't really, truly matching, is there some point we could get to, we could say somebody went to a courtroom could say, 'Well, let's throw (out) all these ballots because we have no way of knowing because the ballots are separated,' " said Georgia election implementation manager Gabriel Sterling.

Graham, even as he was defending his call to Raffensperger, revealed to reporters that he had also reached out to election officials in two other states where the vote count between Trump and President-elect Joe Biden was quite close -- and where the President has insisted, with zero proof, that there were shenanigans involved in the ballot counting. That claim, however, was almost immediately disputed by Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who said she had not spoken to Graham (or any other member of Congress) about the vote count in the state. Graham told reporters he was not sure who he had talked to in Nevada (uh, OK) and that he had spoken with Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in Arizona. more...

Chris Arnold

The day after Christmas, millions of Americans will lose their jobless benefits, according to a new study. And that could spell financial ruin for many people, like 44-year-old Todd Anderson in the small town of Mackinaw City, Mich. Anderson's a single dad with four kids — two of them 5-year-old twins. He lost his income after the pandemic hit in the spring. He did landscape design at resorts that host big weddings, and he says all that's been shut down. His $362 a week in unemployment benefits is barely enough to live on. So he's been selling off his belongings to try to get by — some cabinets he had, a pair of hiking boots. "I sold tools, tools of my trade," he says. "I sold hoping that I can re-buy them as I get on my feet."

Millions of people all over the country are living similarly close to the edge. "Congress is set to cut off 12 million Americans from the only thing holding them back from falling into financial wreckage and disaster," says Andrew Stettner, a co-author of the new study from the progressive-leaning think tank the Century Foundation. Stettner says two important federal pandemic jobless relief programs have been a lifeline for people such as Anderson who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits or didn't qualify. But with Congress stuck in a months-long stalemate over another relief bill, these programs are set to expire. more...

Beth LeBlanc The Detroit News

Two Republican Wayne County canvassers have signed affidavits saying they regret their votes Tuesday to certify the Nov. 3 election, arguing that "intense bullying and coercion" plus bad legal advice forced them to agree to certify the election after they had voted no. Canvassers Monica Palmer and William Hartmann have claimed the promises made to them of a "comprehensive audit" of the Nov. 3 election should they certify "will not be fulfilled."

"I rescind my prior vote to certify Wayne County elections," Palmer said in an affidavit signed Wednesday night. "I fully believe the Wayne County vote should not be certified." It's not clear whether the affidavits have any legal effect on Tuesday's certification, which moved Wayne County's results on to the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers. Even if Palmer and Hartmann were able to rescind their votes, the deadline for Wayne County to certify its results has already passed, in which case any uncertified results would pass on to the state board. more...

CBS News

Video released by a Florida sheriff's office shows two deputies pulling their weapons and one firing at a car as it drives near him in a shooting that killed two Black teenagers. The Brevard County Sheriff's Office released the video Tuesday after the teenagers' families and their attorney, famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, demanded more information about last Friday's events that led to the fatal shooting of A.J. Crooms, 16, and Sincere Pierce, 18.

The sheriff's office said in a Facebook post that Deputies Jafet Santiago-Miranda and Carson Hendren were doing a follow-up investigation on what they thought was a stolen car. When they spotted the car, they followed it as it drove through a residential neighborhood and then pulled into the driveway of a home. Dashcam video shows the deputies, in two different squad cars, getting out of their vehicles as the car they are following starts backing out of the driveway. Santiago-Miranda says repeatedly, "Stop the vehicle." more...

Will Feuer

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to clarify and revise its estimates for the risk posed to communities of color by Covid-19. CNBC obtained a copy of a letter the Massachusetts Democrat sent last week to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield that says “by failing to adjust COVID-19 mortality rates by age in its public data releases, the CDC may not be providing an accurate assessment of the increased risk of death and serious illness for communities of color relative to white Americans of the same age.”

“In the United States, age, race, and ethnicity are intertwined; people of color are, on average, significantly younger than non-Hispanic white Americans—an interaction the CDC has largely ignored in its communication about COVID-19 mortality rates,” Warren wrote in the letter dated Nov. 10. A representative for the CDC did not immediately return CNBC’s request for comment. Warren cited one page in particular on the CDC’s site that says Black people are 2.1 times more likely to die of Covid than White Americans. The page also says Hispanic Americans are 1.1 times more likely to die of and Native Americans are 1.4 times more likely to die of Covid compared with White Americans. more...

Joel Shannon USA TODAY

President Donald Trump faced a predictable taunt from thousands of social media users on Saturday after he lost his bid for reelection: You're Fired. It's the catchphrase he used to kick off contestants when he hosted the reality show "The Apprentice" for years — a show that brought him pop-culture fame that helped boost his 2016 bid for president. NBC cut ties with Trump in 2015 after he made "derogatory statements" about Mexican immigrants as he began his bid for president.

Media coverage of high turnover in his administration often invoked the phase, although, as the Associated Press noted in the year after Trump was elected, Trump often delegated the task of firing someone or publicly shamed those he wanted out, so they would simply quit. As president in 2017, Trump invoked the catchphrase in a tweet saying football players who did not stand for the national Anthem should be told "YOU'RE FIRED." While the catchphrase has faded in popularity in recent years, Trump's critics have not forgotten it: more...

CNN Tonight

A bipartisan panel in Michigan's largest county unanimously certified its presidential results, a stunning reversal hours after Republicans had temporarily blocked certification based on dubious claims of voting irregularities in Detroit. video...

By Dahleen Glanton - Chicago Tribune

If Donald Trump ends up getting kicked out of the White House, it seems fitting that African Americans would be the ones to give him the final shove out the door. After all the ballots are counted, African Americans could end up bringing down a president who claims to have done more for the Black community than anyone since Abraham Lincoln. Black people always knew that was a lie. They also knew that the moment Trump considered them to be useless to his political agenda, he would toss them aside the way he does everyone who gets in his way.

So on Tuesday, African Americans let Trump know exactly how they feel about him. He received only about 12% of the Black vote, according to CNN exit polls. It was higher than the 8% he got in 2016, but it was only a smidgen of the 87% Democrat Joe Biden received. The showdown between Trump and African Americans was inevitable. Discontent had been simmering since early in his presidency when Trump seemed to open his arms to anyone who could help him win, including neo-Nazis.

Still, Trump always tried to keep a few African Americans dangling round. He would occasionally invite them to the White House for a photo op. One or two of them always would be seated in prominent positions at his campaign rallies so they could be in full view of the TV cameras. And occasionally, he would offer organizations and community representatives a few promises that he had no intention of keeping. This week, African Americans showed him how fed up they were. Black voters in urban areas of several battleground states came through in the waning hours of election night to give Biden’s presidential bid a riveting burst of energy. more...

By Jeff Zeleny and Casey Tolan, CNN

(CNN) The Trump campaign said Wednesday that it will seek a limited recount of two Wisconsin counties. The campaign needs to officially request the recount, and pay an upfront fee, by 5 p.m. CT Wednesday. Wisconsin election officials confirmed on Wednesday that they received a partial payment of $3 million from the Trump campaign. These officials said last week that the price tag for a statewide recount would be approximately $7.9 million. "The Wisconsin Elections Commission has received a wire transfer from the Trump campaign for $3 million. No petition has been received yet, but the Trump campaign has told WEC staff one will be filed today," the election commission said.

CNN projected that President-elect Joe Biden will win Wisconsin. According to unofficial results, Biden leads President Donald Trump by 20,470 votes, or 0.62%. Trump has refused to concede and instead has promoted conspiracy theories about voter fraud. The Trump campaign is limiting its Wisconsin recount requests to Milwaukee County and Dane County, according to a press release from the campaign. The money paid by the Trump campaign would be enough to pay for recounts in these counties, which are Democratic strongholds. Milwaukee County contains Milwaukee, the state's largest city and home to the largest Black population in Wisconsin. Biden beat Trump by 317,251 votes to 134,355 in that county, according to unofficial results from the Wisconsin Election Commission.

Dane County includes the state capital of Madison, home to a many college-age voters at the University of Wisconsin. Biden won that county with 260,157 votes to 78,789 votes, according to unofficial results from the Wisconsin Election Commission. Counties that undergo a recount will have 13 days to recount all their votes, starting on Thursday, according to procedures announced by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The commission must certify the final results by December 1. Scott McDonell, the Dane County clerk, said his county would start counting ballots on Friday and the recount would likely take most of the allowed 13-day period. more...

Jessica Guynn USA TODAY

Twitter appended a label to fact-check President Donald Trump’s tweet about his firing of the nation’s top election security official Chris Krebs. Krebs’ recent statement that the Nov. 3 election “the most secure in American history” was “highly inaccurate,” the president wrote. “This claim about election fraud is disputed,” the label read. Trump announced in a tweet late Tuesday that he had “terminated” Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director who had contradicted the president’s claims of widespread voter fraud.

Krebs changed his Twitter profile bio to "1st Director" of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency followed by "former" to reflect his new employment status and acknowledged his dismissal in a tweet: "Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow (sic)." Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., told Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday that the U.S. was in “dangerous waters” with the president delegitimizing the election. "You have the tools to prevent him from weaponizing these platforms to degrade our democracy," Booker told the tech CEOs. more...

By Nicole Gaouette, Kylie Atwood and Alex Marquardt, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's order of a further withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq is the latest foreign policy move on a growing list in his final weeks in office that are meant to limit President-elect Joe Biden's options before he takes office in January. The White House has directed newly installed acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to focus his attention in the remaining weeks on cyber and irregular warfare, with a focus on China in particular, an administration official tells CNN. It is contemplating new terrorist designations in Yemen that could complicate efforts to broker peace. And it has rushed through authorization of a massive arms sale that could alter the balance of power in the Middle East.

The Trump team has prepared legally required transition memos describing policy challenges, but there are no discussions about actions they could take or pause. Instead, the White House is barreling ahead. A second official tells CNN their goal is to set so many fires that it will be hard for the Biden administration to put them all out. It's a strategy that radically breaks with past practice, could raise national security risks and will surely compound challenges for the Biden team -- but it could also backfire. Analysts and people close to the Biden transition argue the Trump team may act so aggressively that reversing some of its steps will earn Biden easy goodwill points and negotiating power with adversaries.

In other areas, they say the Trump team may be confusing style with substance -- that the difference between Trump and Biden isn't a matter of the end goal, such as a departure from Afghanistan or a nuclear-free Iran, but simply a matter of how each leader wants to get there. "The idea that Biden is some sort of softy doesn't correspond with many things," said Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Pointing to the same baseline goals for a nuclear-free Iran, a withdrawal from Afghanistan and a way to manage the relationship with an increasingly assertive China, Parsi said, "The Biden administration is likely to continue many policies, but just with a different style." more...

The former federal prosecutor took over a campaign lawsuit and indulged in Trump-flavored conspiracy mongering.
William Bredderman

Rudy Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, appeared in a Pennsylvania courtroom on Tuesday to make outrageous and evidence-free voter fraud claims, invoking Mickey Mouse and JFK in a wild conspiracy rant that another attorney denounced as “disgraceful.” The one-time New York City mayor, who is President Trump’s personal lawyer, took over the federal lawsuit from Pennsylvania attorneys and got permission to represent the campaign at a hearing in Williamsport—where his first act was to ask Judge Matthew Brann if he could remove his mask.

