Saturday, November 14, 2020

Updates on the coronavirus, election, and Trump's legal exposure

Here are a few of the topics addressed by Heather Cox Richardson in the November 13 2020 edition of her Letters from an American.

Today, we set a record for new coronavirus cases: more than 181,000 people, with 1,389 deaths. Governors in Oregon and New Mexico have issued stay at home orders and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (R) late today gave in and ordered a statewide mask mandate. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (D) has tested positive. Recently, more than 130 of the Secret Service officers around the president have either tested positive or been told to quarantine because they have had close contact with other infected people. This is impacting White House security.

In a statement after he met with his transition Covid–19 Advisory Board today, President-Elect Joe Biden issued a statement warning that the facts are “alarming.” After pointing to the rising infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, and to the exhaustion on the part of our healthcare workers, he praised the progress toward a safe and effective vaccine but warned we are still months away from widespread vaccination.

As Trump continues to claim, against all evidence, that he won the election, he has refused to begin the process of transition to a Biden presidency. He will not share intelligence with Biden, or permit transition teams to begin getting Biden’s people up to speed on the current situations in their departments. The man in charge of the Trump administration’s effort to produce a coronavirus vaccine wants to brief Biden, but cannot get permission to. Yesterday, more than 150 former national security officials from both parties warned that Trump’s refusal to begin the transition is a “serious risk to national security.”

Interestingly, in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe suggested that Trump’s refusal to share information might be about more than stubbornness. He noted that, while Trump has made motions toward releasing more information about the Russia investigation, it was incomprehensible that Trump would actually want that information released, because it “would risk casting the president in a very negative light.” Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo caught the implications of McCabe’s statement, suggesting that behind Trump’s refusal to let Biden see intelligence reports was the fear that those reports might implicate members of the Trump administration in wrongdoing.

Trump’s effort to overturn the result of the election by getting the courts to throw out ballots so far has come to nothing. … In courtrooms, where they face professional sanctions for unfounded allegations, Trump’s lawyers are not alleging any such fraud. Indeed, they are admitting they have no proof that such a thing occurred: a lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania to stop certification of the vote says those bringing the lawsuit are in the process of compiling evidence of fraud and “intend to produce it” later. So far, Trump has lost every challenge he has brought. … Trump put his lawyer Rudy Giuliani in charge of the campaign lawsuits as well as all communications about them to the public.

Smart move, Donald.

… Koch-funded organizations, together known under the name “Stand Together,” are planning to invest heavily in the Georgia runoff elections for Senate, hoping to keep the Republicans in office to maintain control of the Senate.

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