The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience

                Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC



Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Tuesday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators, and readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 256,783; Tuesday, 257,707.

President-elect Biden is moving rapidly to introduce Americans and lawmakers to diverse choices for his pending Cabinet who are in sync with his party’s overall world view, experienced with Congress and pathbreakers who showcase that women and professionals of color earned seats at the governing table.


At the same time on Monday, the General Services Administration (GSA) officially “ascertained” that Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way after a delay of three weeks for a federally supported transition to begin. President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE gave his green light without conceding the contest, vowing to continue “the good fight” to challenge his defeat in key states, even as Biden locked up 306 electoral votes to his 232 (The Associated Press and The Hill).


On Monday, Biden named a team of trusted, seasoned advisers for national security and international affairs, reaching back to the Clinton and Obama administrations, including longtime aide Antony Blinken to be secretary of State and John KerryJohn KerryHow the US could help Australia develop climate action Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power No. 2 State Department official to travel to China amid tensions MORE, Democratic presidential nominee in 2004 and former secretary of State, who instantly signaled U.S. seriousness about climate policy in a new role as special envoy.


As U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Biden selected Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a veteran diplomat with knowledge of Africa, who must be confirmed by the Senate. To lead the Department of Homeland Security, where Trump immigration policies are destined for an overhaul, Biden chose Alejandro Mayorkas, who would be the first Latino in the post. To be director of national intelligence, he said he will nominate Avril Haines, a former deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration who would be the first woman in the top intelligence job.


Biden is poised to nominate former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenYellen tries to tamp down Democrats fury over evictions ban On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Yellen to brief House Democrats on Tuesday on rental aid MORE, a respected economist, to be the nation’s first female Treasury secretary following three decades of influence on U.S. economic policymaking, reported The Wall Street Journal. Yellen, 74, who chaired the White House Council of Economic Advisers for former President Clinton, once referred to herself as “one of the president's paid worriers.” Amid a pandemic and faced with a slowing U.S. economy along with rising economic inequality, Yellen (pictured below) would again have plenty to worry about as she represents the administration abroad as well as before Congress.


The Associated Press: Awaiting Yellen at Treasury is yet another daunting crisis.


Trump’s former National Economic Council Director Gary CohnGary David CohnOn The Money: Wall Street zeros in on Georgia runoffs | Seven states sue regulator over 'true lender' rule on interest rates | 2021 deficit on track to reach .3 trillion Former Trump economic aide Gary Cohn joins IBM The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE was among those who cheered Yellen as a “steady hand” to succeed Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer MORE. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenStaff seeks to create union at DNC America's middle class is getting hooked on government cash — and Democrats aren't done yet California Democrats warn of low turnout in recall election MORE (D-Mass.), a frequent Mnuchin critic and foe of big banks who was favored by some progressives for the Cabinet post, applauded Yellen on Twitter.


Biden’s decision to announce some of his Cabinet and White House personnel choices before Thanksgiving shifted attention away from Trump’s behavior and helped pressure GOP leaders to argue for an immediate start to the transition. Biden’s announcements are also meant to calm Democratic supporters who have been agitating for the promotion of favored top-level hires.


CNN: Biden’s first-year agenda depends on support from Congress, particularly the Senate. On Monday, he named two seasoned aides, Reema Dodin and Shuwanza Goff, to head up White House legislative affairs.


The Hill and The Associated Press: Biden’s incoming national security team, including Jake Sullivan to direct the National Security Council, signals the administration’s determination to restore global alliances and agreements that frayed under Trump’s “America First” approach to international affairs. 


John Harris, Politico: A standout team of careerists sign on with Biden.


The Hill: Suggested by supporters as potential Biden appointees who could move from the House to the new administration: 1) Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Energy Dept. targets Trump rollbacks on appliance efficiency | Biden officials take second look at Arctic refuge drilling | Scientists study 'power source of stars' in climate fight Biden administration kicks off second look at Arctic refuge drilling Tracy Stone-Manning's confirmation treatment was simply unacceptable — and it must stop MORE of New Mexico; 2) Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeBriahna Joy Gray: Voters are 'torn' over Ohio special election Shontel Brown wins Ohio Democratic primary in show of establishment strength The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions MORE of Ohio; 3) outgoing Rep. Donna ShalalaDonna Edna Shalala'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection Pelosi, Schumer must appoint new commissioners to the CARES Act oversight panel Stephanie Murphy won't run for Senate seat in Florida next year MORE of Florida, who was secretary of Health and Human Services for eight years; 4) Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassScott: 'There is hope' for police reform bill Biden: Republicans who say Democrats want to defund the police are lying Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia MORE of California, who was on Biden’s short list of potential VP picks; and 5) Rep. Andy LevinAndrew (Andy) LevinHaiti Caucus: Forging path out of crisis will not be quick, but necessary to avoid false 'democracy' Overnight Defense: Two injured in latest attack on US troops in Iraq | Judge rules Air Force mostly responsible for 2017 Texas mass shooting | Shock and turmoil after Haiti assassination Haitian president's assassination adds to crisis in Caribbean nation MORE of Michigan.


On Monday, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisKamala Harris and our shameless politics Pelosi: House Democrats 'ready to work with' Biden on eviction ban Meghan McCain predicts DeSantis would put Harris 'in the ground' in 2024 matchup MORE promised some of the nation’s leading mayors that the new administration would collaborate with cities to respond to the pandemic next year (The Hill).





TRUMP & POLITICS: Along with the GSA announcing transition plans on Monday, the president was dealt a critical blow on Monday when the Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state’s election results showing Biden defeating the incumbent. 


The four-member panel voted 3-0, with one member abstaining, to certify the results from Michigan’s 83 counties, cementing the president-elect’s win as the president’s legal team court battles continue to go south. Biden won Michigan by more than 150,000 votes (The Hill).


The walls also closed in on the president from some reliable Senate Republican allies who believe it is time for Trump and his supporters to accept that Biden will take office on Jan. 20. On Monday, Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHillicon Valley: Senate report finds major cyber shortcomings in federal agencies | Gig firms seek Mass. ballot question to classify workers as contractors | Blizzard's president steps down after workplace protests Senate report finds major cybersecurity shortcomings among federal agencies The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions MORE (Ohio), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (Tenn.), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoSeven-figure ad campaign urges GOP to support infrastructure bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal MORE (W.Va.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Optimism grows that infrastructure deal will get to Biden's desk MORE (La.) all called for an orderly transition, with Portman laying out a road map for the president to concede. 


“On or before Dec. 8, any ongoing efforts to ensure an accurate count must be concluded and the 2020 election brought to a close,” Portman wrote in an op-ed, adding that Biden’s team “should receive the requested intelligence briefings and briefings on the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.”


Alexander Bolton, The Hill: Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism.


Reuters: Trump relents after a steady drumbeat from fellow Republicans. 


Amy Walter, Cook Political Report: All base all the time fails to deliver.


The New York Times: A timeline of the certification process that Trump is trying to disrupt.





Calls for Trump to concede also grew louder from within national security circles as officials pressed for GOP leaders to push the president for a concession, saying the ongoing effort to flip the election is dangerous and anti-democratic (Reuters).


As The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes, Trump’s power is waning as he continues to lob claims of widespread voter fraud without any evidence. The world is moving on, with the incoming Biden administration is plowing ahead with plans and Trump’s legal efforts remain in a state of disarray. 


Trump continues to revel in the support of his base, but his ability to drive public attention has fallen.


Gerald F. Seib, The Wall Street Journal: For Trump and GOP, risks in postelection fight rise.


Maggie Haberman and Matt Flegenheimer, The New York Times: What Donald Trump liked about being president.


ABC News: Secret Service members have been asked by their bosses about interest in relocating to protect soon-to-be-former President Trump full time in Florida.


> Congress: Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Stripping opportunity from DC's children MORE (D-Calif.) announced on Monday that she will step down from her spot as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee after receiving intense criticism from progressive groups in recent years, including for her handling of Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettBill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol Supreme Court's approval rating dips to 49 percent  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Jan. 6 probe, infrastructure to dominate week MORE’s nomination to the Supreme Court last month.


Feinstein said she needs to focus on “two existential threats” facing California: wildfire and drought. 


“After serving as the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee for four years, I will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position in the next Congress,” the longtime California Democrat said in a statement.


Feinstein was the target of left-wing wrath after she hugged Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - Simone wins bronze with altered beam routine The job of shielding journalists is not finished The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions MORE (R-S.C.), the committee chairman, at the conclusion of the Barrett hearings and praised him for his handling of the confirmation process (The Hill). 


Shortly after Feinstein’s announcement, Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinMcConnell warns Schumer cutting off debate quickly could stall infrastructure deal Congress should butt out of Supreme Court's business Inmates grapple with uncertainty over Biden prison plan MORE (D-Ill.) said that he will seek to replace her atop the panel. Although Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge House clears .1 billion Capitol security bill, sending to Biden Senate passes .1 billion Capitol security bill MORE (D-Vt.) has more seniority, he serves as ranking member on the Senate Appropriations committee, giving Durbin the edge to replace Feinstein (The Hill). 


The Washington Post: “We’re in the foxhole together”: House Democrats reckon with a diminished majority.


CORONAVIRUS: The federal government will begin distributing doses of Regeneron's antibody drug treatment for COVID-19 today, top health officials said. 


Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told reporters that the administration will initially distribute 30,000 doses of the drug, with more coming in the weeks ahead. The limited allocations to state and territorial health departments will be proportionally doled out by confirmed COVID-19 cases over the previous seven-day period. 


By early January, Regeneron expects to produce 300,000 doses. Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s effort to produce a vaccine and remedies, gave Regeneron $450 million to support manufacturing of the drug in July (The Hill).


Monday also marked another dour milestone, as it was the 20th straight day of the U.S. recording at least 100,000 new confirmed cases of the virus. It also comes as Americans embark on travel across the country to see loved ones for Thanksgiving despite pleas from government officials.


Those calls continued on Monday, including from Surgeon General Jerome AdamsJerome AdamsIt's time we had 'safe havens' for vaccinated Americans The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Crunch time for bipartisan plan; first Jan. 6 hearing today Trump surgeon general: 'Pandemic is spiraling out of control' MORE, who urged individuals to keep Thanksgiving celebrations small and to their single household. 


“I want the American people to know that we are at a dire point in our fight with this virus by any measure: cases, positivity, hospitalizations, deaths. We're seeing more Americans negatively impacted than ever before,” Adams told “Good Morning America.”


“I'm asking Americans — and begging you — hold on just a little bit longer. Keep Thanksgiving and the celebration small and smart this year,” he added.


Adams’s comments came in response to questions about how the White House can justify its advisory for people to refrain from travel for the holiday when it is holding indoor holiday parties that rub up against guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He did not directly comment on the White House’s plans (CNN). 


According to a new Axios-Ipsos poll, 61 percent of respondents said that the pandemic has changed how they will celebrate the holiday, including holding a smaller gathering than usual or travel plans. 39 percent, however, indicated that COVID-19 will not change how they celebrate. 


The Associated Press: Thanksgiving could be make-or-break in U.S. virus response.


Reid Wilson, The Hill: Peak of third COVID-19 wave still weeks away.


States and cities continued to roll out new restrictions on Monday in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserMaskless DC Mayor Bowser won't save herself with a media attack Feehery: Making DC's local government more accountable Philip Wegmann: 'People just aren't going to care' about mask mandate after maskless Bowser photo MORE (D) announced “adjustments” to the District’s phase two status, which include reductions in indoor and outdoor gathering capacities, restaurants being forced to stop serving alcohol by 10 p.m., and limits on gym classes and worship services (Fox 5).


In Los Angeles County, outdoor dining has been suspended at restaurants, forcing them to serve only takeout and delivery orders (Los Angeles Times). The limitations in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles go into effect on Wednesday. 


WTOP: Washington, D.C., walks back parts of the city’s phase two coronavirus reopening because of rising caseloads.


The Associated Press: Germany wants quarantines before holiday visits.


In some corners of the world, governments are rolling back restrictions. In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) dropped the limitations on casual social gatherings ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The order was in place for two weeks (Deseret News). 


ESPN: England to allow 4,000 fans at Premier League games in lowest-risk areas.

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Hospitals prepare for the new COVID wave, by Mark Jarrett and Bruce Farber, opinion contributors, The Wall Street Journal. 


Can this get any more pathetic? by Gail Collins and Bret Stephens, columnists, The New York Times. 


The House will meet at 10 a.m.


The Senate will resume legislative business at 3 p.m. on Nov. 30.


The president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpAzar regrets Trump didn't get vaccinated on national TV Only Trump can fix vaccine hesitancy among his supporters Trump discussed pardoning Ghislaine Maxwell: book MORE will present the National Thanksgiving Turkey at 2 p.m. in the Rose Garden.


Vice President Pence has no public events.


Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE meets at 9 a.m. at the department with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah. He and the sheikh will deliver joint statements at 9:45 a.m.


Biden and Harris, in Wilmington, Del., will introduce their nominees and appointees to key national security and foreign policy posts.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. EST at Rising on YouTube


AUTOMOTIVE: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ordered General Motors on Monday to recall and repair nearly 6 million big pickup trucks and SUVs equipped with potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators. The decision will cost the automaker an estimated $1.2 billion, about one-third of its net income this year. GM had petitioned the agency four times starting in 2016 to avoid a recall, contending the air bag inflator canisters have been safe on the road and in testing. (The Associated Press).  … GM said on Monday it will no longer support the Trump administration in legal efforts to end California’s right to set its own clean-air standards. CEO Mary Barra said in a letter to environmental groups that GM will pull out of the lawsuit and urges other automakers to do so (The Associated Press).


INTERNATIONAL: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met in the Saudi city of Neom on Sunday, according to Axios and multiple Israeli media outlets, marking the first time the two leaders have met. Netanyahu traveled to Saudi Arabia for the meeting on Sunday night while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting with the crown prince. Netanyahu declined to comment on any meeting on Monday, and the Saudi government denied that the two met. In recent months, Israel has struck agreements to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, but a deal with Saudi Arabia remains up in the air (The Associated Press).


RIP: Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins (D), the first African American to lead Gotham, died on Monday at age 93. Dinkins served one term in office, but was mired in controversy by a number of issues during that time, including high unemployment and murder rates (The New York Times). 


ENTERTAINMENT: “Jeopardy!” announced plans to move forward with the show’s production following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek and will do so with an interim guest host: Ken Jennings. Jennings, whose 74-game winning streak in 2004 catapulted him into game show fame, most recently was crowned the champion of the show’s “Greatest of All Time” competition in January. The show said on Monday that it will kick off production on Monday with multiple guest hosts taking the reins of the program in the coming weeks and months (The Hollywood Reporter). 


HAPPINESS IS BLACK AND WHITE? Call him “Little Miracle,” or Xiao Qi Ji, the name chosen by the public after some online voting for a popular 3-month-old baby panda in Washington. The National Zoo certified the 135,000 virtual ballots on Monday (WTOP). 


And finally … As part of America’s countdown to Thanksgiving, Trump plans to surface today from his self-imposed withdrawal from public view to pardon turkeys named Corn and Cob in the Rose Garden (pictured below on Monday inside their room at the Willard Hotel).


It’s a White House tradition that has proved all but unstoppable, even for presidents who lose elections they’d fervently hoped to win (former President George H.W. Bush privately tried to get out of the pardoning ritual following his defeat in 1992, but America’s turkey growers howled, and he relented).


In the interest of readers who intend to serve themselves or guests some turkey in one form or another on Thursday, here’s some news you can use:


In the nation’s capital, fans who like their fowl fried can bring their turkeys to Nationals Park and get the deep-frying done at no cost without torching their houses (and with social distancing) (Washingtonian).  


During a pandemic, Thanksgiving recipes for two seem a sensible contribution from The New York Times. How about turkey thighs with cranberries and onions instead of an entire bird? Not to mention 17 recipes for a smaller Thanksgiving dinner, including Torrisi turkey breast, a restaurant innovation that can be done at home involving brine, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, a humid oven, then a hot, dry oven and a glaze of honey and roasted garlic. Go ahead. You’ve got all day (The New York Times).


Like other popular household supplies during the COVID-19 consumer continuum, smaller turkeys have flown out of stores and are reportedly hard to find (Detroit Free Press). In 2020, American shoppers, however, are plucky.