Trump is speaking now about lowering the cost of drug prices during which he falsely claimed he won the election and accused the pharmaceutical company Pfizer of intentionally delaying the release the results of its preliminary coronavirus vaccine until after the election. He took no questions.
Before taking the podium, he sent this evidence-free missive on Twitter, again amplifying a fabricated conspiracy about “illegal ballots”.
In the tweet, Trump falsely claimed insisted that would have won Georgia and the state’s Republican senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler would not have been forced into runoff races in January if it weren’t for widespread corruption.
Twitter flagged the tweet as problematic.
Loeffler, who was appointed to the seat, was running in a jungle election, in which she came in second behind the Democrat, Raphael Warnock, in a race that saw the Republican electorate split between Loeffler and Trump ally Doug Collins. Collins earned 20% of the vote compared with Loeffler’s nearly 26%. Perdue fell roughly .03% below the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff.
Members of Trump’s outside legal team will not attend the president’s meeting with Michigan state lawmakers due to their exposure to the coronavirus pandemic, Axios reported.
Earlier Friday, Andrew Giuliani, the son of Rudy Giuliani, announced on Twitter that he tested positive for the virus. The younger Giuliani attended an indoor press conference with his father, several members of Trump’s legal team and a contingent of reporters.
According to Axios, trump campaign officials held a conference call this morning with a lawyer on the White House staff to “candidly discussed their legal conundrum.” A decision was ultimately reached that a member of Giuliani’s legal team needed to attend the meeting with the Michigan lawmakers this afternoon. After it was raised that the lawyer’s son had tested positive for the virus, someone suggested that Giuliani shouldn’t attend as he was in close contact with his son. At that point, Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis chimed in to say that the entire team had likely been exposed.
Read more here.
Georgia has not certified the results, SoS says in correction
A top legal adviser to the Biden campaign said it was “not possible” and “not legal” for the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature to overturn the result in the decisive battleground.
“No state legislature in our country’s history ever has done what Donald Trump is apparently agitating for the Michigan state legislature to do, which is to ignore the results of a popular vote,” Biden campaign legal adviser Bob Bauer told reporters during a press call on Friday. “It cannot be done.”
On the call, Bauer assailed Republican lawmakers for meeting with the president. “It’s an open attempt to intimidate election officials,” he said. “It’s absolutely appalling.”
Trump’s campaign has baselessly claimed that elections officials counted enough “illegitimate ballots” to swing the election results against him, and that he would win if they were thrown out. The campaign has yet to provide evidence to support the suggestion of wide-scale fraud and a court has found the claims to be “not credible”.
Georgia secretary of state certifies Biden win
Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, officially certified Joe Biden’s victory in the state on Friday.
The move is another setback for the president, whose legal team is working to overturn the results of the election in Georgia and a number of other battlegrounds in a desperate attempt to ultimately overturn the results of the US presidential election. Raffensperger certified the results on Friday after a statewide audit of millions of ballots.
In a statement, the office of the secretary of state said that under Georgia law the candidates had two business days to request a recount.
“I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” Raffensperger told reporters at a press conference on Friday. “I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct.”
He added that, as a Republican, he was disappointed Trump didn’t win Georgia’s 16 electoral votes but said the results reflected the will of the states voters.
The recount found that Biden beat Trump by nearly 12,000 votes.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany just wrapped up a briefing with reporters where she batted away questions about Trump’s refusal to concede the election and his campaign’s increasingly desperate attempts to overturn the results. Instead, she touted the White House’s “unprecedented response” to the coronavirus pandemic, claiming their action “saved many lives,” one day after the US recorded a record 2,015 deaths from the disease.
Taking a handful of questions, several of which came from friendly outlets, including an OAN reporter who is not permitted to be in the briefing room, McEnany amplified the presidents false and baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and again asserted without evidence that mail in balloting was rife for corruption.
Among the questions McEnany refused to answer was one from a reporter in the back of the room, who shouted: “When you gonna admit you lost?”
Asked about Trump’s meeting this afternoon with the Republican leaders of the Michigan state legislature, McEnany claimed, somewhat incredulously, that it was hardly out of the ordinary and unrelated to the president’s ongoing efforts to overturn Biden’s victory in the state.
She also said that the Trump White House had not applied any pressure on the General Services Administration official who is blocking Biden’s transition team from accessing government resources and important internal documents. McEnany also stated, baselessly, that Democrats never accepted Trump’s victory in 2016. Hillary Clinton conceded the morning after the election and President Barack Obama welcomed Trump to the White House for a meeting days later.
