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US election 2020: Biden moves forward with transition plans – BBC News

Live Reporting

Edited by Tom Spender

All times stated are UK

  1. A boost for global climate efforts

    Matt McGrath

    Environment correspondent, BBC News, Paris

    glacier in Qilian mountains, China

    Copyright: Reuters

    Image caption: Scientists say glaciers in western China are melting rapidly

    Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords took effect on 4 November – the day after the election.

    A month after the Biden administration informs the United Nations of its decision to re-join, the US will once again be part of the global effort to curb climate change – much to the delight of climate diplomats.

    “It would definitely be a positive move, not only because they are a big player, but I think because it really emphasises the fact that the US believes in the science of climate change,” says Carlos Fuller, the lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States in annual UN climate meetings.

    These annual conference-of-the-parties meetings are the mechanism by which countries agree to lower their carbon emissions. And US leadership is absolutely critical for this process.

    With China, Japan and South Korea having set long-term goals to cut carbon, expectations are rising that the UN’s COP26 climate summit, which convenes in Glasgow in November 2021, may turn out to be a success.

    Read more

  2. Trudeau reflects on ‘unpredictable’ Trump

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he welcomes working with Joe Biden – and at the same time reflected on the “unpredictable” nature of incumbent Donald Trump.

    Talking to the Financial Times, Trudeau said: “I look forward to being able to talk with the new president
    about climate change, about some of our priorities.”

    He added: “My job is to work with whoever Americans elect and we’ve been able to do it for the past four years.”

    The PM said during that time the free trade agreement with the US had been reworked “even with an American president who was – is – a little bit unpredictable and protectionistic”.

    The relationship between the two has been rocky at times. A video at a summit last year appeared to show Trudeau mocking Trump, after which the US president labelled the Canadian leader “two-faced”.

    Video content

    Video caption: Trudeau on Trump at the 2019 Nato summit
  3. Could this be Biden’s right-hand man?

    Antony Blinken

    Copyright: Reuters

    Image caption: Antony Blinken – the man to help mend fences?

    One name that keeps cropping up – in US media at least – for a major role in the Biden administration is that of Antony Blinken.

    Joe Biden hasn’t gone public with cabinet possibilities but Blinken has the benefit of experience and a close relationship with the president-elect.

    He served under Barack Obama as second-in-command at the state department so could step up one place there, or maybe fill the national security adviser role.

    His past suggests his main task would be to mend ties with foreign allies who may feel they have been rebuffed under Donald Trump. Last month, Blinken told Reuters news agency that despite the “burden”, it was up to the US to play a world leadership role.

    But Biden may need to be careful not to re-employ all the ex-Obama crew. Democrats more to the left claim a big part in the election success and may insist greater change is needed.

  4. ‘Dictator moves’ and an ‘epidemic of delusion’

    So what headlines are Americans waking up to? Here’s a look at how the latest election developments are being reported by US news websites:

    • Alarm grows over Trump’s ‘dictator moves’ writes CNN, pointing to the appointment of Trump loyalists to the Department of Defense, which has sparked security concerns among several senators, and the president’s refusal to accept defeat
    • Fox News is reporting that while Joe Biden is the projected winner and president-elect, a shift among Hispanic voters to Donald Trump, particularly in Florida, has meant that Biden was unable to achieve the sort of landslide victory that Democrats had hoped for
    • Focusing on the Trump administration’s lawsuits, the New York Times says its reporters contacted election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties. It says that in each instance they were told that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities had played a role in the outcome of the presidential race
    • The Wall Street Journal leads on the standoff between the Trump administration and Biden’s transition teams. Its report details how Biden’s staff are unable to view detailed classified information or send representatives to embed with government agencies. It adds that a transition delay could hamper Biden’s selection of cabinet officials because the ability to conduct background investigations for security clearances is frozen
    • This is also the focus of the Huffington Post‘s top story, calling the failure of the Trump administration to recognise defeat an “epidemic of delusion”. It warns, though, that the delay by the General Services Administration – the agency tasked with co-ordinating funding and access to federal agencies for incoming administrations – in recognising Biden’s projected win is unlikely to end soon
  5. Reality Check

    The legal challenges Trump is planning

    Democrat Joe Biden has been declared president-elect, but President Donald Trump is challenging the result, alleging electoral fraud.

    The Trump campaign – yet to provide any strong evidence of fraud – is pursuing lawsuits in several key states.

    Individual states would usually handle any such lawsuits, but US attorney general William Barr has allowed federal prosecutors to probe the allegations.

    In Pennsylvania, for instance, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit alleging a lack of access for poll watchers in the state.

    In some areas this year, there were restrictions put in place before election day, in part due to coronavirus. There were also capacity limits set to avoid intimidation.

    The legal challenge in Pennsylvania also centres on the state’s decision to count ballots that are postmarked by election day but arrived up to three days later.

    Read on

  6. Fake rumour over Biden’s inauguration guest list

    Shruti Menon

    BBC Reality Check, Delhi

    Workers continue construction of the platform and surrounding area for the US Presidential inauguration ceremony, on the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 09 November 2020

    Copyright: Reuters

    Image caption: A platform is beng erected at the US Capitol for the inauguration on 20 January

    As preparations for a Biden presidency gain momentum in the US, there will inevitably be interest in who the president-elect will be inviting as VIP guests to his inauguration in January.

    In India, this has prompted widespread social media speculation, not least because of Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris’s Indian heritage (her mother was born in the southern state of Tamil Nadu).

    Several users on Twitter and Facebook have been saying former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh – now a senior figure in India’s main opposition party – has been invited as the “chief guest” to the inauguration.

    We reached out to Singh’s office and received the response that it was “fake news” that he’d received any invitation.

    But the false claim has been widely shared on social media, including by many members of Singh’s Congress party.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi – who has had a good working relationship with Donald Trump – has congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory.

    According to the New York Times the body that organises the inaugural ceremony has not yet put out a list of invitees.

  7. What about TikTok?

    TikTok

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Chinese video service TikTok has begun a legal challenge against the Trump administration over plans to shut it down in the US on Thursday.

    President Trump ordered a ban on new downloads of the viral video service on that date unless ByteDance – TikTok’s owner – was purchased by a US firm.

    TikTok said it had worked since August attempting to comply in “good faith” with the order, issued amid security concerns.

    It said it had had no feedback from the US government in two months.

    With Joe Biden projected to have won the presidency and expected to take over in January, TikTok is likely to be questioning whether the Democrat will have a different approach to Chinese firms working in the US.

    However, in September, Biden told reporters at a campaign stop in Minnesota that TikTok could prove to be a security risk.

    “I think that it’s a matter of genuine concern that TikTok, a Chinese operation, has access to over 100 million young people, particularly in the United States of America,” he said.

  8. ‘I’m her partner, I’m her best friend and I’m her husband’

    Democratic Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris and husband Douglas Emhoff

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Image caption: Kamala Harris with her husband Douglas Emhoff

    Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris’s husband has said he is quitting his law firm to focus on supporting his wife in a role at the White House.

    Doug Emhoff, 56, will officially leave his job before inauguration day – 20 January – as he makes history as America’s first “second gentleman”, a spokesman said.

    Emhoff, who took leave of absence from his work in August when Harris was announced the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, is already working with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to establish what duties he will focus on, the Associated Press reports.

    The move marks a new chapter in political marriages.

    “I want more women in office, and I want more partners, whoever their partner is, to support them and to provide an opportunity and an environment for success,” Emhoff said in an interview last month.

    He told People magazine: “I’m her partner, I’m her best friend and I’m her husband. And that’s what I’m here for. I’m here to have her back.”

  9. How women are changing the face of US politics

    BBC image

    Copyright: BBC

    Women, who make up just over half of the US population, currently make up just under a quarter of Congress’ two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    However, when the 117th congressional term begins in January, an unprecedented 135 women, possibly more, will serve across both houses – with 103 Democrats and 32 Republicans voted in so far, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics.

    Women will take up just over a quarter of the 535 seats – 25.2% – up from the current 23.7%.

    These totals could rise further, though, with the results of a number of contests still outstanding, the BBC’s Lucy Rodgers reports.

    Read more

  10. The vote in maps and charts

    Biden is currently projected to have 279 electoral college votes, taking him past the magic number of 270, and Trump has 214.

    To understand how the votes break down, and explore the context, take a look at our freshly updated interactive maps and charts.

    BBC graphics

    Copyright: BBC

  11. Pentagon changes alarm Democrats

    Mark Esper speaks during a joint news conference with Britain

    Copyright: Reuters

    Image caption: President Trump sacked Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Monday

    Democratic members of Congress are expressing concern over the appointment of Trump loyalists at the upper echelons of the Department of Defense, following the sacking of Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Monday.

    Senator Chris Murphy tweeted that the administration was “compromising our nation’s security so that [Trump] can install stooges”.

    Congressman Adam Smith said it was hard to overstate how dangerous the high-level turnover at the Department of Defense was during a presidential transition period.

    James Anderson, the top policy adviser at the Pentagon, submitted his resignation on Tuesday. Anderson had been the acting undersecretary for policy since June.

    Analysts have said the new appointments at the department have swept decades of experience out of the Pentagon.

  12. Why not everyone took Pompeo’s remark seriously

    A lot of attention has been drawn to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments during a press conference that there would be “a
    smooth transition to a second Trump administration”, despite projections that the next president is Joe Biden.

    Pompeo made the remark in response to a question about whether a delay in engaging with Biden’s transition teams could pose a risk to national security.

    Asked later by Fox News what he meant, Pompeo said: “We’ll have a smooth transition, and we’ll see what the people ultimately decided when all the votes have been cast.

    “I am very confident that we will have a good transition, that we will make sure that whoever is in office on noon on 20 January has all the tools readily available so that we don’t skip a beat with the capacity to keep Americans safe.”

    Correspondents in the US are suggesting that Pompeo’s original remark was made in jest, in the knowledge that Donald Trump would have likely enjoyed it.

    “That’s why Mike was number one in his class at West Point!” Trump tweeted following Pompeo’s press conference.

    The editor-in-chief of the political news website The Dispatch, Jonah Goldberg, tweeted: “Pompeo knew Trump wouldn’t think it was a joke. He said it anyway.”

    Yair Rosenberg, a writer for Tablet Magazine, said: “From the full clip, you can see Pompeo was trying — badly — to make a joke.”

    Watch the clip below and judge for yourself.

    Video content

    Video caption: Republicans decline to acknowledge Biden victory
  13. Could Trump pull a Grover Cleveland in 2024?

    Jessica Murphy, BBC News, Montreal

    Donald Trump, 7 November

    Copyright: Reuters

    It may not be the end of Donald Trump’s political ambitions – he could always pull a Grover Cleveland and run for a second term.

    Cleveland is the only president to leave the White House and return four years later, taking on the top job in 1885 and then again in 1893.

    The US Constitution stipulates that “no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice”, but there’s nothing about terms needing to be consecutive.

    And former aides have suggested Trump may seek to do just that.

    “I would absolutely put him on the shortlist of people who are likely to run in 2024,” former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney recently said.

    Read on

  14. Reality Check

    How the dead (didn’t get a) vote in Michigan

    BBC image

    Copyright: BBC

    As Trump continues to dispute the result of the election, false or misleading posts have been spreading on social media.

    Some have been amplified by Trump and his team, who have called into question the integrity of the election without providing evidence.

    Viral tweets alleged that dead people were casting votes in the key state of Michigan, adding to a Trump-led chorus of unproven “voter fraud” claims.

    Michigan authorities have hit back, calling the rumours “misinformation” – and noting that votes from dead people are rejected.

    Read more on this and the other claims

  15. ‘I understand the sense of loss’: Biden on Trump supporters

    As we reported earlier, US President-elect Joe Biden has said it is an “embarrassment” that Donald Trump has not yet accepted defeat in the presidential election. “It will not help the president’s legacy,” Biden said during questions after a speech on Tuesday.

    In the same remarks, Biden said he understood what Trump voters were feeling.

    Video content

    Video caption: Joe Biden: ‘Embarrassment’ that Trump has not conceded election
  16. Is it unusual for the networks to call the result?

    creens show Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden delivering a speech after news media announced that he has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, at Sam

    Copyright: Reuters

    Donald Trump and his supporters have said that one of the reasons for refusing
    to admit his loss to Joe Biden is that television networks called the
    results of this election before all votes were counted.

    But it is normal for major networks to report on the winner of the US
    presidential election ahead of counts being officially certified in each of the
    states. In fact, as happens every four years, US media have again this
    year projected the election victor.

    This is because a point will be reached in each state where
    the number of people voting for a certain candidate will be sufficiently high
    that the rival candidate will be unable to take the lead with the remaining ballots.

    In the US electoral system, each state gets a certain number of electoral college votes
    partly based on its population and there are a total of 538, so the winner is
    the candidate who gains 270 or more.

    In this election, Biden is so far projected to have won 279,
    while Trump is projected to have won 214.

  17. Trump ’embarrassment’ and other headlines

    Here is a recap of some of the latest developments:

    • Biden has said Trump’s refusal to admit defeat is “an embarrassment” and “will not help the president’s
      legacy”. The Democrat has insisted that nothing will stop the transfer
      of power at the White House on 20 January
    • When asked by a reporter whether a delay in engaging with
      Biden’s transition team could pose a threat to national security, Secretary of
      State Mike Pompeo said there would be “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration“. “We’re ready, the world is watching… we’re going to count all
      the votes,” he added
    • The General Services Administration (GSA), which co-ordinates
      funding and access to federal departments for incoming administrations, has so
      far declined to formally recognise Biden as president-elect. In a statement, the
      GSA says it “ascertains the apparent successful candidate once a
      winner is clear based on the process laid out in the Constitution”
    • In his first official public engagement since a
      press conference last Thursday, Trump will today lay a memorial wreath at
      the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, to
      mark Veterans Day
  18. ‘Just let it go’: Trump supporters’ views

    Trump supporters in rural Pennsylvania have been sharing their thoughts on what should happen next.

    Video content

    Video caption: US Elections: ‘I think we can all get along’
  19. Biden announces transition team

    President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Image caption: President-elect Joe Biden with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris

    The Biden camp has announced
    the teams it will use to ensure a smooth transition to his presidency in
    January.

    It revealed on its website the names of some 500 appointees who will
    work with the various federal agencies to prepare for a Biden move into the White House on 20 January.

    The move is a clear projection of
    confidence in the transition despite Trump’s continuing refusal to accept
    defeat.

    “The
    agency review process will help lay the foundation for meeting these challenges
    on Day One,” former Senator Ted Kaufman, one of the chairs of the Biden
    transition, was quoted as saying by CNN.

    “The
    work of the agency review teams is critical for protecting national security,
    addressing the ongoing public health crisis, and demonstrating that America
    remains the beacon of democracy for the world.”

    The team has said it believes it can begin to make the necessary
    arrangements for a Biden administration even though it has not yet been granted
    full access to departments.

    For that, the General Services Administration – which co-ordinates
    funding and access to federal departments for incoming administrations – would
    have to recognise Biden’s victory. As yet, it has not done so. Its
    administrator, Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee, has said the body is waiting to “ascertain” a clear winner “based on the process laid out in the Constitution”.

    The Biden team is reportedly preparing for legal action if
    the Trump administration continues to stall the handover.

  20. Welcome to our live coverage

    The Washington monument, near the White House in Washington, US

    Copyright: Reuters

    Good morning and welcome to our live coverage.

    It’s been
    more than a week since election day in the US.

    Democrat Joe Biden was
    announced the projected winner on Saturday after teams of analysts and experts
    agreed he had obtained an unassailable lead. Since then, a string of world
    leaders – including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson – have congratulated him on
    his victory.

    But Republican President
    Donald Trump is refusing to admit his loss and several legal battles are under
    way to investigate alleged fraud.

    Now Republicans –
    even those who at first kept quiet – have been coming out to back him as he
    digs his heels in.

    So how will this
    presidential election unfold?

    We will bring you
    all the latest updates throughout the day.

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