Political

Trump-Biden transition updates: Trump teases 2024 presidential run at Christmas party

Caroline Purser/iStockBy LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 50 days.

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

Dec 01, 11:48 pm
Trump teases 2024 presidential run at Christmas party

At a Christmas party at the White House Tuesday night, President Donald Trump teased running for president again in 2024 while noting that he’s still “trying to do another four years.”

“It’s been an amazing four years. We are trying to do another four years. Otherwise, I’ll see you in four years,” the president can be heard saying on video of the event reviewed by ABC News.

Multiple sources also confirmed to ABC News that the president made the remarks at the White House party.

The president also falsely told the group of mostly Republican National Committee members gathered for the party that he won the election, calling it rigged and notably saying he will “always” call it rigged.

“It’s certainly an unusual year. We won an election. But they don’t like that … I call it a rigged election, and I always will,” Trump said.

Since losing reelection, Trump has privately been telling advisers that he’s considering a 2024 campaign, as ABC News has previously reported.

The indoor party notably takes place as COVID-19 cases surge around the country and, according to the video, many people inside were not wearing masks despite the White House saying they would be mandatory.

Stephanie Grisham, the chief of staff and spokeswoman for the first lady, told ABC News in a statement on Nov. 22 that “masks will be required.”

“The People’s House will celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah while providing the safest environment possible. This includes smaller guest lists, masks will be required and available, social distancing encouraged while on the White House grounds, and hand sanitizer stations throughout the State Floor,” Grisham said. “Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations. All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food safety guidelines. Attending the parties will be a very personal choice. It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic decor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised indoor holiday gatherings should be small and only include close family and friends who are part of your household.

Both the White House and the first lady’s office declined to comment on the White House event.

Dec 01, 6:28 pm

Georgia election official calls on Trump to condemn supporters’ threats: ‘Someone’s gonna get killed’

Gabriel Sterling, the statewide voting system implementation manager in Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office, unleashed on the president from Atlanta Tuesday afternoon, as well as GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, chastising them for not forcefully condemning threats of violence against election officials, making several direct pleas to Trump in his remarks.

“Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We’re investigating, there’s always a possibility, I get it, and you have the rights to go through the course. What you don’t have the ability to do — and need to step up and say this — is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone’s gonna get hurt. Someone’s gonna get shot. Someone’s gonna get killed,” Sterling said.

“Everything we’re seeing right now, there’s not a path. Be the bigger man here, and stop — step in, tell your supporters, don’t be violent, don’t intimidate. All that’s wrong. It’s un-American,” he continued.

Sterling said that Trump calling Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “an enemy of the people” on Thanksgiving “helped opened the floodgates to this kind of crap.”

“You have to be responsible in your rhetoric,” he said. “That shouldn’t be too much to ask for people who asked for us to give them responsibility.”

Explaining his anger, Sterling said that the “straw that broke the camel’s back” was when someone took a video of a 20-year-old contractor working for Dominion in Gwinnett County claiming it showed him manipulating election data, but that was not was he was doing. He said the man is getting death threats — that there’s been “a noose put out saying he should be hung for treason” — and since he has a unique name, people have tracked down his family, too and they’re also being harassed.

“Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop. We need you to step up, and if you’re gonna take a position of leadership, show some,” Sterling said. “All of you who’ve not said a damn word are complicit in this.” 

-ABC News’ Quinn Scanlan

Dec 01, 4:22 pm

Biden in contact with Fauci, Birx as transition focuses on pandemic

Biden’s team has made contact with two of most prominent leaders on the White House coronavirus task force — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious disease, and Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator, as his transition team maintains its focus on the ongoing pandemic and the federal response they will inherit in 50 days.

Biden has held separate conversations with the two White House coronavirus task force officials, according to a transition official. Birx, whose colleagues told ABC News she would like to continue serving in a Biden administration, met with members of Biden’s team on Monday.

A global health expert who was tapped from running the federal government’s program combating HIV/AIDS to serve on the task force in the February, Birx told CBS on Sunday that she was preparing to brief Biden’s team on the nation’s coronavirus response.

