Trump asked for options for attacking Iran last week, but held off - source
> JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a secret trip to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, according to a Middle Eastern intelligence official, a watershed visit in the historically hostile relations between the two countries.
The meeting was initially reported by Israeli media and confirmed by the intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.
“Only a small circle knew about the meeting,” the official said. “It was kept in a very small circle in Israel. Neither the foreign minister nor the defense minister knew about this.”
According to the Israeli publication Ynet, Netanyahu spent a few hours late Sunday in the Saudi coastal city of Neom, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Netanyahu reportedly traveled with Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, a key figure in emerging efforts to broker diplomatic relations with the kingdom.
Dear Mr. Biden: As the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, I have the ability under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, as amended, to make certain post-election resources and services available to assist in the event of a presidential transition. See 3 U.S.C. 102 note (the "Act"). I take this role seriously and, because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, I am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you.
I have dedicated much of my adult life to public service, and I have always strived to do what is right. Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official including those who work at the White House or GSA-with regard to the substance or timing of my decision. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination. I did, however, receive threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely. Even in the face of thousands of threats, I always remained committed to upholding the law.
Contrary to media reports and insinuations, my decision was not made out of fear or favoritism. Instead, I strongly believe that the statute requires that the GSA Administrator ascertain, not impose, the apparent president-elect. Unfortunately, the statute provides no procedures or standards for this process, so I looked to precedent from prior elections involving legal challenges and incomplete counts. GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes and recounts, nor does it determine whether such proceedings are reasonable or justified. These are issues that the Constitution, federal laws, and state laws leave to the election certification process and decisions by courts of competent jurisdiction. I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process. I strongly urge Congress to consider amendments to the Act.
As you know, the GSA Administrator does not pick or certify the winner of a presidential election. Instead, the GSA Administrator's role under the Act is extremely narrow: to make resources and services available in connection with a presidential transition. As stated, because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, I have determined that you may access the post-election resources and services described in Section 3 of the Act upon request. The actual winner of the presidential election will be determined by the electoral process detailed in the Constitution.
Section 7 of the Act and Public Law 116-159, dated October 1., 2020, which provides continuing appropriations until December 11, 2020, makes $6,300,000 available to you to carry out the provisions of Section 3 of the Act. In addition, $1,000,000 is authorized, pursuant to Public Law 116-159, to provide appointee orientation sessions and a transition directory. I remind you that Section 6 of the Act imposes reporting requirements on you as a condition for receiving services and funds from GSA. If there is anything we can do to assist you, please contact Ms. Mary D. Gibert, the Federal Transition Coordinator.
The presidential @POTUS Twitter handle will automatically transfer to President-elect Joe Biden the moment he’s sworn in at noon on Inauguration Day — whether or not President Donald Trump has conceded, the company confirmed to POLITICO on Friday.
Same goes for @whitehouse, @VP, @FLOTUS, and a handful other official accounts associated with the presidency.
“Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021,” Twitter spokesperson Nick Pacilio said in an email. “As we did for the presidential transition in 2017, this process is being done in close consultation with the National Archives and Records Administration.”
“He’s our president-elect. All presidents have a right to their Cabinet,” Murkowski said. “Our job, our role is to make sure that he selects folks that are … within the mainstream. And are good, qualified credible candidates. And if he does that, sure, I am going to work with him.”
And it might be in the GOP’s best interest not to derail Biden’s Cabinet picks in the first days of his presidency. Republicans will have more than a half-dozen competitive Senate seats in play in 2022 and at best a very narrow majority next year.
“It depends who they nominate. I always worked with the Obama administration. I supported Loretta Lynch. Ask my Republican colleagues,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is up for reelection. “We want to make sure they’re good people. But we’ll give them a fair shake.”
“It will just require negotiation," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a top McConnell ally. “If they want the Cabinet confirmed, they would be well advised to not nominate radical progressives and people that would have difficulty.”
SERVICES AND FACILITIES AUTHORIZED TO BE PROVIDED TO FORMER PRESIDENTS AND FORMER VICE PRESIDENTS
Sec. 4. The Administrator is authorized to provide, upon request, to each former President and each former Vice President, for a period not to exceed six months from the date of the expiration of his term of office as President or Vice President, for use in connection with winding up the affairs of his office, necessary services and facilities of the same general character as authorized by this act to be provided to Presidents-elect and Vice Presidents-elect [see Sec. 3 (a) in this PDF].
Any person appointed or detailed to serve a former President or former Vice President under authority of this section shall be appointed or detailed in accordance with, and shall be subject to, all of the provisions of section 3 of this Act applicable to persons appointed or detailed under authority of that section. The provisions of the Act of August 25, 1958 (72 Stat. 838 3; U.S.C. 102, note), other than subsections (a) and (e) shall not become effective with respect to a former President until six months after the expiration of his term of office as President.
The General Services Administration has declared president-elect Joe Biden the apparent winner of the US election, clearing the way for the formal transition from Donald Trump’s administration to begin after weeks of delay.
The GSA said on Monday that it had determined that Biden was the winner of the 3 November race after weeks of Trump refusing to concede and violating the traditions of the transition of power at the White House.
Trump said on Twitter [link] he had directed his team to cooperate on the transition, but vowed to continue fighting the election results, despite the lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud. Hours later, he said [link]: “Will never concede to fake ballots & ‘Dominion’.”
After Murphy’s letter was made public, Trump tweeted [link], “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”
The Trump legal team dismissed the certification as “simply a procedural step” and insisted it would fight on....
“I strongly believe that the statute requires that the GSA Administrator ascertain, not impose, the apparent president-elect. […] I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process.”
“As you know, the GSA Administrator does not pick or certify the winner of a presidential election. Instead, the GSA Administrator’s role under the Act is extremely narrow: to make resources and services available in connection with a presidential transition […] The actual winner of the presidential election will be determined by the electoral process detailed in the Constitution.”
Moniz is on the board of one of the most polluting power companies in America, the Georgia-based Southern Company.
His firm Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) conducted research paid for by Southern California Gas (SoCalGas), which a state consumer advocate has since argued should be fined for using customer money to oppose climate progress.
Moniz presented the results at an event sponsored by Stanford University’s Natural Gas Initiative, which SoCalGas and other fossil fuel companies help fund as affiliate members. The initiative offers corporate members access to research “from inception to outcome”.
EFI also partnered with Stanford researchers on a report that explored opportunities to capture climate emissions from fossil fuel operations. One of the funders was the industry group the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative.
EFI’s advisory board is chaired by the former chief executive of British oil company BP, although it also includes distinguished climate experts and environmentalists.
I initially worried about him launching nukes, and that's still possible, but I wonder if he's gonna try to 1812 the White House the Inauguration Eve. Order Jared, Ivanka, Don Jr & Eric to bring in some barrels of Kerosene.
YouTube has barred One America News Network from posting new videos for a week and stripped it of its ability to make money off existing content after the Trump-friendly channel uploaded a video promoting a phony cure for COVID-19, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi tells Axios.
Why it matters: YouTube has been criticized for allowing OANN to spread misinformation using its platform, particularly around coronavirus and the election. This marks the Google-owned service's first crackdown against OANN....
After graduating from Hunter College High School, Haines traveled to Japan for a year and enrolled in Kodokan, an elite judo institute in Tokyo. In 1988, Haines enrolled in the University of Chicago where she studied theoretical physics. While attending the University of Chicago, Haines worked repairing car engines at a mechanic shop in Hyde Park. In 1991 Haines took up flying lessons in New Jersey, where she met her future husband, David Davighi. She later graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in physics in 1992.
In 1992, Haines moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and enrolled as a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University. However, later that year, Haines dropped out and with her future husband purchased at an auction a bar in Fell's Point, Baltimore, which had been seized in a drug raid; they turned the location into an independent bookstore and café. She named the store Adrian's Book Cafe, after her late mother; Adrian's realistic oil paintings filled the store. The bookstore won City Paper's "Best Independent Bookstore" in 1997 and was known for having an unusual collection of literary offerings, local writers, erotica reading nights, and small press publications. Adrian's hosted a number of literary readings, including erotica readings, which became a media focus when she was appointed by President Obama to be the Deputy Director of the CIA.
In 2015 Haines was tasked with determining whether CIA personnel involved in the hacking of the computers of Senate staffers who were authoring the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture would be disciplined. Haines chose not to discipline them, overruling the CIA Inspector General.
During her years in Obama White House, Haines played a significant role working closely with John Brennan in determining administration policy on "targeted killings" by drones.
In 2018, Haines was an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump's controversial nomination of Gina Haspel to serve as CIA director.
Haines has consulted for a variety of for-profit entities with business interests related to American national security policy, including Palantir Technologies
...Biden has inherited a country on the precipice. Business as usual won't work this time. Many things will fundamentally have to change regardless of Biden's unofficial campaign slogan.
"As set forth below, the cities of Madison, Green Bay, Racine, Kenosha, and Milwaukee entered into agreements with a non-profit organization, the Center for Technology and Civic Life ("CTCL"), an organization funded with $350,000,000 by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, a well-known activist and Democratic partisan, to take millions of dollars from CTCL to conduct the November 3, 2020 election in violation of Wisconsin law."
Nine Republicans voted against naming a post office for Maya Angelou in Winston-Salem, NC.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump plans to travel to Pennsylvania on Wednesday for a meeting of state Republican lawmakers examining accusations of election impropriety, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Trump’s visit to Gettysburg for a hearing by the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee was not listed on the president’s public schedule. He is expected to appear alongside former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been leading a longshot legal effort in several states to reverse the results of the Nov. 3 election, the people said.
Mr. Giuliani’s efforts have gained little traction — and widespread derision — and the president’s appearance alongside his longtime private lawyer risks further tarnishing his legacy.
Wednesday’s event, which was reported earlier by CNN, is expected to include opening statements from the state senators as well as testimony from witnesses alleging fraud, in addition to a presentation from Mr. Giuliani.
“It’s in everyone’s interest to have a full vetting of election irregularities and fraud,” Mr. Giuliani said in a statement. “And the only way to do this is with public hearings, complete with witnesses, videos, pictures and other evidence of illegalities from the November 3rd election.”...
President Donald J. Trump is planning to fly to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday in an attempt to save his reputation, whatever is left of it, post-election 2020. He is expected to meet with a “handful” of Pennsylvania Republicans [*] to discuss the election results, which delivered him a loss roughly three weeks ago.
Katherine Faulders [ABC News, Twitter] reported that the “hearing” would take place at the Wyndham Hotel and that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, would be in attendance for what they are dubbing a Republican “Majority Policy Committee.”
“Hopefully their meeting won’t turn out the same way this one did at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping earlier this month.“
“I don’t get it,” the president said, venting confusion and frustration. “All these other Republicans, all over the country, they all win their races. And I’m the only guy that loses?”
...There have been conflicting reports late Tuesday and Wednesday morning about whether Trump would also be attending the meeting. A White House press pool report at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday said there were no public events listed on Trump's daily schedule and a White House official said there were no planned updates.
• State Sen. Dough Mastriano, R-Franklin County, who is not a member of the all-Republican committee, on Tuesday announced a “public hearing” featuring Giuliani...
• The event will be held today at the Wyndham Gettysburg hotel at 12:30 p.m.
• Mastriano’s office said the event will be livestreamed at policy.pasenategop.com [*].
...what is often overlooked is that, before 1820, perhaps three times as many enslaved Africans crossed the Atlantic as Europeans. This was the largest transoceanic migration of a people until that day, and it provided the Americas with a crucial labor force for their own economic development.
While there are no exact figures known, historians estimate that up to 50,000 slaves were illegally imported into the United States after 1808, mostly through Spanish Florida and Texas, before those states were admitted to the Union. However, South Carolina Governor Henry Middleton estimated in 1819 that 13,000 smuggled African slaves arrived every year..
In 1820, slave-trading became a capital offense with an amendment to the 1819 Act to Protect the Commerce of the United States and Punish the Crime of Piracy. A total of 74 cases of slaving were brought in the United States between 1837 and 1860, "but few captains had been convicted, and those had retrieved trifling sentences, which they had usually been able to avoid". Nathaniel Gordon, who was hanged in 1862, was the only person to be executed for illegal slave-trading in the United States.
In addition, after the 1808 abolition of the slave trade to the United States, many Americans continued to engage in the slave trade by transporting Africans to Cuba. From 1808 to 1860, almost one-third of all slave ships were either owned by American merchants, or were built and outfitted in American ports. It is possible that U.S. citizens "may have transported twice as many Africans to other countries such as Cuba and Brazil as they did to their own ports".
In 1860, some white men made a bet that they could smuggle a ship filled with slaves into the US. This was a crazy bet because the importation of slaves had been outlawed for 50 years.
They did it.
They brought 115 Africans into Mobile Bay and set the ship on fire.
The rise of liberal and philanthropic thought in the latter part of the eighteenth century accounts, of course, for no little of the growth of opposition to slavery and the slave trade; but it accounts for only a part of it. Other and dominant factors were the diminishing returns of the African slave trade itself, the bankruptcy of the West Indian sugar economy through the Haitian revolution, the interference of Napoleon and the competition of Spain. Without this pressure of economic forces, Parliament would not have yielded so easily to the abolition crusade. Moreover, new fields of investment and profit were being opened to Englishmen by the consolidation of the empire in India and by the acquisition of new spheres of influence in China and elsewhere. In Africa, British rule was actually strengthened by the anti-slavery crusade, for new territory was annexed and controlled under the aegis of emancipation. It would not be right to question for a moment the sincerity of Sharpe, Wilberforce, Buxton and their followers. But the moral force they represented would have met with greater resistance had it not been working along lines favorable to English investment and colonial profit.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may have been rigging our elections.... One of the founders of Smartmatic was in a very strange accident, in a small plane. Both engines gave way, and the plane fell from the sky. Interesting -- it was the sky over Caracas, Venezuela.
"Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither."
As to the limits of legal realism, while there is great force to various arguments that the distinction between law and politics is greatly exaggerated by conventional legal and political rhetoric, that distinction isn’t completely empty. You have to give even the most contemptible Federalist Society hacks something to work with. (I know the judge who wrote this opinion slightly, and he’s a smart cookie with barely concealed SCOTUS ambitions, so he’s not somebody who was ever going to do damage to his long term career prospects just to do Donald Trump a service). That the Trump campaign can’t even manage to begin to leap a bar that’s almost on the ground illustrates how outrageous all this litigation is, and why the lawyers involved in it should be sanctioned and shunned.
People NEED to stop assuming that judges appointed by Republicans are unqualified hacks. Are there some? Yes. Some of the nominees have been egregiously bad. But for the most part, Trump judges are judges. Committed to the law, & doing their best to follow it. Internalize that.
video: " ... I absolutely supported Trump especially in the last couple weeks because I thought he was the best vehicle to just keep breaking this thing so we can try to rebuild something good but I have never once said that I'm a republican ..."
“Twitter is sending out totally false ‘Trends’ that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world. They make it up, and only negative ‘stuff’,” the US president tweeted without providing evidence in the early hours of Friday morning.
Mr Trump did not say which trending topic upset him, but following Thursday’s press briefing, which saw him furiously assail a reporter from behind a surprisingly small desk, the hashtag #DiaperDon surged towards the top of Twitter’s trending list in the US and UK.
“For purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!” Mr Trump added, in reference to part of a 1996 law which protects websites from lawsuits over content posted by users. Any changes to these protections would fundamentally change how the internet works.
> The national security threat...
IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE (W) HOUSE!!!
What a pathetic human
> President Trump is threatening to veto legislation to fund the military as one of his final acts in office unless a widely supported, bipartisan provision to rename military bases honoring Confederate military leaders is removed, sources say. https://nbcnews.to/39on8nk
7:08 AM · Nov 28, 2020·Twitter Web App
Eric Garland @ericgarland:
Because one of the provisions of the omnibus bill will expose offshore Russian Mob money laundering. So of course he will. Has nothing to do with Robert E. Lee.
MOB IDIOTS FROM QUEENS DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR. BUT THEY CARE ABOUT HOW TO LAUNDER MOB CASH.
Thank you for coming to my Toastmasters talk.
> President Trump is threatening to veto legislation to fund the military as one of his final acts in office unless a widely supported, bipartisan provision to rename military bases honoring Confederate military leaders is removed, sources say. https://nbcnews.to/39on8nk
7:08 AM · Nov 28, 2020·Twitter Web App
BREAKING: PA Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit by Congressman Mike Kelly and candidate Sean Parnell attempting to invalidate PA's mail-in ballots. Cites how late this was filed as part of the reason they're throwing it out. Here's the final paragraph of Justice Wecht's concurrence:
"Having delayed this suit until two elections were conducted under Act 77's new, no-excuse mail-in voting system, Petitioners--several of whom participated in primary elections under this system without complaint---play a dangerous game at the expense of every Pennsylvania voter. Petitioners waived their opportunity to challenge Act 77 before the election, choosing instead to "lay by and gamble upon receiving a favorable decision of the electorate." Toney v. White, 488 F. 2d 310, 314 (5th Cir. 1973) (en banc). Unsatisfied with the results of that wager, they would not flip over the table, scattering to the shadows the votes of millions of Pennsylvanians. It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters. Courts should not decide elections when the will of the voters is clear."
It may well be that Germans have a special inclination to panic at specters from the past, and I admit that this alarmism annoys me at times. Yet watching President Trump’s “Stop the Steal” campaign since Election Day, I can’t help but see a parallel to one of the most dreadful episodes from Germany’s history.
One hundred years ago, amid the implosions of Imperial Germany, powerful conservatives who led the country into war refused to accept that they had lost. Their denial gave birth to arguably the most potent and disastrous political lie of the 20th century — the Dolchstosslegende, or stab-in-the-back myth.
Its core claim was that Imperial Germany never lost World War I. Defeat, its proponents said, was declared but not warranted. It was a conspiracy, a con, a capitulation — a grave betrayal that forever stained the nation. That the claim was palpably false didn’t matter. Among a sizable number of Germans, it stirred resentment, humiliation and anger. And the one figure who knew best how to exploit their frustration was Adolf Hitler.
Don’t get me wrong: This is not about comparing Mr. Trump to Hitler, which would be absurd. But the Dolchstosslegende provides a warning. It’s tempting to dismiss Mr. Trump’s irrational claim that the election was “rigged” as a laughable last convulsion of his reign or a cynical bid to heighten the market value for the TV personality he might once again intend to become, especially as he appears to be giving up on his effort to overturn the election result.
But that would be a grave error. Instead, the campaign should be seen as what it is: an attempt to elevate “They stole it” to the level of legend, perhaps seeding for the future social polarization and division on a scale America has never seen.
I get it, I vote as far left as is possible here. But last I checked, we got 14% of all the votes. Not enough to set the agenda, but enough have some negotiating power. Maybe that is not as obvious in a two party system, I don't know. But it is just as real.
Scott Atlas turned in his resignation on Monday from his role as a special adviser to President Trump on the coronavirus, capping off a controversial tenure in which he gained considerable influence while pushing questionable approaches to combatting the pandemic.
Washington (CNN)An attorney for the Trump campaign on Monday issued a call for violence against Chris Krebs, a former cybersecurity official who was unceremoniously ousted from his post by President Donald Trump after he rejected the President's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.
Joe diGenova, an attorney for Trump's campaign, said during an appearance on "The Howie Carr Show": "Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot."
A source familiar with Trump's election challenges said diGenova is believed to still be helping Rudy Giuliani, Trump's attorney, in challenging the presidential election results.
Past presidents including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have all done the same. But that tradition died with President Donald Trump
This is also a pretty good place to put a Republican appointee, since the job largely involves pursuing things that Republicans like. A Republican running the Labor Department, by contrast, or Treasury, would be considerably less acceptable to the Democratic base.
"Outraged Georgia election official decries threatening rhetoric against election staff: "Mr. President...senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop! We need you to step up—and if you're going to take a position of leadership, show some."
President Trump has discussed with advisers whether to grant pre-emptive pardons to his children, to his son-in-law and to his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, according to two people briefed on the matter.
Mr. Trump has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser....
...A self-pardon by the president is incompatible with the provision of Article II, Section 3 that “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” and the provision of Article II, Section 1 that “executive power shall be vested in a President.” (Professors Jed Shugarman and Ethan Leib have presented a different argument regarding self-pardons and the Take Care Clause, available here.)
When a president pardons another person for a federal crime, he is in fact executing the law—the law of the Constitution’s pardon power—despite the fact that he is relieving that person from the execution of the federal penal code. But when the president pardons himself, he assumes a power that is incompatible with, rather than a supplement to, the application of the federal criminal law. That is because as chief law enforcement officer, he could put himself beyond the applicable law simply by withholding his consent to his prosecution by the department he controls while he is president—and then assure himself that he could not be convicted after his term ended—or after impeachment—because he could pardon himself prospectively. Thus the law could not, in the face of such a pardon, be “faithfully” executed, because the pardon itself might be an expression of chicanery and subterfuge—in short, of bad faith.
In such circumstances, the pardon is granted not to temper the criminal law or to reconcile political dissidents, as envisioned by the Framers—see, for example, Federalist 74 and remarks by Edmund Randolph at the Philadelphia Convention—but to execute an intrigue by which the law is thwarted. The self-pardon might even then amount to an element of the crime for which he is pardoned....
> What is Barr trying to do? Does he think he can save his own ass by turning on trump? Now?
Can a president pardon himself? Four days before Richard Nixon resigned, his own Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel opined no, citing “the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case.” We agree.
The Justice Department was right that guidance could be found in the enduring principles that no one can be both the judge and the defendant in the same matter, and that no one is above the law.
The Constitution specifically bars the president from using the pardon power to prevent his own impeachment and removal. It adds that any official removed through impeachment remains fully subject to criminal prosecution. That provision would make no sense if the president could pardon himself....
On the campaign trail last year, Biden repeatedly promised a GOP "epiphany" after Trump was out of the way.
"With Donald Trump gone, the fear of retribution has been taken away," Biden told donors, according to Bloomberg News. "If we win as big as we possibly can, there's going to be a great, great epiphany that's going to take place, as we Catholics say. And they're going to begin to wonder about whether or not if they take me on and lose by just being obstructionist."
Biden last week expressed confidence that he could work with Republicans on issues like health care.
“Why? Because I think they're seeing the reaction of the American people,” he told reporters soon after casting his own ballot last month. “Overwhelmingly, the American people think drug prices are too high.”
Biden promised that one of his first actions would be calling Republicans to say: “We've got to figure out how we're going to move forward here. Because there are so many things we really do agree on.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday forcefully pushed back against criticism that he is naïve to think Democrats can work with Republicans in Congress after President Donald Trump leaves office.
And he said the reason Obama was unable to use the bully pulpit to increase the popularity of his signature health care law was "because everything landed on President Obama's desk but locusts at the time, he had no time to explain the Affordable Care Act."
Biden told Reid that "you can shame people to do things the right way."
He believes that once Trump is gone, Republicans on Capitol Hill will return to the low-key, courteous mien that Biden remembers (or thinks he remembers) from his long career in the Senate. Rather than relentlessly attacking these Republicans, Biden has chosen to reach out to them. This bipartisan comity may well deliver the White House to Biden. But the flop of his Supreme Court appeal also suggests that if he wins, he’ll struggle to turn his theory of politics into real success.
Trying to enact via force and intimidation what they cannot enact by voting, which (after all) is a grand Southern tradition, I hear.
...You heard Moncef Slaoui say a vaccine normally takes anywhere from 4 years to 25 years. He said that in an interview last week, and this was in 10 months. It’s remarkable progress, but we still want to make sure that it comes as fast — as expeditiously, but as safely as possible, because we know by — that each day that passes, there are more American lives at stake. So we want to make sure it comes out as quickly as the data allows it to.
And we will have 40 million doses by the end of the year, which is a tremendous achievement — not just to have gotten a vaccine in this time, but to have produced 40 million in advance. It’s — having a businessman as President, it’s the Trump vaccine....
JUST IN: Madison, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Supreme Court won’t hear Trump election lawsuit, likely dooming state court case seeking to overturn loss
...But you know what? Let Trump take credit for these vaccines.
And not because he’s been an actual champion of science, scientists, or the regulatory process. Let him take credit because it may serve a greater good: convincing his Republican followers to trust and take the vaccine when it becomes broadly available. That, ultimately, could save many lives....
The military is not some repository of Real American sentiment—Donald Trump enjoys broad disapproval in the armed forces, including at the officer level, so it's not likely the army or navy will participate in the president's plot to overturn the election. But this stuff is metastasizing on the right. It's a natural extension of the Republican Party's growing belief that any democratic process that ends with a Democratic candidate getting elected is by-definition illegitimate. This is what was beneath the push from numerous Republican-led state legislatures in the last couple of cycles to strip their governors' offices of their powers in the lame-duck period before a Democrat could take office and wield them. Never mind that a majority of citizens had voted to give it to them. This is what's lurking under the voter-suppression tactics, and the post-election push to throw out the votes in predominantly Black cities. These Americans are not considered full citizens, in that they should not have the right to determine who the president is. Their participation in the polity is fraudulent.
Meanwhile, those preaching calm over the last few weeks have not merely ignored the guiding principles of the Trump era: never assume there is a bottom to the shameless depravity, and never bet against that shamelessness being rewarded. (This is a guy who has never faced consequences for a single thing he's done, and who continually gets things he does not deserve. Why would that stop now?) These Savvy Observers suffer from a failure of imagination. The increasingly deranged conspiracies propping up Trump's tantrum have had the desired effect: millions of the Republican rank-and-file do not believe Biden's (fairly decisive) win was legitimate. Very few Republican officeholders have openly acknowledged Biden's win—even if, as we were reminded by Senator Ron Johnson today, they very well know the truth and just regard speaking it as "political suicide"—and that number does not include anyone in congressional leadership. The official position of the Republican Party is that the outcome is in doubt and in need of investigation.
It doesn't matter if individual Republicans feel like this is madness if they also feel that saying so would be political suicide.
• Joe Scarborough, FL-1 (1995-2001)—now a cable news host for MSNBC; on December 1, 2020, characterized the actions of Trump et al as an attempted coup d'état, using the legal term "four corners" for the degree to which the combined activities fit the definition of a coup22
After he leaves the White House, Donald Trump is expected to do something no president before him has done: cut multimillion dollar deals with foreign governments and companies for his own private business.
Trump’s namesake company plans to resume foreign real estate projects, likely luxury hotels, as it grapples with a tarnished brand in the United States and the need to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, according to three people familiar with the plans, not to mention past public statements from Trump's children. Company officials have already vowed to look into more developments in India and will be expected to give a second look to projects they had considered in China, Turkey, Colombia and Brazil before Trump entered office.
The arrangement is already being criticized as one that could be used to pay back Trump for his policies as president or to influence U.S. policy through a former president — and possibly a future presidential candidate....
...Speaking with CNN's Jake Tapper [link], Biden said he spoke with the country's top infectious disease expert earlier in the day, asking him to remain in his position leading the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Biden also asked Fauci to serve as his chief medical adviser and on his Covid team....
• Facebook — Heather Cox Richardson
• GoodReads — Heather Cox Richardson
• Salon — Heather Cox Richardson
• Substack — Letters from an American
• Twitter — Heather Cox Richardson (TDPR), @HC_Richardson
• We’re History — blog
Yesterday evening, Trump’s disgraced former National Security Advisor, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn-- whom Trump recently pardoned after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office-- retweeted a news release from a right-wing Ohio group called “We the People Convention.” That release contained a petition asking Trump to declare martial law, suspend the Constitution, silence the media, and have the military “oversee a national re-vote.”
The petition ends with a threat of violence, calling on Trump “to boldly act to save our nation…. We will also have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands, and defend our rights on our own, if you do not act within your powers to defend us.”
University of Texas School of Law Professor Steve Vladeck pointed out that “The Uniform Code of Military Justice defines as ‘sedition’ one who, ‘with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of lawful civil authority, creates, in concert with any other person, revolt, violence, or other disturbance against that authority.’…”
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley today pointedly distanced the military from talk of a coup. “Our military is very very capable… we are determined to defend the U.S. Constitution,” he said. “No one should doubt that.” A defense official told Military Times that the idea of Trump declaring martial law and having the military re-do the election is “insane in a year that we didn’t think could get anymore insane.”
He spoke too soon. This afternoon the president released a video of himself making a speech he said was “maybe the most important speech I’ve ever made.” It was a 46-minute rant...
it's getting to the point where i'll need some evidence
(i've been lying)
some affidavits can only get us so far
(i'm still trying)
dye my hair, hold my beer, i keep hollering
that they're doing frau-au-au-au-aud!
Seated next to Vice President Mike Pence, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield made it clear that he recognizes President Trump lost the election and a new administration will soon be in charge.
Redfield praised the work of the men and women of the CDC, noting that they will continue to guide the nation’s response to coronavirus, “after we’re gone,” referring to himself and the vice president.
Pence then thanked CDC staff and Redfield specifically for the work he has done leading the agency, but made no mention of any sort of new administration or change in leadership....
Though we now think of McCarthy as one of the most hated men in American politics, even in 1954 he retained a passionate base of support, with about a third of the public backing his anti-communist campaign. Once the Senate voted against him, the tale of how he had been victimized by a corrupt and self-interested Washington establishment helped fuel the far right’s grievance politics — and spark what would become the modern conservative movement. Far from bringing an end to McCarthyism, the 1954 Senate vote mainly pushed it out of Washington, and a new generation of right-wing activists took up his cause.
Donald Trump is once more walking away from failure at a profit — The US president’s supposed coup is more like a corporate bankruptcy.
New Statesman, Quinn Slobodian, 12/1/2020
At the end of history, Donald Trump appeared to be going bankrupt. As the Cold War came to a bloodless finale on the rubble of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the tycoon was presiding over a dissolving empire. Having entered the club of billionaires a year or so earlier, by August 1990, Trump owed $3.2bn to banks, $69.5m to subcontractors, and was involved in 111 court cases, as his Atlantic City casinos teetered on the brink.
It looked like a long face plant from the penthouse – except it wasn’t. Seeing how Trump rebounded from that loss sheds light on what he is doing now and prompts the thought: maybe his stubborn refusal to fully acknowledge his election defeat on 3 November – his numerous legal challenges and his accusations of fraud – is more like a bankruptcy than a (half-hearted) coup.
What happened in Atlantic City in the early 1990s is happening again in Washington, DC as Trump uses the resources of the state and the donations of his supporters to carry out a legal crusade that would seem quixotic and pointless were it not for the fact that it could line the pockets of those involved.
The contributions Trump raises now will carry over to a future run for office. The longer the contestation of the election is dragged out, the more lucrative it is for the litigants....
Dr. Deborah Birx warned on Sunday that the escalating coronavirus surge is likely to be the most trying event in U.S. history, as hospital systems around the country strain to combat its mounting daily death toll.
“This is not just the worst public health event. This is the worst event that this country will face, not just from a public health side,” Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said during a masked appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” [YouTube, 12/6/2020].
On Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said that the coming months will be “the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.”...
The Arizona Legislature will close for a week "out of an abundance of caution" after Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, possibly exposed several Republican lawmakers to COVID-19.
The president announced Giuliani had tested positive for the virus Sunday afternoon, less than a week after the former New York City mayor visited Arizona as part of a multistate tour aimed at contesting 2020 election results. The 76-year-old was later admitted to Georgetown University Medical Center.
Giuliani had spent more than 10 hours discussing election concerns with Arizona Republicans — including two members of Congress and at least 13 current and future state lawmakers — at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix last Monday. He led the meeting maskless, flouting social distancing guidelines and posing for photos.
Giuliani also met privately with Republican lawmakers and legislative leadership the next day, according to lawmakers' social media posts....
...a role Murthy held under the Obama administration. As he's set to return to the same position he held from 2014 to 2017, Murthy is expected to have an expanded portfolio, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, as the President-elect's team crafts their plans to tackle the coronavirus pandemic....
What starts as farce may end as tragedy, a lesson that pundits should already have learned from their sneering dismissal of Trump when he first announced his presidential candidacy. Yes, the Trump campaign’s lawsuits are pinnacles of incompetence, too incoherent and embarrassing to go anywhere legally. The legislators who have been openly pressured by Trump don’t seem willing to abide the crassness of his attempt. States are certifying their election results one by one, and the General Services Administration―the agency that oversees presidential transitions—has started the process of handing the government over to President-elect Joe Biden. If things proceed in their ordinary course, the Electoral College will soon vote, and then Biden will take office.
But ignoring a near catastrophe that was averted by the buffoonish, half-hearted efforts of its would-be perpetrator invites a real catastrophe brought on by someone more competent and ambitious. President Trump had already established a playbook for contesting elections in 2016 by casting doubt on the election process before he won, and insisting that he only lost the popular vote due to fraud. Now he’s establishing a playbook for stealing elections by mobilizing executive, judicial, and legislative power to support the attempt. And worse, much worse, the playbook is being implicitly endorsed by the silence of some leading Republicans, and vocally endorsed by others, even as minority rule becomes increasingly entrenched in the American electoral system.
Trump administration officials passed when Pfizer offered in late summer to sell the U.S. government additional doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, according to people familiar with the matter. Now Pfizer may not be able to provide more of its vaccine to the United States until next June because of its commitments to other countries, they said.
Critics lashed out, calling the photos insensitive.
In response, [Melania] Trump tweeted encouraging “everyone who chooses to be negative & question [her] work at the White House to take time and contribute something good & productive in their own communities”.
The White House tennis court has been a favorite outdoor recreation area for many presidents and their families. Tennis courts were first installed in the Theodore Roosevelt years on the near south side of the West Wing. The court was moved further south around 1910, to where the swimming pool is today, and were enjoyed by the Wilson daughters and Coolidge sons, among others. Florence Harding hosted the first women's tennis exhibition at the White House. And it was on the old White House tennis court that Calvin Coolidge, Jr. got a blister after playing without socks, which led to his death by blood-poisoning at the age of 16.
Later, a small court was built in its present location. Nancy Reagan held a fund-raiser tournament here. George HW Bush enlarged this court in 1989. In 2009, Barack Obama had basketball court lines painted and removable baskets added so that he could play full-court basketball.
Paxton, an outspoken advocate of President Donald Trump, claims the states “flooded their people with unlawful ballot applications and ballots” and ignored rules for how such ballots need to be counted, according to a press release announcing the litigation.
“Trust in the integrity of our election processes is sacrosanct and binds our citizenry and the States in this Union together,” Paxton said in the statement. “Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin destroyed that trust and compromised the security and integrity of the 2020 election.”
The fact that the US military is one of the most trusted institutions in American society is really both dangerous and the root of this type of decision-making. Biden wants to shore up the non-controversial nature of his administration and what's more non-controversial than the military, right?
The sooner we can leave the "US military are the real and greatest heroes!" behind, the sooner we can get a society where civilian competency is prized and cultivated.
The short answer, I believe, is nothing. The reality is that Joe Biden will be President in six weeks. What is central in politics is action, exercising power, changing facts on the ground through the exercise of legitimate power. Persuasion has its place. It is quite important. But the most powerful persuasion is the effective exercise of power. Show me, don’t tell me.
The outgoing White House’s desperate efforts to steal a second term in office reached new heights with a new lawsuit on Monday against President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris, seeking to disenfranchise Wisconsin’s most diverse areas.
Lame-duck President Donald Trump and his soon-to-be ex-vice president Mike Pence both signed onto lawsuits filed in Milwaukee Circuit Court pestering judges to overturn the Badger State’s election—but only for Milwaukee and Dane Counties, where most of the voters of color live....
Lucius Fox : [to Reese] Let me get this straight, you think that your client, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante, who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands, and your plan is to blackmail this person?
[Reese's face falls and Fox smiles]
Lucius Fox : Good luck.
...provided you use these powers for good and never for evil. With great education comes great responsibility.
New York’s attorney general tells The View how Trump will try to ‘avoid justice’ — but he won’t get away with it
New York Attorney General Letitia James is hot on the heels of President Donald Trump and his family, and she told “The View” that pardons won’t protect them.
The attorney general’s office has been investigating the Trump Organization after the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified before Congress, and James vowed that process would continue no matter how Trump’s election challenges play out.
... “It’s important to understand he’s pardoned from federal crimes,” she said. “He is not pardoned from state crimes. Last year I introduced a bill in the state legislature which would close the pardon loophole so that individuals such as the president of the United States would not evade justice. It’s important we have this check on presidential powers and that the state legislature, I’m so happy they passed that bill and it’s the law in the state of New York. President Trump cannot avoid justice in the great state of New York.”
Despite dozens of failed court cases and a lack of evidence pointing to widespread voter fraud throughout the election, Trump and his supporters maintain the belief that the election was rigged.
The judge who signed the search order of my house was appointed by Governor Desantis and sworn in less than a month before he signed that warrant. In civil court. He's not even a criminal court judge. It was one of his first actions as judge.
[FL governor] DeSantis publicly said I’m not a data scientist, I’m not a computer scientist and I wouldn’t even know what to do if I saw a database, and now he’s accusing me of hacking one.
Even if the facts alleged are true, I would still call her a hero.
So the material import of the Florida government and “law enforcement” authorities raiding her home, pointing guns at her and her husband and their kids, and seizing her laptop and phone, is that they now can attempt to extract the names and communication details of Jones's former colleagues in the Florida state health department and other agencies who helped her set up the two tracking web sites and access public data.
For both comparisons I determined the likelihood that the samples of the outcomes for the two Democrat candidates and two tabulation periods were similar and randomly drawn from the same population.
Texas sues states Biden won in Supreme Court, seeking to delay Electoral College vote, The Hill, Harper Neidig, 12/08/20:
• Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) responded to Paxton's lawsuit with a statement posted on Twitter, slamming his complaint as a "publicity stunt." ... "The erosion of confidence in our democratic system isn't attributable to the good people of Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia or Pennsylvania but rather to partisan officials, like Mr. Paxton, who place loyalty to a person over loyalty to their country ... The Michigan issues raised in this complaint have already been thoroughly litigated and roundly rejected in both state and federal courts — by judges appointed from both political parties. Mr. Paxton's actions are beneath the dignity of the office of Attorney General and the people of the great state of Texas."
• Katie Byrd, a spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (R) — “With all due respect, the Texas Attorney General is constitutionally, legally and factually wrong about Georgia.”
• Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) — "These continued attacks on our fair and free election system are beyond meritless, beyond reckless -- they are a scheme by the President of the United States and some in the Republican party to disregard the will of the people -- and name their own victors."
• Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) — "I feel sorry for Texans that their tax dollars are being wasted on such a genuinely embarrassing lawsuit. Texas is as likely to change the outcome of the Ice Bowl as it is to overturn the will of Wisconsin voters in the 2020 presidential election."
Kim Ward, the Republican majority leader of the Pennsylvania Senate, said the president had called her to declare there was fraud in the voting. But she said she had not been shown the letter to Congress, which was pulled together hastily, before its release.
Asked if she would have signed it, she indicated that the Republican base expected party leaders to back up Mr. Trump’s claims — or to face its wrath.
“If I would say to you, ‘I don’t want to do it,’” she said about signing the letter, “I’d get my house bombed tonight.”
We’re living in a political Escher drawing, in that if you look at our system one way Donald Trump’s slow-motion coup attempt continues to be a farcical failure, that can’t even scrounge up one (public?) dissent from the neo-Confederate reactionaries he’s put on “his” Supreme Court, but if you look again it’s evident some really terrible things are happening, that are further poisoning an already-poisoned political culture.
When I came to Congress, I knew I had a responsibility to pull back the curtain for the American people and expose corruption in real time. So, I’m filling you in on Senator McConnell’s attempts over the last 8 days to tank a *bipartisan* COVID relief bill.
You may have heard that Democrats and Republicans have agreed upon spending $900 billion to fund another round of small business loans, support hospitals and essential workers, and help the 10 million people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Everyone at the negotiating table—including Senate Rs—has agreed to a compromise. Except one. Mitch McConnell is refusing to bring it to the floor unless it wipes away all COVID-related lawsuits filed that “allege injury or death” due to corporate negligence.
These lawsuits represent the worst of the worst examples of disregard for human life—cases filed on behalf of nursing home patients and grocery store workers who died because the company in charge of keeping them safe prioritized cutting costs over protecting them.
The same McConnell who said that President Trump is “100% within his rights” to pursue baseless lawsuits alleging election fraud is now refusing to pass urgently-needed relief unless it strips those same rights from the most vulnerable among us. This must be exposed.
‘Dark’ personalities come in various shades, but at the core of all of them is a tendency to callously use others for personal gain. What is it that these types of people are really gaining, though? Might a benevolent approach to life and others be even more advantageous?
...Every state but Wisconsin appears to have met a so-called safe-harbor deadline set by federal law, which means Congress has to accept the electoral votes that will be cast next week, locking in Biden's victory. The safe-harbor provision protects states against challenges in Congress through certifying the results of the election and resolving legal challenges in state courts by the deadline, which was Tuesday.
Wisconsin election officials still have a case pending in state court that wasn't resolved by the safe-harbor date, in addition to the federal actions that are still pending.
RELATED: The Wisconsin lawsuits filed by Donald Trump and his allies: Where the cases stand, 12/9/2020.