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On the roster: GOP sound alarm in Georgia ahead of Senate runoffs - Biden announces first round of senior staff - Giuliani files to be front and center of Pa. lawsuit - Congress remains gridlocked by virus politics - Forgot to check the oxygen tank
GOP SOUND ALARM IN GEORGIA AHEAD OF SENATE RUNOFFS
WaPo: “Republican leaders are increasingly alarmed about the party’s ability to stave off Democratic challengers in Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections — and they privately described President Trump on a recent conference call as a political burden who despite his false claims of victory was the likely loser of the 2020 election. Those blunt assessments, which capture a Republican Party in turmoil as Trump refuses to concede to President-elect Joe Biden, were made on a Nov. 10 call with donors hosted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It featured Georgia’s embattled GOP incumbents, Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, and Karl Rove, a veteran strategist who is coordinating fundraising for the Jan. 5 runoffs. … Most striking was the way the senators nodded toward the likelihood of Biden’s presidency. While Trump keeps insisting that he won the election, making baseless claims of voter fraud and mounting legal challenges, Republicans on the call privately cast those efforts as an understandable but potentially futile protest.”
Georgia secretary of state faces off with Sen. Graham - WSJ: “Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested he throw out certain legal ballots during the recount of the presidential race, an allegation that Mr. Graham denied. Mr. Raffensperger said in an interview Monday that Mr. Graham of South Carolina asked if absentee ballots could be disqualified from counties with higher rates of signature errors. ‘He just took it in a direction that I didn’t expect it to go,’ Mr. Raffensperger told the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Raffensperger said that when he was contacted by Mr. Graham Friday, he thought the senator was calling about the state’s two senate races. After an initial conversation, Mr. Graham called back again and brought up the idea of invalidating absentee ballots from counties with higher rates of signature errors, Mr. Raffensperger said, adding that he had staffers with him on that call.”
But the recount continues with 2,600 new votes uncovered - AJC: “A recount in Georgia’s presidential race found more than 2,600 ballots in Floyd County that hadn’t originally been tallied, likely helping President Donald Trump reduce his 14,000-vote deficit to Joe Biden. Trump could gain nearly 800 net votes from the discovered ballots. There were 1,643 new votes for Trump and 865 for Biden. The problem occurred because county election officials didn’t upload votes from a memory card in an ballot scanning machine, said Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager. He called it ‘an amazing blunder’ and said the county’s elections director should resign. ‘It’s not an equipment issue. It’s a person not executing their job properly,’ Sterling said. ‘This is the kind of situation that requires a change at the top of their management side.’”
Manual recount won’t replace official election results - AJC: “Georgia election officials said Tuesday they no longer intend to make the results of the state’s manual recount the official tally in the presidential race. The decision leaves little chance for election results to change much after the recount concludes Wednesday. Joe Biden led President Donald Trump by 14,000 votes, according to unofficial results. The change came after lawyers for the secretary of state’s office reviewed Georgia law and concluded that the new hand count shouldn’t replace the original machine count of scanned ballots, said Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager. The recount, ordered by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger last week, is moving forward under a law calling for the first statewide audit of an election.”
THE RULEBOOK: SEPARATE AND DISTINCT
“The several departments of power are distributed and blended in such a manner as at once to destroy all symmetry and beauty of form, and to expose some of the essential parts of the edifice to the danger of being crushed by the disproportionate weight of other parts.” – James Madison, writing about the branches of government, Federalist No. 47
TIME OUT: WELCOME TO WASHINGTON
LOC: “On this day  years ago, Congress met in the Capitol Building for the first time. The Sixth Congress established the residence of the Congress and seat of the United States government in Washington, D.C. with the move on November 17, 1800. The newly established United States had nine capitals between 1776 and 1800: Philadelphia, Baltimore, Lancaster, York, Princeton, Annapolis, Trenton, New York, and finally Washington, D.C. The U.S. Senate history includes a chronological table of the capitals and summarizes a book by Robert Forenbaugh called ‘The Nine Capitals of the United States.’ … Congress 1, Session 2, Chapter 28 is named, ‘An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government of the United States’ (July 16, 1790). This act (later named the Residence Act or Permanent Seat of Government Act of 1790) established Philadelphia as the seat of government from 1790-1800 and then relocated Congress to Washington, D.C. in 1800. The Capitol was completed in 1826 and has since had extensions that have dramatically changed its physical appearance.”
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GOT A WILD PITCH? READY TO THROW A FASTBALL?
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BIDEN ANNOUNCES FIRST ROUND OF SENIOR STAFF
CNBC: “President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his first slate of senior White House staff, choosing a mix of longtime Biden loyalists and rising Democratic stars. The overall makeup of the top staff is notable for its lack of well-known progressives, suggesting that Biden intends to oversee a more cautious, traditional West Wing than some in the Democratic Party might have hoped. Veteran Biden advisor Mike Donilon was named senior advisor to the president. … Jen O’Malley Dillon, who managed Biden’s victorious campaign, will serve as White House deputy chief of staff. … Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond will be senior advisor to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. … Former Biden campaign chairman Steve Ricchetti will be senior counselor to the president, the Biden team announced. Ricchetti is a career Democratic political aide who served as Biden’s chief of staff during the Obama administration.”
Progressive group slams two of Biden's White House appointees as ‘corporate-friendly insiders’ - Fox News: “Progressive Democrats on Tuesday slammed President-elect Joe Biden’s appointments of Rep. Cedric Richmond and Steve Ricchetti to White House posts, calling them ‘unacceptable.’ Justice Democrats executive director Alexandra Rojas blasted Biden’s appointments of Richmond, D-La., as senior adviser in the White House Office of Public Engagement, and of Ricchetti as counselor to the president, claiming they were ‘corporate-friendly insiders.’ … ‘A Biden administration dominated by corporate-friendly insiders like Steve Ricchetti and Cedric Richmond will not help the President-elect usher in the most progressive Democratic administration in generations.’ Rojas slammed Ricchetti, a longtime Biden adviser and Biden-Harris campaign chairman, saying that, as a former pharmaceutical lobbyist, he ‘represented groups vociferous opposed to Medicare For All and the public manufacturing of prescription drugs.’”
Report: Biden doesn’t want presidency consumed with investigations - National Review: “NBC News reports, ‘President-elect Joe Biden has privately told advisers that he doesn’t want his presidency to be consumed by investigations of his predecessor’ and that Biden ‘has raised concerns that investigations would further divide a country he is trying to unite and risk making every day of his presidency about Trump.’ We can learn a lot from who is surprised by this and who is bothered or outraged by this. If Donald Trump or any member of his family sees the inside of a courtroom after his presidency, the only way any criminal charges stick is if the prosecutor has absolutely no ties to the Biden administration or the Democratic Party. Trump will argue he’s the target of a political vendetta. Any Biden administration Department of Justice is already hobbled by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ campaign-trail declaration that if she was elected president, the Justice Department ‘would have no choice and that they should’ go forward with obstruction of justice charges against Trump once he’s out of office.”
GIULIANI FILES TO BE FRONT AND CENTER OF PA. LAWSUIT
Bloomberg: “Rudy Giuliani, the lawyer picked by President Donald Trump to lead his post-election legal battles, sought court permission to appear for the Trump campaign in its lawsuit to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania. Giuliani filed an application to join the case hours before a hearing is set to start before U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. … Brann, an appointee of President Barack Obama, will hear arguments on Pennsylvania’s motion to dismiss the suit, which seeks to block the state from certifying the election result unless thousands of mail-in ballots from Democratic-leaning counties are tossed out. … It’s not clear if Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and a onetime federal prosecutor, wants to actually argue before Brann. … Giuliani discussed the case on Fox News Tuesday morning, saying the Williamsport case would be the campaign’s ‘first established vehicle’ to get its election claims before the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Trump legal team faces another shake-up - Politico: “The game of musical chairs among lawyers pursuing President Donald Trump’s court challenges to the election results continued on Monday evening, as the campaign tried to replace the entire team handling the campaign’s federal lawsuit seeking to block certification of Pennsylvania’s results. A court filing said Marc Scaringi, a Harrisburg, Pa., attorney, conservative talk radio host and former Senate candidate, was taking over the case. … The legal escapade devolved into farce on Monday night as the federal judge rejected a move by the campaign to postpone that key hearing. Less than 90 minutes after the outgoing attorneys for the campaign assured U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann that ‘Scaringi is aware of the schedule set by the Court in this matter and will be prepared to proceed according to that schedule,’ Scaringi asked the judge to put off the session, arguing that he was inadequately prepared.”
Where election-related lawsuits stand - CBS News: “Since Election Day, the number of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and Republican voters in an effort to halt the certification of election results has swelled to more than a dozen, with the legal battles focused on a handful of key battleground states where Mr. Trump lost. … On Monday, four different cases brought by voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia who sought to exclude some counties from being included in state certification of the election were voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs. All four voter groups were represented by conservative elections lawyer James Bopp, Jr., who declined to say why the cases were dismissed. … The increasingly steep climb to victory hasn't stopped Mr. Trump from making unsubstantiated assertions that he won the election or claiming it was rigged against him, despite the absence of any evidence to support his allegations.”
Trump’s stalling freezes the 2024 field - Politico: “While Trump’s loss was supposed to trigger a Republican Party reset, his flirtation with a 2024 bid ensures he’ll remain the dominant force in the party and cast a shadow over anyone looking to succeed him. Even the possibility of Trump running again will impede other Republicans from laying groundwork for their own bids — lest they upset Trump and his tens of millions of supporters, many of whom are convinced the election was stolen. … Those who’ve worked for Trump — Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley — are in perhaps the toughest spot of all. Each would have to maneuver around the soon-to-be-former president after spending the last four years aligning themselves with him.”
CONGRESS REMAINS GRIDLOCKED BY VIRUS POLITICS
AP: “With the nation gripped by a resurgent coronavirus and looking to Washington for help, President Donald Trump and lawmakers in Congress have a message for struggling Americans: Just keep waiting. The urgency of the nationwide surge in virus cases, spiking hospitalizations and increasing death tolls has hardly resonated in the nation’s capital as its leaders are vexed by transition politics and trying to capitalize on the promise of a coming vaccine. The virus has killed more than 247,000 Americans this year and infected at least 11.1 million — some 1 million of them in just the past week. Yet in Congress, where talks over economic relief bills stalled out months ago, lame-duck approval of aid is hardly front-of-mind. Across town at the White House, Trump is more focused on getting credit for the vaccine development push and blocking President-elect Joe Biden from getting the information needed to ensure the new administration can smoothly take over the fight against the pandemic.”
Pergram: A coronavirus bill will likely wait until next year, despite a burgeoning crisis - Fox News: “…[The] prospects of a coronavirus deal during the lame-duck Congress are dim. COVID-19 pulses. And it hasn’t altered the political landscape on Capitol Hill. … The wild convulsions of Trump and his position on a coronavirus bill at any one time was like playing a video game. That made negotiating a package a near impossibility. Also, the House and Senate must come to an agreement to fund the government by Dec. 11. And waiting in the wings is the annual defense policy bill. The House and Senate must resolve their differences in the legislation. But both versions of the bill would rename military bases and facilities named after Confederates. Trump has threatened a veto of the legislation. That veto warning is important. Especially in the context of a coronavirus bill.”
Four years later, what’s next for Mike Pence? - Politico
Gov. Newsom faces backlash after reports of dinner party breaking virus rules - Politico
Sen. Chuck Grassley to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure - Fox News
2022 New Hampshire Senate election fight already underway - Fox News
AUDIBLE: BIG TECH IRE
“You're the ultimate editor.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.
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FORGOT TO CHECK THE OXYGEN TANK
KRCR: “A Shasta County man charged in a major Ponzi scheme dove into Shasta Lake in a submersible while fleeing law enforcement, the U.S. Attorney's Office says. 44-year-old Matthew Piercey, who owns two investment companies, was indicted for the $35 million-dollar Ponzi scheme on Nov. 12. When FBI agents tried to arrest the Palo Cedro man in Redding Monday, he drove off, leading authorities on a chase through neighborhoods and northbound Interstate 5. He then abandoned his car and tried to escape by diving into Shasta Lake in an underwater submersible vehicle, according to court documents. He didn’t make it that far and was arrested when he came out of the water 25 minutes later, authorities say. Piercey is charged with wire fraud, money laundering and witness tampering.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The search for logic in anti-Americanism is fruitless. It is in the air the world breathes. Its roots are envy and self-loathing — by peoples who, yearning for modernity but having failed at it, find their one satisfaction in despising modernity's great exemplar.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on Nov. 9, 2003.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.