Biden begins transition plans as Trump refuses to concede

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 8:12 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020
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2:02 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Despite Biden win, secretary of state says there will be "smooth transition to a second Trump administration"

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory as President-elect, saying at the State Department Tuesday that “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration."

Remember: Major new organizations, including CNN, projected Biden will win the presidential election on Saturday. President Trump has launched a series of legal challenges to the results and has not yet conceded to Biden — yet concession is a custom, not something required under the law.

But today, when asked about if the State Department is preparing to engage with the Biden transition team, Pompeo said this:

"There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration. Right. The world is watching what's taking place. We're gonna count all the votes. When the process is completed, they'll be electors selected. There's a process, the constitution lays it out pretty clearly. The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today, successful today and successful with a president who's in office on January 20 a minute after noon will also be successful." 

Pompeo would not say whether he believed there was massive voter fraud (Remember: there's no evidence of widespread voting fraud.) But Pompeo did say, “I'm getting calls from all across the world. These people are watching our election. They understand that we have a legal process. They understand that this takes time, right, took us 37 plus days in an election back in 2000, conducted successful transition then."

“I’m very confident that we will count, and we must count, every legal vote. We must make sure that any vote that wasn't lawful ought not be counted. That dilutes your vote, if it's done improperly. Gotta get that right, when we get it right, we'll get it right, we're in good shape,” he added.

1:27 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Pence arrives at GOP lunch and doesn’t answer questions about voter fraud allegations 

From CNN's Manu Raju

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP

Vice President Mike Pence arrives to Senate GOP lunch.

He didn't answer questions about voter fraud allegations. Remember: there's no evidence of widespread voting fraud and President Trump's claims that the election was rigged are baseless.

Trump has vowed to challenge 2020 election results and has yet to publicly concede.

1:10 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Biden will deliver speech on Obamacare at 2 p.m. ET

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue and Eric Bradner

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden, who campaigned on a promise to keep and build on Obamacare, is set to deliver a health care-focused speech Tuesday after the Supreme Court heard a case that could overturn the law.

Biden's transition team scheduled a 2 p.m. ET speech on the Affordable Care Act in Wilmington, Delaware.

The speech comes the day Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments in the case that seeks to overturn the landmark health reform law.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested Tuesday that it wasn't the Supreme Court's role to invalidate the entire sprawling, 900-page Affordable Care Act, even if one or more provisions are deemed unconstitutional, signaling the key parts of Obamacare will survive the latest court challenge.

The Trump administration and several Republican-led states are asking the court to strike down the law, 10 years after it was passed, potentially impacting millions of Americans. Should Roberts and Kavanaugh, at the very least, side with the court's three liberals, the law would remain intact.

Read more about the oral arguments today in the Supreme Court here.

1:05 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Kamala Harris' husband to sever ties with law firm by Inauguration

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright

Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband, will transition his client practice and sever all ties with his law firm DLA Piper by Inauguration Day, according to a campaign spokesperson.  

Emhoff, a partner of the group, took a leave of absence from DLA soon after Harris was picked to be President-elect Joe Biden’s running mate in August.

Since then, he devoted a majority of his days to campaigning for the ticket, both online and in person. Emhoff practiced law in intellectual property and technology and sectors include media, sports and entertainment, according to the firm’s website.

The spokesperson added that Emhoff will work with the Biden-Harris transition team to develop a portfolio, that will support the work of the administration.

AP News was the first to report.

1:07 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Senate GOP leadership continues to suggest Trump may win election, despite Biden's victory

From CNN's Clare Foran and Ali Zaslav 

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other members of the Senate GOP leadership continued to suggest that the presidential election has not yet been decided and that there is a chance that President Trump could still be the winner, they said while speaking in a media availability after leadership elections concluded this morning.

“Until the electoral college votes, anyone who is running for office can exhaust concerns about counting in any court of appropriate jurisdiction. It’s not unusual. It should not be alarming. At some point here, we’ll find out, finally, who was certified in each of these states and the electoral college will determine the winner and that person will be sworn in on January 20th. No reason for alarm,” McConnell said.

“I don’t think anything that’s occurred so far interrupts an ordinary process of moving through the various steps that I’ve indicated and allowing if there is a new administration it to work through the transition. All of these steps will be taken at the appropriate time,” McConnell said, arguing that the transition process won’t be negatively impacted as Trump continues to not concede the election.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt echoed that message, saying, “the President wasn’t defeated by huge numbers – in fact, he may not have been defeated at all.”

McConnell, who was re-elected as the top Senate Republican, acknowledged that it won’t be clear until January whether he will be Senate Majority Leader because the battle for Senate control is still up in the air.

“We’re ready to get going even though there’s some suspense about whether we’ll be in the majority or not, which will be answered in Georgia on January 5th,” McConnell said.

Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who will be the new chair of the GOP Senate campaign arm, called it a “real honor” to be elected and predicted that Republicans will win in the upcoming Georgia runoff elections that will determine the balance of power in the Senate. “We’re going to win in Georgia,” he said.

12:12 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

British and French leaders call President-elect Joe Biden to congratulate him on election

From CNN's Pierre Bairin in Paris and Katharina Krebs in London

The British and French leaders have called President-elect Joe Biden to congratulate him on winning the US election. 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a Tuesday tweet, "I just spoke to @JoeBiden to congratulate him on his election. I look forward to strengthening the partnership between our countries and to working with him on our shared priorities – from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy and building back better from the pandemic."

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron called President-elect Biden today at 5:30 p.m. local Paris time (11:30a ET) on Tuesday to congratulate him and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their election, the Elysee Palace told CNN.

Read the tweet from the UK PM:

11:38 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Only 4 Republican senators have congratulated President-elect Biden so far

As of Tuesday morning, only four Republican senators — Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Ben Sasse — have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his projected victory. 

Many have remained silent on the matter since major new organizations, including CNN, projected Biden will win the presidential election on Saturday.  

Several senior Republicans told CNN's Manu Raju and Ted Barrett Monday evening that Trump is within his rights to make his case court. But senators all were either doubtful about Trump's chances of overturning tens of thousands of votes in several key states — or wouldn't say if they agreed with the President that there was mass voting fraud.

A few, including Sen. Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, have explicitly said Trump should not concede. 

1:09 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Turkish President Erdogan congratulates President-elect Joe Biden

From CNN’s Gul Tuysuz in Istanbul


Adam Altan/AFP/Getty Images
Adam Altan/AFP/Getty Images

In a message released on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated President-elect Joe Biden for his victory in the US presidential elections. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared the projected winners of the election on Saturday. 

“I congratulate you on your election success and express my sincere wishes for the peace and prosperity of the people of the United States of America,” Erdogan said in the message.  

“I reiterate our determination to work closely with the US administration and believe that the strong cooperation and alliance between our countries will continue to contribute to world peace in the future as it has until today,” Erdogan said. 

The US-Turkish relationship is deeply rooted and strategic in nature, Erdogan said.  

“The challenges we face on the global and regional level require us to further develop and strengthen these relationships based on our shared interests and values,” the message said. 

11:40 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Top Pentagon official resigns day after Defense Secretary fired by Trump 

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The Pentagon’s top policy official, James Anderson, resigned Tuesday, according to two US defense officials. The resignation comes the day after President Trump fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

Anderson has been serving as the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy since John Rood was fired by the Trump Administration in February of this year due to disagreements on a range of policy issues.

It was not immediately clear whether Anderson was asked to resign.

Anderson has been at the Pentagon since 2018, serving first as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities and later becoming the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy before taking over the top policy job upon Rood’s ouster.

His departure comes as some question the decision to make senior personnel changes at the Pentagon during a post-election transition period.

Trump announced he was firing Esper via Twitter on Monday, a move Democrats criticized as reckless.

Barbara Starr Reports: