with Mariana Alfaro

President Trump upended months of careful, bipartisan negotiations on Tuesday night by threatening to veto a $740 billion bill to fund the military unless Congress includes language to remove liability protections for Facebook, Twitter, Google and other technology companies that have drawn his ire.

In a pair of tweets at 9:45 p.m., Trump demanded the repeal of a 24-year-old federal statute known as Section 230, which has been the legal foundation for free expression on the World Wide Web.

Trump’s animus toward tech companies has intensified as search engines and social media giants have taken modest steps to limit the spread of dangerous election disinformation and otherwise challenge his false declarations of victory. On his way out the door, the lame-duck president is desperate to pull the levers of state power to squeeze private enterprises he views as inhospitable to his political interests. That is deeply at odds with the American tradition. It also would have been anathema to conservatives before Trump hijacked their movement.

The White House did not respond to a request for an explanation of why a 1996 amendment to a 1934 communications law represents “a serious threat to our National Security.” There is no evidence that it does. Section 230 has no meaningful nexus with national security.

President Trump said on Nov. 2, he would veto the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act unless Congress repeals Section 230. (Reuters)

Over the past four years, Trump has repeatedly stretched the meaning of “National Security.” He always treats it as a proper noun. 

He has invoked the term to justify nativism on immigration, from imposing the travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries to diverting money from the military budget for his border wall and excluding the state of New York from a trusted traveler program. 

He has cited national security to defend rolling back environmental protections to allow more coal mining and to offer government support for oil companies.

He has trotted out the “National Security” excuse to justify imposing tariffs on stalwart allies. Even Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called that rationale “insulting and unacceptable.”

When Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor anonymously wrote a critical op-ed for the New York Times in 2018, Trump suggested that their source was phony. “If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist,” he tweeted, “the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”

He has claimed that former national security adviser John Bolton’s book endangered “National Security.” In October, the president tweeted that “Joe Biden is a National Security threat!” In 2017, Trump tweeted that his former opponent Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server “endangered National Security.” He did not feel the same way when his daughter was caught conducting government business on her own private email account.

Ironically, on Feb. 18, a few months before he tried to ban TikTok on national security grounds, Trump decried efforts on Capitol Hill to limit what products businesses can sell to China by complaining about the “always used National Security excuse.”

Trump already threatened last month to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it retains a provision requiring the Pentagon to change the names of 10 military installations that honor racist Confederate officers who took up arms against the United States to preserve the institution of slavery. Trump has massively resisted this change.

“Some Republicans in recent days have suggested a trade: Reforming Section 230 in exchange for the base-name changes that Democrats seek. Democrats largely have balked at the idea,” Tony Romm explains. “Many lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — increasingly have come to question whether the protections are outdated, conferring legal immunity on tech giants at a time when they have failed to crack down on hate speech, election disinformation and other harmful content online. But Trump and his Republican allies have seized on the debate to advance their arguments that Facebook, Google, Twitter and others should be penalized for exhibiting systemic political bias against conservatives — a charge for which they have provided scant evidence, and one that tech giants long have denied.”

A handful of Republicans are speaking out against Trump’s threat to derail funding for the troops. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) tweeted this morning that “230 should NOT be mixed with NDAA & used by @realDonaldTrump to veto.”

This would be Trump’s ninth veto as president. An NDAA has passed for 59 consecutive years. In October 2015, President Barack Obama initially vetoed the bill because of the way it would have sidestepped budget limitations for the military and because it would restrict the transfer of detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay. A few weeks later, after Congress passed an updated version that addressed some of his concerns, Obama signed the measure into law.

Here is what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had to say at the time:

The voting wars

Gabriel Sterling, a Georgia state election official, on Dec. 1 slammed President Trump for not condemning threats of violence against election workers. (Reuters)
A Republican election official in Georgia accuses Trump of fostering violent threats. 

“Gabriel Sterling, a voting systems manager for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, was visibly angry and shaken as he approached a lectern in the Georgia Capitol,” Amy Gardner and Keith Newell report. “‘Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language,’ he said. ‘Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. … Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.’ … Sterling’s public chastisement represents one of the strongest rebukes yet of Trump’s baseless attacks on the election’s integrity by a member of his own party. … Sterling also demanded that the two senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, denounce the threats that flowed into his office after Trump began attacking Raffensperger for failing to repeat his false accusations of fraud.” Trump responded to a video of Sterling's speech by reiterating the false conspiracy theories that have fueled the threats. 

In related news: When five patients died of the coronavirus in a 32-hour span at a hospital in Reno, Nev., physician Jacob Keeperman turned to Twitter to thank colleagues for all their support, tweeting a selfie of him on the day the alternate care site opened. His message took on a different meaning Tuesday evening, though, when Trump retweeted a conservative lifestyle blog that falsely claimed the selfie in front of empty hospital beds proved that the pandemic was a hoax. Keeperman said he was saddened that the president shared the disinformation. “It was turned into something that it was never meant to be,” he said. (Andrea Salcedo)

  • Trump’s allies will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling on mail-in ballots. (Robert Barnes and Elise Viebeck)
  • Trump’s campaign asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn the president's loss in the state by throwing out hundreds of thousands of ballots in the two most Democratic-leaning counties. (Rosalind Helderman)
  • Trump’s recently disavowed attorney Sidney Powell has gained a strange new ally. She filed an affidavit from the longtime administrator of the message board 8kun, the QAnon conspiracy theory’s Internet home. (Drew Harwell)
  • Trump fired me for saying this, but I’ll say it again: The election wasn’t rigged,” Chris Krebs wrote an op-ed for our newspaper.
  • A group of 25 former presidents of the D.C. Bar said lawyers shouldn’t be complicit in Trump’s attacks on democracy. In an op-ed, they write that “no lawyer may seek, on behalf of any client, to subvert democratic institutions or burden the courts with claims that the lawyer knows are frivolous."
Attorney General Bill Barr says he hasn’t seen fraud that could affect the election’s outcome.

“Barr said Tuesday that he has ‘not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,’ undercutting claims that President Trump and his allies have made — without evidence — of widespread and significant voting irregularities,” Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey report. “His comments to the Associated Press, while caveated, make Barr the highest-ranking Trump administration official to break with the president on his allegation that the election was stolen. … Barr said the FBI and the Justice Department had looked into some fraud claims. … [Rudy Giuliani] and Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to the campaign, said, ‘With all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance of a Department of Justice investigation.’ …

“At the same time Barr's comments became public Tuesday, the Justice Department revealed that the attorney general had, in October, secretly appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut as special counsel examining how the FBI investigated the Trump campaign in 2016 and beyond — a move that might hearten Trump and his allies. … The order to install him as special counsel is likely to ensure that his work is not shut down by the incoming administration … Under Justice Department regulations, special counsels can be dismissed only for misconduct or some other good cause, making it more difficult for the next attorney general to end Durham’s investigation. [This was cheered by Republicans and decried by Democrats.] …

“A person who spoke with Trump on Monday said he was railing against governors in Republican states — particularly in Georgia and Arizona — who would not back up his claims of fraud and were proceeding to certify election results. … Trump nevertheless is unlikely to give it up until at least after the electoral college votes Dec. 14, this person said. An administration official … told The Post that in recent months, Barr and Trump have ‘barely spoken,’ though they did have a conversation the week before Thanksgiving. … Trump has complained to advisers about his attorney general, two officials said, and the frustration has filtered to Barr even as the men have talked less frequently. The president has also been annoyed that Barr has expressed support for FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, whose public statements contradicting Trump — about election security and domestic extremism — have made him a frequent target of the president’s rage."

Every losing candidate since 1896 has offered a concession. Trump could break that mold. 

That's “when defeated Nebraska lawyer William Jennings Bryan sent a conciliatory telegram to Ohio Gov. William McKinley, who won the election to succeed Grover Cleveland,” Bonnie Berkowitz reports. Inauguration Day often begins with a pre-inauguration meal at the White House that is supposed to be cordial and noncontroversial. It isn’t always. In 1953, following a spat over a missed meeting, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower didn’t show up to the customary lunch that Bess Truman prepared. Inauguration Day also usually features a show of unity in a ride to the Capitol. The tradition began in 1837, when Martin Van Buren and Andrew Jackson shared a carriage. So far, only President-elect Ulysses Grant has refused to share a ride, prompting his predecessor, Andrew Johnson, to skip his inauguration, making Johnson the third and last president to date to refuse to see his successor sworn in. Both John Adams and John Quincy Adams left Washington early to avoid the celebrations. Inauguration day ends with the swearing-in. Each departing president since Ronald Reagan has left a handwritten note for his successor in the Oval Office. We’ll see if Trump does the same for the man who made him a one-term president.

Trump is considering kicking off his 2024 campaign on Inauguration Day. “There is ‘preliminary planning’ underway for a Jan. 20 event to kick off a new Trump bid, the people familiar with the discussions said, though it’s possible the president could make the announcement earlier as no final decisions have been made,” NBC News reports. “Regardless of the timing of a campaign announcement, Trump is not expected to attend the inauguration … He also does not plan to invite Biden to the White House or even call him.”

Trump considers granting pre-emptive pardons to his children and son-in-law.

“Mr. Trump has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser,” the New York Times reports. “The nature of Mr. Trump’s concern about any potential criminal exposure of Eric Trump or Ivanka Trump is unclear, although an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into the Trump Organization has expanded to include tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees by the company, some of which appear to have gone to Ms. Trump. Presidential pardons, however, do not provide protection against state or local crimes.”

  • “The Justice Department in August investigated a potential ‘bribery-for-pardon’ scheme in which a large political contribution would be offered in exchange for a presidential pardon by the White House, according to court records unsealed Tuesday,” Spencer Hsu reports.
  • A lawyer for Trump and three of his adult children argued before the 2nd Circuit that a fraud case brought against them for endorsing ACN — a marketing organization selling telecommunications products — should be sent to arbitration and not go forward in open court. Four plaintiffs say they were duped into paying to join ACN as independent sales representatives because the Trumps presented it as a promising business opportunity on “The Apprentice.” A district court judge ruled against the Trumps. (Shayna Jacobs)

The coronavirus

Asked about a new bipartisan coronavirus relief proposal on Dec. 1, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said “We just don’t have time to waste time." (The Washington Post)
Several new coronavirus relief proposals emerge on Capitol Hill.

In addition to a compromise proposal from several centrist senators, House Democrats and McConnell circulated new offers. "The growing calls for action have not led to a unified approach,” Seung Min Kim, Jeff Stein and Mike DeBonis report. “Still, the new actions and statements Tuesday may reflect movement toward some level of pandemic relief … McConnell disclosed Tuesday that senior Republicans received a new coronavirus relief offer from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday night. Democratic aides declined to disclose details of their offer, and Schumer called it a ‘private proposal to help us move the ball forward.’ 

"Senate Republican leaders circulated a slimmed-down plan Tuesday that would probably be fiercely opposed by Democrats. The measure includes a liability shield for businesses and more small-business assistance. It would provide short-term, limited jobless aid but no additional funding for state and local governments or help for cash-strapped transit agencies. … The McConnell bill also reintroduces a Republican plan to allow diners to claim a tax deduction on their meal expenditures, a provision pushed by the business lobby but viewed skeptically by economists and some Republicans. … 

“Some lawmakers have hoped that elements of a bipartisan stimulus deal could be added to the spending bill required to avoid a Dec. 11 government shutdown, although that could complicate the must-pass legislation. Nonetheless, McConnell suggested Tuesday that the spending bill could be an avenue to pass targeted coronavirus relief. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke Tuesday afternoon about the government funding bill. As for the bipartisan Senate framework, Mnuchin said he would review it, although the plan got a much icier reaction from the White House.”

Against the backdrop of federal inaction, states are racing to craft their own economic relief plans. “Michigan, for example, has sought to extend another round of enhanced payments to its unemployed residents. Minnesota has eyed one-time stimulus checks to locals under financial duress. And Colorado has mounted a wide-ranging effort to help its cash-starved workers and businesses, working on legislative proposals that could help cover rent payments, utility bills and other critical costs,” Romm reports.

As President-elect Biden introduced his economic brain trust in Wilmington, Del., his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, urged a swift and ambitious response. “Biden’s choice of economic advisers highlights a commitment to spend whatever is needed to restore a full-employment economy, setting up a clash with Senate Republicans who are sounding alarms over a national debt they helped Trump increase by nearly $7 trillion,” David Lynch reports

  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales disappointed, another sign that the recovery is stumbling. Fewer Americans shopped over the weekend, and those who did spent 14 percent less than last year. (Abha Bhattarai
  • More than half of the emergency small-business funds under the Paycheck Protection Program went to larger businesses. About 600 mostly larger companies, including dozens of national chains, received the maximum amount allowed under the program. (Jonathan O’Connell, Andrew Van Dam, Aaron Gregg and Alyssa Fowers)
  • New York’s MTA is preparing to cut subway service by 40 percent while it considers a $3 billion loan from the Federal Reserve. Boston is proposing to shorten hours of operation. The D.C. Metro announced plans to eliminate weekend rail service. The stark vision of the capital region operating without weekend transit service for the first time since launching 44 years ago jolted residents and lawmakers alike. (Justin George, Lori Aratani and Meagan Flynn)
  • Schumer told major donors during a private call that Democrats failed to win Senate control because Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and North Carolina Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham “couldn’t keep his zipper up.” The minority leader expressed regret for recruiting Cunningham and for failing to convince Stacey Abrams to run in Georgia. (Axios)

Quote of the day

“The risk of overdoing it is less than the risk of under doing it,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell told the Senate Banking Committee. (Bloomberg News)

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on the recommendations for whom should be given the covid-19 vaccine first when it becomes available. (The Washington Post)
Britain beats U.S. in granting the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine emergency authorization.

Britain became the first country to grant emergency approval … to the coronavirus vaccine developed by the Pfizer and BioNTech, smashing all speed records to see a potentially lifesaving shot invented, tested and approved in less than a year.,” William Booth and Karla Adam report. “British officials said a mass immunization program would begin almost immediately, with distribution of the first 800,000 doses to begin next week. … Drug regulators in Britain have a global reputation for being tough but fast, and [the] decision is likely to intensify the focus on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has faced increasing pressure from the Trump administration to approve Pfizer’s vaccine.

Who will get the first doses on this side of the pond?

A federal advisory panel recommended last night that the initial inoculations should be given to an estimated 21 million health-care workers and 3 million residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities. "These groups were deemed the highest priority by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, because the vaccine will initially be in extremely short supply after it is cleared by federal regulators,” Lena Sun and Isaac Stanley-Becker report. "Residents and employees of long-term-care facilities were prioritized because they account for nearly 40 percent of deaths from covid-19 … The recommendations for the highest-priority groups, known as Phase 1a, will be sent to CDC Director Robert Redfield, who also informs Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. If the recommendations are approved, they will become official CDC recommendations on immunization in the United States and provide guidance to state officials, who are scrambling to meet a Friday deadline for vaccine distribution planning. 

“The committee voted 13 to 1 to prioritize the two groups. Helen Keipp Talbot, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, was the sole dissenting vote. Unease over the recommendations centered on the inclusion of long-term-care residents, with several panel members saying there was insufficient vaccine safety and efficacy data to support immunizing them right away. … What the committee will probably recommend may differ from what some Trump administration officials want, according to three federal health officials.”

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be transported and stored at minus-94 degrees, jump-starting the race for special freezers. “Ford has announced it is acquiring its own ultracold freezers to supply employees with Pfizer’s vaccine. Hospital systems, logistics and delivery companies are also gearing up,” Stefano Pitrelli reports.
  • “Investigators at the Department of Homeland Security are bracing for a new wave of fraud attempts by criminal groups that officials expect will try to take advantage of the extraordinary demand for doses,” Nick Miroff reports.
  • Japan’s parliament passed a law that would make covid-19 vaccines free for everyone. (Simon Denyer and Akiko Kashiwagi)
  • Experts fear children won’t get the vaccine in time for next school year. (Meryl Kornfield)
Nearly 100,000 covid patients are hospitalized in U.S., and 181,769 new cases were reported yesterday.

“An influx of new covid-19 patients could lead to hard decisions in the worst-hit hospitals about how to allocate medical resources and care,” Ariana Eunjung Cha, Lenny Bernstein, Sun and Jose Del Real report. “Tom Moore, an infectious-disease doctor in Wichita, said cases had been rising steadily throughout the summer because of outbreaks at meatpacking plants. But over the past few days, the number of positive cases has reached shocking levels. … Moore described a nurse in the intensive care unit breaking down crying … Sixteen states and Puerto Rico reported record numbers of hospitalizations on Tuesday, and four states tied with their highest days. Arizona, California, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each reported more than a 25 percent increase in the average number of hospitalizations compared with one week ago." Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) moved to increase hospital staff capacity. The state has 1,583 people in hospitals being treated for the virus, the most since early May.

