W

November 07, 2020

Week 208

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This project could not have ended in a more perfect way (she writes while sipping champagne): Donald J. Trump was defeated shortly before noon on Saturday, the cutoff time each week, and so I was able to gloriously write “THE END” at the end of Week 208  — something I have been waiting to do for four long years.

This week, the U.S. held its election, and it was different than any other due to the pandemic and the resulting record early vote. It took days for the race to be called for Biden, as early votes were counted. Nonetheless, as he telegraphed he would do in the weeks and months leading up to November 3rd, Trump tried to steal the election, declaring victory at a hastily assembled news conference at 2 a.m. on election night.

As you read this week’s list, you can see the intent: dismantle the U.S. Postal Service so mail-in ballots mostly availed of by Democrats don’t arrive in time; have GOP state legislatures disallow early vote counting so Trump can claim a lead and declare victory on election night; and stack the courts so the judicial branch will determine the outcome. Thankfully, the American people voted in numbers too great for these plans to work, with a record 75 million Americans voting for the winning candidate, Joe Biden (with votes still to be counted).

As we leave the final weekly list, we enter the most dangerous phase of the pandemic so far. The week starts with Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx taking the unusual step of warning us publicly, ahead of the election, of the dire state of things. By week’s end the nation recorded daily record cases for three days in a row.

On an administrative note, I will continue to document broken norms until inauguration, although not in the weekly format of the past four years. They too will be recorded as part of our road map back to normalcy.

  1. On Saturday, in an interview with the Post, Dr. Anthony Fauci contradicted Trump, saying, “We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” and the nation must make an “abrupt change” in practices and behaviors.
  2. Fauci added, “All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”
  3. Fauci said the White House coronavirus task force meets infrequently, and he and Dr. Deborah Birx have little access to Trump, whose favored advisor is Dr. Scott Atlas. Fauci said of Atlas, “I have real problems with that guy.”
  4. Fauci noted while his communications with the American people has been limited by Trump, that when Trump was in Walter Reed Medical Center with the virus he called him. That was the last time they spoke.
  5. On Monday, WAPO reported in a White House coronavirus task force report, Dr. Birx warned, “We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic…leading to increasing mortality.”
  6. Birx contradicted Trump, who has repeatedly said the country is “rounding the turn.” She also said in the report that testing is “flat or declining” in many areas where cases are rising, again contradicting him and Atlas.
  7. The internal report called for “much more aggressive action,” including “uniform use of masks, physical distancing and hand washing with profound limitation on indoor gatherings” in order to save lives.
  8. On Saturday, pro-Trump protestors picketed Attorney General William Barr’s home in McLean, Virginia, demanding that he do more to prosecute Joe Biden and “lock him up.”
  9. On Saturday, NYT reported Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Bannon, and exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui worked to recreate the 2016 blueprint of using Hillary Clinton’s emails hacked by Russia in a plot on Hunter Biden.
  10. Also involved were former White House lawyer Stefan Passantino, White House official Eric Herschmann, Newt Gingrich, and conservative author Peter Schweizer, who in 2016 was backed by the Mercer family.
  11. The group was unable to replicate 2016 as Facebook and Twitter blocked context, some provocateurs like Roger Stone and Alex Jones no longer had platforms, and media companies including Fox News would not run it.
  12. On Saturday in North Carolina, Alamance County sheriff’s deputies and Graham police pepper-sprayed a group of people participating in a march to the polls, including a 5 year-old girl and other children.
  13. The racially diverse group of 200 people walked with a police escort, held a rally encouraging people to vote, and then held a moment of silence for George Floyd. When they did not clear, police sprayed and arrested some.
  14. On Saturday, Texas Tribune reported the F.B.I. is investigating the group of Trump supporters driving trucks and waving Trump flags that surrounded and followed a Biden bus on Friday. Kamala Harris was not on board.
  15. Late Saturday, Trump tweeted a video of the group, adding, “I LOVE TEXAS!” A Trump supporter tweeted, “We sent the @JoeBiden @KamalaHarris bus out of Hays! Your kind aren’t welcome here!”
  16. Biden described the Texas incident as an effort to run his his team “off the road.” The campaign was forced to cancel two campaign events due to the incident.
  17. On Sunday, Trump supporters in New York and New Jersey halted traffic on two major highways: supporters exited their vehicles and waved Trump banners and American flags as motorists honked for them to move.
  18. On Saturday, after Trump’s fourth and final rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, Trump flew away and again left thousands of supporters stranded in the 41-degree weather waiting for hours for buses to take them to their cars.
  19. On Sunday, Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller falsely claimed on “This Week” that Trump would have more electoral votes on election night, and that Democrats are “going to try to steal it back after the election.”
  20. Miller also baselessly added, “no matter what they try to do, what kind of hijinks or lawsuits or whatever kind of nonsense they try to pull off, we’re still going to have enough electoral votes” to get Trump elected.
  21. On Sunday, Atlas apologized after appearing in an interview with Russian state broadcaster RT from the White House, just days before the election, claiming he was unaware RT was a registered foreign agent.
  22. A senior White House official told CNN of the interview that Atlas “did it on his own without approval by the White House,” and did not have clearance from the Trump regime.
  23. In the 27-minute interview, Atlas made a serious of dubious claims, including questioning the effectiveness of masks, discouraging lockdowns, and discouraging testing of asymptomatic people.
  24. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump told confidants that he planned to declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he is “ahead,” even if the Electoral College outcome still hinged on uncounted votes.
  25. On Sunday, Trump held rallies in five states: Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida — the last one at 11 p.m. Trump started in Michigan, where he complained, “That wind is coming right into my face.”
  26. Ivanka made a rare appearance on the campaign trail, comparing her father to Winston Churchill. Trump joked it was so cold his supporters should wear face masks, saying, “today you should wear them anyway.”
  27. Trump discredited absentee ballots at a rally in Dubuque, Iowa, saying, “We should know the result of the election by the evening of November 3rd.” Nearly 100 million had voted early.
  28. At his rally in Rome, Georgia, Trump praised QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene who is running for Congress, saying she had his “full and complete endorsement.”
  29. After the rally, Trump departed for Florida, but his supporters were stranded for hours in chilly temperatures waiting for buses to take them to their cars.
  30. Later Sunday, asked about Axios’ reporting, Trump denied he would declare victory on Election Day, but complained about Supreme Court rulings in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, saying, “I think it was a terrible decision for our country.”
  31. Trump added, “I think it was a very dangerous decision for our country…you’re going to have one or two or three states, depending on how it ends up, where they’re tabulating ballots and the rest of the world is waiting.”
  32. Trump also baselessly added, “I think there’s great danger to it, and I think a lot of fraud and misuse can take place. I think it’s a terrible decision by the Supreme Court. A terrible decision.”
  33. Trump also threatened, “We don’t want to have Pennsylvania, where you have a political governor, a very partisan guy,” adding we do not want him to be able to “see if we can only find 10,000 more ballots.”
  34. Trump also threatened to send in his lawyers on Tuesday as soon as the election ends to review voting in swing states.
  35. Asked about the Axios report, Biden said Trump is “not going to steal this election.” Pennsylvania’s AG Josh Shapiro tweeted, “our elections are over when all the votes are counted,” and said they were ready for legal action.
  36. On Sunday, prominent Republican election law expert Benjamin Ginsberg wrote in an op-ed that, after failing, Trump’s “only solution has been to launch an all-out, multimillion-dollar effort to disenfranchise voters.”
  37. Ginsberg, who worked on elections for 38 years, wrote, “rather than producing conservative policies that appeal to suburban women, young voters or racial minorities, Republicans are trying to exclude their votes.”
  38. On Sunday, the all Republican Texas Supreme Court rejected Republican efforts to throw out 127,000 drive-thru votes in Harris County.
  39. On Sunday, Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the U.S. Post Office to adhere to its “extraordinary measures” policy, and ensure additional resources to ensure a timely delivery of ballots ahead of Election Day.
  40. Sullivan told the USPS to reissue internal directives on ballot collection and processing. Plaintiffs argued that delays could invalidate tens of thousands of ballots, particularly in 28 states that do not accept ballots received after November 3.
  41. Most of the districts that were underperforming were in swing states, including North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and states with close Senate races, Maine and South Carolina.
  42. The USPS says, nationally, it moved fewer ballots on time Saturday than on Friday, dropping from 93% to 91%. Scores have been steadily declining since Wednesday, when USPS reported moving 97% of ballots on time.
  43. Later Sunday, Trump quoted a tweet stating that the FBI in San Antonio was investigating his supporters involved with surrounding the Biden bus, adding, “In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong.”
  44. Trump added, “Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!”
  45. On Monday, Trump quoted a tweet about the FBI investigating the Texas incident, adding, “This story is FALSE. They did nothing wrong. But the ANTIFA Anarchists, Rioters and Looters…are being seriously looked at.”
  46. On Monday, a Nevada judge ruled against Republicans, saying ballot-counting measures in the state’s largest county, Clark County, were legal.
  47. On Monday, a federal judge rejected the GOP effort to invalidate 127,000 drive-thru ballots. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen said the conservative Texas activists who brought the lawsuit had no standing.
  48. Hanen questioned the timing, saying people had already voted and the GOP activists waited months. The activists said they would appeal. An additional 20,000 were expected to use drive-thru voting on Election Day.
  49. On Monday, a federal judge in Chicago blocked the Trump regime’s public charge rule, which would have denied green cards to immigrants who use food stamps or other public benefits.
  50. On Monday, a federal judge ordered USPS inspectors to sweep postal facilities for ballots on Tuesday, including six battleground states, to ensure they arrived in time for Election Day.
  51. The order came after court filings showed nearly 300,000 ballots had been scanned into the mail system since Oct. 24 but not delivered, including roughly 11,000 in Pennsylvania, 16,000 in Florida and 6,000 in Michigan.
  52. On Monday, Trump signed an executive order to establish the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission to advise him on how America’s founding story should be taught in schools.
  53. On Monday, NBC News reported a Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was vandalized with the letters T-R-U-M-P and M-A-G-A, discovered the day Trump visited for his final campaign rally.
  54. On Monday, retailers and other businesses boarded up their storefront windows in cities across the country over concerns about civil unrest related to the election.
  55. On Monday, Axios reported in a Saturday night off-the-record video call with top generals and network anchors, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley promised no military involvement in the election.
  56. On Monday, Trump made his closing pitch at rallies in must-win states North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, holding large, packed gatherings with few wearing face masks.
  57. In between rallies, he tweeted false, incendiary remarks: “Joe Biden is promising to delay the vaccine and turn America into a prison state — locking you in your home while letting far-left rioters roam free.”
  58. Trump also falsely claimed, “The Biden Lockdown will mean no school, no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgiving, no Christmas, no Fourth of July, and no future for America’s youth.”
  59. On Monday, at a rally in Florida, when Trump expressed frustration in the media covering the pandemic, and his supporters chanted, “Fire Fauci,” he said, “Don’t tell anybody but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”
  60. Trump could not fire Fauci directly, as he is not a political appointee, although theoretically he could pressure his bosses, Dr. Francis Collins, or Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to do so.
  61. Trump also mused about getting into a fight with Biden, saying, “Of all the people in the world I could fight that’s probably the one I’d like to most fight. Those legs have gotten very thin.”
  62. On Monday, in the evening, Trump tweeted, “the Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one,” falsely claiming, “It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating.”
  63. Trump added the ruling would “undermine our entire systems of laws” and “induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!” Twitter covered the tweet with a label, calling it “disputed” and “misleading.”
  64. Shortly after, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told CNN, “I have no idea what he’s talking about, but to say anything about inciting violence is completely inappropriate.”
  65. Later Monday, at a rally in Kenosha, Trump called the Supreme Court decision “very dangerous,” adding he “probably shouldn’t be speaking this way” against the high court.
  66. Trump said the decision on Pennsylvania was a deep disappointment, and added, “I guess it was a political decision.”
  67. Due to moves made by the GOP-led state legislatures in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, counting of early votes could not begin until November 3, all but ensuring the results would not be know on election night.
  68. On Monday, at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump falsely claimed he was “perhaps the most innocent man anywhere in the history of the United States.”
  69. Later Monday, on the eve of Election Day, 8-foot high “non-scalable” fencing was temporarily put up around the perimeter of the White House, where Trump planned to spend the majority of Election Day.
  70. On Tuesday, Election Day, Trump appeared on “Fox & Friends,” claiming he has a “solid chance of winning” the election, and insisting he will not “play games” in declaring victory, despite his earlier statements.
  71. Asked about the boarded up stores and buildings in New York City, Trump called it “very sad,” adding, “It’s a shame to watch it,” and “It’s a shame. No reason for it.” Trump however did not take any blame for his rhetoric.
  72. Trump also blamed rioting and looting on “wise guys, anarchists and agitators,” who he baselessly claimed was the result of “weak, weak leadership” in “Democrat-run cities” like Chicago, Portland, and Baltimore.
  73. Trump complained about Fox News, saying it “has changed a lot,” falsely claiming they “had Democrats on more than Republicans,” and adding, “I’m not complaining…But it’s one of the biggest differences this season.”
  74. Trump also complained that during his presidency, people have been “mean” to him, adding, “It’s been — you’ve dealt with horrible people,” and “You deal with people that are very deceptive.”
  75. Shortly after, at the Republican National Committee annex, Trump told reporters he had not given thought to a victory or concession speech, saying, “winning is easy. Losing is never easy, not for me it’s not.”
  76. Trump mused on the size of his recent rally crowds, falsely claiming of the airport rallies, “in the history of this country, probably in the history of the world, nobody has ever seen before.”
  77. On Tuesday, NYT reported a frazzled world held its breath for the election, as Trump shook up U.S. foreign policy in ways that benefited some and hurt other countries. The race was getting close coverage everywhere.
  78. Israeli leaders were pro-Trump, while Europe viewed a Trump victory as the U.S. giving up its leadership role in the western alliance. Ukraine realized it was vulnerable because of its dependence on the U.S.
  79. Chinese officials did not hold out hope Biden would usher in any improvement in relations. Russian media depicted American democracy as rotten to the core, with one tabloid predicting the possibility of civil war.
  80. On Tuesday, Reuters reported Deutsche Bank is looking for ways to sever ties with Trump after the election, citing the negative publicity over its connections. The bank had $340 million of loans outstanding to the Trump Organization.
  81. Deutsche considered selling the loans in the secondary market, but it was not clear there would be a buyer for the loans, and the attendant problems that come with them.
  82. On Tuesday, at a press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Amy Coney Barrett “an illegitimate Supreme Court justice,” noting she was installed “after 60 million Americans have voted.”
  83. On Tuesday, NBC News reported there were no signs of foreign interference affecting U.S. votes. A senior official said U.S. intelligence had quickly identified and addressed foreign election interference efforts.
  84. On Tuesday, the Trump campaign asked Pennsylvania counties for sensitive election security information. Cumberland County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said in his 16 years, he had “never seen anything like” it.
  85. On Tuesday, the U.S. surpassed 100 million early votes, a record, and double the 2016 early vote. The early vote comprised nearly 73% of the total 2016 vote.
  86. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump told advisers, “Man, it’s going to be embarrassing if I lose to this guy.” He drew encouragement from crowds at his rallies, with aides supporting the unsubstantiated notion he would win.
  87. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump was consulting with his family, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former aides Kellyanne Conway, Corey Lewandowski and Sara Sanders at night. He was cautiously optimistic.
  88. When Fox News called Arizona, a state Trump won in 2016, for Biden, Trump told his team to “get that result changed.” Campaign adviser Jason Miller tweeted, “WAY too soon to be calling Arizona.”
  89. Aides tried to prepare Trump that mail-in ballots would heavily favor Biden, and he demonized them for months, but when they started to come in that way, Trump blamed fraud and said the election was being stolen from him.
  90. At 2 a.m., Trump held an election night event in the East Room of the White House — again using the White House for a political event. Trump declared victory in the election, even though his notes did not say that.
  91. Trump said, “Frankly, we did win this election,” in comments that were roundly criticized and shocked the country and world. Even Meadows and Lewandowski, in the room, did not clap after the impromptu line.
  92. Trump lied that “a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise” his supporters, and lied “we were winning everything, and all of a sudden, it was just called off,” and lied “it’s also clear that we have won Georgia.”
  93. Trump claimed, “we have a lot of life” in Arizona, criticizing Fox for calling it for Biden, and added, “We’re winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous…” and “We are winning Michigan,” and then lied “we won” Michigan.
  94. No news organization had declared the winner. Millions of mail-in votes had yet to be counted, in part because Republican state lawmakers had insisted that counting not start until Election Day.
  95. Trump said, “we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” adding, “We want all voting to stop,” without an explanation of why. No elected official has the unilateral right to stop vote counting.
  96. Trump contradicted himself on vote counting, as he was gaining strength in Arizona as in person votes were counted, while Biden gained ground with mail-in votes. He won the state in 2016, but was at risk of losing.
  97. Trump strayed from the teleprompter to make unfounded claims about voting fraud, baselessly claiming, “We don’t want them to find any more ballots at 4 in the morning.”
  98. Vice President Mike Pence broke from Trump, noting that votes continued to be counted.
  99. Shortly after, Biden’s campaign manager said in a statement that Trump’s “statement tonight about trying to shut down the counting of duly cast ballots was outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect…It will not happen.”
  100. On Wednesday, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien vowed to demand a recount in Wisconsin after the state was called for Biden, baselessly citing “public polling used as a voter suppression tactic.”
  101. The Trump campaign said it would call for a recount in Wisconsin that Stepien said could stretch into the end of the month. Former Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, tweeted that the 20,000 vote margin was a “high hurdle.”
  102. On Wednesday, Trump campaign manager Stepien made unsubstantiated claims, saying, “Nevada as a state is very ripe with corruption,” but claimed the campaign felt good about its prospects.
  103. On Wednesday, the Trump campaign sued Michigan, claiming it “has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots.”
  104. On Wednesday, in a since deleted tweet, Matt Mackowiak, chair of Texas’ Travis County Republican Party, falsely claimed that Biden magically “found” votes in Michigan, as early votes were being counted.
  105. Trump quoted the tweet, lying, “They are working hard to make up 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear — ASAP. Likewise, Michigan and others!” Twitter covered the tweet with a label.
  106. In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign filed a notice of appeal in Philadelphia County, seeking to be allowed closer observation of the canvassing of ballots there.
  107. The Trump campaign also filed a motion to intervene with the Supreme Court over allowing mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania to be counted if received within three days of the election. The court refused to hear the case.
  108. Later Wednesday, the Trump campaign filed suit in the Superior Court of Chatham County in Georgia, asking that absentee ballots received after 7 p.m. on Election Day not be counted.
  109. On Wednesday, Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania State Senate called on Sec. Boockvar to resign, baselessly claiming she had taken numerous actions to undermine public confidence.
  110. Later Wednesday, after Wisconsin and Michigan were called for Biden, Trump tweeted, “We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers).”
  111. Trump continued, saying he claimed “the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan.” Twitter covered the tweet with a label.
  112. Trump also lied, tweeting, “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!”
  113. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump’s mood remained combative but hopeful for most of the day, believing he could pull off Georgia and Arizona. But by the evening, his optimism had faded.
  114. During the day, Wisconsin and Michigan were called for Biden, and Trump’s leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia evaporated. As the day ended, Trump believed he could lose, but the election was being “stolen from him.”
  115. On Wednesday, police arrested dozens of demonstrators in cities around the country after they showed up at polling places or elsewhere and to demand a tally of votes in the election.
  116. The protests came as Trump continued to baselessly claim that there were major problems with voting and counting of ballots. In Seattle, seven were arrested for damaging property.
  117. In Portland, police arrested 10 demonstrators protesting Trump casting doubt on the election, after damaging property. Others who were arrested had a rifle, knife and fireworks.
  118. In Detroit, a few dozen Trump supporters gathered at vote tabulation sites where early votes were being counted, holding signs that said “stop the steal” and “stop the cheat.”
  119. In Phoenix, at least two dozen Trump supporters gathered outside city hall in the morning, chanting, “Protect Our Vote.” Later, a larger crowd returned to a Maricopa County polling site center in the evening, some armed.
  120. The crowd of more than 300 gathered outside the Maricopa County site, chanting “count the votes” and “Fox News sucks” for calling Arizona. Later, vote counting was stopped to send poll workers home for safety.
  121. On Wednesday, Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham backed Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and election corruption on the Fox News show “Hannity.”
  122. Graham, who won re-election Tuesday, told host Sean Hannity “everything should be on the table” when asked whether the Pennsylvania State Legislature should invalidate the delegates that the states’ voters selected.
  123. On Wednesday, the U.S. surpassed 100,000 daily coronavirus cases, a record, with more than 1,100 daily deaths. More than 50,000 Americans with the virus were in hospitals.
  124. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “STOP THE COUNT!” as his path to victory narrowed with votes being counted in the remaining states Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina, and Alaska.
  125. On Thursday, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and senior Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski held a news conference outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center where votes are being counted.
  126. Bondi celebrated a court order allowing the Trump campaign to watch votes being counted, and falsely claimed, “We’ve won Pennsylvania, and we want every vote to be counted in a fair way,” falsely alleging voter fraud.
  127. Trump tweeted, “Big legal win in Pennsylvania!”after the state appellate court approved its request to force Philadelphia election officials to grant its election observers better access to watch ballots get counted.
  128. He also tweeted, “ANY VOTE THAT CAME IN AFTER ELECTION DAY WILL NOT BE COUNTED!” — which was flagged by Twitter as misleading. Notably if the count stopped, Biden would win, so his strategy was unclear.
  129. On Thursday, Trump watched television coverage, and got updates on legal challenges. He worked on a statement taking credit for Republican gains in the House and wins in the Senate, even while claiming election fraud.
  130. On a call with campaign surrogates, Trump falsely claimed, “We will be able to declare absolutely victory Friday afternoon when Arizona flips,” and asked that they be vocal on Trump’s unclear position.
  131. The Trump campaign said in a statement: “IF YOU COUNT THE LEGAL VOTES, I EASILY WIN THE ELECTION! IF YOU COUNT THE ILLEGAL AND LATE VOTES, THEY CAN STEAL THE ELECTION FROM US!”
  132. Trump’s close allies and family blasted Republicans not parroting Trump’s talking points. Eric Trump tweeted, “Our voters will never forget,” and Donald Jr. called for “2024 GOP hopefuls” to forcefully speak out.
  133. Trump allies Richard Grenell, the former acting DNI, and conservative Matt Schlapp held a news conference in Las Vegas, where they claimed there were illegal votes, but refused to provide information on their source.
  134. On Thursday, NBC News reported Defense Secretary Mark Esper had prepared his resignation letter, reportedly due to the fact he knew he was one of the cabinet members expected to be pushed out by Trump.
  135. On Thursday, Michigan Judge Cynthia Stephens denied the Trump campaign’s request for emergency relief to stop the counting of Michigan ballots until more poll challengers can observe.
  136. On Thursday, a Georgia judge in Chatham County court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Trump campaign over the state’s handling of absentee ballots, just hours after it was filed.
  137. Shortly after, Trump changed his message slightly after consulting with advisers, tweeting, “STOP THE FRAUD!” Twitter flagged his tweet as “misleading” about the election.
  138. On Thursday, the White House said it wanted a “James Baker-like” figure to lead its post-election battle. Baker, who led the effort in Bush v. Gore, said the White House should stop trying to end vote counting.
  139. On Thursday, a Facebook group called “Stop the Steal,” falsely accusing Democrats of “scheming” to steal the election with a plot to “nullify Republican votes,” grew rapidly, before being removed by Facebook.
  140. On Thursday, Reuters reported the U.S. Office of Special Counsel opened an investigation into allegations the Trump campaign used the White House as an Election Day command center, in violation of federal law.
  141. Later Thursday, Trump convened reporters at 6:45 p.m at the White House to make an address. He appeared subdued and deflated, making baseless claims about voter fraud, and vowing to continue a legal fight.
  142. Standing in front of the presidential seal, Trump lied, saying, “We’re hearing stories that are horror stories…We think there is going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence and so much proof.”
  143. Trump mocked mail-in ballots, and made several unsubstantiated claims, including states were making up ballots for Biden, and that they were counting ballots in a corrupt way, even though some counts benefited him.
  144. As he spoke, ABC, CBS, and NBC all cut away, citing a series of unproven claims. MSNBC anchor Brian Williams cut in to interrupt before the network cut away. Only CNN and Fox News broadcasted it live.
  145. NBC New anchor Lester Holt said, “We have to interrupt here, because the president has made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting. There has been no evidence of that.”
  146. CBS News fact-checked Trump’s assertions if “legal votes” were counted, he would easily win, citing no evidence of a substantive number of illegal votes cast, and his reference to votes arriving late was “another falsehood.”
  147. ABC News’ White House reporter John Karl said, “What he seems to be frustrated by is…that it takes time to count votes,” adding “It’s always taken time to count votes. But especially in this election.”
  148. Fox News’ White House reporter John Roberts said Trump believes “when all the votes are counted, the election is not going to to go his way, so he’s trying to plan an alternate route to retain the White House.”
  149. On Thursday, Twitter removed the account of former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon for posting a video that called for the beheading of FBI Director Christopher Wray and Fauci. YouTube removed the video.
  150. On Friday, William Burck, Bannon’s attorney, notified the court that he was withdrawing from defending him in a criminal case related to fraud charges for diverting donations meant for a border wall.
  151. On Thursday, WAPO reported USPS agency data showed more than 150,000 ballots were caught in the agency’s processing facilities as of Wednesday and not delivered by Election Day.
  152. The data showed the ballots included more than 12,000 in five of the states that had yet to be called in the election, including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
  153. The data also showed 39,000 ballots were processed Thursday, including 4,000 from the five states. Despite assurances of daily sweeps, the agency acknowledged in court filings that ballots were not delivered on time.
  154. Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said in a statement that the majority of the 150,000 ballots processed were headed to states with pre-Election Day postmarks which would allow them to be counted.
  155. Ballots were delivered to North Carolina (2,958 on Wednesday and 835 on Thursday), Nevada (4,518, 635), Pennsylvania (3,439, 1,459), and states that do not allow late ballots Arizona (864, 559) and Georgia (853, 610).
  156. On Thursday, two armed men were arrested outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center after police received a tip that Trump supporters from Virginia were heading there with an intent of “straightening things out.”
  157. On Friday, WAPO reported Opn Sesame, a Republican firm with ties to Trump, appeared to have helped send unmarked text messages that urged supporters in Philadelphia to converge outside the convention center.
  158. The text said, “ALERT: Radical Liberals & Dems are trying to steal this election from Trump!” adding, “We need YOU! Show your support at the corner of 12th St. & Arch St. in Philadelphia.”
  159. On Friday, LA Times reported a Los Angeles man was taken into custody by the FBI after allegedly threatening a mass shooting on social media if Biden was elected.
  160. On Friday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, announced the state would have a recount as requested by the Trump campaign because of the slim election margin of less than 0.5%.
  161. On Friday, NYT reported as votes were being counted in Georgia, a man working at a vote-counting site in Atlanta went into hiding after being wrongly accused of discarding a ballot by a Trump supporter on Twitter.
  162. On Friday, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, pressed on Fox News to produce specific claims of alleged voter fraud, cited none and asked the American people to “give us time” to produce evidence of irregularities.
  163. On Friday, the Anti-Defamation League urged Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy to block committee assignments for new members who have supported the QAnon conspiracy movement.
  164. On Friday, WSJ reported that while Trump said he would continue the legal battle, even as Biden was on the cusp of clinching the election, privately advisers are counseling him to prepare for the eventuality of losing.
  165. Trump named close confidant David Bossie to lead his legal team, although Bossie is not a lawyer. Aides said there was not enough planning ahead of Election Day, and the response had been haphazard.
  166. The campaign kicked off a fundraising drive for legal fees, including 15 text messages and dozens of emails to supporters. RNC Chair McDaniel called donors, and Sen. Graham donated $500,000.
  167. In a meeting on Thursday with White House counsel Pat Cipollone and others to go through legal options, the group concluded they had pursued every legal option so far to challenge the results or voting methods.
  168. Advisers said Trump will let the legal options play out before conceding the race. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who won re-election, said he would back Trump’s vote count challenges, but not his accusations of fraud.
  169. On Friday, Vanity Fair reported Trump did not consider in any serious way that he might lose ahead of the election. Trump has told allies he will never concede.
  170. Later Friday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ordered Pennsylvania election boards to separately count mail ballots that arrived after Election Day, but did not order the state to stop counting.
  171. On Friday, the U.S. set the third daily record in three days, surpassing 128,000 daily coronavirus cases, as the pandemic spread across the American heartland and reached into Florida and Texas. Illinois alone recorded 11,790 cases.
  172. On Friday, an AP analysis revealed of the 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita, 93% of those counties went for Trump in the election.
  173. On Friday, WAPO reported Westminster Management, an apartment company owed in part by Jared Kushner, submitted hundreds of eviction filings in court as the pandemic moratorium expired.
  174. As the week came to a close, there were 49,549,141 worldwide cases and 1,246,221 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 9,745,160 cases (19.7%), 236,360 deaths (19.0%), and a mortality rate of 2.4%.
  175. Later Friday, Bloomberg reported Meadows had tested positive for coronavirus. Campaign aides were frustrated that he did not issue a statement after testing positive Wednesday, and only told his inner-circle.
  176. Contact tracing by White House staff after the last outbreak did not include many aides who had crossed paths with Meadows at large events around Election Day, including a party at the White House that night.
  177. In addition to Meadows, at least five other White House officials have tested positive in recent days, including Cassidy Hutchinson, one of Meadows’s closest aides, and Charlton Boyd, an aide to Kushner.
  178. On Saturday, the Guardian reported multiple Rupert Murdoch-owned conservative media outlets, including WSJ, Fox News and the New York Post, have turned on Trump, urging him to act with “grace” and exit.
  179. On Saturday morning, Trump sent a series of inflammatory and false tweets on the elections. Four of his tweets were covered by Twitter with labels, calling his claims “disputed” and “misleading.”
  180. Trump tweeted, “Tens of thousands of votes were illegally received after 8 P.M. on Tuesday, Election Day, totally and easily changing the results in Pennsylvania and certain other razor thin states.” This is a lie.
  181. Trump also lied, tweeting, “hundreds of thousands of Votes were illegally not allowed to be OBSERVED. This would ALSO change the Election result in numerous States, including Pennsylvania.”
  182. Trump also lied, tweeting, “Bad things took place during those hours where LEGAL TRANSPARENCY was viciously & crudely not allowed. Tractors blocked doors & windows were covered with thick cardboard.”
  183. Trump also lied, tweeting, “observers could not see into the count rooms. BAD THINGS HAPPENED INSIDE. BIG CHANGES TOOK PLACE!”
  184. Trump also lied, tweeting, “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” This tweet was labelled by Twitter as “Official sources may not have called the race when this was Tweeted.”
  185. Trump also tweeted, “Big press conference today in Philadelphia at Four Seasons Total Landscaping — 11:30am!” There, Rudy Giuliani said Trump is “not going to concede when at least 600,000 ballots are in question.”
  186. Speaking in Philadelphia, Giuliani claimed he had statements from 25 watchers, and has spoken to a total of 50 with similar stories. “I could have brought about 50 with me.” Biden was leading by over 28,000 votes.
  187. Shortly after, in unison, the AP, CBS, CNN and NBC called the race for Biden, awarding him Pennsylvania. Biden crossed the 270 threshold for all media outlets, including some who had not yet awarded Arizona.
  188. Fox News called the race shortly after. Although a memo told anchors and other staffers not to call Biden the “President-elect” when the network calls the race, they did refer to Biden that way.
  189. As Biden was officially announced the winner, Trump was golfing at his Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Virginia, his 209th golf outing while in office.

THE END.

 

Copyright Amy Siskind November 7, 2020

Surplus election challengers yell behind windows at the central counting board, as police helped to keep additional challengers from entering due to overcrowding, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit.