Mr Trump, whose campaign has said the word “concession” is not in its vocabulary as it vows to press ahead with legal challenges in key states, used Twitter to attack his opponents and the drug’s manufacturer for not having the “courage” to break the news before last Tuesday’s ballot.
Mr Biden has meanwhile been labelled an “ambulance chaser” on the social network by Fox News pundit Mark Levin in a tweet that was shared by the president, who complained the victor “had nothing to do with the vaccine” but was cheerleading the news. That came after Pfizer lambasted Mr Trump over the White House attempting to take credit for the breakthrough without playing any part in its development.
Ben Carson tests positive for Covid after attending White House election party
Just days after the president’s chief of staff Mark Meadows was diagnosed with coronavirus, his housing and urban development secretary was found to have it too.
The development spreads fresh fears that a mass gathering at the White House could have once again proven to be a superspreader event, just as Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination reception in the Rose Garden on 26 September was.
This time, it looks like Trump’s election night bash could be to blame, at which few masks were worn.
Oliver O’Connell has this report.
Joe Sommerlad10 November 2020 10:23
President fires defence secretary Mark Esper
Like any bully worth his salt, it didn’t take Trump long to start turning his election frustration on those around him, sacking his defence secretary yesterday by saying on Twitter he had been “terminated”.
Esper will be replaced by Christopher C Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Centre, who will only be serving in an acting capacity until Biden’s team comes in in January and so will not need to be approved by the Senate.
Esper though wasted no time in hitting back, denying that he was a “yes man” for Trump as he worried the president would begin replacing senior Cabinet officials with people who would not push back.
In an exclusive interview with The Military Times that dropped shortly after his abrupt firing, Esper took exception with critics who have called him a “yes man”, the source of the derogatory nickname “Yesper” used by the president.
“Name another Cabinet secretary that’s pushed back… Have you seen me on a stage saying, ‘Under the exceptional leadership of blah-blah-blah, we have blah-blah-blah-blah?” Esper said.
“At the end of the day, it’s as I said – you’ve got to pick your fights… I could have a fight over anything, and I could make it a big fight, and I could live with that – why? Who’s going to come in behind me? It’s going to be a real ‘yes man.’ And then God help us.”
The interview was conducted on 4 November, before his replacement would have been known.
Joe Sommerlad10 November 2020 10:06
Top Justice Department official steps down after Barr empowers voter fraud probe
Richard Pilger, director of the election crimes branch of the Justice Department, stepped down from jos post just hours after Barr’s big move on behalf of the president on Monday, departing a position he has held since 2010.
In an email, Pilger told colleagues that the attorney general’s decision is “abrogating the 40-year-old Non-Interference Policy for ballot fraud investigation in the period prior to elections becoming certified and uncontested.”
“Having familiarised myself with the new policy and its ramifications… I must regretfully resign from my role as director of the election crimes branch,” wrote Mr Pilger in his email, which was also shared by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights on Twitter.
Joe Sommerlad10 November 2020 09:44
Bill Barr authorises Justice Department to investigate ‘substantial allegations’ of voting irregularities
In addition to the president and his campaign team’s griping and refusal to do the decent thing, US attorney general William Barr – who met in secret with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill yesterday – has authorised federal prosecutors to investigate any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities that might have swung the presidential election results away from Trump.
In a memo to US attorneys, Barr wrote that the Justice Department could conduct investigations “if there are clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual state”.
The administration has yet to provide any evidence of voter fraud that comes even close to “apparently-credible”.
Barr’s move allows prosecutors to circumvent longstanding policy that would otherwise prevent dramatic actions being taken between the day of the election and the formal certification of results.
Justin Vallejo has more details.
Joe Sommerlad10 November 2020 09:28
Trump claims vaccine news was held back to hurt his election chances
Donald Trump has accused the Democratic Party and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of conspiring to delay an announcement on Pfizer and BioNTech’s potential coronavirus vaccine until after last week’s election, which he lost to Joe Biden, who is now president-elect.
Trump used Twitter to attack his opponents and the drug’s manufacturer for not having the “courage” to break the news before last Tuesday’s ballot.
How much longer can he keep up this bad loser act? Into December? All the way up until Biden’s inauguration on 20 January? Or will it just go on for the rest of his natural life with fewer and fewer people listening?
If he wanted to surprise us and win the conciliatory pat on the back he so badly needs, he should concede with good grace.
Graeme Massie has the latest.
Joe Sommerlad10 November 2020 09:11
Biden labelled ‘ambulance chaser’ by embittered Fox News pundit
In a further show of petulance and jealousy, Trump retweeted that attack on Joe Biden from Fox talking head Mark Levin, who whined that the election victor “had nothing to do with the vaccine”.
That came after Pfizer lambasted the president over the White House attempting to take credit for the breakthrough without playing any part in its development whatsoever.
Joe Sommerlad10 November 2020 09:15
Trump campaign adviser says ‘concede’ is ‘not in our vocabulary’
Let’s have a little recap shall we?
Jason Miller was interviewed by Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Monday and insisted that the administration will not concede the US presidential election to Joe Biden and will persist with lawsuits in states whose outcome it disputes.
Miller claims the lawsuits are about the “entire future of elections in America”, not just Trump’s wounded ego.
“This is about election integrity,” he said. “If we can’t get this right, why think we will ever have confidence in these elections going forward.”
He told Bartiromo he expects to see automatic recounts in Wisconsin as well as Arizona and Georgia and to see legal challenges mounted in both Pennsylvania and Michigan.
“We filed a lawsuit in Arizona on Saturday night, and this will be going through everything from dead people voting to instances where there was backdating of mail-in ballots,” Miller said.
“We are going to pursue everything we have in front of us. We are going to make sure the American public has full confidence in these elections… we are going through all these, so when the Electoral College gets together to certify this election, the American people can have full confidence in its outcome.”
The pronouncement has, naturally, been met with derision.
Graeme Massie has this report.
Joe Sommerlad10 November 2020 08:53
Trump moves ahead with legal action threat
Despite no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, Donald Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, has authorised federal prosecutors across the US to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities, if they exist.
Mr Barr’s action comes days after the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, defeated the Republican president and raises the prospect that Mr Trump will use the Justice Department to try to challenge the outcome.
Mr Trump has not conceded the election and has instead claimed without evidence that there has been a widespread, multi-state conspiracy by Democrats to skew the vote tally in Mr Biden’s favour.
Gino Spocchia10 November 2020 07:50
Ilhan Omar on defence secretary firing
Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar greeted Monday’s news that defence secretary Mark Esper had been fired with a joking shrug on Twitter, writing, “They’re all getting replaced soon.”
Gino Spocchia10 November 2020 07:35
What next for Mike Pence?
The vice president spent months on the campaign trail alongside his boss Donald Trump right up to the small hours of the morning after election day, and now seems ready to take some time off. Here’s Namita Singh with the details:
Adam Withnall10 November 2020 06:12