CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 11,498,515 and the nation’s death toll stands at 250,180, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… New York City Public Schools announced yesterday that it will be shutting down after the city reached a 3-percent testing positivity rate… Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers yesterday declared a state of emergency and said he would extend the state’s face mask mandate until 2021.
BIDEN PARTICIPATES IN HEALTH-CARE ROUNDTABLE… President-elect Joe Biden held a virtual roundtable with front-line healthcare workers yesterday. The workers called for more personal protective equipment, widespread testing, contract tracing and better economic support for Americans. Biden was also warned that hospitals nationwide are overflowing with coronavirus patients.
TRUMP CONTINUES LEGAL CHALLENGES… President Trump continued his legal challenges to the 2020 presidential elections with new filings yesterday. The Trump campaign has paid the state $3 million and filed a petition for a recount of ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. Trump’s campaign also filed an amended complaint in Pennsylvania seeking to block the state’s efforts to verify its election results. On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled officials in Philadelphia did not prevent observers from overseeing the counting of ballots. Officials in Georgia are expected to release tallies from a recount today and say results are not likely to overturn Biden’s 14,000-vote victory in the state.
FBI INVESTIGATING TEXAS AG… The FBI has launched an investigations into allegations that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton illegally used his office to benefit a wealthy donor. Former members of Paxton’s staff accuse Paxton of committing bribery, abuse of office and other crimes in support of an Austin real estate developer. Seven senior lawyers in the attorney general’s office and the agency’s head of law enforcement claim Paxton hired an outside lawyer to investigate the developer’s allegations that the FBI improperly searched his home and offices last year.
PELOSI RE-ELECTED TO LEAD DEMS… Democrats yesterday re-elected Nancy Pelosi to lead the party as House speaker. Pelosi, along with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, ran unopposed. The three Democrats have held their positions in the House for the last 14 years. Last week, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer was re-elect as Senate minority leader while Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky won another term as the Senate majority leader.
GREEN BERET ADMITS SPYING FOR RUSSIA… A former Army Green Beret has pleaded guilty today to providing Russian intelligence operatives with U.S. national defense information. 45-year-old Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins allegedly participated in the conspiracy between December 1996 and January 2011. The former U.S. Army Ranger allegedly provided information about his chemical and Special Forces units. As part of his arrangement with the Russians, he was given a code name and signed a statement of cooperation.
MICHAEL B. JORDAN IS PEOPLE’S SEXIEST… Michael B. Jordan has been named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive for 2020.” The 33-year-old actor is best known for his TV roles in “The Wire” and “Friday Night Lights,” as well as his work in such films as “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed,” “Black Panther” and “Just Mercy.” Last year’s Sexiest Man Alive was singer John Legend.
TORY LANEZ PLEADS NOT GUILTY… Rapper Tory Lanez pleaded not guilty yesterday to felony assault charges in the July shooting of hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion. The 28-year-old Lanez entered the plea through his attorney and was not present in the courtroom. He was told to return for a hearing on January 20. If convicted, Lanez faces a maximum sentence of roughly 23 years. Lanez was charged in October with one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and one count of carrying a loaded, concealed firearm in a vehicle following a July incident in the Hollywood Hills.
NBA NEWS… The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Anthony Edwards with the first pick of the 2020 NBA draft night. Edwards is a 6-5 guard who played his lone college season at Georgia. The Golden State Warriors chose Memphis center James Wiseman with the second choice, while guard LaMelo Ball went to the Charlotte Hornets at No. 3.
MLB NEWS… Major League Baseball has suspended New York Mets second-baseman Robinson Cano for the 2021 season following his second positive test for a performing-enhancing drug. The 38-year-old Cano was previously suspended for 80 games in 2018. The current suspension will cost him $24 million in salary and possibly harm his post-career election to the Hall of Fame. He is a lifetime .303 hitter with 334 career homers.
TONIGHT’S NFL SCHEDULE…
Arizona (6-3) is at Seattle (6-3)