Political

Trump-Biden transition updates: Biden gives Thanksgiving address

Bet_Noire/iStocBy LIBBY CATHEY, ADIA ROBINSON, LAUREN KING, CATHERINE THORBECKE and LAUREN LANTRY, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 56 days.

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

Nov 25, 9:03 pm
GOP has to move back toward ‘policies and ideas’: Riggleman

Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., said on ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast that the Republican Party has to move back toward “policies and ideas” and away from conspiracy theories like those about the election.

“I think it’s fear of the electorate and the base and maybe those few points that could cost him a primary, not get them reelected or maybe somebody is going to say something mean about them on Twitter,” Riggleman said on the podcast.

Riggleman was one of the first Republicans to publicly accept Joe Biden as the president-elect and told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein that fear of the base was keeping other elected officials from doing the same.

Nov 25, 7:45 pm
Nev. governor signs certificate of ascertainment, gives Biden electors

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted Wednesday evening that he signed the certificate of ascertainment, giving Biden electors the highest number of votes.

“Today, I signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as required by federal law,” he tweeted, along with photos of the certificates. “I want to thank all the election officials and poll workers who helped facilitate this process in our State.”

He then went on to congratulate those who participated in the democratic process.

On Tuesday the Nevada Supreme Court certified the election results.

Nov 25, 4:37 pm
Kamala Harris stops by DC nonprofit to thank volunteers

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris visited the nonprofit D.C. Central Kitchen with her husband, Doug Emhoff, Wednesday afternoon to thank the staff and volunteers for the work that they were doing. They also passed out individually wrapped cookies.

The nonprofit, which aims to prepare people in need for culinary careers, expects to serve 10,000 meals for the Thanksgiving holiday. Harris also spoke briefly about food insecurity in the U.S.

“Right now in our country, one in six families are describing their children being hungry. One in five, the last number I saw, can’t pay their rent,” the vice president-elect said.

She also spoke about the pandemic, and the isolation many people are feeling “on top of being food insecure.”

“So, to do what you all are doing reminds people that they’re not alone,” she told the volunteers. “And that’s a great gift that you give as well. So, Doug and I wanted to come by just to thank you all, everybody, for what you’re doing, and for lifting everybody up.”

Harris also took questions, and said that she had not yet spoken to Vice President Mike Pence, but wouldn’t answer directly when asked if she had spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Finally, Harris shared that she and her husband would be spending Thanksgiving in Washington without members of their extended family.

Nov 25, 4:33 pm
Trump announces pardon for Michael Flynn

Trump announced via Twitter that Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, has been granted a full pardon after being convicted following former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” the president wrote. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”

Nov 25, 3:17 pm
‘We’re all in this together’: Biden delivers Thanksgiving address

On the eve of Thanksgiving, Biden delivered an address to the American people from Wilmington, Delaware.

The coronavirus pandemic was at the fore of Biden’s message, which comes the same day that the U.S. passed the grim milestone of 260,000 lives lost to coronavirus.

Biden reflected on the first Thanksgiving authorized by the Continental Congress in 1777, saying that it took place “under extremely harsh conditions and deprivation.” He added that a plaque still honors the spot where it took place, which reads: “This Thanksgiving, in spite of the suffering, showed the reverence and character that was forging the soul of a nation.”

“Faith, courage, sacrifice, service to country, service to each other and gratitude even in the face of suffering have long been part of what Thanksgiving means in America,” the president-elect said. “Looking back over our history, you see that it’s been in the most difficult circumstances that the soul of our nation has been forged. And now, we find ourselves again facing a long, hard winter.”

Biden urged Americans to remember “we’re all in this together.”

He said that like so many, his Thanksgiving celebration will look different this year, saying that his family will be breaking up into small groups to celebrate.

“I know how hard it is to forego family traditions,” he said. “But it’s so very important. Our country is in the middle of a dramatic spike in cases.”

He noted that the nation is averaging 160,000 new cases a day and many local health systems are at risk of being overwhelmed.

“We owe that to our fellow citizens, who need access to hospital beds and care, to fight this disease,” he said. “We owe it to one another. It’s literally our patriotic duty as Americans.”

Biden also urged Americans to keep hope, and referenced the positive vaccine development news.

“I’m hoping the news of the vaccine will serve as an incentive to every American, to take these simple steps to get control of the virus,” he said. “There’s real hope, tangible hope, so hang on.”

Nov 25, 2:58 pm
Biden’s team briefed on vaccine and federal response to COVID-19

Biden’s team has been officially briefed on the vaccine and federal response to COVID-19.

According to the HHS, leading the briefing was Deputy Surgeon General Rear Adm. Erica Schwartz, who has been acting as transition coordinator for the agency.

Also attending was Brian Harrison, who is chief of staff to Health Secretary Alex Azar, as well as project leads from Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccine program.

“They are moving forward expeditiously, obviously our teams have had a lot of time to work through the core questions that they need to pose and the pieces of information that they most want to … have clear visibility into in terms of particularly vaccine distribution, testing and the PPE supply chain,” Biden Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said.

Nov 25, 2:32 pm
Court fight heats up over final certification of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a ruling Wednesday from a lower court imposing a preliminary injunction that paused the process of “perfecting” the certification of the Nov. 3 election.

The lawsuit was initially brought by Republican Congressman Rep. Mike Kelly, alleging that the state legislation that legalized the widespread use of mail-in ballots in the state was passed improperly. Kelly and his co-plaintiffs asked the court for an immediate stop to certification while the court reviewed the matter.

“This order does not impact yesterday’s appointment of electors,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement to ABC News. Shapiro noted the plan for an immediate appeal.
                                                                           
In response to the lower court action, Boockvar’s filing notes that Kelly filed the lawsuit over a year after the legislation was passed. The secretary’s team also argued that Judge Patricia A. McCullough did not respond to objections the legal team filed and therefore entered her order before she should have. A hearing in the case was scheduled for Friday, but that could change depending on the response from the state Supreme Court.

Nov 25, 12:47 pm
Clyburn throws out names for positions in Biden administration

House Majority Whip James Clyburn pitched some names for positions in Biden’s new administration during an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

He named Sen. Bernie Sanders, Stacey Abrams and Jaime Harrison (who ran against Sen. Lindsey Graham this cycle)  as people Biden should look at.

When asked if there is a role for Abrams, Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders in this cabinet, Clyburn replied, “Yes, as well as the Jaime Harrisons. I’m not going to let y’all forget about Jaime.”

“The fact of the matter is he is co-chair of the DNC, now, or associate counsel of the DNC. He ran for that office four years ago,” Clyburn said. “He is a young man who should not be left on the battlefield.”

“Stacey Abrams has done great work. I think she’s going to be very successful, come January the 5th, with all the other people working around her,” Clyburn said. “So, there are a lot of young people out there and some not-so-young people, like Bernie Sanders, I wish would come into the administration.”

Interestingly, Clyburn did not mention Buttigieg during his interview.

Clyburn’s endorsement and support of Biden during the campaign were seen as pivotal for Biden’s path to the presidency.

Nov 25, 12:11 pm
Biden, Harris expected to receive first presidential daily briefing on Monday

Biden is expected to receive his first presidential daily briefing on Monday, along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, his transition team announced Wednesday during a press briefing.

“We’re working with DNI [Director of National Intelligence] in the White House on the president-elect and vice president-elect receiving the PDB,” transition spokesperson Jen Psaki said. “We expect the first briefing to take place on Monday.”

In its first press briefing following the GSA ascertainment, the Biden transition also laid out updates on its progress, focusing on the ability to meet with government officials.

“By the close of business on Tuesday, agency review teams made contact or met with over 50 agencies and commissions, including each of the major offices within the Executive Office of the President. The team also held over 30 virtual briefings,” Psaki said.

“We hope that other virtual meetings, including with the White House and other offices in the Executive Office of the President, will follow today and in the days immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday,” she added.

Psaki also previewed that the meetings would focus on “critical policy areas for the American people,” particularly related to the COVID-19 response, including Operation Warp  Speed, PPE supplies, emergency rental assistance and evictions.

-ABC News Molly Nagle


Nov 25, 11:17 am
Trump no longer heading to Pennsylvania

After sources familiar with the planning confirmed to ABC News that  Trump was planning to fly to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, where a handful of Pennsylvania state Republican lawmakers are meeting about the 2020 election, the trip has been canceled, according to a pool report.

“The traveling pool was getting ready to leave for Pennsylvania but was told at the last minute that their trip has been canceled,” it said. “Still no public events on the president’s schedule.”

Multiple sources say senior White House and campaign aides spent Monday trying to convince Trump to not make the trip.

The Trump campaign announced attorney Rudy Giuliani and his team would go to Pennsylvania for a strictly Republican “Majority Policy Committee” hearing at the Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at 12:30 p.m. According to a release on the Pennsylvania State Senate’s website, at least seven state senators, including the Senate majority leader-elect, will be present.

-ABC News’ John Santucci and Elizabeth Thomas

Nov 25, 10:39 am
Trump campaign adviser tests positive for COVID-19

Boris Epshteyn, a Trump campaign adviser who has been working closely with Rudy Giuliani, said via a tweet Wednesday morning that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

As ABC News reported, Giuliani had been planning to go to Pennsylvania Wednesday, but given his contact with Epshteyn, some believe that this news could impact his trip.

This is the same trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that sources say Trump was considering making.

-ABC News’ John Santucci


Nov 25, 9:47 am
Xi Jinping sends congratulatory message to Biden

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to Biden on his election win, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.

Xi noted in his message that promoting the healthy development of U.S.-China relations is in the best interest of both nations and the international community as a whole, according to Xinhua. He also emphasized cooperation and mutual respect between the two nations.

China’s Vice President Wang Qishan also sent a congratulatory message to Kamala Harris on the same day.

Nov 25, 9:47 am
Trump planning Pennsylvania trip Wednesday as some state lawmakers meet

President Trump is planning to fly to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, where a handful of Pennsylvania state Republican lawmakers are meeting about the 2020 election, sources familiar with the planning confirm to ABC News.

The exact details of Trump’s trip are still in flux and could be scrapped altogether, the sources say, adding Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani has been pushing the president to join.

The sources add as of now, Trump is planning to fly via Marine One to Pennsylvania and what he does on the ground remains unclear but it could include meeting this group of state legislators.

Multiple sources say senior White House and campaign aides spent Monday trying to convince Trump to not make the trip.

The Trump campaign announced Giuliani and his team would go to Pennsylvania for a strictly Republican “Majority Policy Committee” hearing at the Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at 12:30 p.m. According to a release on the Pennsylvania State Senate’s website, at least seven state senators, including the Senate majority leader-elect, will be present.

The state Senate website refers to it as an “informational meeting regarding 2020 Election Issues [sic].” It will be streamed.

The release features a statement from state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who requested the meeting.

“Elections are a fundamental principle of our democracy – unfortunately, Pennsylvanians have lost faith in the electoral system,” said Mastriano, who recently called for the resignation of State Department Secretary Kathy Boockvar for negligence and incompetence. “It is unacceptable.”

“Over the past few weeks, I have heard from thousands of Pennsylvanians regarding issues experienced at the polls, irregularities with the mail-in voting system and concerns whether their vote was counted,” said Mastriano. “We need to correct these issues to restore faith in our republic.”

Pennsylvania certified its results for Joe Biden just Tuesday.

-ABC News’ John Santucci and Katherine Faulders

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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