Biden's transition moves ahead

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

Updated 0149 GMT (0949 HKT) December 2, 2020
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6:57 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Discussions are underway for event on Trump's future plans

From CNN's Jim Acosta

There have been discussions about a potential event on President Trump's future plans, a Trump campaign adviser said.

That event could be scheduled around Inauguration Day, the adviser said. Trump is expected to hint at a run for 2024, leaving the door open to a comeback campaign.

The adviser said campaign officials and people close to Trump have been overwhelmed by the fundraising they've done since the election. The adviser also added Trump has indicated he wants to run again. 

It's also been noted inside Trump's circle of advisers how he still maintains an incredible grip over the party as GOP lawmakers have been hesitant to recognize Joe Biden as President-elect.

"Never seen anything like it," the adviser said.  
7:39 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Pennsylvania congressman files longshot petition with Supreme Court seeking to nullify certification

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly has filed a longshot petition asking the Supreme Court to nullify the certification of Pennsylvania election results.

Kelly is challenging the Commonwealth’s “no-excuse” absentee ballot scheme that was passed in October 2019.

It is the latest petition from Republicans still seeking to challenge the election and it faces steep odds at the Supreme Court, particularly because the dispute turns on issues of state law. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed the challenge last weekend holding that Kelly and others failed to file their challenge in a timely manner. 

“It is beyond cavil that petitioners failed to act with due diligence” in presenting the case, the court held noting that they filed the suit more than one year after the enactment of the law at issue.

The new emergency petition will be filed with Justice Samuel Alito who has jurisdiction over the Pennsylvania courts. He will likely refer it to the whole court. It has not yet officially been received by the clerk’s office.

Election law expert Rick Hasen of the University of California Irvine notes that Kelly is seeking an order to nullify the effect of the certification of elections but that “it is not clear that this kind of remedy is even available.”

“I do not expect this case to go anywhere at the Supreme Court,” Hasen said in a blog post

Lawyers for Kelly argue that Pennsylvania’s General Assembly “exceeded its powers by unconstitutionally allowing no-excuse absentee voting, including for federal offices, in the Election.”

They argue that the legislature’s move violated both the Pennsylvania Constitution and the US Constitution. “Because the Pennsylvania Constitution has not been amended,” they argued, “the legislative efforts to authorize no-excuse mail-in voting are fatally defective and inherently unconstitutional.”

 

4:29 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Trump campaign files election lawsuit in Wisconsin

From CNN's Samira Said

The Trump campaign filed a long-shot lawsuit in the Wisconsin Supreme Court today, seeking to remove over 221,000 votes from Wisconsin's certified presidential election vote total. The Wisconsin Supreme Court must accept the case in order for it to go forward.

The campaign alleges that the recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties uncovered "serious legality issues" in the way ballots were cast and counted, specifically in absentee voting in the state.

The case does not make any claims regarding election fraud. 

Similar lawsuits to throw out votes in other battleground states have been unsuccessful.

 

4:08 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Senate Republicans express confidence in Barr, but few are willing to call out Trump on baseless fraud claims

From CNN's Manu Raju

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham presides over a hearing about the influence of social media companies on the 2020 election in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on November 17, in Washington.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham presides over a hearing about the influence of social media companies on the 2020 election in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on November 17, in Washington. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Republicans are expressing confidence in Attorney General William Barr after he said in an interview published today that there was no widespread evidence of voter fraud that would change the outcome of the election. 

"I have a lot of confidence in him and if they haven't found anything yet that tells me that one they've looked, they haven't found anything. And if there's other things to look at I'm sure they will," Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, told CNN.

Asked if Trump should drop his claims of mass election fraud, Graham said, "I think he should be specific about his claims. I think if dead people are voting, what state and how many."

Reminded that the President's team has yet to detail mass fraud, Graham added, "Well that's what they need to do."

Sen. John Cornyn, a member of Senate Judiciary and who sits on the leadership team, said of Barr: "I trust him."

But Republicans are showing little willingness to call out the President.

"I'm not going to be one that may short circuit any legal remedies they have," Sen. Thom Tillis, a member of Senate Judiciary who just won a hard-fought reelection in North Carolina, said when asked if it were time for Trump to hang it up after Barr's determination.

And Sen. Ron Johnson, who currently chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told CNN that he wants to continue to investigate "irregularities."

"I think there's enough irregularities, there are enough questions, enough suspicions that in order to come to the final results of the facts, so that hopefully the vast majority of Americans are satisfied with the result," Johnson said. "Maybe Bill Barr is. Because he's probably got more access to information than I have, then he should show everybody."

Asked if he's not satisfied with Barr's conclusion, Johnson added, "I think there is still enough questions outstanding."

3:46 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Attorney General Barr is meeting with White House chief of staff

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Evan Perez

In this Oct. 15, 2020, file photo Attorney General William Barr speaks during a roundtable discussion on Operation Legend, a federal program to help cities combat violent crime in St. Louis.
In this Oct. 15, 2020, file photo Attorney General William Barr speaks during a roundtable discussion on Operation Legend, a federal program to help cities combat violent crime in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Attorney General William Barr is in the West Wing for a meeting with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, an official tells CNN.

The meeting was pre-planned before his interview with the Associated Press.

Barr said in the interview published Tuesday that the Justice Department hasn't found evidence to support allegations of widespread fraud that could have changed the result of last month's presidential election.

Barr, who prior to the election echoed President Trump's claims that mail-in voting wasn't secure, said both the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security have looked into claims of fraud and have come up empty.

3:19 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Trump's legal team criticizes Justice Department after Barr says no evidence of widespread election fraud

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Moments after Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department has not found evidence to support allegations of widespread fraud that could have changed the result of last month's presidential election, President Trump’s legal team responded, criticizing the Department of Justice.

“With all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance of a Department of Justice investigation,” the statement from Trump’s attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis read in part.

“We have gathered ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined. We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ,” the statement continued.

The statement concludes by claiming Barr has no knowledge and there has been no investigation into the “substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud.”

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the election, as Barr said in his interview with the AP.

3:07 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

McConnell dodges when asked why he's been quiet on Trump's false election claims

From CNN's Manu Raju and Clare Foran

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dodged when asked by CNN’s Manu Raju why he has not spoken out amid President Trump's false claims that the election was rigged and stolen from him.

In his response, McConnell suggested that the outcome of the presidential election still has not been determined, but argued that he is not focused on the result and is instead focused on what Congress will do during the rest of the lame duck session.

“As I’ve said repeatedly, we have this government for the next three weeks for sure, and what I’m focusing on is trying to accomplish as much as we can during this three week period, which requires dealing with the government that we have right now," McConnell said.

"The future will take care of itself as I’ve said repeatedly, we’re going to go through these processes. The electoral college is going to meet December 14th, there will be an inauguration January 20th," he added.

Attorney General William Barr said in an interview with the Associated Press published Tuesday that the Justice Department hasn't found evidence to support allegations of widespread fraud that could have changed the result of last month's presidential election.

3:29 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Barr says no evidence of widespread fraud in presidential election

From CNN's Evan Perez

U.S. Attorney General William Barr exits the U.S. Capitol Building on Monday, November 9, in Washington, DC.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr exits the U.S. Capitol Building on Monday, November 9, in Washington, DC. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr says the Justice Department hasn't found evidence to support allegations of widespread fraud that could have changed the result of last month's presidential election.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the Associated Press in an interview. 

Barr, who prior to the election echoed President Trump's claims that mail-in voting wasn't secure, says both the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department have looked into claims of fraud and come up empty. 

"There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results," Barr said. "And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven't seen anything to substantiate that."

3:27 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Biden says he hasn't spoken to McConnell yet

From CNN’s Sarah Mucha

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden departs after a press conference at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, on December 1.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden departs after a press conference at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, on December 1. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

As President-elect Joe Biden exited The Queen theater following his event announcing his economic team in Wilmington, Delaware, he answered a few shouted questions from the pool from afar before he got into his SUV.

He said that he hasn't yet spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"Not yet," Biden said when asked if he's spoken to McConnell. 

Asked whether he supports the $900 billion stimulus proposal, he replied, "I’ve just heard about it. I’ll take a look at it when I get back.” 

Biden did not answer a shouted question about whether he plans to go to Georgia to campaign ahead of the Senate runoff.