Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this important election information free to all readers. Get election results and other major news delivered to your inbox by signing up for breaking news email alerts.

Pennsylvania and Nevada, two key battleground states, certified President-elect Joe Biden’s wins Tuesday, even as President Trump continued to fight results in court and insisted that he will “never concede.”

Meanwhile, Biden introduced several foreign policy and national security picks at an event in Wilmington, Del., calling them a team that will “make us proud to be Americans.” Trump made a brief appearance at the White House to tout that the Dow Jones industrial average reached 30,000 points for the first time in history, and later for the annual pre-Thanksgiving turkey pardons. He took no questions at either event.

Here’s what to know:
2:26 a.m.
Link copied

John James, losing Michigan Senate challenger, finally concedes to Democratic Sen. Gary Peters

John James, the Michigan Republican Senate challenger, conceded the race Tuesday evening to Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters.

The announcement followed a decision by Michigan officials Monday to certify the results of the state’s election, making any further challenge of the results difficult and expensive.

James had financial backing from major state and national Republican donors. He drew praise Tuesday night from state Republican leaders who had encouraged his reluctance to concede.

“I want to congratulate my friend John on an extraordinarily hard-fought campaign,” state Republican Party Chair Laura Cox said Tuesday evening. She and other Republicans had backed James’s call for an audit of Michigan election returns before they were certified.

James’s request for a pre-certification review was effectively rejected Monday when the State Board of Canvassers voted to certify the results.

A lawyer for James’s campaign, Charles Spies, had pushed for the audit, citing irregularities in the vote count in Wayne County, home to Detroit. The requests for an audit drew complaints from Democrats who said it was unfair to Detroit and was racially motivated.

James, who is Black, had been considered a rising star in the Michigan GOP. Prominent Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), urged him to contest the results. He has now lost back-to-back Senate races in the state.

1:45 a.m.
Link copied

Biden won’t say whether he supports federal probes of Trump, wants independent Justice Department

Amid calls from congressional Democrats for federal investigations into Trump once he is out of office, Biden won’t say whether he agrees because he does not want to influence his Justice Department like Trump has.

Biden has long said he wanted to restore the top law enforcement agency’s independence, which was muddied under Trump, who asked his attorney general to investigate political rivals, including Biden.

“I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen,” Biden told NBC News’s Lester Holt during an interview. “There are a number of investigations that I’ve read about that are at a state level. There’s nothing at all I can or cannot do about that.”

He added that his focus as president will be helping Americans through this unstable time.

It’s a markedly different tone from Trump, who spent more than a year insisting that Congress, the Justice Department and even a foreign leader look into unsubstantiated claims of misconduct by Biden’s son, Hunter. His pressuring of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open an investigation into Biden was the catalyst for Trump’s impeachment.

12:28 a.m.
Link copied

Trump legal team touts Arizona legislature hearing on election issues that lawmakers say isn’t scheduled

The Trump campaign legal team claimed that GOP-led legislatures in three Biden-won states are holding hearings on possible voter fraud, but Arizona lawmakers say no such hearing is scheduled.

The campaign said Arizona would hold a hearing on Nov. 30, but spokesmen for the Arizona GOP caucuses confirmed that neither the House speaker nor the Senate president had authorized any such hearing.

The other two states, Pennsylvania and Michigan, have previously scheduled hearings on the election, though both have already certified Biden the winner. Arizona is expected to certify Biden’s win on Nov. 30.

“We are pleased that the State Legislatures in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan will be convening hearings to examine the November 3rd presidential election,” said Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis. “There were serious irregularities, we have proof of fraud in a number of states, and it is important for all Americans to have faith in our electoral process. All we have wanted from the outset is to count every legal vote and discount every illegal vote.”

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and the Trump campaign’s efforts to challenge results in the courts have been unsuccessful.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the Arizona discrepancy.

The campaign also said Michigan would have a hearing on Dec. 1. A joint legislative oversight committee announced after the election that it would hold hearings on election irregularities and on the integrity of Michigan’s election processes. It has met twice to discuss, bringing in witnesses at one of the sessions.

The campaign also touted a Pennsylvania State Senate hearing on Wednesday with testimony from witnesses who allege election fraud and a presentation from Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. The hearing is listed on the Senate Majority Policy Committee website and appears to be a partisan meeting.

11:28 p.m.
Link copied

Biden says his team is not ‘far behind the curve’ on coronavirus prep, says Fauci has been ‘very, very helpful’

Biden said his staff has been in contact with Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease doctor who was often critical of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as the president-elect prepares to take over the nation’s response to the public health crisis.

