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

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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 TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report 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 KerryParis Agreement: Biden's chance to restore international standing Kerry promises Europeans Biden will seek to make up time on climate action OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden recommits US to Paris climate accord | Biden nixes Keystone XL permit, halts Arctic refuge leasing | Interior secretary rescinds wilderness protection order before leaving office 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 YellenOn The Money: Treasury announces efforts to help people get stimulus payments | Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury | Judge sets ground rules for release of Trump taxes Trump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Overnight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage 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 MnuchinPence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden Treasury imposes additional sanctions on Cuba over allegations of 'serious human rights abuse' Treasury Department sanctions inner circle of Russian agent Derkach for election interference MORE. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee 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: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands What Biden's Cabinet picks mean for the hardest-hit US industry MORE of New Mexico; 2) Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeOn The Money: Treasury announces efforts to help people get stimulus payments | Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury | Judge sets ground rules for release of Trump taxes Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear Record number of women to serve in Biden Cabinet MORE of Ohio; 3) outgoing Rep. Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaBiden's new challenge: Holding Trump accountable Trump, Florida complicate Biden approach to Cuba Florida Rep.-elect Elvira Salazar tests positive for COVID-19 MORE of Florida, who was secretary of Health and Human Services for eight years; 4) Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassDemocrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Rep. Bass tweets photo of Trump in response to FBI call for information on rioters San Francisco mayor says Harris replacement pick 'a real blow to the African American community' MORE of California, who was on Biden’s short list of potential VP picks; and 5) Rep. Andy LevinAndrew (Andy) LevinForeign adversaries skewer US after Capitol riots Biden taps Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for Labor secretary: report Biden picks leave Democrats with slimmest House majority in modern history MORE of Michigan.

 

On Monday, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSenators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal An ally in the White House is good for abortion access, but not enough LeBron James says 'it would be great' for champion Lakers to visit Biden White House 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).

 

 

 





LEADING THE DAY

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 PortmanThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' MORE (Ohio), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (Tenn.), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (W.Va.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time 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 FeinsteinHillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader 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 BarrettPolitical peace starts with everyday interactions A Day in Photos: The Biden Inauguration Schumer and McConnell trade places, but icy relationship holds 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 GrahamTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February 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 DurbinOvernight Health Care — Fauci: Lack of facts 'likely' cost lives in coronavirus fight | CDC changes COVID-19 vaccine guidance to allow rare mixing of Pfizer, Moderna shots | Senate chaos threatens to slow Biden's agenda Hillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts MORE (D-Ill.) said that he will seek to replace her atop the panel. Although Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDemocrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee Democrats swear in three senators to gain majority 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.



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

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 AdamsJudge drops case against former surgeon general over alleged virus restrictions violation The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Surgeon General Jerome Adams says Biden transition asked him to resign 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 BowserDC resumes indoor dining at 25 percent capacity Inauguration parties lose the glitz and glamour in 2021 Biden's inauguration unprecedented in US history 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.



The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 



OPINION

Hospitals prepare for the new COVID wave, by Mark Jarrett and Bruce Farber, opinion contributors, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/3nQBDEq 

 

Can this get any more pathetic? by Gail Collins and Bret Stephens, columnists, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3nOBfGm 





WHERE AND WHEN

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 TrumpScorned and mistreated, Melania Trump deserved much better from the media The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' K Street navigates virtual inauguration week 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 PompeoState Dept. to review Trump admin's decision to label Houthis a terrorist organization VOA reinstates White House reporter reassigned after questioning Pompeo Jilani: China 'sending clear message' to Biden officials with sanctions that opposition could lead to 'future pay cut' 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 http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. EST at Rising on YouTube



ELSEWHERE

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). 



THE CLOSER

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.