US election 2020 results live: Trump reaction to Biden President-elect | updates

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Biden wins US Presidential election: reactions and breaking news

Presidential Election 2020: Joe Biden elected 46th President of the US

Electoral college votes (270 needed to win)

Joe Biden: 306
Donald Trump: 232

- In first public appearance since losing election, Trump spoke at the Rose Garden on Operation Warp Speed, and almost acknowledged a Biden administration, but didn't

- Major networks NYT, CNN and Reuters call Biden to win Georgia. AP to wait to call Georgia until after the recount

- AP calls Trump victories in Alaska and North Carolina. Above numbers reflect projected vote counts in all states

- Biden's Arizona win now projected by NBC and CNN, making him the first Democrat to carry the state since Bill Clinton in 1996. This follows Fox and AP early calls on Wednesday 4 Nov

- Joe Biden speaks to Pope Francis on the phone, expressing wish to work together based on common issues like climate change and immigration. 

- Amid repeated baseless GOP assertions that the election has been rigged by widespread voter fraud, top gov't officials confirm 2020 election "the most secure" in history

- The Trump campaign have lost a lawsuit in Michigan that aimed to prevent the battleground state from certifying its election results 

- Law firm Porter Wright stand down from Trump's Pennsylvania electoral fraud lawsuit

- China becomes the latest world power to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory, after Japan, South Korea and Australia did so yesterday

- President-elect Biden gives his thoughts on Trump's refusal to concede: "I just think it's an embarrassment, quite frankly... It will not help the President's legacy"

Attorney General William Barr has called on federal prosecutors to examine allegations of vote fraud before the final results are certified. To date, there is absolutely no evidence to support the claim

Browse the latest stories on the US election:

Australia: killing the spread

Australia's three most populous states on Saturday recorded at least a week with no local transmissions of the new coronavirus, boding well for the country's recovery from the pandemic after a flare-up marred an impressive early response.

Victoria, the epicentre of the resurgence of the virus in recent months, recorded its 15th consecutive day of no new infections and no related deaths, two weeks after the state emerged from one of the world's longest and strictest lockdowns. The second-most populous state's deputy chief health officer, Allen Cheng, told a news conference that the run of zero cases was 'about as good as it can get'.

Neighbouring New South Wales, the most populous state, saw seven days without local transmissions, while Queensland has had no new community infections for two months. Both states saw a handful of new cases in managed quarantine among travellers from overseas.

This latest data may mean Australia can record its first week of no local transmissions since the start of the pandemic as the rest of the country has not seen any cases for weeks or months. Australia's swift closure of borders and strict, economically costly measures kept the pandemic largely from spreading, but a resurgence in July in Victoria sent the state into a harsh 111-day lockdown that ended in late October. Victorians still must wear masks and public gatherings are limited, but more easing is expected in a week. Western Australia, which had its borders closed to the rest of the country for seven months, had them reopened on Saturday.

Biden's toughest test

“First and foremost, no one can really move forward without control over the pandemic,” said Dewardric McNeal, managing director at Longview Global. “The big rock in our rucksack is a stimulus deal.”

America’s financial future was definitely on the ballot this year. President-elect Joe Biden is set to inherit an economy that was absolutely battered in 2020.

We’ve seen record unemployment, businesses declaring bankruptcy and an eviction crisis. We’re also headed into winter, a time when covid-19 is expected to claim the lives of tens of thousands more Americans, devastate hospital systems nationwide and potentially lead to another round of rolling lockdowns.

CNBC looks at the immediate work ahead for the new president.

Trump avoids unanswerable questions

Reporter Brian Karem was one of those left disappointed after the lame-duck president refused to take any questions from the press at his latest briefing.

Far-right groups plan show of Trump support in Washington

Tensions rise across America, something that could have been so different had the president acted, well, presidential in defeat.

Far-right groups and other backers of US President Donald Trump plan to rally in Washington on Saturday in a public show of support for his unsubstantiated claim of widespread voting fraud.

Republican Trump has refused to accept that he lost the election to Democrat Joe Biden, now president-elect, adding to tensions. Trump's supporters, including Republican lawmakers, have amplified his claims that the election was stolen from him.

The protests in the nation's capital will bring together far-right personalities, including conspiracy theorist and Infowars broadcaster Alex Jones and self-described 'American Nationalist' Nicholas Fuentes. The Oath Keepers militia and the far-right Proud Boys have also said their members are attending. Some left-wing groups are planning counterdemonstrations.

We'll be keeping a close eye on developments throughout the day.

Donald Trump confused about what constitutes election fraud

The sitting duck president who lost to Joe Biden almost a week ago is still attempting to claim the result would be different if there had not been fraud, for which his team have yet to provide a scrap of evidence.

It's unclear what Trump is referring to here; "based on our constitution" but needless to say, nowhere in the US constitution does it state that if votes aren't allowed to be watched counted, the winner of an entire state automatically flips to the loser. Trump's team is losing legal battles all over the country every day over these absurd and baseless claims.

The president has admitted in recent days that he is putting up a fight as a form of "theatre" for his fans, and appeared to almost admit today that Biden could be in charge come January.

Several states still pay extra unemployment support

Find out if yours is one of them, plus latest on second stimulus bill talks.

Read the full story:

Cuomo responds to Trump attack over Pfizer vaccine

In his Operation Warp Speed briefing in the Rose Garden this afternoon where he didn't take any questions, Donald Trump took a swing at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, claiming that Cuomo “doesn’t trust where the vaccine is coming from.”

Trump added; "these are coming from the greatest companies anywhere in the world, greatest labs in the world, but he doesn’t trust the fact that it’s this White House, this administration, so we won’t be delivering it to New York until we have authorisation to do so, and that pains me to say that.”

Cuomo responded in an interview with MSNBC today, focusing on the lack of public trust in Trump, saying that Americans trust Trump less than they do the pharmaceutical companies, and that New Yorkers are concerned about the politicisation of a vaccine. 

"None of what he said is true… surprise, surprise.” Cuomo said.

Chelsea Clinton weighs in on Congress dinner-gate

" Please cancel these in-person dinners, @SpeakerPelosi & @kevinomccarthy to keep everyone safe from #covid19 - yourselves, your new members, servers, the Capitol police and all of their families and contacts. And, to show public health leadership." Clinton said Friday.

Pelosi and other Congress members slammed for holding indoor dinner during pandemic

Congress members are being hit with intense blowback for holding indoor banquets as the coronavirus pandemic worsens and health experts advise Americans against social gatherings.

Both Republicans and Democrats will be holding respective dinners for new members of Congress, reports Leigh Ann Caldwell at NBC News.

Messaging from top officials in government in recent weeks has been that travelling and holding gatherings indoors for Thanksgiving would be irresponsible.

US election results: Georgia

Latest figures as a recount by hand is underway in Georgia, who is winning the state?

Read the full story:

How does the Electoral College map look now?

All the latest wins for Trump and Biden, state college votes available and totals as of this afternoon.

US election results: North Carolina

Latest figures as vote counting comes to an end in NC, who has won the state?

Read the full story:

Huge legal blow to Trump in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has upheld a lower court's rejection of a constitutional challenge to Pennsylvania's post-Election Day deadline—further adding to President Donald Trump's losses in recent legal disputes challenging the results of the election.

The case lacked standing, a judge said. The court's decision is a huge loss for Trump, who has has just one success out of over a dozen lawsuits filed by his campaign and allies in various states.

Trump makes first public appearance since Biden beat him to presidency

Donald Trump appeared on the verge of acknowledging that there will be a Biden administration in his Rose Garden briefing on Operation Warp Speed, the government Coronavirus task force.

The president stumbled  over talking about the issue of a lockdown: "hopefully the -- whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be"

Notably Dr Anthony Fauci is not present for this covid-19 press briefing.

Trump lightly touches on the theme of the election, which he has lost in an electoral college landslide to Joe Biden on Sunday and has refused to concede.

"Who knows which administration it will be...only time will tell. If it's this administration we will not go into lockdown...lockdowns cost lives."

"our economy is bouncing back beyond any expectations...the job numbers are incredible". New unemployment claims in the US were over 700,000 last week.

Trump appears to be claiming that the US doesn't currently, and hasn't suffered any shortages of covid-19 equipment, including ventilators and PPE.

"We have among the lowest case fatality rates anywhere in the world"

Vaccine available as soon as April to the entire general population, apart from New York State for "political reasons" and that Governor Cuomo doesn't trust the administration. Trump says it pains him to not be able to send vaccine immediately to NY.

Trump still baselessly playing down severity of the virus in the US, claiming case levels are so high because the testing system is so good.

Trump says that vaccine timeline through Warp Speed will be less than 1 year and makes absurd claim that any other administration would have taken 4 or 5 years.

Trump confirming that Pfizer vaccination up to 90% effective, claims "we" may have others that are even more effective. Promises to offer vaccine free of charge

Trump speaking now on Operation Warp Speed from White House - first public appearance since election results confirmed Biden's win.

Trump to hold press conference in 10 minutes

From the White House. News recently broke across most networks of all the remaining projections, Georgia is going to Biden, and North Carolina to Trump.

Facebook strips Trump of his "president" title On the official Facebook page for Donald Trump, his profile now reads "political candidate".

Facebook strips Trump of his "president" title

On the official Facebook page for Donald Trump, his profile now reads "political candidate".

Since Election Day on 3 November, the social network, as well as Twitter, has been moderating false or misleading claims posted on their platforms relating to the presidential race.

Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg defended Facebook's decision not to suspend Steve Bannon's account after he made threats to behead top government officials

Donald Trump legal battle fails in Michigan election 2020 joe biden

Trump legal battle fails in Michigan

A Michigan judge has also rejected the Trump campaign’s effort to delay the certification of results in the state.

President-elect Joe Biden currently leads Trump in Michigan by about 146,000 votes, or 2.7% of the total vote.

The Michigan decision is the latest in a string of legal losses for the Trump campaign, after the president’s lawyers withdrew from an Arizona lawsuit and a prominent law firm pulled out of the campaign’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

As expected, Trump is having a hard time trying to block states from certifying their results, clearing the way for Biden to be inaugurated in January.

BREAKING

CNN and the New York Times call Biden win for Georgia, Trump for NC

As AP haven't yet called either, AS Diario will await further confirmation.

Georgia congresswoman exemplifies exactly what's wrong with some American's attitude to pandemic

"Our first session of New Member Orientation covered COVID in Congress. Masks, masks, masks....

I proudly told my freshman class that masks are oppressive. In GA, we work out, shop, go to restaurants, go to work, and school without masks.

My body, my choice. #FreeYourFace"

Just to clarify; health experts across the world free from party politics have repeatedly urged people to wear masks to limit the spread of coronavirus. Cases are surging all over America.

Clear evidence has proven that masks do help slow the spread of airborne particles. What's more, we should wear masks even when we feel well, as many people can be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic for weeks.

Trump voter fraud hotline closed after pranks hijack line

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign was forced to shutter a hotline it created in recent days to field allegations of voter fraud after it had become the subject of viral pranks and ridicule among critics.

The president has yet to reveal any evidence of systematic voter fraud or election rigging — claims he made long before the results of the 2020 presidential election were even announced — and the hotline did not appear to provide him much support.

By Friday, it was reported his campaign had shut down the hotline, instead encouraging Americans to send complaints of alleged voter fraud through a digital form.

Journalists call Trump denial a coup since Arizona Biden call

Unease grows around Donal Trump's rhetoric on voter fraud and continued assault on the legitimacy of the election in swing states that he has lost to Joe Biden, perhaps it's time to start calling this an attempted coup rather than just a child who's thrown his toys out of a pushchair?

US' top covid expert not invited to Trump's briefing today

In the final days of campaigning before Election Day, Trump had promised to fire Dr Anthony Fauci. For now, it seems he's just freezing him out.

With the nation plunging deeper into the winter's grip of the coronavirus crisis, concerns mount about Trump's leadership during this time and the effect it could have on the already dire numbers of cases and deaths across the US.

Trump campaign to drop Arizona lawsuit

One of the most crucial victories for Joe Biden this election was flipping the state of Arizona and it has been a contentious win ever since. Team Trump were said to be furious with Fox News' early call in Biden's favour and resolved to launch a legal battle. It appear that has now come to an abrupt end. 

The lawsuit, filed last Saturday, alleged that voters were confused by the voting machines used in the state and some reported that they believed that they had mistakenly voted for the wrong candidate.They had filed for a review of all ballots cast on Election Day but, after finding that the margin of victory was insurmountable, have now withdrawn the case. 

The most recent count puts Biden over 11,000 votes ahead of Trump. This is just the latest Trump campaign lawsuit to suffer a very public defeat. Speaking to the New York Times, Kermit Roosevelt, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School said: “It has a sort of conspiracy theory feeling to it. There are sweeping claims that don’t have a lot of evidence at all and evidence that turns out to be irrelevant.”

Biden sees local restrictions but no national lockdown

With cities and states across the United States reimposing restrictions this week to tame alarming surges in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, a senior adviser to President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday there were no plans for nationwide lockdowns next year. Chicago this week urged residents to stay at home and shun visitors for the next 30 days, which includes the Thanksgiving holiday in late November. New Yorkers will find restaurants closing even earlier at 10 p.m. beginning on Friday. Detroit's public school district suspended in-person learning starting on Friday, telling students to expect to attend online classes at home until at least 11 January.

Some version of this patchwork of localized measures is likely to stay in place after Biden's inauguration on 20 January, after the Democratic former vice president beat Republican President Donald Trump in this month's election. "We're not in a place where we're saying shut the whole country down." Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former US surgeon general now leading Biden's coronavirus advisory board, said in an interview with ABC's 'Good Morning America.' "Right now the way we should be thinking about this is more like a series of restrictions that we dial up or down depending on how a bad spread is taking place in a specific region," he said. 

WH advisor: We are operating under the assumption of a second term

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has told Fox Business that he and the rest of Trump's team are continung to operate as if the President has won a second term, despite the election being called for Joe Biden last Saturday. It has now been nearly a week since Biden's lead was deemed insurmountable but Navarro has dismissed the result as an “immaculate deception.”

No evidence has so far been produced by the Trump's campaign and his attempts to find some legal recourse have fallen flat, as all 12 of his lawsuits have now been dismissed from state courts. Navarro's admission may explain why Biden has not yet been given access to the presidential intelligence briefing, usually a routine procedure for an incoming president. The White House seems determined to string out the uncertainty for as long as possible, but there is nothing to suggest that Joe Biden will not be sworn in this January. 

Trump falsely claims that millions of Republican votes were "deleted"

The President's daily conspiracy burst took a new turn on Thursday as he set his sights on electronic polling machine providers Dominion, who he claimed discounted millions of his votes. Trump tweeted:

"DELETED 2.7 MILLION TRUMP VOTES NATIONWIDE," adding "STATES USING DOMINION VOTING SYSTEMS SWITCHED 435,000 VOTES FROM TRUMP TO BIDEN"

As usual he offerd no evidence for the claims but it has already been easily disproved with CNN's fact-checker, which stated: "While one Georgia county experienced delays reporting its results due to apparent problems with the company's systems, other isolated issues that were allegedly connected to Dominion were actually caused by human error."

The news comes after the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees released a report into the 2020 presidential election, calling it "the most secure in American history."

China congratulates President-elect Biden on his election victory

A statement from China's foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin read: "We respect the choice of the American people and we extend our congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris."

The statement comes nearly a week after Joe Biden was called as winner last Saturday, but some world leaders have been cautious not to jump the gun in their public recognition of the result as the President continues to protest against it. For now Donald Trump is still the president and leaders are understandably eager to remain in his good books for the duration of his presidency. 

Trump lawyers undermine President's claims

Donald Trump has been making accusations of vote fraud since long before Election Day and after losing to  President-elect Joe Biden he filed a number of lawsuits to contest the result. However in court his legal representatives have not stuck to Trump's script, admitting that they do not know of any evidence of voter fraud.

In Pennsylvania, a Mr Goldstein was arguing the Trump campaign's case but replied "To my knowledge at present, no", when asked if he believed there was any fraud or improper influence involved. 

Trump tweet threatens Fox News and criticises their election coverage

The Rupert Murdoch-owned news network helped put Donald Trump in the White House but the President was enraged when they called Arizona for Joe Biden. Since then he has began to steer his supporters towards more fringe news providers, with some suggestions that he is planning to found his own media company. 

Pennsylvania court rules on segregated ballots

In total, the counties of Pennsylvania have seen over 6.77 million ballots, which equates to a voter turnout of around 74%. But Donald Trump is contesting the outcome.

'Four Seasons' spoof t-shirts raise $150,000 for Democrat Senate race

Rudy Guiliani's bizarre post-election press conference in the parking lot of Four Seasons Landcaping will be one of the defining images of this election. To mark the moment, Democrat supporters have made a range of t-shirts which have so far raised over $150,000 to help fund the campaigns of two Democratic candidates for Senate in Georgia. 

Both races were too close to call so, with the balance of power in the Upper House still undecided, the two January run-off elections will decide which is the majority party. As a result the races are expected to be the most competitive and expensive in Senate history. 

Fact-checker dismisses Trump's vote counting claim

Central to some of the President's many lawsuits into vote counting during the 2020 election was a claim that his vote-counters were denied the ability to witness the vote count, which both sides are entitled to do. A tweet from Trump on Wednesday claimed:

“Pennsylvania and Michigan didn’t allow our poll watchers and/or vote observers to watch or observe.”

However this accusation has been roundly dismissed, with state officials confirming that Republican election observers were allowed to observe the canvassing of ballots in both Pennsylvania and Michigan. 

Fauci to continue to serve on Trump's covid-19 task force

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said he has had no contact with President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus transition team and sees no reason to quit to join that effort when there is so much to do now to fight the surging pandemic.

"I stay in my lane. I'm not a politician. I do public health things," he said in an interview on Thursday ahead of next week's Reuters Total Health conference. Since January, Fauci has served on President Donald Trump's White House Coronavirus Task Force, a position that has frequently put him at odds with the president, who has sought to downplay the pandemic and focused instead on opening the economy.

"There's absolutely no reason and no sense at all for me to stop doing something in the middle of a pandemic that is playing a major role in helping us get out of the pandemic," Fauci said.

His advice for the President-elect, he said, is "exactly the same" as what he is recommending now - social distancing, avoiding crowds, wearing masks, washing hands. "Public health principles don't change from one month to another or from one administration to another."

[Reuters]

Dr. Fauci is not advising Biden, and sees no reason to quit Trump

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said he has had no contact with President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus transition team and sees no reason to quit to join that effort when there is so much to do now to fight the surging pandemic. "I stay in my lane. I'm not a politician. I do public health things," he said in an interview on Thursday ahead of next week's Reuters Total Health conference.

Since January, Fauci has served on President Donald Trump's White House Coronavirus Task Force, a position that has frequently put him at odds with the president, who has sought to downplay the pandemic and focused instead on opening the economy. "There's absolutely no reason and no sense at all for me to stop doing something in the middle of a pandemic that is playing a major role in helping us get out of the pandemic," Fauci said. His advice for the president-elect, he said, is "exactly the same" as what he is recommending now - social distancing, avoiding crowds, wearing masks, washing hands. "Public health principles don't change from one month to another or from one administration to another." 

Law firm Porter Wright steps down from Trump campaign lawsuits

The President's ill-fated legal attempts to contest the result of the 2020 presidential election have been hit with another loss as law firm Porter Wright steps down from a federal suit in Pennsylvania. The news comes after the last of Team Trump's 12 initial legal challenges were dismissed in court. On Thursday the secretary of state for Pennsylvania asked the court throw out the "desperate and unfounded" lawsuit. 

Porter Wright would have been expected to continue to represent the President's interests in upcoming cases, but the law firm's brief statement explains: "Plaintiffs will be best served if Porter Wright withdraws."

Red states will be encouraged to impose mask mandates

President-elect Joe Biden has told POLITICO that he will be calling Republican Governors who refuse to impose tougher anti-virus guidelines in an attempt to make them change their mind. Throughout the campaign and even following the news of a successful coronavirus vaccine, Biden has made clear that wearing a mask should be the number one focus for Americans. 

Biden told supporters at a recent speech in WIlimington, Delaware: “A mask is not a political statement, but it is a way to start pulling the country together.”

However he is likely to receive some push-back on the plan, with even officials in some of the worst-hit states refusing to make mask-wearing mandatory. A spokesman for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said that: "she has trusted [residents] to exercise their personal responsibility to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones... She will not be changing that approach.

Biden opens talks with Pelosi and Schumer about new Covid-19 bill

US president-elect Joe Biden has started dialogue with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer about the need to push through a bipartisan Covid-19 relief package. Coronavirus infections continue to rise in the US with this morning's figure standing at 10,555,435 while the death toll is now 242,435 with almost 10,000 fatalities during the past week.

 

China congratulates Biden on election victory

China finally acknowledged Joe Biden's victory in the US elections with foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin saying that Beijing respects "the choice of the American people." In a press briefing, Mr Wenbin told reporters, "We congratulate Mr. Biden and (vice presidential running mate) Ms. Harris".

'No Evidence' Election Was Compromised - Cybersecurity Agency

The Cybersecurity and Security Infrastructure Agency (CISA) issued a statement on Thursday dispelling Donald Trump's claims that the 3 November elections were 'compromised'.

The statement read: 

“The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double checking the entire election process prior to finalizing the result.  When states have close elections, many will recount ballots. All of the states with close results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary. This is an added benefit for security and resilience. This process allows for the identification and correction of any mistakes or errors. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised. Other security measures like pre-election testing, state certification of voting equipment, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) certification of voting equipment help to build additional confidence in the voting systems used in 2020. While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too. When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”

 

Vaccine alliance expects to hold talks with Biden team on COVAX

The head of the GAVI vaccine alliance expects to hold talks with the incoming team of US President-elect Joe Biden about collaborating with the COVAX global facility, which has been set up to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries. GAVI chief executive Seth Berkley, speaking to reporters on Friday, noted that Biden had set up a task force on the pandemic, adding they are "believers in science". The Trump administration did not join the facility.

Republicans call for Biden to be allowed to begin transition planning

President-elect Joe Biden's attempts to plan for the upcoming transition of power have met some resistance from the White House as he is refused access to the presidential intelligence briefing, denied federal funds and has even not received messages of congratulation from foreign leaders sent through official presidential channels. 

Donald Trump continues to fight the result of the election and complicate Biden's attempts to begin planning, something that has drawn criticism from some in his own party. 

Republican Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told CNN that he believes that the General Services Administration should sign the necessary paperwork to allow Biden's team to make preparations. 

"I just think we ought to be cooperating," Cramer said. "I think you can cooperate with a transition - a peaceful transition - while also contesting in appropriate legal ways."

Biden

Biden faces repair job at US spy agencies after tumult under Trump

Shortly after comparing US intelligence agencies to Nazis, Donald Trump tried to mend fences on his first full day as president. On 21 January 2017, standing before a marble wall at CIA headquarters honoring officers who died in service, Trump pledged 'so much backing' before delivering a campaign-style speech inflating his inauguration attendance and attacking the 'dishonest media.' His use of the memorial as a prop marked the start of a stormy relationship with his spy services in which Trump denigrated their leaders, rejected their findings, appointed loyalists to replace top officials who disagreed with him and condoned using government secrets to attack political opponents.

Now, President-elect Joe Biden and his picks to lead the spy agencies must fix the damage: rebuilding both trust and morale within the agencies and their relations with Congress and the White House, say current and former US officials. "The problems we have with intelligence were a function of Donald Trump's demands that the intelligence serves his political interests," said Peter Welch, a Democrat on the House of Representatives' intelligence committee.

Top Republican senators have called for Biden to begin receiving intelligence briefings, but Trump's refusal to concede defeat is holding up that transition practice. If the delay lasts more than a month, "then we have to worry" about the impact on national security, said Lawrence Pfeiffer, chief of staff to former CIA Director Michael Hayden. Biden has years of experience working with the intelligence agencies as vice president to President Barack Obama and as a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member and chairman. Officials and experts recommend Biden tap as his intelligence chiefs veterans with standing in the community. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell is a leading contender to replace CIA chief Gina Haspel or John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence, the overseer of the 17 US agencies. Biden, they said, should visit those organizations in his first week to address the workforces. 

Who is Ron Klain, Biden’s new White House chief of staff ?

Joe Biden has won the presidency and will officially take over in January, but preparations are already well under way to choose the Democrat's core team. Klain has a history in the White House having been heavily involved in the Obama administration's response to the Ebola pandemic. 

Biden expected to bring new diversity focus in presidential cabinet 

Yesterday Joe Biden named Ron Klain as his White House chief of staff, the first major appointment of his administration. And despite the incumbent's attempt to disrupt the transition process by refusing access to official briefings, Biden is already looking to get his cabinet in place. 

A report in the Guardian suggests that diversity will be a focus for the President-elect, who ran on a platform of unity. His running mate, Kamala Harris, becomes the first female to be named Vice President-elect and only the second person of colour to serve in that role. 

Lisa Brown, who worked on Barack Obama's 2008 presidential transition, said: “A lot of what [Biden] wants to do if we don’t get the Senate back is going to be harder and so one of the things he’s got control over is the people that he wants to appoint. So you can show people you’re representing America even if you’re not able to get through Congress some of the initiatives.”

2020 presidential election "the most secure in American history"

A statement from the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) Executive Committee has claimed that the 2020 election was "the most secure in American history". The process has been marred by the President's repeated and baselss claims of election fraud, which he continues to protest despite already having 12 legal challenges dismissed in court. 

The GCC statement read: “While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too,”

Former WH official: Trump has been asking about self-pardons since 2017

A report by CNN claims that President Donald Trump has been asking aides about the possibility of issuing presidential pardons to both himself and members of his family before he leaves office. A presidential pardon would, in theory, prevent him being charged with any federal crimes but would not protect him against states charges, like the cases he faces in New York. 

CNN's legal expert believes that a 100-year-old precident would prevent Trump from pardoning himself, but there is a history of president's getting themselves off the hook for crimes committed while in office. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 after the Watergate scandal, allowing his replacement (running mate Gerald Ford) to issue him a pardon. In theory, Mike Pence would be able to do the same. 

Pelosi promises better science-led covid response under Biden presidency

The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi used her speech from the Capitol yesterday to criticise the Republicans' response to the pandemic, accusing them of ignoring "what really matters to the American people". 

Pelosi continues: "They're engaged in an absurd circus right now, refusing to accept reallity", making reference to Trump's claims of election fraud. The Team Trump continues to pursue legal avenues, publically backed by GOP figures like Ronna McDaniel and Mitch McConnell.

Turning to the Democrats' plans to get America back on track, she said they are moving towards a "safe reopening" of the economy and schools, to be done in a way that "recognises the tragedy that has befallen us in our country because of the Republican denial of science".

Zuckerberg not concerned about Biden's Facebook comments

Social media played a controversial role in the 2020 election as both Facebook and Twitter eventually added a content warning on President Trump's tweets. However while Twitter made clear where his comments are not factually accurate Facebook took a softer approach, leading some employees to ask if the social media giant was likely to face tougher moderation under a Biden presidency. 

CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged criticism of Facebook by President-elect Joe Biden but said the company shared some of the Biden team's same concerns about social media. Biden told the New York Times in December last year that he had "never been a fan of Facebook" and considered Zuckerberg "a real problem."

Dismissing the extent of Biden's mistrust of Facebook, Zuckerberg said: "Just because some people might talk in a way that's more antagonistic to us, it doesn't necessarily mean that speaks for what the whole group or whole administration is going to stand for."

China urges US to stop arbitrary suppression

With the transition to Joe Biden's presidency not completed till late January, Donald Trump is still in charge. But China is urging the United States now to stop its arbitrary suppression of investments, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Friday, via Reuters, when asked about the ban on US investments in firms linked to the Chinese military.

The United States government has been 'viciously slandering' Chinese military-civilian integration and China will firmly uphold the rights and interests of Chinese firms, Wang said.

The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled an executive order prohibiting US investments in Chinese firms that Washington says are owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

China "respects American people's choice"

China congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on winning the US presidential election, ending days of speculation about when Beijing would formally acknowledge the victory.

“We have been following the reaction on this US presidential election from both within the United States and from the international community,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a briefing in Beijing on Friday. “We respect the American people’s choice and extend congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris.”

China’s acknowledgment came after multiple television networks projected Biden would defeat Donald Trump in Arizona, one of the battleground states where the president has looked to overturn the election. China was one of the few countries that had so far withheld comment, as Trump contested the results.

Most secure election ever

President Trump and some of his supporters at Fox News are clinging onto stories to support the election fraud argument.

As we reported earlier, and as Jake Tapper repeats, the evidence points in the opposite direction.

"Too many people are grieving the devastating loss of a loved one due to covid—many of whom were forced to die alone.

It shouldn’t have to be that way. On day one, Joe Biden and I will act to get this virus under control and save American lives."

Kamala Harris, Vice President-Elect of the United States

US Supreme Court's Alito raises concerns over individual liberty amid covid-19

US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito raised concerns on Thursday night over individual liberty, including religious liberty, in the United States with reference to restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak.

'It pains me to say this,' Alito said, 'but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.' Alito's remarks came at an address to the conservative Federalist Society via Zoom for its annual conference.

'The covid crisis has served as sort of a constitutional stress test,' Alito said, adding that there have not previously been such 'severe, extensive and prolonged' restrictions as seen in most of 2020 due to the pandemic.

Alito said that it was hard to imagine before covid-19 that places of worship like churches would be empty on occasions such as Easter. He added that he was not trying to downplay the severity of the coronavirus, but said the outbreak had led to 'previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.'

Justice Alito's remarks come as the United States has lost over 240,000 lives from the disease, with more than 10.4 million Americans having been infected by the virus. 

WSJ front page

New state coronavirus restrictions and TikTok US reprieve make the headlines of Friday's Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Biden adds Arizona

President-elect Joe Biden cemented his electoral victory by capturing the battleground state of Arizona late on Thursday, but the transition to his administration remains in political stasis as President Donald Trump continues to refuse to accept defeat.

Biden was projected to win Arizona after more than a week of vote counting, Edison Research said, a call that Fox News made early angering Trump. He becomes only the second Democratic presidential candidate in seven decades to win the traditionally Republican state.

Biden's win in Arizona gives the Democrat 290 electoral votes in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner, more than the 270 needed to claim victory. Biden is also winning the popular vote by more than 5.3 million votes, or 3.4 percentage points.

NYT: Top officials say 2020 the most secure election in history

Top government security and election officials released a joint statement on Thursday definitively declaring that the presidential election last week “was the most secure in American history” and making clear that “there is no evidence” that any voting system was compromised in any way.

The statement, attributed to a high-ranking official at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency — part of the Department of Homeland Security — along with several top elections officials, amounted to a strong rebuke of President Trump’s repeated baseless assertion that the election had been stolen from him through widespread voter fraud.

In the statement, officials listed the many ways in which they said elections officials in states with close contests would recheck their counts and add “security and resilience” to their processes.

“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” the statement said.

“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should, too,” officials added in their statement. “When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”

Democrat wins seat in Congress, Republican refuses to concede

In Illinois, Democratic congresswoman Lauren Underwood has won reelection – but her Republican opponent, following in the footsteps of the president, has refused to concede.

