Today’s News Rundown

This is brief rundown of the news so you don’t have to watch cable news. It’s just the facts with maybe a little snark.

Update 1 1830 hrs: Finally, the GSA administrator has signed the order to begin the transition and release the funds.

The General Services Administration has informed President-elect Joe Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process, according to a letter from Administrator Emily Murphy sent Monday afternoon and obtained by CNN.

The letter is the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge President Donald Trump’s defeat, more than two weeks after Biden was declared the winner in the election.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, will step down from that position in the new Congress.

Feinstein’s tenure as the ranking member has been fraught with complaints by Democrats for refusing to challenge Republicans in the committee about President Donald Trump’s recent Supreme Court appointee. Once the hearing had finished, Feinstein thanked committee chair Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), saying, “This has been one of the best Senate hearings I have participated in.” [..]

The 87-year-old California Democrat is one of few on the committee who never attended law school.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) is next in line for the chairmanship.

The infection and death rates of CoVid-19 pandemic continue to climb. At least 843 new coronavirus deaths and 141,034 new cases were reported in the United States on Nov. 22. Over the past week, there has been an average of 171,376 cases per day, an increase of 54 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

A third major drug maker has produced an promising vaccine. Data reveals Oxford AstraZeneca CoVid-19 vaccine has up to 90% efficacy.

California Gov. Newsom has been exposed to the virus and is in quarantine with his family. Gov. Cuomo has announced new restrictions for hot spots in New York City and around the state and he as reactivated the field hospital on Staten Island to ease the burden on increased hospitalizations that are occurring nation wide.

The Guardian has has Live News on the virus which up dates frequently.

It is stiil advised that Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings be cancelled.

In US political news, President-Elect Joe Biden has named his choices for the State Department, Homeland Security, U.N. and his National Security Advisor.

Antony Blinken as secretary of state.

Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the UN which will be moved back to a cabinet level position.

Jake Sullivan to NSA.

Avril Haines, a former top CIA official and deputy national security adviser, will be the first woman Director of National Intelligence.

Former chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellin to head treasury, the first woman to head that department.

Also, former secretary of state John Kerry will serve as the president-elect’s special envoy to address climate change.

Of course the Republicans in the Senate are already looking to obstruct Pres.-Elect Biden’s choices which is why the runoff in Georgia for the two Senate seats are so critical.

So far the Squatter-in-Chief’s efforts to overturn the elect in the courts has been a huge failure. The Supreme court appears to be ignoring his petition to overturn a lower court decision that allowed the counting of late-arriving mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania. The court could take action at its December 4 conference, which is after Pennsylvania’s November 23 deadline for counties to certify the election.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has granted an expedited hearing on the PA lawsuit that was dismissed by federal Judge Matthew Brann. The Trump Team must submit briefs by 4 PM today, yes, today. Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar was ordered to file her brief on or before Tuesday at 4 p.m. Several Pennsylvania counties and Boockvar asked the Third Circuit for clarification.

Appellees the Allegheny County Board of Elections, Chester County Board of Elections, Montgomery County Board of Elections, and Philadelphia County Board of Elections (the “Appellee Counties”), seek clarification of the Court’s November 23, 2020 Order (Dkt. No. 9), granting the Appellants’ Amended Motion for Emergency Expedited Review to make clear that, under well-established appellate rules, Appellants’ brief must address any bases for their appeal and cannot split appellate issues in sequential briefing or engage in piecemeal litigation. Appellee Secretary Boockvar consents to this Motion for Clarification.

The campaign also said it will seek to delay certification after having said it was NOT seeking to delay certification. This will not go over well with the court. The deadline for PA certification is today November 23.

Also in the Trump PA Circus, this

County officials in Pennsylvania on Monday voted 3-2 on party lines to certify the results of the 2020 election in Luzerne County—a county where President Donald Trump defeated President-elect Joe Biden by more than 20,000 votes. But in a partisan twist that may shed light on the Trump campaign’s larger legal strategy, the two members of the Luzerne County Board of Elections who voted against certification were Republicans, while the three who voted in favor were all Democrats, according to Politico’s Holly Otterbein. [..]

The GOP’s coordinated efforts not to certify the results in a county that Trump won by 22,000 votes was likely part of the Trump campaign’s larger legal strategy to prevent Pennsylvania from certifying election results statewide in hopes that the decision will ultimately be left to the courts instead of the voters.

Biden got 80,000 more votes than Trump did in Pennsylvania.

The Republicans made unsubstantiated allegations about voting irregularities and urged board members not to certify the results.They have until today to sort this out.

Just awhile ago the Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed another of the Trump campaign’s lawsuits

According to Democratic attorney Marc Elias, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court AFFIRMS our 5 victories in Philadelphia and REVERSES our one loss in Allegheny County.”

The suit was attempting to throw out ballots legally cast.

In Nevada, during an election related hearing, a GOP lawyer asked that the judge be tossed from the case because of her Democratic political affiliations. The court recessed so the district’s chief judge could assess the matter.

NBC News has announced Michigan has certified the election for the Biden-Harris team.

Meanwhile, the head of his “crack” team of lawyers, former NYC Mayor Rudi “A Noun, A Verb and 9/11” Giuliani announced on Sunday lawyer Sydney Powell has been fired after just eight days on the job. “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President,” Giuliani tweeted. Another tweet mocked her dismissal, “Imagine being axed for craziness from a legal team that includes Rudy Giuliani!”

Down in Mar-a-Lago, the Secret Service has started preparing for the squatter’s post White House life.

Renovations to living quarters expected to be occupied by Trump and first lady Melania Trump are underway, ahead of when they’ll be living there full time after the Jan. 20 inauguration, sources familiar with the planning told ABC News.

Sources have described the renovations as “updates” to living quarters, in part because the residence has been used only on a temporary basis. The Mar-a-Lago club also had been opened only seasonally, and it remains unclear how a permanent residency by Donald and Melania Trump could change that.

While Trump will be required to spend at least six months per calendar year in Florida to maintain his residence status, the 74-year-old is expected to spend time at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and in New York, according to the sources, who added that all post-presidency plans remain fluid.

There may be updates throughout the evening as needed.