Biden begins transition plans as Trump refuses to concede

By Meg Wagner and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 9:02 p.m. ET, November 13, 2020
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12:13 p.m. ET, November 13, 2020

Top Trump adviser says White House is proceeding under the "assumption of a second Trump term"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Top Trump adviser Peter Navarro appeared on television Friday to baselessly yet emphatically claim that the White House is proceeding under the "assumption of a second Trump term," and that President Trump "won the election," even though he has lost. 

Remember: Major new organizations, including CNN, projected Biden will win the presidential election. President Trump has launched a series of legal challenges to the results, even though there has been no evidence of widespread voting fraud despite Trump's claims. 

"We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption that there will be a second Trump term," trade adviser Navarro lied on Fox Business Friday morning. 

He continued to lie, saying:

"What we seek here is verifiable ballots, certifiable ballots, and an investigation into what are growing numbers of allegations of fraud under signed affidavits by witnesses and my own view looking at this election, we have what appears in some sense to be an immaculate deception. But if you look statistically at what happened, clearly the president won this election, was leading on election day. And then, after election day, somehow in these key battleground states, they got just enough votes to catch up to the President."

There is no evidence of widespread fraud. In fact, a group of national, state, and private election officials called the Nov. 3 election the "most secure" election in American history. 

Yet, Navarro continued to lie. 

 "Our assumption is the second Trump term, we think he won that election, and any speculation about what Joe Biden might do I think his moot at this point,' he said. 

Navarro declined to provide any proof when pressed on the legal argument. 

After the Fox Business appearance, Navarro also declined to take questions from reporters that weren’t focused on the executive order aimed at China. 

"Not my lane," he said when asked by CNN’s Joe Johns about vaccine deployment. As director of trade and manufacturing policy, it very much is his lane.

John King Reports:

9:05 a.m. ET, November 13, 2020

CNN has not yet called these 2 states. Here's an update on where things stand.

AP
AP

Last Saturday, major news organizations including CNN, projected Joe Biden will win the presidential election after his win in Pennsylvania put him over the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win the presidency.

CNN also joined other organizations late last night projecting Biden would win the state of Arizona.

This brings Biden's electoral college votes to 290. President Trump currently has 217 electoral college votes.

CNN has not yet projected a winner in Georgia or North Carolina. Here's an update of where things stand in those two states:

Georgia

  • As of Friday morning, Joe Biden leads in Georgia by a little more than 14,000 votes.
  • At least 111 counties — 69.8% of the state's counties — have certified their results, including Gwinnett county. Today is the deadline for counties to certify their votes. 
  • Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Wednesday that there will be a full hand recount of the presidential race in the state. Importantly, Raffensperger said the recount won’t delay certification of the presidential results in Georgia, which has a Nov. 20 certification deadline.

North Carolina

  • With about 98% of the expected vote counted, Donald Trump is up about 71,000 votes, a margin that narrowed slightly Thursday evening
  • Thursday was the deadline for ballots to be received as long as they were postmarked by election day. 
  • Counties are scheduled to count any remaining votes and certify their final results today. 
8:49 a.m. ET, November 13, 2020

Meanwhile, Trump will be briefed on coronavirus vaccine progress today

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

As President Trump continues to fight the outcome of the election, he'll be briefed of the country's coronavirus vaccine efforts today.

Vice President Mike Pence will join Trump for the Operation Warp Speed briefing.

The latest on the virus: The pandemic is growing more alarming by the day. Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are piling up at record rates, and experts fear that daily deaths may soon follow. (These charts show just how bad it is.) 

An influential Covid-19 model projected nearly 439,000 people in the US could die of the virus by March 1.

8:39 a.m. ET, November 13, 2020

Why your taxes are unlikely to go up under Biden

From CNN's Katie Lobosco

US President-elect Joe Biden speaks to the media after receiving a briefing from the transition Covid-19 advisory board at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 09.
US President-elect Joe Biden speaks to the media after receiving a briefing from the transition Covid-19 advisory board at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 09.

The vast majority of Americans are unlikely to see their taxes go up under President-elect Joe Biden, despite false claims by President Trump to the contrary.

In fact, middle-income households could see an average tax cut of $680 and low-income households could see their tax bills fall by $760, according to an analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. 

Only the wealthy and corporations would see their tax bills go up under Biden's proposals.

But even those plans are likely to be dead on arrival if Republicans win at least one of two runoff races in Georgia set for Jan. 5 and keep control of the Senate. If Democrats flip both of those seats, the Senate would be evenly divided, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote.

Even then, raising taxes on anyone might be a hard sell during a pandemic. Americans could instead see bipartisan support for tax changes that lower the burden for some, like expanding the child tax credit or tax benefits for saving for retirement. 

Versions of both already have support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and were included in Biden's broad plan.

Read more about Biden's plan here.

8:15 a.m. ET, November 13, 2020

Trump is not legally required to concede

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

US President Donald Trump speaks in the briefing room at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 5.
US President Donald Trump speaks in the briefing room at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 5. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Conceding a lost election is the classy thing to do and it has usually been a part of the country coming together after a divisive campaign.

But President Trump has not yet conceded to Joe Biden, who was projected the winner of the 2020 election on Saturday, and has not indicated he has any intention of doing so.

