It was a drastic overnight change, with most people going to bed with President Donald Trump holding a strong lead in Wisconsin. However, just before sunrise, votes in Democratic strongholds came through and Joe Biden surged to a lead.
It was a drastic overnight change, with most people going to bed with President Donald Trump holding a strong lead in Wisconsin. However, just before sunrise, votes in Democratic strongholds came through and Joe Biden surged to a lead.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday criticized President Trump’s legal team over their chaotic press conference last week that failed to provide any evidence to back up their claims that the 2020 election was rigged.“You call a gigantic press conference like that — one that lasts an hour — and you announce massive bombshells, then you better have some bombshells,” Limbaugh said during his show on Monday. “There better be something at that press conference other than what we got…I talked to so many people who were blown away by it, by the very nature of the press conference. They promised blockbuster stuff and then nothing happened, and that’s just, it’s not good.”He added, “If you’re gonna do a press conference like that with the promise of blockbusters, then there has to be something more than what that press conference delivered.”He also questioned the role of lawyer Sidney Powell, who was present at the press conference but has since cut ties with Trump’s legal team.Though Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said Powell is “not a member of the Trump legal team” or a personal lawyer to the president, Limbaugh argued it’s a “tough thing to deny she was ever part of it because they introduced her as part of it."“She was at that press conference last week,” he said.During the press conference on Thursday, Giuliani claimed to have evidence of a "national conspiracy" to steal the election for President-elect Joe Biden, though he said he could not yet release any evidence as the judges presiding over the campaign's lawsuit might object and because his witnesses might face retribution if their names became public. He said he had “at least ten” witnesses ready to describe instances of voter fraud, he couldn’t reveal them publicly because “they don’t want to be harassed.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is no longer sure Trump will "do the right thing" and acknowledge his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, but he's certain Biden will be sworn in Jan. 20, 2021, he told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday's State of the Union. Hogan, who has been critical of Trump, said he voted for the late President Ronald Reagan this year.Pressuring state legislators in Michigan and other states to "somehow change the outcome with electors was completely outrageous," Hogan said. "We used to go supervise elections around the world, and we were the most respected country with respect to elections. And now we're beginning to look like we're a banana republic. It's time for them to stop the nonsense. It gets more bizarre every single day, and frankly, I'm embarrassed that more people in the party aren't speaking up."> Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he is "embarrassed that more people in the party aren't speaking up" regarding President Trumps' refusal to concede https://t.co/2wEl0kWIoX CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/ht8v9oi0O5> > -- CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 22, 2020John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, was also critical of both Trump and his Republican Party, but he did offer some advice to those Republican officials scared of Trump. "Look, for those who are worried about Trump's reaction, there's strength in numbers," he said. "The more who come out and say, 'He doesn't represent us, he is not following a Republican game plan here,' the safer they will be." > "The Republican Party is not going to be saved by hiding in a spider hole. We need all of our leaders to come out and say, 'the election is over.' We're not talking about an abstract right for Trump to use his legal remedies. We've past that," John Bolton says. CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/pUFsiFj7PC> > -- State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 22, 2020More stories from theweek.com Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney NYT reporter Maggie Haberman thinks Trump's tweet is 'the closest to a concession' he'll give
Decorating mansion will be her final official act as first lady
A group of Pennsylvania Republicans filed a lawsuit over the weekend to block certification of the state's election results in an eleventh-hour attempt to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the key battleground state.The emergency petition, filed in state court, takes issue with a voting reform bill that passed Pennsylvania's Republican-held legislature in October last year. The lawsuit claims that the law's allowance of no excuse mail-in voting is "unconstitutional" and seeks to block Pennsylvania counties from certifying their vote results ahead of the deadline on Monday to do so and invalidate millions of mail-in ballots cast in the 2020 election.The group is led by Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly and GOP congressional candidate Sean Parnell, who has not conceded since his defeat this month by his Democratic rival, Representative Conor Lamb. Their suit names Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, the GOP-led legislature, and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar as defendants.Meanwhile, a federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit from the Trump campaign that sought to invalidate millions of votes in Pennsylvania and block the certification of the state’s election results. Trump wrote in a tweet Saturday night that he plans to appeal the decision.About 2.6 million voters in Pennsylvania cast mail ballots in the general election this month. Biden won three out of every four mail ballots cast in the state, according to an analysis of data from Pennsylvania's state department.Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes over President Trump and is expected to be awarded the Keystone State's coveted 20 electoral votes. States have until December 8 to resolve election disputes, and electors will meet on December 14 to formally vote for the next president.Over the past several weeks, Trump has made allegations that voter fraud occurred on a massive scale through mail-in ballots. The president has claimed he won the election and has refused to concede even though his lawyers have not produced evidence of fraud widespread enough to alter the election outcome.
Tension between Australia and China has been driven by incorrect assumptions shaped by rivalry between China and the United States but Australia has its own interest and independent views, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. Australia's relationship with China soured in 2018 when it became the first country to publicly ban China’s Huawei from its 5G network, and worsened this year when Australia called for an enquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and his family will quarantine for 14 days following an exposure to COVID-19. Newsom on Twitter said that three of his children were recently "exposed to an officer from the California Highway Patrol who had tested positive for COVID-19." The California Highway Patrol provides the governor and his family with security, according to the Los Angeles Times.Newsom said he and his wife had "no direct interaction with the officer" who tested positive for COVID-19, and his "entire family tested negative" for the coronavirus on Sunday. "However, consistent with local guidance, we will be quarantining for 14 days," Newsom said.The governor's office previously announced on Friday that one of Newsom's children would be quarantining after a classmate tested positive for COVID-19, the Los Angeles Times reports.News of Newsom's COVID-19 quarantine comes after the governor recently received criticism for attending a birthday party amid the pandemic. He apologized and called his decision to attend the party a "bad mistake," admitting, "The spirit of what I'm preaching all the time was contradicted. I need to preach and practice, not just preach." More stories from theweek.com Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney NYT reporter Maggie Haberman thinks Trump's tweet is 'the closest to a concession' he'll give
Libya’s rivals began a second round of talks Monday on a mechanism to choose a transitional government that would lead the conflict-stricken country to elections in December next year, the United Nations said. U.N. acting envoy for Libya Stephanie Williams headed the online meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum a week after the first round of the talks in Tunisia failed to name an executive authority. The 75-member forum reached an agreement to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24, 2021.
In the end, the president who roared like a lion went out with a whimper. Those who have followed him knew it would end this way, writes Washington Bureau Chief John T. Bennett
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a private jet to Neom, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday for a secret meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli media and The Wall Street Journal report. Two Saudi government advisers tell the Journal that in their first known face-to-face meeting, Netanyahu and bin Salman discussed Iran and normalizing relations, but no substantial agreements were reached. Yossi Cohen, the director of Israeli spy agency Mossad, was also on the trip, Israel's Army Radio reports.Flight data showed a Gulfstream IV private jet Netanyahu likes to use traveling from Tel Aviv to Neom, a Saudi resort city being developed on the Red Sea.> MBS and Pompeo were at NEOM at the time. https://t.co/bc2H4hETk8> > — avi scharf (@avischarf) November 23, 2020"Pompeo traveled with an American press pool on his trip throughout the Mideast, but left them at the Neom airport when he went into his visit with the crown prince," The Associated Press reports. The Trump administration has recently helped broker deals to normalize relations between Israel and several Gulf Arab states, including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates. and Sudan. "Saudi Arabia is seen as the ultimate prize in the high-stakes diplomatic campaign," the Journal notes."The Saudi government, under the direction of King Salman, has so far balked at formal ties with Israel so long as its conflict with the Palestinians remained unresolved," the Journal reports. "But Saudi Arabia's king has been at odds with his son, Prince Mohammed, over embracing the Jewish state. The king is a longtime supporter of the Arab boycott of Israel and the Palestinians' demand for an independent state, while the prince wants to move past what he sees as an intractable conflict to join with Israel in business and align against Iran."Benny Gantz, Israel's alternate prime minister under a power-sharing agreement with Netanyahu, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi were in the dark about the meeting, Haaretz reports. "Israel has long had clandestine ties to Gulf Arab states that have strengthened in recent years as they have confronted a shared threat in Iran," AP adds.More stories from theweek.com Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney NYT reporter Maggie Haberman thinks Trump's tweet is 'the closest to a concession' he'll give
One of Britain's most prolific paedophiles, who targeted at least 500 children, would not have been caught under Facebook's proposed end-to-end encryption plans, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA). Appearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, labourer David Nicholas Wilson, 36, admitted 96 sex abuse offences against 51 boys aged four to 14, whom he conned into sending him sexual images or blackmailed into abusing their younger siblings or friends. The NCA investigation uncovered evidence that Wilson, who pretended to be multiple teenage girls online, managed to persuade 500 boys to send sexual abuse images to his fake identities and had approached more than 5,000 boys globally. The NCA found 250,000 messages communicating with boys in his Facebook, Snapchat, Google and Instagram accounts after obtaining access to them through an International Letter of Request to the US authorities. However, his web of abuse would not have been exposed without Facebook providing 90 referrals of suspect accounts linked to Wilson – evidence that would not be available if the social media giant goes ahead with its encryption plans, said Rob Jones, the NCA director of threat leadership. Mr Jones said: "It's chilling to think Wilson wouldn't have been caught if Facebook had already implemented their end-to-end encryption plans which will entirely prevent access to message content. The NCA, wider law enforcement and child safety groups are clear that the [encryption] move will turn the lights out for policing and effectively provide cover for offenders such as Wilson. "Facebook Messenger is already protected by strong encryption that still enables the company to detect grooming and known abuse images. It was Facebook's initial identification of Wilson's accounts in June and July 2017 which provided the intelligence that started this investigation. "Content obtained from Facebook Messenger conversations was also crucial throughout the operation. Had that content been end-to-end encrypted, there is a real risk that justice would not have been served and Wilson would still be abusing victims today." It follows calls by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, and her counterparts in the "Five Eyes" intelligence network of countries for Facebook to allow law enforcement agencies lawful access to suspects communications rather than blanket encryption which means even it cannot access messages. Wilson was told by judge Rupert Overbury on Monday that he faces a lengthy prison term when he is sentenced on January 12. Using unregistered phones, Wilson sent sexual images of young women from the internet in exchange for the boys sending him videos and images of themselves. He built up trust with his victims before blackmailing them into sending him more extreme footage of themselves – and in some cases, of them abusing younger siblings or friends. On some occasions, he then distributed the images to victims' friends. He showed no compassion even when some victims begged him to stop, according to the NCA. Some of the children were so distressed that they spoke of wanting to end their lives. His activities were first detected in summer 2017 when Facebook identified 20 accounts of boys ranging from 12 to 15 years old, who had sent indecent images of themselves to an account seemingly belonging to a 13-year-old girl. The material was forwarded to the NCA for investigation by NCMEC – the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children – which receives industry referrals before disseminating them to law enforcement agencies to investigate. It was forwarded to the NCA, which found IP addresses used to commit the offences linked to Wilson’s address, CCTV footage of him buying a top-up voucher for a phone number linked to one of the accounts and the phone used to commit some of the offences hidden in his bedroom. Tony Cook, NCA head of CSA operations, said: “David Wilson is a prolific offender who has caused heartbreaking suffering to some of the boys and their families in this case. “He was able to gain the boys’ trust and exploit their use of social media using well practiced techniques to convince them he was genuinely a young female who was interested in them. “He then manipulated or forced them to send images of themselves or other children which he craved. “He knew the anguish victims were suffering but ignored any pleas from them to stop until he got what he wanted from them. “Wilson retained material the children had sent and used the threat of sharing it among their friends to control them. “I commend the victims and their families for their bravery in helping the prosecution and our investigators for painstakingly and tenaciously proving Wilson was responsible. “Wilson is an example of adult sexual offenders who use the internet to hide their real identities, using plausible online personas to exploit children. “We know children are increasingly sharing personal material on social media sites but I would implore them to think carefully about their interactions online and be aware of the hurt and long-term damage manipulative offenders like Wilson cause.” A Facebook spokesman said: “Child exploitation and grooming have no place on our platforms. Facebook has led the industry in developing new ways to prevent, detect, and respond to abuse and we will continue to work with law enforcement to combat criminal activity. "End-to-end encryption is already the leading technology used by many services to keep people safe and we will build on our strong anti-abuse capabilities at WhatsApp when we roll it out on our other messaging services. For example, through a combination of advanced technology and user reports, WhatsApp bans around 250,000 accounts each month suspected of sharing child exploitative imagery.”
The Philippines is close to concluding talks with Britain's AstraZeneca for the supply of at least 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, a top coronavirus task force official said on Monday. Carlito Galvez, the former general in charge of strategy to fight the coronavirus, said the government was also in talks with Pfizer Inc and China's Sinovac for vaccine supply deals. Galvez said the government could enter into an advance market agreement with AstraZeneca before the month ends.
A federal court has thrown out the Trump campaign’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania, which challenged presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the commonwealth. In so doing, district judge Matthew Brann refused the campaign’s eleventh-hour attempt to file a new complaint that would have reinstated election fraud claims the Trump campaign had abandoned a few days earlier. (I outlined the lawsuit here, and explained the Trump campaign’s last-ditch effort to amend it here.)Judge Brann’s 37-page opinion sets forth a variety of reasons for dismissing the case. Most of them are directed toward the complaints of two individual plaintiffs — voters who claimed that their ballots had been improperly discounted. By contrast, the court found that the Trump campaign had no standing to sue, having posited no evidence that President Trump was harmed in any cognizable way by the manner in which the election was conducted in Pennsylvania.At bottom, though, the court found that the fatal flaw in the case is the one that we have repeatedly stressed: The mismatch between the harm alleged and the remedy sought.As the judge explained, even if one accepted the dubious premise that the two voters in question were improperly denied the right to vote while others similarly situated were not, the commensurate relief would be for their votes to be counted.That, however, was not the remedy they sought. Instead, supported by the Trump campaign, the two voters petitioned the court to stop Pennsylvania from certifying — on Monday as state law requires — the commonwealth’s election result, which had Biden winning by 83,000 votes. Brann countered:> Prohibiting certification of the election results would not reinstate the Individual Plaintiffs’ right to vote. It would simply deny more than 6.8 million [Pennsylvanians] their right to vote. “Standing is measured based on the theory of harm and the specific relief requested.” It is not “dispensed in gross: A plaintiff's remedy must be tailored to redress the plaintiff's particular injury.” Here, the answer to invalidated ballots is not to invalidate millions more. [Footnotes omitted.]As we detailed on Friday, the case was in a strange posture.In filing its original complaint on November 9, the Trump campaign claimed extensive vote fraud, relying mainly on the allegation that Republican poll-watchers had been denied a meaningful opportunity to observe the canvassing of ballots. But, as Brann notes (and we discussed here), on November 13, the federal appeals court for the Third Circuit (which has binding effect on Brann’s district court) issued its opinion in Bognet v. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Though not directly connected to the campaign’s case, Bognet’s reasoning substantially undercut its claims.The campaign reacted by amending its complaint, reducing the case to the narrow claim that Trump voters’ equal-protection rights (and, derivatively, the campaign’s rights) had been violated by an allegedly skewed procedure: Mail-in voters in Biden-friendly counties had been permitted to cure defects in the ballots they’d submitted, while voters in Trump-friendly counties were not. Brann rejected this claim, accepting Pennsylvania’s argument that Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar had encouraged ballot curing all over the state. Thus the state government was not at fault if not all counties availed themselves of this opportunity.That is largely beside the point, though. Even if there had been a violation of the voters’ rights, the remedy would be to count their votes. Instead, as the court observed,> Plaintiffs seek to remedy the denial of their votes by invalidating the votes of millions of others. Rather than requesting that their votes be counted, they seek to discredit scores of other votes, but only for one race [i.e., the presidential race, not the other contests down-ballot]. This is simply not how the Constitution works. [Emphasis added.]Moreover:> Granting Paintiffs’ requested relief would necessarily require invalidating the ballots of every person who voted in Pennsylvania. Because this Court has no authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person, let along millions of citizens, it cannot grant Plaintiffs’ requested relief.Brann concluded that the Trump campaign had no standing to sue based, derivatively, on the harm alleged by the two voters, particularly after the Bognet ruling. He specifically rejected both of the campaign’s main equal-protection complaints: (1) that its poll-watchers were discriminatorily excluded from observing the canvass, and (2) that the opportunity for voters to cure defective ballots was deliberately done in counties the state knew to favor Biden.On the former, Brann held that this was not, as the Trump campaign maintained, an equal-protection issue. The campaign was not claiming that Trump observers were treated differently from Biden observers. On the latter, Brann concluded that the campaign was misinterpreting Bush v. Gore, and, in any event, was not claiming that Boockvar’s guidance on curing ballots differed from county to county.Most significantly, Brann denied the Trump campaign’s dilatory attempt to amend its complaint yet again late this past week, in order to reinstate claims from their original complaint, which they’d withdrawn last weekend. The court reasoned that this would “unduly delay resolution of the issues” in light of the fact that Monday, November 23, is the deadline for Pennsylvania counties to certify their election results to the state government — a necessary prelude to appointing the slate of electors who will cast the commonwealth’s Electoral College votes.In reaction to the ruling, the Trump campaign lawyers issued a statement asserting that, though they disagreed with the decision by “the Obama-appointed judge,” it was actually a boon to “our strategy to get expeditiously to the U.S. Supreme Court.”It is true that Brann was appointed by former President Barack Obama, but he is a Republican and Federalist Society member who was sponsored by the state’s Republican senator Pat Toomey — a common situation when a state’s two senators are from different parties, and an administration has to horse-trade on appointments.Trump lawyers added that the ruling denied them “the opportunity to present our evidence at a hearing.” They described that as “censorship” of “50 witnesses” who would have testified that state election officials denied the “independent review” required by Pennsylvania law. This is an apparent reference to the campaign’s claim that its poll-watchers were not given a meaningful opportunity to observe the canvass, which the lawyers say, “resulted in 682,777 ballots being cast illegally.” The campaign did not mention that it had dropped this charge from its original complaint. Nor did it allude to Brann’s conclusion that the allegation was not a cognizable equal-protection claim under federal law.The campaign says it will seek an expedited appeal to the Third Circuit — the tribunal that just decided the Bognet case, the precedent that appears to have induced the campaign to withdraw the claims it is now seeking to revive. In any event, it is anything but clear that the Supreme Court, which has thus far declined to act on Pennsylvania election-law claims relevant to the 2020 election, would agree to hear the campaign’s case — even assuming that the Third Circuit grants expedited appeal and, as even the campaign plainly expects, rules against the campaign.