Political News

Caroline Purser/iStockBy LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 50 days.

Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern.

Dec 01, 11:02 am
Georgia secretary of state slams Fulton County over issue with recount

With nearly 50 of the Georgia's 159 counties having finished the third count of votes in the presidential race, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a news conference Tuesday morning criticized the state's largest county, Fulton, for what he said is a mistake made by one election worker that required them to rescan more than 300,000 ballots.

In a statement issued Monday, Fulton County said that a Dominion server, that was "operated in accordance with the Secretary of State's published guidelines" crashed, which "delayed work" over the weekend.

However, Raffensperger said the county "only told part of the story," and that the "real issue" was one employee making "several compounding errors," including not following established protocol. The secretary said the employee backed up the election project on the server instead of on an external backup, which he said then led to the county being unable to "upload hundreds of thousands of scanned ballots."

"Processes and procedures exist for a reason. The reason is to take into account the unexpected," Raffensperger told reporters.

"I think us in our office, and I think really the rest of the state is getting a little tired of always having to wait on Fulton County, and having to put up with their dysfunction," Gabriel Sterling, the voting system implementation manager, later added.

Officials still defended the general election as the most secure in Georgia's history.

While noting there will have been instances of illegal voting, as they've acknowledged before, Sterling said, "The problem is there hasn't been direct evidence of a conspiracy. There's no evidence of some cabal over the top of this trying to switch the elections up."

-ABC News' Quinn Scanlan

Dec 01, 10:03 am
Trump allies ask US Supreme Court to reverse Pa. election certification

Trump allies have asked the United States Supreme Court to reconsider a case the Pennsylvania high court rejected and reverse the state’s certification of the 2020 presidential election.
The case, brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, along with another GOP candidate for Congress, alleges that the state legislature did not legally pass the measure allowing for universal mail-in voting. The plaintiffs initially asked the courts to cancel all mail-in ballots or, if not, to empower the state legislature to appoint new electors.

The filing asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the case comes just days after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning the GOP cannot bring it back.

"Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof," Justice David N. Wecht wrote in a concurring opinion. "Petitioners cannot carry their enormous burden. They have failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted."
The justices have still yet to respond to the president's earlier request to join a long-pending Pennsylvania Republican challenge to that state’s tabulation of late-arriving mail ballots. The High Court has also not said if they would formally consider an earlier petition asking the court to toss the late-arriving ballots.

-ABC News' Matthew Mosk and Devin Dwyer

Dec 01, 9:50 am
Overview: Trump blasts GOP governors, Biden to introduce economic team

With all six states where Trump has contested election results now having certified Biden’s win -- with the battlegrounds of Arizona and Wisconsin making it official Monday, Trump is lashing out at Republican governors for certifying the votes in his ongoing effort to undermine the election.

Trump has targeted GOP Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona and Brian Kemp of Georgia for meeting the deadlines to certify votes in their states, but as he publicly questions the credibility of the Republican Party and its leaders -- ahead of runoffs in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate -- some Republicans worry he is also undermining the GOP’s majority in the upper chamber.

Trump called on Kemp Tuesday morning in a tweet to "call off election," adding "it won't be needed," if Kemp allows his state to be "scammed" without checking signatures against ballots -- which the state already does. (Signatures were already matched twice in Georgia: first when a voter applies for a ballot and then again when the voter returned their absentee ballot. Once the signature accompanying the returned ballot is verified, the ballots are separated from the envelopes and there is no way to re-match them under the Georgia state Constitution.)

Near the end of an all-day unofficial "hearing" GOP lawmakers held at a hotel in Phoenix Monday, the president phoned in and called the election the "greatest scam ever perpetrated upon our country,” despite elected officials across the country praising the 2020 election as the most secure in American history.

"We're taking it all the way," Trump said, vowing his team would file additional legal action in Wisconsin -- where a recount netted Biden 87 more votes -- and Georgia -- where the Trump campaign has paid for votes to be counted for a third time.

Despite Trump’s unprecedented attacks on the electoral process, Biden is pressing forward with his transition with 50 days until the inauguration. He’s slated to introduce his incoming economic team Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. in Wilmington, Delaware, which includes former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary nominee who, if confirmed, would be the first woman in the position.

While Yellen has drawn bipartisan support in initial reactions on Capitol Hill, Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Budget and Management, Neera Tanden, who would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American in the role, has drawn the ire of Senate Republicans with Texas Sen. John Cornyn calling her “radioactive.” Democrats have rallied to Tanden's defense.

Tuesday also brings the first time Biden will publicly appear in a walking boot after fracturing bones in his right foot over the weekend, and the second day he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will receive the latest intelligence in the President's Daily Brief, following a 16-day standoff with the Trump administration.

Dec 01, 1:39 am
Arizona governor defends state's election system

Following criticism from President Donald Trump on Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey defended Arizona's election system and its security, saying, "I’ve been pretty outspoken about Arizona’s election system, and bragged about it quite a bit, including in the Oval Office. And for good reason," he tweeted Monday night.

"We’ve been doing early voting since 1992. Arizona didn’t explore or experiment this year. We didn’t cancel election day voting as some pushed for -- we weren’t going to disenfranchise any voter. In Arizona, we have some of the strongest election laws in the country, laws that prioritize accountability and clearly lay out procedures for conducting, canvassing, and even contesting the results of an election," Ducey continued.

Ducey, a Republican and ardent supporter of the president, directly responded to claims made Monday in the hearing that absentee and early ballots sent in Maricopa County did not undergo signature verification.

"We’ve got ID at the polls. We review EVERY signature (every single one) on early ballots -- by hand -- unlike other states that use computers. Prohibitions on ballot harvesting. Bipartisan poll observers. Clear deadlines, including no ballots allowed after Election Day," he said.

He broke down the state's law surrounding election certification and the selection of electors -- refuting claims from the Trump team and others asking state legislatures to bypass election results and select electors themselves.

"The problems that exist in other states simply don’t apply here. I’ve also said all along, I’m going to follow the law. So here’s what the law says… It requires the Secretary of State, in the presence of the Governor and the Attorney General, to canvass the election on the fourth Monday following the general election. That was today."

-ABC News' Meg Cunningham

Nov 30, 9:53 pm
Pennsylvania legislative session to end at midnight

Pennsylvania's legislative session officially ends at midnight, which means that state lawmakers are expected to adjourn without Republicans taking any action to replace the state's voter-awarded electors with a slate of ones chosen by the state's legislators.

Prior to Monday's deadline, the Republican Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Bryan Cutler, along with Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff issued a joint statement saying they did not have enough time to consider the resolution before the end of the session.

"We are physically unable to consider any new legislation before the end of session. A simple resolution takes three legislative days for consideration and a concurrent resolution takes five legislative days to move through both chambers, which means we do not have the time needed to address any new resolutions in our current session," the statement read.

However, the pair also indicated that this year's election would still be a topic that lawmakers plan to address in the future.

"It is obvious Pennsylvania's election processes are in dire need of repair. Our work to ensure the chaos and confusion of the 2020 election are not repeated will continue in the next legislative session," they added, while also noting that they plan to see the process of a "complete audit of the election...completed into the next session as well."

-ABC News' Alisa Wiersema and Alex Hosenball

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesBy LUKE BARR, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- A lawyer for President Donald Trump's campaign has attacked the former top cyber official at DHS, after he spoke out against the president's claims that the election was fraudulent.

Joe diGenova said that former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Chris Krebs "should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot."

DiGenova, speaking on the conservative outlet Newsmax, said that Krebs was an "idiot."

"Mail in balloting is inherently corrupt and this election proved it," diGenova told host Howie Carr. "This was not a coincidence, this was all planned. Anybody who thinks that this election went well like that idiot Krebs," he said. "That guy is a Class A moron," diGenova said. "He should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot."

Krebs was fired by the president last month after repeatedly speaking out against the president's various claims, saying the election had been the most secure in U.S. history.

"The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud," Trump said in a tweet.

"Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency."

Krebs, on NBC's Today program Tuesday morning, said that diGenova's comments were examples of "more dangerous language, more dangerous behavior."

"We're a nation of laws, and I plan to take advantage of those laws," Krebs said. "I've got an exceptional team of lawyers that win in court and I think they're going to be busy." Adding that his team is exploring all options, but warning that "they can know that there are things coming."

On the CBS program 60 Minutes over the weekend, Krebs defended his work leading the agency in securing the 2020 election saying, “I did it right, we did it right. This was a secure election” and “there was no indication or evidence that there was any sort of hacking or compromise of election systems on, before or after November 3.”

Adding that the Trump campaign claims of hacking into voting machines, for example, is “nonsense.”

Trump fired back on Twitter.

"@60Minutes never asked us for a comment about their ridiculous, one sided story on election security, which is an international joke. Our 2020 Election, from poorly rated Dominion to a Country FLOODED with unaccounted for Mail-In ballots, was probably our least secure EVER!" the president said Sunday.

Krebs was on thin ice with the president for the entire month of November, especially after the election when he repeatedly tweeted from his official CISA account, correcting falsehoods purported by the president's campaign.

The former CISA chief said on NBC Tuesday that he was "thankful" for the president for giving him the opportunity to serve but that when one enters federal service, they pledge an oath to the Constitution.

Krebs and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty ImagesBy OLIVIA RUBIN and MATTHEW MOSK, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Sidney Powell may no longer be part of President Donald Trump's officially sanctioned legal team, but the veteran litigator who has become a champion of unfounded global conspiracy theories has not slowed in her effort to persuade the federal court system to reverse the outcome of the 2020 elections.

"We will prevail," Powell wrote on Twitter this week. "Patriots are united like never before to shine the light of Truth across our land."

Since filing a suit in Georgia last week, Powell has added a federal lawsuit in Michigan and plans another in Wisconsin, according to another lawyer on the team. Each case alleges a complex plot involving shadowy foreign interests, the company that sells electronic voting machines, Republican elected officials, and Democratic poll workers -- all allegedly in cahoots to steal the election from Trump.

The effort has garnered Powell public praise from Trump and turned her into a heroine in the conspiratorial corners of the internet. It has also garnered ridicule from officials in both parties, with longtime Trump ally Chris Christie calling the legal effort a "national embarrassment." Aides to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden called it a "sideshow."

The company at the center of Powell's claims, Dominion Voting Systems, issued a statement last week saying it intends to hold Powell "and those aiding and abetting her fraudulent actions, accountable for any harm that may occur as a result." And election law advocates from both parties said that even if her cases are swiftly dismissed, as they expect them to be, they are no laughing matter.

"These tactics are not comical," said Daniel I. Weiner, deputy director of the Election Reform Program at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. "They are doing real damage to the integrity of our democracy because they are sowing doubts in the electoral process."

Asked by ABC News about the suggestion by critics that she is undermining democracy and pushing conspiracies, Powell replied, "Balderdash and horsefeathers."

It's too soon to say how the cases will be handled by the federal courts. Cases that have relied on similar claims have been swiftly and emphatically dismissed by state and federal judges as lacking in evidence. However a judge in Georgia over the weekend gave a nod to the Powell case, ruling that state elections officials could not alter electronic voting machines while the court hears arguments over whether to allow Powell's team to have them analyzed.

"You can call it a win in that they asked for the court to let them live another day, but it's not as much of a win as it is a standstill," said Myrna Perez, the director of the Brennan Center's Voting Rights and Elections Program.

Democrats on Monday asked the same judge to dismiss the case outright, arguing the suit merely "doubles down" on conspiracy theories previously tried and failed.

"Despite widespread acknowledgment that no fraud occurred, various lawsuits have been filed around the country and in Georgia in an attempt to sow confusion and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election," the Democrats wrote in their court filing. "Plaintiffs seek to revive these rejected claims in this case ... [their] claims have been further embellished, however, with an even grander alleged conspiracy spanning the globe from all corners of the United States."

In Michigan, a judge has yet to act on the suit that, like in Georgia, asks for a number of long-shot remedies. Among them: that the court decertify the election results and instead certify Trump as the winner -- based on conspiratorial allegations they say amount to a "scheme" of "fraudulently manipulating the vote count to elect Joe Biden as President of the United States."

Similar to the case Powell brought in Georgia, the allegations in Michigan rest on dozens of affidavits from eyewitnesses who claim -- without corroborating evidence -- that they witnessed fraudulent activity in various aspects of the counting process and that the campaign was denied meaningful access to observe the process. The suit also relies on affidavits from self-described "expert analysts" who claim they found "statistical anomalies and mathematical impossibilities" in the results.

Many of these affidavits are recycled from other cases brought in Michigan that have since been denied or withdrawn.

A lawyer on the case alongside Powell told ABC News they "feel good" about their chances in Michigan, though none of the election lawsuits filed by Trump or his allies has seen success in the state. At least four others have been filed and subsequently denied or withdrawn.

Perez, from the Brennan Center, said the cases have almost no shot of going anywhere, and they raise more questions than answers about who is truly pushing the effort.

"It's very, very damaging, but who is the one encouraging this to happen? And what is the endgame?" said Perez. "It is, at this point, a fundraising strategy, and it's sowing discord."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Paul Morigi/Getty Images for MoveOn Political ActionBy JOHN PARKINSON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- As President-elect Joe Biden reveals his economic team, one nominee already is facing stiff resistance from Senate Republicans, leading Democrats to rally in her defense ahead of what could prove to be a rough and tumble confirmation process.

Neera Tanden, Biden’s choice to become director of the Office of Management and Budget, is celebrated by the president-elect’s team for her career pursuing policies in support of working families and what they call "broad-based" economic growth.

She is also the former policy director for the first Obama-Biden campaign and now serves as president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, a role in which she has frequently clashed with Republicans, though she evidently has attempted to clean up her Twitter account in recent weeks -- deleting hundreds of tweets.

"As we get to work to control the virus, this is the team that will deliver immediate economic relief for the American people during this economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than ever," Biden stated in his announcement naming Tanden and the other members of his economic team. “This team looks like America and brings seriousness of purpose, the highest degree of competency, and unwavering belief in the promise of America. They will be ready on day one to get to work for all Americans."

If confirmed, Tanden, 50, would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American to lead the OMB.

The director of the Office of Management and Budget, while not a marquee Cabinet post in the presidential line of succession, is a critical economic adviser who has sometimes doubled as the president’s fiscal disciplinarian, serving as a check within the executive branch on any far-fetched spending plans fancied by other Cabinet members.

Known as a frequent political commentator on cable television, Tanden has been criticized for her past tweets blasting Republican lawmakers, as well as perpetuating a conspiracy that Russians hacked voter rolls in 2016 to take votes away from Hillary Clinton in favor of Donald Trump -- though she denied that was the intent of her tweet at the time. Republicans also point out that she’s signaled support to cut Social Security benefits following the 2010 midterm elections when the Tea Party swept Republicans into the House majority.

After news broke Sunday that Biden was poised to announce Tanden as his selection for the role, one Republican senator sent a warning shot, calling her "radioactive" and suggesting she is Biden’s "worst nominee so far" -- a signal that her confirmation may be impossible.

“In light of her combative and insulting comments about many members of the Senate, mainly on our side of the aisle, that it creates certainly a problematic path,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said. “I've noted that she’s apparently deleted a lot of our previous tweets in the last couple of weeks, which … seems pretty juvenile, and I mean it’s as if people don't have access to it.”

Additional Republicans have highlighted her policy views as justification to oppose her nomination.

Republicans currently have locked up 50 seats in the Senate for the next session of Congress, as two other GOP incumbents fight to win run-offs in early January. If Sens. Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue win, then the Senate will remain in Republican hands and Biden’s nominees would have to win bipartisan support in order to earn confirmation. If both lose, then the Senate power would be split and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast potential tie-breaking votes to shift control to Democrats.

Tanden will also need to win initial approval from the Senate Budget Committee, led on the Democratic side by Sen. Bernie Sanders, someone she has clashed with since the 2016 presidential campaign.

While Sanders has remained muted in the wake of Biden’s announcement naming the Clinton loyalist as his nominee for OMB director, other Democrats have publicly rallied to her defense.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Monday that Biden's Cabinet nominations should receive hearings in January "immediately" after the Georgia runoff elections, adding that Republicans are "grasping at straws" to explain their opposition to Biden's nominees, including Tanden.

"I fully expect to see some crocodile tears spilled on the other side of the aisle over President-elect Biden's Cabinet nominees, but it will be very tough to take those crocodile tears seriously," Schumer, D-N.Y., said. "Our Republican colleagues are on the record supporting some of the least qualified most unethical and downright sycophantic nominees in recent memory."

Given the uphill climb that many of his nominees will face in their confirmation battles, Biden’s selection of a political lightning rod like Tanden signals that the future president will not shy away from choosing nominees who are no strangers to controversy.

