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Nov 12, 2020: Trump Legal Challenges Floundering
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TODAY'S HEADLINES:

Some Republicans say that Donald Trump might accept that he actually lost the election sometime in December. What’s clear so far is that Trump’s legal challenges to the vote count are floundering.

Meanwhile, more progressive Democrats in Congress are saying the party needs to confront Republicans rather than reach across the aisle as centrists suggest. Left-wing groups are circulating a list of names for Joe Biden’s cabinet – but will he listen?

And lastly, Biden plans to immediately undo most of Trump’s immigration policies. The best part is, he can do it all with the stroke of a pen, without waiting for Congressional approval.

THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump in the popular vote count grew to five point one million yesterday. Aides to Trump told NBC News it was likely he would never concede that he lost the election. Rather, he might eventually say something like QUOTE We can’t trust the results, but I’m not contesting them ENDQUOTE. But even acknowledging reality to that limited degree is not in the cards yet. The Associated Press reports that Republicans are increasingly eyeing a December deadline to publicly accept the election result, giving Trump time and space to exhaust his legal challenges. That’s when the states face a deadline to certify results and a December 14 deadline for the Electoral College to cast its votes.

Trump’s legal challenges are still not going well. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Trump’s lawyers have received a series of embarrassing rebukes by judges. But of course that hasn’t stopped the campaign from filing more challenges over ballots, including a new lawsuit in Michigan filed yesterday. The New York Times reports that the lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in Grand Rapids claims, among other things, that officials illegally backdated an untold number of ballots in order to make them eligible for counting. As with other recent claims made by Trump and his allies, evidence is lacking.

The Times also reports that Biden’s campaign is considering legal action of its own to force the presidential transition to formally begin. But legal experts warned that such a move could

easily backfire on Biden if he filed the lawsuit in federal court and lost. Meanwhile, CBS News reports that four former secretaries of Homeland Security – Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson – published a statement calling on the transition to begin immediately. As in now.

Separately, Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan was projected to hold onto his seat, according to the Washington Post. That means Republicans are ensured fifty seats in the Senate; the two outstanding runoffs in Georgia will determine the majority. As Georgia prepares for those January runoffs, its Republican Secretary of State announced a hand audit of some five million votes in the presidential election. Biden leads in Georgia by more than fourteen thousand votes – so it would need to be one hell of an audit to give Trump a win.

PROGRESSIVES NAME CABINET FAVORITES

Progressive Democrats in Congress are making it clear there will be no honeymoon for Biden, Politico reports. Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib is among those complaining that centrist colleagues are trying to shame them into staying quiet, right as Democrats gain control of the White House. Tlaib told Politico QUOTE We are not interested in unity that asks people to sacrifice their freedom and their rights any longer ENDQUOTE.

Top progressive groups are circulating a postelection memo that criticizes centrists for playing into Republicans’ divide-and-conquer racism. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told Politico that Democrats will continue to play defense in swing seats if they don’t establish a cohesive message on race and racism. She said QUOTE this idea that we can win over white voters on a civility argument is like not a reliable strategy ENDQUOTE.

In their memo, progressive groups also called on moderates to adopt a clear economic message, which they said was lacking this year. Democrats will lose the House in 2022, they wrote, if they abandon their core progressive base and agenda. Yesterday, Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement launched a campaign urging Biden to seize the climate mandate and laid out recommendations for thirteen cabinet positions. The recommendations include Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico for Interior Secretary, Senator Elizabeth Warren for Treasury Secretary, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison for Justice Department, Senator Bernie Sanders for Labor Secretary, and Tlaib for Housing and Urban Development.

With progressives gaining force in the House, Biden would be smart to throw them a bone when he makes his Cabinet nominations.

BIDEN PLANS IMMIGRATION REVERSALS

The incoming Democratic administration is expected to quickly start dismantling Trump's immigration agenda, CBS News reports. After Biden is sworn-in in January, his administration will move to fully restore the Obama-era DACA program, which shields six hundred and forty thousand undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children from deportation. The incoming administration also intends to rescind Trump's travel and immigration restrictions on thirteen predominantly Muslim countries.

Biden will look to implement a hundred-day freeze on deportations while his administration issues guidance narrowing who can be arrested by immigration agents, CBS reports. Biden has pledged to end the Trump administration's policy of requiring non-Mexican migrants to wait in Mexico for the duration of their US asylum cases. The incoming administration may also reinstate an Obama initiative that allowed some Central American kids to reunite with their families in the US. And Biden's team is planning to begin the process of terminating the public charge rules. Trump implemented those rules to deny green cards and visas to applicants without a lot of money, who might request benefits like food stamps. Biden has also promised to dramatically increase refugee admissions, raising the cap to one hundred and twenty five thousand from the record-low fifteen thousand spots set by Trump.

A source familiar with the Biden team's plans told CBS QUOTE All that stuff was done administratively through the president's executive authority, and so a new executive can basically reject those and start from scratch ENDQUOTE.

Finally, NBC News reports that activists hope Biden will halt construction or even rip down the new sections of Trump’s border wall. Mister Biden, tear down that wall!

AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

Up to two hundred thousand refugees could pour into Sudan while fleeing the deadly conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, the AP reports. Nearly ten thousand people have already crossed the border, including some wounded in the fighting, and the flow is growing quickly. The United Nations wants humanitarian access as soon as possible, noting that fuel and food are urgently needed.

Nearly two hundred boxes of uncounted votes have surfaced in Puerto Rico, a full week after voters went to the polls, the Times reports. The discovery could upset a number of close races and force a recount in the San Juan mayoral race. The head of the American Civil Liberties Union in Puerto Rico said QUOTE I don’t think anyone in Puerto Rico after a failed primary and this current process can really say they trust the system ENDQUOTE.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has refused to give a timeline for when he expects to name a replacement to the US Senate for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. A California Democrat with knowledge of the process told NBC that Newsom has not yet spoken to Harris about who she’d like to see succeed her. Names in the mix range from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, to former Governor Jerry Brown. But can you imagine the furor if Newsom put an old white man in Harris’s seat?

Yesterday marked another record day for US coronavirus infections, with one hundred and forty thousand new cases. Meanwhile, Texas became the first state to report more than one million confirmed cases. But the AP reports that state leaders gave no indication of forthcoming restrictions even medical tents are being erected outside rural hospitals. Republican Governor Greg Abbott has not given a press briefing on the virus since September. Please: do better. Just try.

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

NOV 12, 2020 - AM QUICKIE

HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

WRITER - Corey Pein

PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn