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Chance the Rapper Leads Massive Parade to Early Voting Sites

Chance the Rapper didn’t need to take a ballot selfie to prove he voted early. Instead he brought an entourage to the polls that was so massive it blocked off streets of Chicago on Monday night.

The Chicago native, born Chancelor Bennett, wrapped up a free open-air concert in Grant Park's Petrillo Music Shell by leading a grand parade to early voting sites ahead of the presidential election.

Chance tweeted that thousands joined the march under the online banner name #paradetothepolls. Demand was so high that earlier in the day his concert was moved to a larger venue to accommodate the crowd.

Just days earlier, Chance performed alongside musical mega-stars Jay Z and Beyoncé for a political rally supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

He kept the political momentum rolling in Cook County, where early voting totals are already smashing records.

More than 396,135 ballots had been cast as of Monday afternoon, including early, grace-period and mail-in voting totals, according to the Cook County Clerk’s office.

The surge in pre-election day ballots cast marks a 45 percent increase from the 2012 election election, when another Chicago resident — President Barack Obama — was elected to his second term.

 

More than 3,900 died of Covid-19 Thursday, Nevada sets record

Thursday was the third consecutive day that more than 3,000 died of Covid-19 in the United States, with a daily total of 3,957.

The country also logged 229,842 new cases, according to NBC News' tally

Overall, 23,421,424 cases have been confirmed and 389,652 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States. The number of New daily cases has risen 20 percent in the past two weeks, and the number of new daily deaths has risen almost 23 percent.

Nevada set a single-day record with 62 deaths.

The U.S. records more than 210,000 new coronavirus cases Sunday

The United States recorded 215,867 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, along with 1,522 new deaths.

The country has logged at least 1,000 deaths a day every day since November 29.

The following states set new single-day case records Sunday:

  • Arizona, 17,234 cases
  • New Hampshire, 1,266 cases
  • Oklahoma, 8,017 cases
  • South Carolina, 8,951 cases

Overall, there have been 20,711,482 recorded cases and 352,340 deaths in the United States as of 10 a.m. Monday.

Trump's Inaugural Committee Yet to on Decide Lobbyist Ban

While President-elect Donald Trump's transition has placed restrictions on some lobbyists from serving in the transition, the inaugural committee has not yet made such determinations

Three members of the inaugural committee, which is stacked with Trump's and Vice Preisdent-elect Mike Pence's top donors and fundraisers, told NBC News that a decision hasn't yet been made on whether restrictions will be placed on the amount a person could give to or if a ban on lobbyists or corporations would be instituted. 

An announcement could come out as early as tomorrow but more likely next week the sources said. 

The inaugural committee is tasked with raising money for the inauguration beyond what the government allows. It also pays for balls, parties and events surrounding the event. 

In 2008, President-elect Barack Obama placed a $50,000 limit on individual donors and banned contributions from lobbyists, corporations and super PACs. The committee also entertained no sponsorship agreements.  

In 2012, President Obama loosened those restrictions and allowed for contributions from corporations but not from lobbyists or super PACs

The law allows unlimited contributions from corporations and U.S. permanent residents. 

Romney and Trump to Meet This Weekend

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will meet with President-elect Donald Trump this weekend, NBC News confirms.  

Romney delivered a blistering takedown of Trump in a speech in March, calling the then-candidate “a phony” and “a fraud.” Trump has called Romney a loser and said he “choked like a dog” during his 2012 bid against President Obama.

A source close to Trump with direct knowledge of the president-elect's thinking confirms the meeting is to discuss the position of Secretary of State. 

Trump endorsed Romney during his campaign four years ago. The former Massachusetts governor began to repair the relationship last week by calling to congratulate Trump on his surprise win.   

Obama 'Cautiously Optimistic' About Trump Presidency

President Obama on Thursday said he is “cautiously optimistic” about Donald Trump’s presidency once the reality of his immense responsibilities sets in. 

“There's something about the solemn responsibilities of that office, the extraordinary demands that are placed on the United States, not just by its own people, but by people around the world that forces you to focus,” Obama said during a press conference in Germany on Thursday.

“If you're not serious about the job, then you probably won't be there very long because it will expose problems,” Obama added.

The president added that he “wouldn’t advise” those opposed to Trump to be silent or stop protesting, but said the election should be an important reminder about the importance of voting.

Joe Biden Welcomes Mike Pence to VP Residence

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Visits Trump Tower

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Trump Tower on Wednesday for what he described as a “candid and substantive dialogue” with President-elect Donald Trump.

“I let him know that so many New Yorkers were fearful, and that more has to be done to show that this country can heal and that people be respected,” de Blasio told reporters following the meeting.

The Democratic mayor, who supported Hillary Clinton, said he and Trump discussed topics like immigration, Wall Street reform, taxes and the Republican’s rhetoric. De Blasio also said he expressed concerns over Trump’s decision to appoint former Breitbart News head Steve Bannon to a top White House post.  

“The balls in his court, people in this city and all over the country are looking to see what he’s going to do,” de Blasio said.  

Sens. Schumer and McConnell Elected Senate Leaders

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer was easily elected by his caucus to lead Senate Democrats for the next two years and Republicans unanimously re-elected Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to serve as Majority Leader.

Schumer, who is set to replace retiring Sen. Harry Reid, will spearhead the party's messaging and policy priorities in the first two years of a Donald Trump administration.

Read more here. 

Martin O'Malley Withdraws From DNC Race

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley pulled himself out of contention to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee Wednesday, days after he said he was considering a bid.

"While I'm grateful to the supportive friends who have urged me to consider running for DNC Chair, I will not be seeking our Party's Chairmanship. The DNC needs a Chair who can do the job fully and with total impartiality. The national interest must come first," O'Malley said in an email to supporters.

Read more here.

McCain Warns Against Russian Reset

Republican Sen. John McCain on Tuesday warned against any attempt to reboot U.S.-Russia relations under Donald Trump’s presidency.

“With the U.S. presidential transition underway, Vladimir Putin has said in recent days that he wants to improve relations with the United States. We should place as much faith in such statements as any other made by a former KGB agent who has plunged his country into tyranny, murdered his political opponents, invaded his neighbors, threatened America’s allies, and attempted to undermine America’s elections,” the Arizona senator said in a statement.

Russia on Tuesday launched a major military offensive in Syria where Putin is backing Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Throughout the campaign, Trump spoke highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin and said he would improve relations between the two countries. Putin and Trump spoke after his victory last week.

“The Obama Administration’s last attempt at resetting relations with Russia culminated in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and military intervention in the Middle East,” McCain said. “At the very least, the price of another ‘reset’ would be complicity in Putin and Assad’s butchery of the Syrian people.”

Trump, Pence Expected To Receive Daily Briefing Tuesday

President-elect Donald Trump and Mike Pence are expected to receive their first President’s Daily Briefing on Tuesday at Trump Tower in New York, sources tell NBC News.

President Barack Obama has authorized that the same briefing given to him each day be prepared for Trump and Pence. It contains more sensitive information than the briefings provided to the candidates during the presidential campaign.

Trump has designated retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and son-in-law Jared Kushner as his staff level companions for such briefings, however, Kushner does not have any clearance.