Revised CDC guidance says 2-week coronavirus quarantines can be cut to 10 or 7 days.

“The move reflects the agency’s recognition that the two-week quarantine rule is onerous for many people and that most of the public health benefit from quarantining people exposed to the virus can be gained with a more flexible approach,” Joel Achenbach reports. “The CDC acknowledges that this new guidance involves a trade-off. The existing 14-day quarantine recommendation reflects the ability of the virus to incubate for a long period of time before symptoms appear. But lack of compliance — for example, among people who fear that they will lose a job, or two weeks of income, if they admit to being exposed — can undermine the public health benefit from that standard.”

Health officials learned several lessons from last week.

“Americans heard the pleas to stay home. They were told what would happen if they didn’t. Still, millions traveled and gathered during last week’s Thanksgiving holiday,” William Wan and Brittany Shammas report. “Health experts point to several key takeaways: Many states were overwhelmed by unexpected surges in testing — with many families hoping a negative result might make their planned gatherings a little safer. Some airports were not prepared for the huge crowds that had not been seen since the beginning of the pandemic, making it difficult for travelers to maintain social distancing. But perhaps the most obvious lesson: Public health messaging needs to be retooled, as whole swaths of the country are simply tuning out the warnings from officials and experts.”

  • New Hampshire’s lawmakers will bundle up and hold their legislative session outdoors to allow for social distancing. (Antonia Farzan)
  • A New Orleans “swingers” event on Nov. 14 became a “superspreader” event, with 41 of 250 attendees testing positive for the virus. “I wouldn’t do it again if I knew then what I know now,” said organizer Bob Hannaford. (Katie Shepherd)
  • Belgians will be allowed to have guests over for Christmas, but social gatherings will be limited to four people and must be outdoors. The biggest catch: Only one visitor is allowed inside the house to use the bathroom. (Farzan)
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will not agree to lift a ban on nonessential travel with the United States until the pandemic is significantly under control around the world. (Reuters)
  • Hypocrisy alert: San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) also had a birthday dinner at the French Laundry, a fancy Napa restaurant, just a day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) dined there. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) also apologized after being caught celebrating Thanksgiving with five different households, a violation of state and local health orders. (SFist)
An entire second-grade D.C. class fell behind in reading. Now what?

“The stakes are high for Zalaunshae Pearson and her classmates at Achievement Prep public charter school’s elementary campus in Southeast Washington,” Perry Stein reports. “In March, around 90 percent of the school’s first-graders hit their reading targets, according to internal assessments. Then when the pandemic hit and schools abruptly closed, teachers sent the children home with academic packets. The school remained closed, and the packets kept coming. The first-graders became second-graders. The 6-year-olds became 7-year-olds. This fall, individual reading assessments administered in person highlighted the cost of trying to learn during the pandemic. All 45 second-graders fell behind. Not a single student started the academic year reading on grade level. It was far worse than a typical summer learning drop. Some were reading at an early first-grade level, others at a kindergarten level. … 

"The 183 students in kindergarten through third grade at Achievement Prep are among the children that education leaders fear will fare the worst from prolonged school closures. Ninety-seven percent are Black. Nearly 70 percent are from families that qualify for public assistance. Thirteen percent are homeless. The students already fell on the wrong side of the achievement gap.” 

While the Americans mostly kept classrooms closed but bars open, Europe kept their schools open despite a second wave. And it's been relatively safe: “As long as they adhered to a now-established set of precautions — mask-wearing, hand-washing, ventilation — schools are thought to have played only a limited role in accelerating coronavirus transmission in Europe,” Michael Birnbaum reports. “Those conclusions contrast sharply with the prevailing wisdom in the United States, where public health officials have focused on low rates of positive coronavirus tests in the broader community as a prerequisite for in-person schooling."

