US Presidential Election & covid-19 news summary for 20 November

US Presidential Election & covid-19 updates: Trump, Biden, results, cases and restrictions today

US election and covid-19 latest news live

News summary:

Electoral college votes (270 needed to win) 

Joe Biden: 306
Donald Trump: 232

US covid-19 cases: 11.79 million

US covid-19 deaths: 253,309 (Source: JHU)

Biden victory confirmed in Georgia after a hand recount and audit of approximately 5 million ballots

- Donald Trump Jr tests positive for covid-19, spokesman says he is asymptomatic

- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on GOP election challenges: 'I think this borders on treason'

- Pfizer and BioNTech have both applied for emergency authorisation for their coronavirus vaccines

- The number of patients hospitalised with covid-19 in the United States has jumped by nearly 50% in the last 14 days

- White House press sec. Keyleigh McAneny claims 40 million covid-19 vaccine doses will be made available this year

- Joe Biden describes Trump as ”one of the most irresponsible presidents in US history"

- Democrats say failure of Trump coronavirus vaccine team to share information with Biden's transition administration "potentially catastrophic"

- CDC pleads with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel among skyrocketing covid cases

- Leaked White House report warns of "inadequate" coronavirus mitigation efforts by Trump administration

- Over $135 million of TV ads have already been bought for two Georgia Senate run-off races

New York City closes schools, affecting 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools

Browse the latest stories on the US election:

drone

A resident watches as a drone delivers a covid-19 self collection test kit to her home, after being ordered from Walmart, amid a coronavirus surge in El Paso, Texas. Residents who live within 1.5 miles of the Walmart Supercenter in East El Paso are eligible for the free kits delivered by DroneUp as part of a drone delivery pilot program. Texas surpassed 20,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths November 16, the second highest in the US, with active cases in El Paso now over 35,000 and confirmed covid-19 deaths at 845. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

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Trump: "I won"

Joe Biden on Saturday reached the two-week mark since becoming president-elect, with President Donald Trump stinging from back-to-back setbacks in his desperate, unprecedented bid to undo his election defeat.

Biden, a Democrat, is preparing to take office on 20 January, but Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede and is seeking to invalidate or overturn the results through lawsuits and recounts in a number of states, claiming - without proof - widespread voter fraud.

That effort, which critics call an unparalleled push by a sitting president to subvert the will of voters, has met with little success. Trump's campaign has suffered a string of legal defeats and appears to have failed to convince key fellow Republicans in states that he lost, such as Michigan, to buy into his unfounded conspiracy theories.

Trump's bid to cling to power appeared ever more tenuous on Friday after Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a manual recount and audit of all ballots cast in the southern state had confirmed Biden as the winner there.

A pair of Michigan Republican leaders delivered another blow when they declared on Friday night after a White House meeting with Trump: "We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan."

Trump, in his first public comments in days about the election outcome, again asserted "I won" during a White House event on lowering drug prices earlier on Friday.

After a series of court defeats, the Trump team is resting its hopes on getting Republican-controlled legislatures in battleground states won by Biden to set aside the results and declare Trump the winner, according to three people familiar with the plan.

It is a long-shot effort focusing on Michigan and Pennsylvania for now, but even if both those states flipped to the president he would need to overturn the vote in another state to vault ahead of Biden in the Electoral College. 

Such an event would be unprecedented in modern US history. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Confident of Biden Win; Republicans Call for Election Audit

Pennsylvania's House of Representatives voted to allow an audit of the presidential election results to be performed by a state committee on Friday. Some Democrats have criticised the audit and expressed the opinion that President-elect Joe Biden will be ultimately be declared the election winner, according to Newsweek.

Sponsored by House Republicans, the audit is expected to be conducted by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee and completed by February. Election results in Pennsylvania have been challenged by the legal team of President Donald Trump, who has alleged without evidence that widespread voting fraud contributed to a projected Biden victory. Trump has yet to concede to Biden and has claimed several times that he is the true winner of the election.

According to the text of House Resolution 1100, the audit is necessary because "Pennsylvania citizens have questioned the process by which the 2020 general election has been conducted, regardless of which candidate or party may prevail."

The document alleges that a "litany of inconsistencies" occurred during the election because of decisions made by federal and state courts including prohibiting signature requirements for mail-in voting and "counties not following the United States Supreme Court ruling requiring ballots received after election day to be segregated."

Electors, vote count, certification: where things stand in Georgia

After a confusing day, Brendan Keefe sums up what the state of play is in the Peach State.

Georgia is now certified. What took so long?

It took 17 days following the election to certify the results of the US presidential election in Georgia following several setbacks.

Read the full story:

Was Trump ‘Never Given an Orderly Transition of Power’?

Was Trump ‘Never Given an Orderly Transition of Power’?

FALSE:

On Nov. 20, 2020, at a news conference White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany addressed U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede his electoral loss to President-elect Joe Biden and his administration’s stonewalling of Biden’s transition team, McEnany said this about Trump’s own transition into power after the 2016 election:

“Also, something that I would note is, just we talked a lot about transfer of power and the election, and it’s worth remembering that this president was never given an orderly transition of power. His presidency was never accepted.”

The claim was at odds with reality.

In 2016, after being defeated by Trump, Hillary Clinton gave a concession speech the day after the election. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead,” she stated in the speech.

Trump in 2016 stated that Clinton contacted him the night of the election in what he described as a “lovely” phone call: “She couldn’t have been nicer. She just said, ‘Congratulations, Donald. Well done.'”

Similarly the General Services Administration, an executive branch agency that is currently under fire for its refusal to hand transition resources off to Biden’s transition team, gave Trump’s team the reins the day after Election Day in 2016.

McEnany’s comments were even contradicted by those made by the president himself during his inauguration address on Jan. 20, 2017:

“Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power. And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.”

The transition period between Biden’s election and inauguration has been anything but “orderly.” Trump and his supporters, including McEnany, have echoed a conspiracy theory holding that Trump only lost the election on account of a massive voter fraud scheme involving deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

In an unprecedented move in the modern era, the Trump administration has blocked Biden’s team from accessing millions of taxpayer dollars allocated for the transition process, as well as members of government agencies. Trump’s General Services Administration head Emily Murphy has refused to sign a letter releasing those resources.

Snopes' BETHANIA PALMA

Who will be Biden's new Treasury Secretary?

Joe Biden has already chosen Steven Mnuchin's replacement. Their first task will be to negotiate a deal on the new covid-19 economic stimulus package.

Trump team yet to convince Michigan GOP to override popular vote

In some good news for democracy (so far) following a meeting at the White House, Michigan democrats appear unconvinced to go against protocol and override the over 150,000 voters in the state who clinched it for Joe Biden

Twitter backing peaceful transition of power

The presidential @POTUS Twitter handle will automatically transfer to President-elect Joe Biden the moment he’s sworn in at noon on Inauguration Day — whether or not President Donald Trump has conceded, the company confirmed to POLITICO on Friday.

“Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

Same goes for @whitehouse, @VP, @FLOTUS, and a handful other official accounts associated with the presidency.

WATCH Biden: "me casa, you casa"

In a meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer today, Joe Biden bungled the Spanish saying "mi casa, tu casa", meaning "make yourself at home".

Michigan lawmakers will “follow the normal process” in certifying the result

In another blow to Trump's hopes of overturning the result of the election, a group Michigan lawmakers have released a statement suggesting that they will certify their state's vote for Joe Biden on Monday. The delegation of Michigan Republicans, who were invited to meet with Mr. Trump at the White House on Friday, said that they had “not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election” in Michigan.

It had been speculated that the president was intending to ask them to delay the certification of their states results until after the Monday deadline, giving him more time to argue his baseless claims of voter fraud. With this avenue seemingly shut, it remains to be seen how the President will proceed as an increasing number of states have their results confirmed

Clinton wishes Biden a Happy Birthday

One former White House occupant took to Twitter to celebrate another's birthday. Or as President BIll Clinton put it, from #42 to #46. 

At 78 President-elect Joe Biden will be the oldest first-time President when he is inaugurated on 20 January. 

Further details on Donald Jr after positive covid test

A spokesperson for the President's son has confirmed that he has caught the coronavirus but is not currently suffering with any symptoms. The 42-year-old was present at his father's Election Night speech to supporters in the White House, where few is any of the crowd were wearing masks. 

Fours Seasons take no blame for Rudy's meltdown

Four Seasons (Total Landscaping) were cruelly overlooked as a potential venue for Rudy Giuliani's ill-judged press conference yesterday, but they were quick to get involved online. Despite hosting his last major public event in the parking lot of a gardening supply store, things managed to get worse for Giuliani as his hair dye began seeping down his face. 

Donald Trump Jr tests positive for covid-19

The President's son, Donald Jr, tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week. Little is known about his condition but a spokesperson has confirmed that he has been infected and is now following all the proper quarantine guidelines. 

He becomes the latest White House regular to catch covid-19 with dozens of staffers, along with the President himself, having done so. Earlier today Rudy Guiliani's son Andrew, who has also provided legal counsel for the Trump campaign, also tested positive. 

Another former Obama figure returns to the White House

President-elect Joe Biden has spent much of the last two weeks building his team in preparation to take office on 20 January. After naming key members of his White House senior staff earlier this week and outlining his covid-19 task force, he has now announced Louisa Terrell as White House director of legislative affairs.

She is currently part of Biden's transition team but will return to the position that she held during the Obama administration, when Biden was Vice President. She will be reunited with the likes of Steve Richetti, Dana Remus and Julie Chavez Rodriguez, who all served under Obama and have been reinstated by Biden. 

House Majority Leader accuses Trump over undermining democracy

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, has told The Washington Post that he believes that the President's attempt to challenge the result of the election “borders on treason.”

Hoyer was responding to yesterday's press conference in which Rudy Giuliani, Trump's attorney, made a series of baseless claims about voter fraud, implicating the Democrat party without showing any evidence. Hoyer said of Trump and his team: “He is undermining the very essence of democracy, which is: You go to the poll, you vote and the people decide."

 

Georgia certifies election result for Biden (again)

It has been a busy day in the Georgia state press office. After their earlier announcement that they were certifying their election result for Joe Biden was retracted, they have now officially confirmed the result. President-elect Biden will win the 16 Electoral College seats in the hotly-contested battleground state. 

The result was subject to a by-hand recount of over 5 million votes, due to a new rule that any election with a margin of less than 0.5% has to be checked. 

 

Trump again claims Pfizer delayed vaccine announcement

President Trump has today made a rare post-election public appearance to discuss the work that his administration has done to lower drug prices for Americas. However when speaking about Pfizer's covid-19 vaccine break-through, Trump claimed that the announcement had been deliberately delayed until after the election. 

On 9 November Trump tweeted:  “[Pfizer] didn’t want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later.” This time he appears to have changed tack slightly, now claiming that the announcement was delayed to coincide with his lowering of drug prices. 

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has found that the President's claim is completely baseless. Kathrin Jensen of Pfizer told the AAAS that “Quite frankly, we had no time and still have no time to deal with politics. We are at this 24/7, thousands of people working diligently to make this work.

Trump meets with Michigan legislators with legal appeals still ongoing

Republican lawmakers from Michigan have today travelled to the White House to meet with the President but have refused to detail what will be discussed. Michigan is one of the states in which Trump has launched a legal bid to oveturn the result of the 3 November election with a verdict needed by Monday, when the state certifies its result. 

Earlier today White House press secretary Keyleigh McAneny insisted that the meeting was just routine business for the President bu many have speculated that he could be discussing his plans to continue to contest the result. 

Bob Bauer, senior adviser to the BIden campaign, described Trump's meeting with the lawmakers as: "an abuse of office. It's an open attempt to intimidate election officials. It's absolutely appalling. ... It's also pathetic. But, having said all that, it will be unsuccessful."

WH aide Andrew Giuliani tests positive for coronavirus

Andrew Giuliani, a White House aide and son of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, said on Friday he had tested positive for covid-19.

"This morning, I tested positive for covid-19," the younger Giuliani, who joined the Trump White House's Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs in 2017, said on Twitter. "I am experiencing mild symptoms, and am following all appropriate protocols, including being in quarantine and conducting contact tracing."

Andrew attended his father's press conference Thursday at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, according to multiple reports. The elder Giuliani and other Trump campaign lawyers spoke without masks from an indoor podium, to an audience of dozens.

Several White House staffers have tested positive for the disease in recent weeks, including chief of staff Mark Meadows, while six members of Congress have tested positive this week.

At least four other people who work in the White House, in addition to Andrew, have contracted the disease in recent days, the New York Times reported Friday.

[Reuters]

Georgia Secretary of State issues "correction" regarding result certification

Earlier today a press release from Georgia's Secretary of State announced that the election result in the hotly-contested battleground state had been certified for Joe Biden, but now appears to have rowed back just hours later. 

Georgia officials have now said that the announcement was made by mistake, with Jordan Fuchs, Georgia’s deputy secretary of state, blaming: "a staffer who sent out the wrong press release." They have confirmed that they are still on track to certify the result by 5:00pm tomorrow with Biden expected to pick up the 16 electoral college votes. 

 

New Kansas data shows the importance of masks

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the infection rates in Kansas vary dramatically between counties which did and did not impose mandatory mask-wearing. The state's Democrat Governor Laura Kelly brought in the guidance in July but 81 of Kansas' 105 counties opted out. 

Tellingly, this pattern is also found in studies carried out in other states: "The findings in this report are consistent with declines in COVID-19 cases observed in 15 states and the District of Columbia, which mandated masks, compared with states that did not have mask mandates"

Covid vaccines could be approved by 10 December

Pfizer and BioNTech have applied for emergency authorisation from the FDA to get their coronavirus vaccines approved for widespread use before the end of the year. Both achieved a success rate of over 90% in the clinical trials, but still need to prove that the vaccines are safe to be rolled out nationwide. 

CNN report that the FDA will hold a meeting on 10 December, by which time a decision could be made. This would make it possible for high priority patients in the US to recieve the groundbreaking drug by the middle to end of December. It will not be a quick fix however: patients require two doses of the vaccine a few weeks apart, with protection achieved 28 days after the first shot.

South Dakota records huge spike in covid-19 cases but still no mask mandate

New figures show that the infection rate in South Dakota is rocketing after previously avoiding the worst of the pandemic. The state's Republican Governor Kristi Noem has repeatedly refused to consider implementing tougher anti-covid restrictions to help stem the tide but today tweeted the following:

"Thanksgiving is around the corner, and across the country families are planning how to celebrate with their loved-ones in the midst of #COVID19. In South Dakota, we won’t stop or discourage you from thanking God and spending time together this Thanksgiving."

Biden tells health workers that Republicans are afraid of passing new stimulus bill

As President Donald Trump continues to deny defeat, and a smooth transition of power is proving difficult, Joe Biden is pushing for action on a relief package.

CNN sources: Trump deliberately delaying transfer of power

According to a report by CNN, Donald Trump has already told some close to him that he is aware that he ongoing claims of election fraud are innaccurate. A source familiar with the President's thinking told the network that the President is simply trying to stifle the transition of power, telling those who believe he should cooperate that they are "Absolutely wrong."

The source alleges that Trump's petty reaction to defeat stems in part from his perceived grievance that Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama undermined his own presidency, by suggesting that his victory four years ago was aided by foreign interference. 

Pence arrives in Georgia for crucial Senate run-off races

Vice President Mike Pence headed into the fray of two red-hot U.S. Senate campaigns in Georgia on Friday, aiming to get Republican voters to turn out in force for a 5 January run-off election battle that will decide Senate control.

With President Donald Trump contesting President-elect Joe Biden's victory, Pence left Washington for "Defend the Majority" rallies in Canton and Gainesville, Republican areas where Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler will need strong turnout to defeat Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

"Good Republicans never vote alone, guys!" Perdue, a businessman, told a rally near Macon, Georgia, on Thursday. Loeffler also urged supporters to put out yard signs, attach bumper stickers to their cars and volunteer to knock on doors and staff phone banks.

With Trump no longer on the ballot, Republicans and Democrats both face challenges getting large numbers of voters to the polls in January.

[Reuters]

White House: 40 million covid-19 vaccine doses to be made available this year

In an ongoing press conference this afternoon White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has claimed that 40 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine will be distributed before the end of 2020. Earlier today both Pfizer and BioNTech, the two companies to have recorded positive trial results so far, both applied for emergency authorisation from the FDA. 

Few details were given surrounding the method of distribution and who would be in-line, but it is thought that the vaccine will initially be reserved for the most at-risk patients (the vulnerable and key workers) and will largely be distributed in cities to begin with due to the difficulty of transporting the vaccine. 

Georgia Sec. of State will certify state's election results

After a recount in Georgia reconfirmed Joe Biden as the winner of the state by 12,000 votes, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he will certify the results on Friday. 

"I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the will of the people," Raffensperger, a Republican and Trump supporter, said. 

WHO welcomes Covid-19 immunity study, gives hopes for vaccines

A British study that found people who have had Covid-19 are unlikely to contract the disease again for at least six months is good news and also provides hope for vaccines, a World Health Organization (WHO) senior official said on Friday.

"This is really good news to see that we are seeing sustained levels of immune response in humans so far," Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergency expert, told a news conference. "It also gives us hope on the vaccine side." 

Maria van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on Covid-19, said: "We still need to follow these individuals for a longer period of time to see how long immunity lasts." (Reuters)

Mnuchin

Stocks wobble after Mnuchin pulls plug on Fed stimulus

World financial markets stalled on Friday as news US Treasury was ending emergency loans programmes dealt a blow to economic recovery hopes just as California announced curfews to try and fight surging coronavirus infections.

In a letter to U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the $455 billion allocated to Treasury under the CARES Act should be instead available for Congress to reallocate.

"This divide between the Treasury and the Fed risks undermining the unwavering faith that investors have placed on continuous policy support to help the economy weather the pandemic," Singapore-based DBS wrote in a note.

Although the programmes were not used extensively, Fed officials felt their presence reassured financial markets and investors that credit would remain available to help businesses, local agencies and even nonprofits through the pandemic downturn.

Milos

Czech leader calls Trump to acknowledge electyion result

Donald Trump would be wiser to acknowledge losing the US presidential election and quit, Czech President Milos Zeman, an early Trump supporter, said late on Thursday.

LA

California, Ohio order nightly curfews

California's governor imposed a curfew on social gatherings and other non-essential activities in one of the most intrusive of the restrictions being ordered across the country to curb an alarming surge in novel coronavirus infections.

The stay-at-home order will go into effect from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. each day, starting Saturday night and ending on the morning of Dec. 21, covering 41 of California's 58 counties and the vast majority of its population, Governor Gavin Newsom said.

A similar 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew order was issued in Ohio and will remain in effect for the next 21 days, Governor Mike DeWine announced separately.

airport

Airlines need another $80 bln in aid to survive -IATA

Airlines will need $70-80 billion in aid to survive the coronavirus crisis, or another half again of the amount already received from governments, their global industry body warned.

"We are extremely grateful to them for having injected $160 billion into the sector," Alexandre de Juniac, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said on Friday at the Paris Air Forum, hosted by newspaper La Tribune.

"For the coming months, the industry's needs are evaluated at $70-80 billion in additional aid," De Juniac said. "Otherwise some airlines will not survive."

While vaccine breakthroughs offer hope, a return to mass travel remains many months away, airlines say. Some will struggle to make it through the northern hemisphere winter, when profits are thin even in normal times.

florida

People queue at a walk-up covid-19 testing site in Miami Beach, Florida. US biotech firm Moderna on November 16 announced its experimental vaccine against Covid-19 was almost 95 percent effective, marking a second major breakthrough in the quest to end the pandemic. Moderna released early results from a clinical trial with more than 30,000 participants, after American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech last week said their vaccine was 90 percent effective. (Photo by Chandan KHANNA / AFP)

Pence goes down to Georgia as Republicans stir turnout in battleground Senate races

Vice President Mike Pence will jump into the fray of two red-hot US Senate campaigns in Georgia on Friday, aiming to get Republican voters to turn out in force for a 5 January runoff election battle that will decide Senate control.

With President Donald Trump contesting President-elect Joe Biden's victory, Pence is scheduled to make campaign stops in Canton and Gainesville, Republican areas where Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler will need strong turnout to defeat Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

"Good Republicans never vote alone, guys!" Perdue, a businessman, told a rally near Macon, Georgia, on Thursday. Loeffler also urged supporters to put out yard signs, attach bumper stickers to their cars and volunteer to knock on doors and staff phone banks.

With Trump no longer on the ballot, Republicans and Democrats both face challenges getting large numbers of voters to the polls in January.

Pence's visit could also help address hurdles that Republicans face on their own. Analysts said he could bring greater focus to the Senate races at a time of infighting between Georgia Republicans.

Georgia has not elected a Democratic senator since 1996.

WHO advises against remdesivir for hospitalised patients

Gilead's remdesivir is not recommended for patients hospitalised with covid-19, regardless of how ill they are, as there is no evidence the drug improves survival or reduces the need for ventilation, a World Health Organization panel said on Friday.

The advice is another setback for the drug, which grabbed worldwide attention as a potentially effective treatment in the summer after early trials showed some promise.

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Covid-19 reinfection unlikely for at least 6 months

People who've had covid-19 are highly unlikely to contract it again for at least six months after their first infection, according to a British study of healthcare workers.

The findings should offer some reassurance for the more than 51 million people worldwide who have been infected, researchers at the University of Oxford said.

"This is really good news, because we can be confident that, at least in the short term, most people who get covid-19 won’t get it again," said David Eyre, a professor at Oxford's Nuffield Department of Population Health, who co-led the study.

pence

Vice President Mike Pence takes off his protective face mask to speak as he leads a briefing by the White House coronavirus task force about the US spread of the coronavirus disease in the Brady press briefing room at the White House in Washington. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Trump calls foul in Michigan, Wisconsin

The US president has tweeted claims that huge batches of newly added votes were allotted to tallies in Michigan and Wisconsin, where Joe Biden was trailing, the morning after the 3 November election.  

Fire away - Trump "concession speech" has internet chuckling

It's the speech Democrats have been waiting for but not the real thing... Trump of course is still refusing to concede despite the official counts clearly showing Biden won the 2020 election, so what could a concession speech sound like? A video editor took the time to piece a draft together. 

Trump administration does not support lockdown, school closures -Pence

The Trump administration does not support another lockdown or school closures to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday, even as infections have hit record highs in recent days in the United States.

Pence made the remarks during a coronavirus task force briefing, in which he also highlighted rising positivity rates for coronavirus tests administered across the country. 

There are still 10 weeks until president-elect Joe Biden succeeds Trump in January. What powers does the “lame duck” president have until then?

don

Trump to host Michigan lawmakers as he presses dubious effort to overturn election

President Donald Trump will meet with the Republican leaders of the Michigan state legislature on Friday at the White House, as his campaign pursues an increasingly desperate bid to overturn the 3 November election amid a series of courtroom losses.

Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with the Democratic leaders in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, after spending most of the week huddled with advisers as he plans his administration.

The Trump campaign's latest strategy, as described by three people familiar with the plan, is to convince Republican-controlled legislatures in battleground states that Biden won, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, to undermine the election results and deliver those states to the Republican president's corner.

Trump's attempts to reverse the outcome via lawsuits and recounts have met with little success. A hand recount of Georgia's roughly 5 million votes wrapped up on Thursday, affirming Biden's victory there, while judges in three states rejected bids by the campaign to challenge vote counts.

Biden, the Democratic former vice president, has secured 306 votes to Trump's 232 in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner. Each state's electoral votes, which are largely based on population, are typically awarded to the winner of the state's popular vote, which are cast in December in what is usually a formality.

A senior Trump campaign official said the idea is to sow doubt about the results in certain states while pressing Republican lawmakers to intervene by appointing their own Trump-supporting electors.

Legal experts have sounded the alarm at the notion of a sitting president seeking to undermine the will of the voters, though they have expressed skepticism that a state legislature could lawfully substitute its own electors. 

New Yorker: Rudy Giuliani is a hot mess

The former New York mayor and current legal counsel to Donald Trump held a press conference on Thursday that has been making headlines around the world. Giuliani, who is also the man at the centre of the Hunter Biden email saga, is campaining for Trump to remain in the White House despite the results of the election, which the New Yorker described as an "outlandish, anti-democratic venture." 

biden

Biden on Trump: one of the “most irresponsible presidents in American history”

President-elect Joe Biden has denounced Donald Trump as one of the “most irresponsible presidents in American history,” calling the incumbent president’s challenges against the results of the November election “incredibly damaging”. The Guardian reported Thursday.

Speaking after a call with state governors on Thursday, Biden said he was not concerned that Trump’s refusal to concede the election would prevent a transfer of power, but said it “sends a horrible message about who we are as a country.”

“What the president’s doing now … it’s going to be another incident where he will go down in history as being one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington. “It’s just not within the norm at all, and there’s a question as to whether it’s even legal.”

Americans are “witnessing incredible irresponsibility, incredibly damaging messages being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions,” Biden said. “I don’t know his motive, but I just think it’s totally irresponsible.”

"There's no room for you in the hospital anymore"

A lesson on calculated risk from Rachel Maddow, MSNBC anchor whose partner contracted covid-19.

"This thing is scary as hell" 

Trump's vaccine team will not brief Biden administration

Officials from President Donald Trump's vaccine distribution effort have not briefed anyone on President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, and have no plans to do so, Democratic US senators said after a White House call on Thursday.

"Just off a conference call with Trump Administration vaccine distribution team," Senator Chris Murphy said on Twitter. "They confirmed that they have not briefed anyone on President-elect Biden's team and have no plans to do so. This is potentially catastrophic."

The call, for all senators, was conducted on Thursday morning by General Gustave Perna and Dr. Moncef Slaoui, leaders of "Operation Warp Speed," the administration's vaccine-development effort, congressional aides said.

The team's unwillingness to share its plans with the incoming administration "risks President-elect Biden's team not being ready on day one to implement the plan or make adjustments to it," Murphy said in an emailed statement. 

"Stunning, heatbreaking, infuriating, unpatriotic"

Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell has vowed the Republicans will "take this country back" in an address as the Trump campaign team continues to question the results of the election. 

US election and coronavirus: latest news

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 the historic election on 3 November.

We'll also be keeping you updated on all the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic, which is the number one priority for President-elect Joe Biden who is already getting to work on how he plans to govern a very divided United States with Donald Trump still yet to recognise or acknowledge defeat.

On Friday, it emerged that the outgoing administration, despite ongoing attempts to overturn the results of the election, have yet to brief Biden's transition administration on the latest developments in the search for a vaccine, which has been described as "potentially catastrophic" by US Senator Chris Murphy. 

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