Trump still has power to make policy. Watch what he does
- Given the horrible silence among other top Republicans (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, notably) when it comes to affirming Biden's electoral victory, it could be a while.
- What stimulus proposal Biden can entertain will look very different coming out of a Senate where Democrats control the chamber compared to one where McConnell decides what gets a vote.
- Republicans need to win those Senate seats as much as Democrats do if they want to block Biden's plans, which makes it all the more telling that Trump and his campaign continue to try to get the presidential results overturned rather than focusing on getting out the vote for the Senate races.
- The state handed Biden 11 electoral votes and, more importantly, cleared the way for Mark Kelly, the new Democratic senator, to be sworn in Wednesday.
Georgia reports more than 940,000 absentee ballot requests for Senate runoff
- For comparison, 1,322,529 absentee ballots were cast in November's general election, according to a release from the Georgia Secretary of State's office.
- Georgia voters are required to request absentee ballots again for the runoff, even if they voted absentee in November, except those over the age of 65, members of the military or physically disabled people who requested absentee ballots for the entire election cycle.
- Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue as President Donald Trump continues to cast doubt on the results of the presidential election.
- Trump is slated to travel to the Peach State on Saturday to campaign for Loeffler and Perdue.
- On Monday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger -- both Republicans -- rebuffed Trump's calls to overturn the state's election results more than a week after they certified Joe Biden as the winner.
Grassley returns to Senate office after testing positive for Covid-19
- Washington (CNN) - Sen. Chuck Grassley returned to his Senate office Monday after testing positive for Covid-19 and completing a quarantine earlier this month, and he called on Congress to pass additional coronavirus relief legislation.
- Grassley, who is 87 and the most senior Republican in the chamber, tested positive for the virus on November 17, but remained asymptomatic throughout his quarantine, the Iowa Republican said in a statement, which said his return was cleared by his doctors.
- Grassley, as president pro tempore, is in the presidential line of succession.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will step down on January 20
- Pai's term was slated to expire in June 2021, though Biden will be able to choose a Democrat to chair the commission once in office.
- In 2017, Pai voted with his fellow Republican commissioners to remove rules that prohibited internet providers from from blocking or slowing traffic to particular sites and offering higher speed "lanes" at higher prices.
- Pai had recently said that the FCC could move forward with rulemaking around President Donald Trump's executive order targeting social media companies.
- Trump revoked his nomination for Republican Mike O'Rielly to serve another term in August after he expressed reservation about the FCC's authority around the executive order targeting Section 230.
- Trump's new nominee, Nathan Simington, testified before the Senate earlier this month, but with the session drawing to a close, his nomination could take a while to come to a vote.
This is what newly elected GOP women had to say about the future of their party
- Mace, who flipped a South Carolina House seat red, said her party had more women running this year, adding that this trend needs to persist if Republicans want to continue to diversify.
- Malliotakis, who also flipped a House seat red in New York, called the GOP a "big tent party," and credited the victories to the work of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, No. 3 Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, and Rep. Elise Stefanik.
- Malliotakis has said she would like to build a "Freedom Squad" to counter the Democratic "Squad" -- the four progressive women of color, who include Reps.
- When asked about the "Freedom Squad," on Sunday, Malliotakis said a group of newly elected Republican members of Congress, including a number of immigrants and children of refugees like herself, will "serve as a counterbalance to the values" of the other squad.
Ajit Pai announces departure from FCC after four-year deregulatory blitz
- When Democrats were in power, Pai fought against the Obama-era FCC's decisions to adopt consumer-protection rules such as net neutrality and broadband-privacy regulations.
- Pai's departure from the FCC would give the Biden administration a 2-1 Democratic majority immediately upon the new president's inauguration.
- But a Democratic-majority FCC could get moving on restoring net neutrality rules and other regulatory matters with a three-member group consisting of Democrats Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks, and Republican Brendan Carr.
- Democrats' upcoming 2-1 majority was made possible by Trump's decision to pull O'Rielly's renomination, which came shortly after O'Rielly refused to back the social-media crackdown.
- If Trump hadn't pulled the renomination, the Senate could have voted to give O'Rielly another term, deadlocking the FCC at 2-2 in the early part of the Biden administration.
The 40 most utterly unhinged lines from Donald Trump's first post-election interview
- The "biggest people" called at 10 p.m. EST to congratulate Trump on winning a second term?
- Stay with me on this: In cities where lots of people live and where Trump is not popular, he lost by large margins.
- Those large margins for Biden helped offset Trump's wins in rural, less populated areas in these swing states.
- So, the FBI and the Department of Justice -- run by Trump loyalist Bill Barr -- may well be in on this plot to steal the election from Trump?
- Also, here's Trump on Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp two weeks before the November election: "Brian Kemp, and he's a really smart guy, a really good guy and I endorse him and he went on to win and his wonderful wife, Marty, is even better than him." So, yeah.
- Again, Bill Barr, the head of the Department of Justice, was appointed by Donald Trump.
Congress looking at busiest lame duck session in memory
- Washington (CNN) - There are roughly 10 legislative days until spending for the federal government expires, and as coronavirus cases soar around the country, the Senate returns to Washington on Monday with millions of Americans counting on Congress to also come to an agreement on a stimulus package.
- Aides on both the Republican and Democratic sides are confident that Congress can pass a spending deal by the December 11 deadline to avert a partial government shutdown, but a stimulus deal is far less certain.
- Senate Republican and House Democratic appropriators hit a milestone last week when they locked in funding levels for all 12 of those bills.
- Still, these massive negotiations can always go sideways as fights over the President's border wall, abortion funding language and other sticking points rear their head.
Here's what happened over Thanksgiving weekend
- The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments concerning the Trump administration's effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted when congressional seats are re-allocated among the 50 states next year.
- The Democrat warned this morning that if Republicans hold onto the chamber next year, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would cause "paralysis" at a time of crisis when the government needs to act to help struggling Americans combat the economic impact of the coronavirus.
- That's the message from Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, who told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of The Union" this morning it's vital that Americans do "the common sense things" in the weeks ahead.
- Remember: The most basic QAnon belief -- entirely divorced from reality -- casts Trump as the hero in a fight against the "deep state" and a sinister cabal of Democratic politicians and celebrities who abuse children.
Facebook’s election woes are headed to Georgia
- Now, as the latest presidential election season is drawn out by an extra couple of months due to the dual runoff in Georgia that will decide control of the Senate, some claim the political ad ban’s extension constitutes voter suppression.
- Because Facebook and Google are not allowing any political ads to run on their platforms, which is an extension of previous policies, the candidates haven’t been able to use the two highly valued digital platforms to reach voters with advertisements or supply them with information about Georgia’s somewhat unusual runoff-election process.
- At the same time, this latest episode is a reminder that companies like Facebook and Google have by no means perfected their policies toward US elections, and that political content, from misinformation to candidate advertisements to hyperpartisan Facebook pages, do not exist in a vacuum.