The latest on Biden's transition

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 6:05 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020
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2:59 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Biden and Harris receive national security briefing

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Mark Makela/Getty Images
Mark Makela/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received a national security briefing from their team of experts on Monday.

Biden and Harris will deliver brief remarks on the subject later Monday. 

Reporters were allowed in for a short period, during which Biden stressed the importance of the country's recommitting to global alliances after Trump's presidency.

"The past four years we've seen a lot of damage to American global leadership and traditional alliances, democracy under assault, and our security jeopardized by a go-it-alone approach in this administration. And the truth is the challenge we face today, can't be solved by any one country acting alone," he said. 

Harris thanked those participating for their service and commitment to the country. 

Among those participating were Secretary of State-designate Tony Blinken, Defense Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin, incoming National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Avril Haines, Biden's pick for director of national intelligence.

1:59 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Biden will deliver remarks tomorrow on the coronavirus crisis

From CNN's Holly Yan, Madeline Holcombe and and Aaron Pellish

President-elect Joe Biden will deliver remarks tomorrow afternoon on the coronavirus pandemic from Wilmington, Delaware. His transition team advises the remarks will start at 3:45 p.m. ET.

Biden's remarks come as the nation continues to battle a surge in cases and a record number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

More Americans were hospitalized this past week than any other week of the pandemic, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Six states set new records Sunday for the most Covid-19 patients hospitalized: Alabama, California, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Meanwhile, more people traveled through US airports Sunday than any other day this pandemic, setting the stage for waves of new infections across the country.

Coronavirus vaccines continue to be administered and distributed across the country, but current figures fall well short of initial predictions and the US vaccination program appears to be taking longer than Warp Speed officials projected.

Coronavirus is one of Biden's key priorities, and earlier this month the President-elect detailed his plan to combat the pandemic, including asking Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days after he takes office.

1:10 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Trump's team has sent more than 550 fundraising emails since election night

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Al Drago/Getty Images
Al Drago/Getty Images

The Trump campaign has sent 554 fundraising solicitation emails to supporters since 11 p.m. on election night, Nov. 3, and 195 text messages, per CNN’s count.

The daily appeals showed little sign of slowing down during the holiday season. There was just one email sent to the list on Christmas Day, a holiday greeting with no solicitation.

Ahead of the holiday, the appeals asked supporters to sign a holiday card for the President. There has been a push in recent days for supporters to donate $30 or more to receive a 2021 Trump calendar.

“Our incredible First Lady, Melania Trump, handpicked the beautiful photos for our BRAND NEW 2021 Trump Calendar. She said to me, ‘Darling, I want Betsy to have PRIORITY-ACCESS to get the calendar FIRST,’" an email said to be sent by the President said.

An email sent on Dec. 23 claimed that Trump had “sent the Covid Relief Bill BACK to Congress,” calling it a “disgrace."

“In fact, this bill only provides American taxpayers with $600 each in relief payment and is nowhere near enough money for small businesses, like restaurants, that are in desperate need of our help,” that email said.

12:48 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Biden tested negative for coronavirus today

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images
Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of his remarks later this afternoon in Delaware, President-elect Joe Biden tested negative for coronavirus.

“President-elect Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected," according to Biden's office.

Biden is expected to deliver remarks at 3:30 p.m. ET after receiving a briefing from members of his national security and foreign policy agency review teams.

12:16 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

The House will vote this afternoon to override Trump's veto on the National Defense Authorization Act

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Following President-elect Joe Biden's remarks this afternoon on national security, the House is set to vote at 5 p.m. ET on two key items, one of which will test the loyalty of the Republican Party to President Trump.

The House will vote to override the President's veto on the National Defense Authorization Act. It will require a two-thirds majority vote. Republicans in leadership haven't whipped the bill. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said that he won't vote to override Trump's veto even though he voted for the underlying bill.

Members of the Freedom Caucus and a handful of other Republicans are expected to follow McCarthy's lead.

However, Democrats are growing increasingly confident that they will have the votes they need to override the veto. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith told CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday night that he thought the votes would be there and even Republican aides are saying they believe there is a very good chance Trump's veto is overridden Monday night in the House.

The House will also vote on increasing stimulus checks to $2,000. It will also require a two-thirds majority vote because it is occurring under a suspension of the rules.

Remember: Even if the process begins in the Senate on Tuesday to override the NDAA, any single senator can object, likely delaying the actual vote until Sunday when both the House and Senate reconvene for the first day of the 117th Congress.

Read more here.

11:01 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

President-elect Biden to provide overview of national security later today

From CNN's Aaron Pellish 

Joshua Roberts/Getty Images
Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will deliver brief remarks this afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware, following a briefing from members of his national security and foreign policy agency review teams. 

A transition official says the briefing will focus in large part on the findings of the review teams since the delayed GSA ascertainment of Biden’s victory several weeks ago. Biden’s remarks will serve as a broad overview of some of those key points.  

We can also expect that the briefing he receives from agency review teams will be less about specific headlines in the news, but more broadly about the country’s institutional health and wellness on the national security and foreign policy fronts.

11:16 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Some Republicans plan to challenge Biden's Electoral College victory next week

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Congress will count the Electoral College votes in a joint session of Congress on January 6, which represents President Trump's final chance to try to overturn the election result he lost to Biden.

In reality, Trump's Republican allies have virtually zero chance of changing the result, only to delay the inevitable affirmation of Biden as the Electoral College winner and the next president.

That hasn't stopped Trump — who has spread baseless conspiracy theories to falsely claim he won the election — from pressing for Congress to dispute the result next month. Just before Christmas, Trump hosted House Republicans at the White House who have been spearheading the effort to object to the Electoral College results, led by GOP Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama.

"I believe we have multiple senators, and the question is not if, but how many," Brooks said last week.

Brooks said the Republicans are preparing to object to Biden's win in as many as six states, which would force a dozen hours of debate on the House and Senate floors, turning the counting of Biden's victory into a political circus.

Some background: When Congress met to tally the results of the 2004 presidential election, then-Sen. Barbara Boxer stood alone on the Senate floor to object to President George W. Bush's reelection victory in Ohio over Democrat John Kerry, forcing the House and Senate to vote for only the second time in a century on whether to reject a state's Electoral College votes.

It's the same scenario that could play out next week with President Trump publicly urging his supporters in Congress to object to President-elect Joe Biden's victory in battleground states that expanded mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of House Republicans is preparing to object, and they need at least one senator to join them to force the chambers to vote on the matter.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has privately urged Senate Republicans to steer clear, several senators have declined to rule out taking part, and incoming GOP Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has left open the possibility he will join the effort.

Democrats and even some Republicans are warning against a challenge, despite the precedent laid by Boxer. In an interview with CNN, Boxer said that the circumstances are totally different this year, when Trump and his allies are seeking to overturn a national election result, than when she joined with then-Ohio Democratic Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones to object to Kerry's loss.

Read more here.

10:11 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

These will be the key members of Biden's White House digital operation

From CNN's Dan Merica

Joshua Roberts/Getty Images
Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden named a slate of digital operatives to his incoming White House staff on Monday, preparing for an administration that, at least at the outset, will conduct most of its public-facing business digitally amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The newly minted staffers named to the White House Office of Digital Strategy include a number of longtime Democratic operatives, many of whom worked for Biden's presidential campaign.

The group will be asked to not only recreate the digital operation that helped defeat President Trump, but to build out an operation that follows a president who wielded more social media power than any of his predecessors.

Here's a look at the team announced so far:

  • Rob Flaherty, who worked as the digital director of the Biden campaign, will assume the role of director of digital strategy in the White House.
  • Jamie Lopez will work as director of platforms.
  • Brendan Cohen, who previously served as the deputy director of editorial on the Biden campaign, will serve as the platform manager of the digital operation.
  • They will be joined by Jonathan Hebert as video director and Carahna Magwood as creative director, both of whom held similar roles on the Biden campaign.

Some background: Biden's cash-strapped Democratic primary campaign was not the most digitally savvy operation and many Democrats believed the former vice president won the nomination despite a lack of serious investment in digital organizing and communication.

But Biden's campaign began to invest heavily in its digital operation as the Democratic primary ended and the general election began, just as almost all political campaigning moved online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden conducted much of his campaign in the early days of the pandemic from his home in Delaware, putting increased importance and pressure on his digital organizing operation.

9:58 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Biden's inauguration is less than a month away. These are the key roles he is yet to announce. 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

President-elect Joe Biden has yet to announce several key roles in his incoming administration, including attorney general, labor secretary and commerce secretary.

Biden's goal was to have all —or most — of his remaining Cabinet selections announced by Christmas, a transition official previously told CNN.

His self-imposed deadline of Christmas slipped away, but aides said he is expected to announce these remaining positions by early January.

Here are the positions that haven't yet been announced:

  • Attorney general
  • CIA director
  • Secretary of commerce
  • Secretary of labor
  • Small business administrator

Here's a look at who Biden has selected so far for his Cabinet and other top roles: