On Friday, CBS News projected President-elect Joe Biden is the presumptive winner in Georgia, based on the final tallies now in from the counties. This comes as Georgia will hold a recount. Mr. Biden adds Georgia’s 16 electoral votes to his tally bringing the president-elect’s total to 306, reports CBS News Elections and Surveys Director Anthony Salvanto. CBS News also projected President Trump is the winner in North Carolina, based on additional reports now in from its counties. Trump adds North Carolina’s electoral votes to put his tally at 232. Late Thursday, CBS News also projected Mr. Biden the winner of Arizona. The president-elect’s 306 electoral votes to Mr. Trump’s 232 electoral votes would flip what panned out in the 2016 election, notes CBS News political unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice, when Mr. Trump received 306 electoral votes and Hillary Clinton received 232 electoral votes.
PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN
Before Mr. Trump’s remarks on the “Operation Warp Speed” plans to distribute a coronavirus vaccine when available, Mr. Biden urged the current administration to focus. “I am the president-elect, but I will not be president until next year. The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now,” Biden said in the statement, “Urgent action is needed today, now, by the current administration — starting with an acknowledgment of how serious the current situation is.” He also sympathized with pandemic fatigue and encouraged social distancing, hand washing, and wearing face masks. “I understand it’s not easy. I know people are tired. But this will not go on forever,” he wrote. Earlier on Friday, the Biden transition team held their first update on the transition process, which is currently hampered by the Trump administration’s refusal at the General Services Administration to “ascertain” Biden as the electoral winner. Earlier in the week, Biden downplayed the ramifications on his transition, but CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson reports top transition officials on Friday rang the alarm on how little information is being shared with the future administration. Transition adviser Jen Psaki underscored the potential national security implications of Mr. Biden not receiving security briefings. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” she explained. Because of this, Psaki would not rule out potential legal action by the transition but admitted this is not the president-elect’s “preference.” In the meantime, Mr. Biden is set to continue to meet with top advisers to appoint White House staff and Cabinet positions in the next few weeks. He remains at his beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
In his first public address since the 2020 presidential race was called, Mr. Trump touted the success of Operation Warp Speed, announcing that “as soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population, with the exception of places like New York State.” Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in September that New York would create an independent task force of scientists and health experts to review every FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine before distribution. CBS News projected on November 7 that Mr. Biden will win the presidential election. For his part, Mr. Trump made little mention of his political future, except to say that his administration will not be going to a “lockdown” amid a record-breaking spike in nationwide coronavirus cases, reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. “Who knows which administration it will be? I guess time will tell,” the president mused. “I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown.” The president’s reelection bid has retired their election telephone hotline, following a barrage of prank phone calls aimed at staffers manning the lines and zero evidence of widespread voter fraud. With campaign staff nearing the end of their contracts on November 15, the president’s ongoing legal fight continues without much of its operational manpower.
FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
Former President Barack Obama said it was “disappointing” to see Republicans supporting Mr. Trump’s baseless claims that the election was rigged. “They obviously didn’t think there was any fraud going on because they didn’t say anything about it for the first two days,” he told CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King. “But there’s damage to this because what happens is that the peaceful transfer of power, the notion that any of us who attain an elected office, whether it’s dogcatcher or president, are servants of the people. It’s a temporary job.” Mr. Obama sat down with the “CBS This Morning” co-host and Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes” for his first televised interviews since the 2020 election ahead of the release of his new memoir, “A Promised Land.” Speaking to King, the former world leader said presidents are “not above the rules.” “We’re not above the law, that’s the essence of our democracy,” he said. Read more from the former president’s sit-down here.
The Trump campaign conceded Friday that their lawsuit seeking a manual review of a handful of rejected votes in Arizona would do nothing to improve the president’s prospects in the state, after an hours-long court hearing late Thursday, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. CBS News was among the news organizations to call the race in the long reliably red state for Mr. Biden overnight, with Mr. Trump trailing the Democrat by some 11,000 votes in the state. The number of votes at issue in the GOP’s case had numbered less than 200. “Since the close of yesterday’s hearing, the tabulation of votes statewide has rendered unnecessary a judicial ruling as to the presidential electors,” the Trump campaign’s attorneys wrote in the filing released Friday.
A judge in Wayne County, Michigan, denied a request to conduct an audit of the county’s election results and to block the county’s board of canvassers from certifying results. According to CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster, the challenge came from two Michigan voters and not Mr. Trump’s campaign. The case relied on affidavits from people who reported irregularities at Detroit’s absentee counting facility, but the judge said those people misunderstood the process. “Plaintiffs’ interpretation of events is incorrect and not credible,” Judge Timothy Kenny wrote. “It would be an unprecedented exercise of judicial activism for this Court to stop the certification process of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers.”
The Trump campaign and Republicans were dealt several more legal defeats in Pennsylvania today. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia today rejected a request from GOP congressional candidate Jim Bognet for about 10,000 mail ballots to be tossed because they arrived within a 3-day extension granted by the state Supreme Court reports CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak. “The pandemic has also presented unique challenges regarding where and how citizens shall vote, as well as when and how their ballots shall be tabulated,” Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Brooks Smith wrote in the opinion on behalf of a three-judge Third Circuit panel. Bognet narrowly lost to progressive incumbent Matt Cartwright in a northeastern Pennsylvania district. The Pennsylvania GOP has a similar appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Trump campaign has intervened. Also on Friday, the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court rejected five Trump campaign appeals to a Board of Elections decision to count ballots with things such as signatures or dates missing. As a result, about 8,000 mail ballots in total will not be tossed out. Additionally, a Montgomery County judge has denied an appeal from the Trump campaign of the county Board of Elections choosing to count about 600 mail ballots with “deficiencies.” In a hearing for this case Monday, the judge asked Jonathan Goldstein, a lawyer representing the Trump campaign, if he was accusing the board of fraud when he said they engaged in a “scheme.” Goldstein said he was not aware of any fraud.