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Nov. 9 highlights: President-elect introduces transition plan

Read the results and reactions after Biden's projected win.
Image: Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a background of red and blue ripples with white stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are beginning the first steps in their transition plan even as President Donald Trump has refused to concede the election.

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.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from Nov. 10, 2020.

Check here for more on the presidential results.

Read the latest updates below:

DOJ's election crimes chief resigns after Barr directs prosecutors to probe voter fraud claims

Dartunorro Clark

The head of the branch of the Justice Department that prosecutes election crimes resigned Monday hours after Attorney General William Barr issued a memo to federal prosecutors to investigate “specific allegations” of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified.

Richard Pilger, who was director of the Election Crimes Branch of the DOJ, sent a memo to colleagues that suggested his resignation was linked to Barr’s memo, which was issued as the president’s legal team mount baseless legal challenges to the election results, alleging widespread voter fraud cost him the race.

“Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications, and in accord with the best tradition of the John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism (my most cherished Departmental recognition), I must regretfully resign from my role as Director of the Election Crimes Branch,” Pilger’s letter said, according to a copy obtained by NBC News.

Barr on Monday issued a memo authorizing prosecutors "to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections."

That's a change of Justice Department policy, which had previously advised prosecutors that "overt investigative steps ordinarily should not be taken until the election in question has been concluded, its results certified, and all recounts and election contests concluded."

Read more here.

Governor's pitch to aid Trump appears to benefit her own campaign fund

The Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has enthusiastically taken up President Donald Trump's efforts to contest the results of the presidential election, asking for online donations to “help us bring it home for the president,” but it appears the donations are set to flow into her own reelection account.

The Republican governor, a close Trump ally, launched a fundraising campaign soon after the election was called for Biden on Saturday. The website soliciting donations has “Kristi Noem for Governor” in large letters at the top, but below that, the message is all about Trump, saying that he “needs our support while the far-left Dems declare a victory for Biden before all the votes are counted.” It urges donors to "Please help us bring it home for the president!”

The site allows contributors to check the amount of their donation and includes a box to cover a processing “so 100% of my donation goes to Kristi for Governor.”

Noem did not respond to a request for comment on how the money raised would be used. Her campaign committee chairman, Steve Kirby, said he had no comment on how the funds would be used.

It's unlikely that much, if any, of the money will end up going to Trump, said Paul S. Ryan, the vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, a campaign finance watchdog. Ryan, a campaign finance lawyer, pointed out that the governor can give a maximum of $2,800 to Trump’s campaign under federal law. If she wanted more to flow to Trump, she could have directed donors to the president’s own donation site.

Read more here.

Barr authorizes DOJ to investigate 'substantial allegations' of voting irregularities before election is certified

Attorney General WIlliam Barr on Monday issued a memo authorizing prosecutors "to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections."

That's a change of Justice Department policy, which had previously advised prosecutors that "overt investigative steps ordinarily should not be taken until the election in question has been concluded, its results certified, and all recounts and election contests concluded."

Barr, who's come under fire by right-wing media for not bolstering the president's evidence-free claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, declared that guidance outdated. "Such a passive and delayed enforcement approach can result in situations in which election misconduct cannot realistically be rectified," he wrote.

Barr met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier Monday. A senior DOJ official said neither Trump, nor anyone at the White House, nor any lawmakers asked or directed Barr to issue the memo.

A DOJ official stressed that the memo from Barr does not allege that there are substantial irregularities in the election. It authorizes local U.S. attorneys to investigate if they learn “clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State.”

It adds that, "While serious allegations should be handled with great care, specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries. Nothing here should be taken as any indication that the Department has concluded that voting irregularities have impacted the outcome of any election."




Biden to speak Tuesday on protecting Obamacare as Supreme Court hears case that could overturn law

Dartunorro Clark

President-elect Biden is expected to deliver remarks Tuesday about the risks of overturning the Affordable Care Act as the Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments to decide the fate of the health care law. 

Biden will deliver remarks at 2 p.m. from Wilmington, Delaware, on the stakes for families across the country and his plan to expand access to health care. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is expected to join Biden. 

Biden and other Democrats campaigned on protecting and expanding the landmark health care law, which was passed under the Obama administration.

Jamie Dimon, Jeff Bezos and other business leaders react to Biden, Harris victory

Business leaders from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to JPMorgan Chase head Jamie Dimon are reacting to former Vice President Joe Biden's electoral victory, hailing an end to the divisiveness and praising the character of the next commander-in-chief — while acknowledging the struggles ahead.

Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, chose to highlight what Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' win means for the U.S., saying "I'm thinking with joy about young people across the country watching the news today and thinking, 'Maybe I can lead this nation too.'"

The Business Roundtable also congratulated the incoming administration, saying, "Our country faces great challenges in the months ahead to defeat the pandemic and rebuild our economy. We will meet them only by working together.”

Trump has often frustrated executives with his rash implementation of tariffs and boycotts, some of which came without any internal review by government lawyers or his own staff.

Read the story here.

The quiet neighbor? Mexico has yet to congratulate Joe Biden on his win.

The country that shares the U.S. southern border is one of the few that has not recognized that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.

Latino lawmakers noticed.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro, a Democratic House member from Texas, and several other Latino lawmakers lashed out at Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for not acknowledging Joe Biden as president-elect.

López Obrador said Saturday that he would refrain from commenting on the U.S. elections until "all the legal matters have been resolved."

"This represents a stunning diplomatic failure by Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a time when the incoming Biden Administration is looking to usher in a new era of friendship and cooperation with Mexico," Castro tweeted Saturday in English and Spanish.

Read more here.

Georgia's Republican secretary of state rejects call for resignation by two GOP senators

Dartunorro Clark

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, sharply criticized two the state's two Republican senators on Monday after the lawmakers called on him to resign, citing his “failures,” without citing evidence, of his management of the election.

“The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me,” Raffensperger said in response to GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. “As Secretary of State, I’ll continue to fight every day to ensure fair elections in Georgia, that every legal vote counts, and that illegal votes don’t count.”

Perdue and Loeffler, whose races are headed to a runoff in January, claimed in a statement that there was “mismanagement” in the election and a lack of transparency from Raffensperger regarding the process for counting ballots, echoing unfounded claims from President Donald Trump who has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden.

The state's 16 electoral votes have not allotted to either presidential candidate, but Biden is leading by a slim margin in the state with 99 percent of the expected vote in, according to NBC News.

Raffensperger pressed the senators to reform voting laws, noting that federal, not state laws, are responsible for some issues in administering elections. He also suggested they should focus on their runoffs.

“Now that Senators Perdue and Loeffler are concerned about elections, hopefully, they can fix these federal laws,” he said. “As a Republican, I am concerned about Republicans keeping the U.S. Senate. I recommend that Senators Loeffler and Perdue start focusing on that.”

Read more here.

Trump personnel director threatens to fire staffers looking for new jobs

A senior administration official confirmed to NBC News that presidential personnel director John McEntee, who formerly served as the president’s personal aide, has communicated to departments that they should terminate any political appointees looking for new work while President Trump refuses to concede and disputes the results of last week’s election.

CNN first reported the news.

Fox News abruptly cuts away from McEnany: 'I can't in good countenance continue showing you this'

Ahiza García-Hodges

Fox News host Neil Cavuto cut away from a Trump campaign press conference on Monday in which Kayleigh McEnany was discussing the election and the president’s continued refusal to concede even as media outlets have projected Biden as the winner.

McEnany, who serves as both the White House press secretary and a campaign adviser, falsely claimed that the Democrats have been trying to keep people from observing ballot counting, after which Cavuto abruptly cut in.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. I just think we have to be very clear: she's charging the other side as welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting, unless she has more details to back that up, I can't in good countenance continue showing you this,” Cavuto said. He added that if they provided evidence they would tune back into the conference.

Cavuto has a long history of pushing back against Trump, including some of his claims about Covid-19 treatments.

Meet the Bidens' first pets-elect: German shepherds 'Champ' and 'Major'

President-elect Joe Biden is facing the prospect of a divided Congress when he's sworn in in January — but he'll have some loyal friends in the White House.

After four years of no first pet at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — the longest such stretch in well over a century — Biden and his wife, will move in with a pair of German shepherds, Champ and Major.

"I've had German shepherds since I was a kid and I've actually trained them and shown them in the past," Biden told ABC back in 2008.

The Bidens got Champ as a puppy in 2008, shortly before they moved into the vice president's official residence at the Naval Observatory. The name had emotional significance for the then-vice president-elect — his father would tell him "Get up, champ" when he was feeling down.

Biden used the pooch to raise kids' spirits while he was VP — he was known to give out little "Champ" plush pets to kids during his time in office.

Major will be the first shelter dog to enjoy life in the White House.

Read more here.

Trump aides fret about damage from refusal to accept loss


Carol E. LeeCarol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.

Hallie Jackson

WASHINGTON — As President Trump continues to fight the presidential election results, numerous people close to him are expressing concern that he’s spiraling into rage and hurting his own legacy as well as the Republican Party.

Those concerns were exacerbated on Monday when Trump blindsided officials throughout the White House and at the Pentagon by firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper with a tweet, multiple people close to the president said. The hope, these people said, is that this week ends differently than the last, and that the president’s lawsuits challenging the election results in multiple states quickly run their course.

The moment is particularly perilous, even for a White House that’s powered through on chaos for nearly four years, with all the uncertainty unfolding against the backdrop of a new coronavirus outbreak among the president’s closest advisers — including his chief of staff and top lawyer on his campaign legal team.

“There needs to be a candid conversation with the president. There is no path to victory,” said one person close to Trump, who said the president “deserves his day in court” but added that continuing to cast doubt on the election results “destroys his legacy.”

Another Trump ally described the goal of the lawsuits and public statements alleging voter fraud as aimed at “branding Trump as something other than a loser.”

Most of those close to the president recognize these legal battles aren’t going to change the outcome, but few, if any, are telling him that.

Read more here.

Native American man celebrating Biden’s election with a traditional dance goes viral

A video showing a Navajo and Tewa man celebrating President-elect Joe Biden’s victory with a traditional dance in Albuquerque, New Mexico, garnered 5 million views after it was posted to Twitter on Saturday by photojournalism student Sharon Chischilly.

Chischilly, who is of Navajo descent, said she was filming protests in Albuquerque when she overheard familiar music. She then spotted a man performing a traditional storytelling dance. 

“It grabbed my attention and I ran over with my phone,” she told NBC News in an interview. “I was trying to record him while taking photographs of the dancing.”

Chischilly said she was thrilled to see Native American heritage on display, but was disappointed she didn’t know who the dancer was. After posting the video on her Twitter account, she was able to connect with the dancer, Ashkia Randy Trujillo from Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico, when he commented on her post. 

“I was just dancing because I was happy that, you know, we're gonna be seeing ... different leadership. You know, something different from what we've seen these past four years,” Trujillo, 26, told NBC News. 

Trujillo said he was doing one of the many powwow styles of dance, which often tell the story of a successful hunt or a victorious battle. Although they do not completely share the same tribal heritage, Chischilly said the music reminded her of the Navajo traditions and growing up in Manuelito, in the Navajo reservation that encompasses part of the state. 

“It did bring back a little bit of like, normal, you know, and it definitely made me feel like I was at home,” she said.

Susan Collins congratulates 'President-elect' Biden, breaking with most of Senate GOP

Nicole Via y Rada

Image: Susan Collins
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to reporters on Nov. 4, 2020, in Bangor, Maine, after Democrat challenger Sara Gideon called her to concede Tuesday's election.Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Maine Sen. Susan Collins on Monday joined a handful of prominent Republicans in congratulating President-elect Joe Biden for his projected presidential win, breaking with the vast majority of GOP lawmakers.

Collins said Biden "loves this country," and wished him success on "his apparent victory."

Collins, who won re-election after a difficult campaign, is among the few elected Republicans to congratulate Biden publicly, joining Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska in referring to him as the president-elect. The overwhelming majority of congressional Republicans have yet to extend congratulations to Biden, who was a U.S. senator for decades before serving as vice president under then-President Barack Obama.

In her statement, Collins referenced the importance of the presidential transition and emphasized that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris "should be given every opportunity" to be ready to govern once they are sworn into office.

Read the story.

Natalia Abrahams

‘We are stunned’: Two Georgia races will decide which party controls the Senate

Image: Democratic Candidates In Georgia Campaign Ahead Of November's Election
Lawn signs for Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock at a campaign event on Oct. 3, 2020 in Lithonia, Ga.Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images file

Georgia is about to become the center of the political universe.

Control of the Senate is likely to come down to the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff, when voters could be asked to decide whether both Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler should continue to serve in the upper chamber.

Loeffler will face a challenge from Democrat Raphael Warnock after the two emerged from the crowded jungle primary. Perdue's race against Democrat Jon Ossoff is still rated "too close to call" by NBC News. The incumbent Republican remains short of the 50-percent threshold he needs to win the seat and avoid a runoff.

So far, Democrats have secured 48 seats in the Senate, and Republicans look poised to control 50 seats by the time all the votes are tallied in Alaska and North Carolina if the current leaders hold. Democrats will need to win both of Georgia's seats to secure control of the chamber with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The stakes are enormous.

Read the story.

