Biden begins transition plans as Trump refuses to concede

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

Updated 0349 GMT (1149 HKT) November 12, 2020
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8:58 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

After it was made publicly known, Pence cancels scheduled vacation

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Vice President Mike Pence speaks alongside President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, early on November 4.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks alongside President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, early on November 4. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence has canceled a planned trip to Florida's Sanibel Island with his family after it was publicly reported that he was going on vacation as President Trump is attempting to contest the outcome of the election.

Though Pence tweeted that he told his staff Monday the 2020 fight “ain’t over," he was slated to leave the next day for Sanibel and flight restrictions were in place.

But those restrictions have been lifted and his trip has been called off. Pence’s staff has scheduled events for him around Washington, including a trip to Arlington Cemetery today for Veterans Day and an address at the Council for National Policy in Virginia Friday.

The weather on Sanibel Island, on Florida's west coast and close to Fort Myers, is also poor this week as Tropical Storm Eta hits further north. Local officials said they were concerned about potential flooding. 

Eta is now set for landfall along the Big Bend of Florida, just to the east of Ocala, late Thursday or early Friday morning, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said.

8:47 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

CNN's Election 101 podcast breaks down how the electoral system worked this year

The results are finally in and Joe Biden is the new president-elect, but a lot of us still have questions. Like, how the ballots got counted, why it took so long to get the results, and what happens next.

ProPublica’s Jessica Huseman returns to CNN's Election 101 podcast to help break down how the electoral system worked this year, and where things stand now.

You can listen here.

8:54 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

These world leaders have congratulated Biden on his election victory 

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

While the majority of GOP lawmakers aren't willing to break with President Trump, many world leaders are moving to embrace President-elect Joe Biden including a number of whom who saw themselves as ideological counterparts of the President.

According to Biden's transition team, the President-elect spoke Tuesday with these US allies:

  • President Emmanuel Macron of France
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany
  • Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin of Ireland
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, whose populist leanings made him a good fit with Trump. Johnson promised to work with Biden in a post-Covid-19 era.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada said Monday that he had called Biden to congratulate him on his win.

Even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who bonded with Trump over their common strongman tendencies, issued a public message congratulating Biden on his "election success."

And Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — who has a close and controversial relationship with Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner — sent Biden a cable in which they conveyed congratulations on "His Excellency's victory in the presidential elections."

Biden said he had a simple message for all the world leaders: "I am letting them know America is back."

Read more here.

8:28 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Bernie Sanders is reaching out to labor leaders in bid for support as he pursues Labor Secretary post

From CNN's Greg Krieg

Senator Bernie Sanders is pictured at the U.S. Capitol on October 20, in Washington, D.C.
Senator Bernie Sanders is pictured at the U.S. Capitol on October 20, in Washington, D.C. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is seeking the support of top labor leaders as he ramps up a campaign for the Labor secretary post in President-elect Joe Biden's administration.

A longtime senior labor leader told CNN on Tuesday that Sanders has personally called union chiefs asking for their backing, but that his overtures have been met with mixed reactions.

Sanders’ push comes following intensified jockeying over the powerful cabinet position from inside the labor movement. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who is among those Sanders has contacted, is believed to favor Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for the job, the senior labor leader said, while Michigan Rep. Andy Levin also has a base of support among union leadership, including the Communications Workers of America.

Those divisions, mostly quiet as labor leaders have considered their options, are now poised to spill out into the public. 

The Vermont senator’s interest in the position was first reported by Politico in October. Sanders’ team has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

The Biden transition team was not immediately available to weigh in.

In public statements and in an interview with CNN before the election, Sanders spoke about his desire to lead a push form inside the Senate to send an ambitious suite of progressive legislation to Biden’s desk. But those plans may have been complicated by the uncertainty surrounding control of the body, after a disappointing election night for Democratic Senate challengers. The caucus will likely need to win both of the January run-off contests in Georgia now to gain a majority.

8:07 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Biden will meet with transition advisers today

President-elect Joe Biden will meet with transition advisors on Wednesday, according to a press release from his transition team.

The meeting comes as President Trump has vowed to challenge 2020 election results and has yet to publicly concede. Biden yesterday called Trump's refusal to concede "an embarrassment" that "will not help the President's legacy."

8:06 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Biden calls Trump's refusal to concede an "embarrassment"

From CNN's Eric Bradner

President-elect Joe Biden projected confidence about a transition effort that he said is "well underway" even as outgoing President Trump and his administration attempt to impede it. 

Biden called Trump's refusal to concede the election that he lost "an embarrassment" that "will not help the President's legacy." But he also told reporters Tuesday in Delaware that he believes Republicans will eventually acknowledge his victory. 

The Trump administration's refusal to initiate the transition process "does not change the dynamic at all in what we're able to do," Biden said. 

"We don't see anything that's slowing us down, quite frankly," Biden said. 

The refusal of the General Services Administration, under Trump-appointed administrator Emily W. Murphy, to take the legally necessary step of declaring Biden the President-elect has so far blocked his team from receiving $6.3 million in funds Congress appropriated for transition efforts. It has also prevented Biden's transition team from accessing federal agencies, and Biden from receiving the president's daily intelligence briefing. 

Biden said the daily briefings "would be useful, but it's not necessary," and said his transition team "can get through without the funding." 

"We're just going to proceed the way we have. We're going to be doing exactly what we'd be doing if he'd conceded and said we won — which we have. So there's nothing really changing," Biden said.