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Nov 20, 2020: Trump Summons Michigan Lawmakers
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TODAY'S HEADLINES:

Donald Trump has summoned lawmakers from Michigan to Washington, DC, as part of his slow-rolling coup attempt. And his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, appears to be leaking fluid.

Meanwhile, federal health officials are urging Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving next week. It seems like not a huge ask, given the life-and-death stakes.

And lastly, most of the people who got arrested at civil rights demonstrations over the summer have wound up getting their charges dismissed. Because – you guessed it – the charges were trumped up by the cops.

THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

With his legal strategy failing, Donald Trump has begun strong-arming state and local Republican officials to help him rig the election after the fact. Trump has invited the leaders of Michigan’s Republican-controlled state legislature to meet him in Washington today, the Washington Post reports. Trump lost Michigan to President-Elect Joe Biden by one hundred and fifty seven thousand votes. But Trump’s team thinks the will of the voters doesn’t matter.

The state GOP legislative leaders who plan to visit the White House today are Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, the Post reports. Earlier this week, Trump called a member of Wayne County’s Board of Canvassers to pressure her to rescind her vote to certify the election results. But the secretary of state’s office said that would be impossible. No take-backs!

This latest coup d’etat strategy is still a long shot. Even if Trump somehow flipped Michigan and Pennsylvania, he would still need to steal at least one more state from Biden to win the electoral college. A senior Trump campaign official told Reuters its plan is to cast enough doubt on vote-counting in Democratic cities that Republican lawmakers will have little choice but to intercede. The campaign believes the longer they can drag this out, the better their chances of success.

And so they continue to try to create a spectacle. Yesterday Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, held a crazed news conference in which he made the wild and baseless claim that Biden nationally coordinated a campaign of vote fraud. As sweat and dark streaks of what might have been hair dye rolled down his face, Giuliani said QUOTE I know crimes, I can smell them ENDQUOTE. Is that what that is? We were sure it was you, Rudy!

CDC: AVOID THANKSGIVING TRAVEL

In a meeting with governors yesterday, Joe Biden expressed concern that Donald Trump’s attempted coup has kept him in the dark when it comes to coronavirus vaccine planning. Biden said his administration hasn’t yet been able to get everything it needs to prepare a pandemic response, the Associated Press reports. He spoke via video conference to the National Governors Association’s leadership team, which includes five Republicans and four Democrats. Also joining were the several leaders of Biden’s virus task force. Biden told the governors he would make sure they get the resources they need to beat this virus.

Also yesterday, per the AP, the nation’s top public health agency pleaded with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the recommendations at a time when diagnosed infections, hospitalizations and deaths are skyrocketing. In many areas, the health care system is being squeezed by a combination of sick patients filling up beds and medical workers falling ill themselves. CDC officials cited more than one million new cases in the US over the past week as the reason for the new guidance.

They say the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household. But for those who do welcome travelers for the holiday, the CDC recommends added precautions: Gatherings should be outdoors if possible, with people keeping six feet apart and wearing masks and just one person serving the food. Henry Walke, the CDC’s covid-19 incident manager, told the Washington Post QUOTE what’s at stake is basically the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and then being hospitalized and dying ENDQUOTE. Staying home sounds simpler, yes?

PROTESTERS BEATING MOST CHARGES

LUCIE: Months after a summer filled with street demonstrations, as thousands of cases against protesters finally land in courts across the US, a vast majority are being dismissed. Only cases involving more substantial charges like property destruction or violence remain, the New York Times reports. Prosecutors said that the scale of both the mass arrests and mass dismissals was unrivaled, at least since the civil rights protests of the 1960s.

With the police detaining hundreds of people in major cities, the arrests this year ended up colliding with the limitations of the court system. Prosecutors declined to pursue many cases because they concluded that the protesters were exercising their basic civil rights. Court backlogs due to the coronavirus pandemic also played a role in the decision, the Times reports. There was also the recognition, as the Times put it, that police often use mass arrests as a technique to clear the streets, not to confront illegal behavior. (In other words: the charges were BS.) Protest leaders and defense attorneys nationwide accuse the police of piling on charges to try to halt the demonstrations.

Here’s one example: The Raleigh, North Carolina News and Observer reports that a pastor who led a march to the polls that was disbanded by pepper spray on October 31 now faces felony charges. Reverend Greg Drumwright has been accused of assault with physical injury on a law enforcement officer and obstruction of justice, both felonies, plus two lesser charges. More than twenty people were arrested during the march, including a reporter.

Drumwright led a racially diverse group of roughly two hundred people from a church to the county courthouse, where they paused for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, in a gesture meant to honor George Floyd. Shortly thereafter, police told the crowd to clear the street and began using pepper spray, according to the News and Observer. Among the people affected by the chemicals were children and elderly people. Where’s the justice for them? Here’s hoping Reverend Drumwright also enjoys a speedy dismissal of the charges against him.

AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

BuzzFeed, Incorporated has agreed to acquire Verizon Media’s HuffPost in a stock transaction. It’s part of a larger deal between the two companies. The two websites will reportedly stay separate, and BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti told the New York Times, QUOTE We want HuffPost to be more HuffPosty, and BuzzFeed to be more BuzzFeedy ENDQUOTE. But the Quickie will always be more Quickie-ee.

Mike Pompeo this week toured an archaeological dig run by a far-right Israeli settler group and visited a settlement that farms grapes on land Palestinians say was stolen from them, the Guardian reports. It was the first time a US secretary of state had officially visited Israeli settlements. How predictable that the stricture was broken by a fundamentalist Christian evangelical like Pompeo.

The Washington Post interviewed Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenage killer of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August. The paper learned, among other things, that Rittenhouse used money from the government’s coronavirus stimulus program to pay for his rifle, which he was too young to legally buy. Rittenhouse claims to have no regrets about arming himself. That could change, just wait until you get older – or your trial progresses.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York yesterday claimed that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to resume negotiations with Democrats over a potential new Covid-19 relief bill. Schumer called the news QUOTE a little bit of a breakthrough ENDQUOTE. But NBC News reports that Congressional aides believe Schumer was overselling the development. Call us when you’ve got something real, Chuck!

That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.

NOV 20, 2020 - AM QUICKIE

HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

WRITER - Corey Pein

PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn