Political

Trump-Biden transition updates: Trump campaign distances itself from attorney Sidney Powell

narvikk/iStockBy LIBBY CATHEY, LAUREN KING, ADIA ROBINSON, JACK ARNHOLZ and TIA HUMPHRIES, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President-elect Joe Biden is moving forward with transition plans, capping a tumultuous and tension-filled campaign during a historic pandemic against President Donald Trump, who still refuses to concede the election two weeks after Biden was projected as the winner and is taking extraordinary moves to challenge the results.

Running out of legal alternatives to override the election loss, Trump invited Michigan’s top Republican state lawmakers to visit the White House on Friday, as he and allies pursue a pressure campaign to overturn results in a state Biden won by more than 150,000 votes.

Despite Trump’s roadblocks and his administration refusing to recognize Biden as the president-elect, Biden is forging ahead as he prepares to announce key cabinet positions.

Though Trump has alleged widespread voter fraud, he and his campaign haven’t been able to provide the evidence to substantiate their claims and the majority of their lawsuits have already resulted in unfavorable outcomes.

Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:

Nov 22, 10:19 pm
Biden expected to tap Antony Blinken for secretary of state

Despite Joe Biden’s transition being stalled, the president-elect is moving forward with selecting his cabinet.

According to sources familiar with the decision, Biden is expected to name Antony Blinken, a longtime foreign policy aide with decades of experience in Washington, as his nominee for secretary of state. The announcement could come as soon as Tuesday.

Blinken has been one of Biden’s closest advisers for decades, from Biden’s time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the Obama White House and the 2020 presidential campaign.

A former deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, Blinken began his career in the Clinton State Department and later moved to the White House and National Security Council under President Bill Clinton.

A spokesman for Biden’s transition declined to comment.

Nov 22, 9:26 pm
Trump campaign distances itself from attorney Sidney Powell

The Trump campaign released a statement Sunday night distancing itself from attorney Sidney Powell, saying she’s not a member of the “Trump Legal Team,” despite President Trump previously announcing that she was.

“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,” Trump campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in a statement.
 
The statement comes after Powell advanced a series of unproven election claims in an interview on Newsmax and at a recent press conference on behalf of the campaign, portions of which were retweeted by the official GOP Twitter account.

The president last week announced Powell as a member of his legal team along with Giuliani, Ellis, and attorneys Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing.

Nov 22, 9:02 pm
Sen. Lisa Murkowski calls on Trump to begin the transition process

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) released a statement today urging President Trump to respect the outcome of the 2020 election.

“President Trump has had the opportunity to litigate his claims, and the courts have thus far found them without merit,” her statement said in part. “A pressure campaign on state legislators to influence the electoral outcome is not only unprecedented but inconsistent with our democratic process. It is time to begin the full and formal transition process.”

Murkowski has previously acknowledged Joe Biden as the president-elect.

Nov 22, 5:30 pm
Perdue, Loeffler support Ga. recount with absentee signature matching

Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler said Sunday that they back the president’s calls for a recount involving absentee signature matching in Georgia.

“Anything less than that will not be a full and transparent recount,” Perdue said in a campaign press release. “Georgians deserve full transparency and uniformity in the counting process.”

Loeffler, in a statement a short time later said, “I fully support President Trump’s request for a recount in Georgia. We must match and verify absentee ballot signatures to their corresponding voter registration signatures, investigate all voting irregularities, and count only the votes that were legally cast.”

Signature matching will not take place during the recount, according to Gabriel Sterling, the statewide voting system implementation manager in Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office. He said it’s “not part of this process because it’s not contemplated in the law” and that they’ve received no evidence that signature matching was not done properly in accordance with state law.

Sterling also said that parties were allowed to designate observers to watch the absentee signature matching process take place, but neither party did this except for just one instance in one county.

Georgia certified its election results on Friday.

Perdue and Loeffler are facing Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock in Georgia runoff elections for the U.S. Senate.

Nov 22, 3:51 pm
Trump slams Paris climate accord at virtual G-20 summit

Trump delivered a short speech during Sunday’s G-20 summit discussing the Paris climate accord.

“I withdrew the United States from the unfair and one-sided Paris climate accord, a very unfair act for the United States,” he said. “The Paris accord was not designed to save the environment. It was designed to kill the American economy. I refuse to surrender millions of American jobs and send trillions of American dollars to the world’s worst polluters and environmental offenders and that’s what would have happened.”

Biden has openly expressed his plans to re-join the accord after taking office.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a written statement that during the G-20 summit Sunday, the president also “discussed the economic model he has enacted,” talked about “investing in women and called on all countries to do more.”

Later Sunday morning, Trump departed the White House to go to his Virginia golf course.

Nov 22, 3:17 pm
Michigan Dem party chair urges state canvassing board certify results

A day after the GOP sent a letter to the state board of canvassers, Lavora Barnes, the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, submitted her own letter calling for the four appointed members — two Republicans and two Democrats — to “carry out” their responsibility and “certify the results” of the election.

Barnes blasts Trump and his Republican allies for sowing doubt in the integrity of the election with “recycled claims that have already failed in court.”

“The certification process must not be manipulated to serve as some sort of retroactive referendum on the expressed will of the voters. That is simply not how democracy works,” she writes. “The incumbent President and his political party have decided to use the weeks following the election to spread falsehoods and to sow doubt about our state’s democratic process. Their fundamental concern, of course, is not with the process at all, but instead with its result.”

She also takes to task the GOP’s hyper-focus on Detroit and efforts to cast the “out of balance” precincts as something of concern. The reality, Barnes explains, is that the number of votes at issues are “at most 450” which is not nearly enough to change the outcome of the election. Biden’s lead is currently at more than 154,000 votes.

Nov 22, 2:02 pm
Loeffler tests negative, but will continue to self-isolate

Following inconclusive and positive COVID-19 tests, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., tested negative overnight, according to her campaign communications director.

The senator has been actively campaigning with Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., ahead of their runoff races in January. Their efforts have drawn several Republicans to the state, including Vice President Mike Pence on Friday. Loeffler and Pence appeared on stage in close proximity without masks on Friday. Perdue was also at the rally and in close proximity without a mask.

Loeffler had passed two rapid COVID tests on Friday morning before starting a day of campaigning, but found out at night she had tested positive in a PCR test, which generate fewer false positives or false negatives.

“She was informed later in the evening after public events on Friday that her PCR test came back positive, but she was retested Saturday morning after conferring with medical officials and those results came back inconclusive on Saturday evening,” campaign spokesperson Stephen Lawson said late Saturday.

In his statement Sunday afternoon, Lawson said, “Out of an abundance of caution, she will continue to self-isolate and be retested again to hopefully receive consecutive negative test results. We will share those results as they are made available. She will continue to confer with medical experts and follow CDC guidelines.”

Nov 22, 11:47 am
Biden’s 1st cabinet picks coming on Tuesday

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Sunday that President-elect Joe Biden will soon announce his first cabinet picks, a sign that he is moving swiftly forward with his transition despite President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the race.

“You’re going to see the first of the president-elect’s cabinet appointments on Tuesday of this week,” Klain told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on This Week.

Nov 22, 11:40 am
Election lawsuits: By the numbers

Since Election Day, the Trump campaign and its allies have lost in court at least 30 times in their efforts to overturn the results of the election, according to an ABC News count.

The campaign itself has filed 19 lawsuits across five states — 17 of which have been lost so far by being denied, dismissed, withdrawn, etc. The campaign has had one win.

Nov 22, 11:08 am
Chris Christie: It’s time for Trump election challenges to end

When ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie if it was time for Trump’s challenges to the election results to end, he agreed.
 
“Yes. And here’s the reason why the president has had an opportunity to access the courts,” Christie said on ABC’s This Week Sunday. “And I said to you — you know, George, starting at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, if you’ve got the evidence of fraud, present it.”

“What’s happened here is quite frankly — the conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment,” he added.

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