• Trump Once Again Bullies Georgia Governor to Overturn Election Results—This Time by Phone

    President Donald Trump greets Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife Marty during a campaign stop in September.Evan Vucci/AP

    The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump placed a personal phone call to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) this morning to pressure him into overturning his state’s election results. Joe Biden was the victor of the presidential race in Georgia, a fact the president has raged against for a month, with Kemp in particular becoming the focus of Trump’s ire for not doing more to support the president’s deranged claims of widespread voter fraud.

    Georgia certified results on November 20 with backing from Kemp and election officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (who is also a Republican.) Pro-Trump lawyers have smeared Kemp as a foreign agent working for China, while Raffensberger and is family have endured death threats.

    Kemp declined Trump’s schemes, according to the Post, which included trying to persuade the governor to somehow force the state legislature to throw out the results and pick pro-Trump electors to subvert Georgia’s will in the Electoral College count. According to the Post:

    Trump pressed Kemp to call a special session of the state legislature to get lawmakers to override the results and appoint electors that would back him, according to a person familiar with the conversation. He also asked the governor to demand an audit of signatures on mail ballots, something Kemp has previously noted he has no power to do… Kemp has also said that he will not call for a special session of the legislature.

    Trump phoned Kemp directly just hours before he’s set to appear at a Georgia rally to campaign for Republicans competing in high profile run-off elections next month, contests that could decide the balance of power in the Senate.

  • The Washington Post Asked Every Congressional Republican if Biden Won. Damn, This Is Depressing.

    Jacquelyn Martin/AP

    This week, my colleague Kevin Drum asked the question on everyone’s mind: “How long will it be until Donald Trump goes away?” Trump, Kevin had thought, “was a blip, not a harbinger of things to come.” But Kevin’s optimism is slipping. Trump’s aggressive post-election fundraising campaign, he worries, “suggests pretty strongly that Trump plans to stay very, very active.”

    Whatever this torrent of cash reveals about Trump’s next moves, and his plans for the next four years, one thing is sure: He has GOP support. Over a month after the election, Trump retains an iron grip on congressional Republicans, who remain unwilling or unable to say publicly what we all know: Joe Biden will be the president on January 20, 2021. On Saturday, the Washington Post published the results of a survey asking every Republican in the House and Senate if they believed Biden won, among other questions. The numbers are predictably depressing.

    Just 25 respondents acknowledged Trump’s defeat, while two said Trump won outright. The vast bulk of them—222 Republicans, or 90 percent—wouldn’t say. Of that, more than 70 percent simply didn’t respond—content, for now, to allow Trump to continue his reckless attempt to subvert the election in court, while spreading outrageous lies about a widespread voter fraud conspiracy.

    Read the full Washington Post report here.

  • Pro-Trump Lawyers Say GOP Governor in Georgia Is a Chinese Agent and Blame George Soros

    Rod Lamkey/Zuma

    It’s been nearly a month since Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election by major media outlets and more than a week since the General Services Administration informed the president-elect that his team could start the transition process. But none of that has had any effect on the lawyers fighting on behalf of Donald Trump to overturn the election results in key swing states.

    In a particularly deranged and conspiracy-filled press conference held in Georgia on Wednesday by attorney Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, a former member of Trump’s legal team, the two repeatedly affirmed, without citing any evidence, that Trump not only won Georgia but most other states, including California. They wildly described a massive (and fictitious) international conspiracy involving Dominion voting systems, China, George Soros, the Deep State, and the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez collaborating to steal the election from the president. 

    “It’s 1776 in America again,” Wood, an attorney and Trump ally who is currently representing Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who shot killed unarmed protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shouted with a preacher’s conviction to the crowd gathered in a North Atlanta suburb. He then shouted for George Soros to “get out of our country,” adding “you’re not going to sell our votes to China!” Powell falsely claimed that Georgia’s election was stolen from the president because voting machines manufactured by Dominion Voting systems were rigged to give Biden more votes. She added, without any evidence, that the recount of Georgia’s votes was also a sham and that both state and local election officials have been physically destroying ballots marked for Trump in order to get rid of evidence of voter fraud. Georgia certified its votes on November 20 with backing of its Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and election officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is also a Republican. Both Wood and Powell called for Kemp and Raffensberger to resign as the crowd chanted for them to be locked up, with Wood bizarrely claiming that Kemp is a foreign agent working on behalf of China. Raffensberger, along with his wife, has received death threats in recent days. 

    But the November 3 election wasn’t the only one they called a sham. Both Wood and Powell also falsely claimed that the upcoming runoffs for Georgia’s two US Senate seats were currently being rigged and called on supporters at the rally to not vote. “I would encourage all Georgians to make it known that you will not vote at all unless your vote is secure,” Powell said. “There should not be a runoff. Certainly not on Dominion machines.”

    This would all be extremely laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous. The people enabling Trump’s denial of reality—that he won the 2020 election by a landslide and that a rigged election is keeping him from serving a second term—are now inciting violence against people who are just doing their job. And the president himself is eating it up: In a lengthy, meandering  speech posted onto his Facebook page Wednesday afternoon , Trump said that, “as president I have no higher duty than to defend the laws of the Constitution of the United States, that is why I am determined to protect our election system, which is now under coordinated assault and siege.” A statement par for course for a president who has spent four years trying to warp reality with disinformation

  • “It’s All Gone Too Far”: A Georgia Election Official Is Fed Up With Violent Threats

    Jessica McGowan/Getty

    Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and a self-proclaimed conservative, is fed up with President Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine the election results—and his refusal to condemn harassment toward election officials.

    “It’s all gone too far,” Sterling said at a Tuesday press conference at which he addressed Trump directly.

    “Stop inspiring people to step up and commit potential acts of violence,” he said to the outgoing president. “Someone’s gonna get hurt. Someone’s gonna get shot. Someone’s gonna get killed. And it’s not right.”

    Georgia has been at the middle of a storm of baseless accusations of voter fraud over the past few weeks. In just the past several days, Trump has tweeted attacks on the state’s Republican governor and called the secretary of state, whom he once praised, an “enemy of the people.”

    At the press conference Tuesday, Sterling expressed his anger at the increasingly violent rhetoric used against election workers, including a Trump campaign attorney’s comment that former cybersecurity official Chris Krebs should be “shot.” The straw that broke the camel’s back, Sterling said, was when “a 20-something tech in Gwinnett County today” had “death threats and a noose put out saying he should be hung for treason because he was transferring a report on batches from EMS to a county computer so he could read it.”

    Sterling said that he encourages people to exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech and protest, but that he draws the line at death threats and intimidation.

    “Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language,” he continued. “This has to stop. We need you to step up, and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.”

    Watch the video below:

  • Attorney General Bill Barr Says There’s No Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud

    Shane T. McCoy/Zuma

    Attorney General Bill Barr told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would influence the outcome of the 2020 election, undercutting Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the election had somehow been rigged against him.

    Barr himself stoked fears of voter fraud in the days leading up to the election, joining Trump’s crusade against mail-in ballots and allowing prosecutors to take part in voter fraud investigations that could undermine public faith in the election system and decrease turnout. As my colleague Pema Levy wrote in October:

    In September, Attorney General Bill Barr informed President Donald Trump that nine mail-in military ballots, seven of them cast for Trump, were discarded at an election office in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The White House press secretary told reporters that “ballots for the president” had been “cast aside.” Trump hyped it in an interview on Fox News Radio, prompting the local US attorney investigating the incident to put out a (inaccurate, then corrected) statement about the investigation. The situation quickly went viral, generating hype about fraud that the president and his campaign have been trying to gin up for months (actually, years).

    While still under investigation, there is no evidence of malfeasance in Pennsylvania. It appears a single contract worker at the election office had tossed the ballots in a Republican-controlled county, and that election officials had quickly alerted authorities, appropriately handling the situation. Yet Trump and the Justice Department had successfully generated news about voter fraud, a central strategy as the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee fight court battles to make it harder to vote by mail and prepare to contest absentee ballots after the election. The wrongdoing was on the part of the Trump administration.

    So, there you have it: Bill Barr, one of the biggest promoters of the voting fraud myth, admits that it didn’t happen.

  • The Trump Team’s Descent Into Madness Continues

    Tasos Katopodis/Getty

    More than three weeks after major media outlets declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election and a week after the General Services Administration allowed the transition to begin taking place, Donald Trump still hasn’t conceded. Instead, he and his allies have amped up their increasingly extreme rhetoric and have shown no indication of bowing down to reality.

    Take, for example, Trump campaign attorney Joe diGenova, who on Monday called for Chris Krebs—the former cybersecurity official whom Trump axed after Krebs publicly rejected the president’s conspiracy theories about voter fraud—to be “taken out at dawn and shot.”

    Or take Sidney Powell—the former Trump legal team member, current conspiracy theorist, and proprietor of an absolutely unhinged Twitter account. On Monday, she retweeted a post calling on Trump to suspend the Electoral College vote and subsequent presidential inauguration and set up military tribunals to investigate the 2020 election. Trump’s campaign has distanced itself from Powell, but she’s still a frequent contributor to Fox Business and has more than a million followers on Twitter.

    Meanwhile, Trump continues to use his favorite social media platform to post lies about the election, only for Twitter to plaster them with misinformation warning labels. On Tuesday, after falsely claiming that the election results in Nevada and Michigan were incorrect, Trump set his sights on Georgia, which will hold two US Senate run-off elections that will determine the balance of power in the upper chamber. “You allowed your state to be scammed,” Trump wrote, tagging Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican. “We must check signatures and count signed envelopes against ballots. Then call off election. It won’t be needed. We will all WIN!”

    Trump was presumably suggesting that by throwing out enough Democratic ballots, Republican officials could push GOP Sen. David Perdue over the 50-percent threshold he’d need to avoid a runoff against his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff. (A Libertarian candidate winnowed Perdue’s share of the votes down to 49.7 percent, and in Georgia, a candidate needs a majority to win.) But even if Trump’s claims of a scam were true, there would still be a Georgia runoff in the special election between Democrat Raphael Warnock and the state’s other incumbent GOP senator, Kelly Loeffler. It seems likely that, at least until the Electoral College meets on December 14, Trump and his team are going to continue grasping at straws.

  • Biden Team Can Begin Transition Process, GSA Head Finally Says

    Chris Kleponis/CNP/Zuma

    The General Services Administration informed President-elect Joe Biden that his team could begin the formal presidential transition process Monday afternoon, according to a letter obtained by CNN.

    It was clear long ago that Biden won the election. But Emily Murphy, head of the GSA, stalled on making funds available to help the transition along. Even as it became ever more obvious that President Trump’s outlandish lawsuits could not help him stop a defeat, she waited. Many speculated it was because of political pressure from Donald Trump, especially because Murphy reportedly began looking for her next gig. This led to a backlash summed up neatly by the Atlantic headline: “Why Won’t Emily Murphy Just Do Her Job?

    Today, she did. In a letter, she authorized the transition process.

    You can read it in full here:

    Still, in her letter, she cast herself as the victim, saying she was harassed. Murphy claimed Trump played no factor in the wait to authorize transition. “To be clear,” she wrote, “I did not receive any direction to delay my determination.”

    This is a bit hard to believe. Trump tweeted moments later that he is “recommending” Murphy to start the transition.

    Either way, we’re one step closer to a Biden presidency.

  • Michigan Democrats Are Taking a Stand Against Trump’s Campaign to Steal the State’s Vote

    AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

    Since Election Day, President Donald Trump and his lawyers have filed a torrent of legal challenges in an attempt to overturn the election results in Michigan, where voters sided with President-elect Joe Biden, and despite the total lack of success (not to mention any evidence of fraud), they show no signs of giving up. But Michigan Democrats, who have largely stuck to parrying the Trump campaign’s futile efforts, have begun fighting back on their own terms.

