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Former President Obama in an interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley said he is troubled by the false claims of widespread election fraud in the United States.
"They appear to be motivated-- in part because-- the president doesn't like to lose and-- never admits loss," Mr. Obama said. "I'm more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humoring him in this fashion. It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally. And that's a dangerous path."
The clip is a part of CBS News' exclusive pair of interviews with Mr. Obama. He will talk with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King for "CBS Sunday Morning" and Pelley for "60 Minutes." These are his first television interviews following the 2020 presidential election and before the release of his new memoir, "A Promised Land." Both interviews will air Sunday, November 15th on CBS News.
TRANSITION WATCHPRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN
Possibly some rest and maybe some relaxation is in store for President-elect Biden in the coming days as Thursday he headed down to his beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson reports. Before he left, he spoke with Pope Francis, according to a readout from the call. "The president-elect thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness' leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world," the readout stated, "The president-elect expressed his desire to work together on the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities."
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
Advisers to President Trump tell CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga and White House correspondents Paula Reid and Ben Tracy the president has openly discussed the possibility of running in 2024 with his top advisors. While no decisions have been made, one Trump advisor familiar with conversations with the president tells CBS News Trump allies are actively working to keep his options open as they begin to plot his political future. As CBS News has previously reported, President Trump has created "Save America" leadership PAC, which was registered with the Federal Election Commission on Monday by Trump campaign treasurer Bradley Crate.
Mr. Trump has given no indication to top brass at the White House or campaign that he will concede the race, though advisors increasingly admit it would be near impossible for Mr. Trump to contest the 2020 election.
According to advisers to the president, the Trump campaign legal team remains focused on bringing Pennsylvania legal challenges back to the Supreme Court in hopes of granting the president a legal victory, even if it does not change the math nor the outcome of the 2020 election. This kind of win in the court of law would help the president prove this election was not fair in the court of public opinion, advisors tell CBS News, allowing the president to claim he was cheated of a second term.
Two years after launching her non-profit, When We All Vote, former first lady Michelle Obama is reaping the reward. The organization announced Thursday it engaged over 100 million eligible voters during the course of the 2020 election cycle, reports CBS News Correspondent Nikole Killion. That includes sending more than 15.3 million text messages to 7.3 million eligible voters and getting more than half a million individuals to start or complete the voter registration process.
The group ran one of the largest nonpartisan voter registration and turnout efforts using a mix of digital organizing and innovative methods to reach people during the coronavirus pandemic. It held dozens of virtual events including a Couch Party series that featured celebrity figures from DJ D-Nice to the Duchess of Sussex. It also partnered with Lebron James' More Than A Vote for early vote events and 52 sports leagues and teams joined its coalition.
"We've got to promise each other that our focus in this election won't be an anomaly, but the rule," Michelle Obama tweeted. She founded When We All Vote to increase voter participation and close the race and age gap among voters. "That's how we can not only feel this way right now, but in the months and years ahead."
MONEY MATTERSTRUMP PAC
The Trump campaign has sent no less than 190 emails to supporters soliciting donations since Election Day to fund the campaign's "Election Defense Fund," reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. But that money is largely being funneled into Mr. Trump's new leadership PAC "Save America" and the Republican National Convention. Sixty percent of all online contributions under $5000 go to "Save America" leadership PAC, which was registered with the Federal Election Commission on Monday by Trump campaign treasurer Bradley Crate.
"President Trump has a significant degree of flexibility with how he could use his leadership PAC funds," Brendan Fischer, Director of Federal Reform at the Campaign Legal Center tells CBS News. "He is subject to the $5,000 contribution limit and able to make up to $5,000 in contributions to another candidate. And that's what a leadership PAC is supposed to be used for - to support other candidates. But President Trump could also use leadership PAC to pay for rallies after he leaves the White House, it could pay for his travel. It could be used to pay for events held at Trump propertiest potentially could even be used to pay consulting fees to the President's family or the President himself."
The campaign was running low on cash heading into Election Day and final FEC filings are expected to show it incurred significant debt.
Meanwhile, advisers to Mr. Trump continue to tell CBS News' White House unit that there is no viable legal path to overturning the election results as the legal fight continues. Advisors do not expect the Supreme Court to intervene, and tell CBS News that Mr. Trump - who likes to be perceived as a "fighter" - has become increasingly aware of his prospects.
KEY CONSTITUENCIESYOUTH VOTE
NextGen America founder and former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer told reporters on Thursday that Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris "would not have won without the youth vote." NextGen America mobilizes voters between the ages 18-35 across the country and spent nearly $60 million this cycle on efforts to engage young voters. The organization, with a presence on over 200 college campuses, said it registered over 120,000 young voters and collected more than 441,000 pledges to vote, reports CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar.
NextGen's Executive Director Ben Wessel said the organization ran its "largest program ever" by working in 11 key battleground states to increase turnout and persuade young voters to support Biden. Steyer and Wessel said younger voters supported Biden in large numbers because of his climate agenda. "Some of those people who had unfavorable opinions of Joe Biden we know are lefty progressive young people," Wessel said. "Coming out of the primary, Biden was in a tough spot with some of these folks," he added.
Wessel went on to explain that NextGen communicated to voters a message that said Biden is "listening to progressives" like Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on climate change. That helped in building enthusiasm for Biden among young voters, Wessel added.
Other youth climate change activist groups like Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement are already calling on Mr. Biden to create a White House Office of Mobilization to focus specifically on climate change and nominate Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sanders to top cabinet posts.
"Whether they can carry out the specific platform that they ran on given the political circumstances of the day is obviously questionable," Steyer said, adding that progressive legislation on climate change might be difficult if Republicans end up with control of the Senate. "But I am confident that the Biden-Harris administration will pursue the values and goals that were the subject of their platform and they have to because young people are going to be watching," Steyer added.
The Trump campaign's suit in Arizona over so-called "overvote" ballots they believe went uncounted in the battleground state's largest county went before a state judge Thursday, as Republicans seek to force Maricopa County election officials to manually hand count these votes over concerns they say their supporters' ballots were incorrectly rejected by poll workers. Their opponents in court, state and local election officials, have decried the suit as little more than a "repackaged" version of the debunked conspiracy theory that the use of Sharpies at polling sites invalidated votes. And though Mr. Biden currently has a slim lead among the latest results out of Arizona's latest tally, county attorneys say the pool of so-called "overvotes" in question total less than 200 -- far short of the president-elect's some 10,000 vote margin in Arizona over Mr. Trump.
"It has become clear that Plaintiffs are pursuing these claims solely to sow confusion and undermine the democratic process," attorneys for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, argued in a filing released Thursday ahead of the hearing, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin.
With less than a week before the deadline for Pennsylvania's top elections official to certify the state's election results, lawyers for the Trump campaign today asked a federal court judge to issue a temporary order keeping her from doing so. Lawyers for Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar wrote in a motion asking for dismissal that the Trump campaign's claims, "lack standing to pursue their claims, which constitute mere generalized grievances and which rest upon conjectural theories of supposed harm requiring multiple leaps of logic." Representing the Trump campaign, Philadelphia attorney Linda Kerns told District Court Judge Matthew Brann -- in a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the certification -- that the measure was necessary to allow the court time to rule on a range of alleged voting irregularities and claims that the campaign was unable to properly monitor vote counting. On Monday, Kerns had asked the judge injunctive relief, but was not immediately granted it. The DNC has also asked the judge to dismiss the case. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Monday in Williamsport.
Also in Pennsylvania today, a Commonwealth Court judge ruled that mail and absentee voters who verified their proof of identification after November 9 but by November 12 will not have their votes counted. Ruling in favor of the Trump campaign, Judge Mary Hannah Levitt wrote that Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar "lacked statutory authority" to direct counties to extend the deadline for such corrections. Such ballots have not yet been included in current tallies and the order will therefore not lessen Mr. Biden's lead on Mr. Trump in the state, reports CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak.
As of Thursday morning, 55 of Wisconsin's 72 counties have completed their election canvassing process, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster reports counties have until November 17 to finish their canvassing and it's expected some counties may not finish until that date. Counties have been preparing for a possible recount, but the Trump campaign can't request one until all counties have turned in their certified results. Mr. Trump trails Mr. Biden by more than 20,000 votes in Wisconsin and CBS News has projected Biden won the state. WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe told reporters on Thursday that there have not been any significant changes to results during canvassing so far. A recount is also highly unlikely to change the statewide results. The 2016 recount added about 130 votes to Mr. Trump's margin of victory over Hillary Clinton. If the Trump campaign requests a recount, they would have to pay the estimated costs up front. Green Party candidate Jill Stein paid $3.5 million before the 2016 recount but was ultimately refunded about $1.5 million of that amount.
CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGEIN THE HOUSE
CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro reports that Democratic candidate Rita Hart is planning to file a recount request in the race for Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, where she trails Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks by only 48 votes. The request comes after two counties reported tabulation errors in the past week. Iowa's election code says the recount must be completed within 18 days of each county board's canvass, which will be November 27 or 28, dependent on the county. In New York's 11th, Democrat incumbent Max Rose has conceded to Republican Nicole Malliotakis. "As we continue to count every ballot and are on track to dramatically narrow the gap by tens of thousands of votes to a 4-5 point margin, it is now clear that we will fall short of 50.1%," Rose said in a statement. This will be the ninth Democrat incumbent to be unseated by a Republican this cycle, and the tenth flip for the House GOP overall. Malliotakis will also be the 27th Republican woman to be elected to the House, surpassing the record of 25 set in 2006.