As McEnany walked away, CNN’s indefatigable Kaitlin Collins chided her for not taking her question. “I don’t call on activists,” McEnany replied.
“I’m not an activist,” Collins said, adding: “That’s not doing your job, your tax payer-funded job.”
While we wait for the Georgia Secretary of State to certify the results of a statewide audit, Patricia Murphy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explained on CNN why this might only be the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end of the vote count in Georgia.
Murphy said the state had completed a post-election audit of the statewide election results and that the president’s campaign maintained the right to request another recount of the results.
According to the Associated Press in its handy explainer of the difference between the two:
A recount is typically tied to a close margin in an election, whereas post-election audits are routine and used by states to ensure that equipment and procedures counting the vote all worked properly.
Under Georgia law, candidates may request a recount if the margin is less than 0.5%. The candidates must make the request within two business days after Raffensperger certifies the election, which state law requires him to do by Friday.
The Trump campaign has vowed to pursue every legal option available to challenge the results in Georgia after the audit confirmed Biden’s victory in the state.
A second recount, like the audit, is highly unlikely to change the outcome.
Mike Shirkey, the Republican majority leader of Michigan’s state senate, arrived in Washington on Friday ahead of a visit with the president, as Trump and his campaign continue to pressure local officials to overturn Biden’s victory in the state based on baseless claims of voter fraud and irregularities.
Arriving at Washington’s Regan airport, Shirkey was met by protesters and reporters who asked repeatedly: “Will you honor the will of Michigan voters?”
Despite concerns about the appropriateness of the meeting at this moment, Shirkey accepted the invitation to the White House on Friday, along with Republican speaker of the Michigan House, Lee Chatfield.
In a statement on Thursday, senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said it was “difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting president.”
The meeting comes after an extraordinary showdown earlier this week, when Republican members of an elections board in the state refused to certify Detroit’s election results – only to reverse themselves amid furious backlash from residents and elected officials.
Two Republican senators, Utah’s Mitt Romney and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, have added their voices to the growing chorus of disapproval – admittedly mainly coming from Democrats, as many Trump loyalists keep their counsel – toward the White House’s continued efforts to question or overturn the election results that will leave Donald Trump as a one-term, impeached president who is under criminal investigation, Edward Helmore and Joanna Walters write from New York.
“It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president,” Romney tweeted, accusing the president of resorting to “overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election.”
Sasse focused his attention on Rudy Giuliani, the Trump loyalist-lawyer who held a bizarre press conference on Thursday during which he presented a list of far-fetched claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election.
“Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets,” Sasse said, again via Twitter.
Joe Biden also slammed Trump’s efforts on Thursday, describing them as “totally irresponsible”, underscoring his position that they will not prevent him from taking office on January 20.
And Fox TV host and normally fanatical Trump apologist Tucker Carlson, said on his show, about Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, who played wild sidekick at Giuliani’s nonsense-fest on Thursday, per Politico:
We invited [Trump lawyer] Sidney Powell on the show, we would have given her the whole hour, we would have given her the entire week actually and listened quietly the whole time at rapt attention. That’s a big story.
“But she never sent us any evidence despite a lot of requests...polite requests, [but] not a page. When we kept pressing she got angry and told us to stop contacting her. When we checked with others around the Trump campaign, people in positions of authority, they told us, Powell has never given them any evidence either. Nor did she provide any today at the press conference. Powell did say that electronic voting is dangerous. And she’s right. We’re with her there. But she never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another -- not one.”
And as Politico pertinently then adds in its morning Politico Playbook news letter: “But where is the rest of the Republican party?”
Read news analysis on Fox News in the age of Trump defeat here.
Democratic leaders, including president-elect Biden, are marking Transgender Remembrance Day, after one of the deadliest years on record for members of the trans community.
“To transgender and gender-nonconforming people across America and around the world: from the moment I am sworn in as president of the United States, know that my administration will see you, listen to you, and fight for not only your safety but also the dignity and justice you have been denied,” Biden said in a statement.
At least 37 transgender people have been killed this year, according to Human Rights Watch.
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointed to Democratic efforts to protect the rights of transgender Americans and applauded the barrier-breaking trans leaders elected to public office in recent years.
“This year, as we mark this solemn day of remembrance, the record number of transgender elected officials who have made history across the country stands as an inspiration,” she said. “These individuals are taking their rightful seat at the table, as they serve our communities and strengthen our democracy.”