The Wayne County Board of Canvassers abruptly changed course Tuesday night and certified the results of the Nov. 3 election in Michigan after initially deadlocking 2-2 along party lines, which could have delayed the state process for authorizing results, the Detroit News reports.
First Read: “Forget Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Or Trump’s impeachment for asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.”
“Arguably the biggest political scandal we’ve ever seen in this country is playing right before our eyes: President Trump and his allies are trying to reverse the election results of a contest he lost.”
“It doesn’t look like the scheme is going to work. The Wayne County (Detroit) Board of Canvassers last night certified its election results after its two Republican members initially withheld support… But being unsuccessful doesn’t erase the magnitude of the scandal — or the fact that the president of the United States has cheered it on every step of the way.”
Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) told Michigan Bridgethat Joe Biden is the president-elect, and while the state’s Republican-led Legislature is investigating the election, it will not award the state’s 16 electors to President Trump.
“Hundreds of activists who protested at the Michigan Capitol on Saturday repeated the president’s unproven claims of widespread voter fraud, urging lawmakers to ‘stop the steal’ by choosing their own pro-Trump representatives to the Electoral College.”
Said Shirkey: “That’s not going to happen.”
“Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) started off the day by saying he had talked with the secretaries of state in Arizona and Nevada, in addition to the conversation he had acknowledged earlier with Georgia’s top election official,” the Washington Post reports.
“A little later, Graham realized he had misspoken. He had actually talked to Arizona’s governor and some other officials, he said, and he wasn’t sure which officials from Nevada had briefed him about that state’s 2020 election procedures.”
“Finally, by midafternoon Tuesday, Graham realized he had never spoken to anyone from the Silver State about its 2020 vote. ‘I didn’t talk to anyone in Nevada. I got briefed about what they do in Nevada. I can’t remember by who,’ Graham told reporters in the Capitol. This is the state of Graham’s solo investigation into election laws in states that President Trump narrowly lost in this month’s election.”
Nicholas Connors, a former staffer for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), writes in The Bulwark: “What several years ago was a head scratching question—What happened to Lindsey Graham?—is now pretty clear. For Graham, being a United States Senator isn’t about helping Americans or advancing principles. It’s about swimming in the pool of power and feeding off the scraps the big fish leave behind. In short: Lindsey Graham is everything that’s wrong with our political system.”
CNN: “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.”
Doctors on the White House Coronavirus Task Force have reportedly delivered a dire warning to Vice President Mike Pence: If the Trump administration doesn’t change course now, then the United States could be recording 2,000 COVID-19 deaths by Christmas, CBS News reports.
Despite her state’s hospitals being overrun with COVID-19 patients, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) maintained her refusal to implement a mask mandate Wednesday, saying she didn’t “want to approach a policy of a mandate just looking to make people feel good.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who is 87 years old, announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I’ve been shot, I’ve been rolled over, I’ve been hit in the head a hundred times, but I’ve never felt as bad as I did. This is not good.” — Rep. Don Young (R-AK), quoted by the Anchorage Daily News, on his bout with Covid-19.
“Former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney slammed Rudy Giuliani’s leadership of the Trump campaign’s election-related legal challenges, saying that the effort to reverse the presidential race’s outcome ‘is not a television program’ and should be handled by more experienced attorneys,” Politico reports.
Said Mulvaney: “I’m still a little concerned about the use of Rudy Giuliani. It strikes me that this is the most important lawsuit in the history of the country, and they’re not using the most well-noted election lawyers.”
Rudy Giuliani represented the Trump campaign before U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann in Williamsport, Pennsylvania:
GIULIANI: I’m not sure what “opacity” means. It probably means you can see.
BRANN: It means you can’t.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Republican monitors observing vote counting in Philadelphia were given sufficient access under state law to view the proceedings,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“In a 5-2 decision, the court overturned a lower court decision that ordered monitors with President Trump’s campaign be allowed within six feet of tables where ballots were being tallied.”
“As prospects for an effective vaccination for the coronavirus have improved for the coming year, Donald Trump has grown outwardly resentful that he won’t be in the Oval Office to take the credit for it,” the Daily Beast reports.
“The president had said he envisioned large, public, mask-free events—particularly when the weather grew warmer in, what he anticipated to be, a second term—and rallies to celebrate the successes of Operation Warp Speed, the public-private partnership to develop a vaccine. When distribution began, Trump had wanted to be directly involved in the vaccine’s promotion, gaming out a video campaign about the safety and success of his operation.”
ABC News: “The backchannel outreach to at least four former officials who served in senior-level roles comes as the General Services Administration continues withholding its ascertainment of Biden as winner of the presidential election, effectively denying him access to key resources and briefings meant to ensure a safe and secure continuity of government on Jan. 20.”
“As a result, sources familiar with the matter said that Biden’s team has been in contact with those who have recent experience in various federal agencies, and in most cases the individuals are career officials and not political appointees. It was not clear exactly what information the transition team is soliciting from these former officials, but it was not believed to include classified materials.”
“As President Trump’s legal efforts challenging the election results continue to hit dead ends, his campaign and legal teams have descended into chaos behind the scenes as many brace for the end of the post-election fight,” ABC News reports.
“Since launching a long-shot effort to overturn the election results through baseless claims of voter fraud, President Trump has suffered a dizzying barrage of court losses and setbacks around the country, leading him late last week to install Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, to lead the legal efforts going forward.”
“But Giuliani’s ascent has led to an explosion of infighting and disillusionment among the president’s longstanding legal team and top campaign officials, resulting in dueling factions emerging from inside the president’s dwindling campaign.”
“President Trump’s agenda listed ‘no public events’ on Tuesday — the 10th time since the election that those words have appeared on his daily schedule,” CNN reports. “He has answered no questions from reporters, invited no cameras into the Oval Office and ventured no further than his namesake golf course, 25 miles from the White House in Virginia.”
Washington Post: Trump’s post-election agenda: Six events, four rounds of golf, 400 tweets.
President Trump canceled plans to travel to Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving, CNN reports, and will stay at the White House.
The Biden transition team is in the process of vetting Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) for Interior secretary, sources told The Hill. If tapped by Biden, Haaland’s nomination would be historic, making her the first Native American Cabinet secretary, overseeing an agency with vast responsibility over tribal issues and public lands.
“President-elect Joe Biden hasn’t nominated anyone for his Cabinet yet, but he’s assembling the team to get his future picks confirmed,” Politico reports.
“With Republicans favored to retain their majority in the Senate next year, Biden’s Cabinet is poised to become the new administration’s first big political battle. The confirmation votes will be an early test of the president-elect’s ability to maneuver in the Senate and work with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will maintain control of the chamber as long as Republicans win one of two Senate run-offs in Georgia.”
U.S. environmental activists are heaping pressure on Democratic president-elect Joe Biden to avoid Cabinet appointees with fossil fuel ties, Reuters reports.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told CNN he has “no interest” in serving in the Biden administration. Asked if he’d tell Joe Biden “no” if he got offered a job, Booker said: “If the president-elect of the United States calls me up, I’ll listen to whatever he has to say.” But he quickly added he has “no interest.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said there will be an “orderly transfer” between administrations on Jan. 20, though he did not mention President-elect Joe Biden or President Trump, who is refusing to concede, by name, NBC News reports.
Republican senators congratulated Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on her and President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory on the Senate floor — even as many of them refuse to publicly acknowledge that President Trump lost the election.
President-elect Joe Biden acknowledged the challenging political landscape he could face in Washington next year, predicting that he would run into “brick walls” in the Senate if Republicans controlled the chamber, the New York Times reports.
Said Biden, on a private video call: “We’re going to run into some real brick walls initially in the Senate unless we’re able to turn around Georgia and pick up those two seats, but even then it’s going to be hard. But I believe, I believe I know the place. I believe we can ultimately bring it together.”
ProPublica: “Long before Republican senators began publicly denouncing how Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger handled the voting there, he withstood pressure from the campaign of Donald Trump to endorse the president for reelection.”
“Raffensperger, a Republican, declined an offer in January to serve as an honorary co-chair of the Trump campaign in Georgia, according to emails reviewed by ProPublica. He later rejected GOP requests to support Trump publicly, he and his staff said in interviews. Raffensperger said he believed that, because he was overseeing the election, it would be a conflict of interest for him to take sides. Around the country, most secretaries of state remain officially neutral in elections.”
“Joe Biden is facing a dilemma that no modern incoming president has had to contend with, and it comes on top of the challenges already posed by President Trump’s refusal to cooperate in the transition: how his White House team will work out of the building’s tight quarters during a pandemic,” NBC News reports.
“Biden’s team is brainstorming ways to apply his coronavirus-conscious campaign practices to the presidency, several of his advisers said. Transition officials are trying to determine how — and how many — White House officials can physically work out of the West Wing while maintaining social distancing and other protocols the pandemic requires.”
“Deadlines set by Congress early in the pandemic will result in about 12 million Americans losing unemployment insurance by the year’s end, according to a report released Wednesday — a warning about the sharp toll that inaction in Washington could exact on the economic health of both individual households and the economy at large,” the Washington Post reports.
Philip Bump: “Since Election Day, Trump’s stretch goal has been a second term in office: unlikely but, hey, who knows? The immediate and attainable goal, on the other hand, is simpler. Trump wants to be able to spend the rest of his days insisting that he didn’t actually lose the 2020 election. He wants to march around Mar-a-Lago and have people nod as he grumps that President-elect Joe Biden committed unidentified crimes which denied him a second term in office.”
“That second goal has already been obtained.”
“Monmouth University has been tracking confidence in the 2020 election for months. In a poll released Wednesday, the pollsters asked Americans if they were confident that the presidential race was executed fairly and accurately. Most people said it was — but three-quarters of Republicans and Trump voters said that it wasn’t.”