From there, he announced he’d be tossing the campaign’s previous legal strategy for its effort to block the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state, as laid out in an amended complaint the campaign filed on Sunday. Instead of focusing on whether Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar usurped the state legislature’s authority with her guidance to county election authorities—an argument Giuliani said he planned to “save for appeal”—he claimed instead that the decision of some counties not to comply with her guidance had created a violation of federal equal protection law, as defined in the infamous Bush v. Gore case. more...

When Team Trump’s claims of voter-fraud and ballot-tampering reach a judge, the allegations collapse in often spectacular fashion.
Will Sommer

Donald Trump’s last-ditch campaign legal efforts have centered on witnesses who allege that they witnessed voter fraud and other suspicious activity in battleground states across the country. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has brandished stacks of papers detailing what she said were hundreds of affidavits from allegedly aggrieved voters or poll-watchers in TV appearances, and the MAGA faithful have seized on the allegations as proof that Trump secretly won the election. But when those claims actually reach a judge, the allegations collapse in often spectacular fashion—putting one more roadblock in Trump’s attempts to wrestle the election away from President-elect Joe Biden.

The latest bruising response to Trump’s voter witnesses came Friday in a state court order from Michigan. The Trump campaign had asked Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny to block the certification of Michigan’s votes, citing a number of witnesses who alleged seeing suspicious things happening with the ballot count, mostly at Detroit’s TCF Center. But when Kenny actually saw the witness claims, he wasn’t impressed. In his Friday opinion, Kenny rejected the Trump campaign’s request, describing one witness affidavit as “rife with speculation and guess-work about sinister motives.” more...

Jessica Guynn USA TODAY

Steve Bannon won’t be permanently suspended from Facebook even after the former Trump adviser suggested that Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious-disease expert, and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded. Bannon's beheading comments made in a Nov. 5 video posted on Facebook were not a serious enough violation of the platform’s rules to warrant a suspension, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a Senate Judiciary hearing Tuesday. Instead, Facebook took down the video after about 10 hours – and after having been viewed nearly 200,000 times – for violating its violence and incitement policies. more...

By Annie Grayer and Marshall Cohen, CNN

(CNN) A bipartisan panel in Michigan's largest county unanimously certified its presidential results on Tuesday night, a stunning reversal hours after Republicans had temporarily blocked certification based on dubious claims of voting irregularities in Detroit. The Wayne County Board of Canvassers initially deadlocked 2-2 on whether to certify the results, with two Democrats voting to certify and two Republicans voting against it, citing concerns of examples where Detroit precincts found discrepancies during their post-election review process. That vote was immediately condemned by Democratic officials and nonpartisan experts, who said the election in Detroit had been conducted cleanly.

President-elect Joe Biden won Michigan by more than 148,000 votes, a victory made possible by a strong showing in Wayne County, where he netted more than 322,000 votes over President Donald Trump. The initial vote against certification drew the attention of the President, who posted a series of tweets praising the GOP members of the canvassing board for "having courage." He also spread false claims about massive voter fraud and said officials in the state should "flip Michigan back to TRUMP." Trump has mounted a long-shot attempt to overturn the election results through lawsuits and the Electoral College -- and one of the Trump campaign's legal advisers said the initial refusal to certify the results should open the door for the "Republican state legislator (sic) will select the electors." GOP lawmakers in Michigan have repeatedly said they'll respect the statewide popular vote and won't intervene in the process.

When announcing their decision to certify the results, the board also called on Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to do a comprehensive audit on the precincts in Detroit that had found discrepancies during their post-election review. In an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo on "Cuomo Prime Time," Benson said she would conduct that audit, and she praised the decision by the county board to reverse itself and certify the results. "It appears that the truth won in this scenario," she said. "Basically, the evidence was clear: There were no irregularities, there was no evidence of widespread fraud and in fact there were simply minor clerical errors. ... I think they did the right thing, they performed their duty and they certified the election for the voters in Wayne County." more...

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