Presidential Transition Live Updates: Trump Won’t Concede but Hints at Rallies

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump said he might “stop by” a demonstration on Saturday in Washington, D.C., of supporters who back his refusal to concede the election, even as his loss in the Electoral College grew on Friday and his legal maneuverings in several states to overturn the results failed to advance.

The president’s possible visit comes after results in the last two states were announced on Friday, with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. winning Georgia to finish with a total of 306 electoral votes — the same number that Mr. Trump won in 2016 and called a landslide — and Mr. Trump winning North Carolina, for a total of 232 electoral votes.

Demonstrations of the Trump faithful planned for Saturday in Washington include a “Million MAGA March,” a “Stop the Steal” rally and a “Women for Trump” event; it was not clear which one Mr. Trump might attend. “Heartwarming to see all of the tremendous support out there,” the president posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

Later Friday — in his first public remarks since the election was called — a White House briefing on his administration’s efforts to distribute a coronavirus vaccine, the president came close to acknowledging Mr. Biden’s win before catching himself.

“This administration will not be going to a lockdown,” Mr. Trump said in the Rose Garden, adding that “hopefully the — whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be. I guess time will tell.”

Since the election was called for Mr. Biden one week ago, many of Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the results in a handful of states, built around baseless claims of widespread vote fraud, have already been dismissed or dropped.

In the latest rounds on Friday, a state court judge in Michigan denied the Trump campaign’s request to halt the certification of the vote in Wayne County, home to Detroit; a Philadelphia judge denied the campaign’s petition to dismiss thousands of absentee and mail-in ballots; and in Arizona, the campaign effectively abandoned its so-called “Sharpiegate” lawsuit, which had claimed that ballots cast for Mr. Trump were invalidated after voters used felt-tip markers.

In Georgia, which Mr. Biden won by about 14,000 votes, auditors are reviewing all 5 million ballots by hand, but state election officials said the recount was very unlikely to change the outcome.

As the week drew to a close, Mr. Trump’s attempts to deny electoral reality appeared to be collapsing around him and his reluctance to begin making way for Mr. Biden stirred bipartisan ire.

More than 160 former public officials warned Friday that the administration’s refusal to give the president-elect access to intelligence briefings and other transition services “poses a serious risk to our national security.” A growing chorus of Republican senators this week pressed for Mr. Biden to begin receiving the briefings. And on Thursday, a group of federal, state and local election officials declared flatly that the election “was the most secure in American history” and that there was “no evidence” any voting systems were compromised.

On Friday, Mr. Biden urged the distracted president to turn his attention to the rapidly worsening pandemic and take stronger action.

“This crisis demands a robust and immediate federal response, which has been woefully lacking,” Mr. Biden said Friday. “I am the president-elect, but I will not be president until next year. The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now.”

Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. demanded on Friday that President Trump do more to confront the coronavirus infections exploding across the country, calling the federal response “woefully lacking” even as Mr. Trump broke a 10-day silence on the pandemic to threaten to withhold a vaccine from New York.

In a blistering statement, Mr. Biden said that the recent surge, which is killing more than 1,000 Americans and hospitalizing almost 70,000 every day, required a “robust and immediate federal response.”

“I will not be president until next year,” Mr. Biden said. “The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now. Urgent action is needed today, now, by the current administration — starting with an acknowledgment of how serious the current situation is.”

Mr. Biden released his statement less than an hour before the president appeared in the Rose Garden at the White House on Friday evening, where he announced no new measures to slow the long-anticipated autumn surge of the virus, which he hardly acknowledged.

Mr. Trump hailed the news from Monday that a vaccine under development by Pfizer appeared to be 90 percent effective. But he vowed not to order widespread lockdowns as long as he remained in office and threatened to withhold distribution of the vaccine to New York because its governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, said the state intended to conduct its own review of the vaccine’s approval by the federal government.

“He doesn’t trust the fact that it’s this White House, this administration, so we won’t be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so,” Mr. Trump told reporters in only his second public remarks since Election Day. “So the governor will let us know when he’s ready. He’s had some very bad editorials recently about this.”

It is not clear whether Mr. Trump would be able to follow through on that threat before he leaves office. Health care workers, older adults and other vulnerable populations could get access to a vaccine by mid-December, well before Mr. Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Eleven days after the election, the results are increasingly clear: Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the presidency by a significant margin, growing his Electoral College lead with wins in Georgia and Arizona. Democrats kept control of the House but with a smaller majority, and control of the Senate will hinge on runoffs in January for Georgia’s two seats.

But 12 House contests remain uncalled. Here’s an overview of the vote counts in the House races as of Saturday morning.

  • California, 21st District: Republican David Valadao is leading Representative T.J. Cox, a Democrat, by 1.4 percentage points with over 98 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • California, 25th District: Representative Mike Garcia, a Republican, is leading Christy Smith, a Democrat, by just three-hundredths of a percentage point — 104 votes — with more than 98 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • Iowa, Second District: Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, is leading Rita Hart, a Democrat, by two-hundredths of a percentage point — just 48 votes — with 89 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • New Jersey, Seventh District: Representative Tom Malinowski, a Democrat, is leading Thomas Kean, a Republican, by one percentage point with 96 percent of estimated votes counted. The Associated Press called this race for Mr. Malinowski days ago, but the race has tightened since then, and The Times has withdrawn its call.

