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Biden picks chief of staff while misinformation wildfire fuels Trump's refusal to concede

As Covid-19 cases surge across the country, hospitalizations are soaring and states are struggling to find enough beds and staff.
Image: Rob Klain Joe Biden
Ron Klain and then-Vice President Joe Biden are seen during a meeting about the Ebola virus in November 2014. Biden announced Wednesday that he tapped Klain to be his White House Chief of Staff. Mark Wilson / Getty Images file

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The presidential transition is still on a rocky road as President Donald Trump continues to contest the election results and President-elect Joe Biden begins to form his White House team.

Here's what we're watching this Thursday morning.

Misinformation metastasized: After Trump’s loss, a slew of misleading claims take hold

For supporters intent on finding it, proof of President Donald Trump's claims that the 2020 election was "stolen" is everywhere.

A dizzying array of false claims and conspiracy theories have dominated social and ultraconservative media since the early morning after Election Day.

Despite the fact that no evidence of significant, widespread or even small-time voter fraud has been found, the years of groundwork laid by Trump and his supporters has grown into a flood of misleading — and importantly, fractured — claims of a rigged election.

"Instead of evidence, we're assaulted with a plethora of claims seeking to undermine faith in the election, ranging from confusing to clearly fabricated," said Joe Bak-Coleman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington who is tracking post-election disinformation as part of the Election Integrity Partnership.

"Individually, none of these claims could stand up to a moment's scrutiny, but collectively they're deafening, urging the average citizen to give up and accept the ambiguity."

NBC News' White House correspondents report that there is a growing expectation among Trump’s advisers that the president will never concede that he lost, even after votes are certified in battleground states over the coming weeks.

"Do not expect him to concede," one top aide told NBC News. More likely, the aide said, "he’ll say something like, 'We can't trust the results, but I’m not contesting them.'"

President-elect Biden picks longtime aide as White House chief of staff

President-elect Joe Biden named Ron Klain, a veteran of Capitol Hill, to be his White House chief of staff Wednesday evening, the first step toward putting his senior leadership team in place.

Klain, 59, a longtime Democratic operative who has close ties to Biden going back to the late 1980s, served as his chief of staff during his first years as vice president.

Klain also served as the Ebola czar during the Obama administration, experience that underscores Biden's plan to focus his administration on the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

Check out an early look at who might be part of Biden's "Day One staff" as he builds out his White House team.

Many things will change under a Biden administration, chief among them are foreign relations.

NBC News' Saphora Smith and Dan De Luce take a look at how U.S.-Saudi ties are likely to shift from cozy to cold.

And in his first address to the nation as president-elect, Joe Biden made a promise to Black voters: "You've always had my back, and I’ll have yours."

In the latest "Into America" podcast, host Trymaine Lee digs into what it will take for Biden to keep that promise.

As Covid hospitalizations soar, states struggle to find enough beds and staff

In El Paso, Texas, a convention center has been turned into a Covid-19 field hospital and refrigerated trailers have been trucked in to store the dead because there’s no more room in the morgues.

In Massachusetts, Michigan and several other states, hospitals are struggling to find enough beds for the influx of coronavirus patients and canceling elective surgeries so doctors and nurses can concentrate on Covid-19 cases.

That's just a snapshot of a national hospital system in crisis as health care facilities across the United States are stretched to the limit by the surge in cases.

"The trends obviously are going in the wrong direction and show no signs of changing," Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker warned on Tuesday.

And in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new restrictions on restaurants, bars and gyms Wednesday as the state, which was the nation's hot spot back in March, struggles to contain new spikes of coronavirus.

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THINK about it

Trump's post-election lies shatter the fantasy of the "moderate Republican," co-founder of The Lincoln Project Steve Schmidt writes in an opinion piece.


Diwali desserts: How to make 3 Indian treats in basically no time.

Listen now: NBC News' 'Do No Harm' podcast

Melissa Bright thought she was living every parent’s worst nightmare when her 5-month-old baby tumbled from a lawn chair and hit his head on the driveway. But after she rushed him to the hospital, a new nightmare began. The Brights were thrust into a medical and legal system so focused on protecting children from abuse, it has targeted innocent parents.

"Do No Harm" is a harrowing six-episode podcast that takes you inside the Brights’ fight to hold their family together, against a system that can sometimes do more harm than good. Click here to listen and subscribe.


Former President Barack Obama’s upcoming memoir "A Promised Land" is coming out on Tuesday. Here’s how and where you can pre-order it.

One tough tradition

Despite NBC News and many other major news organizations projecting that Biden is the winner of the presidential race, a concession speech from Trump has not happened yet and is not expected anytime soon.

And while it is not a legal requirement, the traditional courtesy has helped usher the peaceful transition of power in America for decades.

Take a look at some of the poignant and painful concession speeches from the last 60 years of presidential races.

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Thanks, Petra