The year 2020 may now be behind us, but we aren’t done with the 2020 election just yet.
This week, the newly-elected Congress is getting sworn in, two runoff elections in Georgia are coming up to determine control of the Senate, and President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory will be certified by Congress. Biden also still has a few Cabinet picks to announce – including his nominee for Attorney General – as he plans for his inauguration.
Here are the upcoming dates to watch:
Jan. 5: Senate runoff election in Georgia.
Jan. 6: Congress will count and certify the electoral results in a joint session.
Jan. 20: Inauguration of Biden, who will take the oath of office.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the transition.
All 10 living former secretaries of defense denounce idea of involving military in election
All 10 living former secretaries of defense, a group spanning multiple administrations with decades of experience, denounced calls to involve the Defense Department in adjudicating the 2020 election in an op-ed in The Washington Post.
“Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory,” the group writes. “Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic.”
The group includes officials from both Democratic and Republican administrations, with prominent figures such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, as well as Mark Esper and Jim Mattis, who served under President Donald Trump.
The condemnation comes after the president and his supporters have alleged widespread voter fraud, without evidence. Multiple investigations of the election tally in key battleground states found that President-elect Joe Biden was the winner. The Supreme Court has twice found the president’s legal challenges to have no standing.
Having failed in the courts, some of Trump’s allies have expressed support for the idea of asking the military to somehow intervene and the idea of declaring martial law was reportedly raised at one Oval Office meeting. A December New York Times report said Trump repeatedly asked aides whether he could use the military to intervene and “rerun” the election in states the president lost.
The Defense Department has said “there’s no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election.” But the current leadership has not cooperated with the normal peaceful transition process, according to the incoming Biden administration.
The former defense secretaries reminded Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller that he and “his subordinates – political appointees, officers and civil servants – are each bound by oath, law and precedent to facilitate the entry into office of the incoming administration, and to do so wholeheartedly.”
“We call upon them, in the strongest terms, to do as so many generations of Americans have done before them. This final action is in keeping with the highest traditions and professionalism of the U.S. armed forces, and the history of democratic transition in our great country.”
– Matthew Brown
Trump campaign aide calls for release of full Georgia tape – Washington Post accommodates him
Suggesting a lack of context, a Donald Trump campaign aide at one point Sunday demanded the release of the full conversation between the president and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
“Release the full tape!” senior campaign adviser Jason Miller demanded in a tweet – one posted just minutes before The Washington Post did exactly that.
The one hour-and-two-minute tape showed exactly what the four-and-a-half-minute excerpts released earlier did: That Trump tried to bully Raffensperger into overturning Biden’s victory in Georgia.
It also exposed Miller to ridicule, as hundreds of social media users tweeted the full tape back to the campaign adviser.
“Here is the full tape,” pollster Frank Luntz said to Miller. “Happy to help!”
– David Jackson
Republican lawmakers spar over efforts to object to Electoral College results
Some Republican lawmakers’ efforts to object to the certification of Electoral College results continued to cause debate among Republicans as a new Congress convened on Sunday.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the third-ranking House Republican, circulated a note among her Republican colleagues Sunday morning calling efforts to overturn the election and prevent the certification of Electoral College results “directly at odds with the Constitution’s clear text and our core beliefs as Republicans,” according to a source familiar with the memo not authorized to speak on the record. NBC News had first reported the memo.
And in a two-page statement released Sunday, seven House Republicans said they opposed the effort by some Republican lawmakers to object to Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results on Wednesday. The lawmakers, some of whom are members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus – normally stalwart defenders of the president – said inserting Congress into the Electoral College process “would amount to stealing power from the people and the states.”
“The text of the Constitution is clear. States select electors. Congress does not,” the lawmakers wrote.
Among the signatories is Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, a former chief of staff to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is spearheading one of the efforts to challenge the electoral college results.
At least a dozen Senate Republicans plan to join House Republicans in objecting to Congress’ certification of Electoral College results. Their effort is unlikely to succeed, as a majority of both the House and Senate must vote to exclude electoral votes, but the ensuing lengthy debate may further cast doubt among Republicans about the results of the election.
– Nicholas Wu
Bipartisan group of senators push back against Electoral College objection
After a dozen Republican senators declared last week that they intend to object to the certification of the Electoral College result, many of their Democratic and Republican colleagues have strongly condemned their plan, saying they risk losing voter’s faith in the process over unfounded allegations of widespread fraud.
“The 2020 election is over,” a bipartisan group of 10 senators declared in a joint statement on Sunday. “All challenges through recounts and appeals have been exhausted. At this point, further attempts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 Presidential election are contrary to the clearly expressed will of the American people and only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the already determined election results.”
The group, comprised of Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Mark Warner, D-Va.; Bill Cassidy; R-La., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Angus King, I-Maine; Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the “voters have spoken” and “Congress must now fulfill its responsibility to certify the election results.”
“In two weeks, we will begin working with our colleagues and the new Administration on bipartisan, common sense solutions to the enormous challenges facing our country. It is time to move forward,” they said.
In addition, Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Richard Shelby of Alabama told reporters on Sunday they would not support an effort to object to the electoral count.
“I think it’s a solemn responsibility to accept these electoral college votes that have been certified by governors, secretaries of states all across the country,” said Capito. “I just think this is an ill-fated journey.”
– William Cummings
Trump pressures Georgia official to change vote totals in recorded call
President Donald Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to flip the state’s election result, in a recording of a phone call published Sunday by The Washington Post.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” Trump tells Raffensperger in the hourlong call, which took place Saturday, according to the Post. Citing unsubstantiated reports he “heard,” Trump said the vote total should be changed.
“There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump told Raffensperger.
“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong,” replied the Republican Georgia official.
Trump persisted in trying to cajole Raffensperger, telling him at one point, “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
The president also warned Raffensperger and his general counsel that he thought theicertification of the result could be considered “criminal.”
Earlier Sunday, Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Raffensperger “about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia.” Trump said Raffensperger was “unwilling, or unable, to answer questions” about previously debunked voter fraud claims.
“Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out,” Raffensperger replied.
– William Cummings
Perdue backs effort to object to Biden victory
David Perdue, who faces Democrat Jon Ossoff in Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoff election, won’t be among the lawmakers meeting in a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but he is urging them to object to the certification of the Nov. 3 election results.
Without citing specifics, Perdue claimed on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that there were “huge irregularities in Georgia” that “need to be investigated” and “need to be corrected.” He said that, if he was able, he would join the dozen Republican senators and more than 100 GOP House members who are expected to challenge the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College defeat of President Donald Trump.
“I’m encouraging my colleagues to object,” Perdue said. “This is something that the American people demand right now you.”
With the closing of the 116th Congress, Perdue is no longer a sitting senator and will have to wait in a political limbo until the results of his runoff election against Ossoff are certified by the state of Georgia. If he loses, he won’t return to the Senate – at least, not this term – and if he wins, it could take more than a week to get a final count of the vote in what is expected to be a close race.
Before Sunday, Perdue had not explicitly stated his position on the upcoming certification of the Electoral College result. Perdue and Kelly Loeffler – another Georgia Republican in the same Senate runoff limbo – have had to walk a fine line in the two months since the election on the question of whether widespread fraud occurred.
….is therefore both illegal and invalid, and that would include the two current Senatorial Elections. In Wisconsin, Voters not asking for applications invalidates the Election. All of this without even discussing the millions of fraudulent votes that were cast or altered!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2021
Perdue told Fox News, “I don’t think I should be in this runoff if everything had happened the way it should have in November, but the only recourse we have is to get out and fight and rise up and vote.” But when pressed on what was being done to prevent the alleged fraud from recurring Tuesday, Perdue did not cite anything that wasn’t done ahead of Nov. 3.
On Friday, Trump said the November election in Georgia was “both illegal and invalid” because the same early voting practices were being followed for the runoffs. He added, “that would include the two current Senatorial Elections.”
– William Cummings
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 10 ex-defense secretaries warn military has no role in US elections