  • New York, First District: Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican, is leading Nancy Goroff, a Democrat, by more than 20 percentage points with 77 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • New York, Second District: Andrew Garbarino, a Republican, is leading Jackie Gordon, a Democrat, by more than 16 percentage points with 79 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • New York, Third District: George Santos, a Republican, is leading Representative Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, by three-hundreths of a percentage point — just 918 votes — with 74 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • New York, 11th District: Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican, is leading Representative Max Rose, a Democrat, by more than 15 percentage points with 85 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • New York, 18th District: Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat, is leading Chele Farley, a Republican, by four percentage points with 79 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • New York, 19th District: Representative Antonio Delgado, a Democrat, is leading Kyle Van De Water, a Republican, by four percentage points with 83 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • New York, 22nd District: Claudia Tenney, a Republican, is leading Representative Anthony Brindisi, a Democrat, by 11 percentage points with 80 percent of estimated votes reported.

  • Utah, Fourth District: Burgess Owens, Republican, is leading Representative Ben McAdams, a Democrat, by about half a percentage point with more than 98 percent of estimated votes counted.

Credit…Zach Gibson for The New York Times

For four years, Wall Street has benefited from the Trump administration’s push to loosen bank rules and weaken post-crisis financial regulations. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. appears ready to shift things in the opposite direction, bringing back stricter oversight of the financial industry.

The transition teams that Mr. Biden selected to review finance-related agencies are filled with proponents of stronger regulation, jarring industry groups that are suddenly fearful the moderate Democrat is preparing for an unexpected onslaught of corporate oversight. The burst of anxiety reflects the uncertainty surrounding Mr. Biden’s approach and worries of a sharp reversal from President Trump’s steady rollback of regulations across the federal government.

Among those selected for the financial regulatory transition teams are Gary Gensler, who led the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama administration. He pushed through dozens of tough rules in the wake of the 2010 Dodd Frank law, including some that the Trump administration has watered down.

Also on the teams are Leandra English, a former deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Dennis Kelleher, a co-founder of Better Markets, a prominent financial reform advocacy group. Ms. English tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent Mr. Trump from installing a critic of her bureau, Mick Mulvaney, as its acting director three years ago.

The teams do not set policy or make final selections on personnel at the various agencies, but they can provide recommendations.

The overall Biden transition team said the groups would be “responsible for understanding the operations of each agency, ensuring a smooth transfer of power.” However, their work has been delayed because of Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede defeat and grant Mr. Biden’s staff access to the departments.

Financial industry lobbyists remain hopeful that Republicans will retain control of the Senate by winning both runoff elections in Georgia in January. That could force Mr. Biden to select more moderate nominees for key regulatory posts.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump’s string of losses in court in recent days extended beyond his effort to challenge the outcome of the election: Defamation lawsuits he filed against two news organizations were also dismissed this week.

Throughout his presidency, Mr. Trump has used his campaign funds as a legal piggy bank of sorts to finance a broad array of lawsuits, including at least against four news organizations that he and his campaign accused of publishing “false and defamatory statements.”

Two of those lawsuits were filed against CNN and an NBC affiliate in Wisconsin.

Mr. Trump’s campaign had alleged that an advertisement this year by the Wisconsin station WJFW-NBC — which illustrated the rising number of Covid-19 cases juxtaposed with Mr. Trump’s statement playing down the threat — was “verifiably false.”

In the CNN case, Mr. Trump’s campaign claimed that an opinion article published on CNN’s website by the former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission with the headline “Soliciting dirt on your opponents from a foreign government is a crime” was defamatory.

Judge Michael L. Brown of the United States District Court in the Northern District of Atlanta, dismissed the CNN case on Thursday. He concluded that the opinion article did not publish “false facts in reckless disregard of the truth.”

The case against the NBC affiliate ended on Friday, after the lawyers working on behalf of the channel claimed that Mr. Trump lost his standing in the matter after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. won by 20,000 votes in Wisconsin.

“This suit no longer presents a live controversy because no decision of this court, however favorable, could redress the ‘injury’ that the challenged advertisement allegedly inflicted,” lawyers for the television station argued on Nov. 9, given that Mr. Trump had lost the election there.

The president’s lawyers and the lawyers for the television station then submitted a motion on Friday to the court agreeing to dismiss the matter. A judge may still act to formalize the request.

The Trump campaign has two additional defamation lawsuits that are pending against The New York Times and The Washington Post, court records show.

Credit…Lynsey Weatherspoon for The New York Times

For many voters in Georgia, the twin runoffs for the state’s two Senate seats on Jan. 5 will be more than a contest to determine whether Republicans or Democrats control the upper chamber, along with the ability for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to advance much of his agenda over the next two years.

Particularly for Black voters, the races are the latest iteration of a power struggle steeped in segregationist history and efforts by white Republicans to dilute Black voting power and empower the largely white, rural segments of the state.

Georgia’s runoff system, in which candidates must gain a majority of the vote to win, grew out of efforts by some white Georgians in the 1960s to keep control of the state’s political apparatus — even after the Supreme Court struck down a more repressive system giving sparsely populated, heavily white rural counties more voting weight than dense urban areas that had large numbers of Black voters.

But the advantage that the runoff model bestows on Republicans has continued to tilt races in favor of Republicans in the decades since. In 1992, Senator Wyche Fowler Jr., a Democrat, lost in a runoff even after amassing a plurality of votes in the general election, but failing to capture at least 50 percent of the vote, as required by state law to prevent a runoff.

Given the unusually high stakes in this year’s runoffs, Democrats hope the energy they have gathered by winning the presidential race in Georgia for the first time in 28 years — and the shifting demographics that made that possible — will help them overcome these systemic disadvantages.

“I have told my Republican colleagues that Democrats are fired up going into the race, and with Biden winning Georgia, I assume that gives them momentum,” said Saxby Chambliss, the former Republican senator of Georgia who won a second term in a 2008 runoff.

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