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Politics

Trump Is Now Actively Discouraging Republicans From Voting In Georgia Senate Runoff


Trump told reporters that the system in Georgia is fraudulent and actively discouraged his supporters from voting in the state’s Senate runoff.

Video:

Trump was asked, “If you don’t think the presidential election was legitimate if you think that it was stolen, what confidence do you expect voters to have when they go to the polls to vote for say Kelly Loeffler or Purdue?”

Trump gave the one answer that Republicans fear the most, “Well, I told him today I think you’re dealing with a very fraudulent system. I’m very worried about that. They are tremendous people. Kelly Loeffler, David Perdue are tremendous people. They should be in the senate, but I told him today, I said listen, you have a fraudulent system. You have a system where the flick of a switch or the putting in of a new chip can change the course of history. And you have to be very careful. I read this morning where Stacey Abrams has 850,000 ballots accumulated. That’s called harvesting. You’re not allowed to harvest, but I understand the secretary of state who was really — he’s an enemy of the people. The secretary of state and whether he’s a Republican are not.”

The reason why Republicans at the top of Georgia’s political leadership have been standing behind Joe Biden’s win is that they don’t like Republicans to believe the false fraud claims that the president is making and not show up to vote in the Senate runoff election.

Trump attacked mail-in voting and discouraged his supporters from voting by mail. Those attacks may have cost him the election. He is now telling his supporters not to show up and vote in two Senate runoff elections that look to be very close.

Donald Trump is so bitter about his loss and wrapped up in bogus election fraud conspiracies that he may end up handing the Senate to Joe Biden and the Democrats in January.

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Trump, Still Claiming Victory, Says He Will Leave if Electors Choose Biden


President Trump said on Thursday that he would leave the White House if the Electoral College formalized Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election as president, even as he reiterated baseless claims of fraud that he said would make it “very hard” to concede.

Taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day, Mr. Trump also threw himself into the battle for Senate control, saying he would soon travel to Georgia to support Republican candidates in two runoff elections scheduled there on Jan. 5.

When asked whether he would leave office in January after the Electoral College cast its votes for Mr. Biden on Dec. 14 as expected, Mr. Trump replied: “Certainly I will. Certainly I will.”

Speaking in the Diplomatic Room of the White House after a Thanksgiving video conference with members of the American military, the president insisted that “shocking” new evidence about voting problems would surface before Inauguration Day. “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede,” he said, “because we know that there was massive fraud.”

But even as he continued to deny the reality of his defeat, Mr. Trump also seemed to acknowledge that his days as president were numbered.

“Time is not on our side,” he said, in a rare admission of weakness. He also complained that what he referred to, prematurely, as “the Biden administration” had declared its intention to scrap his “America First” foreign policy vision.

The president was also strikingly testy at one point, lashing out at a reporter who interjected during one of several of his rambling statements about the supposedly fraudulent election.

“You’re just a lightweight,” Mr. Trump snapped, raising his voice and pointing a finger in anger. “Don’t talk to me that — don’t talk — I’m the president of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way.”

If Mr. Trump sees the end of his presidency as inevitable, he clearly still believes he can bolster his legacy — and badly undermine Mr. Biden, the man who is ending it — by helping to preserve a Republican Senate that could serve as a wall against the new Democratic agenda.

The election results left Democrats holding 48 seats in the U.S. Senate. If Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic challengers in Georgia, can both pull off victories over Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, their party will gain de facto control of a Senate divided 50-50 because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would wield a tiebreaking vote.

In his remarks on Thursday, Mr. Trump said he would visit Georgia on Saturday. Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, later clarified that the president meant Saturday, Dec. 5.

The president added that he could return to the state to back the Republicans a second time, “depending on how they’re doing.”

It is unclear how helpful Mr. Trump’s appearances would be for the two embattled Republican incumbents. After a hand recount of a close vote, Georgia declared Mr. Biden the winner there on Nov. 19 by a margin of 12,284 votes. Mr. Biden is the first Democrat to carry the state in a presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1992.

Mr. Trump insisted on Thursday that he had won the vote by a significant margin. “We were robbed. We were robbed,” he said. “I won that by hundreds of thousands of votes. Everybody knows it.”

Asked whether he would attend Mr. Biden’s inauguration, as is customary for a departing president, Mr. Trump was coy.

“I don’t want to say that yet,” the president said, adding, “I know the answer, but I just don’t want to say.”

At times, Mr. Trump shifted his explanation of his defeat from claims of fraud to complaints that the political battlefield had been slanted against him, casting the news media and technology companies as his enemies.

“If the media were honest and big tech was fair, it wouldn’t even be a contest,” he said. “And I would have won by a tremendous amount.”

After seeming to concede reality, Mr. Trump quickly caught himself and revised his conditional statement.

“And I did win by a tremendous amount,” he added.



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Health

Covid treatment touted by Trump is hard to get for regular people



Nonetheless, patients are clamoring for the medications, in part because of Trump’s comments, as well as testimonials from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who also got the drugs before they were approved.

“Frankly, the image of Trump coming out of Walter Reed and being better so quickly, I think it really gave a lot of people a false sense of security regarding what a treatment can do,” said Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “The reality is, people who have extra access to the latest and greatest treatments are not your average person. . . . People don’t realize how inaccessible these drugs are.”

In some ways, the story of the antibody treatments is the tale of the U.S. health-care system, which tends to cater to the well-insured and well-connected, especially in providing new treatments.

Scarce supplies also are a defining theme of the pandemic, as shortages of coronavirus tests, personal protective equipment and toilet paper have forced rationing until production catches up. That trend will continue with coronavirus vaccines, which are likely to come online next month.

In the case of the antibody drugs, they are complicated to make because they are created by live cells. The manufacturing process can’t be rushed. And the drugs must be administered intravenously, creating challenges for health facilities that must set up separate infusion centers so patients with cancer and autoimmune disorders aren’t exposed to people who are infected.

Trump received his treatment Oct. 2, shortly before he was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Christie, who days before had helped prepare Trump for the first presidential debate, became seriously ill and received the Lilly drug while hospitalized.

Carson received the Regeneron drug more recently, as an outpatient at Walter Reed. In a Facebook post Friday, he said he had been “desperately ill” with covid-19 and that Trump “cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life.” The retired neurosurgeon said he realized he had access to a level of medical care most Americans do not, and added that such care should be available to everyone. A HUD spokesman declined to comment.

Carson, Christie and Trump all got the drugs under “expanded access” programs before they were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.

Health experts worried their experiences would give Americans the wrong impression about the drugs’ availability.

“The president will not be calling Regeneron so that your grandmother can receive the therapy,” Walid Gellad, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Pharmaceutical Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, wrote in an email. “I don’t know to what extent the public understands how limited these therapies will be initially.”

In addition, the drugs are not suitable for people who are severely ill. Several weeks after Trump got the treatments, studies showed that the medications don’t help hospitalized patients, and might even harm them. When the FDA cleared the drugs, the agency stipulated they were for patients with mild to moderate cases who are at high risk for serious illness because of age or medical conditions such as obesity or diabetes. The goal is to keep those patients out of the hospital.

Several other people in Trump’s orbit also have had covid-19 and were offered help getting access to the drugs.

One adviser who contracted the virus said the president offered to get the Regeneron drug for him. “It’ll make you better overnight,” the president said, according to a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information. But the adviser demurred, saying he did not need it.

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, also tested positive but didn’t need the antibodies, officials said.

After the president’s hospitalization, some advisers also warned him against speaking about the coronavirus as if it were a small inconvenience after he had benefited from experimental drugs unavailable to others. Trump’s response was that he wanted to make a video telling the American people that they’d get the drugs, too, though the White House had no ability to ramp up production.

Trump did call Regeneron chief executive Leonard Schleifer to ask about expediting the wider distribution of the drug, according to a person with knowledge of the calls who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the issue.

White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern said in a statement that “as a bridge to safe and effective vaccines just weeks away, the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed is working with private sector innovators to distribute hundreds of thousands of doses of these critical antibody treatments every single month to save lives.”

A Regeneron spokesperson said the company “has worked extremely hard over the last several months to invent, test and maximize production of our antibody cocktail in record time. Even so, we recognize demand may exceed supply initially, making it even more critical that federal and state governments ensure the antibody cocktail is distributed fairly and equitably to the patients most in need.”

Despite the difficulties in getting the antibody drugs, doctors said they were happy to have another tool for treating a disease that has few effective treatments.

“We are excited about it,” said David Aronoff, director of the division of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He said the challenge is making sure the drugs get quickly to those at highest risk for hospitalization. “There may be very high demand that will outstrip supply,” he said.

