Electoral College vote affirms Biden's win

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

Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT) December 15, 2020
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8:13 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Biden praises local and state officials who showed "unwavering faith" in the law

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden praised the efforts by local and state official and volunteers who "did their duty in the face of a pandemic" by upholding the election results.

"American democracy works because America makes it work at a local level. One of the extraordinary things we saw this year that was that everyday Americans, our friends and our neighbors, often volunteers, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, demonstrated absolute courage. They showed a deep and unwavering faith in and a commitment to the law," Biden said.

He noted how officials did not "give credence to what they knew was not true."

"They knew this election was overseen, was overseen by them. It was honest. It was free and it was fair," Biden said.

Biden highlighted how many officials faced political pressure, verbal abuse and threats of physical violence.

"It is my sincere hope we never again see anyone subjected to the kind of abuse and threats we saw in this election. It's simply unconscionable. We all these public servants a debt of gratitude. They didn't seek the spotlight," Biden said. "Our democracy survived because of them which is proof once more that it's every day Americans infused with honor, character and decency that is the heart of this nation."

Watch Biden's speech:

7:44 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Biden after Electoral College vote: "The will of the people prevailed"

President-elect Joe Biden, speaking after the Electoral College affirmed his election win, said the "will of the people prevailed" today.

"Once again, in America, the rule of law, our Constitution, and the will of the people prevailed," Biden said. "Our democracy pushed, tested, threatened, proved to be resilient, true and strong."

Biden noted that he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received more votes "than any ticket has received in the history of America."

Watch the moment:

7:33 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Biden delivers remarks after Electoral College affirms his win


President-elect Joe Biden is delivering remarks to the nation tonight from Wilmington, Delaware, after the Electoral College affirmed his win over President Trump.

Biden is expected to declare it time to "turn the page, to unite, to heal" in his speech tonight, according to excerpts of Biden's prepared remarks released by his transition team.

7:15 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Hawaii casts its 4 electoral votes for Biden, concluding Electoral College process

From CNN's Ethan Cohen and Marshall Cohen

Hawaii’s electors cast their four votes for President-elect Joe Biden during their meeting on Monday in Honolulu.

Hawaii was the last state to cast its electoral votes, concluding the arcane process that is laid out in the Constitution. The final Electoral College results are 306 for Biden and 232 for Trump.

There were no “faithless electors” this year, which is when presidential electors vote for someone else other than their state’s popular vote winner. This is a major departure from 2016, which set a record for “faithless electors.” Five Democrats and two Republicans broke ranks and went “faithless” that year. 

Biden defeated Trump in Hawaii, about 64% to 34%.

Hawaii is a Democratic stronghold in presidential races. It has voted for a GOP presidential candidate only twice since gaining statehood in 1959 – Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984.

About the process: The meeting of electors marked the next major step in the Electoral College process to affirm the general election results. Electors are required by law to vote for president and vice president on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, which this year is today.

It takes 270 electoral votes of the 538 available to become president.

6:16 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Biden will deliver remarks at 7:30 p.m. ET on the Electoral College vote

From CNN's Eric Bradner

President-elect Joe Biden will declare it time to "turn the page, to unite, to heal" in a speech tonight after the Electoral College made his victory over President Trump official, according to excerpts of Biden's prepared remarks released by his transition team.

"In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed," Biden will say, according to the excerpts. "We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal." 

Biden is set to speak at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

The President-elect intends to lay out the work that will dominate the early days of his administration: the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, including distributing vaccines and slowing its spread as those vaccines become available, and rebuilding an economy battered by the pandemic.

You can read more about his remarks here.

6:14 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Trump is not moving in direction of publicly accepting Biden's win, source says

From CNN's Jim Acosta

President Trump is not moving in the direction of publicly accepting the election results, despite the Electoral College's historic meeting to put President-elect Joe Biden over the top, said a source close to the White House, who speaks regularly with the President.

Some White House advisers have noted that Trump has privately acknowledged that he won't be staying at the White House for a second term, even as he attempts to overturn the election results in court and siphons money from his base off bogus claims of voter fraud. 

A separate White House adviser mocked the suggestion made by some Republican officials, including White House domestic policy aide Stephen Miller, that the GOP send "alternate" slates of electors to Congress to be tallied on Jan. 6.

"Whatever," the adviser said, dismissing the strategy.

The adviser said people close to Trump continue to see it as highly unlikely that the outgoing President will attend Biden's inauguration. "He won't," the adviser said of the current thinking inside Trump's circle of allies.

6:07 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Trump tweets Barr is "leaving" White House

From CNN's Allie Malloy, Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins 

After California clinched the Electoral College victory for President-elect Joe Biden, President Trump tweeted that his Attorney General William Barr will be "leaving" the White House "just before Christmas."

"Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job! As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family...," the President tweeted.

Trump said Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen would become acting attorney general.

A White House official said Barr was not forced out or fired. "He wasn't asked to resign," the official said, insisting there were no fireworks during their meeting this afternoon. "It was a very amicable meeting," the official said.

The official noted there were frustrations with Barr that may have risen to the level of discussing firing Barr. But the official said this was a very different situation — not like when other secretaries have been fired, the official insisted. 

Trump had discussed firing Barr as recently as yesterday, a separate source said, despite how laudatory Barr’s resignation letter is. 

Here's a look at Barr's letter:

5:45 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

GOP senator says efforts to challenge Biden's win in Congress are "not going anywhere"

From CNN's Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Daniella Diaz 

Senate Majority Whip John Thune
Senate Majority Whip John Thune Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/AP/FILE

Senate Majority Whip John Thune said that Joe Biden is President-elect once he crosses 270 electoral votes and says efforts to challenge the results in Congress are “not going anywhere.” He said “it’s time for everybody to move on” after today.

Moments ago, Biden won electoral votes to officially clinch the presidency after California’s electors awarded him the state’s 55 electoral votes.

"Now that the electoral college has acted, are you prepared to call Biden President-elect?" CNN asked Thune today.

"Well I mean, once somebody gets 270, I understand they're ruling right now, but I think that's the process we have, yes," he replied.

Here's how the rest of the exchange went:

Q: You have no doubts?

Thune: "As soon as he crosses the 270 vote threshold, I mean there are still a couple of, I guess, last steps in the process, but in my view that's how in this country we decide presidential elections, that's our Constitution, and I believe in following the Constitution."

Q: Challenge electoral votes?

Thune: "It's their prerogative, it's allowed for in the Constitution, but it's not going anywhere. It's an opportunity for people to vent and protest, but in the end we have a clear way of determining a president, those steps have been adhered to, they've been followed, either the House can choose to do that, (inaudible)."

5:51 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

The Electoral College just confirmed Biden's victory. Here's what comes next.

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Monday's Electoral College vote is not the final step in the constitutional process of selecting a president. The votes cast on Monday are sent to Congress, where they will be counted on Jan. 6 in a joint session led by Vice President Mike Pence.

Many congressional Republicans who have refused thus far to say that Biden won the election have claimed they are waiting for Monday's Electoral College vote to certify the results. But some of Trump's staunchest House Republican allies are preparing for a floor fight when the votes are counted in Congress next month.

Lawmakers can dispute a state's election result when the votes are counted next month. But a challenge can only be considered if both a House member and a senator sign onto it. So far only House Republicans have said they will contest the results, although some GOP senators have suggested they are considering joining.

Even if a senator signs on to challenge the results, it's only delaying the inevitable. In that case, the House and Senate separately debate the matter for two hours and vote on it. Democrats control the House, and enough GOP senators have already said they reject Trump's claims of fraud that a challenge would not succeed there either.

After the state electors cast their ballots on Monday, those results will be certified and sent to Congress, the National Archives and to the courts.

On Jan. 20, a new president takes the oath of office at noon.

Read more about the next steps here.