“He’s been very, very helpful,” Biden told reporters.

Biden has voiced concern in recent weeks that his incoming administration is likely to be delayed in putting together a plan to address the pandemic because of Trump’s refusal to concede the election and allow the transition to move forward.

But in the wake of yesterday’s decision by the General Services Administration to formally begin the presidential transition, Biden is less concerned about his team’s ability to combat the virus, the president-elect said in an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt.

“We’re already working out meeting with the covid team in the White House, and how to not only distribute but get from a vaccine being distributed to a person being able to get vaccinated,” Biden said, according to excerpts of the interview airing Tuesday evening on “NBC Nightly News.” “So, I think we’re going to not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past.”

Asked whether there are “people talking right now who weren’t talking yesterday” thanks to the GSA’s decision, Biden responded, “Yes.”

“Immediately we’ve gotten outreach from the national security shop, from just across the board. And they’re already working out my ability to get Presidential Daily Briefs,” Biden said, adding that “the outreach has been sincere.”

Reporters asked Biden whether he would be willing to meet with Trump, as is custom during presidential transitions.

“Of course I would,” Biden said, “if he asked.”

11:23 p.m.
Link copied

Giuliani called into White House meeting to press Michigan lawmakers on unsubstantiated fraud claims

During his meeting Friday with Michigan legislative leaders, President Trump brought up concerns about alleged election irregularities in the state and at one point arranged for his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to call in and elaborate on that topic, according to a person familiar with the White House session.

During the call, Giuliani repeated unsubstantiated allegations he had made about voting fraud in Wayne County, home to Detroit. The legislators responded by saying that Wayne County alone did not determine the election results in Michigan, the person said.

Giuliani’s call — and the legislators’ response — was first detailed by state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday.

The meeting between Trump, Shirkey and Michigan Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) was cordial, and Trump never demanded anything of them, Shirkey told the AP.

After their hour-long White House meeting with Trump on Friday, Shirkey and Chatfield issued a statement in which they notably did not endorse his false claims about fraud. "We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan,” the lawmakers said.

Despite those statements, Trump continued to tweet unfounded allegations of widespread voting irregularities in Michigan. “We will show massive and unprecedented fraud!” the president tweeted the following morning.

10:30 p.m.
Link copied

Who is Janet Yellen, Biden’s pioneering pick to lead Treasury in the midst of a deep crisis?

President-elect Joe Biden chose economist Janet L. Yellen to lead the Treasury amid a deep crisis. (The Washington Post)

Biden has picked economist Janet L. Yellen, a battle-tested leader who helped the nation recover from the Great Recession, to be treasury secretary. More recently, Yellen has become a leading voice urging Congress to pass more stimulus to prevent lasting damage from the pandemic.

Yellen, 74, has had a long career of breaking glass ceilings for women and handling big crises. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department since the institution was founded in 1789.

So who is she? Yellen, who was born in Brooklyn, is a renowned economist who spent years as a professor before venturing into Democratic politics as head of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers in the late 1990s. She then took on high-profile roles at the Federal Reserve that culminated in President Barack Obama nominating her as Fed chair, the first woman to serve in that top post.

10:05 p.m.
Link copied

Dow closes above 30,000 for the first time on presidential transition, Yellen news

Stocks rose sharply Tuesday — with the Dow cracking 30,000 for the first time — as investors interpreted the launch of the White House transition and President-elect Biden’s pick for treasury secretary as positive signs for the nation’s economic stability.

By the closing bell, the Dow Jones industrial average shot up nearly 455 points, or 1.5 percent, to 30,046.24. The S&P 500 advanced more than 57 points, or 1.6 percent, to close at 3,635.41, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 jumped 156 points, or 1.3 percent, to end at 12,036.79.

Trump lauded the Dow’s historic rise Tuesday during a brief appearance at the White House. “The stock market’s just broken 30,000 — never been broken, that number,” he said. He went on to congratulate his administration and the American people, “because there are no people like you,” before swiftly leaving the lectern.

9:36 p.m.
Link copied

Biden surpasses 80 million votes, eclipsing Obama’s record by more than 10 million votes

Biden’s vote total crossed 80 million Tuesday, by far the most votes received by a presidential nominee, crushing the record set the last time he was at the top of the ticket as Barack Obama’s running mate.

Obama won in 2008 with nearly 70 million votes, a record that he didn’t beat in 2012, when he won by just under 66 million votes. Four years later, Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton also didn’t surpass Obama’s 2008 total, winning 63 million and 66 million votes respectively.

Trump, despite losing this year, also eclipsed Obama, winning almost 74 million votes. That the losing candidate would also break the record is a testament to how many more Americans participated in the 2020 election.

Part of that was because of enthusiasm on the Democrats’ side to vote Trump out of office. But, as The Washington Post’s Philip Bump writes, there’s also the fact that America’s population has grown, adding about 25 million citizens of voting age.

9:05 p.m.
Link copied

Georgia Republican appeals his federal court loss to the 11th Circuit

Georgia attorney L. Lin Wood, an ally of Trump, is appealing a federal judge’s decision that struck down Wood’s attempt to block the certification of Biden’s victory in the state, according to a new filing Tuesday.

Wood had challenged the way Georgia election officials check signatures for absentee ballots and raised questions with the rate of rejection of ballots based on a signature mismatch.

U.S. District Court Judge Steven Grimberg, a Trump appointee, on Friday denied Wood’s request for a temporary restraining order on Georgia’s certification of election results, saying doing so “at literally the 11th hour would breed confusion and potential disenfranchisement that, I find, has no basis in fact or in law.”

Grimberg found that Wood, who said in his lawsuit he is a voter and donor whose “interests are aligned with those of the Georgia Republican Party for the purposes of the instant lawsuit,” did not have standing to bring the suit.

On Tuesday, Wood filed an appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, alleging the District Court had “erred in not granting the temporary restraining order for the unconstitutional, unlawful election,” and added that he was filing an emergency appeal because electors for Biden are scheduled to be seated Dec. 14.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, both Republicans, certified the state’s election results Friday.

The Trump campaign has not joined in Wood’s lawsuit, and has said it would file a separate lawsuit challenging Georgia’s election results. In the meantime, the campaign has requested a recount of the 5 million audited presidential ballots. The machine re-scan of the hand-recounted ballots began Tuesday morning and is scheduled to conclude the night of Dec. 2.

Aaron Schaffer and Maya Smith contributed to this report.

8:20 p.m.
Link copied

Trump pardons Corn and Cob, sparing two turkeys’ lives ahead of Thanksgiving

President Trump took part in the White House's annual turkey pardoning on Nov. 24, delivering a Thanksgiving message without mentioning the election. (The Washington Post)

In one of his last official acts as president, Trump pardoned two turkeys in the Rose Garden, a strange annual tradition that has endured for decades.

“Thanksgiving is a special day for turkeys, I guess probably for the most part, not a very good one when you think about it,” Trump said, musing on the fate of the millions of turkeys that will dress dinner tables this week.

This year’s lucky turkeys, Corn and Cob, hailed from Iowa and will retire to Iowa State University, he said.

“We hope, and we know that’s going to happen, that Corn and Cob have a very long, happy and memorable life,” Trump said. (Sadly, CNN reported in 2013, most of the pardoned turkeys die within a year.)

Trump commented on the pandemic as a symbol of America’s strength, making no mention of the 250,000 lives lost or the recent spike in cases.

“This week, in a time that is very unusual, but in so many ways, very, very good, what we’ve endured and been able to endure with the vaccines now coming out one after another, it’s an incredible thing that happened,” Trump said. “But it’s time to remember that we live in a great, great country, the greatest of them all. And there’s nothing even close as far as I’m concerned.”

7:54 p.m.
Link copied

Congressman seeks to have Rudolph Giuliani disbarred over attempts to overturn election

Trump campaign lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani claimed Nov. 19 that President Trump lost the election because of a baseless conspiracy theory. (The Washington Post)

In the three weeks since Election Day, Rudolph W. Giuliani has waged a prodigiously unsuccessful legal fight on behalf of Trump’s campaign to overturn the election results. Giuliani’s bizarre news conferences and literal meltdown became fodder for late-night talk show hosts, while his even more bizarre legal arguments have prompted federal judges to unleash withering rebukes.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) filed complaints Friday in five states against Giuliani and 22 other lawyers working with the Trump campaign, calling for them to be stripped of their law licenses for filing “frivolous” lawsuits and allegedly engaging in “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.”

7:26 p.m.
Link copied

Former House speaker Paul Ryan calls on Trump to concede

Paul D. Ryan, the former Republican speaker of the House, said Tuesday that Trump needs to “embrace the transfer of power” and concede to Biden, while condemning the president’s attempts to cast doubt on the Nov. 3 election.

“I know firsthand what it’s like to lose a national election, and it is a terrible feeling,” Ryan said, appearing as a guest at Bank of America’s virtual European Credit Conference on Tuesday. “But I think it’s really important that we’re clear about this. … The election is over. The outcome is certain, and I really think the orderly transfer of power is one of the most uniquely fundamental American components of our political system. And I think it’s really important that we respect the will of the people and if we don’t, we will end up doing damage to our country, to our democratic institutions, to norms and to the cause of freedom.”

The comments were first reported by Politico. A Ryan aide provided a transcript of the remarks to The Washington Post.

Ryan spent much of his three-year stint as speaker at public odds with Trump, condemning his offensive remarks on several occasions as a presidential candidate and later as president. But the two forged an uneasy alliance to try to push through Trump’s legislative agenda, culminating in a sweeping 2017 tax overhaul.

In his remarks Tuesday, Ryan went on to argue that it is “in Joe Biden's best interest” for Republicans to win the pair of Jan. 5 special elections in Georgia and thus retain control of the Senate.

“Then he really does have divided government, and he really does have to work with both sides of the aisle, and you won’t have the building pressure from the left to try and jam the other side,” he said. “Those of us who’ve worked with Joe, we disagree with each other but he’s not a disagreeable human being. So, he does know how to work in divided government. He does put deals together and that will be made much, much easier for him to operate like that and bring sides together if we truly have divided government.”

Ryan’s remarks come as many congressional Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have yet to publicly acknowledge Biden’s victory.

7:16 p.m.
Link copied

Trump speaks for one minute, takes no questions as he hails stock market gains

Trump spoke for roughly one minute Tuesday afternoon in a hastily-arranged appearance in the White House briefing room, during which he applauded the stock market’s gains and took no questions from reporters.

The remarks marked a rare public appearance for the president since his loss to Biden in the election three weeks ago.

With Vice President Pence standing behind him, Trump approached the lectern and noted that the Dow Jones industrial average had soared above 30,000 for the first time, “which is the highest in history.”

He appeared to try to take credit for the market gains, pointing to the progress that has been made on a coronavirus vaccine and declaring, “I think people are acknowledging that and it’s having a big effect.”

Moderna received $1 billion from the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed for developing and testing its vaccine. Pfizer didn’t get funding from OWS for development, but it does have an advance agreement from the federal government for purchasing doses.

During the presidential campaign, Trump frequently claimed that the stock market and the broader economy would tank if Biden were elected president. In a speech in Ohio last month, Trump warned, without evidence, that a Biden victory would trigger a depression.

“This election is a choice between a Trump super recovery and a Biden — in my opinion, this is going to happen; I hate to say it — depression,” Trump said at the time. “You’re going to have a depression. And your 401(k)s. Does anybody have a 401(k)? Throw them away. They’re not going to be worth — It’s a choice between a boom and a lockdown.”

On Tuesday, Trump struck a different note.

“That number, that’s a sacred number — 30,000,” he said, referring to the stock market gains. “Nobody thought they’d ever see it. … I just want to congratulate all the people within the administration that worked so hard. And most importantly, I want to congratulate the people of our country because there are no people like you. Thank you very much, everybody.”

With that, Trump left the room, ignoring questions shouted by reporters.

Paige Winfield Cunningham and Jeff Stein contributed to this report.

6:44 p.m.
Link copied

Biden introduces foreign policy, national security team: ‘They’ll tell me what I need to know, not what I want to know’

President-elect Joe Biden introduced his Cabinet picks in Wilmington, Del., alongside Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris on Nov. 24. (The Washington Post)

At an event in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday afternoon, Biden introduced the leaders of his foreign policy and national security team, describing them as individuals who bring “experience and leadership, fresh thinking and perspective, and an unrelenting belief in the promise of America.”

“I’ve long said that America leads not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Biden said as he, Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris and members of the team addressed reporters at the Queen theater. “And I’m proud to put forward this incredible team that will lead by example.”

The president-elect introduced former deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken, a longtime Biden adviser, as his nominee to become secretary of state.

Biden also tapped Alejandro Mayorkas, who held several posts in the Obama administration, as the nation’s first Latino homeland security secretary; Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, as the first female director of national intelligence; and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a former career Foreign Service officer, as ambassador to the United Nations — a position that Biden confirmed Tuesday he will once again elevate to Cabinet-level status, “because I want to hear her voice on all the major foreign policy discussions we have.”

Jake Sullivan, who was national security adviser to Vice President Biden, will now become national security adviser to President Biden. And former secretary of state John F. Kerry will now be climate envoy.

Before inviting his nominees to speak one-by-one, Biden said the team will “reimagine American foreign policy and national security for the next generation.”

“And they’ll tell me what I need to know, not what I want to know — what I need to know,” he said. “To the American people, this team will make us proud to be Americans. And as more states certify the results of this election, there’s progress to wrap up our victory.”