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Biden to name Antony Blinken as secretary of state

President-elect Joe Biden met with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
President-elect Joe Biden met with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.ANNA MONEYMAKER/NYT

Follow live updates from Globe staff and wire reports as Joe Biden has been projected as the winner of the election.

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Biden names 2 aides to legislative affairs team — 11:45 a.m.

By The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden has named two longtime Capitol Hill aides to his legislative affairs team.

Reema Dodin and Shuwanza Goff will serve as deputy directors of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.

Dodin has been working on the transition team already, leading its legislative engagement with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. She also serves as deputy chief of staff and floor director to Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip in the Senate.

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Goff served as floor director for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. She helped craft the House Democrats’ legislative agenda.

Dodin and Goff join Louisa Terrell, who was recently named the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. About a dozen other senior White House staffers also have been announced by the president-elect.

The team will be tasked with turning Biden’s long list of campaign promises into legislative blueprints and ushering them through a closely divided House and Senate. The first and biggest concern is expected to be a major coronavirus aid and response package after Biden takes office in January.

Trump repeats unfounded election fraud claims in late-night posts flagged by Twitter — 8:04 a.m.

By The Washington Post

As more Republicans joined a chorus urging President Donald Trump to concede the election and his legal team splintered over far-fetched conspiracy theories, Trump spent Sunday at his private golf course in Virginia.

Then, just before midnight, he took to Twitter to repeat more of the unfounded claims of mass voter fraud that have animated his weeks-long resistance to acknowledging defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump’s tweets, which included another false claim that he “won” the election, were quickly flagged by Twitter with disclaimers.

The Trump campaign’s allegations that massive voter fraud tilted the election to Biden have repeatedly been tossed out of the courts, including in a stinging rebuke on Saturday from a federal judge in Pennsylvania who rejected the campaign’s efforts to invalidate millions of votes there.

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By The New York Times

As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to name his first slate of Cabinet appointees, more Republicans are starting to push for the transition to officially begin and calling on their conservative colleagues to openly acknowledge his victory.

Chris Christie, the Republican former governor of New Jersey, called the conduct of President Donald Trump’s legal team, which has indulged in a web of conspiracy theories about voter fraud, “a national embarrassment,” given the blistering dismissals of their lawsuits in court and their failure to produce evidence of widespread improprieties.

“They allege fraud outside the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom, they don’t plead fraud and they don’t argue fraud,” Christie, a longtime Trump ally, said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “Elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen.”

By The Associated Press

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday became the latest world leader to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory, saying she offered to share her nation’s expertise on dealing with the coronavirus.

Ardern said the tone of the 20-minute phone call was warm and that Biden spoke very favorably about how New Zealand was handling the pandemic.

“What has been really at the center of our response has been some fundamentals around testing, contact tracing, isolation,” Ardern said. “That’s over and above what we’ve done at our borders.”

New Zealand has been largely successful in eliminating the virus after imposing a strict lockdown in March and closing its borders. Only 25 people in the nation of 5 million have died from COVID-19.

Ardern said Biden wanted to pursue the discussion on New Zealand’s response further. But she cautioned that the nation’s model may not be able to be replicated everywhere.

“While New Zealand has a number of natural advantages that have assisted us in managing the virus, I do absolutely believe that international cooperation continues to be key to getting the virus under control,” Ardern said. “We are happy to work with any country to share our knowledge and data if its helpful.”

Ardern said she and Biden also discussed trade issues and climate change, and talked about the president-elect’s Irish heritage and his fond memories of visiting New Zealand a few years ago. She said she invited him to come visit again.

In a statement, Biden praised Ardern’s “extraordinary leadership” following a 2019 mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques, and as a working mother and role model.

By The Associated Press

On its way out the door, the Trump administration is enacting new rules, regulations and orders that it hopes will box in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration on numerous foreign policy matters and cement President Donald Trump’s “America First” legacy in international affairs.

Yet, the push may not work, as many of these decisions can be withdrawn or significantly amended by the incoming president when he takes office on Jan. 20.

In recent weeks, the White House, State Department and other agencies have been working overtime to produce new policy pronouncements on Iran, Israel, China and elsewhere that aim to lock in Trump’s vision for the world. Some have attracted significant attention while others have flown largely under the radar.

By The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden is likely to name his Cabinet picks in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, national security or public health, being announced at once. Advisers to the president-elect’s transition have said they’ll make their first Cabinet announcements on Tuesday.

If Biden focuses on national security that day, Michèle Flournoy, a veteran of Pentagon policy jobs, is a top choice to lead the Defense Department. Jake Sullivan, a longtime adviser to Biden and Hillary Clinton, is also in the mix for a top job, including White House national security adviser.

For his part, Antony Blinken — expected to be nominated as secretary of state — recently participated in a national security briefing with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.

By The Associated Press

This swath of southeast Iowa isn’t supposed to be a nailbiter for Democrats.

For more than a decade, voters in the college town of Iowa City powered Democratic candidates to Congress. But that changed this month when conservatives who dominate the more rural parts of the district turned out in droves, eager to support President Donald Trump and other Republicans on the ballot.

Nearly three weeks after Election Day, a winner hasn’t been declared in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. That’s a sign of the unexpected strength Republicans demonstrated in House races across the country, taking down at least 10 Democratic incumbents and dashing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bold prediction of expanding her majority by double digits.

By The Washington Post

President-elect Joe Biden is planning to announce that he has selected Antony Blinken, one of his closest and longest-serving foreign-policy advisers, as secretary of state.

Biden is also planning to announce Linda Thomas-Greenfield as his nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, giving a former career foreign service officer and African American woman one of the most high-profile diplomatic posts in government, according to three people familiar with the decision.

By The New York Times

The work of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers is not glamorous and rarely draws much attention. Its members handle matters like reviewing petition signatures and helping local clerks find voting machines.

But on Monday, the national spotlight will fall on one of the board’s normally mundane tasks: reviewing results from the presidential election that have been certified by Michigan’s 83 counties and giving a stamp of approval.

The winner is clear. Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump in the state by more than 150,000 votes, according to the Michigan Bureau of Elections. But Trump and his Republican allies are trying to upend that reality by urging the board to refuse to certify the election results

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Perhaps Sidney Powell has gone too far for even Rudy Giuliani this time.

The Trump campaign’s legal team moved to distance itself Sunday from the firebrand conservative attorney after a tumultuous several days in which Powell made multiple incorrect statements about the voting process, unspooled unsupported and complex conspiracy theories and vowed to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” lawsuit.

“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity,” Giuliani and another lawyer for Trump, Jenna Ellis, said in a statement.

By Tyler Pager, Jennifer Epstein, and Saleha Mohsin, Bloomberg

President-elect Joe Biden intends to name his longtime adviser Antony Blinken as secretary of State, according to three people familiar with the matter, setting out to assemble his cabinet even before Donald Trump concedes defeat.

In addition, Jake Sullivan, formerly one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, is likely to be named Biden’s national security adviser, according to two people familiar with the matter. An announcement is expected Tuesday, the people said.

By David Weigel, The Washington Post

There have been dozens of lawsuits, some brought by the Trump campaign itself, some by political allies and some by zealous supporters. Some of their challenges overlap, too, with some complaints asking for subsets of ballots to be disqualified and some asking for county- or statewide disenfranchisement.

The Trump campaign would need to void more than 100,000 votes across at least three states to do what the president is asking and overturn the election, but the total number of votes being challenged is north of 5.2 million.

By Gal Tziperman Lotan, Globe Staff

Andrew Lelling, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, said his employees found no significant voting issues in the state. But he declined to speak in detail about various legal challenges President Donald Trump is pursuing in other states.

“I can tell you it sure it looks like Joe Biden won the election,” Lelling said in an appearance on WCVB’s On The Record Sunday morning. “I think the president is entitled to his day in court, and that’s happening, and that’s the system working.″

By The Associated Press

President Donald Trump is appealing a federal judge’s dismissal of his campaign’s effort to block the certification of votes in Pennsylvania.

The president and other plaintiffs filed notice of appeal to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Sunday, a day after the judge issued a scathing order shooting down claims of widespread irregularities with mail-in ballots.

By The Associated Press

With no precedent to erase such a large margin, it’s widely expected that Trump’s eventual plan in Wisconsin is litigation over thousands of absentee ballots that he argues were improperly cast.

The atmosphere inside the convention hall where Milwaukee County’s recount is taking place has turned acrimonious and chaotic at times.

The county’s election commissioners — two Democrats and one Republican — have been in almost perpetual session to address a stream of Trump challenges that county clerk George Christenson said was slowing the recount to a crawl and putting the process far behind schedule.


By The Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s latest coronavirus test came back negative, but her campaign said Sunday she will continue to quarantine at least until she gets another negative result.

The Georgia Republican is facing a Jan. 6 runoff in the state’s twin U.S. Senate races.

By Paul Kane, The Washington Post

Several prominent Republicans said this weekend that President Donald Trump’s legal arguments had run their course, calling on him to concede to Joe Biden or at least allow the presidential transition process to begin.

“The conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment,” former New Jersey governor Chris Christie said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Christie, a Trump confidant who helped run debate preparations, said the Republican Party needed to focus on trying to win Georgia’s two runoff elections Jan. 5 to secure the Senate majority, rather than continuing with the unsuccessful legal challenges of the election results.

By The Associated Press

President Donald Trump did not ask Michigan Republican lawmakers to “break the law” or “interfere” with the election during a meeting at the White House, a legislative leader said Sunday, a day before canvassers plan to meet about whether to certify Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the battleground state.

Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield was among seven Republican legislators who met with Trump for about an hour on Friday, amid his longshot efforts to block Biden’s win.

“There was this outrage that the president was going to ask us to break the law, he was going to ask us to interfere, and that just simply didn’t happen,” he told Fox News of the highly unusual meeting. He did not elaborate on what was discussed, except to say the delegation asked for additional federal aid to help Michigan’s coronavirus response.

By Bloomberg News

President-elect Joe Biden plans to announce his first cabinet picks on Tuesday, incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Sunday.

Klain, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” didn’t specify which positions that Biden plans to fill first, or the people who will be nominated.

Biden said on Thursday that he’d already decided on a treasury secretary. “You’ll find it is someone who I think is, will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party, from the progressive to the moderate coalitions,” he told reporters.

By Bloomberg News

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he’s ready to work with any U.S. leader, but still isn’t ready to recognize the election victory of Joe Biden.

“We will work with anyone who has the confidence of the American people,” Putin said on Russian state TV Sunday. “But that confidence can only be given to a candidate whose victory has been recognized by the opposing party, or after the results are confirmed in a legitimate, legal way.”

The comments are some of the most detailed since the election from Putin, one of a dwindling number of leaders who haven’t recognized Biden as the next U.S. head of state. Russia, accused by U.S. intelligence agencies of intervening in 2016 to help get Trump elected, has been wary of Biden, fearing an increase in sanctions pressure and clashes over human rights.

Putin described the Kremlin’s decision not to congratulate Biden as “a formality” with no ulterior motives. When asked if the move could damage U.S.-Russia relations, he said: “there’s nothing to damage, they’re already ruined.”

By The Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is quarantining after receiving mixed results from recent coronavirus tests.

A spokesperson for the Georgia senator’s campaign said in a statement Saturday night Loeffler took two rapid COVID tests on Friday morning which came back negative.

The statement says she received another test Friday evening and the results came back positive. Loeffler tested again Saturday morning and the results were inconclusive.

By The Associated Press

President Donald Trump’s legal team said Saturday that his campaign has requested a recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race after results showed Democrat Joe Biden winning the state.

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Friday certified the state’s election results, which had Biden beating Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast, or 0.25%. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp then certified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.

By Peter Bailey-Wells, Globe Staff

Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in a statement Saturday following the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by President Trump’s campaign to challenge the results in Toomey’s home state.

“Unsurprisingly, I have significant policy disagreements with the President-elect,” Toomey’s statement read. “However, as I have done throughout my career, I will seek to work across the aisle with him and his administration.”

Biden’s win in Pennsylvania was part of a projected 306-232 Electoral College victory for the former vice president.

Toomey concluded his statement by praising Trump and urging him to accept the results of the election.

“To help unify our country,” Toomey said. “President Trump should accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process.”

By The Associated Press

Pennsylvania officials can certify election results that currently show Democrat Joe Biden winning the state by more than 80,000 votes, a federal judge ruled Saturday, dealing President Donald Trump’s campaign another blow in its effort to invalidate the election.

U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew Brann in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, turned down the request for an injunction by President Donald Trump’s campaign, spoiling the incumbent’s hopes of somehow overturning the results of the presidential contest.

Trump had argued that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law was violated when Pennsylvania counties took different approaches to notifying voters before the election about technical problems with their submitted mail-in ballots.

By Chris Strohm, Bloomberg

The Biden transition team is weighing attorney general contenders led by Lisa Monaco, who held key national security posts in the Obama administration, and Sally Yates, who gained fame when she was fired by President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

The choice of either would help President-elect Joe Biden achieve his goal of having women represented at the highest levels of his administration.

By The Associated Press

Election officials in Wisconsin’s largest county accused observers for President Donald Trump on Saturday of seeking to obstruct a recount of the presidential results, in some instances by objecting to every ballot tabulators pulled to count.

Trump requested the recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties, both heavily liberal, in hopes of undoing Democrat Joe Biden’s victory by about 20,600 votes. With no precedent for a recount reversing such a large margin, Trump’s strategy is widely seen as aimed at an eventual court challenge, part of a push in key states to undo his election loss.

A steady stream of Republican complaints in Milwaukee was putting the recount far behind schedule, county clerk George Christenson said. He said many Trump observers were breaking rules by constantly interrupting vote counters with questions and comments.

By Kayla Ruble and David A. Fahrenhold, The Washington Post

The heads of the Republican National Committee and Michigan Republican Party issued a joint statement Saturday calling for Michigan’s state canvassing board to delay certification of the results of the election, marking the latest attempt by party leaders to intervene in the state’s electoral process.

In the letter - signed by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who is from Michigan, and state GOP Chair Laura Cox - the officials ask the canvassing board to adjourn for 14 days and allow for a “full audit and investigation” before they convene to certify the state’s election results, a procedural step that is set to take place on Monday afternoon.

By The Associated Press

Almost six months after the death of George Floyd, criminal justice reform advocates are cheering the election of a handful of progressive prosecutors, the passage of ballot initiatives designed to ease mass incarceration and the decriminalization of drugs in several states.

Voters also sent Black Lives Matter activists to Congress, restored voting rights to former prisoners and scored other gains sought by the protests that filled American streets last summer. Leaders in the movement want to build on those successes in 2021.

By The New York Times

A coalition of Democrats, Native Americans and liberal activists is urging President-elect Joe Biden to nominate one of Congress’ first Native American women to head the Interior Department, putting an American Indian in control of vast swaths of the continent and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., as Interior secretary would have undeniable symbolic power. If confirmed, a Native American for the first time would oversee 500 million acres of public lands, including national parks, oil and gas drilling sites, and endangered species habitat, and control the federal agencies most responsible for the well-being of the nation’s 1.9 million Indigenous people.

By The New York Times

For more than a week, a plain-spoken former federal prosecutor named Sidney Powell made the rounds on right-wing talk radio and cable news, facing little pushback as she laid out a conspiracy theory that Venezuela, Cuba and other “communist” interests had used a secret algorithm to hack into voting machines and steal millions of votes from President Donald Trump.

She spoke mostly uninterrupted for nearly 20 minutes Monday on the “Rush Limbaugh Show,” the No. 1 program on talk radio. Hosts like Mark Levin, who has the fourth-largest talk radio audience, and Lou Dobbs of Fox Business praised her patriotism and courage.

So it came as most unwelcome news to the president’s defenders when Tucker Carlson, host of an 8 p.m. Fox News show and a confidant of Trump, dissected Powell’s claims as unreliable and unproven.

By The Associated Press

Russia didn’t have to lift a finger.

In the weeks before the US presidential election, federal authorities warned that Russia or other foreign countries might spread false information about the results to discredit the legitimacy of the outcome.

Turns out, the loudest megaphone for that message belonged not to Russia but to President Donald Trump, who has trumpeted a blizzard of thoroughly debunked claims to proclaim that he, not President-elect Joe Biden, was the rightful winner.

By Carl Hulse, New York Times

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the progressive Vermont independent, has emerged as a contender for labor secretary in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, a prospect that would suit his ambitions of being a warrior for working Americans — and one that makes some Senate Republicans very uneasy.

The growing senatorial resistance to Sanders even before any formal action by the new administration reflects the formidable task Biden faces. Should Republicans hold on to their Senate majority next year, Biden would be the first president since George Bush in 1989 to enter office without his party controlling the chamber and managing the confirmation process. And that process has grown much more toxic, to the point where senators routinely engage in near-blanket opposition to the picks of a president from the opposite party — if they allow consideration at all.

By The Associated Press

Michigan’s elections agency on Friday recommended that the Nov. 3 results be certified next week by state canvassers, a decision that would bless Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump but likely not cool partisan strife over the vote.

The recommendation was posted online with the formal Monday meeting notice of the Board of State Canvassers. The guidance came at the end of a stormy week in which Trump summoned Republican state lawmakers to the White House on Friday in an extraordinary effort to try to set aside Biden’s 154,000-vote victory.

By Jeremy C. Fox, Globe Correspondent

Massachusetts saw record turnout in the Nov. 3 general election, with 76 percent of registered voters participating and nearly two-thirds of their ballots sent by mail or cast early, as the coronavirus pandemic forced many to reconsider voting habits.

More than 3.6 million ballots were cast in Massachusetts, where there are more than 4.8 million registered voters, Debra O’Malley, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State William F. Galvin, said in an e-mail.

By The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden is pushing Congress to approve billions of dollars in emergency COVID-19 assistance before he takes office, saying in a meeting Friday with the top Democrats in the House and Senate that such a package should be approved during the lame-duck session.

Biden held his first in-person meeting since winning the presidential election with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, hosting them at his makeshift transition headquarters in a downtown Wilmington, Delaware, theater.

By Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

After White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany held her first briefing in weeks, she refused to take a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and called her an “activist,” to which Collins responded by telling McEnany she had failed to do her “taxpayer-funded job.”

“Thank you everyone for the very good and substantive questions today,” McEnany said, before she appeared to look at Collins and say: “I don’t call on activists.”

By The Associated Press

President Donald Trump sought to leverage the power of the Oval Office on Friday in an extraordinary attempt to block President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as criticism mounted that his futile efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election could do long-lasting damage to democratic traditions.

Trump summoned a delegation of Republican lawmakers from Michigan, including the state’s Senate majority leader and House speaker, in an apparent extension of his efforts to persuade judges and election officials in the state to set aside Biden’s 154,000-vote margin of victory and grant him the state’s electors.

In a joint statement after the White House meeting, the Michigan lawmakers said allegations of fraud should be investigated, but indicated they were unmoved by Trump’s claims thus far. “We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election.”

By The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden is moving quickly to fill out his administration and could name top leaders for his Cabinet as early as next week.

Biden told reporters on Thursday that he’s already decided on who will lead the Treasury Department. That pick, along with his nominee for secretary of state, may be announced before Thanksgiving, according to people close to the transition who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The Cabinet announcements could be released in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, national security or public health, being announced at once.

By Linda Qiu, New York Times

President Trump and his allies have continuously amplified false and unsubstantiated claims about voting as they wage a multifront assault on the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

A preelection analysis from the Election Integrity Partnership found that posts from 20 Twitter accounts, including 13 verified and Trump himself, accounted for one-fifth of all shares of voting-related misinformation in its database.

By The Associated Press

Georgia’s top elections official on Friday certified election results showing Joe Biden won the presidential election after a hand tally stemming from a mandatory audit affirmed the Democrat’s lead over Republican President Donald Trump.

The final results certified by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had Biden with 2.47 million votes, President Donald Trump with 2.46 million votes and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen with 62,138. That leaves Biden leading by a margin of 12,670 votes or 0.25%.

By Christina Prignano, Globe Staff

President Trump has summoned Michigan’s top Republican state lawmakers to the White House Friday, reportedly as part of his ongoing bid to overturn the election results in the state, which President-elect Biden won by more than 155,000 votes.

But what precisely is he trying to do? And does his gambit have any chance of succeeding?

By The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden is adding four Obama-Biden administration veterans to his top ranks as he continues to build out his White House team.

Cathy Russell, who was Jill Biden’s chief of staff during the Obama administration, will serve as director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, evaluating applicants for administration roles. Louisa Terrell, who served as a legislative adviser to the president in the Obama administration and worked as deputy chief of staff for Biden in the Senate, will be director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. Terrell has already been engaged in Capitol Hill outreach as part of Biden’s transition team.

By The Associated Press

Trying to close out major unfinished business, the Trump administration issued regulations Friday that could lower the prices Americans pay for many prescription drugs.

But in a time of political uncertainty, it’s hard to say whether the rules will withstand expected legal challenges from the pharmaceutical industry or whether the incoming Biden administration will accept, amend or try to roll them back entirely.

By The Associated Press

Vice President Mike Pence is campaigning Friday in Georgia as the state’s two Republican senators try to beat back Democratic challenges in runoff races on Jan. 5 that will determine who controls the Senate at the outset of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

The trip highlights a critical juncture both for the Republican Party and for Pence, as the vice president tries to balance his own political future with his loyalties to a president who has yet to concede defeat.

By The Associated Press

Iran has instructed allies across the Middle East to be on high alert and avoid provoking tensions with the U.S. that could give an outgoing Trump administration cause to launch attacks in the U.S. president’s final weeks in office, Iraqi officials have said.

The request — delivered by a senior Iranian general to allies in Baghdad this week — reflects the growing regional anxiety over President Donald Trump’s unpredictable behavior and the uncertainty in the chaotic transition period until President-elect Joe Biden takes over in two months.

By Jonathan Mattise, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said Friday that President Donald Trump’s administration should aid President-elect Joe Biden in his transition, saying the Democrat has a “very good chance” of becoming the next president.

“If there is any chance whatsoever that Joe Biden will be the next president, and it looks like he has a very good chance, the Trump Administration should provide the Biden team with all transition materials, resources, and meetings necessary to ensure a smooth transition so that both sides are ready on day one,” the Republican from Tennessee said in a statement. “That especially should be true, for example, on vaccine distribution.”

Alexander, who is retiring, said recounts and resolving disputes after a close election are not unprecedented and should reassure Americans that the results are valid.

He also drew upon the example of Al Gore, who 37 days after the 2000 election, “made the best speech of his life accepting the result” that George W. Bush would become president.

By Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied that he is attempting to limit the choices President-elect Joe Biden will have to promote an economic recovery by ending several emergency loan programs being run by the Federal Reserve.

Mnuchin said his decision was based on the fact that the programs were not being heavily utilized. He said Friday that Congress could make better use of the money by re-allocating it in another direction to support grants to small businesses and extended unemployment assistance.

“We’re not trying to hinder anything,” Mnuchin said in a CNBC interview. “We don’t need this money to buy corporate bonds. We need this money to go help small businesses that are still closed.”

However, critics saw politics at play in Mnuchin’s decision, saying the action would deprive the incoming administration of critical support the Fed might need to prop up the economy as coronavirus infections spike nationwide.

By Steve Peoples, Associated Press

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is set to hold his first in-person meeting since winning the election with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Friday.

The incoming Democratic president will host the top Democrats in the House and Senate at his makeshift transition headquarters in a downtown Wilmington, Delaware, theater. Their discussion is expected to be private, although the immediate challenges they face are no secret.

The new governing team is already facing intense pressure to approve another COVID-19 relief bill, come up with a clear plan to distribute millions of doses of a prospective vaccine, and Biden is just days away from unveiling the first of his Cabinet picks, which are subject to Senate confirmation.

By Kate Brumback, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s top elections official said he will certify that Joe Biden won the state’s presidential election after a hand tally stemming from a mandatory audit affirmed the Democrat’s lead over Republican President Donald Trump.

“Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said during a news conference at the state Capitol. “As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or of courts or of either campaign.”

In the end, the hand count affirmed Biden won by more than 12,000 votes out of about 5 million cast, according to data released by Raffensperger’s office Thursday.

State law says Raffensperger must certify the election results by 5 p.m. Friday. Then, Gov. Brian Kemp has until 5 p.m. Saturday to certify the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.

Once Raffensperger certifies the results, Trump’s campaign will have two business days to request a recount since the margin is within 0.5%. That recount would be done using scanning machines that read and tally the votes and would be paid for by the counties, the secretary of state’s office has said.

By Associated Press

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, leaders of the Democratic Party’s left wing, are at risk of being excluded from the senior ranks of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as the incoming president balances the demands of his party’s progressive base against the political realities of a narrowly divided Senate.

The liberal New England senators remain interested in serving in Biden’s Cabinet, but even some of their allies recognize they face major political hurdles getting there. Sensing disappointment, progressive leaders have reluctantly begun to express support for less-controversial alternatives.

By Tim Elfrink, Washington Post

As Fox News host Tucker Carlson noted on Thursday night, he’s more than willing to give airtime to outlandish claims. “We literally do UFO segments,” he said.

But even Carlson said he was fed up with the total lack of evidence produced by Sidney Powell, one of President Donald Trump’s attorneys, in her unfounded allegation that electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to favorPresident-elect Joe Biden.

“We invited Sidney Powell on the show. We would have given her the whole hour,” Carlson said. “But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests, polite requests. Not a page. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”

By Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden turned 78 on Friday. In two months, he’ll take the reins of a politically fractured nation facing the worst public health crisis in a century, high unemployment and a reckoning on racial injustice.

As he wrestles with those issues, Biden will be attempting to accomplish another feat: demonstrate to Americans that age is but a number and he’s up to the job.

By Maggie Astor, New York Times

As President Donald Trump and his Republican allies continue trying to undermine the election, the certification of the vote totals in each state is the next major step in formalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

A key part of the GOP strategy has been to delay certification processes in battleground states that Biden won, in the hopes that, if state officials miss their deadlines, legislators will subvert the popular vote and appoint pro-Trump slates to the Electoral College. But that’s extremely unlikely to happen.

Here’s a breakdown of the certification deadlines and other key dates in battleground states, and what will happen between now and Inauguration Day.

By Annie Karni, New York Times

Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law who emerged during the 2020 presidential campaign as a defender of President Donald Trump’s basest political instincts, is now eyeing a political future of her own in her home state of North Carolina.

As Donald Trump attempts to subvert the election to remain in power, Lara Trump, three allies said, has been telling associates she is considering a run for Senate in 2022, in what is expected to be a competitive race for the first open Senate seat in a very swingy swing state in a generation. Sen. Richard Burr, an unobtrusive Republican legislator who was thrust into the spotlight as chair of a committee investigating the president’s ties to Russia, has said he will retire at the end of his term. Despite expanded turnout in rural areas, Donald Trump won North Carolina by a smaller margin than he did four years ago, just 1.3 percentage points, a sign that overall the state is trending blue and that the race for the Senate seat will be tightly contested by both parties in the first post-Donald Trump election.

By The Associated Press

Two Republican senators are criticizing President Donald Trump and his team for their efforts to pressure state and local election officials to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victories in several closely contested states.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, one of Trump’s most vocal GOP critics, tweeted Thursday, “It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President.”

Romney accused Trump on resorting to “overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., went after Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who held a press conference Thursday presenting a list of far-fetched, thoroughly debunked claims on the 2020 election.

Sasse tweeted: “Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets.”

By The Associated Press

Despite a lack of evidence of widespread irregularities or fraud, President Donald Trump’s legal team used a Thursday press conference to go through a laundry list of far-fetched, thoroughly debunked claims on the 2020 election.

Trump attorney Sidney Powell spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez” — the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. She also said Trump beat Democrat Joe Biden “by a landslide,” which he decidedly didn’t — Biden was the clear winner.

By Marisa Iati, The Washington Post

A petition circulating at Harvard University is drawing the ire of some allies of President Donald Trump for demanding that the school require “accountability” for members of his administration before they are allowed to speak or teach on the campus.

The open letter from Harvard affiliates cites Trump’s refusal to concede the presidential election and attempts by some members of his administration to baselessly claim widespread voter fraud. Inviting those Trump allies to Harvard would legitimize subverting democratic norms, warn the signatories, whose names are not visible on the petition.

“That is why today we are asking you to set up a system of accountability for high-level political appointees and Trump administration consultants before they are invited as fellows or to teach or speak on campus,” the letter says. “These accountability guidelines should be publicly shared with students by the end of the calendar year.”

By Nicholas Fandos, New York Times

House Democrats on Thursday ratcheted up pressure on the head of the General Services Administration to grant President-elect Joe Biden the money and government access set aside by law for the presidential transition process, demanding that she brief lawmakers and possibly testify in public.

In a letter to Emily W. Murphy, the administrator of the sprawling agency, the chairwomen of the House Oversight and Reform and Appropriations committees said it was past time for her to acknowledge Biden’s clear Electoral College victory and grant the letter of “ascertainment” allowing his transition team to begin the transfer of power. They argued that President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election should not relieve Murphy of the legal requirement to recognize “the apparent successful candidates.”

By Jeanna Smialek, New York Times

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he does not plan to extend several key emergency lending programs beyond the end of the year, a decision that could hinder President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to use the Federal Reserve’s vast powers to cushion the economic fallout from the virus.

Mnuchin said Thursday that he would not extend the Fed’s programs that support the markets for corporate bonds and municipal debt, as well a program that extends loans to mid-sized businesses. The programs expire at the end of 2020.

The pandemic-era programs, which are run by the Fed but use Treasury money to insure against losses, have provided an important backstop that has calmed critical markets since the coronavirus took hold in March. Removing them could leave crucial corners of the financial world vulnerable to the type of volatility that cascaded through the financial system in March. And by asking the Fed to return unused funds, Mnuchin could prevent Biden’s incoming Treasury secretary from restarting the efforts in 2021.


By Michael Crowley and Michael D. Shear, New York Times

In his sharpest condemnation yet of President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election, President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday that Trump’s refusal to authorize an orderly transition ensured that he would be remembered as “one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history.”

“It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks,” Biden said in response to a question about the president’s extraordinary interventions in Michigan’s election certification process. “I’m confident he knows he hasn’t won, and is not going to win, and we’re going to be sworn in on Jan. 20.”

But Biden warned that as a result of Trump’s actions, “incredibly damaging messages are being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions.”

By Bloomberg

Georgia officials completed a recount of the state’s Nov. 3 presidential vote that showed President-elect Joe Biden keeping his lead in the state, dealing another setback to President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results.

The hand recount of the state’s 5 million votes that began Friday was ordered after the initial count found Biden ahead by 14,156 votes, or about 0.3 percentage points.

By Victoria McGrane, Globe Staff

They come, day after day, a stampede of screaming subject lines dispatched from an alternate universe where the outcome of the presidential election remains in doubt. “F.R.A.U.D.” “The Radical Left. We can’t let them steal this Election.” “We’re making HUGE progress.” “This Election isn’t over.”

Such is the communication from the Trump campaign more than two weeks after Election Day, more than a week and a half after news networks declared Joe Biden the president-elect after he eliminated the last mathematical path to a Trump victory.

By The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden says he has decided whom to nominate as his secretary of the Treasury Department.

Biden said Thursday that the decision will be announced just before or after Thanksgiving and that “you’ll find it is someone who I think will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party, progressives through the moderate coalition.”

Biden spoke to reporters after participating in a video conference with a group of governors from both parties, telling them he wanted to be their partner in the White House. The governors talked about the need for government officials to be clear with Americans about what to expect as the virus surges. He says, “They all acknowledge this is going to take a massive education campaign.”

Biden’s treasury secretary would lead his economic team as many businesses and Americans struggle while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

By The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden is ruling out the possibility of a national lockdown to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday, Biden said there will be “no national shutdown” when he’s in office because “every region, every area, every community can be different” and a blanket lockdown would be “counterproductive.”

Biden has faced questions about whether he’d pursue a nationwide shutdown to try to rein in the virus after one of the members of his coronavirus task force floated the possibility in an interview. But Biden and other members of the task force have said the proposal is not on the table and is not the best option to address the pandemic.

Biden did say that there may be “constraints” in the “degree to which business can be open,” suggesting federal and state officials would be “calibrating” what can remain open based on the local trends in the pandemic.

By The Associated Press

President-elect Joe Biden is set to meet in Delaware with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

A Biden transition official confirms that Pelosi and Schumer are traveling to Wilmington to meet with the president-elect in person on Friday. The official wasn’t authorized to share internal planning and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday.

Biden spoke with the pair by phone last week about the intensifying pandemic and prospects for passage of a COVID-19 relief bill in the lame duck session of Congress. Biden has made addressing the virus his top priority as he moves forward with his transition.

The meeting comes as President Donald Trump continues to spread misinformation and sow doubt about an election that he lost to Biden. The Trump administration is blocking the Biden team from the official intelligence briefing traditionally afforded to incoming presidents and from collaborating with its coronavirus response team.

By Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg

Rudy Giuliani and other lawyers leading President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his defeat for re-election described a widespread and implausible fraud on behalf of Joe Biden in a news conference on Thursday, but they offered no new allegations of fraud and presented no evidence for their claims.

By Mark Niesse

Election officials corrected vote-counting mistakes and explained an allegation by the Republican Party about miscounted DeKalb County ballots on Wednesday, the final day of Georgia’s manual recount.

The latest unofficial count puts Joe Biden 12,781 votes ahead of President Donald Trump, who gained about 1,400 votes this week that county election officials initially failed to count.

By The Associated Press

Voter turnout on swaths of tribal land in Arizona surged compared with the 2016 presidential election, helping Joe Biden to victory in a state that hadn’t supported a Democratic in a White House contest since 1996. Native Americans were among the difference-makers who swung the race to Biden in Arizona.

“It truly takes a village,” said Clara Pratte, a political operative and Navajo woman who led national tribal engagements for the Biden campaign. “Could it have been done without a tribal vote? No.”