The Countdown: President Trump urges supporters to stay angry at allegations of voter fraud


NEW YORK (WABC) — As we get closer to Inauguration Day, Eyewitness News will have a special election edition of “The Countdown” to get you caught up with all of the day’s political and campaign news.

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Friday, Dec. 11

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a lawsuit backed by President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory, ending a desperate attempt to get legal issues rejected by state and federal judges before the nation’s highest court. This comes as President Trump tweeted an ad on his Twitter account urging his supporters to stay angry at allegations of voter fraud.

Thursday, Dec. 10

From “witch hunt” to “rigged election”

On this day, exactly one year ago, House democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, saying that he “betrayed the nation” with his actions toward Ukraine and an obstruction of Congress’ investigation.

The president responded with this, “WITCH HUNT!” And later at an evening rally in Pennsylvania, Trump mocked the impeachment effort and predicted it would lead to his reelection in 2020. Now his mantra is “rigged election” and he’s trying to overturn his defeat. His latest and perhaps last desperate attempt, a lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court.

Hunter Biden’s federal tax investigation examines Chinese business dealing

The Justice Department is investigating the finances of President-elect Joe Biden’s son, including scrutinizing some of his Chinese business dealings and other transactions, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The revelations put a renewed spotlight on questions about Hunter Biden’s financial history, which dogged his father’s successful White House campaign and were a frequent target of President Donald Trump and his allies. They also come at a politically delicate time for the president-elect, who is weighing his choice to lead an agency that is actively investigating his son.

The tax investigation was launched in 2018, the year before the elder Biden announced his candidacy for president. Hunter Biden confirmed the existence of the investigation on Wednesday, saying he learned about it for the first time the previous day.

Stimulus update: McConnell signals no Republican support for COVID-19 deal from bipartisan group

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hitting the brakes on the emerging COVID-19 aid package from a bipartisan group of lawmakers, saying Republican senators won’t support $160 billion in state and local funds as part of a potential trade-off in the deal.

McConnell’s staff conveyed to top negotiators that the GOP leader sees no path to an agreement on a key aspect of the lawmakers’ existing proposal – a slimmed-down version of the liability shield for companies and organizations facing potential COVID-19 lawsuits – in exchange for $160 billion in state and local funds that Democrats want.

Trump and his Republican loyalists seek to pile on Supreme Court election challenge

President Donald Trump and a long line of his Republican supporters scrambled Wednesday to join a long-shot Texas lawsuit that is seeking to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to take the extraordinary step of invalidating the results of the 2020 election in four key swing states. Just 24 hours after the suit was filed, Republican politicians from 17 states filed in support of Texas, as did a group of conservative lawyers and personalities that included former Alabama judge Roy Moore, who Trump endorsed during his failed bid for the Senate.

Trump himself also sought to join the suit.

Wednesday, Dec. 9

Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joe Biden, facing federal investigation over ‘tax affairs’

President-elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter said Wednesday that his “tax affairs” are under federal investigation, putting a renewed spotlight on the questions about his financial dealings that dogged his father’s campaign. In a statement released by the president-elect’s transition office, the younger Biden said he learned about the investigation on Tuesday. He did not disclose details of the matter.

Joe Biden formally introduces his pick for Pentagon chief, Lloyd Austin

President-elect Joe Biden made his case for retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to be secretary of defense, urging Congress to waive a legal prohibition against a recently serving military officer running the Pentagon. With concern rising in Congress about eroding civilian control of the military, Biden on Tuesday suggested he felt a need to counter an emerging narrative that Austin’s nomination blurs the lines between civil and military roles. Sticking to their past stands would mean defying a president from their own party just as he takes office. In announcing Austin’s pick, Biden said he hoped the Senate would grant Austin the same waiver it did Mattis.

GOP lawmakers may wait for January to say Joe Biden won 2020 election

Americans waiting for Republicans in Congress to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect may have to keep waiting until January as GOP leaders stick with President Donald Trump’s litany of legal challenges and unproven claims of fraud. Tuesday’s deadline for states to certify their elections – once viewed as a pivot point for Republicans to mark Biden’s win – came and went without much comment. Next week’s Dec. 14 Electoral College deadline may produce just a few more congratulatory GOP calls to Biden.

Stimulus update: New White House offer adds $600 checks to COVID-19 relief

The Trump administration dove back into Capitol Hill’s confusing COVID-19 negotiations on Tuesday, offering a $916 billion package to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would send a $600 direct payment to most Americans – but eliminate a $300 per week unemployment benefit favored by a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators.

Joe Biden picks Marcia Fudge for housing, Tom Vilsack for USDA

President-elect Joe Biden made two key domestic policy picks, selecting Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge as his housing and urban development secretary and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reprise that role in his administration, according to five people familiar with the decisions. The picks on Tuesday highlighted Biden’s delicate balancing act as he builds out his Cabinet, seeking to diversify his picks and reward the coalitions that helped elect him while also following his instincts to surround himself with close allies who served in the Obama administration.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the offer to Pelosi late Tuesday afternoon, he said in a statement. He offered few details, though House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said it proposes the $600 direct payment for individuals and $1,200 for couples, which is half the payment delivered by the March pandemic relief bill.

Tuesday, Dec. 8

Supreme Court rejects Republicans’ bid to halt Biden’s Pennsylvania win

In a single, succinct order, Justice Samuel Alito Tuesday on behalf of the U.S. Supreme Court has shut down an 11th-hour attempt by allies of Trump in Pennsylvania to block its slate of certified electors and toss out 2.5 million mail-in ballots. “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” Alito said.

The appeal — brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, along with another GOP candidate for Congress — alleged that the state legislature did not legally pass the law allowing for expanded mail-in voting during the pandemic. They sought the justices to order all mail-in ballots thrown out along with the state’s official certification of election results, which was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf last week.

Biden calls for action on COVID-19 pandemic as he introduces health team

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday called for urgent action on the coronavirus pandemic as he introduced a health care team that will be tested at every turn while striving to restore a sense of normalcy to the daily lives of Americans. Biden laid out three COVID-19 priorities for his first 100 days in office: a call for all Americans to mask up, a commitment to administer 100 million vaccines and a pledge to try to reopen a majority of the nation’s schools.

“Out of our collective pain, we are going to find a collective purpose,” Biden said. “To control the pandemic, to save lives and to heal as a nation.”

Trump holds vaccine summit, refuses to concede election

Meanwhile, as Biden was speaking, President Donald Trump held his own vaccine summit. He invited no one from Pfizer and Moderna, nor did he invite President-elect Biden.

“Well, we’re gonna have to see who the next administration is because we won and swing states and there was terrible things that went on. So we’re gonna have to see who the next administration is,” Trump said. “But whichever the next administration is, will really benefit by what we’ve been able to do with this incredible science.”

In new lawsuit, Texas contests election results in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing four battleground states – Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – whose election results handed the White House to President-elect Joe Biden. In the suit, he claims that pandemic-era changes to election procedures in those states violated federal law, and asks the U.S. Supreme Court to block the states from voting in the Electoral College. The last-minute bid, which legal experts have already characterized as a longshot, comes alongside dozens of similar attempts by President Donald Trump and his political allies. The majority of those lawsuits have already failed.

Safe harbor day: What to know about law that locks Congress into accepting Joe Biden’s win

Other than Wisconsin, every state appears to have met a deadline in federal law that essentially means Congress has to accept the electoral votes that will be cast next week and sent to the Capitol for counting on Jan. 6. Those votes will elect Joe Biden as the country’s next president. It’s called a safe harbor provision because it’s a kind of insurance policy by which a state can lock in its electoral votes by finishing up certification of the results and any state court legal challenges by a congressionally imposed deadline, which this year is Tuesday.

“What federal law requires is that if a state has completed its post-election certification by Dec. 8, Congress is required to accept those results,” said Rebecca Green, an election law professor at the William & Mary law school in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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