The Regeneron medicine is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies, called casirivimab and imdevimab, which are proteins created in the laboratory to mimic the human immune system. It works by imitating the body’s natural defenses instead of waiting for the body to mount its own response. The Lilly product is a single antibody, called bamlanivimab, that operates in a similar way. The drugs make it harder for the coronavirus to infect human cells.

Operation Warp Speed, the administration’s effort to speed coronavirus treatments and vaccines, provided hundreds of millions of dollars for the drugs’ development and bought 300,000 doses from each company, with the option of purchasing hundreds of thousands more. It has begun allocating them to states based on their number of cases and hospitalizations for broad use.

Both companies are ramping up production. Lilly, for example, expects to have 1 million doses by the end of this year.

But for now, as cases surge, supplies are limited, upsetting doctors looking to keep patients out of overcrowded hospitals.

Outside of clinical trials, for example, the University of Alabama at Birmingham as of Tuesday had 20 doses of the Lilly drug for outpatients and no doses of the Regeneron drug, according to Marrazzo, in a state averaging more than 2,000 new infections a day.

Finding the right patients isn’t easy, either. They need to have recently tested positive for the virus but be within 10 days of showing symptoms, according to the FDA authorizations.

Patients who qualify for the drugs will need to come to outpatient centers for infusions before getting seriously ill, which makes them no longer eligible. “In the past, we were telling people not to come into the hospital, to stay home,” said Rajesh Gandhi, an infectious-disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “Now we will be sending the opposite message.”

Besides setting up separate infusion space, hospitals and clinics also are trying to figure out how to staff the administration of the drugs. Though the infusion itself takes only one hour, the entire episode, including an extra hour for monitoring a patient for side effects, can easily take three hours.

Those additional staffing needs are occurring as some facilities approach a breaking point, with cases surging and staff extremely stretched. Some say providers should explore delivering the drugs in people’s homes.

Vanderbilt’s Aronoff said the FDA’s “at risk” category is so broad that the hospital has had to narrow the criteria to avoid quickly running out of drug supplies. “We tightened up, not because we don’t think everyone is deserving, but because we just don’t have much of the medication,” he said.

For Marrazzo at the University of Alabama, the rationing decisions are excruciating.

“If I have five doses and 20 patients who need it, how on earth do I decide?” she said. “Do I choose the young physician who has diabetes? Or a 71-year-old who is at risk because of his age? Deciding how to do it becomes arbitrary.”



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Politics

Trump Humiliated After Canceling Plan To Attend PA Election Fraud Hearing


Trump’s big plan to show at a Republican-led PA Senate hearing on election fraud has flopped as the president has canceled his trip.

Via the White House Pool Report:

Rudy Giuliani wasn’t able to come on the trip with Trump because two people that attended his most recent press conference with him got coronavirus.

Trump’s plan, it appears was to make a big splash with Rudy and attend the hearing to make the claim that the election was stolen from him, but instead, Trump is going to continue sulking in the White House until he goes off to his Florida club at some point this holiday season.

Trump was going to make an election fraud last stand, but instead, it was another humiliating defeat for a president who has been nothing but losing for more than three weeks.

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Politics

Trump Is Said to Plan Pardon of Flynn


President Trump has told aides that he plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and that it is one of a string of pardons he plans to issue before leaving office, a person familiar with the discussions said on Tuesday.

Mr. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, twice pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his conversations with a Russian diplomat during the presidential transition in late 2016 and early 2017. He was the only former White House official to plead guilty in the inquiry led by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference.

In May, the Justice Department sought to withdraw its charges against Mr. Flynn. That move has since been tied up in federal court, challenged by the judge who presided over Mr. Flynn’s case, Emmet G. Sullivan.

Mr. Trump’s plans were reported earlier by Axios.

Mr. Flynn, 61, served just 24 days as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser before the president fired him in February 2017 for lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States at the time, Sergey I. Kislyak.

Mr. Flynn changed his legal team last year and began seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he never lied to investigators and was the target in January 2017 of what his lawyers in court papers called an “ambush-interview” by F.B.I. agents seeking to entrap him. He has since become a hero figure on the pro-Trump right, portrayed as a decorated patriot victimized by the politically motivated Russia “hoax” investigation of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, who initially distanced himself from Mr. Flynn after his firing, has since taken up his cause, calling him “an innocent man” targeted by Obama administration officials trying to “take down a president.”

“What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!” Mr. Trump tweeted in April, weeks before the Justice Department sought to withdraw its charges. After the department acted, Mr. Trump tweeted his approval, writing on May 8, “Yesterday was a BIG day for Justice in the USA.”

In a late September hearing before Judge Sullivan, a lawyer for Mr. Flynn, Sidney Powell, reluctantly admitted that she had recently spoken to Mr. Trump about the case, but said she had asked the president not to pardon her client.

Ms. Powell has appeared alongside lawyers for Mr. Trump, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, to press an unfounded case of election fraud. But after Ms. Powell floated a set of particularly wild claims, Mr. Giuliani and another lawyer representing the Trump campaign, Jenna Ellis, said in an abrupt statement on Sunday that Ms. Powell “is not a member of the Trump legal team.”

Mr. Flynn has been awaiting a ruling from Judge Sullivan on the Justice Department’s motion to withdraw its charges. The motion raised alarms among career prosecutors about political influence at the department.

Mr. Flynn has said he does not recall his conversations with Mr. Kislyak. But transcripts declassified in May show that they were extensive, and that in three phone calls the men discussed how Washington and Moscow might improve ties; how Russia should respond to punitive actions by the departing Obama administration in response to Russia’s election interference; and a United Nations resolution to condemn Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

Many departing presidents have issued pardons and commutations near the end of their terms. Former President Bill Clinton drew particularly harsh criticism over his pardon of a wealthy Democratic donor in his final White House hours. But Democrats and legal experts fear that Mr. Trump will exercise his pardon power with a brazenness that shatters past precedent — possibly even by prospectively pardoning himself.

Mr. Trump has already commuted the sentence of Roger J. Stone Jr., another associate ensnared in the Russia investigation who was convicted on seven felony counts and was to begin a 40-month term in federal prison.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on reporting that Mr. Trump has told confidants that he plans to pardon Mr. Flynn.

While presidents have traditionally consulted the department on pardons and commutations, they do not need approval from the department in order to issue them. In general, Mr. Trump has neither consulted with the department nor pardoned people who have been vetted by the department’s pardons office.

Word of Mr. Trump’s intentions came on a day the president presided over the annual White House turkey pardon. Mr. Trump ignored shouted questions from reporters in the Rose Garden about whether he planned actual pardons before leaving office.

Katie Benner contributed reporting.





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Politics

Trump Brags About The Stock Market For 51 Seconds Then Runs Away


Trump showed up in the White House briefing room for about 51 seconds to brag about the stock market as he ran off and took no questions.

Video:

Trump said:

The Dow Jones industrial average — I’m very thrilled with what has happened on the vaccine front. That has been absolutely incredible. Nothing like that has ever happened, medically. I think people are acknowledging that, and it’s having a big effect. As the stock market has just broken 30,000, never been broken, that number. That is a sacred number, 30,000. Nobody thought they’d ever see it. It’s the ninth time since the beginning of 2020, and it is the 48th time that have broken records during the trump administration.

I just want to congratulate all the people within the administration that worked so hard. Most importantly, I want to congratulate the people of our country, because there are no people like you. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

Trump’s new strategy is to ignore that he is leaving office soon, run away from questions, and only pop his head out to take credit for things that he had nothing to do with.

It is sad and pathetic that Trump is trying to stay relevant while avoiding accountability for the fact that he is the biggest incumbent presidential election loser since 1932.

Donald Trump really thinks that he has a political future, but each display of his inability to function in reality is a reminder that he will never be in the White House again.

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Trump Administration Approves Start of Formal Transition to Biden


WASHINGTON — President Trump’s government on Monday authorized President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to begin a formal transition process after Michigan certified Mr. Biden as its winner, a strong sign that the president’s last-ditch bid to overturn the results of the election was coming to an end.

Mr. Trump did not concede, and vowed to persist with efforts to change the vote, which have so far proved fruitless. But the president said on Twitter on Monday night that he accepted the decision by Emily W. Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, to allow a transition to proceed.

In his tweet, Mr. Trump said that he had told his officials to begin “initial protocols” involving the handoff to Mr. Biden “in the best interest of our country,” even though he had spent weeks trying to subvert a free and fair election with false claims of fraud. Hours later, he tried to play down the significance of Ms. Murphy’s action, tweeting that it was simply “preliminarily work with the Dems” that would not stop efforts to change the election results.

Still, Ms. Murphy’s designation of Mr. Biden as the apparent victor provides the incoming administration with federal funds and resources and clears the way for the president-elect’s advisers to coordinate with Trump administration officials.

The decision from Ms. Murphy came after several additional senior Republican lawmakers, as well as leading figures from business and world affairs, denounced the delay in allowing the peaceful transfer of power to begin, a holdup that Mr. Biden and his top aides said was threatening national security and the ability of the incoming administration to effectively plan for combating the coronavirus pandemic.

And it followed a key court decision in Pennsylvania, where the state’s Supreme Court on Monday ruled against the Trump campaign and the president’s Republican allies, stating that roughly 8,000 ballots with signature or date irregularities must be counted.

In Michigan, the statewide canvassing board, with two Republicans and two Democrats, voted 3 to 0 to approve the results, with one Republican abstaining. It officially delivered to Mr. Biden a key battleground that Mr. Trump had wrested away from Democrats four years ago, and rebuffed the president’s legal and political efforts to overturn the results.

By Monday evening, as Mr. Biden moved ahead with plans to fill out his cabinet, broad sectors of the nation had delivered a blunt message to a defeated president: His campaign to stay in the White House and subvert the election, unrealistic from the start, was nearing the end.

Ms. Murphy said she made her decision on Monday because of “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results,” most likely referring to the certification of votes by election officials in Michigan and a nearly unbroken string of court decisions that have rejected Mr. Trump’s challenges in several states.

In a statement, Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of Mr. Biden’s transition, said that Ms. Murphy’s decision was “a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation.”

He added that aides to Mr. Biden would soon begin meeting with Trump administration officials “to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”

Mr. Trump had been resisting any move toward a transition. But in conversations in recent days that intensified Monday morning, top aides — including Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel; and Jay Sekulow, the president’s personal lawyer — told the president the transition needed to begin. He did not need to say the word “concede,” they told him, according to multiple people briefed on the discussions.

Mr. Trump continued to solicit opinions from associates, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, who told him there were still legal avenues to pursue, the people said.

Some of the advisers drafted a statement for the president to issue. In the end, Mr. Trump did not put one out, but aides said the tone was similar to his tweets in the evening, in which he appeared to take credit for Ms. Murphy’s decision to allow the transition to begin.

“Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” he wrote. “Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”

In a letter to Mr. Biden, which was first reported by CNN, Ms. Murphy rebutted Mr. Trump’s assertion that he had directed her to make the decision, saying that “I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts.” She said she was “never directly or indirectly pressured by any executive branch official — including those who work at the White House or the G.S.A.”

“I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process,” she wrote, defending her delay by saying that she did not want to get ahead of the constitutional process of counting votes and picking a president.

Her letter appeared designed not to antagonize Mr. Trump and his supporters. In it, she did not describe Mr. Biden as the president-elect even as she said the transition could begin.

One associate with knowledge of Ms. Murphy’s thinking said that she always anticipated signing off on the transition but that she needed a defensible rationale to do so in the absence of a concession from Mr. Trump; the recent pro-Biden developments in Michigan and Pennsylvania, as well as Georgia, which certified Mr. Biden’s win there last Friday, provided a clear justification for moving ahead.

That decision was part of a cascade of events over the last several days that appeared to signal the end of Mr. Trump’s attempts to resist the will of the voters.

Large counties in Pennsylvania were formalizing Mr. Biden’s victory in the state. And in a major break with the president, General Motors announced it would no longer back the administration’s efforts to nullify California’s fuel economy rules.

On Capitol Hill, most of Mr. Trump’s Republican allies had stood by his side for the past two weeks as he tried to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory. But on Monday, some of the Senate’s most senior Republicans sharply urged Ms. Murphy to allow the transition to proceed.

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is retiring, issued his second call in recent days for a prompt transition.

“Since it seems apparent that Joe Biden will be the president-elect, my hope is that President Trump will take pride in his considerable accomplishments, put the country first and have a prompt and orderly transition to help the new administration succeed,” said Mr. Alexander, a close friend of Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader. “When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do.”

Earlier in the day, Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, both Republicans, issued statements breaking from Mr. Trump and calling for Mr. Biden to begin receiving coronavirus and national security briefings.

“At some point, the 2020 election must end,” Ms. Capito said.

The pressure on Mr. Trump extended beyond the political sphere. More than 100 business leaders sent a letter to the administration on Monday asking it to facilitate a transition, and a group of Republican national security experts implored Republican members of Congress to demand that Mr. Trump concede.

One of the president’s staunchest supporters, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the private equity firm Blackstone, did not sign the business leaders’ letter but said in a statement that “the outcome is very certain today and the country should move on.”

But the most dramatic evidence that Mr. Trump’s efforts to challenge the election were fading on Monday came in Michigan, where days of speculation about the certification of the state’s vote ended with the 3-0 vote by the canvassing board. It came after several hours of comments from local clerks, elected officials and the public, most of whom said that the board’s only legal role was to certify the results of the election, not to audit them.

As the meeting wore on, it became clear that one Republican member of the canvassing board, Aaron Van Langevelde, was leaning toward certifying. He asked multiple times if the board had the legal authority to do anything else.

“There is nothing in the law that gives me the authority to request an audit,” he said. “I think the law is on my side here. We have no authority to request an audit or delay or block the certification.”

The other Republican on the board, Norm Shinkle, abstained from the vote.

Jocelyn Benson, the Democratic secretary of state in Michigan, said in a statement that “democracy has prevailed” against “an unprecedented attack on its integrity.” She said the state would now begin procedures, including a risk-limiting audit, to further affirm the integrity of the election.

Another crucial swing state, Pennsylvania, was also moving toward cementing results on Monday, with multiple counties certifying the vote counts, despite some scattered efforts by local Republicans to halt the process. Mr. Biden won Pennsylvania by about 80,000 votes.

In Allegheny County, the state’s second-largest county and home to Pittsburgh, the county board voted 2 to 1 to certify the results. And in Philadelphia, the largest county, the city commissioners certified the results on Monday night after the state’s Supreme Court rejected a Republican request to disqualify the 8,000 absentee ballots.

Pennsylvania law dictates that counties must certify their votes by the third Monday after the election, but there is no real penalty for missing the deadline.

Statewide results will not be officially certified until all counties report, after which the process will move to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and then to Gov. Tom Wolf for the final signature and awarding of electors. Both officials are Democrats.

Despite the counties’ certifications on Monday, the Trump campaign filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, seeking to halt statewide certification.

Still, the Trump campaign’s legal challenges, led by Mr. Giuliani, have been so unsuccessful and widely mocked that the president acknowledged to advisers that the former New York City mayor’s appearances had become a debacle.

By late Monday, Mr. Biden’s team had already taken its first steps toward a more formal transition, moving its website, buildbackbetter.com, to its new home on government servers made possible by Ms. Murphy’s decision: Buildbackbetter.gov.

Michael D. Shear reported from Washington, Maggie Haberman and Nick Corasaniti from New York, and Jim Rutenberg from Montauk, N.Y. Kathleen Gray contributed reporting from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Nicholas Fandos and Emily Cochrane contributed from Washington.





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Breaking New

Chris Cuomo Gives Trump The Cold Truth About His Presidential Legacy



CNN’s Chris Cuomo delivered an ice-cold rebuke of Donald Trump on Monday after the president allowed the transition to his successor’s administration to begin, more than two weeks after the race was called for President-elect Joe Biden.

“Lie, defy, deny. That is why he lost,” Cuomo said. “Now get this. He’s worried that this tantrum that has kept us from dealing with a pandemic and our duly elected president-elect ― it may hurt his brand.

“Know this. This is your brand, Mr. Trump. You will forever be remembered as viciously divisive and a demagogue. A man who lied about a pandemic to suit his own interest.”

He also went after Trump’s “cast of fools” ― the Trump legal team and his GOP allies who were silent as he tried to delegitimize a democratic election.

Now that Trump has relaxed his grip on the transition, the nation can get to the real fight for COVID-19 relief, Cuomo said.

But he reminded viewers that while it will be critical to hold the new administration accountable to that fight, it’s also important not to become so focused on that need to move forward that “we forget how we got here.”

“If we don’t expose and hold those who allowed this travesty to happen … to account,” Cuomo said, “they’ll just keep doing what Trump demands.”

“What happened here was ugly and intentional. And the response must be served directly and cold,” he said. 

“16 days were stolen. How many of you paid the price of this inaction? Of this cowardice? Of this economic pain that they did nothing about?”

Cuomo urged the media to stop reporting on Trump’s failure to concede his defeat in the election and move on.

“Who cares?” he asked. “It’s not in the law. It’s a tradition that gives a nod to decency and disagreement. He’s never been about that.”

Emily Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, belatedly recognized Biden as the “apparent winner” of the election on Monday after Trump’s efforts to overturn results in several states failed. Trump tweeted shortly afterwards that he had directed Murphy, and his own team, to cooperate with the transition, but vowed to continue his legal challenges.

During the time in limbo, the country has experienced some of its darkest days in the COVID-19 pandemic, with record-setting spikes in infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

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Despite Increasingly Humiliating Lawsuits, Trump Legal Team Vows to Fight On


Donald Trump lost the 2020 election in convincing fashion. And like he has done throughout his entire business career, the president has responded to failure by suing everyone and everything.

But the Trump administration has had a very tough time in the court room. Legal firms like Jones Day quickly decided against representing Donald Trump after seeing how poorly their efforts were going over in the court of public opinion.

And last night, the “Elite Strike Force” lost a member in Sidney Powell. Despite the fact that the conspiracy-loving Powell obviously a member of the legal team, the White House is now claiming she was not.

The team has now lost 35 of 36 cases in court. So the next strategy was to convince Republican electors in states to not vote for Biden. On Monday, that attempt failed in Michigan as the state’s Board of Canvassers certified Biden’s win in the state.

The Chair of the Board, Aaron Van Langevelde, said in a statement, “This board must do its part to uphold the rule of law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election. I will be supporting the motion.”

The Trump legal team quickly responded to the devastating loss. Jenna
Ellis quickly put out a statement that read, “Certification by state officials is simply a procedural step. We are going to continue combating election fraud around the country as we fight to count all the legal votes. Americans must be assured that the final results are fair and legitimate.”





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He may have lost, but Donald Trump does not intend to go quietly


The most immediate concern, of course, is vengeance. Trump is preoccupied this weekend with attacking Republican governors who he sees as not doing as much as they should be to overturn their states’ elections to reinstall him as Dear Leader Because Reasons. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who is now being accused by Trump “lawyer” Sidney Powell of taking money to rig the election against Trump, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who called Joe Biden the “president-elect” on live television despite Trump insisting that every member of the Republican Party pretend that Biden didn’t win, so as to better prop up Trump’s anti-reality propaganda claims.

Trump has been threatening to campaign against Republicans who have wronged him even after he has left office, so this may be an interesting first test of those capabilities. Trump television labrador Sean Hannity and other pro-fascist pundits are eagerly following Trump’s lead in bashing Kemp, especially. Things may be different when Trump has fled to Mar-a-Lago, or they may not. One gets the feeling that Hannity, especially, finds Trump so enormously useful that he will let Trump dictate his show’s compulsions for years to come. Their relationship is, shall we say, fuhrer-ous.

Whether he has won or has lost, however, Trump genuinely believes himself to be the fascist leader of a Republican Party that has been remade around his own perversions, and both he and his allies have taken extraordinary steps to purge the disloyal and reality-based from both government positions and from positions in the Party’s leadership. Trump loyalist Ronna Romney McDaniel, the current Republican National Committee chair, has made it known that she intends to run to keep her position in January—with Donald Trump’s support. While she herself insists that she does not intend to use that post to help ensure that a Trump 2024 presidential run is boosted over that of any would-be Republican challengers, everyone who has allied themselves with Trump has proven to be unrelenting liars and few members of the party, if any, actually believe her.

That leads, then, to the elephant in the, er, elephant: Trump does seem quite interested in running for the presidency again, in 2024, or at least pretending to. The New York Times outlines some of the steps Trump has taken to keep Republican Party control in his own short-fingered hands for at least that long, and the difficulties the party will have in removing him. By diving down even into state Republican Party officials to install loyalists, Trump’s allies have attempted to ensure there is simply nobody of consequence left in the party who could stand up to him, even if someone wanted to.

That power, especially if abetted by a Trump-loyal party chair like Romney McDaniel, means the likely kneecapping of any Republican who imagines themselves a presidential contender, in 2024. They are all hostage to Trump’s own decision to run, or not to run. And it’s in Trump’s interest to “run” for the nomination whether he’s sincere about it or not. Trump is not relevant unless he expresses a desire for additional power; if there is anything Trump absolutely must have, as an addled malignant narcissist obsessed with nothing else, it is relevance.

Trump needs to run for office to maintain relevance. He also needs it to continue raking in cash from his base of compulsive deplorables; while he may not be able to spend that money directly on himself without risking jail time (not that such niceties were observed when he was running his now shut-down family “charity”), it will remain an essential resource for Trump’s myriad legal defenses. Expect Trump to bleed those campaign funds to pay whatever bills need paying, and approximately forever.

It’s absolutely assured, then, that Trump will at least go through the motions of a new presidential run, and likely before Biden has even assumed office. This will sabotage every other Republican contender, depriving the party of even the pretense of “moving on” from their fascist moment. It may or may not work to exacerbate the right-wing terrorism already threatening to erupt after Trump’s loss, but Trump will not give a flying damn about that.

In the end, however, Trump is Trump. He can operate only within the narrow limits of his own ability, and cannot, literally cannot, learn new tricks. He is played out.

The Washington Post gives us its own look inside Trump’s orbit and head, and there are no particular surprises. The Post confirms that Trump has told “confidants” that he may announce a 2024 campaign “before the end of this year.” And it gives an honest appraisal of what’s coming next.

“Trump also has been exploring ways to make money for relatively little work,” says the Post, “such as giving paid speeches to corporate groups or selling tickets to rallies. In addition, he may try to write a score-settling memoir of his time as president and appear on television, in a paid or unpaid capacity.”

Yeah, that sounds about right. Trump will do what he literally always has done: Find ways to make money without having to work, mostly by licensing his name to the highest bidder. We’ll likely get a new Book of Eternal Grievances, thanks to some ghostwriter willing to listen to him drone on for however many hundreds of hours that will take, which will be inflicted on us as pseudo-autobiography. And, most importantly, Trump intends to give shouting speeches to adoring crowds from now until eternity. It’s his thing. Without it, he would wither and die like that plant you just brought home.

What all this does mean, however, is that America’s fascist moment has not yet passed. It will continue, and with the same leader. The fascist moment will go on a speechgiving tour. The fascist moment will license itself to pillow brands and to miracle cures. The fascist movement may invent a new burger. But it will be back. There is nobody in Republicanism who will shut it down, and especially not after Republican lawmakers proved to each other, countless times, that if they were to stand up to condemn Trump there would not be a person among them who would rally to that side. They are loyalists not because they admire anything about Trump, but because their cowardice leaves them without any other option.

It is not hard to imagine every Republican that imagines themselves the next president will abandon those dreams, rather than face Trump’s insults. The 2016 crop of opponents, which included Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, shapeshifted into Trump sycophants seemingly effortlessly. The Republican Party is itself broken, no longer conservative but willingly ridiculous, deplorable, and fascist.

If there is to be opposition to a fascist return from the conservative right, it will come from a new party with a new name. Republicanism itself cannot, and will not, provide it.

There is another possibility, however, and it is one that the media is not piping up on except as hints and asides. Trump is facing unprecedented “legal” troubles because he is in unprecedented legal jeopardy. Journalists have uncovered a small mountain of apparent frauds and tax dodges, and ones that cannot be pardoned no matter how egregiously Trump misuses the ability. Attorney General William Barr has put the brakes to numerous investigations of Trump’s associates, many of which directly implicate Trump and his own family; those investigations are likely to resume, once Barr is removed from his post.

If Trump intends to stage a 2024 rematch, there is a nontrivial possibility he will be doing it while under indictment, or be recording his campaign speeches from a nation without an extradition treaty with the United States. The man is a walking crime spree. The Mueller report made it quite clear that he lied to investigators; the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn indictments have made it clear that Trump himself was either personally directing their criminal actions or was at least being made aware of them.

It’s not likely all that will be going away. But we cannot assume it, and it’s not a given. If America is going to turn back a tide of conspiracy-peddling, state-sponsored propaganda, political purges, in-office political crimes and cover-ups, calls for ethnic cleansing, violence on behalf of Dear Leader, and the rest of the fascist agenda conservative media worked diligently towards long before Trump himself captured the movement for his own self-absorbed ends, there will be no deus ex machina that does it for us. The U.S. conservative shift towards fascism did not require Trump, and it is certain to outlast him.





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