Political

Trump-Biden transition live updates: Both Trump and Biden heading to Georgia Monday

Bill Chizek/iStockBy LIBBY CATHEY and TIA HUMPHRIES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 21 days.

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

Dec 30, 12:29 pm
Pelosi signals she has votes for House speaker, pressures GOP on stimulus

In a news conference Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., signaled that she’s got the votes to retain the speaker’s gavel, predicting enough Democrats will turn out for her when the new Congress convenes Sunday.

With just 222 Democrats eligible to be seated, she can only afford to lose five detractors, given a couple of vacancies and another race in New York where a winner has not yet been certified. That’s a heavy lift for Pelosi given there are still eight members in her caucus who opposed her in 2019, and two more who voted present in 2017.

Pelosi also dismissed news that Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., will object to the certification of the Electoral College votes next week.
 
“I have no doubt that on next Wednesday, a week from today, that Joe Biden will be confirmed by the acceptance of the vote of the Electoral College as the 46th president of the United States,” she said.
 
On the stimulus fight, Pelosi pressured Senate Republicans to act on behalf of struggling families.
 
“The Democrats and Republicans in the House have passed that legislation. Who is holding up that distribution to the American people? Mitch McConnell, and the Senate Republicans,” Pelosi said. “In blocking it, they are in denial of the hardship that the American people are experiencing now — health wise, financially, in every way, their lives and livelihood in many cases are on the brink.”
 
“This $2,000 will go a long way, not only to sustain the financial security of America’s working families but will help small business to thrive as well,” she added.
 
Dec 30, 12:13 pm
Trump tweets false conspiracy claim about Georgia’s secretary of state’s nonexistent brother

President Trump, who has spent a lot of time over the past week at his golf course in West Palm Beach, Florida, took to Twitter to attack Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s brother — except that Raffensperger doesn’t have a brother.

In a tweet Tuesday evening just before midnight, the president called Raffensperger and Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp a “complete disaster” as he peddled his baseless claims of election fraud.

“Now it turns out that Brad R’s brother works for China, and they definitely don’t want ‘Trump’” he wrote in a tweet. “So disgusting! #MAGA”

Trump’s tweet bolsters a popular theory in far-right conspiracy circles in recent days — that the Georgia’s secretary of state is related to a Huawei Enterprise Storage Solutions executive with the same name. Huawei has been blacklisted by the Trump administration for its ties China.

Raffensperger, however, does not have a brother. He has two sisters and neither work for Huawei.

The White House has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the tweet, and has not responded to whether the president plans to take it down, issue a correction or has apologized to the Georgia secretary of state.

Dec 30, 11:37 am
GBI director reaffirms no fraudulent absentee ballots were identified during signature audit in Cobb County, Georgia

Vic Reynolds, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, participated in a press conference Wednesday morning at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta where he reaffirmed that the signature match audit conducted in Cobb County using GBI investigators found there were only two ballots out of approximately 15,000 that shouldn’t have been accepted as they were.

“The results of that audit confirmed the accuracy of the initial determination of the Cobb County election department in all but two cases. In other words, out of the 15,118 absentee ballot oath envelopes that were randomly audited, all of those were appropriately counted with the exception of two. Two were allowed that should not have been,” Reynolds said.

But even though election officials should have initiated the “cure” process for those absentee ballots, they were still not fraudulent.

While the absentee ballots were randomly selected, Reynolds said that every ballot that was rejected due to a signature mismatch or a missing signature were automatically included in the audit.

“I would also note for the record as well that during the course of the audit, there were no fraudulent absentee ballots identified in the process,” Reynolds added.

Reiterating what the secretary of state’s previously said, Reynolds said the audit found Cobb County had a 99.99% accuracy rate with envelopes GBI audited.

Dec 30, 11:28 am
Sen. Hawley, R-Mo, says he will object during Electoral College certification process

Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri said Wednesday that he will object during the Electoral College certification process on Jan. 6.

“Following both the 2004 and 2016 elections, Democrats in Congress objected during the certification of electoral votes in order to raise concerns about election integrity. They were praised by Democratic leadership and the media when they did. And they were entitled to do so. But now those of us concerned about the integrity of this election are entitled to do the same,” Hawley said in a statement.

Hawley alleged that Pennsylvania failed to follow state election laws, though he did not cite any specifics. He also accused big tech companies of interfering in the election, also without evidence.

Dec 30, 11:05 am
Biden announces nominees for deputy secretary of defense, under secretary of defense for policy

The president-elect announced Wednesday that he was nominating Kathleen Hicks as the deputy secretary of defense and Colin Kahl as the under secretary of defense for policy.

“These respected, accomplished civilian leaders will help lead the Department of Defense with integrity and resolve, safeguard the lives and interests of the American people, and ensure that we fulfill our most sacred obligation: to equip and protect those who serve our country, and to care for them and their families both during and after their service,” Biden said in a statement. “Dr. Kath Hicks and Dr. Colin Kahl have the broad experience and crisis-tested judgment necessary to help tackle the litany of challenges we face today, and all those we may confront tomorrow.”
 
Hicks currently leads the Biden-Harris Transition’s Defense Agency Review Team and is the senior vice president and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. During the Obama-Biden Administration, she served as deputy under secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces and was confirmed by the Senate to serve as principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy.

Kahl is currently a co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, a Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a professor of political science at Stanford University.

Dec 30, 9:50 am
Biden, Harris to visit Georgia ahead of Senate runoffs

Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will travel to Georgia to campaign on behalf of Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock starting this weekend.

Harris will be in Savannah on Sunday and Biden will visit Atlanta on Monday, the eve of the Tuesday runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate.

This is Biden and Harris’ second trip to Georgia ahead of the runoff. Biden will also be in the Peach State at the same time as Trump, who will be holding a rally on the same day to support Republican candidates Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

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