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Biden receives first presidential daily briefing as Arizona certifies his win

Biden had not received the briefing before because the Trump administration delayed approving the transition process.
Image: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris
President-elect Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 16. Andrew Harnik / AP file

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden on Monday received his first presidential daily briefing since he won the election, a victory that was further cemented when the battleground state of Arizona certified his win there.

The certification of Arizona's 11 Electoral College votes came as President Donald Trump and his allies have charged rampant voter fraud in Arizona, a state Trump won in 2016. The state's Republican governor, Doug Ducey, hailed the voting process Monday.

"We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong, and that's why I have bragged on it so much," Ducey said as he oversaw the certification.

At the same time the vote was being certified in Phoenix, Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis were at a meeting with some Republican state legislators at a hotel about 2 miles away, where Giuliani was pushing a number of unfounded conspiracy theories aimed at undermining the election results in Arizona and other battleground states Trump lost.

Trump called into the meeting about eight hours in and trashed Ducey for signing the certification, labeling him a "disaster." "Arizona will not forget what Ducey did," Trump said.

The governor responded Monday night in a tweet thread, detailing the process for certifying the vote and finishing with “That’s the law. I’ve sworn an oath to uphold it, and I take my responsibility seriously.”

While certifying the results, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs ticked through the number of security measures that were taken to keep the vote secure. "Every Arizona voter has my thanks and should know that they can stand proud that this election was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona's laws and elections procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary," she said.

Iowa, which Trump won, also certified its results Monday, and Wisconsin issued a "determination" confirming that Biden won the state by over 20,000 votes. The procedural move by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which does not do a traditional certification of presidential results, opens a five-day window for the Trump campaign to appeal the results in court. Later in the day, Gov. Tony Evers said he had signed a Certificate of Ascertainment appointing Biden's slate of electors.

The Trump campaign has indicated it would challenge the result in the battleground state as early as Tuesday.

Trump's refusal to concede as his lawyers try far-fetched legal and public relations maneuvers to overturn the results initially resulted in a delay of the official transition process, including Biden's ability to get the President's Daily Brief.

The report, which Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also received Monday, is a classified document outlining high-level intelligence and analysis about a range of national security issues. It’s prepared by the director of national intelligence and includes information from the CIA and other parts of the intelligence community.

In other transition news:

  • The Arizona certification paved the way for Democrat Mark Kelly to be sworn in as the state's new U.S. senator this week. His swearing-in will shrink the Republican majority to 52-48.
  • Biden named Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, to lead his Office of Management and Budget and economist Cecilia Rouse to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. That follows his planned selection of Janet Yellen as his treasury secretary. Biden is expected to introduce members of his economics team Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Biden and Harris are forming a presidential inaugural committee to organize activities around their swearing-in on Jan. 20, announcing an initial senior leadership team for the effort.
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is on Biden’s shortlist for attorney general, sources familiar with the matter said. Outgoing Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates are also under consideration.
  • Obama administration national security adviser Tom Donilon is no longer in the running to be CIA director. Sources familiar with the process said Donilon turned down the position.
  • Jon Ossoff, who will go up against GOP Sen. David Perdue in one of two Georgia Senate runoffs in January that will determine control of the chamber, blasted his opponent over a series of well-timed stock trades during the pandemic, saying he “has been using his office to enrich himself” and demanding that Perdue, who has declined to participate in any further debates “come out of hiding and answer some questions.”
  • After receiving the President's Daily Brief, Biden and Harris met separately with transition team advisers. Over the weekend, Biden suffered hairline fractures in his right foot while playing with one of his dogs. His doctor said Sunday that the injury is likely to require a walking boot for several weeks. On Tuesday, the pair will again receive the briefing separately, the campaign said.

Trump, meanwhile, has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence on his schedule. He spent the weekend at Camp David, Maryland, after celebrating Thanksgiving at the White House.