David Bossie tests positive for the coronavirus, sidelining him from legal push

Hallie Jackson

Hallie Jackson and Peter Alexander

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

Natalia Abrahams

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

Amanda Golden

Shannon Pettypiece and Amanda Golden

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’

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Image: Defense Secretary Mark Esper briefs the media at Pentagon
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 20, 2019.Yuri Gripas / Reuters file

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.

Read the story.

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

Saloni Gajjar

Sakshi Venkatraman and Saloni Gajjar
Illustration of Kamala Harris standing in front of a flag motif. South Asian women look at her.
Mikyung Lee / for NBC News

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.

Read the story.

Ossoff challenges Perdue to three TV debates ahead of expected runoff election

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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." 

Image: David Perdue and Jon Ossoff
David Perdue and Jon Ossoff.CQ Roll Call; Bloomberg / via Getty Images

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.

Read the story.

Putin congratulated Trump almost immediately in 2016. Not after Biden win.

Image: President-elect Joe Biden hugs his granddaughter in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 7, 2020, after being declared the winners of the presidential election.
President-elect Joe Biden hugs his granddaughter in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 7, 2020, after being declared the winners of the presidential election.Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the first world leaders to congratulate President Donald Trump on winning the 2016 U.S. election. Yet on Monday, days after Joe Biden was projected to win the presidency, Putin remained silent as other world leaders moved to congratulate the former vice president and his running mate Kamala Harris.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow on Monday, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov explained the silence in diplomatic terms: Russia does not believe it would be correct to congratulate a winner before an official ruling has been made, and noted that Trump is moving forward with legal challenges to the election results.

“The incumbent president has announced certain legal procedures, so this situation is different, and we consider it correct to wait for an official announcement,” Peskov said, adding that “the differences are quite obvious” between the 2016 election and the 2020 election. “There were no announcements of legal challenges.”

Read the story.

FIRST READ: Biden won by rerunning the 2016 map and campaign, just better


Mark Murray

Carrie Dann

Melissa Holzberg

Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Carrie Dann and Melissa Holzberg
Image: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, mask
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris deliver remarks after being declared the winners of the presidential election in Wilmington, Delaware, on Nov. 7, 2020.Andrew Harnik / Pool via AFP - Getty Images

Now that the dust has settled after election week — we told you there was a good chance it could take days to count the votes in the key battleground states — we can answer how President-elect Joe Biden won.

He simply reran the 2016 map and campaign, but better.

1. Biden won the urban counties in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by larger margins than Hillary Clinton did.

2. He won the key big-city suburbs by bigger margins.

3. Biden won independents.

Read five reasons why Biden won.

An early look at who might be in Biden's inner circle in the White House


Carol E. LeeCarol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.

House Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing On Community Perspectives On Coronavirus Preparedness And Response
Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator, speaks during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing in Washington on March 10, 2020.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

President-elect Joe Biden is focused on building the team that will enter the White House with him on Inauguration Day, his “Day One staff,” as he looks to fill several thousand jobs in his administration, according to multiple people familiar with the process.

Biden plans to announce these positions likely later this week. Longtime Biden adviser Ron Klain is among those leading the effort to fill these roughly 200 positions in the White House and at some key government agencies, these people said. Once that’s complete, they said Biden will turn to building out his Cabinet.

The contenders for these “Day One” jobs range from Biden loyalists — some who have worked for him since his first run for office 50 years ago — to a group of relatively new aides who joined his 2020 campaign.

Here’s an initial look at some of those expected to play big roles.

U.S. election security agency debunks fraud claims

As unfounded conspiracy theories pile up to challenge the fact that Joe Biden is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election, the country’s top election security agency is rapidly debunking them.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the federal agency that oversees the security and integrity of election infrastructure, maintains a “rumor control” blog to correct false claims about elections and voting, which has been particularly active in recent days.

The agency’s head, Chris Krebs, a Trump appointee, is personally actively debunking such claims, such as that officials gave Sharpie markers to some voters to invalidate their ballots (those ballots are still counted) or the “hammer and scorecard” conspiracy theory, which holds that a mythical computer system secretly changed votes across the country, inexplicably bypassing audits, the fact that states independently conduct elections, and that most votes were cast on paper ballots.

'No honeymoon': Biden surrounded on all sides when he gets to the White House

Image: Joe Biden
Joe Biden addresses the nation at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 6, 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

For Democrats celebrating president-elect Joe Biden's projected victory, the joys of vanquishing President Donald Trump are likely to be short-lived as the party faces daunting challenges ahead.

The Democratic Party has big plans — from defeating the coronavirus to expanding health care access to tackling climate change to expanding voting rights to overhauling criminal justice.

There will be tension between progressives who want to pursue an aggressive agenda and moderates who want to strike a note of unity and seek cooperation with Republicans after a bruising election.

As he begins to roll out his transition plans, Biden can expect to feel the heat from the left wing of his party quickly.

"There's not going to be a honeymoon because there was no wedding," said Ezra Levin, the co-founder of the progressive group Indivisible. "This is a partnership. It's a partnership to save democracy. Nobody is under any illusions that the reforms we want to see are just automatically going to happen."

Read the story.

Biden applauds Pfizer vaccine news, warns safety measures must continue 'well into next year'

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Biden on Monday applauded drug company Pfizer on the news that early analysis shows its vaccine candidate is more than 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19. 

"Last night, my public health advisors were informed of this excellent news. I congratulate the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope," the president-elect said in a statement. 

Biden warned, however, that it will take "many more months" before there is widespread vaccination across the United States and that "for the foreseeable future, a mask remains a more potent weapon against the virus than the vaccine."

"Today's news does not change this urgent reality. Americans will have to rely on masking, distancing, contact tracing, hand washing, and other measures to keep themselves safe well into next year," he said. 

Trump team planning campaign-style recount rallies in coming weeks

Despite losing the presidential election to Biden, the Trump team is planning to hold campaign-style recount rallies in the coming weeks, a Trump campaign official said Sunday. 

The rallies will focus on potential recounts in battleground states where Trump is projected to lose. It's unclear whether Trump himself will participate in all of these events as some may be led by members of his family or top surrogates. Timing and details about the rallies have not yet been finalized, the official said. 

The campaign is preparing to redeploy staffers to Georgia who were based in other states and similar moves may take place in Arizona and Pennsylvania. The campaign announced Sunday that Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who did not make it into the Georgia runoff in the Senate race to unseat Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., will lead the presidential recount effort in his state. 

NBC News projects that Arizona and Georgia are still too close to call, though Biden leads in both states. NBC projected over the weekend that Biden won both Pennsylvania and Nevada. 

Biden-Harris transition team announces members of Covid-19 advisory board

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

The Biden-Harris transition team on Monday announced its appointments to their Covid-19 advisory board that will lead the new administration's response to the ongoing pandemic. 

The board will be co-chaired by Dr. Vivek Murthy, who served as surgeon general under President Barack Obama; Dr. David Kessler, FDA commissioner under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of internal medicine, public health and management at Yale University.

The board members include:

  • Dr. Luciana Borio
  • Dr. Rick Bright
  • Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel 
  • Dr. Atul Gawande
  • Dr. Celine Gounder
  • Dr. Julie Morita
  • Dr. Michael Osterholm
  • Ms. Loyce Pace
  • Dr. Robert Rodriguez
  • Dr. Eric Goosby

Bright is an immunologist and virologist who was ousted from a key coronavirus response job during the Trump administration earlier this year. He filed a whistleblower complaint in May charging "an abuse of authority or gross mismanagement" at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Emanuel is an oncologist, and a vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania where he serves as chair of the department of medical ethics and health policy. He served as a special adviser for health policy at the White House Office of Management and Budget for the first two years of the Obama administration. 

Congress will have record number of LGBTQ lawmakers next session

Dan Avery

A record number of LGBTQ lawmakers will be heading to Congress next session after an Election Day marked by historic firsts.

In New York, Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones won their House races and became the first two gay Black candidates elected to Congress.

Jones told NBC News he is excited about serving alongside Torres.

"He's a tremendous candidate and a good friend," he said. "This is a chance for us to be the role model we looked for growing up — for queer youth and especially queer youth of color."

Read more here.

From Covid-19 to climate change, here's Biden's dream agenda

President-elect Joe Biden offered voters an agenda that tried to balance his moderate inclinations and the clamor among his progressive base to implement big change.

Joe Biden's transition team, which has already been working for months to prepare, will have his campaign plan to use as a starting point.

Read about Biden's dream agenda here.

Silence speaks volumes: As Biden is offered congratulations, these world leaders remain quiet

After Joe Biden was declared president-elect Saturdaycongratulatory messages poured in from leaders around across the world. But several have remained notably silent, including some of President Donald Trump's long-term allies.

Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro, who is often referred to as "the Trump of the Tropics," has stayed mum about Biden's victory.

Before the election, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would work with any U.S. leader, but there has been no official comment from the Kremlin about Biden's win.

Read more here.