CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 10,242,754 and the nation’s death toll stands at 239,618, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 128,181 new cases and new 1,347 deaths yesterday. The number of new cases for the three-week period ending Monday nearly doubled to 1.9 million from the previous 21-day tally of 1.07 million and projections call for the U.S. to reach 20 million cases by Christmas if the virus keeps infecting people at the current rate. Yesterday’s hospitalizations reached a record-high 61,964.
BIDEN MOVES FORWARD… President-elect Joe Biden vowed yesterday that nothing would stop the transfer of power in the U.S. government. Speaking in Delaware, Biden responded to President’s Trump’s refusal to concede last week’s election results. “I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly. How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president’s legacy.” A Reuters poll released yesterday found that 80 percent of Americans believe Biden won, including 60 percent of Republicans. 72 percent of Americans believe Trump should concede, according to the poll. President Trump continued his efforts to retain power by filing lawsuits in several states, asserting unsupported claims of widespread fraud. The refusal to concede is hampering Biden’s attempts to launch a new pandemic plan of action. The president-elect’s transition team has been prevented from meeting with officials heading Operation Warp Speed and other Trump administration coronavirus efforts. The Washington Post reported yesterday that agency head across the federal government have been instructed not to cooperate with Biden’s transition team until President Trump finally accepts his loss. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday became the most recent world leaders to congratulate Biden for his victory.
TRUMP PRESSURED GEORGIA SENATORS OVER VOTING… The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported yesterday that the Trump administration pressured Georgia senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue to call for the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger amid baseless voter-fraud allegations in the state. The senators issued a joint statement Monday condemning last week’s presidential election as an “embarrassment” and calling for Raffensperger to resign, accusing him of “mismanagement and lack of transparency.” Had they not complied, according to the report, Trump would would have attempted to alienate them from their voting base ahead of their January 5 runoff elections.
FORMER FBI DIRECTOR DEFENDS TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION… Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday that the bureau had reason to believe President Donald Trump was a threat to national security. McCabe offered the testimony as part of a GOP effort to examine the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s Russia links. McCabe cited Trump’s decision to fire then-FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 after he refused to close an investigation into Trump’s then-national security adviser, Michael Flynn. “It became pretty clear to us that he did not want us to continue investigating what the Russians had done,” McCabe testified.
DEPARTURES ALARM PENTAGON LEADERSHIP… The Trump administration’s sweeping changes atop the Defense Department’s civilian leadership structure has left senior Pentagon officials alarmed. James Anderson, the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary of defense for policy, resigned yesterday, a day after President Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Anderson is being replaced by Anthony Tata, who was passed over on an appointment last year over Islamophobic tweets. Tata also has pushed “deep state cabal” conspiracy theories. Retired Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Kernan is being replaced as the under secretary of defense for intelligence by Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was on the staff of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and took a Pentagon job earlier this year. Replacing Chief of Staff to the Defense Secretary Jen Stewart is Kash Patel, a former staffer for California Congressman Devin Nunes, who opposed the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
‘THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY’ RETURNS FOR SEASON 3… Netflix announced yesterday that it is bringing back “The Umbrella Academy” for a third season. “The Umbrella Academy” is based on the comic book series written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá. The series centers on a dysfunctional family of sibling superheroes who attempt to prevent an apocalypse. Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lamperman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Justin H. Min, Ritu Arya and Colm Feore will return for the 10-episode third season.
CNN WINS ELECTION-WEEK CABLE NEWS RATINGS… CNN edged Fox among total viewers during election week, averaging 5.9 million viewers to Fox’s 5.7 million. CNN attracted 13.5 million viewers to President-elect Joe Biden’s speech on Saturday night after the presidential race was called. The Fox broadcast drew 9 million.
MLB NEWS… The Miami Marlins’ Don Mattingly was named National League Manager of the Year yesterday. The award comes after the Marlins went 31-29 in the shortened season and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Mattingly becomes the fifth former Most Valuable Player to be named Manager of the Year.
NBA NEWS… ESPN reported last night that the Phoenix Suns have had discussions about acquiring All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City is trying to move Paul and his two-year, $85.5 million contract as part of a rebuilding effort. Paul averaged 17.6 points and 6.7 assists last season and was named second-team All-NBA.