    On Friday evening, for example, lawyers for the city of Detroit asked a federal judge to reprimand Trump’s attorneys for spreading “disinformation.” While attorneys are allowed to make controversial and long-shot arguments, most courts have rules that attorneys must also be honest and obey ethics rules, something Trump’s attorneys did not do, Detroit’s lawyers argue. Specifically, they are complaining about a filing made by the Trump campaign in which the president’s attorneys actually said they were dropping a lawsuit challenging Michigan’s elections; while that would be a win for Michigan Democrats, Trump’s attorneys wrote they were dropping the case because the Wayne County Board of Canvassers had “declined” to certify the election results for the county where Detroit is located. The issue, though, is that that’s not true—after initially deadlocking on the decision to certify, the board eventually voted 4-0 to certify.

    While Trump’s attorneys are welcome to drop their lawsuit, the city argues, “it does not allow them to use a Notice of Dismissal to spread disinformation.” Attorneys can face sanctions for violating the rules, but reportedly the city is only asking that the judge remove the incorrect information from the Trump campaign’s filings. 

    In a similar vein, attorneys for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C., federal court late on Friday, arguing that repeated attempts to spread misinformation about vote fraud—in an attempt to pressure public officials into not certifying the election results—constitutes illegal voter suppression. The plaintiffs in the case are three Black voters from Detroit and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization.

    Among other things, their lawsuit cites tweets from Trump that tried to cast doubt on the election results, as well as the invitation to visit the White House he extended to top Michigan GOP lawmakers, which was widely seen as an attempt to curry their favor and convince them to interfere with the vote certification process. 

    Four Michigan Republican lawmakers did visit the White House on Friday, but after leaving indicated they had no plans to involve themselves or try to change the way Michigan’s electoral votes will go. That said, the Washington Post reports that the state’s Democratic attorney general has begun considering whether she can file criminal charges against state and local officials who ignore the election results and try to help Trump flip the state. According to the Post, Dana Nessel, the state’s attorney general, has been talking with legal experts about whether officials who try to undermine the election results “may have violated any state laws prohibiting them from engaging in bribery, perjury and conspiracy.”

  • Big Cash Is Continuing to Flood Into the Georgia Runoffs that Will Determine Senate Control

    Georgia Democratic candidates for US Senate Raphael Warnock, left, and Jon Ossoff, right, during a campaign rally on Nov. 15, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. Brynn Anderson/AP

    Fueled by new tools to easily funnel grassroots dollars to candidates, as well as what’s become known as “fundraging,” the 2020 election was already historically expensive—the federal election alone likely cost near $14 billion—and it’s far from over. Since election night, a renewed battle has been raging in Georgia where both Senate seats are up for a runoff in January because no candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote, and donors are rushing in with wallets wide open. An estimate on Friday by nonpartisan advertising analysis firm AdImpact found that at least $206 million has been spent on political media between the primary and general elections and now the runoffs. And that might be lower than the true number.

    On top of the $206 million in pre-November 3 spending, AdImpact estimates that since November 6—when the Senate race between incumbent Republican David Perdue and his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff was officially sent to a runoff—advertisers have spent at least $80.1 million on the race (and that apparently doesn’t count money flowing to the other runoff race, between Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock, which is a special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Republican Johnny Isakson). Democrats have put in slightly more during this period—$42.9 million to $37.2 million. Those sums include spending by the campaigns and major party groups, but AdImpact found that just the Perdue and Ossoff campaigns have already pre-booked another $67 million in spending by January 5—a number which can rise.

    Still, the total spending is likely much higher, as these estimates don’t reflect the money that is being spent on media by outside groups—super-PACs and dark-money groups that don’t disclose their donors—which will likely add tens of millions of dollars more. In the Perdue and Ossoff race, about $113 million has been spent by outside groups (that includes before and after November 3‚ according to OpenSecrets.org). While Democrats seem to hold the edge in the spending by campaigns and by affiliated party groups (like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and its Republican counterpart), the outside spending has favored Perdue, with outside groups spending at least $62 million to barrage Ossoff’s campaign with negative ads. Though outside groups favoring Ossoff haven’t been shy, dropping at least $34.2 million attacking Perdue, they are clearly outgunned for the moment. 

  • Trump Just Fired a Well-Respected Election Security Official for Disagreeing With Him

    Christopher Krebs, director of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 14, 2019. Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA Press

    President Donald Trump fired one of the US government’s most senior officials responsible for cybersecurity and election security in a Tuesday night tweet—a move that’s been widely expected for days, as the official, Chris Krebs, led the effort to loudly debunk some of the president’s most outlandish claims about election irregularities after Trump’s Nov. 3 loss.

    Trump appointed Krebs, a former Microsoft executive, as the inaugural director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in 2018, designating the agency as the focal point for government cybersecurity issues. Election security was a major focus for Krebs and his team over the past two years, and the work largely managed to fly under the radar of a president who is hyper-sensitive to any discussion or action related to election security, for fear that the subject draws focus to the Russian election interference operations in 2016.

    That changed recently as Krebs and other agency officials became more vocal in swatting down inane election-related conspiracy theories and defending the integrity of the November election. A rumor control page from CISA told readers that no, dead people were not, in fact, casting ballots, and the fact that results aren’t available on election night does not make them fraudulent. As noted by Politico, Krebs’ Twitter account was more direct in its rebuttals of election-rigging claims from the president and his allies.

    On November 12, CISA and a group that includes secretaries of state, election directors, and election equipment vendors, issued a statement saying the “November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” and added that “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” This of course was in direct conflict with the president’s baseless and plentiful claims of widespread election fraud. 

    It’s probably no surprise then that in firing Krebs, Trump explicitly referenced this statement, claiming it was “highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud – including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, ‘glitches’ in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more.” 

    A spokesperson for the agency did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night. Shortly after the president’s tweet, Krebs tweeted from his personal account:

    Krebs’ firing was quickly followed by strong reaction from those who watch the election security space. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), one of the Senate’s most active members on election security matters, called the firing a “gut punch to our democracy.” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a longtime election security advocate, tweeted thatTrump fired a government official for telling the truth so he can accelerate his lying about the election.” Last week, when Reuters initially reported that Krebs’ job was in jeopardy, Wyden tweeted that Trump was “preparing to spread lies about the election from a government agency.” Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, called the firing “pathetic, but sadly predictable.”

    Krebs and his team got a lot of credit for their nonpartisan approach to election security coordination between states and local jurisdictions, which actually run elections, and the federal government.

    “It is disheartening that in the dwindling days of this presidency, in the midst of a global pandemic that is surging rather than abating, that the outgoing president is using his time to dismantle government agencies and attack dedicated public servants,” Tammy Patrick, a longtime election administration and security expert, told Mother Jones Tuesday. “The totality of what we are seeing, not just this firing, is dangerous and continues erode our democratic norms. Those who sit idly by and enable this behavior are culpable.”

  • The Trump Official Who Hasn’t “Ascertained” Biden Won the Election Is Looking for a New Job

    President-elect Joe Biden still hasn’t been recognized as the election winner by the General Services Administration because the administrator, Emily Murphy, has not “ascertained” that he won the election.

    Biden did win. The race was called over a week ago. But until Murphy and the GSA certify the win—as Walter M. Shaub Jr. writes in the New York Review of Books—Biden is held back from receiving “$6.3 million dollars to the team, which is funded by public and private money; a loan of expanded federal office space and equipment; access to government agencies that will begin sharing information and records about ongoing activities, plans and vulnerabilities; national security briefings for the president; and other support.”

    That could, you’d think, be helpful for a president walking into office as he deals with a massive economic crisis and a deadly pandemic. Even the most callous partisan should realize that. But Murphy has not budged. What makes her lack of action even scummier is that, as ABC News reported, Murphy seems to have personally ascertained that the Trump administration is indeed coming to an end:

    Emily Murphy, head of the GSA, recently sent that message to an associate inquiring about employment opportunities in 2021, a move that some in Washington interpreted as at least tacitly acknowledging that the current administration soon will be gone.

    Got it? When it helps Republicans, Biden won. But when it helps Biden—and the country—get ready to do the job, let Trump keep ranting.

    Congressional Democrats are none too pleased:

    Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., a senior member of the House Oversight Committee, insisted that Murphy reaching out privately about future employment opportunities “exposes the hypocrisy” of the Trump administration’s position.

    “Here’s somebody who refuses to sign the letter of transition but is self-dealing at the same time,” he told ABC News. “That’s a de facto recognition that there’s an incoming administration, and it’s not called Trump—it’s called Biden.”

    President-elect Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States in 65 days.

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  • Donald Trump Wants You to Know That He Definitely Did Not Just Concede the Election

    Donald Trump, totally not conceding.Evan Vucci/AP

    For a brief time Sunday morning, Donald Trump appeared to accept reality. Nearly eight days after every major media outlet had declared Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election, Trump took to Twitter and stated that Biden had “won” the race.

    Of course, Trump couldn’t bring himself to admit that Biden had won because the former VP got more votes in enough states to earn a decisive Electoral College majority. Instead, Trump falsely claimed the election had been “Rigged” and attributed Biden’s victory to an array of bogus conspiracy theories. And he did so while promoting a video from Fox News’ Jesse Watters, who told viewers he has a “gut feeling” that the election was fraudulent. “It’s like a feeling a parent gets when something happens to their child when they aren’t there,” Watters said. “You just know it.”

    But still, there it was, clearly stated on the president’s favorite media platform: Biden won.

    And after a week in which Trump and his team had launched an all-out effort to steal the election, this was big news. On NBC’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd reported that Trump’s tweet appeared to be the “beginning of a concession process” and asked Biden’s incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, for his reaction.

    Klain called Trump’s tweet “a further confirmation of the reality that Joe Biden won the election” and added that “if the president’s prepared to begin to recognize that reality, that’s positive.”

    Alas, Trump is not actually prepared to recognize that reality. Clearly angered by the reaction to his words, the current president issued more tweets. “I concede NOTHING!” he declared. “We have a long way to go.”

  • Joe Biden Wins Georgia, Donald Trump Wins North Carolina

    The final results of the presidential election have been called: President Trump won North Carolina, and President-elect Biden won Georgia, turning the state blue for the first time in 28 years.

    The latest results, including Biden’s win in Arizona, give him 306 Electoral College votes, 74 more than Trump’s 232 and well over the 270 needed to win. Biden’s popular-vote lead has grown to nearly 5.4 million, according to the Cook Political Report. (Georgia is currently undergoing an audit of its results, but election officials say it’s unlikely to change the final outcome.)

    Despite Biden’s decisive victory in both measures of the vote, Trump has refused to concede the election. While his legal efforts to throw out votes have failed to gain traction, his refusal to include Biden in intelligence briefings—among other acts of denial of his defeat—has led many Americans to wonder whether a coup is imminent. (The answer, according to the very smart people my colleague Jacob Rosenberg asked, is no.)

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  • The White House Just Can’t Stop Holding Superspreader Events

    It seems like top Republicans are living on a completely different plane of reality than the rest of us.

    They didn’t learn from the Amy Coney Barrett nomination party that potentially infected the president himself. Instead, on election night, they packed into the White House’s East Room, sans masks, to watch the results roll in. Now, Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows; housing secretary and brain surgeon Ben Carson; political director Brian Jack; and senior adviser Corey Lewandowski all have COVID.

    This is the same virus that killed Herman Cain and sent former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the ICU for a week. As Dave Chappelle mused in his very funny SNL monologue this weekend, “What kind of man makes sure he’s okay while his friends fight for their lives and die?” Answer: “A white man.”

    Where’s the lie?

    This post was brought to you by the Mother Jones Daily newsletter, which hits inboxes every weekday and is written by Ben Dreyfuss and Abigail Weinberg. It regularly features guest contributions by our much smarter colleagues. Sign up for it here.

  • Biden Now Leads the Popular Vote by More Than 5 Million

    Cory Clark/NurPhoto/Zuma

    President-elect Joe Biden’s popular vote lead over President Trump has grown to 5.29 million, according to the Cook Political Report.

    Vote counting is still underway, but Biden thus far leads the popular vote contest by 3.4 percentage points. The former vice president currently has at least 279 electoral votes—more than the 270 needed for victory. With North Carolina likely to go to Trump and Biden leading in Georgia and Arizona (some outlets have already called Arizona for Biden), Biden could see his total grow to 306 electoral votes.

    Biden’s wide margins of victory in both methods of counting renders Trump’s claims of having been reelected particularly ridiculous. And while Biden ultimately won a majority of electoral votes, the close contests in key swing states have further emphasized the advantage that Republicans have in the Electoral College—and have fueled calls for getting rid of that system altogether.

  • “It’s an Embarrassment”: Biden Says Trump’s Refusal to Concede Won’t Stand in His Way

    Carolyn Kaster/AP

    President Trump has refused to concede the election, which, as things currently stand, he’s losing by nearly 4.7 million popular votes and 65 electoral votes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won’t accept the election results until the Electoral College meets next month and thinks Trump is justified in trying to sue his way to victory. Most alarmingly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

    President-elect Joe Biden is unfazed. At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, reporters hammered the former vice president with questions about how he would handle Republicans’ refusal to cooperate with the transition. Biden said it didn’t matter; the transition was already underway.

    “I’m confident that the fact that they’re not willing to acknowledge we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning and what we’re able to do between now and January 20,” he said. As for McConnell’s allegiance to Trump? “I think that the whole Republican Party has been put in a position, with a few notable exceptions, of being mildly intimidated by the sitting president.”

    Still, the White House has showed no sign of standing down, going so far as to begin preparing a budget for the next fiscal year, even though Trump won’t be in office in February, when the budget proposal is set to be issued. Biden refuses to take such gestures seriously.

    “I just think it’s an embarrassment,” he said of Trump’s refusal to concede. “I know from my discussions with foreign leaders thus far that they are hopeful that the United States’ democratic institutions are viewed once again as strong and enduring, but I think at the end of the day, it’s all going to come to fruition on January 20.”

  • Mitch McConnell Won’t Accept That Biden Won the Election

    Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Zuma

    On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused in a speech to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden had won the election, echoing President Trump’s suggestion that voter fraud—which is so rare as to barely exist—delegitimized the former vice president’s victory.

    “President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” McConnell said in a statement on the Senate floor. But so far, the “allegations of irregularities” lack any evidence. They are so off-base that even one Fox News host refused to air them.

    Trump’s attempts at suing his way to victory are unlikely to work. Biden won both the popular vote and the Electoral College by large enough margins that even the alleged fraud is unlikely to make up the deficit. Still, McConnell is sticking by Trump’s side. His unblinking deference to Trump not only strokes the president’s ego—it allows for a scenario in which Trump could refuse to leave the White House even if he lost, potentially endangering the sanctity of the United States’ democratic process.

    During the Watergate scandal, when a trio of Republicans—House Minority Leader John Rhodes, Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, and Senator Barry Goldwater—told Richard Nixon that he was certain to be impeached, he resigned the next day. Today, conversely, a sizable portion of Republican leadership refuses to accept reality. And rather than packing his bags, Trump is out planning rallies.

  • Joe Biden Won. Now What?

    The most excruciating week in recent memory came to a climactic end on Saturday with Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump. The city streets that four years ago teemed with protesters denouncing the election of Trump over Hillary Clinton now came alive with masked dancers, celebrating a potential return to political normalcy during an extremely abnormal time.

    Joe Biden will take office on January 20. What happens until then?

    President Trump, who refuses to concede, will retain his power for a little more than two months. He’s already fired Defense Secretary Mike Esper and tweeted so many false accusations of election fraud that I haven’t bothered to count how many times the social media site has found it in everybody’s best interest to censor them. He has half a billion dollars of debt coming due in the next few years, and he won’t have the office of the presidency to protect him from any legal repercussions of his shady business dealings. (The New Yorker has a good article about how screwed he is.) But until Biden is sworn in, we’ll have to contend with whatever stunts the lame-duck Trump gets it in his mind to pull.

    And we’ll have to deal with an issue not easily redressed by rejoining the Paris agreement or packing the Supreme Court or defunding the police: the coronavirus pandemic, which in the United States is approaching a third peak far higher than those of the spring and summer. Early data from Pfizer suggests that its trial vaccine could be more than 90 percent effective—and stocks have consequently soared—but the vaccine is still a long way from being fully approved, and even then, governments and health departments will have to figure out how to distribute it.

    It’s going to be a long, strange winter tainted by a lot of death. But at the very least—if we make it to the end of January—we’ll get a brand-new president. Still an old white guy, sure, but one capable of pretending to be normal. That’s enough for me, for now.

    This post was brought to you by the Mother Jones Daily newsletter, which hits inboxes every weekday and is written by Ben Dreyfuss and Abigail Weinberg. It regularly features guest contributions by our much smarter colleagues. Sign up for it here.

  • Obama Congratulates Biden-Harris on “Historic and Decisive Victory”

    Shortly after news organizations projected that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won enough states to clinch the 2020 presidential election, former President Barack Obama congratulated his vice president and the vice president–to–be on their “historic and decisive victory.”

    Read his full statement:

    I could not be prouder to congratulate our next President, Joe Biden, and our next First Lady, Jill Biden.

    I also couldn’t be prouder to congratulate Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff for Kamala’s groundbreaking election as our next Vice President.

    In this election, under circumstances never experienced, Americans turned out in numbers never seen. And once every vote is counted, President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris will have won a historic and decisive victory.

    We’re fortunate that Joe’s got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way. Because when he walks into the White House in January, he’ll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has – a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril.

    I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote. So I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support. The election results at every level show that the country remains deeply and bitterly divided. It will be up to not just Joe and Kamala, but each of us, to do our part – to reach out beyond our comfort zone, to listen to others, to lower the temperature and find some common ground from which to move forward, all of us remembering that we are one nation, under God.

    Finally, I want to thank everyone who worked, organized, and volunteered for the Biden campaign, every American who got involved in their own way, and everybody who voted for the first time. Your efforts made a difference. Enjoy this moment. Then stay engaged. I know it can be exhausting. But for this democracy to endure, it requires our active citizenship and sustained focus on the issues – not just in an election season, but all the days in between.

    Our democracy needs all of us more than ever. And Michelle and I look forward to supporting our next President and First Lady however we can.

  • Joe Biden Just Won Pennsylvania—and the Presidency

    Mother Jones illustration; Bebeto Matthews/AP; Luis Santana/Tampa Bay Times/AP

    Former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to win the state of Pennsylvania, according to multiple news outlets, securing his victory over Donald Trump as the 46th president of the United States.

    Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes bring Biden’s Electoral College total up to 273, more than the 270 needed to win the presidency—even as Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, and Alaska are still counting ballots. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s loss in Pennsylvania marked a turning point at which it became clear that Trump would win the presidency. Democrats attribute Biden’s ability to flip the state to turnout among Black voters in cities like Philadelphia and increased support from working-class white voters in places like Scranton, Biden’s birthplace.

    This is a breaking news story and will be updated.