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Nov. 10 highlights: Presidency transition continues despite challenges to election results

The president-elect delivered remarks on Obamacare as the Supreme Court considers whether to overturn it.
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 on Tuesday is outlining more details of his transition plan even as President Donald Trump and other top Republicans continue to challenge the results of last week's election.

At the top of Biden's priorities is tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, which Trump faced strong criticism over throughout the campaign. Biden on Tuesday will also deliver remarks on the Affordable Care Act as the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether to overturn the landmark health care law.

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

Latest updates below:

Latest group of GOP senators to say Biden transition should begin

On Tuesday, four GOP Senators told reporters that the Biden team should have access to resources needed for an orderly transition. 

Trump has refused to concede the race, and the vast majority of Republicans in Congress and elsewhere have yet to acknowledge the Democrats' win. A little-known agency known as the General Services Administration headed by a Trump appointee as yet to sign a letter giving the Biden team access 

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said it is likely that Biden is the next president and it's important for a transition process to begin. “We're on a path it looks likely Joe Biden is going to be the next president of the United I think a transition process ought to begin," he said. 

Marco Rubio of Florida said the president can pursue lawsuits but "need to have that contingency in place," referring to a Biden transition. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said while the president is in court the transition should "move forward." 

Mitt Romney, who has congratulated Biden and Harris, told NBC News that "it's very much in our national interest, in our foreign policy interest, national security interest" for Biden to have a smooth transition.

Click here for other Republicans who have broken with Trump and say the transition should begin.

Budget process moving forward

In another sign of how the Trump administration is taking cues from the president’s refusal to concede the presidential race, the Office of Management and Budget is moving ahead with the new budget for the fiscal year, which is largely a symbolic document.

“We are in the middle of budget season," An OMB spokesperson told NBC News.

Keep in mind the budget is typically released in February — and by the time that month comes around, President Trump won’t be in office anymore.

Biden's lead in Arizona tightens as more ballots processed in Maricopa County

Biden's lead over Trump in Arizona has dwindled from 13,582 to 12,813 as Maricopa County, the largest county in the state, processed more than 5,000 ballots on Tuesday. 

More than 2 million voters cast a ballot in the county, which represents about 80 percent of total eligible voters, according to a release. 

The remaining ballots include (estimated):

  • 9,347 early ballots
  • 1,300 early ballots to verify
  • 18,404 provisional ballots in total
  • 5,783 valid provisionals that will be counted
  • 6,595 invalid provisionals that will not be counted
  • 6,026 remaining provisional ballots left to verify

NBC News has rated the state as too close to call. Biden is in the lead with 49.4 percent of the vote and Trump has 49.0 percent, with 98 percent of the vote in as of Tuesday. 

Trump loyalists given top Pentagon roles after several officials resign following Esper's ouster

Several loyalists to President Donald Trump were promoted to top roles in the Pentagon on Tuesday after officials tendered resignations following the unceremonious ouster of Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The Pentagon confirmed the resignations of the department’s top officials for policy and intelligence in a press release. The resignations include: Acting undersecretary for policy James Anderson; undersecretary for intelligence Joseph Kernan; and Esper's chief of staff Jen Stewart. The release noted that Kernan's resignation was "planned for several months."

Anthony Tata, a retired Army general and frequent Fox News guest, will replace Anderson. Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who currently works in Defense and is a former aide to disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, will replace Kernan. Kash Patel, a former National Security Council official and former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who worked on the controversial House probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, will replace Stewart.

The shakeup comes after the president announced Monday that he fired Esper as his defense secretary and said Christopher Miller, who headed the counterterrorism center, would serve as the acting secretary of the Department of Defense. Esper's ouster was Trump's first personnel move since losing the election and has prompted Democrats to raise national security concerns as President-elect Joe Biden begins his transition.

Click here for the full story. 

First lady hasn't connected with Jill Biden about transition

As we continue tracking the stop-start nature of this transition, first lady Melania Trump's office hasn’t connected with the Biden side on transition either.

“As far as I know, President Trump hasn’t conceded yet so that doesn’t surprise me,” said a spokesperson for Jill Biden. 

Michelle Obama told Gayle King in an interview that Trump never once reached out to her as first lady. 

Biden says he'll do 'anything we can' for Georgia Senate candidates

President-elect Joe Biden vowed Tuesday to help the two Senate Democratic candidates who appear headed for runoffs in Georgia

"We're going to do anything we can, that they think we can do to help them," Biden told reporters in Delaware of Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

Warnock is facing Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a runoff of Jan. 5. NBC News has not yet made a projection in the Ossoff race, though Republican Sen. David Perdue is currently below the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff. He and Ossoff have both started raising money for a runoff.

Republicans currently have a 49-48 seat edge over the Democrats in the Senate, where 51 seats are needed for a majority. NBC News has not made a projection on a remaining seat up for grabs in Alaska, but incumbent Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan currently has a commanding lead there with 61 percent of the vote in. 

If the Democrats win both Georgia seats, they'd effectively have a majority because Kamala Harris, as vice president, could act as tiebreaker.

"Obviously it would be much better if we had a tie in the Senate," Biden said, adding that it would make Harris' role "incredibly important beyond what she already is."

Biden hopes to announce some Cabinet picks in next two weeks

President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that he hoped to unveil some of his Cabinet picks in the next two weeks and predicted they would be confirmable by the Senate.

"I hope we're able to be in a position to let people know, at least a couple that we want before Thanksgiving, and we'll just work this out," Biden said. "Look, I am not a pessimist, as you know."

Answering questions from reporters in Wilmington after delivering a speech on strengthening the Affordable Care Act, Biden acknowledged that control of the Senate is still up in the air and he might need Republican support for some of his picks, which would mean working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"I understand he said he will make it clear who he is prepared to support and not to support, and that's a negotiation that I'm sure we'll have," Biden said. "Look, one of the things that I would do as president-elect and when I become president is lay out to Republicans, as well as Democrats, who we intend to name for each Cabinet position." 

Biden calls Trump's failure to concede 'an embarrassment'

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday called President Donald Trump's failure to concede the election "an embarrassment," but said neither that nor the Trump administration's stonewalling will stop him from getting to work.

Asked for his thoughts on the anxiety some Americans feel over the president's refusal to publicly admit defeat, Biden said, "I just think it's an embarrassment, quite frankly."

"It will not help the president’s legacy," Biden said, before adding that he didn't think Trump's resistance would wind up mattering.

"I think at the end of the day, it will all come to fruition on Jan. 20," Biden said, referring to Inauguration Day. Biden answered questions from reporters after delivering a speech on the importance of improving the Affordable Care Act in Wilmington.

Trump has so far refused to concede despite network projections that he's lost, and hard numbers that show Biden leads him by more than 10,000 votes in at least three swing states Trump would have to flip — a margin that has not been overcome in any sort of statewide recount previously. Some Republicans have said the president, who has maintained that he won the election, should wait to concede until the votes are certified.

Read more here.

Democrat Cal Cunningham concedes to Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina race

Democrat Cal Cunningham conceded to Republican Sen. Thom Tillis in the North Carolina race Tuesday, increasing the stakes in the outcomes of Georgia's Senate races, which appear likely to determine control of the chamber.

NBC News had projected the race as too close to call, but declared Tillis the winner shortly after Cunningham conceded the race. The win gives Republicans 49 seats in the Senate, while Democrats have 48, with two races in Georgia and one in Alaska still outstanding.

“I just called Senator Tillis to congratulate him on winning re-election to a second term in the U.S. Senate and wished him and his family the best in their continued service in the months and years ahead," Cunningham said in a statement. “The voters have spoken and I respect their decision."

"While the results of this election suggest there remain deep political divisions in our state and nation," he added, "the more complete story of our country lies in what unites us: our faith and sense of confidence in our democracy, our civic values and common humanity, our shared aspiration to care for one another, and our belief that we live in a country that does exceptional things."

Democrats would need to win two of the three remaining Senate contests to gain control of the chamber — with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.

Read more here.

Republicans who have broken with Trump to congratulate Biden on his win

A small but growing group of prominent Republicans have broken with President Donald Trump and the rest of their party in congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for their election victory.

Trump has refused to concede the race, and the vast majority of Republicans in Congress and elsewhere have yet to acknowledge the Democrats' win.

Here are the Republicans who have publicly congratulated the president-elect and vice president-elect.