The AP declared Underwood the winner earlier today. She’s leading her opponent by half a percentage point – with some mail-in ballots still outstanding.

But her opponent Jim Oberweis, the chairman of popular ice cream chain Oberweis Dairy, is not planning to concede, according to WBEZ:

When asked whether Oberweis was planning to concede, the GOP candidate’s campaign manager said “not at all” shortly after The Associated Press called the race for Underwood. Earlier in the week, spokesperson Travis Akin told WBEZ a recount was imminent.

In a written statement, Akin said the campaign is “committed to exploring all legal options,” and that the Associated Press’ call “does not change anything in this race from a legal standpoint,” saying there are still votes that have yet to be counted and certified.

Courtesy of The Guardian

McConnell rejects Dems wish for large stimulus

CNN report today that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday continued to reject the call from Democrats for a big coronavirus stimulus package, saying, "that's not a place I think we're willing to go" and reiterated his push for a bill that's "highly targeted at what the residual problems are."

McConnell said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, "I gather she and the Democratic leader in the Senate still are looking at something dramatically larger. That's not a place I think we're willing to go."

Pelosi said the priority must be addressing the pandemic, and called on Republicans to "stop this circus and get to work on what really matters to the American people -- their health and their economic security."

The criticism from Democrats comes as efforts to negotiate a new relief bill remain stuck as Democrats call for a large-scale, comprehensive approach to a new stimulus with Republicans calling for a targeted approach.

October statistics showed that 8 million Americans had fallen into poverty since May. This week 709,000 new jobless aid claims were made in the US.

Do recounts change election results?

The short answer is no. For the long answer, including what a recount is and how many times a presidential election has been affected by a recount, see the full Reuters story.

“Recounts are routine. Run-of-the-mill,” said William & Mary Law School professor Rebecca Green. She said they usually show the first count to be fairly accurate, though small discrepancies, often caused by differing judgments about how to count ballots marked by hand and other issues, are not unusual.

The president maintains his baseless assault on the US election results...

...by peddling false claims about a company that makes hardware and software for ballot counting, Dominion Voting Systems.

Driven by false reporting from the far-right news organisation One America News Network, the narrative spun a swiftly corrected mistake into a mirage of widespread voter fraud.

Snopes' fact check on this circulating rumour confirms that a human error resulted in a temporary miscalculation in Antrim County, Michigan, but this issue was quickly remedied. The problem was not a technical glitch, but in fact human error.

Corey Lewandowski covid-19 positive

A Trump advisor who was working on bringing cases in states where the president is alleging voter fraud, has tested positive for coronavirus today.

Presidential Election 2020: Joe Biden elected 46th President of the US

Electoral college votes (270 needed to win)

Joe Biden: 290
Donald Trump: 217

- Biden projected to win Arizona (11 ECs)

- Joe Biden vows to be: "A President who seeks not to divide, but to unify. Who doesn’t see Red and Blue states, but a United States."

- Amid repeated baseless GOP assertions that the election has been rigged by widespread voter fraud, top gov't officials confirm 2020 election "the most secure" in history.

- Biden names Ron Klain as his White House Chief of Staff, saying: "Ron Klain’s deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need."

- The Trump campaign have filed a lawsuit in Michigan hoping to prevent the battleground state from certifying its election results until all allegations are investigated

Georgia's Republican Secretary of State said on Wednesday there was no sign yet of widespread fraud in his state's vote count

- Trump campaign bombards supporters with requests for donations to pay off debts for failing election lawsuits

- AP calls Trump victories in Alaska and North Carolina

- President-elect Biden gives his thoughts on Trump's refusal to concede: "I just think it's an embarrassment, quite frankly... It will not help the President's legacy"

- Attorney General William Barr has called on federal prosecutors to examine allegations of vote fraud before the final results are certified. To date, there is absolutely no evidence to support the claim

- Leaders of Japan, South Korea and Australia on Thursday reaffirmed plans to form close ties with the president-elect

Browse the latest stories on the US election:

US election: Biden wins, Trump not accepting

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the US elections, with all the ongoing reaction, breaking news and regular updates of the fall-out from last weeks historic election. 

President Elect Joe Biden is getting to work on how he plans to govern a very divided United States with Donald Trump still yet to recognise or acknowledge defeat.

In his victory speech, Biden, along with his vice president-elect Kamala Harris, called for unity and cooperation and said he knew how Trump supporters felt. But with so much disinformation filling social media accounts across the country - some driven from the White House - it's clear that desire is going to take some time to fulfil.

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