President-elect Joe Biden at the Delaware Human Society on Nov. 17, 2018, the day he officially adopted his dog, Major.Stephanie Gomez Carter/Delaware Humane Association
President-elect Joe Biden is set to restore a bipartisan norm upon moving into the White House: presidential dogs. The Bidens have two German shepherds, Champ and Major.
Major, in particular, has a “wags to riches” tail.
He’ll soon be the first dog to go from a shelter to the White House. That shelter, the Delaware Humane Association, plans to “indogurate” Major on Sunday in a virtual ceremony. (People and pets alike are invited to attend.)
In early 2018, the shelter received a litter of six German shepherd puppies, including the future first dog. The puppies were in a medical crisis.
“They were very sick,” said Patrick Carroll, executive director of the Delaware Humane Association. “They had gotten into a toxic substance. We’re not sure what.
“The dogs were lethargic, vomiting and hospitalized for a few days,” Carroll says.
President-elect Joe Biden began fostering Major, top, shortly after the dog arrived at the Delaware Humane Association in March 2018.Stephanie Gomez Carter/Delaware Humane Association
The pups bounced back. They recovered with fluids and medication. The shelter posted to Facebook in March 2018 in search of foster homes. According to Carroll, Ashley Biden sent the post to her father, knowing he was looking for a companion for the aging Champ.
Joe Biden showed up.
“He just dropped in on Easter Sunday of all days,” Carroll said, “and wanted to meet the puppies.”
Soon, Major was in foster with the Bidens. Within months, the news broke that he had found his forever (fur-ever?) home. Biden returned to the shelter with a grown Major to officially adopt him in November 2018.Article continues after sponsor message
Biden even targeted dog lovers with a campaign message shortly before Election Day.
“Let’s put dogs back in the White House!” he tweeted.
Carroll, executive director of the Delaware shelter, says Major’s story does more than encourage pet adoption.
“This is shining a light on all of the resources animal shelters bring to a community,” he said. “If you need pet food because you’re struggling, or you need low cost vaccinations to keep your pet healthy, all the things people need, they should see their shelter as a resource.”
President Donald Trump’s supporters descended on the nation’s capital on Jan. 5-6 to cheer his baseless claims of election fraud….MORE(Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)
WASHINGTON — Under battle flags bearing Donald Trump’s name, the Capitol’s attackers pinned a bloodied police officer in a doorway, his twisted face and screams captured on video. They mortally wounded another officer with a blunt weapon and body-slammed a third over a railing into the crowd.
“Hang Mike Pence!” the insurrectionists chanted as they pressed inside, beating police with pipes. They demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts, too. They hunted any and all lawmakers: “Where are they?” Outside, makeshift gallows stood, complete with sturdy wooden steps and the noose. Guns and pipe bombs had been stashed in the vicinity.AdvertisementSkip Ad
Only days later is the extent of the danger from one of the darkest episodes in American democracy coming into focus. The sinister nature of the assault has become evident, betraying the crowd as a force determined to occupy the inner sanctums of Congress and run down leaders — Trump’s vice president and the Democratic House speaker among them.
This was not just a collection of Trump supporters with MAGA bling caught up in a wave.
That revelation came in real time to Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who briefly took over proceedings in the House chamber as the mob closed in Wednesday and the speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, was spirited to safer quarters moments before everything went haywire.
“I saw this crowd of people banging on that glass screaming,” McGovern told The Associated Press on Sunday. “Looking at their faces, it occurred to me, these aren’t protesters. These are people who want to do harm.”AdvertisementSkip Ad
“What I saw in front of me,” he said, “was basically home-grown fascism, out of control.”
Pelosi said Sunday “the evidence is that it was a well-planned, organized group with leadership and guidance and direction. And the direction was to go get people.” She did not elaborate on that point in a “60 Minutes” interview on CBS.
The scenes of rage, violence and agony are so vast that the whole of it may still be beyond comprehension. But with countless smartphone videos emerging from the scene, much of it from gloating insurrectionists themselves, and more lawmakers recounting the chaos that was around them, contours of the uprising are increasingly coming into relief.
The mob got explicit marching orders from Trump and still more encouragement from the president’s men.
“Fight like hell,” Trump exhorted his partisans at the staging rally. “Let’s have trial by combat,” implored his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, whose attempt to throw out election results in trial by courtroom failed. It’s time to “start taking down names and kicking ass,” said Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama.
Criminals pardoned by Trump, among them Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, came forward at rallies on the eve of the attack to tell the crowds they were fighting a battle between good and evil and they were on the side of good. On Capitol Hill, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri gave a clenched-fist salute to the hordes outside the Capitol as he pulled up to press his challenge of the election results.
The crowd was pumped. Until a little after 2 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was at the helm for the final minutes of decorum in partnership with Pence, who was serving his ceremonial role presiding over the process.
Both men had backed Trump’s agenda and excused or ignored his provocations for four years, but now had no mechanism or will to subvert the election won by Biden. That placed them high among the insurrectionists’ targets, no different in the minds of the mob than the “socialists.”
“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral,” McConnell told his chamber, not long before things spiraled out of control in what lawmakers call the “People’s House.”
Thousands had swarmed the Capitol. They charged into police and metal barricades outside the building, shoving and hitting officers in their way. The assault quickly pushed through the vastly outnumbered police line; officers ran down one man and pummeled him.
In the melee outside, near the structure built for Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, a man threw a red fire extinguisher at the helmeted head of a police officer. Then he picked up a bullhorn and threw it at officers, too.
The identity of the officer could not immediately be confirmed. But Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was wounded in the chaos, died the next night; officials say he had been hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Shortly after 2 p.m., Capitol Police sent an alert telling workers in a House office building to head to underground transportation tunnels that criss-cross the complex. Minutes later, Pence was taken from the Senate chamber to a secret location and police announced the lockdown of the Capitol. “You may move throughout the building(s) but stay away from exterior windows and doors,” said the email blast. “If you are outside, seek cover.”
At 2:15 p.m., the Senate recessed its Electoral College debate and a voice was heard over the chamber’s audio system: “The protesters are in the building.” The doors of the House chamber were barricaded and lawmakers inside it were told they may need to duck under their chairs or relocate to cloakrooms off the House floor because the mob has breached the Capitol Rotunda.
Even before the mob reached sealed doors of the House chamber, Capitol Police pulled Pelosi away from the podium, she told “60 Minutes.”
“I said, ‘No, I want to be here,’”she said. “And they said, ‘Well, no, you have to leave.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not leaving.’ They said, ‘No, you must leave.’” So she did.
At 2:44 p.m., as lawmakers inside the House chamber prepared to be evacuated, a gunshot was heard from right outside, in the Speaker’s Lobby on the other side of the barricaded doors. That’s when Ashli Babbit, wearing a Trump flag like a cape, was shot to death on camera as insurrectionists railed, her blood pooling on the white marble floor.
The Air Force veteran from California had climbed through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby before a police officer’s gunshot felled her.
Back in the House chamber, a woman in the balcony was seen and heard screaming. Why she was doing that only became clear later when video circulated. She was screaming a prayer.
Within about 10 minutes of the shooting, House lawmakers and staff members who had been cowering during the onslaught, terror etched into their faces, had been taken from the chamber and gallery to a secure room. The mob broke into Pelosi’s offices while members of her staff hid in one of the rooms of her suite.
“The staff went under the table barricaded the door, turned out the lights, and were silent in the dark,” she said. “Under the table for two and a half hours.”
On the Senate side, Capitol Police had circled the chamber and ordered all staff and reporters and any nearby senators into the chamber and locked it down. At one point about 200 people were inside; an officer armed with what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon stood between McConnell and the Democratic leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Authorities then ordered an evacuation and rushed everyone inside to a secure location, the Senate parliamentary staff scooping up the boxes holding the Electoral Collage certificates.
Although the Capitol’s attackers had been sent with Trump’s exhortation to fight, they appeared in some cases to be surprised that they had actually made it in.
When they breached the abandoned Senate chamber, they milled around, rummaged through papers, sat at desks and took videos and pictures. One of them climbed to the dais and yelled, “Trump won that election!” Two others were photographed carrying flex cuffs typically used for mass arrests.
But outside the chamber, the mob’s hunt was still on for lawmakers. “Where are they?” people could be heard yelling.
That question could have also applied to reinforcements — where were they?
At about 5:30 p.m., once the National Guard had arrived to supplement the overwhelmed Capitol Police force, a full-on effort began to get the attackers out.
Heavily armed officers brought in as reinforcements started using tear gas in a coordinated fashion to get people moving toward the door, then combed the halls for stragglers. As darkness fell, they pushed the mob farther out onto the plaza and lawn, using officers in riot gear in full shields and clouds of tear gas, flash-bangs and percussion grenades.
At 7:23 p.m., officials announced that people hunkered down in two nearby congressional office buildings could leave “if anyone must.”
Within the hour, the Senate had resumed its work and the House followed, returning the People’s House to the control of the people’s representatives. Lawmakers affirmed Biden’s election victory early the next morning, shell-shocked by the catastrophic failure of security.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Ca., told AP on Sunday it was as if Capitol Police “were naked” against the attackers. “It turns out it was the worst kind of non-security anybody could ever imagine.”
Said McGovern: “I was in such disbelief this could possibly happen. These domestic terrorists were in the People’s House, desecrating the People’s House, destroying the People’s House.”
Associated Press writers Dustin Weaver in Washington and Michael Casey in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report. Reeves reported from Birmingham, Alabama.
Amob of people backing President Donald Trump’s coup-like effort to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday, breaching security fences, entering the building, and bringing to a halt the process of Congress certifying Electoral College votes.
As of this writing, the Capitol building has been placed on lockdown and lawmakers have been evacuated. Photos taken inside the building show Trump supporters roaming throughout the building, sitting in the office chairs of lawmakers such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), and posing in the chair that’s normally reserved for the president of the Senate in that legislative chamber.
Reports of an armed standoff between Trump loyalists and Capitol police were also tweeted out by Bloomberg News reporter Erik Wasson. “Armed standoff on House floor. Police pointing guns at protestors who have broken glass door,” Wasson wrote.
Images from inside the Capitol show Trump supporters who breached security inside the Senate chambers standing in the gallery as well as on the Senate floor. Reports at this time have stated that all lawmakers within the building have been moved to secure locations.
As of 3:55 p.m. Eastern Time, President Donald Trump has issued two tweets directly addressing his supporters regarding the unrest inside the Capitol. None of the tweets from the president, however, are asking his supporters to remove themselves from the building to allow the certification process to continue.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence!” Trump wrote. “Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Trump had addressed his supporters earlier in the day outside the White House, telling them that he would continue to try and overturn the results of the election. Biden won 306 Electoral College votes in November’s race to Trump’s 232.
Trump also expressed his desire for Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes, a power the vice president doesn’t actually have, according to the Constitution.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter made public on Wednesday, Pence refuted Trump, pointedly stating that he cannot do what the president was asking of him.
“Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally,” Pence said in the document. “Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a Joint Session of Congress. After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws, and our history, I believe neither view is correct.”
Following the speech, thousands of Trump’s supporters walked to Capitol Hill, where they attempted to breach several buildings, breaking through several layers of security fencing in the process.
The Madison and Cannon buildings on the Capitol Complex were initially evacuated due to the tumult. Reporters said that some in those buildings were encouraged to use underground tunnels if they had to go somewhere else.
Some lawmakers appeared to be placing blame on each other, too, for the storming of the Capitol. “This is what you’ve gotten,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) reportedly said during the confusion, directing his ire toward Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who had objected to certifying Arizona’s Electoral College votes moments before the Capitol was stormed.
“I really want to do the show we’re about to do,” Colbert began. “And I also really don’t want to do the show. Because lord have mercy, there are some dark topics that we talk about on the show occasionally, but I’ve rarely been as upset as I am tonight.”
Speaking directly to the Republican members of Congress who support Trump, the host asked, “Have you had enough? After five years of coddling this president’s fascist rhetoric, guess whose followers want to burn down the Reichstag?”
“Who could have seen this coming?” Colbert asked. “Everyone! Even dummies like me. This is the most shocking, most tragic, least surprising thing I’ve ever seen. For years now, people have been telling you cowards that if you let the president lie about our democracy over and over and then join him in that lie and say he’s right when you know for a fact that he is not, there will be a terrible price to pay. But you just never thought you’d have to pay it too.”
From there, he singled out Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who was caught on camera “raising your stupid fist to the mob outside the Capitol.” In the first line of the night that could be considered a joke, Colbert said, “It’s like Black Power but the opposite. There really should be a name for that. And obviously he has to keep his fist closed, because if he opened it you’d see all the blood on his hands.”
Then the host took on Fox News. “You think maybe years of peddling his conspiracy theories had anything to do with this?” Colbert asked, mocking the network for claiming its “news” and “opinion” sides are different. Like the “lubricated catheters” they sell during the ad breaks, he said, “You know where you can stick your excuses and you can skip the lubrication.”
Colbert’s even longer than usual monologue continued for another 10 minutes, as he tore into President Trump for claiming to support “law and order” while encouraging his minions to violently overtake the U.S. Capitol building. “For the record, if I said that, I’d be arrested for inciting a riot,” he said. “But of course, you can’t arrest the president… for 15 more days.”
“Now I’ve said before, violence is the last refuge of the incompetent,” Colbert said later. “And if the last four years have taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of incompetent people in our leadership.”
Looking ahead to 2022, “when all of those Republicans, who, make no mistake, are responsible for what happened today and are running for reelection,” he said, “let’s remember them for who they showed themselves to be today: Cynical cowards who believe the voters should not get to choose who governs this country. Let’s hope the voters prove them all wrong.”
Ashli Babbitt survived eight U.S. military deployments, but the Air Force veteran died Wednesday on a mission in the homeland – an assault on the nation’s Capitol.PauseCurrent Time 0:10/Duration 1:15Loaded: 18.56%Unmute0FullscreenWhat To Know About The Electoral College Certification Amid Riots At Capitol HillClick to expand
U.S. Capitol Police identified Babbitt as the woman who was shot inside the Capitol.
“As protesters were forcing their way toward the House Chamber where Members of Congress were sheltering in place, a sworn USCP employee discharged their service weapon, striking an adult female,” police said Thursday. “Medical assistance was rendered immediately, and the female was transported to the hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries. She has been identified as Ashli Babbitt.”
The Capitol Police employee has been placed on administrative leave and their police powers have been suspended pending the outcome of a joint Metropolitan Police Department and USCP investigation, police said.
Three other people also died Wednesday from medical emergencies, including a man from Greentown, Pennsylvania, a man from Athens, Alabama, and a woman from Kennesaw, Georgia, D.C. police chief Robert Contee III said in a press conference Thursday. It was not immediately clear how they died.
“They were on the grounds of the Capitol when they experienced the medical emergency,” Contee said.
Numerous media outlets named Babbitt, a 35-year-old San Diego woman, late Wednesday, and KSUI-TV quoted her husband saying she had been a staunch Trump supporter and “a great patriot.”
Graphic videos of the shooting show Babbitt wore a Trump flag as a cape as she tried to crawl through a broken window, flanked by other protesters. A single shot rang out, and she fell to the floor bleeding from an apparent neck wound.
Police officers screamed for the crowd to make room and a voice heard on video declared, “Ladies and gentlemen, a lady was just shot. She might be dying right now.”
Messages of grief and mourning poured out on social media after Babbitt’s identity was circulated.
The biographical section of a Twitter account with the user name, Ashli Babbitt, using the display name “CommonSenseAsh,” identifies her as a veteran, a Libertarian, and a Second Amendment supporter.
Online, she was vocal about her backing of Trump and appeared in photographs wearing a red ball cap with the president’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. In September, Babbitt tweeted a photo from a pro-Trump boat parade in San Diego.
On Tuesday, she posted a declaration: “Nothing will stop us….they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours….dark to light!”
That message was in response to a post from another Twitter user who pictured a colonial flag overlaid with “1776 Again” above the words, “Trump is still our president.”
Babbitt’s account also shows many retweets. The last one, posted Wednesday, called for Vice President Mike Pence to resign and face charges of treason; for former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to be arrested and charged as an accessory to murder and treason; and for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to resign.
Members of Babbitt’s family could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Babbitt served in the Air Force under the married name of Ashli Elizabeth McEntee. She served as an enlisted airman in the Air Force, serving on active duty and in the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard, according to records released Thursday.
She worked as an active duty security forces airman, troops with law enforcement training who protect air bases in the United States and abroad. She served on active duty from April 2004 to April 2008 and deployed to Iraq, according to the records. She received several commendations, including for service in the Global War on Terrorism.
She was in the reserve from 2008 to 2010, and the guard from 2010 to 2016.
An undated news release from Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska pictured Airman Ashli McEntee with her then husband, Sgt. 1st Class Timothy McEntee, after they had adopted her military working dog. Maryland records show the McEntees divorced in 2019.
A Washington, D.C., Air National Guard news release in 2014 listed Senior Airman Ashli McEntee among 30 personnel being sent to southwest Asia. The article noted it was her eighth deployment and identified her as a mentor to others in the 113th Security Forces Squadron.
California business records list Ashli Elizabeth McEntee as owner of Fowler’s Pool Service & Supply, a San Diego County business. A LinkedIn account for Ashli McEntee indicates she took over the company in 2017. Customers praised Ashli and Aaron Babbitt online for their service.
Contributing: Tom Vanden Brook
Dennis Wagner and Grace Hauck, USA TODAY; Melissa Daniels, Desert Sun
(CNN)The top House Republican has quietly blessed an effort by conservative lawmakers to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when a joint session of Congress meets later this week, even as other top congressional Republicans are raising alarms that the push could cause lasting damage to a pillar of democracy.The conservatives said on Sunday that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been supportive of their plans, a stark contrast from the position of many prominent Republicans — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and the former House speaker, Paul Ryan — who have publicly and privately raised major concerns about an effort that is doomed to fail but is bound to sow distrust over the sanctity of US elections.The internecine fight, which will play out on Wednesday when a joint session of Congress meets to affirm Biden’s Electoral College win, has turned into a loyalty test of sorts to President Donald Trump who has launched an unprecedented campaign to subvert the will of voters by making unsubstantiated claims of a rigged election that have been rejected by courts across the country.McCarthy, who has yet to acknowledge Biden’s victory and has said little publicly about the challenge, has joined two GOP conference calls in recent days during which the January 6 battle has been a subject of debate, including one on Saturday night and another on New Year’s Day.Content by Blue ApronThis meal kit is like having your own personal chefMiss restaurant-quality menus? Blue Apron is like having a sous chef in your own kitchen.On the New Year’s Day call, some members pressed McCarthy to specify his position, according to a person with knowledge of the call.On Sunday, several of those conservatives said there’s little doubt where McCarthy stands.close dialog
Republican efforts to undermine Biden victory expose growing anti-democratic streak“If you want to unite this nation, you start with having integrity in your election,” McCarthy said. “There are questions out there. … What’s wrong with bringing the information back so people have all the information to make those decisions?”Yet with GOP court challenges failing across the country, states certifying the results and the Electoral College voting to make Biden’s win official, some of McCarthy’s deputies and many Senate Republicans say joining Trump to mount a baseless campaign against the election will only hurt faith in democracy.On the New Year’s Day call, Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, made clear her distaste for the push, multiple sources told CNN.Cheney told House Republicans that voting on the election is more consequential than any other vote — including votes to authorize war, according to two sources. She also argued that nothing in the Constitution supports the notion that Congress can substitute its views for voters in those states selecting the next President.In a 21-page memo sent to Republicans on Sunday, Cheney argued that objecting to the Electoral College count is unconstitutional and sets an “exceptionally dangerous precedent.””As you will see, there is substantial reason for concern about the precedent Congressional objections will set here. By objecting to electoral slates, members are unavoidably asserting that Congress has the authority to overturn elections and overrule state and federal courts,” she wrote. “Such objections set an exceptionally dangerous precedent, threatening to steal states’ explicit constitutional responsibility for choosing the President and bestowing it instead on Congress. This is directly at odds with the Constitution’s clear text and our core beliefs as Republicans.”Also on Sunday, a group of seven other House Republicans said in a joint statement that they also do not support their colleagues objecting to the certification of Electoral College votes this week because it is the responsibility of the states to choose electors, not Congress. They did not dismiss allegations of voter fraud, but pointed to “the narrow role” Congress has in the presidential election process.”We must respect the states’ authority here. Though doing so may frustrate our immediate political objectives, we have sworn an oath to promote the Constitution above our policy goals. We must count the electoral votes submitted by the states,” wrote the group, which included Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, Ken Buck of Colorado, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Tom McClintock of California and Chip Roy of Texas and Rep.-elect Nancy Mace of South Carolina.While the effort is certain to fail, it’s bound to put Republicans in a difficult spot. If one senator joins with a House member to object to a state’s electoral count, each chamber must debate the merits of the objection for up to two hours before casting a vote on whether to affirm the objection. The objections are certain to fail in both chambers, even though they could win the backing of a majority of House Republicans.
Nearly a dozen Republican senators announce plans to vote against counting electoral votesCheney’s argument has been echoed by a number of top Republicans, including McConnell and his deputies, as well as the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.Ryan sided with his 2012 runningmate Sunday. “Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Joe Biden’s victory strike at the foundation of our republic,” the former speaker said in a statement. “It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans. The fact that this effort will fail does not mean it will not do significant damage to American democracy.”Others made clear they want their colleagues to drop the effort.”I like to come up with plans that have a chance of being successful,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate GOP leadership team.Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Trump ally who just won reelection in Alaska, said he would “listen to” the arguments, but is “very dubious.”Yet at least a dozen Senate Republicans, including four incoming freshmen, are indicating they plan to vote against certifying the election results, arguing instead there needs to a commission to probe potential voter fraud, even as courts have turned back dozens of challenges by Trump and his allies about the election results since November 3.Sen. Roger Marshall, the new freshman Republican from Kansas, defended the effort.”I had to make a decision of the heart,” Marshall said of his decision to join the effort. “And this is a decision of the heart to follow through on some of these irregularities.”Sen. Tommy Tuberville, the incoming Alabama freshman who also is part of the effort, claimed he had “not lately” spoken to Trump about the challenge and said “no,” he hadn’t spoken with McConnell, either. He declined to address criticism he’s received from the effort, which is opposed by the senior Alabama senator, Republican Richard Shelby.
Why Josh Hawley’s move could endanger Senate Republicans“I’m on the other side of that,” Shelby said when asked if he would join Tuberville. “It’s time to move on.”Trump’s staunchest defenders are plotting to object to six states’ election results, something that could extend floor debate through the day on Wednesday and into Thursday.But even after Trump loses the votes, his closest allies say he still shouldn’t concede the race where the result has been clear for nearly two months.”Absolutely not,” Brooks said when asked if Trump should concede after the joint session affirms Biden’s victory. “There’s no question at all in my mind that, if we were to only count lawful votes cast by eligible American citizens, Donald Trump won the Electoral College. Under those circumstances you should never concede because you didn’t lose. It was stolen.”This story has been updated with additional developments.
Now PlayingTelevangelist says…Televangelist says Trump may lose ‘mandate of heaven’ 02:17
Washington (CNN)Televangelist Pat Robertson, a prominent conservative backer of Donald Trump, said Monday that the President is living in an “alternate reality” and should “move on” from his 2020 election loss.”With all his talent, and the ability to raise money and draw large crowds, the President still lives in an alternate reality,” Robertson said Monday on “The 700 Club.” “He really does. People say, ‘Well he lies about this, that and the other.’ But he isn’t lying. To him, that’s the truth.”Robertson — who prayed for Trump’s win in 2020 and once suggested that whoever is “revolting” against Trump is “revolting against what God’s plan is for America” — joins a growing list of prominent conservatives who are telling Trump it’s time to accept his clear election loss. In particular, Robertson is a uniquely influential figure among evangelicals, a critical part of the President’s base.
Trump threatens 30-day reign of destruction on the way out of officeTrump has “done a marvelous job for the economy,” Robertson said Monday, but argued that he is “very erratic.”Content by Voltaren Arthritis Pain GelChasing the Joy of MovementThis is how world champion cyclist Kristin Armstrong manages her osteoarthritis in a life of constant movement.”He’s fired people, he’s fought people and he’s insulted people, and he keeps going down the line. So it’s a mixed bag,” Robertson said of the President. “And I think it would be well to say, ‘You’ve had your day and it’s time to move on.'”He also cast doubt on Trump’s flailing efforts to overturn the election results.close dialog
“I think the Electoral College has spoken. I think the Biden corruption has not totally been brought to fruition, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting the Electoral College and I don’t think the Supreme Court is going to move in to do anything and I think we’re going to see a President (Joe) Biden, and I also think we’ll be seeing as President Kamala Harris not too long after the inauguration of President Biden.”Robertson also said it would be a “mistake” for Trump to run in 2024 and instead touted Trump’s former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley as a potential successor.”I think it’s a sideshow. I think it would be a mistake. My money would be on Nikki Haley. I think she’d make a tremendous candidate for the Republican Party,” he said.A growing list of Trump supporters have called on the President to accept the election results, especially in light of the Electoral College’s affirmation of Biden’s victory last week. Last month, Trump conservative radio ally Hugh Hewitt wrote in The Washington Post that “Trump in 2020 won for everyone in the party but himself” and now “must look forward.” Geraldo Rivera, a Fox News correspondent and Trump’s longtime friend, urged the President to “say goodbye with grace (and) dignity” and that “it’s over.”
Almost two weeks after Joe Biden was projected as the winner of the US presidential election, Donald Trump is still refusing to concede. Does he have a plan to overturn the outcome?
The president’s legal strategy to challenge the election results seems to be falling on deaf ears in courtrooms across the country. Trump’s team has yet to notch a meaningful victory, or present evidence of widespread voter fraud, after filing dozens of lawsuits.
His top lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, said on Thursday that the campaign was dropping its legal challenges in Michigan, which Biden won by more than 160,000 votes.
In Georgia, the Republican secretary of state has announced he is certifying its election tabulations, which give Biden just over a 12,000 vote lead after the state conducted a hand recount of nearly 5 million ballots.
As doors to remaining in office slam shut, the president appears to be shifting strategies for flipping the election results from a longshot legal one to a longer-shot political gambit.
A step-by-step guide to Trump’s strategy
Here’s what he may hope to do:
Block the vote-certification process in as many states as possible, either through lawsuits or by encouraging Republican officials to object
Convince Republican-controlled legislatures in states Biden narrowly won to dismiss the results of the popular vote as corrupted by widespread fraud
Have the legislature then award their state’s Electoral College votes, which are cast by “electors” on 14 December, to Trump instead of Biden
Do that in enough states – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, for instance – to pull Trump from his current total of 232 electoral votes over the winning 269-vote mark. Or, at least, pull Biden from 306 down below that mark, which would throw the election to the House of Representatives, where Trump would have an advantage
What is Trump doing to make this happen?
The first hint that Trump was applying pressure to individual states to disregard their current vote totals came following reports that he had called Republican officials who had initially refused to certify the election results from Detroit, Michigan’s largest city.
That two low-level party officials, among thousands of county canvassers across the US, would speak directly to a US president was more than just a little unusual. They ultimately reversed their decision to block the proceedings – and then, after Trump’s call, expressed regret for reversing themselves.
Those hints became clear evidence of intent when the Republican leaders in the Michigan legislature accepted a presidential invitation to visit the White House on Friday.
The news has been accompanied by reports that the president is intent on finding other ways he can pressure key state legislatures to review, and perhaps reverse, their election results.
What is typically a mere formality during normal elections – the bipartisan certification of state vote totals – has become the latest battleground in the president’s attempts to maintain power for the next four years.
Could Trump actually be successful?
It’s not impossible, but the chances are very, very slim. First of all, the president would have to overturn the results in multiple states, where Biden’s leads range from tens of thousands of votes to more than a hundred thousand. This isn’t 2000, when everything came down just to Florida.
What’s more, many of the states Trump’s legal team is targeting – Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Nevada – have Democratic governors who are not going to sit idly by while all of this takes place.
In Michigan, for instance, Governor Gretchen Whitmer could fire the current state election board and replace it with one willing to certify Biden’s victory.https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.36.3/iframe.htmlmedia captionWhat do Trump supporters think of a Biden presidency?
Democratic governors could respond by naming their own slate of pro-Biden electors to compete with ones a Republican legislature choose, leaving it to Congress to decide which group to acknowledge.
That doesn’t mean Biden’s supporters aren’t worried, however. While the odds of this happening are along the lines of the earth being hit by a giant meteor or someone getting struck by lightning while winning the lottery, having victory snatched away at this point would be such a cataclysmic political event that the remote prospect of such a possibility is enough to give Democrats cold sweats.
Is this strategy even legal?
Trump has spent much of his time in the White House shattering presidential norms and traditions. It appears that the last days of his term will be no different.
Just because the pressure Trump is putting on election officials and state legislatures is unprecedented or controversial, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it is illegal.https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.36.3/iframe.htmlmedia captionHow other incumbents left the White House after losing
In the early days of the nation, state legislatures had broad powers of how they allocated their electoral votes, and there is still no constitutional requirement that they heed the results of a popular vote. They have since circumscribed those powers by assigning their votes based on the results of popular elections, but the underpinnings of the original system still remain intact.
If the president succeeds in convincing a legislature, such as Michigan’s, to act, Democrats are sure to mount legal objections. The law, both national and in each state, is fuzzy, given that this sort of thing has seldom been subject litigation.
Could states retroactively change the laws governing how they run their elections? Perhaps. But it would be up to judges to render the final verdict.
Has anyone tried this before?
The last time a closely contested election involved a battle over electors was in 2000 between Al Gore and George W Bush. That was a fight in one state, Florida, where the difference between the candidates was just a few hundred votes. Eventually, the US Supreme Court stepped in and halted any further review – and Bush became president.
For a disputed election involving multiple states you have to go back to the 1876 race between Republican Rutherford B Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tildon.
In that episode, contested results in Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida meant no candidate was able to win a majority in the Electoral College. The deadlock threw the election to the US House of Representatives, which ultimately sided with Hayes, who like Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016, won fewer votes nationally than his defeated opponent.
What happens if Donald Trump refuses to leave office?
If the president’s longshot attempts at reversing the election results fail, at 12:01 pm on 20 January Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th US president whether Trump formally concedes or not.
At that point, the Secret Service and the US military are free to treat the former president the way they do any unauthorised individual on government property.
“It’s outrageous what he’s doing,” Biden said in a press conference on Thursday. “Incredibly damaging messages are being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions.”
Even if the president isn’t successful, his seeming scorched-earth strategy of contesting the election results is setting a precedent for elections to come and, according to polls, undermining the faith many Americans have in the US democratic systems and institutions.
ABiden victory likely signals a sea change in federal policy approaches in ways that should be beneficial for large mammals like grizzly bears. While Biden may not have a grizzly-policy per se, his platform addresses key issues—such as climate change and conservation—that will impact the health of grizzlies as a part of the large landscapes of the Mountain West.
Here’s a quick primer on where we expect positive changes:
As part of the cabinet, the Secretary of the Interior is appointed by the president, and oversees succeeding government agencies such as U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation. These agencies’ on-the-ground work significantly impacts the conservation (or lack thereof) of our public lands and the creatures who roam through those areas.
Under a Biden administration, we can expect presidentially-appointed officials who more genuinely support conservation over development. Additionally, Biden has committed to banning new oil and gas development on public lands. While there isn’t much research vis-a-vis fracking’s impact on grizzlies, energy development comes hand-in-hand with new road building, and as a 2019 study from the University of Alberta showed, more roads simply equals fewer grizzlies. “Not only do bears die near roads,” commented author of the study, Clayton Lamb, to Science Daily, but “bears also avoid these areas, making many habitats with roads through them less effective.”
The argument that succeeded in keeping grizzlies on the Endangered Species List hinged on climate change, and specifically, uncertainty around how bears would respond to declines in whitebark pine seeds. The seeds are an important food source for bears and are diminishing due to warming-accelerated beetle infestations, shrinking habitable territory, and intensifying wildfire cycles.
President Trump has an equivocally poor record on climate policies and environmental protections. His administration has rolled back nearly 100 environmental rules, in sectors ranging from wildlife protections to drilling to air pollution. In contrast, Biden has committed to re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement, reinstating regulations on methane pollution from fracking, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
In short, we’re relieved and enthusiastic to look ahead to days in which the large landscapes of the West—an integral element of our communities and culture—are valued for the immense, irreplaceable resources that they are.
As masses of people poured into the streets to celebrate the end of Donald Trump’s fascist rule, the lame duck president’s lawyers were filing frivolous lawsuits in an attempt to nullify Joe Biden’s victory. But none of these suits, even if successful, would change the results of the election.
Shortly after CNN called the election for Biden, Trump said in a statement, “Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.”
First of all, only prosecutors prosecute cases — in criminal court. Private litigants in civil cases are called plaintiffs. And second, anyone who has the money to hire a lawyer can bring a lawsuit about anything. Thousands of legal actions are filed every day, but very few are taken seriously by judges. It’s unclear whether Trump is even paying his hired guns; Rudy Giuliani once said he works for Trump without pay.
Get our free emails
For months, Trump has mounted a concerted strategy to preemptively discredit the election results, spewing unsupported allegations of voter fraud with mail-in ballots. Republicans and the Trump campaign have filed myriad lawsuits, even before the election, all seeking to erect obstacles to voting.
Mindful that many more people than usual would vote by mail to protect themselves from the coronavirus, Trump sowed the seeds of doubt about the validity of mail-in ballots. With no evidence whatsoever, he fabricated claims of massive voter fraud. With no regard for the health risks, Trump encouraged his minions to vote in person, insisting the election results must be known on Election Day. Trump’s supporters obliged and most voted at the polls. It was therefore no surprise that the overwhelming number of mail-in ballots were cast by Democrats.
Early Wednesday morning, as his putative lead began to evaporate, Trump tweeted, “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.” Trump had said in no uncertain terms that he wanted Amy Coney Barrett installed on the Supreme Court to decide the election in his favor. But although counting of mail-in ballots continued, no votes were cast after Tuesday.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. if you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump falsely claimed Thursday night. But as retiring Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Michigan) tweeted, “a legally cast vote does not become ‘illegal’ simply because a candidate does not like the vote.”Judges have dismissed Trump’s lawsuits in Georgia and Michigan for lack of any evidence to support fraud allegations.
The same night, in a White House briefing, Trump said, again falsely, “We were winning in all the key locations by a lot, actually. And then our number started miraculously getting whittled away in secret.” The tabulations were not conducted in secret; they were witnessed by both Republican and Democratic poll watchers.
Moreover, on election night, the count appeared to favor Trump since most Democrats cast mail ballots, which take longer to count. Some states, including Pennsylvania, forbid the counting of any ballots until Election Day. A Democratic-sponsored bill in Pennsylvania would have allowed mail-in ballots to be opened and counted before Election Day in light of the anticipated surge due to the pandemic. But Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature defeated the bill. Since Trump’s strategy was to declare victory on election night, the GOP forces likely sought to prevent mail-in ballots from diluting Trump’s apparent early lead. Furthermore, election workers didn’t even open mail ballots until November 4, since several counties required all workers to conduct the election on November 3. This explains why it took longer to report the vote counts in Pennsylvania.
On Saturday morning, Trump erroneously asserted, “I won this election, by a lot.” At the time, Biden was leading in the electoral vote — 253 to 214 — and he had received 4,250,184 more popular votes than Trump.
The Pennsylvania Case
It was Pennsylvania that put Biden over the top in electoral votes. CNN and other news outlets called Biden the winner on Saturday morning. Trump falsely tweeted about “…Pennsylvania, which everyone thought was easily won on Election Night, only to see a massive lead disappear, without anyone being allowed to OBSERVE, for long intervals of time.”
Again falsely, Trump also 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.”Trump is mounting a full-court press to steal the election from Joe Biden.
There was nothing illegal about counting ballots that were postmarked by, but received after, Election Day. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had ruled that ballots could be counted if received by Friday, November 6.
Trump’s challenge to mail-in ballots received in Pennsylvania between November 3 and 6 is the only case that the U.S. Supreme Court might review, and even that is unlikely, since those ballots would not alter the election results.
Twice before the election, Republican state legislators and the Republican Party of Philadelphia asked the high court to halt Pennsylvania’s three-day extension for receipt of mail-in ballots. Twice they were rebuffed. The first time, the Court deadlocked 4-to-4, leaving the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in place. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three remaining liberals — Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — to uphold the state court’s decision. Right-wingers Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh voted to block the ballots.
Although the Supreme Court refused to review the case for lack of time, Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas wrote a statement on October 28, suggesting the Court could still hear the case after the election. They described the plaintiffs’ request as a “last ditch attempt to prevent the election in Pennsylvania from being conducted under a cloud.” Barrett has not yet participated in this case.
On Saturday, Alito ordered Pennsylvania’s secretary of state to segregate, and separately count, mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day. The Pennsylvania attorney general affirmed that the state had already segregated them. But the number of ballots in contention is so small it would not affect the outcome of the election. The Court is thus not likely to review this case.
Trump’s spate of frivolous lawsuits will not reverse the results of the election. In spite of Trump’s pattern of lies about massive fraud from mail-in ballots, his cases don’t allege widespread fraud. Judges have dismissed Trump’s lawsuits in Georgia and Michigan for lack of any evidence to support fraud allegations. The cases Trump has won involve primarily technicalities involving small numbers of ballots. Trump’s cases include closer access of election observers, signature verification on mail ballots, nonresident voting and the mixing of a small number of ballots. Trump’s forces are seeking a recount in Wisconsin, which is unlikely to change the results in that state.
Trump probably thinks the Supreme Court, with his three appointees, will respond to his court challenges by handing him the presidency. That won’t happen. But his flurry of lawsuits is also designed to cast doubt on the integrity of the election. As Robert Reich noted, “Trump backers are trying to push Republican-controlled state legislatures to appoint their own slates of Trump electors. That’s why the campaign has launched empty legal challenges to perfectly normal vote counts – trying to sow enough doubt to give the state legislatures political cover to appoint their own electors.”
In his desperation to maintain power, we can expect Trump to pull out all the stops in the next two-and-a-half months before Inauguration Day.
He plans large rallies to rile his gun-toting base. He has enlisted most Republican leaders, including Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, to collaborate with his attempted theft of the election.
Since the election, Attorney General William Barr told department officials that he didn’t see massive voter fraud or a systemic problem. But on Monday, under pressure from Trump, Barr authorized federal prosecutors to investigate “substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities.” He limited the investigations to what he described as “clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State.” Weeks before the election, the department had removed its prohibition on voter fraud investigations prior to an election.
In response to Barr’s directive, Richard Pilger, the Justice Department official directing voter fraud investigations, immediately stepped down from his job in protest.
Barr’s authorization will give McConnell and other GOP leaders ammunition to oppose Biden’s victory.
Trump is mounting a full-court press to steal the election from Joe Biden. The refusal to accept the election results by Trump and his congressional and Justice Department accomplices, coupled with his obstruction of the transition process, do not bode well for a peaceful transfer of power.