By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 42 days.
Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:
Dec 09, 10:45 am
Cabinet rumblings preview intra-party fights for Biden: Analysis
Intra-party rumblings about diversity and experience are more than background noise as Biden builds out his governing team. The relatively drama-free transition has masked concerns about whether Biden’s decisions can meet his commitments — with implications for governance after Jan. 20.
Biden’s choice of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead Health and Human Services puts a Latino in a high-profile spot, though Biden’s stumble over his last name wasn’t the best introduction to the country.
Rep. Marcia Fudge at Housing and Urban Development in the Cabinet, and Biden’s choice of retired Gen. Lloyd Austin — who will be introduced by Biden and Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris Wednesday — would put a Black man in charge of the Pentagon for the first time ever.
Still, coming out of Biden’s meeting with prominent Black leaders Tuesday night, some want Biden to create a new high-ranking advisory job — and Black and Latino activists and advisers are focused on the attorney general’s job as well.
The choice of Austin is also leaving Democrats worried about preserving civilian control over the Defense Department. For some, that will mean explaining why a Trump appointment of a recently retired general shouldn’t have gotten a legal waiver to serve in the role, while a Biden one should.
Just last week, Biden re-set his high bar: “I promise you, it’ll be the single most diverse Cabinet based on race, color, based on gender, that’s ever existed in the United States of America,” he told reporters.
He is making picks that move him in that direction. But the unity Democrats have found in opposing the Trump White House is showing signs of strain as names roll out — to say nothing of policy.
-ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein
Dec 09, 10:43 am
Trump vows to intervene in Texas election lawsuit to SCOTUS
Trump has vowed to intervene in a long-shot lawsuit filed by the state of Texas directly to the Supreme Court Tuesday seeking to toss out ballots in four states where Biden won as he continues his campaign to overturn the results of the presidential election.
“We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
The state of Texas filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia, arguing that those states “exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to justify ignoring federal and state election laws and unlawfully enacting last-minute changes, thus skewing the results of the 2020 General Election.”
Justices have not said whether they’ll weigh the case, but legal experts say it’s is unlikely to succeed.
Trump provided no details on how he would intervene.
The tweet comes after the Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a request from Trump allies to stop the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results — a case Trump said had “nothing to do with him” on Wednesday.
Notably, before the Supreme Court’s denial came in, Trump called on the justices to have the “courage” to intervene at an event on coronavirus vaccines at the White House.
“Now, let’s see whether or not somebody has the courage — whether it’s a legislator or legislatures, or whether it’s a justice of the Supreme Court or a number of justices of the Supreme Court. Let’s see if they have the courage to do what everybody in this country knows is right,” he said Tuesday.
-ABC News’ Devin Dwyer
Dec 09, 10:32 am
Overview: Biden to introduce Pentagon pick, Trump faces legal blow
Biden is slated to introduce his nominee to lead the Defense Department, retired four-star Gen. Lloyd Austin, from Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday. But the nomination of the first African American to the helm the Pentagon is facing some resistance.
Because defense secretaries are legally required to have been retired from active duty for at least seven years to ensure civilian control of the U.S. military, and Austin retired in 2016, he would require a waiver to hold the position. Congress approved the waiver for retired Gen. James Mattis, Trump’s first defense secretary, but some Democrats, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Richard Blumenthal, have expressed a desire to return to normal protocols in a Biden administration despite the historic nature of Austin’s nomination.
Biden is also expected to name former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as secretary of Agriculture and Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, as secretary of Housing and Urban Development as he continues to build out his Cabinet — one he says will be the most diverse in American history.
Fudge’s appointment, however, would shave another slice away from House Democrats’ already razor-thin majority — giving them just two extra votes on top of the 218 needed to pass a bill through the chamber. Special elections are expected to bump Democrats back up to 222 seats, but those take time. And if Congress can’t pass more relief aid in the lame duck session, the Biden administration will want a solid House majority to pass a package from the onset.
As the president-elect rolled out his health team Tuesday, he also spelled out specific steps toward getting the coronavirus under control in his first 100 days in the White House, including a mask campaign and executive order requiring one be worn on federal properties, at least 100 million vaccinations “into the arms of the American people” and making reopening schools a “national priority.”
While Biden is pushing forward, Trump isn’t backing down. He continued to falsely claim he won the election in key swing states where Biden actually was victorious at a self-congratulatory vaccine “summit” Tuesday.
With the passing of the “safe harbor” deadline when Congress considers states’ results conclusive and the Supreme Court’s denial of an 11th-hour attempt by Trump’s allies to block certification of the election results in Pennsylvania, time is running out for the Trump’s long-shot legal challenges with the Electoral College meeting in less than a week. The Supreme Court could still weigh in on a Texas filing against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to turn the election for Trump, but experts say it’s unlikely to gain traction.
Dec 08, 8:25 pm
Biden expected to nominate Vilsack as agriculture secretary: Sources
Biden is expected to nominate former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to reprise the role of secretary of agriculture, sources familiar with the transition told ABC News.
Vilsack was an early supporter of Biden’s candidacy, endorsing the former vice president ahead of the Iowa caucuses and often appearing on the campaign trail with Biden in the early months of the 2020 primary.
Vilsack served as the head of the Department on Agriculture for all eight years of the Obama administration, holding the position from 2009 to early 2017, before serving as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Vilsack also previously served two terms as governor of the Hawkeye state.
Vilsack would be the second member of the Obama administration to reprise their role in a Biden White House, joining Biden’s nominee for Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, in returning to their former posts.
-ABC News’ Katherine Faulders and Molly Nagle
Dec 08, 6:37 pm
Biden to nominate Rep. Marcia Fudge to lead HUD: Sources
Biden will nominate Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, sources familiar with the president-elect’s decision told ABC News.
Fudge, who had campaigned openly to become the first Black secretary of agriculture, would be the second member of the Congressional Black Caucus to join the Biden administration, following Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., a key Biden surrogate who will serve as a senior White House official.
She would be Biden’s third African-American cabinet nominee, after Linda Thomas-Greenfield, his pick to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who he said Tuesday would be his nominee to lead the Pentagon.
The move would put Fudge at the helm of the $50 billion department as the country faces a potential housing crisis in the new year — with many Americans struggling to pay rent, and others worried they will not be able to do so in the next few months as the economy continues to languish due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Approached by reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Fudge said she hadn’t been formally offered the job by Biden, but said the two had spoken previously.
“If I were to be named, certainly it’s an honor and a privilege to be asked to be in a president’s Cabinet,” she said. “If I can help this president in any way possible, I am more than happy to do it.”
Fudge, a member of the House Agriculture Committee and Committee on Education and Labor, represents the Cleveland area, as well as Akron, Ohio.
When she was openly campaigning for the nomination to lead the department of agriculture, she lamented the possibility of leading HUD.
“As this country becomes more and more diverse, we’re going to have to stop looking at only certain agencies as those that people like me fit in. You know, it’s always ‘we want to put the Black person in labor or HUD,'” she told Politico last month.
Fudge’s move to the Biden administration would further tighten House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s fragile majority, making it even harder for Democrats to pass any legislation until Fudge’s replacement is seated later next year.
“I’m in a safe district,” Fudge told reporters. “We’re just hopeful that if this works out the way we’d like it to, that it will be OK.”
-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel, Katherine Faulders, Beatrice Peterson and John Verhovek
Dec 08, 4:58 pm
SCOTUS denies emergency request from Trump allies in Pennsylvania
In a single, succinct order, Justice Samuel Alito Tuesday on behalf of the U.S. Supreme Court has shut down an 11th-hour attempt by allies of Trump in Pennsylvania to block its slate of certified electors and toss out 2.5 million mail-in ballots.
“The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” Alito said.
The appeal — brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, along with another GOP candidate for Congress — alleged that the state legislature did not legally pass the law allowing for expanded mail-in voting during the pandemic. They sought the justices to order all mail-in ballots thrown out along with the state’s official certification of election results, which was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf last week.
The Supreme Court’s denial comes on the same day the state of Texas filed suit against four battleground states alleging that they “exploited the COVID-19 pandemic” to improperly loosen election rules and skew the contest’s outcome. Justices have not yet said whether they will hear the case.
The actions come on the Dec. 8 “safe harbor” deadline by which states must lock in the slate of electors they intend to send to Congress to affirm the election results — selections that are intended to match the will of the voters.
-ABC News’ Devin Dwyer, Alex Hosenball, Olivia Rubin and Matthew Mosk
Dec 08, 4:53 pm
Biden confirms Austin as secretary of defense pick, pens op-ed explaining his decision
Shortly before releasing his press release confirming retired four-star Gen. Lloyd Austin as his pick to lead the Pentagon, The Atlantic magazine published an op-ed penned by Biden op-ed, laying out the reasons behind his choice and noting their history together in the Obama administration.
“Today, I ask Lloyd Austin to once more take on a mission for the United States of America—this time as the secretary-designate of the Department of Defense. I know he will do an outstanding job,” Biden wrote.
Austin, the former commander of U.S. Central Command — with jurisdiction over military activities in the Middle East — retired in 2016 after more than 40 years of military service. If confirmed, he would be the first African American to lead the Pentagon.
Biden pointed to Austin’s ”many strengths and his intimate knowledge of the Department of Defense and our government” as factors that made him “the person we need in this moment,” saying his experience leading the Iraq drawdown prepares him for coordinating vaccine distribution and connecting with American families.
“And the next secretary of defense will have to make sure that our armed forces reflect and promote the full diversity of our nation. Austin will bring to the job not only his personal experience, but the stories of the countless young people he has mentored. If confirmed, he will ensure that every member of the armed forces is treated with dignity and respect, including Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American, women, and LGBTQ service members,” Biden wrote.
Biden also seemed to address the fact that Lloyd’s nomination would require a waiver given his recent military service — something that some Democrats have already expressed opposition to.
“I respect and believe in the importance of civilian control of our military and in the importance of a strong civil-military working relationship at DoD—as does Austin,” he wrote.
“Austin also knows that the secretary of defense has a different set of responsibilities than a general officer and that the civil-military dynamic has been under great stress these past four years,” Biden added.
The announcement comes as Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris meet with civil rights leaders who have pushed Biden to name more people of color to senior-level Cabinet positions.
-ABC News’ Molly Nagle
Dec 08, 4:20 pm
Trump falsely claims he won election at event on vaccines
Trump this afternoon kicked off a self-congratulatory vaccine “summit” to tout the speed at which COVID-19 vaccines were produced — speaking at the same time Biden was introducing his key health appointments and nominees.
The room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex was packed for the three-hour event, and it appeared almost everyone was wearing a mask, save for Trump.
Asked why no members of the Biden transition were invited to participate, the president falsely claimed he won the election and that he won key swing states where Biden actually was victorious.
“We’re gonna have to see who the next administration is because we won in those swing states — and there was terrible things that went on. So we’re gonna have to see who the next administration is,” Trump said. “But whichever the next administration is will really benefit by what we’ve been able to do with this incredible science.”
MORE: Trump allies turn to Supreme Court in long-shot bid to overturn 2020 election
“We were rewarded with a victory,” Trump continued. “Let’s see whether or not somebody has the courage — whether it’s legislatures or a justice of the Supreme Court or a number of justice of the Supreme Court. Let’s see if they have the courage to do what everybody in this country knows is right.”
To date, Trump, his campaign and its allies have seen at least 38 defeats in court.
-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Jordyn Phelps
Dec 08, 3:59 pm
Republicans won’t acknowledge they are planning Biden’s inauguration
Republicans and Democrats on the congressional committee planning next month’s inauguration squabbled Tuesday morning over the election results, with Republicans voting against a measure from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledging Biden’s victory.
“I made a motion that the committee notify the American people that it is preparing for the inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris, and in consultation with them and health experts are doing so to protect the health of our people,” Hoyer told reporters after the meeting. “That motion was defeated three to three.”
All three Republicans on the panel — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — voted against the measure, while Democrats on the panel — Hoyer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. — voted in favor.
Even as they refuse to acknowledge Biden’s victory, Republicans called Hoyer’s move a stunt that has no bearing on planning the inauguration: They are already working with Biden’s inaugural committee, and the measure wasn’t relevant to the day’s meeting.
“It is not the job of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies to get ahead of the electoral process and decide who we are inaugurating. The JCCIC is facing the challenge of planning safe Inaugural Ceremonies during a global pandemic,” Blunt said in a statement. “I would hope that, going forward, the members of the JCCIC would adhere to the committee’s long-standing tradition of bipartisan cooperation and focus on the task at hand.”
-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel
Dec 08, 3:25 pm
CDC director nominee says ‘coding’ nation called her to serve
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief on infectious diseases as Massachusetts General who was tapped as Biden’s pick to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said her work on the HIV/AIDS pandemic brought her to this moment and said she is “honored” to serve an administration that will let science lead.
“I’ve dedicated my career ever since to researching and treating infectious diseases, and to ending the HIV/AIDS crisis for good. Now a new virus is ravaging us. It’s striking hardest once again at the most vulnerable: the marginalized, the underserved,” she said. “The pain is accelerating. Our defenses have worn down. We are losing life and hope at an alarming rate.”
Walensky said she never anticipated taking on the role in government but compared the nation to a dying patient, said it’s her calling as a doctor to respond.
“Every doctor knows that when a patient is coding, your plans don’t matter. You answer the code. And when the nation is coding, if you are called to serve, serve. You run to take care of people, to stop the bleeding, to stabilize, to give them hope and a fighting chance to come back stronger,” she said.
Dec 08, 3:08 pm
Fauci deems Biden’s objectives on masking and vaccinations in 1st 100 days ‘essential’
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, who will stay on Biden’s COVID-19 equity task force and take on the elevated role of chief medical adviser, appeared virtually at Biden’s rollout and expressed support for Biden’s initiatives around masks and vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.
“I believe, as you do, that in the fight against this pandemic, we must lead with science and that a key piece of our ongoing work is communicating consistently with the American people,” Fauci began.
“Whether it’s maintaining social distancing and not congregating indoors, or the 100-day challenge you described on masking or to get as many people vaccinated as possible, these actions are bold, but they are doable and essential to help the public avoid unnecessary risks, to help us save lives, reopen schools and businesses and to eventually beat the pandemic,” he continued.
Acknowledging he’s dealt with many public health crises in his career, Fauci said the COVID-19 pandemic is “the toughest one we have ever faced as a nation,” and repeated Biden’s warnings that a dark winter is ahead.
“The road ahead will not be easy. We have got a lot of hard and demanding work to do in the next year, but as we have done during previous crises, I also know we can get through this pandemic together as a nation,” Fauci added, thanking Biden for the opportunity to serve in this capacity.
Fauci explained he wasn’t able to attend the event in-person because his colleague at the NIAID is receiving the Nobel Prize in medicine Tuesday.
Dec 08, 3:03 pm
Vivek Murthy says nation must overcome fear and mistrust amid pandemic
Biden’s nominee for surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, who served in the same role in Obama administration, reminded in his remarks that COVID-19 is not the only health crisis devastating families and shortening life spans in America while warning that even with the best policies, the nation must overcome the fear and distrust that many are feeling amid the pandemic.
“In my new expanded role, I will work to bring a health focus to our policies across government so that our schools, our workplaces and our communities can be forces for strengthening our health and wellbeing, but the truth is that the very best policies, and even the best vaccines and treatments, will not heal our nation unless we also overcome the fear, anxiety, anger and distrust that so many Americans are feeling right now,” Murthy said.
“So more than anything, I will come to this role as a doctor, one who learned the most important lessons about medicine not in medical school, but from the clinic that my parents opened when they first came to America as immigrants decades ago,” he added.
Drawing from personal experience, Murthy went on to say he is “endlessly grateful to serve one of the few countries in the world where the grandson of a poor farmer in India could be asked by the president-elect to look out for the health of an entire nation.”
Dec 08, 2:49 pm
Xavier Becerra says human services will ‘stand tall’ in the Biden administration
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Biden’s nominee to lead the Health and Human Services Department who would be the first Latino in the position if confirmed, said the incoming Biden administration will elevate the knowledge of medial professionals and build a country where health care is a right, not a privilege.
“At HHS, tackling pandemics, saving lives, keeping us healthy, should be our calling card. And we won’t forget that there is a second “H” in HHS, the human services: the work we do for our children, the seniors and and disabled. They will stand tall in a Biden-Harris HHS,” Becerra said.
Becerra also shared a personal story, of his father passing away peacefully at home on New Year’s Day, contrasting it to the present moment.
“No one should ever have to die alone in a hospital bed, loved ones forced to stay away. That seems so contrary to the values of a great nation, the values that drew my parents like generations before and after them to come to America,” he said.
Becerra led the states’ defense of the Affordable Care Act after the Trump administration sued to dismantle the program earlier this year.
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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