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Trump news - live: President under fire for Covid silence as Giuliani ‘smoking gun’ video rebuffed

Donald Trump makes remarks about the election after presenting the Medal of Freedom to Lou Holtz in early December

President Trump has gone on a social media rant today, with posts imploring Republicans to “get tough”, alongside tweets claiming the election was rigged.

Mr Trump also doubled down on his plans to veto an upcoming $740bn (£549bn) defence bill .

It comes as Joe Biden has said he is concerned at reports Donald Trump is considering pardoning his children and lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Mr Biden told CNN that possible pardons concern him because of the "kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks at us as a nation of laws and justice". 

Also today, Mr Biden has urged President Trump to attend his inauguration next month to “end the chaos” he has created, arguing it was important for there to be a “peaceful" transfer of power.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump was handed another bruising court defeat, as the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear his lawsuit attempting to overturn the loss to his Democrat rival. Furthermore, Ivanka Trump has called the probe into her father’s inauguration as a “waste of taxpayer dollars” and branded it “vindictive.”


US labor market slowing as COVID-19 pandemic rages

The US economy added the fewest workers in six months in November, hindered by a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases that, together with a lack of more government relief money, threatens to reverse the recovery from the pandemic recession.

The closely watched employment report also showed 3.9 million people had been out of work for at least six months, with many giving up, a sign of lack of confidence in the labor market. The report, which only covered the first two weeks of November, when the current wave of coronavirus infections started, underscored the challenges facing President-elect Joe Biden when he takes over from President Donald Trump in January.

The economy has recouped only 12.4 million of the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April. Even with a vaccine on the way, economists are warning of a bleak winter and urged Congress to provide additional fiscal stimulus.

Job growth last month was held back by further departures of temporary workers hired for the 2020 Census. Local governments continued to shed more workers, especially at schools, causing overall government payrolls to drop by 99,000 jobs, the third straight monthly decline. The private sector added 344,000 jobs.

The retail sector lost 35,000 jobs. Retailers typically embark on seasonal hiring in November, a practice that has been upended by the pandemic. This disruption likely threw off the model the government uses to strip seasonal fluctuations from the data. - Reuters


Biden now 7 million votes ahead of Trump in popular vote

One month after the US election, and weeks after victory was declared for Joe Biden over Donald Trump, the Democrat’s lead over the Republican continues to grow as the results from the final ballot counts trickle in.

As of Friday morning, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have accrued 51.3 per cent of the popular vote or a record-setting 81,237,902 votes.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have a total of 74,188,990 votes or 46.9 per cent, putting the Biden-Harris ticket ahead by more than 7 million or 4.4 percentage points.

The Independent’s Oliver O’Connell has the full story.

Democrat president-elect set new record with popular vote win


BREAKING: US House passes bill to end federal marijuana prohibition

The US House of Representatives has passed a landmark bill voting to remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances.

It is the first time either chamber of Congress has voted on the possibility of national decriminalisation of the drug.

The 228-164 vote in favour of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) stands little chance of passing the Republican-led Senate, but reflects a national swing in opinion away from criminalising those that manufacture, distribute, or posses marijuana.

Oliver O’Connell is following the story as it unfolds. 

The US House of Representatives has passed a landmark bill voting to remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances.


AOC calls for $1,200 stimulus checks in Covid relief plan

That would be enough to pre-order 20 of her new $58 Tax the Rich merch, “as complained about on Fox News”.

Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls it “another day on the radical left with our crazy ideas” of government-funded economic relief to help Americans suffering from government-mandated pandemic lockdowns.

Just in time to engage in some capitalism and drop a full, 8-hour day’s work on a $7.25 minimum wage for that $58 sweatshirt.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.


Trump Pentagon purge continues with business advisory board members fired

Members of the Pentagon’s Defence Business Board were reportedly fired on Friday just weeks after the Trump administration hooked Defence secretary Mark Esper from the top job.

The news was scooped by Politico, quoting two former board members as being told via email from White House liaison Joshua Whitehouse that read: “If you are receiving this e-mail, your membership on the Defense Business Board has expired or is coming to an end.”

Board chairman Michael Bayer confirmed to the outlet that members were terminated by form letter that was, in his experience, surprising that the White House would change a board at the 11th hour.

"This kind of a move really will weigh heavily on people on the future and their willingness to serve on these outside advisory boards if they're going to be subjected to political loyalty test. It's unprecedented. I'm just saddened," he added.

"I had no indication this was coming. It was a form letter going to a large number of people, I just don't know how many people got it.”


Trafalgar Group predicts tight race in Georgia run offs but Republicans with edge on control of Senate

While almost all polling companies missed the mark during the presidential election race, The Trafalgar Group was consistently one of the closest in their predictions of how tight the final tallies would be.

So it’s worth keeping an eye on their predictions for the two Georgia Senate runoffs that will decide who controls the legislature.

Robert C Cahaly, just dropped their latest numbers and it’s a close one with on win Democrat Jon Ossoff ahead of Republican David Perdue, but Republican Kelly Loffler ahead of Democrat Raphael Warnock.

If those leads hold, the Democrats could be seeing red in the chamber for the next four years.


Trump is silent on Covid as White House parties for Christmas

Donald Trump is continuing to host crowds of people inside the White House for Christmas parties, even as the coronavirus pandemic rages out of control and health experts plead with people to avoid large gatherings.

The president has been largely silent on the virus ravaging the US, which on Thursday killed more people than died at Pearl Harbor.

Mr Trump’s social media posts have overwhelmingly focused on challenging the results of the 3 November election, with scant attention paid to the public health catastrophe around him.

Even as government officials issue increasingly dire coronavirus warnings, he has remained silent.

The Independent’s Harriet Alexander has more.

White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said that 'if you can loot businesses, burn down buildings, engage in protest, you can also go to a Christmas party’


Election officials deny viral ‘smoking gun’ video purporting to show illegal ballot counting in Georgia

Georgia's election officials accused of having ballot-counting wrongdoing happen on their watch say there was no ballot-counting wrongdoing happening in the election being run on their watch.

The state’s voting system implementation manager, Republican Gabriel Sterling, told Lead Stories that the surveillance shows nothing bizarre happening and everything is normal and fine. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

“If you look at the video tape, the work you see is the work you would expect, which is you take the sealed suitcase looking things in, you place the ballots on the scanner in manageable batches and you scan them,” Mr Sterling said.

Here is the video:

Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, presented the video as “smoking gun evidence” and said witnesses signed sworn affidavits that they were told to leave before the ballots were supposedly taken from beneath the tables and counted. 

Frances Watson, the chief investigator for Georgia’s secretary of state, told Lead Stories that Republican and Trump campaign observers were not told to leave, and that the ballots scanned in the surveillance video had already been counted, in contrast to Mr Giuliani and assertions from witness Jackie Pick.

As Twitter would say; everything is in dispute.

The Independent’s Gino Spocchia has more.

State voting manager says ballot processing seen in viral video was ‘normal procedure’ 


Watch: Jimmy Kimmel removes ‘all the misinformation’ from Trump’s epic 46-minute speech

“The days of Donald Trump are coming to an end, and it’s been like living in hell” the president says in the Kimmel-doctored video 

Kimmel removes all the misinformation from Trumps speech

The late-night host unveiled the altered clip saying he and his team “decided to whittle out all the misinformation” from the clip. 

The Independent’s Clémence Michallon looks at what was left.

Trump released the 46-minute video, which is filled with baseless claims about the election, on Facebook


Trump stumps for Georgia runoff as insiders worry he’s hurting chances

Between the president’s ALL CAPS daily diatribe on the “RIGGED ELECTION” and telling Republicans to get TOUGH to MAGA, the president also spent the morning retweeting… the president.

Trump is signal boosting his own signal to encourage Republicans to vote in Georgia run off elections that will decide control of the Senate, while also casting doubt on the integrity of the election to go and vote for.

It comes as Republican insiders say Trump will destroy their chances in Georgia this weekend, according to this opinion column from Andrew Feinberg for Independent Voices.

‘There’s probably a better than 50-50 chance that this all goes to sh*t and he becomes the first president to blow up two Senate campaigns at once’

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