President Trump is “seriously” considering a 2024 bid for president and has “100%” mentioned it in conversations with his top advisers in recent days, a Trump campaign senior adviser and a Trump ally told CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga and digital politics reporter Grace Segers.
CBS News previously reported that while no decisions have been made, Trump advisers have been actively working to keep the president’s options open as they begin to plan his political future. However, the president plans to exhaust his legal options before any decisions are made.
Republican Senator Kevin Cramer called Mr. Trump last week to convey his support for the president’s efforts to contest the election results, as first reported by Politico. An official close to Cramer said that Mr. Trump told the North Dakota lawmaker, “If this doesn’t work out, I’ll just run again in four years.”
Despite these private comments, Mr. Trump has publicly refused to concede the election. He has repeatedly cast doubts about the legitimacy of the contest, even as his administration officials have called this the most secure election in history. The president has even claimed that he won the election, though President-elect Joe Biden has been projected to win, with 306 electoral votes to Mr. Trump’s 232. Most Republican lawmakers have also declined to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory.
Mr. Trump’s campaign has launched several lawsuits in critical states which supported Mr. Biden, although the majority of these lawsuits have so far been unsuccessful. The federal agency that oversees the presidential transition, the General Services Administration, has yet to formally kickstart the transition process. This has not stopped Mr. Biden from beginning the transition, albeit without federal support.
PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN
President-elect Joe Biden announced key new appointments to his White House team Tuesday, filling top positions with longtime aides and senior campaign staff, reportsCBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson.
Among them is Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond, an early Biden supporter who will be heading the White House office of public engagement, and Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, has been named deputy chief of staff.
The president-elect has forged ahead with laying the groundwork for his transition, despite President Trump’s refusal to concede the election and allow the transition to proceed.
Mr. Biden acknowledged the days-long delay as he convened a panel of outside national security experts virtually in Wilmington on Tuesday.
“You know that I’ve been unable to get the briefings that ordinarily would have come by now,” the president-elect told the group, adding that he had spoken to some 13 heads of state so far. CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin reports the president-elect has so far received only the lower-level intelligence briefings typically given to presidential candidates and spoken with foreign leaders without the support traditionally provided by the State Department.
Mr. Biden’s team later said the leaders of Chile, India, Israel, and South Africa had called Tuesday to offer their congratulations.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made her first appearance on Capitol Hill today since she and Mr. Biden won the election, according to CBS News campaign reporter Tim Perry. On the Hill, Harris, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, received an intelligence briefing, her Senate office told Perry.
During a joint appearance in Wilmington yesterday, the president-elect was asked about his transition options while President Trump refuses to concede the election. Biden said of Harris, “The good news is my colleague is still on the Intelligence Committee. She gets intelligence — which I don’t.”
Harris also voted against the confirmation of Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, which failed in the Senate.
DID YOU HEAR THAT?
For those who lived through it, the presidential election of 2000 might seem comparable to what is going on now. It is not.
Then, fewer than 600 votes in Florida separated George W. Bush and Al Gore. Voter intent was in dispute (hanging chads anyone?). The election hung on the outcome of the vote in one state.
Today, thousands – and in some cases tens of thousands of votes — separate President-elect Biden and President Trump in several states. Voter intent is well-established. President Trump’s legal challenges are themselves challenged — most on account of non-existent facts. Mr. Biden maintains a commanding lead in the electoral college and will be sworn in as president at noon on January 20, 2021. Mr. Trump need not concede.
Since our country’s founding, we have had our share of legitimately contested elections. 2020 is hardly one of them. This week on “The Debrief,” CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett explores the history of too-close-to-call presidential races and how America has resolved democratic disputes far more complicated than the 2020 election.
During a press conference Tuesday, Georgia’s voting systems implementation manager Gabriel Sterling told reporters more than 2,700 votes were found on a memory card that were initially scanned but hadn’t been reconciled so the margin between President Trump and President-elect Biden has now been cut down to 12,929 votes.
Sterling said the situation in Fayette County differs from what happened in Floyd County, where ballots were found that were not initially scanned. In an earlier presser, Sterling said he was one of the staffers on the call when Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham asked him to toss out ballots.
CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell reports that Sterling thought he could see how both sides could potentially be correct in the way they recalled the conversation. “Senators, I believe, you know, they represent their people and they were trying to understand the processes here, and [Sen. Graham] had some questions that might have gone, you know, a little to the edge of something that people might say well, ‘why is he asking these kind of questions?’ The Secretary heard it that way,” said Sterling.
In related elections news, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced in a press release Monday that a U.S. Election Assistance Commission certified testing laboratory found no evidence that voting machines in Georgia were tampered during the election.
In Nevada, the Trump campaign has filed a new legal effort to block the battleground state’s certification of results, asking that a state court either unilaterally declare President Trump winner of the state’s contest or block Nevada from certifying any winner of their electoral votes.
The suit comes a week after another Trump campaign-backed suit faced defeat in federal court and ahead of Nevada’s final canvass of results on November 24. Nevada has a total of six electoral votes, for which Mr. Biden leads by 33,596 votes in the final tally of results.
Over 6.9 million Pennsylvanians turned out in the 2020 general election, more than in any presidential election since at least 1960, according to the Department of State.
About 18,000 provisional ballots remain to be examined or counted. President-elect Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by about 73,000 votes. Nonetheless, Mr. Trump’s legal team continues to fight lawsuits attempting to change the results in the state, reports CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak.
The president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, appeared in federal court to fight a motion to dismiss a lawsuit after three lawyers for the campaign withdrew from the case. “The best description of this situation is it’s a widespread, nationwide voter fraud,” he said in his opening statement.
Election officials in Pennsylvania and other key battleground states have said there is no evidence of widespread election fraud in any of their states. Giuliani argued that Democratic officials in Democratic-leaning Philadelphia and Pittsburgh counted large numbers of ballots that should have been rejected amid the mass of mail ballots. “It’s almost like putting them in the candy store,” Giuliani said.
He also suggested that Trump campaign observers were kept at a distance so they couldn’t see such activity. Lawyers for Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, who filed to dismiss the lawsuit, argued that the case had no business in federal court, as a federal district judge ruled on a separate Pennsylvania election case last month.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s high court ruled today that Philadelphia’s election officials had given Trump campaign observers adequate access to watch ballot counting. With a 5-2 split decision, the state Supreme Court overturned a Commonwealth Court decision that ordered Philadelphia Board of Elections to allow GOP watchers within six feet of tabulation.
The state Supreme Court said in an opinion the Board had not broken the state Election Code by keeping observers within a designated area farther than six feet from some tables.
“The Election Code does not specify minimum distance parameters for the location of such representatives,” Justice Debra Todd wrote. “Critically, we find the Board’s regulations as applied herein were reasonable in that they allowed candidate representatives to observe the Board conducting its activities as prescribed under the Election Code.”
The Trump campaign has until 5 p.m. CT Wednesday to request a recount in Wisconsin, now that all 72 counties have completed their canvassing, according to CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission estimates a recount would cost $7.9 million, which would need to be paid in advance by the campaign that requests the recount. According to the Associated Press, President-elect Biden leads President Trump by 20,608 votes after canvassing. A 2016 recount in Wisconsin increased Mr. Trump’s lead over Hillary Clinton by about 130 votes.
IN THE SENATE
On Tuesday, Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff released an ad tying himself to President-elect Biden, reports CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson.
In his second television ad of the runoff campaign, Ossoff addresses the camera: “I’ll work with Joe Biden to empower the medical experts to rush economic relief for families and small businesses and invest in infrastructure to jumpstart our economy.”
Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1992, and White House chief of staff Ron Klain said on “Meet the Press” that the campaign would be supporting the two Democratic candidates in the January runoff races that will determine control of the Senate.
IN THE HOUSE
Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana’s 2nd District officially announced Tuesday he’d be leaving his New Orleans/Baton Rouge district in order to serve in the Biden-Harris administration as senior adviser to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Richmond has held this heavily Democratic seat since 2010 and said he would be involved in vetting the candidates who will run to replace him.
“I will talk to all the candidates to see what their impression is of Congress and the role you have to play…the most important part is making sure you put Louisiana citizens first,” he said during his announcement in New Orleans.
CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro says some names to look out for in what’ll be a crowded Democratic primary are New Orleans City Councilwoman Helena Moreno, State Representative Randal Gaines, and State Senators Karen Carter Peterson, Troy Carter and Cleo Fields.
Gaines told Navarro he’s been encouraged to run but is hesitant to make a final decision due to the quick turnaround for a special election. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he’ll be consulting with Congressman Richmond and the Secretary of State about timing for a special election, but the expectation from Gaines and others is that’ll happen in spring 2021.
“The circumstances of immediacy, it’s one of those races you usually have a year or two to prepare for,” Gaines said. “I think it’s going to be a challenge of any leader, regardless of how capable they are, to prepare to take on that challenge for a congressional national seat within a short period of time.”
One notable name that’s out of the race? New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who told reporters before Richmond’s remarks that she won’t be running, but that she “definitely plan[s] to be effective in selecting our new Congressional leader.”
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