nytimes – Biden Live Updates: Latest News on President-Elect

Credit…Jim Urquhart/Reuters

President Trump’s false accusations that voter fraud denied him re-election are causing escalating confrontations in swing states across the country, leading to threats of violence against officials in both parties and subverting even the most routine steps in the electoral process.

The extraordinary assault on the voting system by the president and his allies has taken on added intensity as the deadlines for certifying results in several states approach, in some cases in the next few days. Once certified, the final tallies will further complicate Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn his loss.

In Arizona on Wednesday, the secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, issued a statement lamenting the “consistent and systematic undermining of trust” in the elections and called on Republican officials to stop “perpetuating misinformation.” She described threats against her and her family in the aftermath of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in her state.

In Georgia, where Mr. Biden has held onto a narrow lead through a recount that was scheduled to have concluded Wednesday night, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, has said he, too, received menacing messages. He also said he felt pressured by Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to search for ways to disqualify votes. The state faces a Friday deadline to certify its election results.

In Pennsylvania, Republican state lawmakers advanced a proposal on Wednesday to audit the state’s election results that cited “a litany of inconsistencies” — a move Democrats described as obstructionist and unnecessary given Mr. Trump’s failure to present any evidence in court of widespread fraud or other problems. Republicans in Wisconsin filed new lawsuits on Wednesday in the state’s two biggest counties, seeking a recount.

Nowhere was the confusion and chaos more evident than in Michigan on Tuesday night, when two Republican members of the canvassing board in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, initially refused to certify election results in a stunningly partisan move that could have disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters from a predominantly Black city. After public backlash, the two board members reversed their votes and agreed to certify.

“You could see the racism in the behavior last night,” Mike Duggan, the Democratic mayor of Detroit, said at a news conference on Wednesday. “American democracy cracked last night, but it didn’t break. But we are seeing a real threat to everything we believe in.”

In courtrooms, statehouses and election-board meetings across the country, the president is increasingly seeking to force the voting system to bend to his false vision of the election while also using the weight of the executive office to deliver his message to lower-level election workers, hoping they buckle.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

A prominent Jewish group criticized the White House on Wednesday for appointing to a commission that monitors Holocaust sites a speechwriter whom the White House had fired in 2018 for attending a gathering with white nationalists.

The speechwriter, Darren Beattie, was appointed this week to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad for a three-year term that will last into the Biden administration. The commission is tasked with identifying and preserving cemeteries and historic buildings in Europe, including sites used to kill primarily Jews during the Holocaust.

In 2018, Mr. Beattie was dismissed from his job as a speechwriter for Mr. Trump after the revelation that he had appeared on a panel in 2016 with Peter Brimelow, the founder of the anti-immigrant site VDare, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a hate website.

The Anti-Defamation League denounced Mr. Beattie’s appointment.

“It is absolutely outrageous that someone who has consorted with racists would even be considered for a position on a commission devoted to preserving Holocaust memorials in Europe,” said the group’s chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt. “We urge the administration to rescind his appointment immediately.”

Asked for comment, Mr. Beattie said of the group: “The A.D.L. pretends to be an organization that protects Jews, but it really exists to protect Democrats. As a Jewish Trump supporter, I consider it an honor to be attacked by the far-left A.D.L. and its disgraced leader, Jonathan Greenblatt.” A White House spokesman declined to comment.

Mr. Beattie’s dismissal from the White House had followed criticism that the Trump administration has fostered anti-immigrant sentiment and ties to white nationalists.

Shortly after Mr. Trump took office, the White House issued a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day that neglected to mention Jews. And in 2017, the president was denounced after saying there were “very fine people on both sides” after a protester was killed at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Credit…Michael Conroy/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In the final weeks of President Trump’s term, his administration intends to execute three inmates on federal death row, the last scheduled executions by the Justice Department before the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has signaled he will end federal use of capital punishment.

Since July, when it resumed carrying out the death penalty after a 17-year hiatus, the Trump administration has executed seven federal inmates. Weeks before Mr. Biden is sworn in, the three inmates face the prospect of being the last federal prisoners to die by capital punishment for at least as long as Mr. Biden remains in office.

Orlando Cordia Hall, 49, convicted in the brutal death of a teenage girl, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday. Two other prisoners are to be executed in December, including Lisa M. Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row.

Mr. Biden has pledged to eliminate the death penalty. His campaign promised to work to pass legislation to end capital punishment on the federal level and offer incentives to states to follow suit. An aide reiterated Mr. Biden’s platform when asked how he planned to do so and did not respond to requests for comment on the scheduled executions.

The Justice Department under Mr. Trump resumed federal capital punishment this summer after a nearly two-decade informal moratorium. Before then, only three people had been executed by the federal government in the past 50 years, according to Bureau of Prisons data.

Federal executions during a transition of power are extremely unusual, according to Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. He said that presidents have generally deferred to incoming administrations.

“This is another part of the Trump legacy that’s inconsistent with American norms,” he said. “If the administration followed the normal rules of civility that have been followed throughout the history in this country, it wouldn’t be an issue. The executions wouldn’t go forward.”

The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment about the timing of the executions.

Credit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times

The two runoff elections in Georgia that will determine which party controls the Senate are already drawing enormous sums of cash, with more than $125 million pouring into the state in only two weeks.

The races have taken on outsized importance as the narrowest of Democratic majorities in the Senate would considerably ease President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s path to confirming his cabinet picks, appointing judges and advancing his policies.

The two Democratic challengers, the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, have each raised huge amounts since Nov. 3, with Mr. Warnock collecting around $40 million and Mr. Ossoff a little less than that, according to two people familiar with their fund-raising.

The Senate arm of the Republican Party and the two Republican incumbents, Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, announced they had pulled in $32 million in just the first six days after the election. And Ms. Loeffler, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, who spent $23 million of her own money to make the runoff and can inject millions more at a moment’s notice, has already booked $40 million in television time.

Super PACs on both sides are racing to lock up a shrinking supply of television airtime, as ad rates in the Atlanta market skyrocket, after the state voted for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1992.

The races have drawn campaign visits from potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates. Mr. Biden himself is planning a trip closer to the Jan. 5 runoffs.

If both Democrats win the runoffs, they would pull the Senate into a 50-50 tie, which would give Democrats de facto control of the chamber because Kamala Harris, as vice president, would cast the tiebreaking vote.

Conversely, a Republican majority would give Senator Mitch McConnell, the G.O.P. leader, an effective veto over many of Mr. Biden’s ambitions.



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