Biden was projected to win the presidency on Saturday but Trump has continued to contest the outcome, promoting unfounded claims of voter fraud and corruption. Republicans in Congress have largely avoided the issue, though some in Trump's orbit have encouraged him to keep fighting and others have urged him to tone down his rhetoric.
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David Bossie tests positive for the coronavirus, sidelining him from legal push
David Bossie, who was recently tasked to head President Trump's re-election legal challenges, tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, two sources familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News.
“Because he can’t be at the campaign headquarters and he can’t be in the Oval Office [due to his diagnosis] Dave’s no longer a part of the decision-making process,” one of the sources said.
Bossie, who heads the conservative advocacy group Citizens United, is apparently at home and feeling OK, the source said, noting that it's particularly problematic that Bossie is now “sidelined” from the legal push he was supposed to lead.
Bossie was most recently seen at a Trump campaign press conference in Phoenix, on Thursday.
Bloomberg News first reported that Bossie had contracted the virus.
30 former GOP members of Congress call on Trump to accept Biden's victory
Thirty former Republican members of Congress, many of whom previously endorsed Joe Biden, called on President Donald Trump on Monday to accept the results of the election and stop promoting baseless allegations of voter fraud.
"As former Republican members of Congress who swore an oath to the Constitution, we believe the statements by President Trump alleging fraud in the election are efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the election and are unacceptable," the group wrote in an open letter.
"Every vote should be counted and the final outcome accepted by the participants because public confidence in the outcome of our elections is a bedrock of our democracy," the group added. "Going forward it is our hope the nation will, regardless of party or persuasion, recognize that President-elect Joe Biden has won this election."
The letter was sent to reporters by former Missouri Rep. Tom Coleman, who represented a Kansas City-area district for almost two decades, but supported Trump's impeachment and became one of many Republicans to endorse Biden.
Other signatories include former New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphrey, former Minnesota Sen. Dave Durenberger, former Oklahoma Rep. Mickey Edwards, who was a founding member of the conservative Heritage Foundation, and former Reps. Barbara Comstock of Virginia and Carlos Curbelo of Florida, who both lost re-election in the 2018 Democratic wave.
Georgia voting official says no indication of widespread voter fraud
Georgia’s statewide voting system implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling, said Monday that widespread voter fraud has not occurred in Georgia, adding that the state's change from red to blue was part of a trend.
President–elect Joe Biden’s lead was just over 10,000 votes, and many of the ballots had split ticketing, such as voting for Biden, as well as Republican Sen. David Perdue, Sterling in a briefing with reporters.
Sterling also dismissed a claim that more mail-in ballots came in from Gwinnett County than were sent to the county's residents, explaining it was merely a false impression created by the way the results were reported.
“Gwinnett is the one county in Georgia that has to use two languages, Spanish and English, and doing so essentially double the size or double the number of the pages on their balance ... ," he said. "In the reporting, it says ballots cast, it's really pages scanned, and we've already talked to Dominion about the fact that language needs to be changed," referring to the voting system's vendor.
Shortly after Sterling spoke, the two Georgia senators up for re-election, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, claimed without providing evidence that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had mismanaged the vote count and called for him to step down.
"There have been too many failures in Georgia elections this year and the most recent election has shined a national light on the problems," the senators said in a joint statement. "While blame certainly lies elsewhere as well, the buck ultimately stops with the Secretary of State."
Raffensperger responded with his own statement refusing to resign and defending the work of his office. “If I was Senator Perdue, I’d be irritated I was in a runoff," he wrote. “And both senators and I are all unhappy with the potential outcome for our president.”
In his briefing, Sterling repeatedly said the results coming out of Georgia should be trusted, adding that claims to the contrary should not be given credibility.
Notably absent from Trump's election battle: his vice president
WASHINGTON — As President Trump’s allies have rallied behind his cries of election fraud and publicly encouraged him to keep fighting, Vice President Mike Pence has been notably absent from the conversation, waiting until Monday to make his first public comments on the election results.
“Told @VP Team Today, 'it ain’t over til it’s over.. and this AIN’T over!' President @realDonaldTrump has never stopped fighting for us and we’re gonna Keep Fighting until every LEGAL vote is counted!” Pence tweeted Monday, more than 72 hours after news organizations called the race for President-elect Joe Biden.
Pence made his first public appearance since Election Day on Monday — briefly walking down the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in view of the television cameras — after a meeting with his staff. He is also scheduled to hold the first coronavirus task force meeting since Oct. 20 on Monday afternoon. It is the only activity that has been on his public schedule in five days.
Behind the scenes, Pence was at the White House on Friday and has been making calls to donors to try to raise money for the legal fight, but aside from two retweets of Trump campaign solicitations for money for the legal fight, he had made no public comments about the election results until his tweet Monday.
Trump tweets that Defense Secretary Mark Esper has been ‘terminated’
Trump announced Monday that he fired Mark Esper as his defense secretary and said that Christopher C. Miller would serve as acting secretary of the Defense Department.
"I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately," Trump tweeted.
He added, "Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service."
The ousting of Esper is Trump's first personnel move since losing the presidential election. Esper has been working with Congress recently to strip Confederate names from military bases, which Trump opposes.
Trump campaign officials tell staff: 'We are still in this fight'
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and deputy campaign manager Justin Clark held an all-staff meeting at their Virginia headquarters this morning, urging aides to stay focused on “the fight” ahead, according to two officials who attended.
Despite that, the re-election campaign is expected to officially end Nov. 15, with most staffers losing health insurance and their paychecks, unless either of those things gets extended in the next week. That is prompting some anxiety and concern, particularly from lower-level staffers, who are unsure of whether they should be looking for a new job right now or not. Several have started to contact potential employers.
Stepien maintained to the troops: “We are still in this fight.” Clark told them: “Don’t mistake lack of motion for lack of progress.”
The campaign continues to seek donations for an “election defense fund.” Since Wednesday, they have sent dozens of emails and texts. The fine print points out, though, that some of that money can be put toward general election debt.
Ben Carson tests positive for Covid-19
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has tested positive for Covid-19, a department spokesperson confirmed to NBC News on Monday.
It's unclear when Carson, 69, tested positive and whether he has symptoms.
Carson’s deputy chief of staff, Coalter Baker, told NBC News that Carson “is in good spirits and feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery.”
In an email to staff, the department's chief of staff, Andrew Hughes, said Carson had tested positive and was "resting at his house and is already beginning to feel better. Anyone who was in contact with the secretary last week is being notified and all precautions are being taken.”
Carson, a retired physician, was among the more than a hundred people who attended Trump's election night party at the White House last Tuesday. Since then, Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and other White House aides have also tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus.
WHO chief warns of 'misguided nationalism' as he congratulates Biden
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom, on Monday warned that "creeping tides of misguided nationalism" have eroded world unity as he congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his election win.
Speaking virtually during a speech at the health body’s World Health Assembly, Tedros promised to work “very closely” with the Biden administration.
“We need to reimagine leadership, built on mutual trust and mutual accountability – to end the pandemic and address the fundamental inequalities that lie at the root of so many of the world’s problems,” he said.
Tedros has been criticized by President Donald Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the WHO and cut off U.S. funding earlier this year, accusing it of failing to confront China, where the virus first emerged, over its initial response to the coronavirus outbreak.
With Harris as VP, South Asian women see an opening into politics
After Joe Biden was projected to have won the presidency Saturday morning, Kamala Harris is set to become the next vice president of the U.S., making her the first Asian American, the first Black person and the first woman to hold the office. For many South Asians across the country, it's a historic win that has the potential to open doors for others like them.
Harris' political journey — she was the first person of Indian origin elected attorney general of California and to the Senate —will have an important impact on all women, particularly South Asian women, said Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who was head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in the Obama administration.
"It is also an important beginning for my young sons and for children of color across our country, who have a role model in her and are watching the doors of America open wider for them," said Gupta, whose parents immigrated from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Ossoff challenges Perdue to three TV debates ahead of expected runoff election
The Democratic Senate nominee in Georgia, Jon Ossoff, on Monday challenged his GOP opponent, incumbent Sen. David Perdue, to three televised debates ahead of what appears likely be a runoff election on January 5.
"Georgians deserve nothing less," Ossoff said in a letter to Perdue. "I hope you will agree to give Georgians the debates they deserve."
NBC News says race between the two men is too close to call, with 98 percent of the votes reported and both candidates just below 50 percent of the vote. A runoff would take place in early January, along with the other Senate race in the state, between GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock.
In an interview Monday morning on MSNBC's Hallie Jackson, Ossoff rejected the idea that Perdue backed out of the final general election debate against him to attend a Trump rally, saying the senator was "incapable of defending himself" because he has "no record to run on."
Ossoff said that in previous debates he asked Perdue about his record on health care, his stock trades, and why he "lied to the people of this state about the severity of this pandemic."
"He had no answers, and he decided that he was going to bow out and refuse to debate with just hours until voting started, rather than face me in an open forum," Ossoff said.
Reacting to NBC News reporting that Perdue is telling donors that he'll need $500 million to win the runoff, Ossoff said, "This is going to be a big fight." He added that he will be working closely with Warnock and Stacey Abrams to get out the vote.
Trump will lose special Twitter protections in January
President Trump will be subject to the same Twitter rules as any other user when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20, the social media company confirmed this week.
Twitter places “public interest” notices on some rule-breaking tweets from “world leaders” that would otherwise be removed. Such tweets from political candidates and elected or government officials are instead hidden by a warning and Twitter takes actions to restrict their reach.
But the company said this treatment does not apply to former office holders.
“This policy framework applies to current world leaders and candidates for office, and not private citizens when they no longer hold these positions,” a Twitter spokesman said in a statement.