BY: LIBBY CATHEY, ADIA ROBINSON AND JACK ARNHOLZ, ABC NEWS
(NEW YORK) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 46 days.
Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern.
Dec 05, 5:50 pm
Pentagon says Biden team was not blocked from intelligence discussions
Senior Defense officials disputed reports that the Biden transition team was blocked from meeting with the Defense Department’s intelligence agencies. Instead, the government officials say that mutually agreed-upon transition guidelines were not followed by the Biden intelligence transition team when they contacted the DOD intelligence agencies for meetings last weekend.
The transition guidelines specified that the requests for meetings with those agencies had to be made by Biden’s Pentagon transition team. A senior defense official said that was noted early last week and by mid-week meetings had been arranged for Monday and Tuesday between the Biden intelligence transition team and the DOD intelligence agencies.
“We’re moving rapidly and if they want to avoid a delay they need to go to the proper agency review teams as … set up under the agreements that have been in place,” said an official, who emphasized that any perceived delays in meetings should not be attributed to the Defense Department.
Another senior defense official noted that the meetings were arranged quickly given the amount of time it takes to deal with specific classification procedures.
In a statement, acting Defense Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller said, “The DoD and its transition leadership are fully cooperating with the Biden transition team, placing national security and the protection of the American people at the forefront of any and all discussions.”
The comments from the Department of Defense came after some media outlets had reported that Biden’s team was blocked from meeting with DOD intelligence agencies.
-ABC News’ Luis Martinez
Dec 05, 5:23 pm
Trump urges Kemp to call special session of state legislature
Moments before Trump left the White House to head to Georgia for a campaign rally for Senate Republicans, the president, in a tweet, called on Gov. Brian Kemp to “immediately ask for a Special Session of the Legislature” in his continued efforts to overturn the election.
He continued to blast local leaders, claiming that the governor’s “people are refusing to do what you ask,” adding “What are they hiding.”
“But you never got the signature verification! Your people are refusing to do what you ask. What are they hiding? At least immediately ask for a Special Session of the Legislature. That you can easily, and immediately, do,” the president tweeted, referring to a previous tweet from Kemp saying he had asked for a signature audit.
Kemp announced earlier Saturday that would not be attending Trump’s rally in support of GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, whose runoff elections occur in January.
The Georgia governor’s communications director confirmed to ABC News that the president called Kemp Saturday morning.
-ABC News’ Elizabeth Thomas
Dec 05, 4:49 pm
Kemp, Trump spar ahead of rally in Georgia
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp responded Saturday to a tweet from Trump earlier in the day saying he will “easily & quickly win Georgia” if Kemp and the secretary of state “permit a simple signature verification.”
“As I told the President this morning, I’ve publicly called for a signature audit three times (11/20, 11/24, 12/3) to restore confidence in our election process and to ensure that only legal votes are counted in Georgia,” Kemp tweeted, just hours ahead of Trump’s rally in the Peach State.
Trump has used his bully pulpit to slam Kemp, a longtime Trump supporter, as he has refused to echo the president’s baseless allegations of fraud in Georgia.
The president has tweeted that Kemp was “hapless” and should “overrule his obstinate secretary of state,” Brad Raffensperger — also a Republican backer of Trump — after the latter refused to intervene to help Trump.
“The governor’s done nothing,” Trump said during a Fox News interview. “He’s done absolutely nothing. I’m ashamed that I endorsed him.”
Biden’s victory in Georgia is narrow — he’s winning by 11,769 votes, according to the current results of the requested by the Trump campaign.
But the result of the recount — which follows an earlier — indicates that the outcome of the race will not change, according to Georgia’s secretary of state.
The Twitter exchange comes as Trump is set to speak at a rally for Republican Senate candidates in the state — races that will determine the balance of the Senate.
On Friday, Kemp was expected to meet Vice President Mike Pence, also in the state for a rally, on the tarmac upon his arrival in Savannah, but he could not due to a family emergency.
Kemp is not attending Trump’s rally Saturday, according to his Communications Director Cody Hall.
-ABC News’ Elizabeth Thomas, Jordyn Phelps, Ben Gittleson, Olivia Rubin, Will Steakin, Quinn Scanlan, Rachel Scott and Matthew Mosk
Dec 05, 1:38 pm
Birx says her role in Biden administration remains unclear
White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said on Friday that her role in the Biden administration remains unclear.
“I don’t know what my role will be come Jan. 20,” Birx told Rhode Island station WPRI.
Earlier this week, Biden’s team had made contact with both Birx and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, holding separate meetings with the two White House coronavirus task force officials.
“I was privileged to brief them on Monday,” Birx said in a separate interview Friday with ABC Des Moines affiliate WOI. “I will tell you they had very good questions, very well informed questions and as a civil servant, I always stand ready to serve any administration.”
ABC News reported in November that Birx expressed a desire to continue serving in a Biden administration, according to colleagues.
However, Birx has found herself in an increasingly complicated position as she combats the virus while serving a president who has ignored science and downplayed the pandemic.
Her rosy presentations from the White House podium and presence alongside Trump at news conferences this spring — as well as her attempt to explain away Trump’s suggestion in April that Americans could inject disinfectant to treat the virus — have hurt her credibility and led to charges she has enabled the president.
-ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway and Ben Gittleson
Dec 05, 11:33 am
Trump and his allies have lost 3 more cases
Trump and his allies lost three more cases in their effort to litigate his defeat to Biden by more than 6 million votes. Judges in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada continued to show little patience for the president’s effort.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday dismissed an appeal from former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell seeking an investigation of Dominion machines and sent the case back down to the lower court to be litigated there, saying it does not have jurisdiction to hear the case.
The lower court’s ruling in the case– which is seeking to reverse President Trump’s loss in the state– had actually given Powell a partial win and ordered the state to freeze the machines while the case was heard. Powell appealed anyway — a move the judges found objectionable.
A Michigan Court of Appeals on Friday also denied the Trump campaign’s request to appeal a defeat in a lower court in a 2-1 decision, saying the issue is now moot. The suit, which sought to halt the counting of ballots in the state, had been rejected by a lower court nearly a month ago and sat untouched on appeal for over three weeks — rejected by a judge as “defective” and only corrected by the campaign just a few days ago.
Another GOP attempt to overturn the 2020 election failed Friday in Nevada, where Carson City District Court Judge James T. Russell dismissed a case and prevented the GOP from bringing it back before the court. At issue were Nevada’s signature matching machines, which the GOP Plaintiffs alleged had failed to match mail-in ballot signatures closely enough to those on file, potentially accepting fraudulent votes.
One judge in Nevada called the GOP expert testimony “of little to no value” and said the pro-Trump legal team “failed to meet their burden to provide credible and relevant evidence… to contest the November 3, 10 2020 General Election.”
-ABC News’ Matthew Mosk
Dec 05, 10:43 am
Trump mounts another legal challenge to election, asking Georgia for a do-over
President Donald Trump filed a new lawsuit in Georgia Friday afternoon officially contesting the results of the election and requesting a do-over — another in a series of long-shot legal bids that have so far met with stiff resistance from the state’s Republican election officials.
This latest suit alleges that the state’s election code was “disregarded, abandoned, ignored, altered, and otherwise violated,” thereby allowing “a sufficient number of illegal votes to be included.”
The Trump campaign and its allies have filed similar lawsuits around the country more than 46 times, and have yet to gain traction. On the same day the campaign submitted the new Georgia suit, pro-Trump legal efforts met with defeat in Michigan and Nevada.
A Nevada judge ruled pointedly that the Trump team “failed to meet their burden to provide credible and relevant evidence … to contest the November 3, 2020 General Election.”
The new Georgia case specifically takes issue with changes made prior to the election involving mail-in ballot practices and signature matching rules. It also includes dozens of allegations of fraud based on witness affidavits, but with little evidence.
-ABC News’ Olivia Rubin and Matthew Mosk
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