In a recorded phone call, President Trump is heard pressuring Ga. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ votes to reverse his loss. USA TODAY
The year 2020 may now be behind us, but we aren’t done with the 2020 election just yet.
This week, the new Congress gets to work,Â two runoff elections in Georgia Tuesday will determine control of the Senate, andÂ President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory willÂ be certified by Congress. Biden also still has a few Cabinet picks to announceÂ â€“ including his nominee for Attorney GeneralÂ â€“ as he plans for his inauguration.Â
Here are the upcoming dates to watch:
- Tuesday: Senate runoff election in Georgia.
- Wednesday: Congress will count and certify the electoral results in a joint session.
- Jan. 20: Inauguration of Biden, who will take the oath of office.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the transition.
Georgia election official: Trump legal team ‘misled’Â voters
On the eve of key Senate runoffs, a Georgia election official accused President Donald Trumpâ€™s legal team of intentionally misleading voters about voter fraud and said the president persists despite evidence to the contrary.
Gabriel Sterling, Georgia voting system implementation manager, explained to reporters Monday how voting was secured during the Nov. 3 election and explained how complaints raised by Trump and his allies were wrong. He specifically explained how Trumpâ€™s legal team inaccurately described a video of vote counting in Fulton County, which he said was observed by partisans and reporters.
“The presidentâ€™s legal team had the entire tape, they watched the entire tape, and then â€“ from our point of view â€“ intentionally misled the state Senate, the voters and the people of the United States about this,â€ Sterling said. â€œIt was intentional, it was obvious, and anybody watching this knows that.”
Sterling explained how officials investigated complaints that felons voted, underaged voters cast ballotsÂ and voters cast ballots in multiple states. But he said outstanding complaints number in the dozens rather than tens of thousands that Trumpâ€™s team alleges.
â€œNone of that is true, not a whit,â€ Sterling said of an accusation that pieces of voting machines were removed and replaced. â€œThis is all obviously, easily provably false. Yet the president persists and, by doing so, undermines Georgiansâ€™ faith in the election system, especially Republican Georgians in this case, which is important because we have a big election coming up tomorrow, and everybody deserves to have their vote counted if they want it to be.â€
A reporter asked Sterling whether he considered Trumpâ€™s call Saturday to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, when the president urged him to â€œfindâ€ votes for Trump to win against President-elect Joe Biden, was an attack on democracy.
â€œI personally found it to be something that was not normal, out of place,â€ Sterling said. â€œNobody I know who would be president would do something like that to a secretary of state.â€
â€” Bart Jansen
Rep. Kay Granger, who received first dose of COVIDÂ vaccine, tests positive
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, announced Monday she has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Granger, 77, received one dose of a vaccination in December. However, both vaccines require two doses in order to be effective. The Pfizer-BioNTech shots are being given 21 days apart, while the Modernaâ€™s are given 28 days apart.Â
According to her office, she was tested when she “arrived in DC for the beginning of the 117th Congress” and “was later notified that she tested positive and immediately quarantined.”Â
Granger is currently asymptotic and, according to her office.Â
â€” Savannah Behrmann
House Dems draft censure resolution after Trumpâ€™s call on GA election
House Democrats on Monday passed around the draft of a censure resolution against President Donald Trump after leaked audio from a phone call showed him pressuring Georgiaâ€™s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to reverse his electionÂ loss to Biden.Â
The explosive audio, which was obtained by the Washington Post, led Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., to announce he would lead an effort to censure Trump. The Georgia Democrat passed around a three-page censure resolution Monday to fellow House members to gather signatures and support in the effort, though itâ€™s unclear whether the resolution would get a vote in the House.Â
â€œWhereas President Trump misused the power of his office by threatening an elected official with vague criminal consequences if he failed to pursue the presidentâ€™s false claims,â€ a draft of the resolution states. â€œWhereas President Trumpâ€™s actions and statements on this call demonstrate an attempt to willfully deprive the citizens of Georgia of a fair and impartial election process in direct contravention of both Federal law and the laws of the State of Georgia.â€Â
The resolution â€œcensures and condemnsâ€ Trump over the call, a symbolic gesture to rebuke the presidentâ€™s conduct thatâ€™s ultimately the equivalent to a slap on the wrist. A draft of the document also calls for Trump â€œto retract and disavow this unlawful and unconstitutional behavior and acknowledge President-elect Joseph R. Biden as the victor of the November 2020 presidential election.â€Â
As Johnson heads the effort, some Democrats have weighed whether Trumpâ€™s conduct could be potentially impeachable or result in criminal charges. While the call and outcry is resembles the aftermath of Trumpâ€™s call with Ukraineâ€™s president that ultimately led to his impeachment in 2019, House Democrats are unlikely to launch impeachment proceedings against a president who only has several weeks left in office.Â
â€” Christal Hayes
Pence promises to ‘hear the objections’
Vice President Mike Pence on Monday vocalized his support for some Republicansâ€™ efforts to keep President Donald Trump in the White House by overturning the Electoral College results.
But Pence stopped short of saying he would do anything other than allow objections to the certified results to be heard.
â€œI promise you, come this Wednesday, weâ€™ll have our day in Congress. Weâ€™ll hear the objections. Weâ€™ll hear the evidence,â€ Pence said at a rally in Milner, Georgia, for the two Senate races being decided on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Pence â€“ in his constitutional role as president of the Senate â€“ will preside over Congressâ€™ acceptance of the Electoral College results, which have been certified by states.
The rally was the first time that Pence himself publicly addressed Wednesdayâ€™s proceedings.
â€” Maureen Groppe
Georgia secretary of state to hold press conference after Trump call revelations
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, announced a Monday press conference a day after the Washington Post first reported a call between President Donald Trump and top election officials pressuring them to “find” more votes for him.
Raffensperger said on “Good Morning America” Monday morning Trump did most of the talking on the call, but he wanted to make the point to the president “that the data that he has is just plain wrong.”Â
The conference is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. EST at the Georgia State Capitol.
Trump has taken some criticism from Republicans over the call. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the third-ranking House Republican, told reporters on Capitol Hill Monday the call was “deeply troubling.”
â€” Nicholas Wu
2 House Democrats ask FBI to investigate Trumpâ€™s call toÂ Georgia election official
Two House Democrats asked the FBI to open a criminal investigation into President Donald Trumpâ€™s call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which the president askedÂ him to â€œfindâ€ more votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win.
â€œAs Members of Congress and former prosecutors, we believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes. We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the President,â€ Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Kathleen Rice of New York wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
The FBI acknowledged receiving the referral but declined further comment.Â
In a call reported first yesterday by the Washington Post, Trump toldÂ Raffensberger, a Republican, to alter the result of the election.
â€œSo look. All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” the president said in a recording of the call released by media outlets.
The two House Democrats said evidence of Trumpâ€™s election fraud was â€œnow in broad daylight.â€
Georgia has retallied its results three times and has reaffirmed Bidenâ€™s win each time despite Trumpâ€™s unfounded allegations of massive electoral fraud against him. Biden won the state by 12,670 votes.
Democrats have hammered the president over the call, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., calling it an impeachable offense. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., a stalwart defender of the president, said on “Fox & Friends” Monday morning the call was â€œnot a helpful call.â€
But a top House Democrat, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., struck a more cautious tone in a Monday press conference, telling reporters he had not reviewed the transcript of the call and that “We’re not looking backward, we’re looking forward to the inauguration of Joe Biden.”
Trump ally Blackburn says president’s talk withÂ Georgia official ‘not a helpful call’
Democrats and some Republicans have loudly decried President Donald Trump’s request for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to hand him the state’s electors, which was revealed in a recording released Sunday by The Washington Post. Sen. Dick Dubin, D-Ill., has suggested the callÂ “merits nothing less than a criminal investigation.”Â
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.Â â€“ a staunch supporter of the presidentÂ â€“ did not go nearly that far, but told Fox News on Monday everyone has said “that this call was not a helpful call.”
Blackburn is one of a dozen senators who have vowed to object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College defeat of Trump during a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, citing baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud. But during an interview with “Fox & Friends” Blackburn stressed that “the states are the ones that are going to resolve this issue.”Â
“We do not have federalized elections in this country. We do not want federalized elections in this country,” Blackburn said. “But it is going to be up to these state legislatures and these elected officials, not non-elected or appointed officials, to make these decisions.”Â
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told Fox News that he had not listened to the recording of Trump’s call with Raffensperger, but dismissed it as a “distraction” from the more important Tuesday runoff elections for his state’s Senate seats.Â
“Weâ€™ve got to keep majority control in the U.S. Senate,” Kemp said. But “the horse has left the barn here in Georgia,” regarding the outcome of the presidential election, he said.Â
“Our electionâ€™s been certified. The electors have voted.”Â
David Perdue, whose first term in the Senate ended with the closing of the 116th Congress on Sunday, told Fox News he did not think the revelation of Trump’s effort to pressure Raffensperger would impact the Senate runoffs and his race for a second term. And rather than criticize the president, Perdue took aim at Raffensperger.Â
“Iâ€™m still shocked that a member of the Republican Party would tape a sitting president and then leak that. Itâ€™s disgusting in my view,” Perdue said.Â
Defending Trump’s phone call, Perdue said, “what the president said in this tape today is no different than what he’s been saying for the last two months.”Â
â€“ William CummingsÂ
Raffensperger says DA probe of Trump call would be ‘appropriate’
Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said it would be “appropriate” for the Fulton County district attorney to investigate President Donald Trump’s request that he “find” enough votes to make him the winner of the state’s presidential election, which he lost to President-elect Joe Biden by nearly 12,000 votes.Â
On Sunday, The Washington Post released a recording of the hourlong conversation Trump had the day before with Raffensperger.Â In the call, Trump repeats several previously debunked claims of voter fraud to argue why Raffensperger should “recalculate” the vote total, which wasÂ certified after both manual and machine recounts.Â
“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,”Â Trump told Raffensperger. “Because we won the state.”
The president also baselessly warned the Republican state official that he could be committing “a criminal offense” by not acting on theÂ unproven fraud claims.Â
The New York Times reported that the call was the 19th made to Raffensperger’s office from the White House switchboard since the Nov. 3 election. Raffensperger did not dispute that number when asked about it Monday on ABC’s “Good MorningÂ America.”
“I never believed it was appropriate to speak with the president. But he pushed outÂ â€“ and I guess he had his staff push us and they wanted the call,” Raffensperger said, explaining he had been reluctant to speak to the president because they were still involved in litigation related toÂ the election. “But we took the call and we had a conversation. He did most of the talking, we did most of the listening, but I did want to make my points that the data that he hasÂ is just plain wrong.”Â
When asked if he planned to open a criminal investigation into the call, he said he would have a conflict of interest, but added, “I understand that the Fulton County district attorney wants to look at it. Maybe that’s the appropriate venue for it to go.”Â
When asked if he thought Trump’s request to change the vote total was illegal, Raffensperger said, “I’m not a lawyer.”Â
“All I know is that we’re going to follow the law, follow the process. Truth matters, and we’ve been fighting these rumors for the past two months,” he said.Â
Raffensperger has said he voted for Trump. When asked if he would vote for the president again, Raffensperger replied, “I support Republicans. I always have,Â I probably always will.”Â
When pressed he said, “Well, President Trump is not on the ballot in 2024 right now, so we’ll just have to wait and see what would happen.”Â
â€“ William CummingsÂ
Reports: Trump to give Reps. Devin Nunes, Jim JordanÂ the Medal of Freedom
Nunes and JordanÂ zealously defended the president amid both his impeachment and former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.Â
Trump plans to award Nunes with the medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on Monday, according to the reports. Axios and the Post said Jordan was expected to be honored sometime next week.Â
Trump said in October 2018 that he thought Nunes deserved the award,Â though he mistakenly firstÂ referred to it as the Medal of Honor. Trump said NunesÂ had earned it for defendingÂ him through the allegations that his campaign had colluded with the Kremlin.Â
“What he’s gone through, and his bravery, he should get a very important medal,” Trump said.Â
In May 2020, he praised both Jordan and Nunes, who he said “wouldn’t stop” trying to defend him.Â
“You deserve a medal. You deserve the equivalent of Pulitzer Prizes,” Trump told the congressmen. “They ought to take the Pulitzer Prize away from all of these phony journalists that got a Pulitzer Prize.”
Critics, however, say both men usedÂ obfuscation and deception as they sought to protect the White House from scrutiny. Those critics were disturbed by the reports of Trump’s plan to honor his two congressional allies.Â
“I feel for all the great Americans who have received the Medal of Freedom over the decades. Whatâ€™s next, spray painting MAGA on the WH walls?”Â tweeted David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama.
â€“ William Cummings
Trump and Biden to stump in Georgia on eve of Senate runoffsÂ
President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden are scheduled to travel to Georgia Monday to support their parties’ respective candidates in Georgia’s two runoff elections that will determine control of the U.S. Senate.Â
Trump is scheduled to appear with Davide Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the two Republican Senate incumbents who failed to win a majority of the vote on Nov. 3, while Biden will stump for their Democratic opponents, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.Â
Because the 116th Congress ended Sunday, Loeffler and Perdue are not sitting senators and whether they return for the new session hinges on the outcome of Tuesday’s races. Polling indicates a tight race for both Senate seats and while Democrats appear to have an edge in early voting returns, Republicans are counting on a massive in-person turnout on Tuesday.Â
But Trump has cast doubts on the integrity of Georgia’s elections, last week calling the runoff electionsÂ “illegal and invalid,” which some Republicans fear could discourage Trump’s ardent supporters from turning out to vote. And on Sunday, the race was further complicated when The Washington Post released a recording of a phone in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State to “recalculate” the results of the Nov. 3 election and to “find” enough votes to make him the winner.Â
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was in Savannah Sunday, campaigning for Ossoff and Warnock just after the news of Trump’s extraordinary call broke.Â
“Have y’all heard about that recorded conversation? Well, it was certainly the voice of desperation, most certainly that,” Harris told onlookers during theÂ drive-in rally. “And it was a bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States.”
â€“ William Cummings and Phillip BaileyÂ
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