Yet concession is a custom, not something required under the law. There are usually two elements to a concession — a call to the victor and a speech to supporters. Here's how it played out in some recent elections:

  • Hillary Clinton called Trump to concede in 2016 and she addressed supporters after it was clear she'd lose (although she advised Biden not to concede if the election was at all close and to let things play out).
  • John McCain set the modern standard for graciously conceding when he told supporters, "A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Sen. Barack Obama to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love." Read it here.
  • Al Gore called George W. Bush to concede on Election Night in 2000, then called him back to un-concede when results in Florida tightened. He ultimately did concede, 36 days later, after the Supreme Court ended recounts and gave the White House to Bush. And he gave a conciliatory speech to the nation even as his supporters fumed at the result.

The constitution is very clear that a new president will take the oath of office on Jan. 20 at noon. That will happen if Trump loses graciously or if he has to be escorted out of the Oval Office by Secret Service, although it's not exactly clear what the Secret Servce would do in the event Trump wouldn't leave.

Read more here.

8:11 a.m. ET, November 13, 2020

Here are the key dates and events from now until Inauguration Day

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf and Will Mullery

Election Day is over, but the legal mechanisms that lead from Election Day to Inauguration Day have just begun.

Americans who went to the polls on Election Day didn't actually select the president directly. They were technically voting for 538 electors who, according to the system laid out by the Constitution, will meet in their respective states and vote for president and vice president once the popular vote totals are completely counted and certified.

These electors are collectively referred to as the Electoral College, and their votes are then forwarded to the President of the Senate, who counts them in a joint session of Congress after the new year.

Here's a timeline of what happens before Inauguration Day and key dates to look out for:

Nov. 4 – Nov. 23: Votes are counted

Mail-in ballots had to be postmarked by Nov. 3 in every US state, but they can be received late and still counted in many states. In most cases, they had to be received within a day or two of Election Day. But in Washington state, mail-in ballots could be received as late as Nov. 23.

Nov. 10 – Dec. 11: States certify election results

Each state does it a little bit differently, but starting a week after Election Day, state governments began to certify their election results. Those deadlines can change in the event of a state recount if there is an extremely close result.

Dec. 8: "Safe harbor" to determine election results and assign electors

Under the Electoral Count Act, this is the date by which states are meant to have counted votes, settled disputes, and determined the winner of their electoral college votes. Governors are supposed to create certificates of ascertainment listing the winner of the election and the slate of electors.

In 2000, the Supreme Court ended a targeted recount in Florida because it could not be completed by this safe harbor date. That recount would not have changed the outcome of the election, but a full statewide recount could have made Al Gore president. This is when it could become very important for Republicans that they control more state legislatures than Democrats, including in most of the contested 2020 battleground states.

Dec. 14: Electoral votes are cast.

In law, this date is the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. This year it falls on Dec. 14. Six days after disputes are supposed to be settled, electors are supposed to meet in their respective states and cast votes for US President. They certify six sets of votes and send them to Washington. Many states have laws requiring their electors to support the winner of their state's election and can levy fines against faithless electors who go their own way.

Dec. 23: Electoral votes must arrive in Washington.

The certified electoral votes have nine days to get from their states to Capitol Hill.

Jan. 3: New Congress is sworn in

Members of the House and new members of the Senate take the oath of office at noon. This is the official start of the 117th Congress.

Jan. 6: Electoral votes are counted

Members of the House and the Senate all meet in the House chamber. The President of the Senate (that’s Vice President Mike Pence) presides over the session and the Electoral votes are read and counted in alphabetical order by two appointees each from the House and Senate. They then give their tallies to Pence, who announces the results and listens for objections.

If there are objections or if there are, somehow, multiple slates of electors put forward by a state, the House and Senate consider them separately to decide how to count those votes.

There are 538 electoral votes – one for each congressman and senator plus three for Washington, DC. If no candidate gets 270, the 435 members of the House decide the election. Each state gets a vote.

While there are more Democrats in the House, Republicans, as of now, control more state delegations, so it is very possible the House could pick Donald Trump even though there is a Democratic majority. It requires a majority of state votes to become President. The House has until noon on January 20 to pick the President. If they can't, it would be the vice president or the next person eligible in the line of presidential succession.

Jan. 20: Inauguration Day

A new president takes the oath of office at noon. If the President-elect dies between Election Day and Inauguration, the vice president-elect takes the oath of office and becomes President.

In a disputed election, if the House has not chosen a President but the Senate has chosen a vice president, the vice president-elect becomes acting president until the House makes a choice. And if there's no president-elect and no vice president-elect, the House appoints a president until one is chosen.

8:10 a.m. ET, November 13, 2020

CNN Projection: Biden will win Arizona

For just the second time in more than seven decades, a Democrat will carry Arizona in a presidential election, a monumental shift for a state that was once a Republican stronghold.

CNN projected late on Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden will carry Arizona, defeating President Trump and providing Democrats in Arizona and the universe of allied grassroots organizations in the state with a crowning achievement a decade in the making.

Arizona's electoral votes brings Biden's total up to 290. A candidate needs 270 to win the election.

President Trump currently has 217 electoral votes. CNN has not yet projected winners in Georgia and North Carolina.