President-elect Joe Biden is quietly pushing forward with the business of preparing to become America’s next commander in chief even as President Donald Trump, who refuses to concede the election, and his allies seemed determined to make his transition as difficult as possible.
Biden is building his administration and focusing on how to address the coronavirus pandemic once in office, without Trump's cooperation. This week, Biden's advisors will meet with vaccine makers for a detailed understanding of distribution plans being finalized by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, Trump still insists without evidence the election was stolen from him even though Republican and Democratic election officials nationwide have said publicly the election went well and international observers confirm there were no serious irregularities.
Hand Tally of Presidential Race Finds New Ballots, Ga. Officials Say
A hand tally of the presidential race in Georgia has turned up more than 2,500 votes in one county that weren't previously counted, but election officials said Monday that won't alter the overall outcome of the race.
Nearly 5 million votes were cast in the presidential election in Georgia, and Democrat Joe Biden had been leading Republican President Donald Trump by about 14,000 votes. The unofficial breakdown of the votes that weren't previously uploaded was 1,643 for Trump, 865 for Biden and 16 for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, according to Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the new statewide election system for the secretary of state's office.
“The reason you do an audit is to find this kind of thing,” Sterling said.
He said the issue appeared to be an isolated problem and that there are “no fundamental changes” in other counties.
Rep. Cedric Richmond to Join Biden Administration
Two sources familiar with the matter confirm to NBC News that U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond is joining the Biden administration in a senior role, with a portfolio that includes public engagement.
One source describes it as a “Valerie Jarrett-type” role within the White House, referring to one of President Barack Obama’s top aides. Politico first reported the news.
Richmond leaves a safe Democratic seat in Louisiana and has a news conference scheduled for Tuesday to “address future of 2nd Congressional District.”
Biden Says His Family Following Holiday Guidance
As Americans face the complications of holding holiday celebrations amid the ongoing pandemic, President-elect Joe Biden says he and his family are trying to navigate the same issues, with safety measures.
Biden said Monday that he and his wife are planning to follow the advice of medical officials who recommend no more than 10 people at a gathering, masked and socially distanced. Biden also says anyone at their Thanksgiving gathering would be tested for the virus 24 hours before getting together.
The restrictions may be difficult, but Biden says, “I just want to make sure we’re able to be together next Thanksgiving, next Christmas."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to celebrate virtually or with members of their household, noting that in-person gatherings with people from different households “pose varying levels of risk.” Guidance also notes that a gathering’s size “should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households” to socially distance and follow hygiene recommendations.
Biden Cites Need for Trump to Share Virus Plans
President-elect Joe Biden says the outgoing Trump administration’s failure to share specific plans on combating the coronavirus pandemic is stymying American businesses’ abilities to find ways to grow and survive in challenging circumstances.
Biden said during a speech Monday in Wilmington, Delaware, that “the sooner we have access to the administration’s distribution plan, the sooner this transition will smoothly move forward.” Specifics that the administration has withheld, Biden said, like vaccine distribution, could help “small businesses and entrepreneurs that are the backbone of our communities but are teetering on the edge.”
Biden says he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had an “encouraging” virtual meeting with nine leaders of some of the country’s largest labor unions like the AFL-CIO and corporations, including Microsoft and Target. Biden says the leaders “all agree that means rallying the country behind a national strategy with robust public health measures.”
In her remarks, Harris pledged to shore up the economy by “creating millions of good-paying union jobs.”
Biden Set to Address Plans for Economy as Pandemic Rages
President-elect Joe Biden is set to outline his plans to revive the nation’s economy in the midst of a global health crisis. It comes as Biden pushes forward with his transition to the White House despite President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the election results.
Biden is scheduled to speak alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Monday afternoon from Delaware. Before the speech, they were meeting virtually with a collection of business leaders, including the CEOs of General Motors, Microsoft and Target, and labor heads like the presidents of the AFL-CIO, SEIU, UAW and UFCW, according to CNBC.
According to a transition staffer, the purpose of the meeting will be to “discuss the economic recovery and building back better in the long term.”
Biden has vowed to spend trillions of dollars to reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing, expand health care coverage and combat climate change, among other priorities. But he says his chief priority remains controlling the pandemic.
Trump National Security Adviser Promises 'Very Professional Transition' to Biden
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser has promised a “very professional transition” to the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Speaking to the Global Security Forum hosted in part by Qatar, Robert O’Brien several times mentioned the transition and referred to recent normalization deals that Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates struck with Israel as “a great legacy for the president to have as he leaves office.”
While caveating that Trump did have outstanding court challenges, O'Brien's comments signaled some of the firmest statements yet from a senior administration official acknowledging Biden's win in the Nov. 3 vote.
“If the Biden-Harris ticket is determined to be the winner — obviously things look that way now — we'll have a very professional transition from the National Security Council. There's no question about it,” O'Brien said. “They're going to have very professional folks coming in to take these positions.”
He added: “We've passed the baton and had peaceful, successful transitions even in the most contentious periods.”
Georgia's GOP Secretary of State Goes on Facebook Fact-Checking Spree Over Election Misinformation
Georgia’s Republican secretary of state posted several fact checks on his official Facebook page on Sunday correcting misinformation about the election promoted by President Donald Trump and his campaign, NBC News reports.
Brad Raffensperger shared an Associated Press story that fact-checked Trump’s false claim that Georgia election officials were unable to verify signatures on absentee ballots because of a legal settlement.
He also took a shot at Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., an ally of the president who failed in his bid to unseat GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the crowded Senate race this year and was tasked by the Trump campaign to oversee the audit of ballots in the state.
“Let’s address this disinformation about signature match," Raffensperger wrote. "We strengthened signature match. We helped train election officials on GBI signature match — which is confirmed twice before a ballot is ever cast. Failed candidate Doug Collins is a liar — but what’s new?”
Other posts addressed claims about the makers of the state’s election system, Dominion, and sought to clarify that Georgia has had no excuse absentee ballots since 2005. Raffensperger also detailed ways in which his office strengthened the absentee ballot process.
Loeffler and the state's other Republican senator, David Perdue — who are both headed to a run-off election in January — have called for Raffensperger to step down over what they alleged were his "failures" in managing the election, but provided no evidence to back their claims.
Read the full story on NBCNews.com.
Dr. Fauci 'Concerned' About Trump Stalling Biden Transition at Critical Time in Pandemic
Dr. Anthony Fauci says he is "concerned about" the lack of a smooth transition between presidential administrations when it comes to the federal government's coronavirus response during a crucial period in the next few months.
"As you know I've served in six administrations, so I've seen a number of transitions, and I know that transitions are very important to get a smooth, as I use the metaphor, essentially passing a baton without stopping running," Fauci told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Monday. "You just want things to go very smoothly so hopefully we'll see that soon. Transitions are important."
President Donald Trump's administration has yet to share information in any capacity with President-elect Joe Biden's incoming team as Trump continues to contest election results that show a clear victory for Biden. And with news of promising test results from drugmakers like Pfizer and Moderna on a potential COVID-19 vaccine, the months ahead could involve the complicated process of rolling out life-saving vaccines amid a rocky transition between administrations.
"The virus is not going to stop and call a timeout while things change, the virus is just going to keep going," he said. "This is something that just is now going in a very, very strong right direction. The vaccines are effective, we want to get it approved as quickly as we possibly can, we want to get doses to people starting in December and then we want to really get the ball rolling as we get into January, February and March.
"We want a smooth process with that, and the way you do that is by essentially having the two groups speak to each other and exchange information."
Trump Campaign Retreats From Key Claim in Pennsylvania Suit
President Donald Trump’s campaign on Sunday withdrew a central part of its lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of the election results in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump to capture the state and help win the White House.
Ahead of a Tuesday hearing in the case, Trump’s campaign dropped the allegation that hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots — 682,479, to be precise — were illegally processed without its representatives watching.
The campaign's slimmed-down lawsuit, filed in federal court on Sunday, maintains the aim of blocking Pennsylvania from certifying a victory for Biden in the state, and it maintains its claim that Democratic voters were treated more favorably than Republican voters.
The remaining claim in the lawsuit centers on disqualifying ballots cast by voters who were given an opportunity to fix mail-in ballots that were going to be disqualified for a technicality.
Cliff Levine, a lawyer representing the Democratic National Committee, which is seeking to intervene, said it isn't clear how many voters were given the chance to fix their ballot.
But, he said, it is minimal and certainly fewer than the margin — almost 70,000 — that separates Biden and Trump.