“In Neera Tanden, the President-elect’s team gets another deeply experienced and historic nomination,” stated Virginia Democratic Rep. Don Beyer, the future chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. "Tanden would be the first woman of color to lead the Office of Management and Budget, and her policy experience and devotion to strengthening the middle class are beyond question."

The Biden transition team trumpets Tanden as a policy veteran of multiple presidential administrations who has advocated for policies designed to support working families, citing her experience as a child relying on food stamps and Section 8 housing.

Aside from her tenure at the Center for American Progress, Tanden serves on the New Jersey Restart and Recovery Commission, and previously served as senior adviser for health reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services developing policies and provisions of the Affordable Care Act, as director of domestic policy for the first Obama-Biden presidential campaign.

A native of Bedford, Massachusetts, she received her bachelor of science degree from UCLA and her law degree from Yale Law School.

“I’ve known @neeratanden for over 2 decades,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., tweeted. “She's brilliant and laser-focused on making our country a fairer place for all.”

“I've worked closely with Neera Tanden for a number of years, and I know that she will be a tremendous asset to President-elect Biden as he works with Congress to invest in a stronger economy for all Americans,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., added.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) — Two former associates of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani pleaded not guilty Monday to charges contained in a superseding indictment returned in September.

“Not guilty, your honor,” Lev Parnas said when questioned by Judge Paul Oetken.

“Not guilty,” Igor Fruman said under similar questioning.

A third defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, also pleaded not guilty to charges that the three men conspired to commit fraud using a company called Fraud Guarantee, which purported to insure investors against corporate fraud. Federal prosecutors said the trio misled investors about the strength of the company and what would be done with their money.

Parnas had hired Giuliani to consult with Fraud Guarantee for $500,000.

Parnas, Fruman and Kukushkin previously pleaded not guilty to separate charges that they made illegal campaign donations to local and federal politicians in New York, Nevada and other states to try to win support for a new recreational marijuana business.

Parnas and Fruman had also been involved in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump since they and Giuliani tried to persuade Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and allegedly helped set up meetings between Giuliani and former and current Ukrainian officials. They also tried to dig up damaging information on then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, according to the initial indictment.

The charges against Parnas and Fruman brought scrutiny on Giuliani’s business activities. The status of that investigation is not clear, but court records have indicated it is ongoing.

The judge pushed back the trial date for Parnas and Fruman, which had already been delayed to March, until later in 2021.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Amy Sparwasser/iStockBY: DEVIN DWYER, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump's sweeping order to exclude undocumented immigrants "to the maximum extent feasible" from the 2020 census faced skepticism Monday from a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, even as several key justices showed openness to affording Trump some discretion in a tally that could have a major political impact.

By subtracting millions of immigrants from the census total, Trump hopes to shape the apportionment of congressional seats, the allocation of billions in federal funds and the contours of the nation's electoral map for at least the next decade. If he succeeds, it would be the first time in 230 years that the process would exclude large swaths of people inside the U.S.

"A lot of the historical evidence and longstanding practice really cuts against your position," Justice Amy Coney Barrett told Trump acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall during oral arguments.

The Constitution requires an "actual enumeration" -- or, census -- be performed every 10 years to account for changes in population and that decennial redistricting be based on "the whole number of persons in each state," regardless of citizenship or immigration status.

"There's evidence that in the founding era, an inhabitant was a dweller who lives or resides in a place," Barrett said. "If an undocumented person has been in the country for 20 years, even if illegally, as you say, why would some person not have a -- such a person not have a settled residence here?”

Wall argued that Trump has discretion to exclude "at least some illegal aliens," especially those without deep ties to the country such as those caught recently crossing the border or others in ICE detention slated for removal. But Wall could not specify how Trump might draw the line or how many undocumented immigrants fall into each subcategory proposed by the administration.

The uncertainty challenged the justices as they tried to chart a resolution.

"I find the posture of this case quite frustrating," said Justice Samuel Alito. "It could be that we're dealing a possibility that is quite important. It could be that this is much ado about very little. It depends on what the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce are able to do."

Some justices suggested the court should possibly wait to rule until after the count is complete and apportionment of congressional seats comes into focus.

"We don't know what the president is going to do, how many aliens will be excluded. We don't know what the effect of that would be on apportionment. All these questions would be resolved if we wait until the apportionment takes place," Chief Justice John Roberts said.

Dale Ho, the ACLU attorney challenging the Trump order, countered that there is "at least a substantial risk of a shift in the apportionment now" that warranted immediate action by the court.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh called the case against a "categorical exclusion of all unlawful non-citizens" from the census "forceful," but suggested Trump could potentially revise his order.

"Couldn't he substitute a new policy," Kavanaugh said, "by saying we're going to exclude some subsets (of undocumented immigrants) and then there'll be litigation on that and we'll be right back here?"

"Whether or not that particular policy would be lawful is a different question," replied Ho.

Justices Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor suggested that they see the text of the Constitution and federal law as clearly requiring a fully inclusive census count for purposes of apportionment.

"The census says 'where you're living,'" said Sotomayor. "I'm not sure how you can identify any class of immigrant that isn't living here in a traditional sense. This is where they are."

New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood agreed.

"You cannot declare them to be gone," she said of undocumented immigrants. "Their undocumented status doesn't remove their presence."

New York is one of 20 states asking the court for a swift decision before Trump, by law, must deliver his apportionment report to Congress in early January.

"So apportionment already begins," Sotomayor said of the rapidly progressing timeline. "We'd have to unscramble the egg" if the court waits.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Official White House Photo by Shealah CraigheadBY: JORDYN PHELPS AND BEN GITTLESON, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) — While President Donald Trump has begun to openly acknowledge the reality that his days in the White House are drawing to an end, he appears nowhere closer to acknowledging the legitimacy of his defeat.

Days after saying for the first time he would be moving out of the White House in January, the president made clear in his first television interview Sunday that he remained dug in, promoting an unfounded conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from him and that he intended to dedicate "125%" of his energy to proving it in the weeks to come.

“In other words, my mind will not change in six months," Trump said Sunday in an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. "There was tremendous cheating here. Boxes were brought in. The mail-in vote is a disaster."

The president’s singular focus on his own political misfortunes threatened to jeopardize Republican control of the Senate, even as he acknowledged that his current path was a long shot. His attention on his own election has taken his focus off a pair of key U.S. Senate runoff races on Jan. 5 in Georgia, where Democrat wins would flip control of the body.

“You need a judge that's willing to hear a case," Trump said. "You need a Supreme Court that's willing to make a real big decision."

But in case after case, the president’s legal team has failed to advance his case of fraud over a basic failure to present evidence to support their claims.

After spending $3 million on a partial recount in Wisconsin that netted Biden 87 more votes, Trump and his allies are this week continuing to press a series of legal maneuvers that would not actually overturn the election results. Wisconsin's results were scheduled to be finalized Monday.

On Saturday, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court tossed out a challenge focused on mail-in ballots, brought by a congressional supporter of the president's, the latest adverse ruling for Trump and his allies as they have continued to try to challenge Biden's win in the key state. Biden received over 80,000 more votes than Trump did in Pennsylvania, which certified its results last week.

Trump's allies could appeal Saturday's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but even if they did, the Supreme Court would not be obligated to take it up.

States face a Dec. 8 deadline to finalize their results, before the Electoral College votes for president on Dec. 14.

On Monday, another swing state that Biden won, Arizona, certified its results. In the morning, Trump's legal team held an event with state lawmakers discussing the election results -- an attempt to undermine the vote that is not expected to have any real impact, since Arizona's legislature has no power over which electors the state would send to the Electoral College.

The president's look back at his own election appears to be pulling his attention away from Georgia runoffs, where Republicans are fighting to maintain control of the U.S. Senate.

Trump told reporters on Thanksgiving Day that he would "probably" travel to Georgia on Saturday to campaign for the Republican candidates, Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Otherwise, he has devoted few of his plentiful tweets to their elections.

Vice President Mike Pence visited Georgia a week and a half ago to campaign for them.

Instead, Trump has used his bully pulpit to slam Georgia's Republican governor, Brian Kemp, a longtime Trump supporter, as he has refused to echo the president’s baseless allegations of fraud in Georgia.

The president tweeted Monday that Kemp was "hapless" and should "overrule his obstinate secretary of state," Brad Raffensperger -- also a Republican backer of Trump -- after the latter has refused to intervene to help Trump.

"The governor's done nothing," Trump said in the Sunday Fox News interview. "He's done absolutely nothing. I'm ashamed that I endorsed him."

A spokesperson for Kemp said "Georgia law prohibits the Governor from interfering in elections."

"The Secretary of State, who is an elected constitutional officer, has oversight over elections that cannot be overridden by executive order," the spokesperson, Cody Hall, said in a statement.

Raffensperger said Monday that a machine recount in Georgia was on schedule to be finished by a deadline of midnight on Wednesday.

"There are those who are exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters with fantastic claims, half-truths, misinformation," Raffensperger told reporters Monday, "and frankly, they're misleading the president, as well, apparently.”

Trump narrowly lost Georgia by 12,670 votes, making him the first Republican to lose the state in a presidential contest in nearly 30 years.

The Trump campaign has persisted in trying to sow doubt about the legitimacy of Biden’s victory in the state, even after a hand recount reaffirmed Biden’s win there.

In undermining the November election, the Republican Party is now facing an uphill battle in motivating voters to turn out for the two critical Senate runoffs that will determine control of the Senate.

“How’re we going to give money and work when it’s already decided?” one voter yelled out to Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel at a meet-and-greet in Marietta, Georgia over the weekend, according to the Independent, as she sought to persuade voters to show up to the polls.

ABC News' Matthew Mosk, Alex Hosenball, Quinn Scanlan and Meg Cunningham contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 51 days.

Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern.

Nov 29, 7:46 pm
Biden fractures foot, will require walking boot 'for several weeks'

After initial X-rays were "reassuring," a follow-up CT scan showed that President-elect Joe Biden has hairline fractures in his foot following a fall this weekend, his doctor said.

Biden will likely need to wear a walking boot "for several weeks," Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the director of executive medicine at GW Medical Faculty Associates, said in a statement.

“Initial X-rays did not show any obvious fracture, but his clinical exam warranted more detailed imaging," O'Connor said in a statement. "Follow-up CT scan confirmed hairline (small) fractures of President-elect Biden’s lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones, which are in the mid-foot."

Biden fell over the weekend while playing with his dog.

Nov 29, 6:49 pm
Biden sprains foot, X-rays 'reassuring'

President-elect Joe Biden suffered a sprained foot Saturday after slipping while playing with his dog, according to his doctor.

"Initial X-rays are reassuring that there is no obvious fracture and he will be getting an additional CT for more detailed imaging," Dr. Kevin O’Connor said in a statement Sunday following the examination at the Delaware Imaging Network facility at the Omega Professional Center in Newark.

Biden slipped while playing with his dog, Major, and twisted his ankle.

Nov 29, 5:08 pm
Biden, Harris announce all-female White House communications staff

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced on Sunday seven top members of the White House senior communications staff, all of whom are female.

Jen Psaki, who served as communications director during the Obama administration and has been working as a spokeswoman for the transition, will be the White House press secretary

Kate Bedingfield, who served as the Biden campaign's communications director, will assume the same title in the White House.

Karine Jean-Pierre, who was a senior advisor to Biden's campaign, will serve as the principal deputy press secretary.

Pili Tobar, who was the Biden campaign's communications director for coalitions, will be the deputy White House communications director.

Other hires announced Sunday include Symone Sanders, a senior campaign adviser, who will be the chief spokeswoman for Harris, Ashley Etienne who will be Harris' communications director, and Elizabeth Alexander, who will be first lady Jill Biden's communications director.

Nov 29, 4:06 pm
Biden twisted ankle while playing with his dog

Biden slipped while playing with his dog Major, and twisted his ankle on Saturday. Out of an abundance of caution, he will be examined this afternoon by an orthopedist.

Nov 29, 2:43 pm
Yellen brilliant, experienced and has 'broad support': ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis

Biden is preparing to roll out the names of people on his economic team and sources have told ABC News that he plans to tap Janet Yellen as his treasury secretary, ABC News White House correspondent Rachel Scott said on This Week Sunday.

"If confirmed, she would be the first woman to hold that job, and she would face a monumental task of not only trying to rebuild the nation's economy but also likely playing a pivotal role in those stalled coronavirus negotiations there on Capitol Hill," Scott told This Week Co-anchor Martha Raddatz.

During the "Powerhouse Roundtable" discussion, Raddatz asked ABC News chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis about Yellen: "There were several names that were floated. And what do you think it means?"

"Well, Martha, she’s brilliant. She's experienced and has very broad support. The progressives like her but so do Wall Street and corporate America. And she has bipartisan support. She also has a huge task in front of her," Jarvis said, referring to the ongoing pandemic.

"And while President-elect Biden has been calling for more stimulus and additional stimulus plan, that's something she has also been calling for because of the fact that this recovery that we're in the midst of is still on extremely fragile footing," she added.

Nov 29, 12:20 pm
Wisconsin finishes its partial recount

The Wisconsin partial recount of the state’s most heavily Democratic counties, Dane and Milwaukee Counties, has concluded. Milwaukee finished up on Friday while Dane finished up this morning.

Trump received a net gain of 45 votes in Dane County, as Biden lost 91 votes from the original count, while Trump lost 46. The new total from Dane County is 260,094 for Biden and 78,754 for Trump, according to a tweet of the recount paperwork from the Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell.

In total, the results changed by 87 votes in Biden’s favor. That’s less than the margin that the results changed in the 2016 recount -- which was 130 votes -- but about in line, since only two counties were recounted this time.

As Trump said himself in a tweet on Saturday, though, the GOP goal here was not to find missing votes in the recount, but to set up lawsuits they’ll launch against votes cast early and votes cast by “indefinitely confined” voters.

“The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally, and that case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday. We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!,” Trump tweeted yesterday.

Nov 29, 12:12 pm
Suburban votes key to putting Biden over the top: Nate Silver

Before the election, Trump worried publicly about his prospects among suburban voters following a dramatic swing for Democrats in 2018, said ABC's This Week Co-anchor Martha Raddatz.

While his win might not have been the landslide Biden was hoping for, one pattern the polls predicted did come true, FiveThirtyEight editor in chief Nate Silver said.

"He did really well in the suburbs."

"Believe it or not, Biden did a tiny bit worse than Hillary Clinton in the city of Philadelphia. He netted about 471,000 votes from it, as compared to 475,000 for her," Silver said while reviewing voting data in Pennsylvania. "But in the four suburban counties in the Philly metro area, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery, Biden improved on Clinton's performance by a combined 105,000 votes.  That's enough to account for his entire margin over Trump in the Keystone State."

In Wisconsin, he said he saw a similar pattern for Biden, where a 25,000 vote improvement relative to Clinton was enough to account for his roughly 20,000 vote overall margin of victory there.

"I don't even need to tell you about Georgia. You can just look at the map to see how much the entire Atlanta metro area has turned blue," he said. "But in the five core counties in the Atlanta metro -- Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton -- Biden won by more than 700,000 votes, as compared to 470,000 for Hillary."

Nov 29, 11:50 am
Trump 'will represent thunder at the fringe for years to come'

Though Trump is signaling he will leave the White House despite publicly fighting on, Washington Post opinion columnist Michele Norris said he will remain an important person in the party.

"He's now saying if the Electoral College approves Joe Biden, that he will leave. But will he ever really leave?" she said on ABC's This Week Sunday. "I mean, I think it's safe to assume he'll represent thunder at the fringe for years to come, that he will be an important person in the party, a greatly influential person in the party."

Nov 29, 10:23 am
Biden will have challenge reentering Iran nuclear deal: McRaven

Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven said Sunday that he doesn't think the president-elect can get back into the Iran nuclear deal without some changes.

"There's been a lot of controversy and a lot of folks who don't like the JCPOA and I understand that," McRaven said on ABC's This Week. "But the fact of the matter is the JCPOA, which probably going to give us, you know, 10 to 12 to 15 years before the Iranians could possibly have enriched enough uranium to build bomb."

Complicating matters is Friday's apparent assassination of one of Iran's most prominent scientists, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. While no one has claimed responsibility for the killing, the incident has brought out a full response from Iran's top officials, including the country's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who pointed the finger at Israel.

"Now, of course, by attacking their nuclear scientist, by really escalating this effort, the Iranians I think are going to be more compelled to try to get a bomb quicker. This is going to complicate President Biden's efforts, diplomatic efforts," he told This Week Co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday. "Now, again, from the Iranian standpoint, after President Trump pulled out of the JCPOA, I think they are going to be very, very reluctant to get into any agreements with the United States at this point. So, a President Biden will have a difficult challenge on his hand."

Nov 29, 9:32 am
Pa. Supreme Court denies another bid by Trump allies to halt election certification

Another court ruling has gone against allies of the Trump campaign in their bid to halt certification of the 2020 presidential election in Pennsylvania, as the state's Supreme Court issued an order Saturday dismissing a recent court challenge focused on mail-in voting.

This election challenge was brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Republican, along with another GOP candidate for Congress, alleging that the state legislature had not legally passed the measure allowing for universal mail-in voting.

The plaintiffs called on the court to have Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar cancel all mail-in ballots or, if not, to empower the state legislature to appoint new electors. A trial judge on Tuesday had imposed a temporary injunction to pause the election certification process until the question could be resolved. Boockvar's office brought the matter immediately to the state Supreme Court.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated the injunction on Saturday and dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning the GOP cannot bring it back.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) — As the nation braces for what is likely to be the busiest travel day of the year amid a continued nationwide surge in coronavirus cases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that he does not foresee current holiday public health restrictions and recommendations being relaxed by the end of the year.

"When you have the kind of inflection that we have, it doesn't all of a sudden turn around like that," said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on ABC's "This Week."

"Clearly in the next few weeks, we're gonna have the same sort of thing," he told "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz, noting that the U.S. "may see a surge upon a surge" of additional new cases due to Thanksgiving gatherings and travel. "We don't want to frighten people, but that's just the reality.”

Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's encouragement that Americans postpone travel and stay home for Thanksgiving, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 8 million people between Nov. 20 and Saturday. As of Sunday morning, U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 4 million in the past month, doubling October's previous monthly high. Over 266,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

"We said that these things would happen, as we got into the cold weather and as we began traveling, and they've happened. It's going to happen again." Fauci said on "This Week." "So I cannot see, all of a sudden, a relaxation of the kinds of recommendations or restrictions because we're getting into colder weather, and in -- in an even larger holiday season as people travel to come back and forth for Christmas."

Given the increasing number of cases, Fauci urged Americans Sunday to be "really careful" as they return from Thanksgiving holiday travel, encouraging quarantines and testing.

"If they've been in situations outside of the family setting, in which they really don't know the level of exposure … you've really got to understand the importance of trying to prevent further spread and further surge," he said.

On Friday, the U.S. surpassed 13 million total COVID-19 cases, an increase of more than one million cases in six days, according to data from John Hopkins University. Despite the dire data however, Fauci encouraged optimism about the end of the pandemic when asked by Raddatz about continued restrictions.

"Vaccines are really right on the horizon. We'll be having vaccines available for the higher-priority people towards the middle and end of December and as we get into January and February," he said, echoing forecasts from the government's immunization initiative leaders, while still encouraging social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing, among other interim steps to combat the virus.

The public's willingness to receive that vaccine has been a focus of public health experts in recent weeks, even as pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Pfizer announce promising test results. Recent polls show as many as two out of five Americans would not agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

On "This Week," Fauci noted that while the government cannot mandate a vaccine, "any individual group," such as businesses and schools could require its receipt, using his employer, the NIH, and its vaccine requirements for employees as an example. He further encouraged the government to engage with local leaders to assist in combating anti-vaccine rhetoric and affirm the inoculation's safety.

"We've got to be able to get out there, get community people -- who the community trusts -- to show two things: The process of the development of this vaccine has been one that has been scientifically sound, safety has not been compromised, scientific integrity has not been compromised. And the process of determining whether it works, whether it's safe and effective has been independent, by independent bodies and transparent," Fauci said.

Raddatz also asked the doctor for his reaction to the Supreme Court's decision last week to strike down New York's pandemic-induced restriction on large religious gatherings -- a controversial ruling at the intersection between personal and religious freedoms and public safety.

"(Legal challenges) happen… there's nothing I can do about it," Fauci said. "I can just say, it doesn't matter who you are, where you are -- when you have congregate settings, particularly indoors, when people are not wearing masks, that is a considerable risk for acquisition and spread of infection. No matter what the circumstance is, that is a risk."

New York was also the setting of a public school shut-down earlier this month as the virus again spread through New York City and its school district, the nation's largest. On Sunday morning the city announced it would reopen its elementary schools amid criticism that the threshold to close them was lower than other public places. With a variety of strategies being employed across the country to keep schools open, Raddatz asked Fauci how he might advise the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden how to formulate a more "unified response."

"We get asked it all the time. You know, we say it -- not being facetiously, as a sound bite or anything -- but, you know, close the bars and keep the schools open is what we really say," he said. "Obviously, you don't have one size fits all. But as I said in the past … the default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school or to get them back to school."

"If you mitigate the things that you know are causing spread in a very, very profound way -- in a robust way -- if you bring that down, you will then indirectly and ultimately protect the children in the school because the community level is determined by how things go across the board," Fauci added.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) — In what could be one of his most politically significant final acts as president, Donald Trump plans to exclude millions of undocumented immigrants from the official 2020 Census figures used to allocate political power and billions of dollars in federal funds.

But first, the U.S. Supreme Court has to sign off.

The justices on Monday will hear oral arguments over Trump's effort -- already twice rejected by lower federal courts -- that would break from more than a century of precedent in determining apportionment of the 435 congressional districts across all 50 states.

If successful, it would boost the influence of predominantly conservative, Republican states and rural communities while drawing resources away from more liberal, Democratic states and urban areas.

The Constitution requires an "actual enumeration" be performed every 10 years to account for changes in population and that decennial redistricting be based on "the whole number of persons in each state," regardless of citizenship or immigration status.

Since taking office, Trump has sought to minimize the influence of non-citizens in American politics by sidelining them from the count.

After the Supreme Court in 2019 blocked his attempt to add an explicit citizenship question to the census form, Trump directed the Census Bureau to rely on existing government data to derive a total of undocumented immigrants in each state -- and then subtract that figure from the overall sum.

"For the purpose of the reapportionment of representatives following the 2020 census, it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status," Trump wrote in a July memorandum.

A coalition of 20 states, led by New York, 10 cities, five counties and a handful immigrant advocacy groups immediately challenged the move. They called Trump's plan a clear violation of the Constitution and an "arbitrary and capricious" decision that breached federal law governing administrative procedures.

In legal briefs, the parties cite an "unbroken historical and legislative practice" spanning more than 200 years of the Census Bureau counting "millions of undocumented immigrants who have lived here for decades, intend to remain and will in fact stay ... (as) usual residents under traditional criteria."

In September, a three-judge panel in New York sided with the states against Trump, calling the issue "not particularly close or complicated." Last month, a separate panel of judges in California also dealt a blow to the administration, saying "It seeks to do what Congress has not authorized and what the President does not have the power to do."

An estimated 10.5 million immigrants living in the U.S. do not have legal status, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Pew found a majority of those immigrants live in just six states -- California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois -- with the largest populations concentrated around major metropolitan areas.

Excluding those communities from the census total used for congressional apportionment would mean reduced representation in Congress and fewer federal funds for everything from health care to education and infrastructure programs.

California, Florida and Texas would each receive at least one less seat in the U.S. House than they otherwise would have if Trump's plan moves forward, according to a Pew analysis from July.

Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio would each gain a seat that they would have otherwise lost due to population changes, the group estimates.

Just 10 days before he's due to leave office -- on Jan. 10, 2021 -- Trump is required by law to advise Congress on the outcome of the 2020 Census and how many representatives each state should receive.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision before that date.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 53 days.

Top headlines:

  • Vice President-elect Harris in DC for Small Business Saturday
  • Pennsylvania House legislature introduces resolution to dispute election results
  • Trump legal team announces hearing in Arizona
  • Biden gains 132-vote margin in Milwaukee County recount

Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern.

Nov 28, 5:05 pm
Biden transition team names three new members to COVID-19 advisory board

Biden and his transition team have announced three new members of their COVID-19 advisory board.

Biden and Harris launch transition COVID-19 advisory board
After facing criticism for not having any current nurses on the advisory board, the new additions are Jane Hopkins, a registered nurse trained in mental health; Jill Jim, who is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and the executive director of the Navajo Nation Department of Health; and David Michaels, an epidemiologist and professor at George Washington University.

This brings the total number of members on the coronavirus advisory board to 16.

“As COVID-19 surges across the country, I need a team advising me and a transition that offers diverse perspectives and viewpoints,” Biden wrote in a statement. “Ms. Hopkins, Dr. Jim, and Dr. Michaels will strengthen the board’s work and help ensure that our COVID-19 planning will address inequities in health outcomes and the workforce.”

The COVID-19 advisory board will help shape the approach to managing the current surge in coronavirus infections as well as ensuring an eventual vaccine is safe and effective, according to Biden’s transition team.

-ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson

Nov 28, 1:59 pm

Vice President-elect Harris in DC for Small Business Saturday

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, her husband Doug Emhoff and Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser visited a holiday market in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of D.C. for Small Business Saturday.

Harris appeared to be wearing two masks and chatted with a couple of vendors, at one point stopping at a stand and holding up a T-shirt that read “Madam Vice President,” prompting the crowd to cheer.

Harris bought two puzzles at the New York Puzzle Company, which Emhoff paid for as the merchant took a photo of her through the plexiglass barrier.

At Marcella Kriebel Art and Illustration, she eyed a print of different types of coffee. Instead, she picked a print of different kinds of cheeses, while Emhoff bought the “Madam Vice President” T-shirt.

She stopped to greet shoppers before speaking with reporters. “We’re here with the great mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, to celebrate the small businesses that are here, but to celebrate small businesses all over our country. They’re suffering,” she said.

“They are always really part of -- an essential part of the lifeblood of a community, part of the civic and social fabric of a community and, sadly, since COVID started, one in four small businesses in our country has closed,” she added.

Biden tweeted Saturday, “Small businesses are the backbone of communities across the country — and amid the pandemic, they need our help more than ever. Today, and every day, support your neighbors and strengthen your community by shopping small. #SmallBusinessSaturday.”

When asked about Trump and Vice President Pence not participating in the transition, Harris deflected and focused on how she and Biden are going to assist small-businesses during the pandemic.

“We -- and the American people deserve that the incoming administration focuses on what’s important and what is important is getting a handle on this virus, opening back up our small businesses and -- and focusing on -- on the experts in all areas,” she said.

Harris was asked about reports that Trump has expressed a desire to run for president in 2024 and scoffed at the notion.

“Please,” she said, laughing.

-ABC News’ Averi Harper

Nov 28, 12:21 pm

Pennsylvania House legislature introduces resolution to dispute election results

On Friday, the Pennsylvania House legislature introduced a resolution that disputes the statewide 2020 election results.

With the Pennsylvania legislative session ending Monday, the move is likely to be vetoed by Democratic Gov Tom Wolf even if it were to move quickly through the state government.

The resolution would also put the state’s Republican majority in jeopardy as it would threaten to invalidate the outcome of several GOP victories.

Saturday morning, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano -- who Trump has taken to retweeting recently -- added to the state Republican voices attempting to challenge the outcome of the election in a series of tweets. Without citing any proof, Mastriano claimed, “there is mounting evidence that the PA presidential election was compromised.”

“If this is the case, under Article II, Section 1.2 of the US Constitution, the state legislature has the sole authority to direct the manner of selecting delegates to the Electoral College,” he said in one of his tweets.

“Therefore, we are introducing a Resolution to exercise our obligation and authority to appoint delegates to the Electoral College,” he said.

Twitter has stamped his tweets with, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

-ABC News’ Alisa Wiersema

Nov 28, 11:46 am

Trump legal team announces hearing in Arizona

As President Trump’s legal team continues to look to state legislatures to overturn election results, Trump Campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis tweeted on Friday an event invitation to a Monday hearing with members of the Arizona Legislature on election integrity.

Ellis announced that she and Trump Attorney Rudy Guiliani will be “present from DC,” along with members of the Arizona Legislature.

“Arizona State Legislature to hold hearing on election integrity Monday, November 30. Mayor @RudyGiuliani and I will be present on behalf of President @realDonaldTrump,” she tweeted

The hearing is being held from a Phoenix Hyatt Hotel rather than from the state capitol.

The event description falsely claims, “...State Legislatures have the sole authority to select their representatives to the Electoral College.”

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican members of the state legislature have publicly shot down those claims.

Trump’s legal team held a similar hearing with Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers on Wednesday, after the Trump campaign touted upcoming state legislature public hearings in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan. The president phoned in to baselessly say he believes the outcome of the 2020 election should be overturned and that he was “cheated” out of a victory.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Guiliani presented a series of witnesses with claims of what they believed to be election irregularities in Pennsylvania.

A spokesperson for Pennsylvania’s secretary of state called the claims “tired conspiracy theories” that have been “debunked and dismissed by the courts.”

Shortly after the Trump Campaign announced a similar hearing in Michigan, Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield told ABC News the House Oversight Committee would not meet for a hearing on the election.

-ABC News’ Will Steakin, Olivia Rubin, Meg Cunningham, Matthew Mosk and Alex Hosenball

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 54 days.

Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:

Nov 27, 1:23 pm
New lawsuit by conspiracy minded Trump ally Sidney Powell seeks to nix Georgia election results

Sidney Powell, the attorney recently removed from the president's legal team, filed a lawsuit in Georgia this week alleging, without evidence, a vast conspiracy against Trump built on unproven claims of numerous instances of voter fraud in the state.

The 104-page suit, filed in the U.S District Court in Atlanta on behalf of Trump electors and Republican officials, among others, is demanding numerous longshot remedies, including decertifying the state's election results, preventing the results from being transmitted to the electoral college and disqualifying Biden's electors in favor of Trump's electors.

"While the bedrock of American elections has been transparency, almost every crucial aspect of Georgia’s November 3, 2020, General Election was shrouded in secrecy, rife with 'errors,' and permeated with anomalies so egregious as to render the results incapable of certification," the suit states. "Accordingly, the results for President and Congress in the November 3, 2020 election must be set aside. The results are infected with Constitutional violations."

Biden won the state of Georgia by more than 12,000 votes, a victory confirmed by a hand tally last week. State elections officials also began a machine recount at the request of Trump’s team, permitted because he lost by less than 0.5 percentage points.

Like many suits before it, Powell’s case relies on affidavits from various poll watchers, audit watchers and self-described experts who claim, without documentation or supporting evidence, that they witnessed a wide range of fraudulent activity, including switching votes from Biden to Trump, counting illegal votes and shutting observers out of the process.

The suit rests heavily on a debunked conspiracy theory that has been trafficked widely on the internet which blames the Dominion Voting Systems for secretly flipping thousands of votes from Trump to Biden. Veteran elections officials from both parties have refuted the claim, as did the Trump administration’s own cybersecurity expert.

Dominion released a lengthy statement Friday rebutting the claims in the lawsuit -- calling it "a bizarre election fraud conspiracy that -- were it possible --would necessarily require the collaboration of thousands of participants… This quite simply did not occur."

"Sidney Powell's wild and reckless allegations are not only demonstrably false, but they have also led to stalking, harassment, and death threats to Dominion employees," the Dominion statement says. "We intend to hold Ms. Powell, and those aiding and abetting her fraudulent actions, accountable for any harm that may occur as a result."
Other conspiracy theories cited in the lawsuit as "evidence" include an affidavit from a man who claims he went undercover in Antifa and overheard a top Dominion official talking about rigging the election. The lawsuit also claims, with no evidence, that a water pipe burst on election night, which briefly delayed the counting of ballots, was part of a conspiracy to prevent Trump poll watchers from seeing them process ballots.
-ABC News’ Olivia Rubin

Nov 27, 1:15 pm
Trump campaign loses appeal in federal case

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the Trump campaign’s appeal of a scathing U.S. District Court ruling out of Pennsylvania in which the campaign’s request to set aside potentially thousands of legally cast ballots was refused.

The opinion was just as blistering as the one that preceded it.

“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” said the opinion from a three-judge panel authored by Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee.

Nov 27, 12:24 pm
Without evidence, Trump disputes Biden's popular vote lead

Despite telling reporters Thursday that he would leave the White House if Biden is inaugurated, while still not conceding, Trump continued on Friday to baselessly cast doubt on the president-elect's record-breaking popular vote lead.

In a tweet Friday morning, Trump wrote, "Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous "80,000,000 votes" were not fraudulently or illegally obtained" and went on to allege -- without citing any proof -- that Biden "got a big unsolvable problem!"

As reported previously by ABC News, the Trump campaign and its allies have lost at least 30 cases brought in the effort to overturn the results of the election, according to an ABC News count.

Biden won the Electoral College by the same margin as Trump did in 2016 and leads in the popular vote by over 80 million votes.

-ABC News’ Alisa Wiersema

Nov 27, 11:49 am
Progressives worry about lobbying, corporate ties in Biden administration

Several leading candidates for the roles in president-elect Joe Biden’s administration have (come under scrutiny)[] for their work in corporate America or lobbying history.

Michele Flournoy, a leading candidate for the head of the Department of Defense after serving in senior posts at the Pentagon during the Clinton and Obama administrations, has faced criticism from progressive and left-leaning activists for her ties to defense contractors and a strategic advisory firm that has faced questions about its clients.

Several other Cabinet selections and initial White House hires for the Biden administration, along with members of his transition efforts, are under the microscope as well, showing an early struggle between the activist and established wings of the Democratic Party, which collaborated to elect Biden and deny President Donald Trump a second term.

-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel and Soo Rin Kim

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- When President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his national security team on Tuesday, there were several noticeable absences, including a nominee to lead the Department of Defense.

Michele Flournoy, a leading candidate for the role who served in senior posts at the Pentagon during the Clinton and Obama administrations, has faced criticism from progressives and left-leaning activists for her ties to defense contractors and a strategic advisory firm that has faced questions about its clients.

She's not the only one. Several of Biden's Cabinet selections and initial White House hires, along with members of his transition efforts, have also come under scrutiny for their work in corporate America or lobbying history.

The wrangling over the composition of Biden's administration is one of the earliest flashpoints between the activist and establishment wings of the Democratic Party after their cooperation and collaboration to elect Biden and deny President Donald Trump a second term.

"It's a mixed bag so far, but it's extremely early," Jeff Hauser, the founder and director of the Revolving Door Project, a liberal advocacy group, said of Biden's incoming administration.

Progressive groups have also put forward their own suggested list of 400-plus senior administration appointees, a group that doesn't inclu de individuals with corporate or lobbying histories.

ABC News reached out to the Biden transition team for comment Wednesday, but did not receive a response to questions.

The Biden administration

Steve Ricchetti, a longtime Biden aide who will serve as counselor in the White House, is a former lobbyist who spent a dozen years working for health care and pharmaceutical companies in between stints in the Clinton and Obama White Houses.

Biden named Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., a senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Engagement. It's a move the Sunrise Movement, a leading group of young climate activists, called a "betrayal," pointing to Richmond's ties to the energy industry, which has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to his congressional campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

"That's a mistake and it's an affront to young people who made President-Elect Biden's victory possible. President-Elect Biden assured our movement he understands the urgency of this crisis; now, it's time for him to act like it," Varshini Prakash, the group's executive director, said in a statement.

While Biden is expected to name former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen his nominee for treasury secretary -- a pick praised by prominent Democrats across the party spectrum -- he has yet to fill out the rest of his economic team -- including critical positions leading the White House budget office and the National Economic Council.

On Monday, Biden announced his selection of Antony Blinken, another close adviser since his time in the Senate, as nominee for secretary of state.

Blinken, together with Flournoy, founded WestExec Advisors, a "strategic advisory firm" that doesn't disclose its clients, after leaving the Obama administration and ahead of Biden's 2020 campaign.

Good government advocates who have raised questions about the structure of the organization -- which, unlike lobbying shops, does not have to register with the government -- expect Blinken's work with the firm to be a point of contention in his confirmation hearings.

"It's important to get clarification on what the work was and if any of it would be in conflict with what their work is going to be in public service," Mandy Smithberger of the Project on Government Oversight told ABC News.

Flournoy's work for Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm that contracts with the Pentagon, could also be a roadblock on Capitol Hill, should she be nominated by Biden. Prominent progressive lawmakers have already called on Biden to select a Pentagon chief without ties to defense contractors.

The transition effort

Biden's 500-person transition team, which began communicating with government agencies to facilitate the transfer of power as of Monday evening, includes at least 40 people who are current and former registered lobbyists, according to an ABC News' analysis of federal lobbying records.

Several of them are representatives of various labor unions, environmental groups or other nonprofit civic organizations, while some others have lobbied on behalf of corporate and business interests, like pharmaceutical companies or energy groups.

Hauser, the director of the Revolving Door Project, has been calling on Biden's team to avoid enlisting both lobbyists and what he refers to as "shadow lobbyists," or people who work in corporate jobs to influence policy, but don't meet the threshold to formally register as lobbyists.

He pointed to Jessica Hertz, a senior Facebook attorney who worked on regulatory issues, who now serves as the Biden transition's general counsel, along with several members of the agency review team for the Office of Management and Budget who have worked for Lyft, Amazon, AirBnb and WestExec Advisors.

Lobbyists, including any who have registered within the past year -- must be approved by the transition's legal team. Members of the team must also seek approval if they have represented or advised any foreign governments or political parties within the past year -- and are prohibited from working with any foreign parties or governments for an additional year after the transition.

Over the last four years, Trump has come under fire for flouting his own ethics rule after having promised to "drain the swamp" in Washington.

During his first week in office, Trump issued an executive order requiring all administration appointees to sign an ethics pledge that they will not participate in any matter related to their former employer or former clients, and to not lobby the agencies that they had worked in for five years after leaving the government, a stricter set of rules put in place by President Barack Obama in 2008.

But within the first two months of taking office, the Trump administration issued at least 16 ethics waivers to allow staff members to work in the White House while going around the ethics rules -- reportedly more than five times the number granted in the first four months of the Obama administration. And over the years, several other former members of the Trump administration have been found lobbying or representing private interests that they pledged not to represent for at least five years.

While the Biden administration's ethics rules won't be released until January, when he takes office, Hauser and other transparency advocates are hoping to see guidelines in place that both prevent registered lobbyists from working in the administration and provide clearer guidelines to limit the cycling of shadow lobbyists in and out of the administration.

"Part of building back better is having a government that is ethical in its conduct," Smithberger said. "If this administration skirts these rules, I don't think that they are fulfilling their promise to the American people."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 55 days.

Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:

Nov 26, 8:59 pm
Pence thanks frontline workers in Thanksgiving tweet

Vice President Mike Pence shared a message of gratitude on Thanksgiving to first responders, military members and health care workers.

On this Thanksgiving Day, we’re thankful for our Family, Friends & the Doctors, Nurses, First Responders & Men & Women of our Armed Forces that we’ve met along the way. God Bless our Healthcare Workers & our Military, especially those deployed overseas Defending Our Freedom! 🦃🇺🇸

— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) November 26, 2020

“On this Thanksgiving Day, we’re thankful for our Family, Friends & the Doctors, Nurses, First Responders & Men & Women of our Armed Forces that we’ve met along the way. God Bless our Healthcare Workers & our Military, especially those deployed overseas Defending Our Freedom!” he tweeted.

In a message earlier Thursday, the Pence family wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving on behalf of the vice president and second lady Karen Pence.

Nov 26, 6:37 pm
Trump takes first questions since Biden declared victory

After wrapping his teleconference with troops, Trump spoke with reporters. It was the first time he's answered questions since Biden declared victory.
The president delivered a lengthy list of grievances and unfounded claims of election fraud across the country.
"It's going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud," Trump said.
The president provided no direct evidence of fraud while claiming irregularities in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin skewed the results in Biden's favor.  He also, again, went after Dominion Voting Systems.

When asked whether he would announce a run in 2024 if Biden occupies the White House on Jan. 20, the president said, "I don't want to talk about 2024."

Asked if he would leave the White House if Biden is inaugurated, Trump responded, "Certainly, I will. And you know that."
He was also asked whether he would attend Biden's inauguration as tradition dictates.

"I don't want to say that yet. I know the answer, I'll be honest, I know the answer but I just don't want to say it yet," he said.

Nov 26, 6:34 pm
Trump touts stock market, vaccine timeline in teleconference with troops

Trump spoke to military troops via video conference on Thursday from the Diplomatic Room of the White House.
"My profound thanks to each and every one of you for your devoted service to our nation. Our nation is doing very well. It's the highest honor of my life to serve as your commander in chief," he said, reading from a binder.

He veered off his prepared remarks from time to time to pat himself on the back for ensuring the U.S. did not get involved in any wars during his four years in office and ad-libbed some self-congratulatory remarks about the stock market and vaccine development -- saying the vaccine will be delivered to frontline workers starting next week or the week after next.

"You're doing an incredible job and your country is doing well," he said to the service members, which represented the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard.

The president also took some questions from reporters and said he would "probably" visit Georgia on Saturday to campaign for the Republican senators who face runoff elections. Trump said it would "most likely be at an airport."

Following the event, the White House indicated that the trip to Georgia would likely occur on Dec. 5.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump visited his golf course in Virginia.

Nov 26, 4:16 pm
Bidens speak to front line workers on Thanksgiving

President-elect Biden and the future first lady Jill Biden spent some time on Thanksgiving virtually talking to front line workers, according to a tweet.

Jill and I were honored today to talk to some of the heroes on the front lines of this crisis. We’re thankful today and every day for the nurses and firefighters who sacrifice so much to keep our communities safe. We see the very best of America in your courage and selflessness.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 26, 2020

“Jill and I were honored today to talk to some of the heroes on the front lines of this crisis,” Joe Biden wrote. “We’re thankful today and every day for the nurses and firefighters who sacrifice so much to keep our communities safe. We see the very best of America in your courage and selflessness.”

In a message earlier Thursday, the Bidens said they were celebrating a pared-down Thanksgiving this year and foregoing their traditional large family gathering amid the pandemic.

Nov 26, 5:01 pm
Perdue and Loeffler share Thanksgiving messages

Georgia’s incumbent Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler shared Thanksgiving messages via Twitter Thursday.

Perdue said he was “especially grateful” for military service members, first responders and health care workers this year.

This #Thanksgiving, Bonnie and I are especially grateful for our brave military men and women, first responders, law enforcement and health care workers. Please join us in praying for them as they serve our state and country.

— David Perdue (@sendavidperdue) November 26, 2020

“Please join us in praying for them as they serve our state and country,” he wrote.

Loeffler shared a video reflecting on the tumultuous past year.

“Though it’s been a year unlike any other we have so much to be grateful for, today and every day, I am thankful for the American dream,” she said. “I was blessed to have the opportunity to live the American dream.”

Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) November 26, 2020

“Only in America are these stories possible, and I’m going to continue to fight for that,” she added.

Perdue and Loeffler are locked in runoffs against Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff that will decide which party controls the Senate.

Nov 26, 3:10 pm
Pelosi thanks military service members in Thanksgiving tweet

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., shared a message on Twitter to thank military service members on Thanksgiving.

As many celebrate virtually during this extraordinarily challenging time, we take a moment to give thanks for our brave servicemembers around the world protecting our nation.

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) November 26, 2020

“As many celebrate virtually during this extraordinarily challenging time, we take a moment to give thanks for our brave servicemembers around the world protecting our nation,” Pelosi wrote.

Nov 26, 2:44 pm
McConnell shares what he’s grateful for in Thanksgiving message

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shared a video message via Twitter wishing Americans a happy Thanksgiving on Thursday.

We are blessed to live in the greatest country the world has ever known. Even in a trying year unlike anything we’ve seen before, we are constantly reminded why. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) November 26, 2020

“Even in difficult times, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect on our blessings,” McConnell said, expressing his gratitude to military service members, health care workers and Kentucky “communities who are standing together even if they are six feet apart.”

“So, as we enjoy restful moments this holiday season, let’s keep in our hearts all the families who have lost loved ones or livelihoods this year, and let’s give thanks for the many blessings we’re so fortunate to count as our own,” he added.

Nov 26, 1:41 pm
Georgia Senate candidates Warnock and Ossoff spend Thanksgiving volunteering

Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff on Thursday participated in a food giveaway event at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Warnock and Ossoff are locked in runoffs in January with incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue. The runoffs will decide which party controls the Senate.

Nov 26, 12:15 pm
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris shares Thanksgiving message

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris wished Americans a happy Thanksgiving via Twitter Thursday, sharing a photo with her husband, Doug Emhoff.

“Like families across America, our Thanksgiving looks different this year. But I am incredibly grateful for the ability to stay virtually connected to our loved ones so we can get this virus under control,” Harris wrote.

Like families across America, our Thanksgiving looks different this year. But I am incredibly grateful for the ability to stay virtually connected to our loved ones so we can get this virus under control.

From @DouglasEmhoff and I, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 26, 2020

Nov 26, 9:55 am
Joe and Jill Biden urge Americans to stay home, honor front-line workers in Thanksgiving message

In a new video posted to Twitter, President-elect Joe Biden and future first lady Jill Biden talk about their altered Thanksgiving, reminding Americans that while celebrations may be more isolated this year, they are helping keep Americans safe.

“We have a long tradition of traveling to Nantucket with our big family, a large family, every Thanksgiving. We won't be doing that this year. This year we're going to be staying in Delaware, with just a small group around at our dinner table,” the president-elect said. “I know this isn't the way many of us hoped we'd spend our holiday. We know that a small act of staying home is a gift to our fellow Americans.”

He continued: “Yes, it's a personal sacrifice that each of our families can make and should make to save somebody else's life. But it's also a shared sacrifice for the whole country, a statement of common purpose that says we care about one another and we're all in this together.”

The future first lady added that this year, “We’re thankful for the millions of Americans who have been working on the front lines throughout this pandemic.”

Thanksgiving has always been a special time for the Biden family. And while I know this isn’t the way many of us hoped to spend the holiday, the small act of staying home is a gift to our fellow Americans.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 26, 2020

Jill Biden also spoke directly to families who have lost a loved one to the pandemic this year, noting her own family's understanding of the “empty chair” at the table.

“Joe and I know the pain of that empty chair,” she said. “If you are one of those families, please know that our hearts are with you and that you know that you aren't alone.”

Finally, Joe Biden urged Americans to come together this holiday.

“We might not be able to join our hands around a table with our loved ones, we can come together as a nation,” he said.

Joe and Jill Biden also penned an op-ed for CNN about the holiday and how this year’s celebration requires large sacrifices to keep the country safe.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesBy MARK OSBORNE and ALEXANDER MALLIN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Wednesday he has pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon," he wrote. "Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!"

It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2020

Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI during special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before seeking to withdraw his plea early this year, alleging misconduct against the agents who investigated him.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called Flynn "an innocent man" three times in a statement, saying he never should've been prosecuted. She did not mention Flynn twice pleading guilty or releasing a statement Dec. 1, 2017, admitting to the crimes and saying "through my faith in God, I am working to set things right" and that he was accepting "full responsibility for my actions."

"The President has pardoned General Flynn because he should never have been prosecuted," McEnany said in a statement. "An independent review of General Flynn’s case by the Department of Justice -- conducted by respected career professionals -- supports this conclusion. In fact, the Department of Justice has firmly concluded that the charges against General Flynn should be dropped. This Full Pardon achieves that objective, finally bringing to an end the relentless, partisan pursuit of an innocent man."

Attorneys for Flynn and the Department of Justice had a court hearing on Sept. 29 as they continued to push to have Flynn's guilty plea tossed out.

Former judge John Gleeson, the court-appointed "amicus," ripped into the Justice Department in a June filing, arguing its move to drop the charges against Flynn was part of a political effort to benefit Trump's personal ally.

"In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty -- twice, before two different judges -- and whose guilt is obvious," Gleeson said. "There is clear evidence that this motion reflects a corrupt and politically motivated favor unworthy of our justice system."

Acting principal assistant U.S. attorney Kenneth Kohl argued that was not the case.

"The allegations against our office that we would somehow operate, or act with a corrupt political motive just are not true," Kohl said less than two months ago.

The pardon Wednesday, which had been rumored in recent weeks, puts an end to the back-and-forth court cases.

A DOJ official said "the department was not consulted," but they "were given a heads up today."

"We would have preferred to see if Judge Sullivan would act and for the matter to be resolved in court," the official said. "We were confident in the likelihood of our success in the case."

But, the official added, it "is obviously an appropriate use of the president's pardon power."

Trump's pardon drew immediate derision from Democrats, with Rep. Adam Schiff even calling it "crooked."

"Donald Trump has abused the pardon power to reward his friends and political allies, and protect those who lie to cover up for him," Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. "This time, Trump has once again abused the pardon power to reward Michael Flynn, who chose loyalty to Trump over loyalty to his country."

"It's no surprise that Trump would go out just as he came in -- crooked to the end," he added.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., offered similar criticism.

"This pardon is undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy," the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said in a statement.

"This pardon is part of a pattern," he continued. "We saw it before, in the Roger Stone case -- where President Trump granted clemency to protect an individual who might have implicated the President in criminal misconduct. We may see it again before President Trump finally leaves office. These actions are an abuse of power and fundamentally undermine the rule of law."

Flynn, a key adviser on Trump's 2016 campaign, was named the president's first national security adviser on Nov. 18, 2016. He was sworn in two days after Trump's inauguration.

Just four days after his swearing in, the Department of Justice's then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed White House counsel Don McGahn that they were misled and expressed concerns that Russia might try to blackmail Flynn. ABC News confirmed through a source close to Yates that the U.S. captured a phone call between Flynn and Kislyak discussing sanctions leveled by then-President Barack Obama in late 2016.

Flynn resigned on Feb. 13, after less than a month in the position, after he admitted in a letter that he misled then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence about the nature of his calls with the Russian ambassador.

"Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador," Flynn's letter read. "I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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