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President-elect Joe Biden is projected by Edison Research to win Arizona, a call that comes more than a week after Election Day as ballots continued to be counted. He leads in the count in the state by about 11,000 votes.

Biden huddled with advisers in Wilmington, Del., on Thursday as he forges ahead with his transition to the White House. More Republicans said they believe Biden should get access to classified briefings, even as President Trump challenges the vote count in various states and holds back the transition.

Meanwhile, at least eight Republican National Committee staffers have contracted the coronavirus, officials said Thursday, as infection levels across the country reach a record high. About a dozen White House officials have contracted the virus in the past 10 days.

Here’s what to know:
November 12, 2020 at 11:16 PM EST
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Biden flips a fourth state, adding Arizona to his projected wins

By Colby Itkowitz and Paulina Firozi

Biden is projected to win Arizona, according to Edison Research, flipping a fourth state Trump won in 2016 and adding to the size of the Democrat’s projected electoral college victory. The projection came more than a week after polls closed Nov. 3. Trump won Arizona, which has 11 electoral votes, by three and a half points in 2016.

Before Biden, Arizona had selected a Democrat for president only once since 1948, voting for Bill Clinton in 1996.

An influx of Latino and younger voters has changed the demographic makeup in the state, turning the once reliably red state into a battleground. Grass-roots Latino activists have worked tirelessly for years to change the politics of the state.

The presidential race has yet to be called in North Carolina and Georgia, where the secretary of state said there would be a hand tally of the ballots.

November 12, 2020 at 9:18 PM EST
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As Trump stews over election, he mostly ignores the public duties of the presidency

By David Nakamura

On Thursday, six American service members were killed in a helicopter crash during a peacekeeping mission in Egypt. Tropical Storm Eta made landfall in North Florida, contributing to severe flooding. The number of Americans infected with the novel coronavirus continued at a record-setting pace, sending the stock market tumbling.

At the White House, President Trump spent the day as he has most others this week — sequestered from public view, tweeting grievances, falsehoods and misinformation about the election results and about Fox News’s coverage of him.

Neither he nor his aides briefed reporters on the news of the day or reacted to Democratic leaders who accused Republicans of imperiling the pandemic response by “refusing to accept reality” over the election results.

The contrast between the nation grappling with an ongoing global crisis and a president consumed with his own political problems highlighted a fundamental contradiction at the heart of Trump’s assault on the integrity of the U.S. election system: He is leveraging the power of his office in a long-shot bid to stay in the job while ignoring many of the public duties that come with it.

November 12, 2020 at 8:41 PM EST
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Congressional Democrats say GOP refusal to accept election results is imperiling coronavirus response

By Erica Werner

Congressional Democratic leaders accused Republicans on Thursday of refusing to confront the dramatically worsening coronavirus pandemic and instead acquiescing to President Trump’s false insistence that he won last week’s presidential election.

Republicans dismissed the attacks and Trump did not weigh in, with his only public comments coming through tweets that included false claims of electoral success. As Washington has become paralyzed over the past 10 days, 1 million new people have tested positive for the virus as the death toll rapidly climbs.

President-elect Joe Biden joined congressional Democratic leaders on Thursday and demanded a new economic relief package before the end of the year to address the dramatically worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) flatly rejected such a proposal, while Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) implored both sides to begin negotiating as the virus appeared to be sending a new shudder through the U.S. economy.

November 12, 2020 at 8:01 PM EST
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Goals of Trump campaign’s lawsuit in Arizona significantly narrowed

By Hannah Knowles

The Trump campaign’s lawsuit in Arizona started out alleging that “up to thousands” of people in Arizona’s largest county had been disenfranchised, seeking to halt certification of election results until all affected ballots could be reviewed by hand. It cited voters and poll watchers who noted the use of Sharpies, amid rampant rumors that bleed-through from the pens had invalidated GOP votes.

By Thursday, the lawsuit’s framing and goals had narrowed. In a hearing, the counsel for the plaintiffs described a “modest” claim “about a good faith failure” at the polls.

They said they wanted a review only if the final count showed it could make a difference in a race, as Maricopa County officials said less than 200 votes for president were at issue. And they made no mention of Sharpies.

Judge Daniel Kiley sounded open to the newly limited request.

“There’s testimony from some voters that they were not given complete or they were given inadequate information from the poll workers,” he said, adding it was possible voters did not understand what they were doing.

The Trump campaign’s lawsuit alleges that poll workers pressed or told voters to press a button on a tabulating machine to cast their ballots, even after those tabulators flagged an apparent “overvote,” in which the machine believed a voter marked two candidates in the same race. If the machine reads two votes in the same race, it will not count a vote for any candidate in that contest.

Maricopa County says it has identified about 950 total ballots with overvotes, roughly 190 of them with an overvote for the office of president.

Counsel for the defendants maintained that there was no proof of “systematic” errors demanding relief — and accused the other side of “zigzagging wildly all over the place” with its case.

Thursday’s marathon hearing adjourned without a clear timeline for the judge’s ruling.

November 12, 2020 at 7:44 PM EST
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Study ties Trump’s attacks on election to supporters’ eroding faith in democracy

By Christopher Ingraham

Experts have long warned that President Trump’s baseless allegations of voter fraud — stretching as far back as the 2016 campaign — could erode the public’s trust and confidence in elections.

Measuring that erosion, however, is difficult. There are plenty of surveys and observational studies showing that Trump supporters have little trust in American institutions and that many embrace his claims of “rigged elections” and the like. Though well done, such research suffers from a basic chicken-and-egg problem: Does Trump actually make his supporters less trusting in the pillars of American democracy? Or are less-trusting people simply more likely to be drawn to Trump?

New research from political scientists at Stanford University and elsewhere attempts to answer that question.

In October, the researchers ran a randomized, controlled survey experiment with 3,000 participants of all political persuasions. The participants were shown various Trump tweets. Some expressed standard political sentiments, such as: “Republicans, get out and vote today for those great candidates that will lead to big victories on November 3rd.” But others contained Trump’s characteristic attacks on the integrity of the election, such as: “The greatest Election Fraud in our history is about to happen,” and “Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history.”

Trump supporters who viewed tweets in the latter category later expressed decreased trust and confidence in U.S. elections, and by a substantial and significant amount. The tweets increased the impression that elections are rigged by nearly a half-point on a six-point scale.

There was also some evidence that such messages make Trump backers less willing to accept election results.

“Our study offers the first causal estimates of the effects of Trump’s anti-democratic rhetoric on the mass public’s commitment to democracy,” the authors conclude. The long-term effects of that erosion of confidence are as yet unknown.

November 12, 2020 at 7:10 PM EST
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Here’s how long it could take to certify the vote in key states — and the GOP efforts to upend that process

By Daniela Santamarina and Elise Viebeck

Though Joe Biden has been projected the winner of the White House race, President Trump has refused to concede, citing unfounded claims of widespread voting irregularities.

Biden’s election is not official until the states certify their votes and the electoral college formally casts its ballots in mid-December. Trump’s campaign has sought to derail that process by filing lawsuits alleging problems with the election and seeking to stop the certification in some states.

Legal experts say there is little Trump can do to head off Biden’s win, but Republicans could seek to delay the process.

The deadline for certifying election results varies from state to state. Here’s a look at the timeline in key states and the GOP efforts to upend the process.

November 12, 2020 at 6:55 PM EST
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Cybersecurity agency within Homeland Security says ‘no evidence’ of voter fraud

By Colby Itkowitz

A committee within the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that worked on protecting U.S. voting systems released a firmly worded statement calling the Nov. 3 elections “the most secure in American history” and contradicting any claims of widespread voter fraud.

“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” the committee members wrote. “While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too. When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”

The release comes on the heels of reporting earlier in the day by Reuters that Christopher Krebs, the head of the CISA, expected to be fired over his efforts to debunk misinformation about voting fraud.

After the CISA release went out, Krebs retweeted an election law expert who called out Trump for spreading misinformation.

“Please don’t retweet wild and baseless claims about voting machines, even if they’re made by the president. These fantasies have been debunked many times,” wrote David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, adding a link to a CISA website called Rumor Control that seeks to correct misinformation about voting in U.S. elections.

November 12, 2020 at 6:08 PM EST
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Former GOP senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia: ‘There was no wholesale fraudulent scheme’

By Amy Gardner

Yet another Republican has spoken out about the absence of evidence so far that massive fraud played a role in President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

“There was no wholesale fraudulent scheme or device in any of these states where the votes were close that could potentially change the results of the election,” Saxby Chambliss, a former U.S. senator from Georgia, said in an interview Thursday.

Of Georgia in particular, where Biden leads by roughly 14,000 votes and where a hand recount is underway, Chambliss said: “I am on the ground and I heard nothing about any kind of harvesting of ballots or fraudulent transactions. Sure, there are going to be isolated situations but not on a wholesale basis.”

Chambliss suggested that it was a mistake for his state’s two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, to attack Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, calling for his resignation without offering any evidence of wrongdoing.

Raffensperger has declined to repeat Trump’s baseless claims that Biden’s narrow lead in Georgia resulted from fraud, and he has defended the work of local elections officials even as other Republicans have attacked them.

“I think Brad’s doing the right thing by doing the recount and doing it by hand,” Chambliss said.

Loeffler and Perdue are both competing in Jan. 5 runoff elections that will determine control of the Senate. Chambliss said he didn’t know what prompted them to issue their joint statement condemning a fellow Republican, but he said he thinks both of them are now focused on Jan. 5, “the way it should be.”

“If you’re going into a runoff, you want 100 percent unification of your party,” Chambliss said. “You don’t want to get involved in any scenario that is not going to allow for 100 percent unification.”

Chambliss stopped short of saying Trump should concede or allow the transition process and security briefings for Biden to begin. He said he supported Trump’s right to pursue all his legal options to contest the election. But he emphasized that the process must play out in court, and only if new evidence surfaces.

“If you’ve got fraudulent activity, fine, let’s let the court system handle that. The courts are very capable of handling that,” he said.

Chambliss, a two-term senator who retired at the end of 2014, came up through the old GOP establishment of Georgia conservatives. Originally considered an ideological flamethrower — he first won a seat in the House in 1994, serving as a foot soldier in Newt Gingrich’s House — Chambliss morphed into a bipartisan deal-seeker in his final Senate term. He stayed neutral in the GOP primary to succeed him, which Perdue won.

November 12, 2020 at 5:50 PM EST
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Michigan GOP leader asks supporters to report possible election fraud

By Tom Hamburger

Michigan’s Republican Senate majority leader asked supporters in an email Thursday to provide information about any illegal election activity to the state party and law enforcement, even as he acknowledged that the party’s efforts might not head off President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

“I know many of you feel the same frustration and worry that plagues me to hear stories and reports of possible election fraud that seem to be unresolved,” the majority leader, Mike Shirkey, wrote in an email sent out by the state Republican Senate Campaign Committee.

In his message, Shirkey touted an ongoing inquiry led by the Republican-controlled state Senate, which recently voted to issue a subpoena to the secretary of state for information about voting procedures.

His missive came as the Trump campaign has asked a federal judge to block Michigan from certifying the results of its presidential election, where Biden leads Trump by about 148,000 votes, because of what it claims were widespread irregularities in the ballot-counting process. But the affidavits it produced from dozens of GOP poll watchers failed to lay out proof of widespread fraud.

Shirkey did not respond to requests for comment Thursday. In his email, he acknowledged, “our investigation may not affect the outcome of the election.”

“However,” he wrote, “enough questions have been raised to warrant a closer look. At the very least, we must look at statutory changes to protect the integrity of this new reality of large numbers of mail-in votes. Our democracy is at stake.”

Democrats in the state have said the misconduct claims made by the Trump campaign and others are meritless, but warned that Republicans may be seeking to upend the vote certification process.

“We will do everything we can possibly do in the state of Michigan to ensure that that does not occur and that the slate of electors accurately reflects whoever received the most votes,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a call with reporters Wednesday.

Judges in the state have so far dismissed three Republican lawsuits alleging fraud, though several more are pending.

At GOP headquarters in Lansing, Chairwoman Laura Cox said Thursday that the state party had received more than 2,800 “incident reports, which we are currently investigating.”

November 12, 2020 at 5:28 PM EST
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McCarthy, others in GOP are ‘going to feel the pressure’ from their constituents, Biden aide says

By Felicia Sonmez

Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said Thursday that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and others in the Republican Party are eventually going to come under pressure from their constituents to acknowledge that Biden beat Trump in the presidential race.

Bedingfield made the comments in a CNN interview Thursday afternoon. Host Jake Tapper pressed Bedingfield on McCarthy’s comments earlier Thursday that Biden does not need to receive classified briefings yet because he is not the president.

“I think that he’s going to feel the pressure from his constituents, just as others all across this country are going to feel,” Bedingfield replied. “I mean, people overwhelmingly voted for the Biden-Harris ticket, but don’t forget, they also overwhelmingly voted for unity. They overwhelmingly voted for a leader who can find consensus, who can make progress, who can actually move the ball forward.”

Republicans have sought to delegitimize Biden’s victory, amplifying Trump’s baseless claims about widespread election fraud and endorsing the president’s legal challenges as he refuses to concede. Only four of the 53 Senate Republicans have congratulated Biden.

Even so, a handful of Republicans said Thursday that Biden should be afforded some of the privileges of an incoming president while still declining to say that he won.

November 12, 2020 at 5:01 PM EST
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Alaska GOP Rep. Don Young, dean of the House, tests positive for covid

By Colby Itkowitz

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the dean of the House as its longest-serving member, revealed in a tweet that he had contracted coronavirus.

“I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska, and ask for privacy at this time. May God Bless Alaska,” Young tweeted.

Young, known for his salty and gruff demeanor, is also the oldest member of the House at 87 years old, putting him at high risk for covid complications.

The octogenarian was reelected to a 25th term in Congress last week. Young was for a time the chairman of the once powerful House Transportation Committee, earmarking money for projects back home, perhaps most famously one connecting mainland Alaska to a small island of 50 people and an airport that became dubbed “the Bridge to Nowhere."

Young downplayed the coronavirus in its early days, calling it the “beer virus,” a seeming reference to Corona beer.

“It attacks us senior citizens. I’m one of you. I still say we have to as a nation and state go forth with everyday activities,” he said in March.

After the virus spread to Alaska, however, Young no longer mocked it, but he still held in-person fundraising events and didn’t require attendees to wear masks.

“I don’t require anything,” he told Alaska Public Media in September. “If you want to wear a mask when they come to my campaign events, that’s their business. That’s self-responsibility. Our nation should be responsible for one’s actions.”

November 12, 2020 at 4:47 PM EST
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At least eight Republican National Committee staffers have contracted covid-19, officials say

By Josh Dawsey

At least eight Republican National Committee staffers have contracted the coronavirus, officials said Thursday. The officials said the staffers were spread out between Washington and some of the committee’s field offices in states such as Pennsylvania.

Earlier on Thursday, the RNC disclosed that Richard Walters, the chief of staff for the party, had the virus.

Officials said the committee was contact-tracing individual cases, but many staffers were still being tested. About a dozen White House officials have contracted the virus in the past 10 days, officials said

November 12, 2020 at 4:24 PM EST
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Sheldon Adelson-owned Las Vegas newspaper says Trump should concede

By Elahe Izadi

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, which twice endorsed Trump and is owned by Trump supporter and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, is advising Trump that he did indeed lose the 2020 presidential race and that he should start cooperating with Joe Biden’s transition team.

“President Donald Trump seeks to delay the inevitable,” reads the headline of the editorial, which appeared in print Thursday and was published online Wednesday night. “It is too fitting that the Trump presidency concludes amid a babel of bluster and bravado,” said the unbylined piece, representing the viewpoint of the paper’s management. “But the president does a disservice to his more rabid supporters by insisting that he would have won the Nov. 3 election absent voter fraud. That’s simply false.”

The editorial goes on to state that “there is no evidence” that fraud cost Trump the election, “no matter how much the president tweets the opposite and his supporters wish it so.”

Other newspapers also have run editorials demanding that Trump stop peddling mass-fraud claims without evidence, but the advice from the Review-Journal drew attention well beyond Las Vegas in part because it’s owned by Adelson, a steadfast Trump backer and the top Republican donor through the past two presidential election seasons.

November 12, 2020 at 3:50 PM EST
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Analysis: Readouts of Biden’s calls with foreign leaders signal a return to pre-Trump normalcy

By James Hohmann

WILMINGTON, Del. — Trump did not call to congratulate Micheál Martin when he became Ireland’s taoiseach this summer. Because Trump had reached out to Martin’s predecessor, the Irish media widely assumed the U.S. president had snubbed the new prime minister because he had been so outspoken in his criticism of Trump as opposition leader. Martin had decried Trump’s comments that members of “the Squad” should “go back” to their ancestral lands and urged European leaders to “stand up” to him.

After Martin sent congratulations to Biden, a thank-you call was arranged with the president-elect on Tuesday. Biden “highlighted his desire to strengthen the enduring personal, cultural, and economic ties between the United States and Ireland,” according to a statement from the Biden transition team. “He noted that he looked forward to working with the Taoiseach to address shared challenges such as controlling COVID-19; building a sustainable economic recovery, and tackling climate change. He also reaffirmed his support for the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland.”