1/ The leaders of three major medical associations urged Trump to share “all critical information related to COVID-19” with the incoming Biden administration “as soon as possible” in order to “save countless lives.” The CEOs of the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association urged the Trump administration to share “real-time data and information on the supply of therapeutics, testing supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators, hospital bed capacity […] the capacity of the Strategic National Stockpile, the assets from Operation Warp Speed, and plans for dissemination of therapeutics and vaccines […] so that there is no lapse in our ability to care for patients.” Biden, meanwhile, noted that getting a coronavirus vaccine to more than 300 million Americans is a “huge, huge, huge undertaking” that would be further complicated by a continued delay in the presidential transition. Over the past 14 days, coronavirus cases have increased in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. There has also been a 100% or more increase in confirmed cases over 14 days in Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and New York. The seven-day average of new deaths in the U.S., meanwhile, eclipsed the Aug. 2 peak of 1,150. And, more than 73,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday – a new record. Dr. Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, called for the nation to adopt “a uniform approach” to the coronavirus pandemic, rather than the current “disjointed” state-by-state response. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~55,473,000; deaths: ~1,336,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~11,321,000; deaths: ~249,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
2/ The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the Trump campaign’s claim that election observers were improperly denied access to watch ballot counting in Philadelphia. The court noted that state law mandates that observers be permitted to be “in the room” during ballot counting, but the law does not set a minimum distance between them and the counting tables. The 5-2 ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court came as Rudy Giuliani appeared in federal court on behalf of the Trump campaign, claiming that Republican election observers weren’t allowed to get close enough to the vote counting tables in Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties. The loss in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court could harm the Trump campaign’s related legal effort in the federal court to block the state from certifying its election results in coming weeks. (CNBC / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)
Rudy Giuliani reportedly asked Trump’s campaign to pay him $20,000 a day for his legal work. (New York Times)
3/ Lindsey Graham proposed throwing out legally mailed ballots to Georgia’s top elections official in an effort to reverse Trump’s narrow loss in the state. According to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Graham questioned him about the state’s signature-matching law, whether political bias could have prompted poll workers to accept ballots with non-matching signatures, and if he had the power to throw out all mail ballots in counties found to have higher rates of non-matching signatures. Raffensperger said he took Graham’s comments as “an implication of look hard and see how many ballots you could throw out.” Graham denied pressuring Raffensperger to throw away legal ballots, calling the allegation “ridiculous.” Graham, however, acknowledged that he also reached out officials in Arizona and Nevada – states Biden also won – in an attempt to learn how they validate signatures on mail-in ballots. (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / CNN / The Guardian / Wall Street Journal)
4/ Biden told aides that he’s concerned that Trump investigations would consume his presidency and divide the nation. Biden, however, wants his Justice Department to function independently from the White House and said he would leave the decisions to investigate up to the DOJ. Biden reportedly “just wants to move on” from Trump. (NBC News)
5/ Biden announced his first nine campaign aides and longtime advisers who will join him in the White House in January, including five women and four people of color. In a statement, the transition team said Biden was committed to “to building an administration that looks like America.” (Associated Press / The Guardian / Politico / CBS News / NBC News / CNN / ABC News)
6/ Trump’s acting defense secretary announced that the U.S. military will halve the number of troops it has in Afghanistan within the next two months. The military will also cut a smaller number in Iraq. Christopher Miller announced the plan eight days after he took over for fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who had submitted a memo recommending that Afghanistan did not warrant reductions. (Washington Post / CNBC / Bloomberg)
7/ Trump asked his top national security aides what options were available to taking action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks. The meeting occurred a day after international inspectors reported a significant increase in Iran’s stockpile of nuclear material. Seniors advisers reportedly warned Trump that a strike against Iran’s facilities could escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of his presidency. Officials left the meeting believing a missile attack inside Iran was off the table. Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei warned against an attack, saying “Any action against the Iranian nation would certainly face a crushing response.” Biden, meanwhile, has promised to rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran as long as Iran also comes back into compliance. (New York Times / The Guardian)
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