Joe Biden is looking increasingly like the 45th President of the United States, but close and lengthy counts in several key states mean that as the nation wakes up four days after the election, major media outlets have not yet called the final result — and President Donald Trump is showing no signs of conceding. Taking the stage Friday night in Wilmington, Del., Biden again preached patience with the count and sought to project a presidential mien with a move toward reconciliation. “The purpose of our politics isn’t total, unrelenting, unending warfare,” he said. Trump stayed out of sight Friday but said on Twitter: “Legal proceedings are just now beginning!” His claims of fraud have been unsubstantiated in court, and at this stage would likely require tens of thousands of ballots to be tossed out to swing the results. With a dwindling number of mail and provisional ballots still to be counted, Trump trails by more than 20,000 votes in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona, while Georgia is heading to a recount with Trump trailing by more than 7,000 votes. Biden needs to win only two of those four states — or Pennsylvania alone — to secure the presidency.
Trump is weighing legal and political Hail Marys to keep his grasp on the presidency, including challenges to the Electoral College in GOP legislatures or on the floor of Congress. Even if his loss is made official, Trump is unlikely to ever offer a traditional concession speech and the notion that the election was “stolen” will continue to be an animating issue for Trump’s base, with protests continuing across the country. The combustible politics will persist in Georgia, where both Senate races are now headed to Jan. 5 runoffs, and Democrats likely need to win both to take control of the Senate. In addition, Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the pandemic to the president’s doorstep once again as the most important issue for the country — regardless of who’s in the White House.
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After soldiers slogged across Guatemala’s rain-soaked hillsides to the remote village of Queja, they discovered Friday that a mudslide had killed about 100 people. Rescue efforts are continuing after inundation caused by Eta, a powerful Caribbean hurricane that slammed into Nicaragua Thursday, weakening and careening eastward. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said the Queja toll could be as high as 150 from the storm that killed 50 people in other Central American nations. After the strengthening tropical depression hits Cuba tomorrow morning, Eta is predicted to make another hard turn, this time westward, crossing the Florida Keys and skirting the state’s western coast.
Despite some British tabloid reports to the contrary, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not, the Kremlin says, been pressured to step down by his family because he’s afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. But if he were to leave the office that a new constitution allows voters to keep him in forever, Russian legislators are prepared. They’ve drafted a law that would afford former presidents lifelong immunity from prosecution — a privilege Putin already enjoys by holding an office many expect him to occupy for the same duration.
3. Can Australia Defend Against ‘Meddling’ by China?
Australia isn’t saying why it arrested Di Sanh Duong, a Chinese Australian community leader who emigrated from wartime Vietnam a half-century ago. But the charge is easy enough to decode: attempted foreign interference, among new laws aimed at limiting China’s influence. But like the U.S., Australia can’t ignore that China has a major impact on its economy, and Beijing’s trade moves threaten $19 billion worth of goods from Down Under — possibly to be iced by a travel warning over Australian racism, which Duong’s prosecution, along with raids of Chinese journalists’ homes and revocations of Chinese scholars’ visas, can’t possibly help.
No idea what to make of this mess? We've got you covered. In partnership with the BBC World Service, our latest podcast, When Katty Met Carlos, breaks down what on Earth happened on Tuesday, and what it means for America — and the world. Tune in to hear the BBC's Katty Kay and OZY's Carlos Watson give the lowdown from their situation-room conversations with key players over the past four days. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, the iHeart Radio app or wherever else you get your podcasts.
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Is Lucid the new Tesla? That’s doubtful, but petrostate Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is helping it build a $700 million Arizona factory. Lucid is one of at least nine new companies aiming to go public and build electric vehicles, and seeing how Tesla can now print money, investors are clamoring for a piece of these startups. That’s evidenced by China-based Nio, which has just reached a market capitalization of $56 billion — like Tesla, that’s more than General Motors’ market cap. But few will succeed, experts warn, noting that even Tesla struggled to get rolling.
They died for us. Danish authorities are supervising the killing of millions of the country’s mink because they carry a mutated form of the virus that causes COVID-19. But the action may have come too late: More than 200 people have tested positive for the mutant strain, which experts fear could render nascent vaccines ineffective. Pretty scary, but the World Health Organization is advising people not to panic. “We need to wait and see,” the WHO’s chief scientist said, if the mutation “is going to impact vaccine efficacy.” That might be reassuring if it didn’t echo similar statements made in January.
“Rupert always tells me to my face that he loves me.” That’s the lament President Trump shared with Newsmax recently, concluding, “but I guess he doesn’t.” That’s because Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, America’s most popular cable news network, has covered the election fairly straight, opines journalist Alex Shephard. Angering the president and his supporters by calling Arizona for Joe Biden on election night, the network appears to represent a larger split in the Republican Party. And that’s reflected within its offices, where there is a debate over whether to call Biden "president-elect" even if he wins the requisite states.
The signs are there. When Notre Dame faces No. 1 Clemson today, it won’t just be worrying about the 342 yards thrown last week by Tigers’ backup quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. The Fighting Irish staff will also be wondering: If they signal play, will their opponents read it? The Tigers are known as the biggest sign stealers in the game, with binocular-wielding staffers and uncanny responses to plays. Can they do that? Yes, as there’s no NCAA rule covering it. Clemson isn’t the only one to steal signs, but a Sports Illustrated investigation has found that they’re regarded as the best at it.