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Nov. 13 highlights: Trump speaks, more press for Biden to get security briefings

The president and his administration continue to challenge the results.
Image: Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a background of red and blue ripples with white stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

It's been nearly a week since Joe Biden was projected to win the presidency and President Donald Trump has yet to concede.

While few Republican lawmakers have publicly congratulated Biden, some have begun to push the Trump administration to begin a key part of the transition process: giving Biden access to access to presidential-level intelligence briefings.

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Stories we're watching:

Trump may accept results but never concede he lost, aides say

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

More people who attended Trump's election night party test positive for Covid

Full presidential election results

16 prosecutors tell Barr there's no evidence of election fraud

There is no evidence of voter fraud or other irregularities that could substantially impact the election, 16 federal prosecutors charged with investigating election crimes have said in a letter to Attorney General William Barr.

The assistant U.S. attorneys who are District Election Officers also urged Barr to rescind a controversial memo issued Monday that authorized prosecutors "to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections." That is a change from a Justice Department policy.

They wrote that the policy change "was not based in fact"; that in their jurisdictions there is no evidence of substantial allegations; and that their understanding is that a Justice Department section in charge of national oversight of election fraud hasn't seen any such evidence, either.

"The timing of the announcement inserts all of us into a partisan political debate," the assistant U.S. attorneys wrote. They said the policy change "has and will engender speculation that it was motivated by partisan political concerns." The head of the Justice Department's Election Crimes Branch has resigned that position to protest the Barr memo.

The letter from the assistant U.S. attorneys was reported earlier Friday by The Washington Post

Social-distancing concerns changes Capitol dinner tradition for incoming House members

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi abruptly cancelled a planned dinner for newly elected House members in Washington after being slammed on social media for being irresponsible and tone deaf. Instead the new members took away boxed meals.

It’s a tradition for leaders of each party to hold a respective dinner in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for their new members in town for orientation and a tradition that was to continue even as the U.S is seeing record breaking new Covid-19 cases across the country, with another high of over 170,000 new cases on Friday

When asked if it was safe to hold the dinner, Pelosi told NBC News, “Yeah, it's very spaced.” Only four people were to sit at each table and an enhanced ventilation system was used to accommodate the function. T

he Capitol physician had been guiding the protocols, a Democratic aide said. "We have all the permission and the ventilation from the doctor. We’ll have ours and Republicans will have theirs,” Pelosi said.

But after a picture of the tables was posted to twitter by NBC News' Leigh Ann Caldwell, the dinner plans changed.

“To be a further model for the nation, this event has been modified to allow Members-elect to pick up their meals to go in a socially-distanced manner,” Pelosi's spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted. 

He followed up later to say the dinner had been called off and the new members would be given boxed meals to take away.

"Members-elect are now picking up their boxed meals and departing the Capitol," he tweeted. There is no group dinner."

It’s unclear if GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy will move forward as planned with the Republican dinner later this weekend. Requests for comment have gone unanswered. 

Incoming Rep. Cori Bush says Republicans mistook her for Breonna Taylor

Representative-elect Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat, said Friday that several of her Republican colleagues mistakenly called her Breonna Taylor due to a face mask she was wearing during the new House members orientation.

Bush said some of those Republican colleagues appeared to be unfamiliar with Taylor, whose killing by police during a botched drug raid in Kentucky sparked massive protests across the country this past summer.

"It’s Day One, so I’m wearing my 'Breonna Taylor' mask. A few of my Republican colleagues have called me Breonna, assuming that’s my name. It hurts. But I’m glad they’ll come to know her name & story because of my presence here. Breonna must be central to our work in Congress," Bush said in a tweet.

It also reflects a troubling trend seen in media reports and academic studies about people of color who are often misidentified in predominantly white workspaces. Sen. David Perdue created a controversy in October when he deliberately mispronounced the name of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during a Trump rally in Georgia.

Bush, who was also at one point homeless, ousted longtime Rep. William Lacy Clay in the Democratic primary this past August, ending an over half-century political dynasty. She cruised to election victory on Nov. 3, becoming the first Black Congresswoman in the history of Missouri.

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Biden to bring back daily press briefings

A senior Biden transition official confirms the president-elect plans to bring back the daily press briefing.

The news was first reported by Politico. As NBC News reported earlier this week, Kate Bedingfield and Symone Sanders are among those being considered for key jobs inside the communications team. Possible roles floated for them are press secretary and communications director.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announces he has tested positive for Covid-19

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, announced in a statement on Twitter on Friday that he has tested positive for Covid-19. 

"As part of a regular testing protocol, I underwent routine COVID-19 testing on Friday, November 13 in Carson City. A rapid test provided a positive result. I also received a diagnostic PCR test and those results are pending at this time," he said. 

Sisolak said he shared the results publicly to be transparent with residents in the state and said that he will be following local health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which recommend self-isolation and monitoring of symptoms. 

Sisolak, 66, said in the statement that he felt fatigued, which he initially attributed to a demanding work schedule. He said he did not experience any Covid-19 symptoms, has canceled all public events and will work with public health officials to do contact tracing while he works remotely. 

Trump's not giving up and neither are his supporters

EASTON, Pa. — With Donald Trump refusing to concede to President-elect Joe Biden, some of the president's supporters in one of Pennsylvania's tightest swing counties aren't willing to budge either.

"I voted for Trump, and I'm really upset," Pam Wagner, a 65-year-old voter from Easton in Northampton County, told NBC News, adding that she would like to see a complete re-vote of the 2020 election.

Yet while some of the president's supporters remain hopeful he can somehow pull out a victory, others are accepting what appears to be inevitable — Biden taking office in January.

The election is "kinda a sore subject around here," one man who declined give his name said with a chuckle as he stood in front of a local gun shop and near a pair of large flags that read "Trump 2020: No More Bulls---."

Wagner, meanwhile, said she wants to see the president continue to fight no matter what happens with his legal efforts aimed at overturning the election results in multiple states — efforts that so far have either fallen flat or do not look likely to affect many ballots cast, let alone change results in at least three states Trump is trailing in by more than 10,000 votes.

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Trump and GOP now 0-5 in Philadelphia lawsuits

In a series of related rulings out this evening, a judge from the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia has rejected five Trump/GOP lawsuits claiming irregularities with mail ballots.

Trump attacks N.Y. gov, says he'll withhold Covid vaccine from state until Cuomo approves

President Donald Trump threatened to withhold a coronavirus vaccine from New York state on Friday and escalated his feud with Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his first public comments since Joe Biden was projected the winner in the presidential race.

Trump — snapping the longest stretch of silence in his presidency — began his remarks in the White House Rose Garden by touting the effectiveness of Operation Warp Speed, his administration's initiative to spur production of a vaccine, before taking aim at his home state.

"As soon as April the vaccine will be available to the entire general population, with the exception of places like New York State, where for political reasons the governor decided to say — and I don't think it's good politically, I think it's very bad from a health standpoint — but he wants to take his time on the vaccine," Trump said.

He was referring to comments Cuomo made in September, where he said he planned to have a panel of experts review a vaccine because he was concerned that Trump was trying to rush one out ahead of the presidential election.

"He doesn't trust where the vaccines coming from," Trump continued. "So the governor, Gov. Cuomo will have to let us know when he's ready for it, otherwise we, we can't we can't be delivering it to a state that won't be giving it to its people, immediately. And I know many I know the people in New York very well I know they want it. So the governor will let us know when he's ready," he added.

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