1/ Trump called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and urged him to call a special session of the state legislature so lawmakers could appoint electors who would back him at the electoral college and overturn Biden’s win in the state. Trump also asked Kemp to order an audit of absentee ballot signatures. “I will easily & quickly win Georgia if Governor @BrianKempGA or the Secretary of State permit a simple signature verification. Has not been done and will show large scale discrepancies,” Trump tweeted. “Why are these two ‘Republicans’ saying no? If we win Georgia, everything else falls in place!” Kemp, however, told Trump that he did not have the authority to order an audit and denied the request to call a special session. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, meanwhile, said a special session to overturn the state’s election results “would be then nullifying the will of the people.” (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Axios / Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Trump-Biden Transition Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / CNN /NPR / ABC News

  • 👑 Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial. “The last act of the Trump presidency has taken on the stormy elements of a drama more common to history or literature than a modern White House.” (New York Times)

  • 👑 As Trump rants over election, his administration accelerates push to lock in policy and staffing gains. “Over the final six weeks of Trump’s presidency, the administration has no plans to wind down its efforts to remake federal policies and even the government bureaucracy itself, aides said, despite the pending handoff to the incoming Democratic administration.” (Washington Post)

2/ Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger recertified the state’s election results and reaffirmed Biden’s victory after a second statewide recount of votes. The presidential ballots in Georgia have been counted three times. Biden prevailed in all three counts of the vote in Georgia. (Washington Post / ABC News / New York Times / CNN / Politico)

  • 27 congressional Republicans acknowledge Biden’s win over Trump, and two Republicans consider Trump the winner despite all evidence showing otherwise. 220 Republicans in the House and Senate would not say who won the election. (Washington Post)

  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro repeatedly violated the Hatch Act by using his official authority for campaign purposes. Navarro is one of more than a dozen Trump administration officials the Office of Special Counsel has found to have violated the act. (Axios)

3/ The Trump administration rejected requests from Biden’s transition team to meet with officials at the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and other intelligence agencies. The Pentagon’s recently appointed chief of staff, Kash Patel, reportedly “told everybody we’re not going to cooperate with the transition team,” according one former official, and he has “put a lot of restrictions on it.” In some instances, Patel blocked some career officials and experts from providing information about key defense issues to the Biden transition team, telling political appointees to take the lead instead. The Pentagon, meanwhile, pushed back against reports that the Trump administration had intentionally blocked the Biden transition team from meeting with defense intelligence agencies, saying the Biden team had improperly reached out to the agencies instead of the DoD transition team. (Washington Post / NBC News / Politico)

4/ Biden selected California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as his secretary of Health and Human Services. If confirmed, Becerra would be the first Latino to run the health department. Biden’s transition team also announced other key public health roles, including Dr. Vivek Murthy to be surgeon general, Rochelle Walensky to be director of the CDC, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith to be COVID-19 Equity Task Force co-chair, Dr. Anthony Fauci to be chief medical adviser on COVID-19, Jeff Zients to be counselor to the president and coordinator of the COVID-19 response, and Natalie Quillian to be deputy coordinator of the COVID-19 response. (New York Times / CBS News / Politico / NPR)

  • Biden’s pick to run the Office of Management and Budget runs a think tank that solicited donations from corporate and foreign interests. Neera Tanden spent nine years running the Center for American Progress, and between 2014 and 2019, CAP received at least $33 million from firms in the financial sector, private foundations funded by wealth earned on Wall Street, and in other investment firms. As OMB director, Tanden would have a hand in setting fiscal and personnel policy for agencies, oversee the regulatory process across the executive branch, and execute the annual spending plan. Tanden told staff that she will remain as CAP president through her confirmation, but suspended her involvement in fundraising after Biden announced her nomination. (Washington Post)

5/ Rudy Giuliani tested positive for the coronavirus and has been admitted to Georgetown University Medical Center. Giuliani, who has frequently appeared maskless, traveled to Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia last week and met indoors with state legislators to advance Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. The Arizona Legislature, meanwhile, will close for a week “out of an abundance of caution” after Giuliani possibly exposed several Republican lawmakers to COVID-19. And public health officials in Michigan ordered several state lawmakers to begin quarantining after they were in recent, close contact with Giuliani. “Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!” Trump tweeted. (New York Times / NBC News / Arizona Republic / Washington Post / CNN)

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar promised that every American will be able to get a coronavirus vaccine by the second quarter of 2021. The FDA, however, hasn’t authorized a vaccine, yet. (Axios)

  • Trump plans to hold a “vaccine summit” at the White House on Tuesday. Both Pfizer and Moderna – the two drug manufacturers likely to receive emergency authorizations for a COVID-19 vaccine – however rejected the invitations. (STAT News / Bloomberg)

  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee invited an anti-vaccine doctor who promoted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment to testify. Dr. Jane Orient is the executive director of a group that opposes government involvement in medicine and views federal vaccine mandates as a violation of human rights. (New York Times)

  • 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~67,448,000; deaths: ~1,542,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~14,889,000; deaths: ~284,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

  • Live Blogs: Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / NBC News / ABC News / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal

6/ Attorney General William Barr is considering resigning before January 20. Trump declined to say whether he had confidence in Barr last week after his attorney general said the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread election fraud. The two later had a “contentious,” lengthy meeting inside the West Wing. (New York Times / CNN)

✏️ Notables.

  1. The EPA declined to adopt stricter regulations on soot pollution, disregarding the recommendation of its own scientists to implement tougher standards. Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who was appointed by Trump, signed the standards Friday to retain the current thresholds for fine particle pollution for another five years. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

  2. A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump tried to end the DACA program in September 2017, and in July Chad Wolf, the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, suspended DACA pending a “comprehensive” review. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, however, ruled in November that Wolf had unlawfully ascended to the agency’s top job and vacated his suspension of protections for migrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / Politico / Axios)

  3. Trump ordered the withdrawal “a majority” U.S. troops from Somalia in early 2021. There are currently about 700 troops in Somalia to assist the government fight against Al-Shabab, a terrorist group with links to al Qaeda. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / New York Times)

  4. Melania Trump announced completion of a new White House tennis pavilion. The project refurbished the existing White House Tennis Court and Grandchildren’s Garden, and erected a new 1,200-square-foot building on the South Lawn. (Associated Press / Bloomberg)