Political

Trump-Biden transition live updates: Biden introduces health care team

narvikk/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 43 days.

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

Dec 08, 2:24 pm
Biden asks everyone to wear masks for first 100 days of presidency

Ahead of introducing his health care picks, Biden made his mask campaign official and called on all Americans to wear a mask for the first 100 days of his presidency as part of three key objectives he’s asking his health care team to complete in his first 100 days in office.

“My first 100 days won’t end the COVID-19 virus. I can’t promise that,” Biden said. “We didn’t get into this mess quickly. We’re not going to get out of it quickly. It’s going to take some time. But I’m absolutely convinced that in 100 days we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better.”

Biden said his team’s second initiative is to have “at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of the American people in the first 100 days.” The initiative comes as the Biden team has said it’s seen “no detailed plan” on vaccine distribution from the Trump administration.

Finally, Biden said getting children back to school and keeping them in school will be a “national priority” for the team in the first 100 days, saying Congress can help make this happen with the appropriate funding.

“I’m encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in Congress around a $900 billion economic relief package which I’ve said is critical, but this package is only a start for more action early next year,” Biden added.

Dec 08, 2:09 pm
Biden introduces his health care picks

Biden is introducing a slate of health care experts and officials who will lead his administration’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“Today, I’m very proud to be announcing our health care and COVID team at a critical time, as we near the end of one of the toughest years we’ve faced as a nation,” Biden said, adding this group of “world class experts” will be “ready on day one.”

California attorney general and former California congressman, Xavier Becerra, is Biden’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services. If confirmed, he would be the first Latino to lead the department.

Vivek Muthy has been nominated to be U.S. surgeon general, a role he served in during the Obama administration.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a leading expert on virus testing, prevention and treatment, is nominated to serve as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, one of the country’s foremost experts on health care disparities, will serve as the COVID-19 equity task force chair.

As Biden said last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci will stay on in his current role as as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and will take on the elevated role of Biden’s chief medical adviser on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jeff Zients will serve as coordinator of the COVID-19 response and counselor to the president, and Natalie Quillian will serve as deputy coordinator of the COVID-19 response.

Dec 08, 1:11 pm
Harris vows to ‘right the wrongs’ of the Trump admin at immigration conference

During first speech post-election on immigration, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ told immigration activists that she’s focused on working to “right the wrongs of these past four years.”

Harris, during pre-taped remarks at the 13th Annual National Immigrant Integration Conference, ticked off a few immigration-related actions the Biden administration hopes to tackle in the first 100 days in office.

“In our first 100 days, we will send an immigration bill to Congress, reinstate DACA, repeal harmful and discriminatory policies like the Muslim ban, and during our administration, we will repeal indiscriminate enforcement policies that tear families apart and make us less safe,” Harris said.

The daughter of two immigrants, Harris later noted the sacrifice that immigrants have made during the pandemic as essential workers, vowing to create a “humane immigration system.”

-ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson


Dec 08, 1:16 pm
Trump called Pennsylvania Republican House Speaker last week

Trump reached out to Pennsylvania State Speaker of the House Brian Cutler last week asking about the legislature possibly overturning the election as part of his ongoing and apparent pressure campaign to have GOP-controlled legislatures flip results in his favor in battleground states he lost.

Mike Straub, a spokesman for Cutler, confirmed to ABC News reporting in The New York Times that Trump asked what options were available to the legislature on the phone call.

“Cutler made it very clear what power the legislature has and does not have,” Straub told ABC News, adding he is “not aware of the President explicitly asking to turnover [sic] the election results.”

Straub separately told ABC News that he was not present for the conversations between Cutler and the president, but he was briefed.

“The president wanted to know what options were available to the legislature to address those concerns… Speaker Cutler was very clear in explaining what power the legislature has and does not have within our state Constitution,” Straub said. “One remedy the Trump campaign is seeking in a court case involves the legislature seating electors — Speaker Cutler explained the legislature does not have that authority.”

Cutler separately signed onto a resolution last week imploring Pennsylvania Republicans in Congress to officially contest the election results in January. While this has happened in the past, including over the election of George W. Bush, it is highly unlikely to overturn the election results.

The Supreme Court may decide Tuesday to take up a challenge by Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly over the constitutionality of mail-in voting, but legal experts have told ABC News that is a long shot. With Tuesday being the constitutionally mandated “safe-harbor” deadline for electors, all legal challenges are meant to be resolved by the end of the day, thus ensuring the correct electors will cast their votes in statehouses on Dec. 14.

-ABC News’ Alex Hosenball

Dec 08, 12:40 pm
Former Trump admin official sues Trump campaign lawyer for defamation

Former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs has sued Trump campaign lawyer Joe diGenova and Newsmax over comments the Trump campaign lawyer made on the TV network calling for Krebs to be “taken out at dawn and shot.”

Krebs’ lawyers say that the Trump campaign and “diGenova, spread, stoked, and instigated unfounded allegations of system-wide voter fraud, abuse, and interference—without proffering any evidence deemed credible by any state or federal court—in a naked and politically motivated effort to undermine public confidence in the election,” according to a complaint filed in Montgomery County, Maryland, court.

Trump fired Krebs last month after he repeatedly rebuked unfounded claims made by Trump and his campaign about widespread voter fraud, which the complaint also hits on.

The lawsuit says Krebs has received death threats through email and on Twitter by, in some cases, “angry Newsmax viewers,” with people calling Krebs a traitor who should be hung. These threats were so serious, according to the lawsuit, that Krebs’ 10-year-old child asked, “Daddy’s going to get executed?”

“Seeing the pain and fear in those closest to him has only elevated his own pain and fear,” the lawsuit says. Because of this, Krebs has had to leave his house, retain private security and reported threats to law enforcement.

Krebs is seeking Newsmax to remove the clip as well as monetary damages, with the suit saying that diGenova and the network have a “symbiotic relationship.”

-ABC News’ Luke Barr

Dec 08, 12:23 pm
Jenna Ellis says she’s positive for COVID-19: Sources

Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis has informed associates she’s tested positive for coronavirus only days after attending a Christmas party at the White House, igniting panic in the West Wing, multiple sources tell ABC News.

Ellis attended a senior staff Christmas party at the White House on Friday, where she was photographed not wearing a mask.

The news comes just days after it was revealed that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. Ellis has spent the last month traveling the country with Giuliani working to overturn the 2020 election results in states including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona on behalf of the president. Both have attended hearings without wearing a mask.

-ABC News’ Katherine Faulders, John Santucci and Will Steakin

Dec 08, 11:57 am
Clyburn says majority of Biden inauguration will be virtual

Democratic Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, whose primary endorsement in South Carolina helped put Biden on a path to victory and who was tapped this week to chair Biden’s presidential inaugural committee, began to paint a clearer picture Tuesday of what the public can expect on Jan. 20, saying a majority of the inauguration will be virtual.

“I think the president will be sworn in in a a traditional way, but 75%, 80% of this inauguration will probably be virtual,” Clyburn told CNN Tuesday morning, comparing the look to this summer’s Democratic National Convention.

“This inauguration will be an example of what a President Joe Biden would like to see the people of America do,” Clyburn added, noting the worsening coronavirus pandemic. “We are not going to violate anything… We are going to discourage anything that could be a spreader.”

Providing an alternative, Clyburn said he’s hopeful there could be a celebration on the National Mall July 4, adding, “Hopefully things will be under control then.”

As Biden is expected to name retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead the Pentagon at some point this week, Clyburn also offered praise for the “historic” choice of and encouraged Biden to consider more Black candidates he’s suggested — including Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms — for other senior-level Cabinet positions. The pressure comes ahead of Biden’s meeting with civil rights leaders Tuesday afternoon as they advocate for more people of color to be nominated to top spots.

“There are plenty of bodies to be found if you ask the right person,” Clyburn said.

Dec 08, 9:34 am
Overview: Trump holds ‘vaccine summit,’ Biden introduces health care team

Trump and Biden hold dueling events on the pandemic response Tuesday with the president hosting a “vaccine summit” at the White House, just days before a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee holds a hearing on whether to authorize emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine, while the president-elect is slated to formally roll out his health care picks on who will take over handling the COVID-19 pandemic in 43 days.

At his event, Trump is slated to sign an executive order touting his mantra of “America First” that would prioritize Americans’ access to COVID-19 vaccines before the United States helps other countries. But the chief science adviser to “Operation Warp Speed,” the U.S. government’s initiative to expedite vaccine development which Trump is also expected to tout, said Tuesday morning he doesn’t know about the vaccine-related executive order Trump is expected to sign.

“Frankly, I don’t know and, frankly, I’m staying out of this. I can’t comment,” Dr. Moncef Slaoui told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday on Good Morning America, when asked to explain the executive order.

The event comes as a senior administration official familiar with the matter confirmed reporting to ABC News that the Trump Administration passed when Pfizer offered in later summer to sell the U.S. more COVID-19 vaccine doses — an approach which the White House has denied and Slaoui defended Tuesday. Representatives of Pfizer and Moderna — the two drug companies seeking emergency-use authorization — are not expected to attend the White House summit, nor is anyone from the Biden transition team.

Biden, meanwhile, is slated to introduce the health care team he will entrust with handling the pandemic. He has selected California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary, the first Latino to hold the post if confirmed. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is taking on the elevated role of chief medical adviser to Biden in the incoming administration, is expected to dial into Biden’s meeting, though not the one at the White House.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are also meeting Tuesday with several civil rights leaders including NAACP representatives to discuss policy issues around racial equity as well as diversity and representation on the incoming Cabinet. It comes after news leaked that Biden is expected to name retired four-star Army Gen. Lloyd Austin as his defense secretary, who would be the first African American in the post if confirmed, this week.

Tuesday is also the congressionally mandated “safe harbor” deadline — the date, under federal law, by which the “final determination of any controversy or contest concerning the appointment” of electors “shall be conclusive” — making it extremely difficult to dispute election results in the courts, where pro-Trump efforts have seen at least 39 defeats to date.

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