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Friday, Nov. 20
Trump makes appearance
At a rare public appearance Friday, President Donald Trump repeated without evidence his mantra since his defeat at the polls, “I won the election.”
Biden meets with Schumer, Pelosi
Meanwhile, the man who becomes the 46th president two months from today, Joe Biden, met with the nation’s two top Democrats in Washington.
Biden met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Pelosi said she’s ready to step in if the Trump administration continues to refuse cooperation in the transition process.
Trump did all he could on Friday to plant doubt in an election that has already been decided and left him the loser. His legal challenges continue, though a dozen of the president’s lawsuits have already been dismissed or withdrawn.
Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for COVID
Also on Friday, the coronavirus infected another person close to the president. This time, his son Donald Trump Jr.
A spokesperson says the president’s son tested positive at the start of the week and has been quarantining at his cabin. The 42-year-old is said to be asymptomatic.
Rudy Giuliani’s son tests positive for COVID
Meanwhile, the son of Rudy Giuliani, Andrew Giuliani, also tested positive on Friday. He’s a White House aide and said he’s experiencing mild symptoms and is quarantining.
He was reportedly at the Trump campaign headquarters several times in the last week and was at a packed Republican news conference on Thursday, where few people used masks.
COVID Vaccine Update
The president also took credit for the progress made toward a coronavirus vaccine.
Pfizer announced on Friday it has officially applied for emergency use authorization — putting the fate of its vaccine in the hands of the FDA.
Thursday, Nov. 19
Biden meets with governors
Joe Biden expressed concern Thursday that President Donald Trump’s unprecedented attempt to block the peaceful transition of power at the White House has hindered the flow of information about programs to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine.
“Unfortunately, my administration hasn’t been able to get everything we need,” the president-elect said during a video conference with the National Governors Association’s leadership team, which includes five Republicans and four Democrats.
He specifically cited Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s partnership with private pharmaceutical companies to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Biden calls Trump ‘most irresponsible president’
President-elect Joe Biden is denouncing President Donald Trump as the “most irresponsible president in American history” over his efforts to overturn the result of the election.
Biden was asked by a reporter Thursday about Trump extending a White House invitation to Michigan state lawmakers in an apparent bid to overturn the results of the election in the state, which Biden won.
Biden shook his head, noted that “there’s questions whether it’s even legal” and said the move was “outrageous.” Biden added: “It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks.”
Trump summons Michigan GOP leaders to White House
President Donald Trump summoned Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders to the White House for an extraordinary meeting Friday amid a long shot GOP push to subvert the democratic process that handed the battleground state to Democrat Joe Biden.
Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Trump invited Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield. They agreed to go, according to a state official aware of the leaders’ plans. The two officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing private conversations.
US unemployment claims increase
The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks and a sign that the resurgent viral outbreak is likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs.
The Labor Department’s report Thursday showed that applications for benefits rose from 711,000 in the previous week. Claims had soared to 6.9 million in March when the pandemic first intensified. Before the pandemic, applications typically hovered about 225,000 a week.
Wednesday, Nov. 18
Biden’s DIY transition proceeds
President-elect Joe Biden has been forced to seek extraordinary workarounds to prepare for the exploding public health threat and evolving national security challenges he will inherit in just nine weeks. Blocked from the official intelligence briefing traditionally afforded to incoming presidents, Biden gathered virtually on Tuesday with a collection of intelligence, defense and diplomatic experts.
He’s also expected to hold his own meetings with vaccine makers this week to help determine his own distribution plan. Two weeks after the election, Trump continues to block Biden’s access to his administration’s pandemic and national security briefings, falsely claiming without evidence that Biden is not the legitimate president-elect.
Biden congratulates Pelosi
President-elect Joe Biden is congratulating Nancy Pelosi for her nomination to serve as House speaker for another term. Biden’s transition team says the incoming president and Pelosi spoke on Wednesday following House Democrats’ vote.
Biden told the speaker that “he looks forward to working with her and Democratic leadership in the House on a shared agenda to get COVID-19 under control and build our economy back better.” Pelosi will serve as Biden’s most powerful ally on Capitol Hill over the next two years.
