By LIBBY CATHEY and ADIA ROBINSON, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 47 days.
Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:
Dec 04, 11:04 am
Trump pushes dozens of ‘midnight regulations’
As Trump keeps a lower profile during his final weeks in office, behind the scenes the administration is racing to solidify his legacy, fulfill campaign promises and overhaul federal regulations that could take Biden years to undo.
From immigration to environmental protections, the Trump administration is quietly pushing to finalize more than three-dozen rule changes that could have significant impact for years.
“We call them ‘midnight regulations.’ It’s the last chance to put these rules on the books before the Trump administration changes to the Biden administration,” said ProPublica investigative reporter Isaac Arnsdorf, who has created an online database tracking the pending regulations for the nonprofit news site. “They can be reversed, but not easily.”
They include religious exemptions for federal contractors under employment discrimination laws; looser water efficiency standards for shower heads and washing machines; and stricter eligibility for food stamps, even as millions out of work in the pandemic look to the government for help.
Many of the most significant last-minute regulations are focused on environmental and scientific policy, including a controversial effort to ban EPA use of any scientific study that doesn’t fully disclose all of the underlying raw data. Its defenders call it a step toward transparency, while critics call it censorship.
Some of Trump’s final acts face challenges in court, and if Democrats win control of the Senate, there could be fast-track repeals of recently finalized regulations. But experts say most of the policy changes won’t be easily undone.
-ABC News’ Devin Dwyer and Jon Schlosberg
Dec 04, 10:13 am
Overview: Trump behind closed doors, Biden pitches 100-day mask campaign
As the pandemic reaches its worst point yet, with the U.S. reporting its highest case count and death toll on Thursday, the president has said few words on COVD-19 since the election, focusing his energy instead on his own political fate.
Ahead of Trump holding his first rally since losing the election to campaign for GOP senators in Georgia on Saturday, some Republicans have expressed concerns that his rhetoric claiming the presidential election was “rigged” could suppress turnout for the January runoff election in races that will determine which party controls Congress’ upper chamber.
The president has no public events on his schedule Friday. Vice President Mike Pence is headed to Georgia ahead of Trump’s weekend rally there, while former President Barack Obama joins a virtual rally for the Democratic contenders Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
Biden, meanwhile, is slated to deliver afternoon remarks from Wilmington, Delaware, on the final jobs report of 2020 out Friday morning.
Following remarks, the president-elect and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will meet virtually with the National Association of Counties Board of Directors. Biden will also appear at the 2020 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference at 12 p.m., according to a release from the organization.
The president-elect is reinforcing his message that “help is on the way” with a new campaign. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Thursday, Biden said that on Inauguration Day, he’s likely to ask members of the public to wear a mask for 100 days in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. He also said he’ll keep Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, in his administration and elevate his title to chief medical adviser.
This all comes as a coronavirus model from the University of Washington used by the White House has projected nearly 540,000 deaths by April 1.
Dec 04, 8:17 am
Trump deepens GOP rifts as Georgia races heat up: Analysis
If the Republican Party is at risk of a civil war, it’s not clear what side Trump is on.
More specifically, he will be on his own side — wherever that leaves his party. With action heating up in Georgia’s run-off races Friday and through the weekend, the contradictions the president is leaving Republicans to sort out will be more urgent than ever.
Vice President Mike Pence will campaign in Georgia on Friday, while former President Barack Obama appears at a “virtual rally” with his party’s Senate candidates and other prominent Democrats. Then, on Saturday, the president himself will be at his first major rally since the election, where he will make remarks his own allies can’t guarantee will align with the GOP’s broader goals.
About that election, the president has officially lost Georgia — after his campaign requested another recount and despite Trump’s efforts to rally his base against his own supporters who hold top offices in state government.
The president is now making noises about ousting his attorney general, William Barr, in his final weeks in office, after Barr said his office has not found evidence of criminal voter fraud. Some of those final weeks are being consumed by confrontations Trump is starting with his fellow Republicans on the annual defense bill and other year-ending legislation.
The private frustrations with the president are as real as they are predictable, particularly with control of the Senate on the line in Georgia.
Party leaders have long known their loyalty to Trump won’t necessarily be rewarded. What’s different now is that they know Trump won’t be in office in a few weeks to deal with the consequences of his political actions.
-ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein
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