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President-Elect Joe Biden’s Transition: Live Updates

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Credit…Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via Associated Press

The Trump campaign’s legal efforts to challenge election results in Pennsylvania met with a sharp defeat Saturday night, and some fellow Republicans began to signal their desire to move on, acknowledging that the president had lost both the state and his bid for re-election.

Mr. Trump said in a series of tweets late Saturday that he would continue his effort to overturn the results, including asking state legislatures to intervene on his behalf.

A federal judge’s ruling in Pennsylvania on Saturday night, which dismissed a lawsuit by the Trump campaign that had claimed there were widespread improprieties with mail-in ballots in the state, ended the last major effort to delay the certification of Pennsylvania’s vote results, which is scheduled to take place on Monday.

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a Republican, said in a statement released Saturday night that with the decision, President Trump “has exhausted all plausible legal options” to challenge the results in Pennsylvania. He added that the outcome of the challenge and others “confirm that Joe Biden won the 2020 election.”

Mr. Toomey congratulated President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory and urged Mr. Trump to “accept the outcome” for his own legacy and “to help unify our country.”

On Twitter, Mr. Trump hit back at Mr. Toomey, calling him “no friend of mine” and said that he would appeal the decision.

In that decision handed down on Saturday, Judge Matthew W. Brann wrote that Mr. Trump’s campaign, which had asked him to effectively disenfranchise nearly seven million voters, should have come to court “armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption” in its efforts to essentially nullify the results of Pennsylvania’s election.

But instead, Judge Brann complained, the Trump campaign provided only “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” that were “unsupported by evidence.”

After legal defeats in nearly all of the key swing states — Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Wisconsin — Mr. Trump’s path to overturning the results of the election through the courts has all but vanished.

With his chances diminishing, Mr. Trump on Saturday night made his most explicit call yet for state legislatures to intervene with the aim of reversing the result, once again relying on false claims of fraud. “Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Pennsylvania lawsuit, filed on Nov. 9, accused its secretary of state, Kathy Boockvar, and several counties with largely Democratic populations of unfairly handling mail-in ballots, which were used in unprecedented numbers during this year’s election.

The suit claimed that under Ms. Boockvar’s guidance, the Democratic counties gave voters who had submitted mail-in ballots with minor flaws an opportunity to “cure” or fix them while counties with mostly Republican populations did not alert voters about faulty ballots.

That, according to the Trump campaign, violated the equal protections clause of the United States Constitution.

Judge Brann, a former Pennsylvania Republican Party official and a member of the conservative Federalist Society, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, rejected this argument, likening it to Frankenstein’s monster, which, he noted, had been “haphazardly stitched together.” He ruled that the Trump campaign, lacking standing to make the claim, could not prove that it had suffered any harm if some counties, anticipating a deluge of mail-in ballots, helped their voters to file proper ballots while others did not.

Austin Ramzy contributed reporting.

Credit…Tami Chappell/EPA, via Shutterstock

Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, a Republican who is campaigning in a high-stakes runoff election that could determine control of the Senate, is isolating after testing positive for the coronavirus on Friday evening and then receiving an inconclusive result on Saturday, a campaign spokesman said.

Ms. Loeffler has worn masks while interacting with people, but was indoors and unmasked among unmasked crowds at an event on Thursday. She wore a mask while greeting voters who lined up to meet her.

On Friday morning, she took two coronavirus tests, according to her campaign spokesman, Stephen Lawson.

One of those was a rapid test, which came back negative, and Ms. Loeffler “was cleared to attend” events on Friday, including a rally with Vice President Mike Pence and Senator David Perdue of Georgia, Mr. Lawson said. But the second test, a polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R., test — which is considered more accurate — came back with a positive result after her events on Friday evening, he said.

Ms. Loeffler, 49, was tested once again on Saturday morning and received an “inconclusive” result on Saturday evening, Mr. Lawson said.

The senator followed C.D.C. guidelines by notifying those with whom she had had sustained contact while she awaits further test results, he said.

Ms. Loeffler has held recent events with prominent Republicans, including Mr. Pence, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mr. Perdue, who is also engaged in a runoff election that could determine control of the Senate.

“She has no symptoms and she will continue to follow C.D.C. guidelines by quarantining until retesting is conclusive and an update will be provided at that time,” Mr. Lawson said in a statement.

Ms. Loeffler, a businesswoman who is the Senate’s richest member, was temporarily appointed to her Senate seat late last year. She faces the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, a Democrat, in an election on Jan. 5, when Georgia voters will also decide between Mr. Perdue and his opponent, Jon Ossoff, a Democrat.

Astead W. Herndon contributed reporting.

Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

With both President Trump and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. keeping low profiles over the weekend, the goals of the departing and incoming administrations came into stark contrast as advisers and subordinates of both men raced to shape the country’s future.

As lawsuits challenging the election results brought by the Trump campaign have fallen apart in multiple states, strategists close to Mr. Biden trained their sights on Georgia, where he was certified as the winner on Friday and two key Senate races loom. Republicans have moved swiftly to bolster their candidates in the Jan. 5 runoff elections, releasing a wave of attack ads against Democratic challengers and opening a determined campaign to encourage Republican voters to turn out.

For both parties, the stakes of the twin runoffs are monumental, determining in one unusual election whether Mr. Biden will begin his term with a unified Congress or a divided one.

But while campaign staff members fretted over Georgia, the Trump administration continued to seek out last-minute policy moves that could both notch quick wins for the president and handicap the incoming Biden administration.

Chief among them is a drawdown of American forces in the Middle East.

With Mr. Trump poised to decisively withdraw troops from Afghanistan, two of the president’s former national security advisers — John R. Bolton and the retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster — are scheduled to make appearances on Sunday talk shows. Both Mr. Bolton and Mr. McMaster have been critical of the president’s foreign policy and have written books critiquing the Trump administration’s approach to national security.

Credit…Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The Trump administration has scheduled the executions of three more federal inmates on death row for the final weeks and days of President Trump’s term.

The executions are scheduled to occur shortly before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has signaled his opposition to the death penalty, enters the White House in January.

With the announcement on Friday, the Justice Department plans to execute a total of six inmates during the presidential transition. The first, Orlando Cordia Hall, was put to death on Thursday night.

Press officers at the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Trump administration revived the federal death penalty last summer after a nearly two-decade hiatus. Since July, the federal government has executed eight prisoners.

Those scheduled to die find themselves just weeks away from the start of an administration that has signaled it would not seek to carry out their death sentences. Mr. Biden has promised to work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level and incentivize states to follow suit.

In its announcement, the Justice Department said that the three men scheduled to die — Alfred Bourgeois, Corey Johnson and Dustin John Higgs — were convicted of brutal murders. Mr. Bourgeois’s execution is scheduled for Dec. 11. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Higgs are scheduled to die less than a week before Mr. Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

In three separate statements, lawyers for the men objected to the move to execute their clients. Lawyers for Mr. Johnson said his intellectual disability should prohibit his execution from being constitutionally carried out. A lawyer for Mr. Bourgeois similarly argued that his client had an intellectual disability, and that the Constitution and the Federal Death Penalty Act barred his execution.

A lawyer for Mr. Higgs claimed that his client “did not kill anyone.” Rather, he asserted, the sole gunman in Mr. Higgs’s case was his co-defendant, who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.

Additionally, two other federal inmates are scheduled to die before the end of Mr. Trump’s term. Lisa M. Montgomery’s execution is scheduled for Dec. 8, although a federal judge enjoined the government from doing so before Dec. 31. The execution of Brandon Bernard is scheduled for Dec. 10.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

While President Trump is still contesting the election results, corporate America — along with much of the rest of the world — is moving on. In recent days, companies including Boeing, CVS Health and McDonald’s have said they recognize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and believe the election was free and fair.

On Friday and Saturday, the chorus of chief executives calling for an orderly transition continued to grow.

“The election is over and we expect a smooth transition,” said Ajay Banga, the chief executive of Mastercard. “That’s the hallmark of American democracy.”

Many companies were already offering to work with the Biden administration on efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and kick-start the economy.

“The country needs political stability,” said Michael Dell, the chief executive of Dell Technologies. “We are eager to progress forward and work with the new administration and Congress on pandemic response and recovery and other critical priorities including education, infrastructure and the environment.”

Julie Sweet, the chief executive of Accenture, congratulated Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Nov. 8, the day after most major news media organizations called the election. On Friday, Ms. Sweet called for the Trump administration to cooperate with the transition.

“We have work to do as a country — defeating the pandemic, ending the digital divide, rebuilding the economy and so much more,” she said. “A peaceful, lawful transition must be permitted to move forward.”

Among the companies effectively calling on the Trump administration to concede defeat were many major government contractors, including Cisco.

“We had a free and fair election, and it was encouraging to see the record number of Americans who exercised their right to vote,” said Chuck Robbins, the chief executive of Cisco. “Now we must move forward with the transition process so we can take the steps needed to recover from the pandemic.”

Carlos Gutierrez, the former Commerce secretary, who is now the chairman of EmPath, a private company, and was previously the chief executive of Kellogg, said that beyond disrupting the handoff to the Biden administration, Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede was eroding America’s standing in the world.

“The absence of a normal transition, and a president determined to make some kind of a mark in his last 60 days, has created uncertainty and a worldwide sense of confusion,” Mr. Gutierrez said.





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