The new world order

China launched the Chang'e 5 spacecraft to collect lunar rocks from a previously unexplored section of the moon on Nov. 24. (Reuters)
  • China landed a spacecraft on the moon on a mission to mine rocks and soil and return them to Earth, the latest in a series of lunar missions demonstrating the country’s emergence as a force in space exploration. The landing, without a crew aboard, was China’s third on the moon since 2013. (Christian Davenport)
  • A court sentenced Hong Kong democracy activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam to between seven and 13 ½ months in prison for organizing and taking part in an unauthorized protest. The move is part of China’s attempts to eradicate dissent. (Shibani Mahtani and Theodora Yu)
  • The Trump administration announced a $5 million reward for tips on sanctions-busting activities that allow North Korea to continue developing nuclear weapons and accused China of facilitating the illegal trade. The leads are being solicited through a new State Department website, dprkrewards.com. (Carol Morello)
  • Biden is considering appointing a White House Asia tsar, signaling the rising importance of the region. The role is one of several being considered by incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan. (Financial Times)  
  • Israel may be headed to a four national election in two years. The country was thrown into political chaos again when parliamentarians approved a preliminary measure to dissolve the turbulent coalition government. (Steve Hendrix and Shira Rubin)
  • A car plowed through a pedestrian street in the German city of Trier, leaving at least four dead, including a 9-month-old baby. Authorities say they arrested the suspected driver, a German who lives in the area. While the incident bore the hallmarks of past terrorism attacks with vehicles used as weapons, police said they had no evidence of possible political, religious or terrorist motives. (Loveday Morris and Luisa Beck)
  • An anti-gay Hungarian politician and close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban resigned from the European Parliament after being caught by police as he fled a 25-man orgy in Brussels. (Insider)

Race and reckoning

President-elect Joe Biden formally introduced his economic team on Dec. 1, vowing to make economic recovery from the coronavirus accessible for everyone. (The Washington Post)
Seven civil rights groups want Biden to appoint more Black officials to top roles.

“Biden has rolled out a diverse set of appointments but reserved the initial marquee slots in the Cabinet and White House for White candidates, prompting worry that Biden is failing to make good on his promises to promote Black leaders to prominent jobs,” Annie Linskey and Matt Viser report. “Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, said Tuesday that he was baffled that Biden has failed to confirm a meeting with the civil rights groups nearly a month after Election Day. … Prominent advocates, and members of Congress who typically keep a lower profile, also expressed disappointment in the fledgling Biden administration — in some cases saying they hoped that sounding the alarm would influence Biden’s thinking as he fills out his government. ‘I really thought at this stage of the game — I would see more African American appointments in the top positions,’ said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) … Clayola Brown, president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, a Black trade union group, said Biden had ‘fallen a bit more than just short’ of expectations with regard to appointing Black officials.”

The Black Lives Matter movement is at a crossroads. “Some factions of the Black Lives Matter movement — which spread globally with decentralized leadership and multifaceted goals — worry that Biden embodies the cautious brand of moderate, Washington-centric politics they loathe,” Tim Craig and Robert Klemko report. “Justin Hansford, who was an activist in Ferguson, Mo., after the police killing of Michael Brown in 2014, said the election presents an opportunity for Biden and activists to work together. But Hansford, now the executive director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University, said the ‘biggest mistake’ Biden could make would be to assume that he can appease today’s generation of activists by repackaging the reform proposals that circulated during the final months of Obama’s second term. While activists were then calling for the ‘demilitarization of the police,’ Hansford said, today’s generation will settle for nothing less than ‘reimagining the police.’ … Organizers for more than 30 Black Lives Matter chapters — including Nashville, Memphis, Indianapolis, Chicago and Philadelphia — have formed a discussion group to consider their own sets of demands from a Biden administration.”

Obama, in an interview with Snapchat, said “snappy” slogans such as “defund the police” alienate people. “You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done," the former president said. "The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?" (Axios)

Social media speed read

Biden's nominee for director of national intelligence spoke with Schumer from her car: 

The wife of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) mocked Trump for mulling blanket pardons to his kids:

Sidney Powell, who’s been filing election fraud lawsuits to overturn the election results, appears to have cropped out important information in order to make her case:

Videos of the day

Stephen Colbert wished viewers a happy December – or a very late March: 

Trevor Noah reviewed Trump’s attempts to derail the election results while collecting hefty donations from supporters: