Biden begins transition plans as Trump refuses to concede

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:07 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020
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5:34 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Largest Nevada county certifies presidential election results

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The largest county in Nevada certified its November election results for the presidential race Monday. 

Joe Biden beat President Trump in Clark County by 90,922 votes, with a margin of nine percentage points. 

Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said they found discrepancies between the number of voters processed and the number of ballots counted amounting to 936 votes countywide. But that is well under Biden’s unofficial statewide margin of victory of over 30,000 votes.

However, the snafu may result in a do-over in one local election. The margin of victory for one seat on the Clark County Commission was only 10 votes, in a district with 139 discrepancies.

“That's the only race in the entire election where we have any concern related to the outcome,” said Gloria. 

Without the ability to determine what caused those discrepancies, the county commission voted to put certification of that race on hold as they consider whether they must hold a special election to vote again.

But Commissioner Jim Gibson stressed that the uncertainty about who won a single commission seat “bears not at all on the outcome of any other race.”

5:22 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

United Auto Workers express need for economic package in meeting with Biden and Harris

From CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich

In a meeting with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice president-elect Kamala Harris, United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble said he and other business leaders expressed “an acute need for an immediate economic package for those hard hit by this pandemic.” 

The meeting, which took place remotely Monday, “was a productive and honest discussion of the challenges we all face in manufacturing and business to wrestle control of a very difficult situation for our economy,” Gamble said in statement following the meeting.

Gamble also called on the incoming administration to protect frontline workers, as well as the health and safety of UAW members who work at the big three Detroit auto companies: General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler.

“Testing, PPE equipment, and a plan for distribution for a vaccine, when available, are crucial as is the ability for workers, management and government to work together through this pandemic nimbly and efficiently in order to save lives,” he said.

The United Auto Workers union endorsed Biden in April.

5:18 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Wisconsin recount would cost Trump campaign $7.9 million

From CNN's Caroline Kenny

In this Tuesday, November 3, file photo, poll workers sort out early and absentee ballots at the Kenosha Municipal building on Election Day, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In this Tuesday, November 3, file photo, poll workers sort out early and absentee ballots at the Kenosha Municipal building on Election Day, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Wong Maye-E/AP/FILE

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said Monday that if President Trump’s campaign wants a recount of the razor-thin presidential race in the state, they will need to pay $7.9 million upfront. 

CNN projected that President-elect Joe Biden will win Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes. According to unofficial results, Biden leads Trump by 20,470 votes, or 0.62%. That close outcome makes the race eligible for a recount if the losing candidate requests one. But because Biden’s winning margin is larger than 0.25%, state law says that the Trump campaign must prepay the estimated cost of the recount.

Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin's chief elections official, said Monday that the estimated price tag is $7.9 million, which is much higher than the $2 million statewide recount that was conducted after the 2016 election. 

“These estimates are significantly higher than the actual costs of the 2016 recount, but they take into account factors not present four years ago, including the need for larger spaces to permit public observation and social distancing, security for those spaces, the higher number of absentee ballots, a compressed timeframe over a holiday, and renting high-speed ballot scanning equipment," Wolfe said.

The deadline to file for a recount and submit payment Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT, and that day is the only day that the Trump campaign can file its request. The recount must be completed by Dec. 1, which is also the deadline, under state law, for the Wisconsin Elections Commission to certify the results.

Wolfe added that the Wisconsin Elections Commission still has not received an official request from the Trump campaign for a recount, but they want to be prepared. The Trump campaign previously announced��that it wants a recount in Wisconsin and, has pushed false conspiracy theories about voting irregularities. 

“We still have not received any indication that there will or will not be a recount,” Wolfe said.

4:56 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Two Georgia counties finish recounts without finding any issues

From CNN's Amara Walker and Jason Morris

At least two small counties in Georgia finished their presidential recounts without finding any discrepancies. 

CNN projected that President-elect Joe Biden won Georgia and its 16 electoral votes. Unofficial results put Biden ahead of President Trump by about 14,000 votes, or about 0.3%. But due to the tight margin, state officials decided to use the pre-planned audit process to recount every ballot in the presidential race. 

Bacon County, a small county in southeast Georgia, completed its hand recount on Monday and the results were “exactly the same” as the initial tally, according to Jean Hilton, an assistant to the county’s election supervisor Ann Russell. A total of 4,668 people voted in the county – Trump won 87% and Biden got 13%. 

Early County, a small county in southwest Georgia on the border with Alabama, also completed its hand recount “early,” according to Claire Moseley, the county’s elections director. The county tallied 5,217 ballots, with Trump taking 53% and Biden taking 47%, which was the same exact outcome as the initial results.

“We are pretty tiny, so this was quick and easy,” Moseley said. “We were thrilled and shocked.”  

The results from these counties are not surprising, and experts say it would be impossible for Trump to overcome his 14,000-vote deficit in a recount. The audit process is expected to finish in the coming days, and Georgia’s secretary of state says he plans to certify the official results by Friday, as required by state law.

4:55 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

GOP senators shrug off Trump's conspiracies over election results  

From CNN's Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav

Sen. Deb Fischer
Sen. Deb Fischer Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE

Top Senate Republicans seemed unmoved Monday by President Trump's baseless charges that the election was "rigged" and his false assertions that he actually won the election, even though the results show he lost the race despite his efforts to sow distrust over a cornerstone of US democracy.

As Democrats reacted with alarm to Trump's weekend Twitter rants, Republicans shrugged it off.

"He can say whatever he wants," said Sen. Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican who advises Senate GOP leadership.

Asked if she were bothered by Trump's comments, Fischer said, "If I was bothered by everything that everyone around here says, I couldn't come back."

While a growing number of Republicans say that the formal transition process should begin, that Biden should get classified intelligence briefings, and are skeptical that Trump's legal challenges will succeed, few are willing to challenge Trump's lies that the election was stolen from him, an allegation rejected by GOP and Democratic election officials across the country.

The indifference marks a familiar pattern through four years of Trump’s presidency: He stokes a major controversy, and Republicans on Capitol Hill largely ignore it. But this time, Trump is launching one conspiracy theory after another that many fear could sow unrest and have lasting ramifications about trust in US elections and faith in democracy.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the most senior Senate Republican who supports Biden getting classified briefings, downplayed Trump’s false claims that he won the election and baseless charges that the election was rigged.

Asked Monday if Trump should be making such comments, Grassley said, “All that'll be settled by December the 14th,” referring to when electors meet in their state capitals to cast their ballots.

“There’s no sense worrying about anything else except just the number of electors, and whoever got 270 electors is going to be the next president,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said that Trump is within his legal rights to challenge the election, sought to reassure the public last week that the transition would not be interrupted. But on Monday, McConnell was silent when asked if he agrees with Trump’s false claims that he “won the election.”

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday that he has no concerns that Trump is sowing doubt in the democratic process, arguing it’s “fair game” for him to claim victory because “we don’t know yet” who won, despite election results clearly showing Biden on track for an Electoral College victory.

“I’m not concerned about the President saying that he thinks he won the election,” Hawley said. “I think that’s totally fair game. He can go out and make his argument.”

3:53 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Biden: "More people may die" if Trump continues to block transition 

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

President-elect Joe Biden warned today that a greater number of Americans may die of coronavirus if President Trump's administration continues to block a smooth transition, particularly when it comes to a vaccine distribution plan. 

"More people may die if we don't coordinate," warned Biden, when asked by a reporter what would result of Trump's attempts to block the transition.

"How do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated?" asked Biden, speaking in Wilmington, Delaware. "What's the game plan? It's a huge, huge, huge undertaking to get it done."

"...If we have to wait until Jan. 20, to start that planning, it puts us behind over a month ... So it's important that it be done, that there be coordination now," he continued. "Now or as rapidly as we can get that done."

Later, in a response to a question from another reporter, Biden said he had spoken with a number of Republican lawmakers and said that he sympathized with the difficult position the President had put them in.

"I am hopeful that the President will be mildly more enlightened before we get to Jan. 20," said Biden.

Watch the moment:

3:42 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Biden: "It's time to reward work, not just wealth in America"

President-elect Joe Biden speaks about economic recovery on November 16 in Wilmington, Delaware
President-elect Joe Biden speaks about economic recovery on November 16 in Wilmington, Delaware Andrew Harnik/AP

As coronavirus continues to surge in the US and impact the economy, President-elect Joe Biden outlined his plan for building the American economy "back better."

"It's time to reward work, not just wealth in America. We're going to have a fair tax structure that makes sure the wealthiest among us and corporations pay their fair share," Biden said.

Biden added that his economic plan will create "millions of good-paying union jobs" in manufacturing, the technology sector and others industries.

"From autos to our stockpiles, we're going to buy American. No government contract will be given to companies that don't make their products here in America," Biden said.

The President-elect acknowledged the economic toll of the pandemic, telling the American people that it is an opportunity for the country to come "out of this stronger" and "more resilient" than where it was before the pandemic began.

3:51 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Biden says he needs access to Trump's vaccine distribution plan

President-elect Joe Biden speaks about economic recovery on November 16 in Wilmington, Delaware
President-elect Joe Biden speaks about economic recovery on November 16 in Wilmington, Delaware Andrew Harnik/AP

President-elect Joe Biden called it "great news" that vaccines from two companies — Moderna and Pfizer — have shown effectiveness "in excess of 90%" during recent trials.

He added, "Getting the vaccine and a vaccination, though, are two different things." 

Biden said that the business leaders he spoke to today agreed that the sooner that his team gained access to the Trump administration's vaccine distribution plan "the sooner this transition would smoothly move forward."

Watch the moment:

4:01 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Harris and Biden deliver remarks on the economy as coronavirus cases surge 

President-elect Joe Biden listens as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks about economic recovery on Monday, November 16 in Wilmington, Delaware.
President-elect Joe Biden listens as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks about economic recovery on Monday, November 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Andrew Harnik/AP

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice president-elect Kamala Harris are delivering remarks on the economy from Wilmington, Delaware. 

“We all know that this pandemic and this recession have hit communities of color particularly hard. Black Americans and Latinos are three times as likely to contract Covid as others and more likely to die. Native Americans are more than four times as likely to be hospitalized as others. And last month the unemployment rate for Black Americans was almost twice the rate of others," Harris said.

"And we have also had a conversation about the impact this pandemic has had on our economy as a whole, from the Fortune 500 to the small small businesses that so many communities rely on,” Harris added.

Earlier today, Biden and Harris received an economic briefing from a group of CEOs, including from Microsoft, Target and Gap, and union leaders like Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO.

"And as I said the night we won this election, now is when the real work begins, the necessary work, the good work of getting this virus under control, saving lives and beating this pandemic and opening our economy responsibly while rebuilding it so that it works for working people," she said. 

"The road ahead, it will not be easy. But the President-elect and I are hitting the ground running because we all know the challenges facing America today are great. The American people deserve no less, and we don't have a moment to waste," Harris added.  

Harris' comments come as the country battles a surge in coronavirus cases. The United States surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The latest milestone came just six days after the US recorded 10 million cases, per Johns Hopkins data. It was the fastest the US has added one million new cases since the pandemic began.

On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that hospitalization rates are significantly higher among the Black, Latino and Alaska Native or Native American populations in the US compared to Asian and White people. Hospitalization rates are about four times higher among Blacks and Latinos than Whites.

Watch Vice president-elect Kamala Harris here: