Ivanka Trump defends work in deposition over inauguration funds
Ivanka Trump confirmed she was deposed Wednesday in connection to a lawsuit claiming the Trump campaign misused donor funds from the 2017 inauguration. The elder daughter of Donald Trump blasted the 5-hour long inquiry as an example of “vindictiveness & waste of taxpayer dollars.”
The daughter Trump faces serious allegations that made her questioning under oath no mere quiz like a university midterm or standardized test. The suit alleges the committee coordinated with Trump family members to overpay for event space in a way that enriched the family.
“I shared with them an email from 4 years ago where I sent instructions to the hotel to charge ‘a fair market rate,’” she wrote in her defense.
Trump declines to comment on confidence in AG Barr
CBS White House producer Sara Cook on Donald Trump’s exchange with reporters who pushed the president on Thursday for details about his talks with attorney general William Barr on this week:
Barr met with Trump at the White House on Tuesday, just hours after confirming to the Associated Press that the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread election or voter fraud to overturn the election.
According to CBS pool reporters, their sources described the meeting as “tense,” saying Trump is “not happy” with Barr.
Tax the rich for only $58? AOC shirt sale draws backlash
New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) unveiled her official merchandise site’s latest offering Thursday, and the price isn’t sitting well with some consumers.
The site is selling ‘tax the rich’ sweatshirts for just $58. But in this economic climate, the price may be ironically meant for the rich mentioned on the shirt.
AOC appeared to take the mostly GOP-led criticism in jest, however, pointing out the source of the expense: ethical and unionized American labor:
Newt Gingrich: Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood ‘totally destructive’
Newt Gingrich called Donald Trump’s legal team, including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, ‘totally destructive’ following the two attorneys comments encouraging Georgians not to vote in the state’s senate runoff election. Powell and Wood instead called on state officials address unsubstantiated and long debunked claims of voter fraud.
Trump campaign officials were quick to disassociate from the attorneys, confirming neither are connected with the campaign in any capacity. That hasn’t stopped the two from launching last-ditch and half-baked legal battles on the president’s behalf.
Incumbent senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler face tough challenges from Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively, so voter apathy will only harm Republicans.
Fearing the “don’t vote strategy will cripple America,” Gingrich called on “every Georgia conservative” to vote in the runoff.
Democratic challengers lead Georgia senators in latest poll
According to SurveyUSA, the Democratic challengers for Georgia’s senate run-offs currently lead their respective Republican incumbents:
- Democrat Jon Ossoff leads Republican David Perdue 50-48%
- Democrat Raphael Warnock leads Republican Kelly Loeffler 52-45%
These hotly contested races could determine who holds control in the US senate as the Joe Biden administration takes over. With astronaut Mark Kelly sworn in as Arizona’s newest Democratic senator the week, the Republican’s majority dropped to 52-48.
Should Democrats pick up both seats in January’s run-off, that lead dissipates, becoming a 50-50 tie. The tiebreak would then be come down to a vote from the vice president: Democrat Kamala Harris.
According to the poll, more than 80% of Georgians said they intend to vote in the January contest.
Who is Melissa Carone? Bizarre election hearing spotlights Trump loyalist
Twitter users and journalists have dug more into the background of Melissa Carone, the IT worker who claimed as a former Dominion Voting Systems employee, she witnessed massive voter fraud in a Michigan.
Already deemed “not credible” by a Wayne County judge, Donald Trump’s star witness in his push to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election went on to accost Michigan officials in an election hearing Wednesday, insisting “I know what I saw”.
Since the bizarre spectacle, with even legal advisor Rudy Giuliani struggling to calm her, Twitter users poked even more holes in everything from Carone’s allegations of voter fraud (including claiming deceased-Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez was involved), to her educational and professional background.
Despite claims that she’s working with a different attorney and “had to shut down all of [her] social media accounts due to harassment and fear for [her] safety,” online investigators easily found evidence to the contrary.
That’s only one of many unusual witnesses called by Giuliani and his team, another unidentified witnessed claiming “all Chinese look alike” when pushing for voter ID laws.
Biden adviser: Race central to coronavirus fight
Dr Marcella Nunez-Smith, a senior adviser to the incoming Joe Biden administration’s Covid-19 pandemic response spoke to the Associated Press about the critical role race continues to play in combatting the spread of the coronavirus.
“We cannot get this pandemic under control if we do not address head-on the issues of inequity in our country,” she said. “There is no other way.”
People of color, particularly Black Americans, have faced an unequal consequence from the outbreak since its onset, from 1-in-1000 Black Americans dying of the virus, to 1-in-6 losing a job from the economic impact.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Black people, Latinos and Native Americans’ rates of hospitalization and death from Covid-19 are two-to-four times higher than for white Americans.
Also an associate dean for health equity research at Yale’s medical school, Nunez-Smith will serve on the president-elect’s advisory board alongside Vivek Murthy and David Kessler, former surgeon general and Food and Drug Administration commissioner for the Barack Obama administration, respectively.
“This is a unified voice across the entire transition,” Nunez-Smith told the AP of the administration’s commitment to tackle racial inequality in the pandemic fight.
More on Dr Anthony Fauci’s criticism of the UK’s vaccine approval:
CBS News White House correspondent Steven Portnoy with more on Dr Anthony Fauci’s criticisms of the UK approving a vaccine by Pfizer.
Leading the current administration’s coronavirus task force, Fauci noted that Donald Trump’s nightly Covid briefings yielded “mixed” results before becoming too politicized. According to Portnoy, Fauci also confirmed that he is now cooperating and meeting virtually with president-elect Joe Biden’s landing team.
The full interview with CBS’s Takeout Podcast airs Friday.
Georgia senator David Perdue made more than 2,500 stock trades
A bombshell analysis from the New York Times and Senate Stock Watcher, a nonpartisan website that aggregates lawmaker trading, found that Georgia senator David Purdue bought and sold stock from his portfolio a total of 2,596 times, including several companies within his senate committees’ oversight, which raises additional questions of a conflict of interest.
The Times analyzed data to uncover that the senator, who faces a tough run-off election in January against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, made transactions accounting for nearly a third of all senators’ trades reported in the past six years.
The data also shows the breadth of trades Mr. Perdue made in companies that stood to benefit from policy and spending matters that came not just before the Senate as a whole, but before the committees and subcommittees on which he served.
Read more from The New York Times.
Good day from Baltimore!
I’m Kenya Evelyn, kicking off the blog from Stateside, and there’s much to follow today, including the continued fallout from former president Barack Obama’s Snapchat interview calling Defund the Police a “snappy” slogan that alienates voters.
We’ll get updates out of Wisconsin as Donald Trump’s attempts to suppress the will of the American people continue by challenging more than 200,000 votes of mostly Black and Democratic voters in Dane and Milwaukee counties.
And there’s more fallout from Trump’s bizarre video statement further pushing debunked voter fraud claims, and his legal team’s press conference disguised as a hearing in Michigan – including witness testimony that long-deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez interfered in the 2020 presidential election. It gets even worse from there.
Stay tuned, we have lots for you throughout the day.
Fauci suggests UK has not scrutinized vaccine data ‘carefully’
Dr Anthony Fauci has criticised the UK for approving Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine so rapidly.
Business Insider report that he told Fox News that UK regulators hadn’t scrutinized the Pfizer trial data as “carefully” as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and warned that rapid approvals could reduce public confidence in the shot.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: “The UK did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead.”
“If you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated,” he said, adding the US will be there “very soon.”
Number of Americans filing new jobless claims falls
The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims has fallen.
The closely-watched initial claims total dipped to 712,000 (seasonally-adjusted) last week, down from 787,000 in the previous seven days.
Economists had expected the figure to be higher, around 775,000, given the impact of surging Covid-19 cases and deaths in the US, and the latest restrictions.
But it’s still a worryingly high number of people seeking help — and still higher than the pre-pandemic record of 695k (this year, the initial claims peaked at over 6 million one grim week).
A further 289,000 freelancers, self-employed workers and others who can’t file initial claims sought help under the PUA programme.
So overall, nearly one million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefit last week, showing the long-term economic damage.
The number of Americans receiving unemployment support for at least a fortnight also fell.
The continuing claims total dropped to 5.52m in the week to November 21, from 6.08m the previous seven days.
That sounds positive (if people are moving back into work), but it may simply show that some families have simply used up their entitlement, so their benefits are expiring.
Team Trump are unhappy this morning with the way that lawmakers in Michigan treated witnesses at that House Oversight Committee hearing yesterday, where Rudy Giuliani appeared trying to get the state legislature to overthrow the election results. [See 7:25am]
The internet, meanwhile, cannot get enough clips of Melissa Carone…
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, has been on ABC News’ Good Morning America to talk about the coronavirus pandemic. He said he had been concerned about the transition between the Trump and Biden administrations, but he had grown more hopeful that the federal government response would not lapse.
“We’re in the middle of the worst battle of this war, and the hand-off has got to be smooth. We’ve got to work together. There’s got to be no politics in this virus,” he told the show, reports Susan Heavey for Reuters.
Hogan echoed CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield’s warning from yesterday, citing dark days ahead and noting even when vaccines are approved, there initially won’t be enough to even cover all of his state’s healthcare workers.
“The worst part of this virus is coming in the weeks and maybe the month or two to come. And we’re not going to have enough for everybody, so we’re just asking for patience,” Hogan said.
Redfield told an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce that the United States could start losing around 3,000 people each day over the next two months.
“The mortality concerns are real and I do think unfortunately before we see February, we could be close to 450,000 Americans that have died from this virus,” Redfield said.
The administration of outgoing president Donald Trump is still yet to articulate an effective nationwide strategy to contain the virus beyond promoting the development of a vaccine, which could be rolled out later this month, but which faces an uphill battle amid a skeptical public and logistical challenges.
The president’s few public appearances recently have been dedicated to efforts to overturn the results of the 3 November election rather than deal with coronavirus. Prior to the election, Donald Trump said that the country was rounding the corner and the media would no longer talk about Covid from 4 November onwards.