In an interview with McClatchy last week, Fauci said he assumes he will stay in his position as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a post he has held for 36 years, but that he would also “seriously consider” serving in another capacity if Biden asked.

“I’m perfectly comfortable with the role that I’m in, but certainly if the president of the United States wants me to do something else, I’d seriously consider it,” Fauci said. “Quite frankly, I don’t anticipate that I’m going to be doing anything other than what I’m doing now. But then again, we have a president-elect who may have other plans. I don’t know.”

Ahead of Election Day, Biden promised he would “hire Fauci” and “fire Trump” if elected, amid Trump knocking Fauci’s credibility and public health guidance.

-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel and Ben Gittleson

Dec 01, 4:18 pm

Trump campaign petitions Wisconsin high court in another quest to toss out ballots

Trump’s reelection campaign filed a petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday, challenging the outcome of the presidential election that was certified on Monday with the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, among those filing.

The legal action comes after the Trump campaign demanded recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties, only to see that effort turn up 87 additional votes for his opponent, Biden. It also comes as Attorney General William Barr said in an [interview] () Tuesday that the Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would tip election results. 

This latest petition alleges that poll workers illegally altered ballot envelopes, added missing information on voters’ behalf, counted ballots submitted early without sufficient voter identification, or collected ballots at unauthorized locations. In all, the Trump campaign claims that more than 211,000 votes were improperly counted. Trump lost the state to Biden by more than 20,600 votes.

Normally, this lawsuit would be filed with a circuit court but given the urgency the Trump campaign directly petitioned the state’s conservative-leaning high court. The court has not indicated if it will hear the case, or respond before the Dec. 8 “safe harbor” deadline, after which the election results are considered conclusive.

Democrats have not responded to the petition, but broadly have characterized the Trump campaign’s legal efforts as a “sideshow” that show no prospect of changing the outcome of the 2020 election. A series of court rulings to date have found no evidence of fraud or improper actions by elections officials in the states where the campaign has brought legal action.

-ABC News’ Soo Rin Kim and Cheyenne Haslett

Dec 01, 4:16 pm

Attorney General Barr says Justice Department has not uncovered widespread voting fraud 

Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that the Justice Department has not uncovered widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the AP.

The attorney general’s comments come into contrast with claims from the president and his lawyers that the election was stolen. Trump has still refused to concede to Biden.

“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. They are not systemic allegations and. And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said.

“Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on.”

Dec 01, 2:44 pm

Tanden shares story growing up on social programs amid resistance from GOP

Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Budget and Management, Neera Tanden, would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American in the role if confirmed, but she is already facing resistance from some Senate Republicans who have signaled her nomination wouldn’t pass the Senate’s current GOP majority.

Tanden did not directly fire back against those attacks in remarks Tuesday but shared a personal story behind why she believes she’s in the position to fulfill the critical economic role which has sometimes served as a check within the executive branch on any far-fetched spending plans fancied by other Cabinet members.

“Like the vice president-elect’s mother, my mother, Mamala, was born in India. Like so many millions suppressed every generation she came to America to pursue a better life,” Tanden said, going on to detail how after her parent’s divorce, their family relief on food stamps and public housing to survive. “We relied on a safety net to get back on her feet.”

“I’m here today because of social programs, because of budgetary choices, because of a government that saw my mother’s dignity and gave her a chance. Now it is my profound honor to help shape those budgets and programs to keep lifting Americans up,” she said.

Tanden is currently the president and CEO of Center for American Progress, a center-left think tank, and a longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton.

Dec 01, 2:03 pm
Yellen warns inaction on pandemic relief will bring ‘more devastation’

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen, who would be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department, and the first person to have served as Treasury Secretary, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Chair of the Federal Reserve, has already received bipartisan support on Capitol Hill ahead of Biden introducing her as his nominee in-person Tuesday.
 
Yellen opened on a personal note, saying she saw her own father’s story and that of her working neighborhood growing up — reflected in Biden’s story, which she said inspired her to become an economist.

“When you reflect on what your father taught you about how a job is much more than a paycheck, I hear my own father who raised our family in working-class Brooklyn,” Yellen began.

“I became an economist because I was concerned about the toll of unemployment on people, families and communities, and I’ve spent my career trying to make sure people can work and achieve the dignity and self-worth that comes with it,” Yellen said. “Mr. President-elect, I know you’ve done the same.”

Yellen said the economic damage from coronavirus pandemic has “had a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable among us” and promised to address that with immediate action, arguing “inaction will produce a self-reinforcing downturn causing yet more devastation.”

She also said she’d work together with the national security and foreign policy team Biden announced last week to help “restore America’s global leadership” — in contrast to the largely isolationist approach Trump took for four years.

“I look forward to working … to rebuild the public trust to the American people,” she said in closing. “We will be an institution that wakes up every morning thinking about you, your jobs, your paychecks, your struggles, your hopes, your dignity and your limitless potential.”

Dec 01, 1:34 pm
Biden introduces ‘first-rate team’ of economic nominees, says ‘help is on the way’

Introducing his economic team nominees, Biden said they will lead the country’s economy out of the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic and reiterated his slogan they’ll “build back better” than before through job creation and addressing structural inequities.  
 
“A team tested and experienced, it includes ground-breaking Americans who come from different backgrounds but who share my core vision for economic relief here in the United States of America. And given a fair shot and equal chance, there’s nothing — we all believe, there’s nothing beyond the capacity of the American people,” Biden began.

Biden also called on Congress to pass another round of COVID-19 relief legislation now but vowed to continue that effort when he’s inaugurated in 50 days, saying his transition team is already working on a proposal.
 
“The full Congress should come together and pass a robust package for relief to address these urgent needs, but any package passed in a lame-duck session is likely to be, at best, likely a start,” Biden said. “Our message to everybody struggling right now is this: Help is on the way.”

Biden then turned over the lectern to his nominee for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, who would be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department if confirmed by the Senate.

He joked moments earlier he might have to ask Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit musical “Hamilton” about the nation’s first Treasury secretary, to write another musical about Yellen’s history-making role.

“So, that’s what I’m working on right now, Janet,” Biden said with a smile.

Dec 01, 1:08 pm
Biden debuts walking boot ahead of economic nominees

With 50 days until the inauguration, Biden is debuting a slew of nominees to key economic policy posts at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, but before Biden entered The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, for the announcement, he also debuted his new walking boot to reporters.
 
After Biden sustained hairline fractures to his right foot while playing with his dog, Major, over the weekend, asked how his foot felt Tuesday, Biden replied, “Good. Thank you for asking!” and pointed to the accessory he’s expected to sport for several weeks.

Biden’s economic announcement comes as he readies his first stimulus push to salvage the economy damaged from the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Biden nominated former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who would be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department if confirmed.

For deputy treasury secretary, Biden nominated Wally Adeyemo, a former Obama administration official on economic and national security concerns, who would be the first African American in the position if confirmed.
 
For director of the Office of Budget and Management, Biden nominated Neera Tanden, currently the head of the Center for American Progress, who, if confirmed, would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American to oversee the OMB.

To serve as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Biden nominated Cecilia Rouse, an economist and current dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, who would be the first woman of color to lead the CEA if confirmed.
 
To serve as members on the council with Rouse, Biden has nominated Jared Bernstein, who worked as Biden’s chief economist in the first years of the Obama administration, and Heather Boushey, president and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Dec 01, 11:52 am
Schumer comes to defense of Biden nominee Tanden: ‘Spare me the hyperbole’

Senate Minority Leader Schumer defended Neera Tanden, Biden’s pick to head the Office of Budget and Management Tuesday, ahead of her formal introduction with Biden in the afternoon and following some Senate Republicans criticizing her nomination.
 
“Spare me the hyperbole,” Schumer said in a Senate floor speech. “After spending four years pretending they didn’t see the latest insane tweet from President Trump, Senate Republicans seem to have found a newfound interest in the Twitter feeds of Biden’s Cabinet selections.”

Tanden, a former policy director for the first Obama-Biden campaign, serves as president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a center-left think tank, a role in which she has frequently clashed with Republicans, though she evidently has attempted to clean up her Twitter account in recent weeks — deleting hundreds of tweets, a point which Republicans like Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn have seized on.

Schumer slammed what he has called hypocrisy among Republicans for objecting to Tanden but “lining up” to approve a nominee like Trump’s current OMB head, Russell Vought — whom Schumer called “a partisan warrior.”

Vought served for seven years as a top official at the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation. Schumer reminded GOP senators of Vought’s highly controversial writings disparaging Muslims which nearly derailed his nomination.

-ABC News’ Trish Turner and John Parkinson

Dec 01, 11:02 am
Georgia secretary of state slams Fulton County over issue with recount

With nearly 50 of the Georgia’s 159 counties having finished the third count of votes in the presidential race, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a news conference Tuesday morning criticized the state’s largest county, Fulton, for what he said is a mistake made by one election worker that required them to rescan more than 300,000 ballots.

In a statement issued Monday, Fulton County said that a Dominion server, that was “operated in accordance with the Secretary of State’s published guidelines” crashed, which “delayed work” over the weekend.

However, Raffensperger said the county “only told part of the story,” and that the “real issue” was one employee making “several compounding errors,” including not following established protocol. The secretary said the employee backed up the election project on the server instead of on an external backup, which he said then led to the county being unable to “upload hundreds of thousands of scanned ballots.”

“Processes and procedures exist for a reason. The reason is to take into account the unexpected,” Raffensperger told reporters.

“I think us in our office, and I think really the rest of the state is getting a little tired of always having to wait on Fulton County, and having to put up with their dysfunction,” Gabriel Sterling, the voting system implementation manager, later added.

Officials still defended the general election as the most secure in Georgia’s history.

While noting there will have been instances of illegal voting, as they’ve acknowledged before, Sterling said, “The problem is there hasn’t been direct evidence of a conspiracy. There’s no evidence of some cabal over the top of this trying to switch the elections up.”

-ABC News’ Quinn Scanlan

Dec 01, 10:03 am
Trump allies ask US Supreme Court to reverse Pa. election certification

Trump allies have asked the United States Supreme Court to reconsider a case the Pennsylvania high court rejected and reverse the state’s certification of the 2020 presidential election.
 
The case, brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, along with another GOP candidate for Congress, alleges that the state legislature did not legally pass the measure allowing for universal mail-in voting. The plaintiffs initially asked the courts to cancel all mail-in ballots or, if not, to empower the state legislature to appoint new electors.

The filing asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the case comes just days after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning the GOP cannot bring it back.

“Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof,” Justice David N. Wecht wrote in a concurring opinion. “Petitioners cannot carry their enormous burden. They have failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted.”
 
The justices have still yet to respond to the president’s earlier request to join a long-pending Pennsylvania Republican challenge to that state’s tabulation of late-arriving mail ballots. The High Court has also not said if they would formally consider an earlier petition asking the court to toss the late-arriving ballots.

-ABC News’ Matthew Mosk and Devin Dwyer


Dec 01, 9:50 am
Overview: Trump blasts GOP governors, Biden to introduce economic team

With all six states where Trump has contested election results now having certified Biden’s win — with the battlegrounds of Arizona and Wisconsin making it official Monday, Trump is lashing out at Republican governors for certifying the votes in his ongoing effort to undermine the election.

Trump has targeted GOP Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona and Brian Kemp of Georgia for meeting the deadlines to certify votes in their states, but as he publicly questions the credibility of the Republican Party and its leaders — ahead of runoffs in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate — some Republicans worry he is also undermining the GOP’s majority in the upper chamber.

Trump called on Kemp Tuesday morning in a tweet to “call off election,” adding “it won’t be needed,” if Kemp allows his state to be “scammed” without checking signatures against ballots — which the state already does. (Signatures were already matched twice in Georgia: first when a voter applies for a ballot and then again when the voter returned their absentee ballot. Once the signature accompanying the returned ballot is verified, the ballots are separated from the envelopes and there is no way to re-match them under the Georgia state Constitution.)

Near the end of an all-day unofficial “hearing” GOP lawmakers held at a hotel in Phoenix Monday, the president phoned in and called the election the “greatest scam ever perpetrated upon our country,” despite elected officials across the country praising the 2020 election as the most secure in American history.

“We’re taking it all the way,” Trump said, vowing his team would file additional legal action in Wisconsin — where a recount netted Biden 87 more votes — and Georgia — where the Trump campaign has paid for votes to be counted for a third time.

Despite Trump’s unprecedented attacks on the electoral process, Biden is pressing forward with his transition with 50 days until the inauguration. He’s slated to introduce his incoming economic team Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. in Wilmington, Delaware, which includes former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary nominee who, if confirmed, would be the first woman in the position.

While Yellen has drawn bipartisan support in initial reactions on Capitol Hill, Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Budget and Management, Neera Tanden, who would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American in the role, has drawn the ire of Senate Republicans with Texas Sen. John Cornyn calling her “radioactive.” Democrats have rallied to Tanden’s defense.

Tuesday also brings the first time Biden will publicly appear in a walking boot after fracturing bones in his right foot over the weekend, and the second day he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will receive the latest intelligence in the President’s Daily Brief, following a 16-day standoff with the Trump administration.

Dec 01, 1:39 am
Arizona governor defends state’s election system

Following criticism from President Donald Trump on Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey defended Arizona’s election system and its security, saying, “I’ve been pretty outspoken about Arizona’s election system, and bragged about it quite a bit, including in the Oval Office. And for good reason,” he tweeted Monday night.

“We’ve been doing early voting since 1992. Arizona didn’t explore or experiment this year. We didn’t cancel election day voting as some pushed for — we weren’t going to disenfranchise any voter. In Arizona, we have some of the strongest election laws in the country, laws that prioritize accountability and clearly lay out procedures for conducting, canvassing, and even contesting the results of an election,” Ducey continued.

Ducey, a Republican and ardent supporter of the president, directly responded to claims made Monday in the hearing that absentee and early ballots sent in Maricopa County did not undergo signature verification.

“We’ve got ID at the polls. We review EVERY signature (every single one) on early ballots — by hand — unlike other states that use computers. Prohibitions on ballot harvesting. Bipartisan poll observers. Clear deadlines, including no ballots allowed after Election Day,” he said.

He broke down the state’s law surrounding election certification and the selection of electors — refuting claims from the Trump team and others asking state legislatures to bypass election results and select electors themselves.

“The problems that exist in other states simply don’t apply here. I’ve also said all along, I’m going to follow the law. So here’s what the law says… It requires the Secretary of State, in the presence of the Governor and the Attorney General, to canvass the election on the fourth Monday following the general election. That was today.”

-ABC News’ Meg Cunningham


Nov 30, 9:53 pm
Pennsylvania legislative session to end at midnight

Pennsylvania’s legislative session officially ends at midnight, which means that state lawmakers are expected to adjourn without Republicans taking any action to replace the state’s voter-awarded electors with a slate of ones chosen by the state’s legislators.

Prior to Monday’s deadline, the Republican Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Bryan Cutler, along with Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff issued a joint statement saying they did not have enough time to consider the resolution before the end of the session.

“We are physically unable to consider any new legislation before the end of session. A simple resolution takes three legislative days for consideration and a concurrent resolution takes five legislative days to move through both chambers, which means we do not have the time needed to address any new resolutions in our current session,” the statement read.

However, the pair also indicated that this year’s election would still be a topic that lawmakers plan to address in the future.

“It is obvious Pennsylvania’s election processes are in dire need of repair. Our work to ensure the chaos and confusion of the 2020 election are not repeated will continue in the next legislative session,” they added, while also noting that they plan to see the process of a “complete audit of the election…completed into the next session as well.”

-ABC News’ Alisa Wiersema and Alex Hosenball

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