Trump pays $3 million for recount of 2 Wisconsin counties
President Donald Trump’s campaign has paid $3 million for a recount of two heavily Democratic Wisconsin counties, saying Wednesday that they were the site of the “worst irregularities” although no evidence of wrongdoing has been presented and state elections officials have said there was none.
Trump paid for the recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties overnight Tuesday and planned to submit the required paperwork to trigger the recount on Wednesday, the campaign said in a statement.
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Biden filling out top White House team with 2020 presidential campaign vets
President-elect Joe Biden announced a raft of top White House staff positions on Tuesday, drawing from the senior ranks of his campaign and some of his closest confidants to fill out an increasingly diverse White House leadership team.
Biden confirmed that former campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon will serve as a deputy chief of staff, while campaign co-chair Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond and campaign adviser Steve Ricchetti will hold senior roles in the new administration. Richmond will leave his Louisiana congressional seat to fill the White House job.
The president-elect also announced that Mike Donilon, a longtime Biden confidant, will serve as a senior adviser; Dana Remus, the campaign’s current general counsel, will be counsel to the president; Julie Chavez Rodriguez, one of Biden’s deputy campaign managers, will serve as director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs; and Annie Tomasini, Biden’s current traveling chief of staff, will serve as the director of Oval Office operations.
President Trump fires cybersecurity chief after he said election was ‘most secure in US history’
President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the federal agency that vouched for the reliability of the 2020 election. Trump fired Christopher Krebs in a tweet, saying his recent statement defending the security of the election was “highly inaccurate.”
The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee and director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, comes as Trump is refusing to recognize the victory of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and removing high-level officials seen as insufficiently loyal.
Pentagon to cut troop levels to 2,500 in Iraq, Afghanistan
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller on Tuesday announced plans to reduce U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the decision fulfills President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring forces home even as Republicans and U.S. allies warn against a rash withdrawal.
The new plan will accelerate troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan in Trump’s final days in office, despite arguments from senior military officials in favor of a slower, more methodical pullout. Trump has refused to concede his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, who takes office Jan. 20, just five days after the troop withdrawals are slated to finish.
Biden could face a student loan mess if Trump allows pandemic relief to expire
Student loan borrowers haven’t had to make payments since March — but that piece of federal pandemic relief is set to expire on December 31, unless President Donald Trump or Congress act to extend it.
If neither push the deadline back, millions of student loan payments will come due a couple of weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20. Even if Biden reinstates the pause retroactively, it could create confusion for borrowers as well as a mess for student loan processors who aren’t built to suddenly stop or start payments — all while the economic recovery slows and Covid-19 cases surge.
And either way, Biden will be left with a choice: Keep Trump’s policy in place, or go bigger and cancel debt altogether, a step some Democrats argue Biden can take without Congress.
Monday, Nov. 16
Biden urges Trump to aid transition amid exploding COVID-19 pandemic
President-elect Joe Biden on Monday warned of dire consequences if President Donald Trump and his administration continue to refuse to coordinate with his transition team on the coronavirus pandemic and block briefings on national security, policy issues and vaccine plans.
The remarks marked Biden’s toughest comments to date on Trump’s failure to acknowledge his election loss and cooperate with the incoming administration for a peaceful transfer of power.
“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden told reporters during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden and his aides have emphasized the importance of being briefed on White House efforts to control the pandemic and distribute prospective vaccines. The Trump administration is working on its own distribution plan, while Biden’s chief of staff indicated his transition team will proceed with their own planning separately because of the obstruction.
Biden expected to name 1st wave of White House senior staff
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name a number of senior White House staff as soon as this week, a group that will likely include Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., a key surrogate and his campaign’s first national co-chair.
Richmond, 47, is expected to be named to a senior advisory role in the White House, a position that could mirror his work in the inner circle of Biden’s campaign and transition team, which he also co-chairs. Richmond’s exact title and job description are not yet finalized, sources said. He’s scheduled to hold a press conference about his plans in New Orleans on Tuesday morning.
GSA official blocking Biden’s transition appears to privately plan post-Trump career
ABC News has learned the top General Services Administration official who is blocking Biden’s transition team from accessing government resources appears to be looking for a new job.
Emily Murphy, the head of the GSA, recently sent a message to an associate inquiring about employment opportunities in 2021, a move that some in Washington interpret as at least somewhat acknowledging that the current administration soon will be gone.
Friday, Nov. 13
On Friday, President Trump delivered an update on the COVID-19 vaccine in his first remarks since Biden’s projected victory. The president made his remarks outside at the Rose Garden, saying that a COVID vaccine will be widely available for all Americans by April.
However, he made an exception for New York, where the president said the vaccine will not be delivered due to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The governor responded by saying, “There will be no delay.”
Final projected electoral votes
With every state now called, President-elect Joe Biden increased his electoral college lead over President Trump.
ABC News now projects Arizona and Georgia for Biden, and North Carolina and Alaska for Trump.
That brings the final projected electoral college tally to 306 for Biden, and 232 for President Trump.
Thursday, Nov. 12
President-elect Joe Biden is facing unprecedented obstruction. President Donald Trump and his staunch Republican supporters are still willing to accept the outcome of Biden’s decisive election victory. Trump is refusing to concede the race and is blocking normal transition funding and information — including critical intelligence briefings.
But the president-elect is still moving forward with his transition team.
Biden’s transition team announced Thursday that he spoke by phone with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, thanking them for their congratulations and expressing “his commitment to uniting the country after a hard-fought campaign.”
The three spoke about “intensifying” the country’s coronavirus response and coping with the economic fallout the pandemic has inflected. They also discussed the “urgent need” to use the lame duck congressional session to approve bills on slowing the spread of COVID-19, as well as economic relief for “working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep front-line workers on the payroll,” expanded unemployment insurance and expanded access to affordable health care.
Biden said Tuesday that he had not spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, though the two have been friends for years.
Pope Francis called to congratulate Biden on Thursday. Biden will become America’s second Roman-Catholic president.
Biden’s campaign said in a statement that the president-elect thanked the pontiff for “extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation” for Francis’ “leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world.”
Biden also said he’d like to work with the pope to further “a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants.”
COVID in the White House
Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Lewandowski recently traveled to Pennsylvania to assist Trump’s efforts to contest the state’s election results. He said Thursday he believes he was infected in Philadelphia and he’s not experiencing any symptoms.
Lewandowski appeared with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani at an event last Saturday outside a landscaping company and lobbed unfounded accusations of voter fraud as the race was called for Trump’s challenger, now-President-elect Joe Biden.
Lewandowski was also at the election night party at the White House last week linked to several virus cases.
Wednesday, Nov. 11
President-elect Joe Biden says he’s not worried that President Donald Trump has broken with tradition by not letting him read the ultra-secret daily brief containing the nation’s most sensitive intelligence before inauguration.
Biden says he can’t make national security decisions yet anyway so he doesn’t need it. National security and intelligence experts hope Trump eventually decides to share the so-called President’s Daily Brief with Biden. They say U.S. adversaries can take advantage of the country during an American presidential transition and key foreign issues will be bearing down on Biden when he walks in the Oval Office.
Biden stepped away from his closed-door planning only to honor the nation’s fallen soldiers for a Veterans Day tribute at the Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia. The president-elect, whose late son, Beau, served in the Delaware Army National Guard, made no public remarks at the small ceremony.
Meanwhile, President Trump appeared in public for the first time in five days when he visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery
Georgia’s secretary of state on Wednesday announced an audit of presidential election results that he said will trigger a full hand recount. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a news conference that his office wants the process to begin by the end of the week and he expects it to take until Nov. 20, which is the certification deadline.
President-elect Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by about 14,000 votes out of nearly 5 million votes in the state. Nearly all ballots have been counted, though counties have until Friday to certify their results.
Tuesday, Nov. 10
Biden says ‘nothing going to stop’ transition process
Vowing “to get right to work,” President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday shrugged off President Donald Trump’s fierce refusal to accept the election outcome as “inconsequential,” even as Democrats elsewhere warned that the Republican president’s actions were dangerous.
Raising unsupported claims of voter fraud, Trump has blocked the incoming president from receiving intelligence briefings and withheld federal funding intended to help facilitate the transfer of power. Trump’s resistance, backed by senior Republicans in Washington and across the country, could also prevent background investigations and security clearances for prospective staff and access to federal agencies to discuss transition planning.
As some Democrats and former Republican officials warned of serious consequences, Biden sought to lower the national temperature as he addressed reporters from a makeshift transition headquarters near his home in downtown Wilmington.
President-elect Biden spoke about the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether the act’s individual mandate — which requires Americans to have health insurance — is unconstitutional. The Trump administration and 18 Republican-led states are hoping the Conservative-leaning court will invalidate the entire law.
But Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts seem to be questioning why the case was brought to the high court. Roberts said it’s not the Supreme Court’s job to do something Congress has repeatedly failed to do.
If Kavanaugh and Roberts side with the Liberals on the court, 20 million Americans will be allowed to keep their health insurance.
Monday, Nov. 9
Transition of power
As the U.S. hit more than 10 million COVID-19 cases on Monday, President-elect Joe Biden implored Americans to wear a mask as he kicked off his transition to power with his own coronavirus task force.
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnel said President Trump is well within his rights to challenge the election and he is treating the election as still uncertain. But many have moved on, including Republican leaders like George W. Bush.
Several Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, congratulated Trump’s Operation Warp Speed after the news that Pfizer’s new vaccine could be 90% effective.
But the CEO of Pfizer said his company did not participation in Operation Warp Speed and Pfizer paid for its own research to avoid any government interference during testing.
Officials with COVID
The pandemic continues to spread amid the Trump administration. HUD Secretary Ben Carson, a doctor, tested positive for coronavirus Monday morning after having symptoms. He attended an election night watch party at the White House.
Dave Bossie, an adviser to President Trump who is leading the legal challenges to the election vote, also tested positive. He had just traveled to Arizona to oversee the vote count there.
The latest officials to test positive come just two days after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and four others on the staff tested positive.
Trump fires Esper
President Donald Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday, an unprecedented move by a president struggling to accept election defeat and angry at a Pentagon leader he believes wasn’t loyal enough.
The decision was widely expected as Trump had grown increasingly unhappy with Esper over the summer, including sharp differences between them over the use of the military during the civil unrest in June. But the move could unsettle international allies and Pentagon leadership and injects another element of uncertainty to a rocky transition period as Joe Biden prepares to assume the presidency.
Sunday, Nov. 8
Biden claims victory
On the night that Joe Biden claimed victory in the heated presidential race against Donald Trump, the President-elect issued a message of unity.
Biden’s first major action will be to appoint a Coronavirus Task Force and unify a country that has been split by party lines.
It was Biden’s home state of Pennsylvania that put him over the top, 48 years to the day he was first elected to the U.S. Senate at the age of 29. In 13 days, Biden will be 78.
Biden’s declaration of victory prompted celebrations in New York City and across the country. When he addressed his supporters on Saturday night, he had received a record of nearly 75 million votes.
History in the making
However, Biden is not the only one to make history. Senator Kamala Harris also made history as the first woman to be elected Vice President, and the first woman of color to hold that job.
Meanwhile, President Trump continues to double down on his statements that he will take legal action to expose potential voter fraud from mail-in ballots.
Friday, Nov. 6
The race to 270
Democrat Joe Biden was on the cusp of winning the presidency on Friday as he opened up narrow leads over President Donald Trump in the critical battlegrounds of Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Those put Biden in a stronger position to capture the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take the White House. The winner will lead a country facing a historic set of challenges, including a surging pandemic and deep political polarization.
The focus on Pennsylvania, where Biden led Trump by more than 9,000 votes, and Georgia, where Biden led by more than 1,500, came as Americans entered a third full day after the election without knowing who will lead them for the next four years. The prolonged process added to the anxiety of a nation whose racial and cultural divides were inflamed during the heated campaign.
Battleground of Pennsylvania
With Georgia headed to a recount and the western toss-up states still counting votes, the focus is on Pennsylvania — something both candidates have been talking about for weeks.
The ballot count in Pennsylvania reached a milestone on Friday evening, as the state’s top election official said most mail-in and absentee ballots had been counted.
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said the process to count provisional ballots is now underway. Boockvar said the county boards of election will have to individually evaluate each provisional ballot and decide within seven days if it meets the standard to be counted.
That will be done by verifying the voter was registered to vote in the precinct the ballot was cast, and that the voter did not cast a mail-in ballot before requesting a provisional ballot at a polling place.
Biden is currently up by more than 14,000 votes in Pennsylvania. If he wins the state, he will become president-elect.
Battleground of Georgia
The last Democratic candidate to win Georgia’s electoral votes was Bill Clinton in 1992. That was also the last time a sitting president was voted out of office.
So how did it turn blue? Many Democrats are crediting Stacey Abrams. After she lost the race for governor, she formed a nonprofit to increase voter registration in communities of color and registered tens of thousands of new Democrats.
It was the absentee ballots in John Lewis’ district that pushed Biden ahead in Georgia. The civil rights activist and long-time congressman feuded with Trump right up until his death in July.
The NYPD says it is prepared for any protests Friday night and into the weekend. On Thursday night, 19 people were arrested and a homeless man is accused of assaulting an officer with a chain near Greenwich Village.
Others were arrested for trying to stop police from arresting the man. Meanwhile, another man was arrested in possession of a knife at separate chaotic protest near Union Square.
Thursday, Nov. 5
Still counting votes
Democrat Joe Biden pushed closer Thursday to the 270 Electoral College votes he needed to win the White House while President Donald Trump escalated his unproven accusations of voter fraud and promises of legal action.
While Pennsylvania could have the majority of its votes counted Thursday night, if Biden were to win Pennsylvania, he will be the president-elect.
Trump is still ahead in Pennsylvania and Georgia, but his leads have shrunk. Biden is holding onto razor thin leads in Arizona and Nevada.
While Trump has tweeted about fraud and filed lawsuits, Biden seems more willing to wait for the votes.
The Bush v. Gore election was not finally decided until December. By contrast, while there may be recounts and court challenges, the remaining battleground states hope to have vote totals by the end of the weekend.
At least 25 people are facing charges following a pro-democracy demonstration in Manhattan that turned violent overnight into Thursday morning.
Hundreds of peaceful protesters marched in the streets of Greenwich Village demanding that all votes be counted. After most of the crowd had dispersed, dozens of remaining demonstrators began clashing with police, setting fires and confronting officers.
Wednesday, Nov. 4
On a day of electoral uncertainty and legal action, Joe Biden emerged as the apparent winner in Wisconsin and Michigan on Wednesday, reclaiming key parts of the “blue wall” that slipped away from Democrats four years ago and narrowing President Donald Trump’s pathway to reelection.
A full day after Election Day, neither candidate had cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. Margins remained tight in several fiercely contested states including Pennsylvania. But Biden’s victory in Wisconsin and Michigan loomed as an important step to the presidency.
Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones are the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress after winning their elections Tuesday to seats representing the South Bronx and parts of New York City’s northern suburbs, respectively.
Torres claimed victory in his race against Patrick Delices for the 15th Congressional District seat vacated by Jose Serrano, who recently retired. Jones defeated Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman and Conservative Party candidate Yehudis Gottesfeld in New York’s 17th Congressional District, which includes all of Rockland County and portions of central and northwestern Westchester County.
Races on Long Island
Republicans on Long Island are celebrating Wednesday after many local races show Republicans with leads over their Democratic challengers.
In the race for the seat of retiring Congressman Peter King, Republican Andrew Garbarino is declaring victory over his Democratic challenger Jackie Gordon. He’s ahead by 46,000 votes or 59 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is declaring victory over his Democratic challenger Nancy Goroff. Zeldin has 61 percent of the vote compared to Goroff’s 38 percent. Zeldin said he is looking forward to his fourth term.
A couple hundred demonstrators took to the streets of Manhattan on Wednesday, the day after the presidential election, to support “Count Every Vote.”
Scattered protests also took place from Washington, D.C., to Washington state as votes were counted, but there were no signs of widespread unrest or violence linked to the U.S. election.
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