US President-elect Joe Biden will announce the first of his Cabinet picks on Tuesday, as he moves ahead with planning for his incoming administration.
Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, said that the president-elect would be beating the pace of appointments set by both the Obama-Biden transition and the Trump transition.
Candidates on Biden’s shortlist include former Fed Chair Janet Yellen, current Fed Governor Lael Brainard, Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Fed governor, and Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Biden has pledged to build the most diverse government in modern history, and he and his team often speak about their desire for his administration to reflect America.
He is being watched to see whether he will make history by nominating the first woman to lead the Pentagon, the Treasury Department or the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the first African American at the top the Defense Department, the Interior Department or the Treasury Department.
Since Biden was declared winner of the Nov. 3 election two weeks ago, President Donald Trump has launched a barrage of lawsuits and mounted a pressure campaign to prevent state officials from certifying their vote totals, suffering another emphatic legal setback on Saturday in Pennsylvania.
Klain reiterated their camp’s call for the Trump administration – specifically a federal agency called the General Services Administration – to formally recognize Biden’s victory to unlock resources for the transition process.
“I hope that the administrator of the GSA will do her job,” Klain said, referring to GSA chief Emily Murphy.
Klain said the Trump administration’s refusal to clear the way for Biden’s team to have access to key information about agencies and federal dollars for the transition is taking its toll on planning, including the Cabinet selection process.
“We’re not in a position to get background checks on Cabinet nominees. And so there are definite impacts. Those impacts escalate every day,” Klain told twitted “This Week.”
Looking ahead to the Jan. 20 inauguration, Klain said it is “definitely have to be changed” due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that the Biden team is consulting with Democratic leadership in the House and Senate over their plans.
“They’re going to try to have an inauguration that honors the importance and the symbolic meaning of the moment, but also does not result in the spread of the disease. That’s our goal,” Klain said.
WASHINGTON – Many people assume the winner of the U.S. presidential contest is determined once the media calls the race and the losing candidate delivers a concession speech. But the truth is that formally declaring a presidential winner is a months-long process that won’t be completed until January.
That process essentially involves Americans voting for electors, the electors voting for the president, and then Congress declaring the winner.
“There’s Election Day, where those electors are elected; there’s the date in December where the electors meet and then vote for president; and then there’s the date in January where the Congress certifies that election,” says Amy Dacey, executive director of the Sine Institute of Policy and Politics at American University.
In addition to the Electoral College, certifying the winner of the presidential election involves the Senate, House of Representatives, and the National Archives.
This process is the result of a compromise among the Founding Fathers, who weren’t convinced voters could be trusted to choose a worthy leader.
“This was first created because there wasn’t that confidence in the citizenry to make that decision,” Dacey says. “They didn’t believe the American people should directly choose the president and vice president, but they didn’t want to give Congress the sole power of selection, either.”
COVID-19 could complicate counting
Election experts predict counting the ballots will take longer this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased number of voters that are expected to cast mail-in ballots.
“These are legal procedures that have to be followed,” says Lia Merivaki, assistant professor of American Politics at Mississippi State University. “Pushing for the election to be called on election night will create more confusion and will create distrust and … possibly, many are going to start suing the states because they expect the results to be announced on election night. So it will make the job of election officials and the states harder as they try to keep the process transparent and fair.”
Once the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, tally the in-person, mail-in, and provisional ballots, each state governor draws up a list of electors. Copies of this list, known as the Certificate of Ascertainment, are submitted to the U.S. Archivist, the head of the National Archives.
The electors then meet in their state capitals — the District of Columbia’s meet in D.C. — to formally cast their votes for president and vice president. This must occur on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. This year, that date falls on Dec. 14.
The electors in each of the states complete Certificates of Vote and send them to the U.S. Senate, the National Archives and state officials. Once that is done, the Electoral College has no further duties until the next presidential election.
The final step in the process occurs on Jan. 6, 2021, when Congress meets to count the electoral votes and officially certify the winner. The process is ordinarily ceremonial, but there can be objections. There were objections to some Electoral College votes in 1969 and 2005, but the House and Senate rejected the objections and the votes in question were counted.
Whether or not objections will be filed in the aftermath of the 2020 election is yet to be known, but President Donald Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud related to mail-in voting.
“This is uncharted territory and I hope we don’t get to that because you really are overhauling years of democratic norms and procedures,” Merivaki says. “I think that it would be very extreme if the Senate is going to take an action that really cancels the will of the people. I think that will be very problematic for the status of democracy in the United States … I mean, that’s not a democracy anymore.”
Dacey thinks complications could arise if the winner of the popular vote doesn’t also win the Electoral College. President Trump won the Electoral College in 2016 but lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The same occurred in 2000, when Republican George W. Bush won the Electoral College but narrowly lost the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore.
“I think the biggest question is, ‘Do voters feel like when they cast their ballot on Election Day, it is a deciding factor in who represents them?’ In every other election, it is, because it is that popular vote that’s the determiner,” Dacey says. “I do think that it can diminish people’s faith in the process, and it could diminish the engagement, and I want more people voting. And if they think their popular vote, their vote on Election Day, doesn’t actually make that decision, I think it’s just going to cause a challenge for participation and people’s faith in the system.”
Rudy Giuliani has said President Donald Trump will not concede defeat in the US election.
According to CBS News, the president’s attorney disclosed this at a press conference shortly after Joe Biden was projected to become the 46th president of the United States.
“He’s not going to concede when at least 600,000 ballots are in question,” Giuliani said in Philadelphia on Saturday.
He claimed without evidence that ballots were tampered with in Pennsylvania, the state that gave Biden the crucial Electoral College votes necessary to win the White House.
He was joined by three poll watchers who claimed they were prevented from adequately monitoring the ballot counting process.
Giuliani said he has statements from 25 watchers and has spoken to a total of 50 with similar stories.
“I could have brought about 50 with me,” Giuliani said, but he said he did not because “50 is too many,” and some were afraid of retribution.
According to Giuliani, the Trump campaign plans to file several federal lawsuits alleging the “uniform deprivation of the right to inspect” ballots.
He accused the “Democratic machine in Philadelphia” of tampering with counting, and “(keeping) the votes of dead people secret,” among other baseless accusations.
“Seems to me somebody from the Democratic National Committee sent out a note that said don’t let the Republicans look at those mail-in ballots,” Giuliani claimed, again without offering any evidence.
He claimed that Biden is gaining a lead in the state vote count after Election Day is proof of corruption.
President Trump initially led in Pennsylvania but lost that lead after unprecedented numbers of mail-in ballots — which under state law are not allowed to be counted before Election Day — pushed Biden ahead.
“You just don’t lose leads like that without corruption,” Giuliani said, though it is not unusual for early leads to shift as more votes are tallied.
Asked about the call for President-elect Biden by major news networks, Giuliani mocked the media for harbouring “hateful biases” toward President Trump. “Networks don’t get to decide elections, courts do,” he said.
Despite his crackdown on peaceful protesters, freedom of speech and assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated Joe Biden, President-elect of the United States of America, offering him advice on respecting the will of the people.
Buhari is notorious for numerous rights violations under his administration including the recent killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate area of Lagos by the Nigerian Army on October 20, 2020.
In a statement on Saturday, he said, “Your election is a significant reminder that democracy is the best form of government because it offers the people the opportunity to change their government by peaceful means.
“The most powerful group are not the politicians, but voters who can decide the fate of the politicians at the polling booth.
“The main fascination of democracy is the freedom of choice and the supremacy of the will of the people.
“Respect for the will of the people is the very reason why democracy remains the best form of government, despite its limitations from one polity to another, and from one society to another.
“I am thrilled by the fact that you are an experienced politician who had served as Congressman for 40 years and a Vice President for eight years. This is a remarkable track record that gives us hope that you will add value to the Presidency and world affairs.
“With your election, we look forward to greater cooperation between Nigeria and the United States, especially at economic, diplomatic, and political levels, including the war against terrorism.”
Since the moment Donald Trump took office in 2017, he has been raising money for his reelection. But among the millions of people who have helped pour more than $1.5 billion into the Trump campaign, there’s one name you won’t find: Donald J. Trump.
America’s first billionaire president hasn’t given a single dollar to his reelection campaign, according to the latest Federal Election Commission data, which runs through October 14. If Trump doesn’t end up writing himself a check by Election Day, he will be the first billionaire presidential hopeful to make a bid for the White House without donating any money to his own campaign.
Other billionaire presidential hopefuls have spent tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars on their White House runs. One, Michael Bloomberg, spent over a billion.
Trump’s 2016 spending was more in line with previous billionaire candidates. He gave $66 million to his first White House run—about what Ross Perot Sr. spent on his 1992 presidential bid, though far less than what Bloomberg and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer sunk into their failed attempts to unseat Trump this year.
It’s unclear why Trump, who is worth an estimated $2.5 billion, is not shelling out any money to get himself reelected. The White House and the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment. Trump could surely donate something, but he does not have unlimited cash. The president’s companies are heavily exposed to the retail real estate, travel, and high-end events sectors—areas that are being hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. And while Forbes estimates that Trump has around $160 million in liquid investments, he will have to repay or renegotiate an estimated $900 million worth of business debt that’s coming due over the next four years.
Donald Trump, President of the United States, has described the rescue of an American citizen on Nigerian soil as a warning to terrorists and criminals, who believe that they can kidnap Americans with impunity.
Philip Walton was abducted by suspected bandits on October 26 in the Niger Republic.
He was, however, rescued in an operation on Nigerian soil by the elite SEAL Team Six, who killed all but one of the captors.
In a statement released through the office of the Press Secretary, Trump said Walton had since been reunited with his family.
He said, “Last night, at my direction, the United States military conducted a successful operation to rescue an American hostage in Nigeria, kidnapped just 96 hours earlier. The United States Special Forces executed a daring night-time operation to rescue their fellow Americans with exceptional skill, precision, and bravery.
“No United States Service members were harmed.
“The former hostage is currently in good health and has been reunited with his family.
“Securing the freedom of Americans held in captivity abroad has been a top national security priority of my administration. Since the beginning of my administration, we have rescued over 55 hostages and detainees in more than 24 countries.
“Today’s operation should serve as a stark warning to terrorists and criminal thugs who mistakenly believe they can kidnap Americans with impunity.”
US national security officials have reported Iran was responsible for sending threatening emails to Democratic voters. The emails appeared to come from a far-right pro-Trump group and were meant to “incite unrest”, National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said.
Ratcliffe also said US officials found Iran and Russia have obtained “some voter registration information”. The announcement comes 13 days before the presidential election.
The unusual intelligence briefing this close to the vote is seen as a testament to the government’s concerns over voting interference and disinformation campaigns from foreign actors.
Ratcliffe said Iran’s “spoof emails” claimed to be sent by the Proud Boys in order to “intimidate voters, incite unrest and damage” President Donald Trump.
He added that the voter data could be used in attempts to “communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will sow confusion chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy”.
Ratcliffe said officials “have not seen the same actions from Russia”, but are aware they have some voter information.
In many states, voter data is available upon request, though each state has different requirements on who can request voter information, what data is available and how this data might be used, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“If you receive an intimidating or manipulative email in your inbox, don’t be alarmed and do not spread it,” Mr. Ratcliffe said, calling the actions to influence US voters “desperate attempts by desperate adversaries”.
The announcement inevitably has shades of the 2016 Russian interference in the US election. In that election, thousands of fake bots were created on social media pretending to be American voters. Democrat computer systems were also hacked.
Rescues at sea and arrivals of flimsy boats from Africa on Spain’s Canary Islands, where local authorities are already struggling to cope with the pandemic, have strained emergency services and left hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers stuck for days in a makeshift harbor camp.
Over 1,000 people, including women and at least three toddlers, woke up Wednesday in a dozen emergency tents set up by the Red Cross on the Gran Canaria island’s Arguineguin dock, where they were joined by some of the 300 people rescued in the early hours of the day.
The condition of the migrants, many of whom were left to sleep on the floor for days with just a blanket over them, is redoubling criticism from human rights organizations that see little progress in the government’s handling of the emergency.
While Mediterranean crossings are down this year, arrivals on the Canary islands across a treacherous part of the Atlantic Ocean are up nearly 700% on the year. It’s the most perilous approach to Europe, having claimed more than 200 lives so far in 2020.
The Interior Ministry says more than 8,100 migrants have reached the archipelago, more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of the African coast, in roughly 300 boats so far this year. Despite the increase, the final 2020 figure is unlikely to match the 30,000 arrivals seen in 2006.
Spain’s government delegation in the archipelago told The Associated Press that the makeshift facilities in Arguineguin were a response to “an exceptional need, given the intensifying and increasing arrivals of migrants” and that the government was working “around the clock” to find more suitable locations.
Arguing that they lack enough resources, local and regional officials in the Canary Islands have asked the Spanish government for more help, including the use of two military facilities to process the migrants.
Local mayor Onalia Bueno has said that her administration would be filing a complaint in courts if the camp is not dismantled this week and migrants aren’t moved to a more appropriate shelter.
After 72 hours under police supervision for identification, newly arrived migrants would normally be transferred to migrant centers if they qualify for deportation, or to facilities run by non-governmental groups, especially if they apply for asylum.
But the government has blocked nearly all transfers to the Spanish mainland arguing that many international borders are closed for them to be deported or continue on to other European countries. Meanwhile, migrants are tested for COVID-19 and if any are found positive the need for quarantine also lengthens the process.
By mid-Wednesday, Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service had brought to land 325 migrants from 14 boats. That was after nearly 400 were rescued from at least 20 boats on Tuesday, including 10 survivors found along with the dead body of an African man in a boat that was picked up from high seas by a merchant’s vessel.
The surge in traffic to the Canary Islands comes at a high cost in human lives. At least 218 migrants have died on the way or gone missing this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, with most drowning or succumbing to dehydration.
Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization with its headquarters in the United Kingdom focused on human rights. The organization says it has more than eight million members and supporters around the world.
An on-the-ground investigation by Amnesty International has confirmed that the Nigerian Army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters on Tuesday at two locations in Lagos.
Osai Ojigho, Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, in a statement on Wednesday, said the killings took place in Lekki and Alausa where thousands were protesting police brutality as part of the #EndSARS movement.
Ojigho said evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports confirmed that between 6:45pm and 9:00pm on Tuesday 20 October, the Nigerian military opened fire on thousands of people who were peacefully calling for good governance and an end to police brutality.
Ojigho said, “Witnesses at the Lekki protest grounds told Amnesty International that soldiers arrived at about 6:45pm local time on Tuesday evening, and opened fire on #EndSARS protesters without warning.
“Eyewitnesses at Alausa protest ground said they were attacked by a team of soldiers and policemen from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Unit at about 8:00 pm, leaving at least two people dead and one critically injured.
“Opening fire on peaceful protesters is a blatant violation of people’s rights to life, dignity, freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly. Soldiers clearly had one intention – to kill without consequences.
“Amnesty International received reports that shortly before the shootings, CCTV cameras at the Lekki toll gate, where #EndSARS protesters had been camped for two weeks, were removed by government officials and the electricity was cut – a clear attempt to hide evidence. As in previous cases documented by Amnesty International, some of those killed and injured at both grounds were allegedly taken away by the military.
“These shootings clearly amount to extrajudicial executions. There must be an immediate investigation and suspected perpetrators must be held accountable through fair trials.
“Authorities must ensure access to justice and effective remedies for the victims and their families.”
CNL’s General Manager Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, made the clarification in a statement on Friday that the management of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) has no plans to migrate Nigerian jobs outside the country.
Brikinn spoke following an allegation by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria that CNL planned to relocate jobs outside the country.
He said, however, that the company was reviewing its manpower requirements in the light of the changing business environment. According to him, the new organizational structure will require an approximately 25 percent reduction in the workforce across the various levels of its organization. “The aim is to have a business that is competitive and have an appropriately sized organization with improved processes. “This will increase efficiency and effectiveness, retain value, reduce cost, and generate more revenue for the Federal Government of Nigeria. “It is important to note that all our employees will retain their employment until the reorganization process is completed.
”We have prospects for our company in Nigeria; however, we must make the necessary adjustments in light of the prevailing business climate. “We need everyone’s support to get through these tough times stronger, more efficient, and more profitable, in order to sustain the business, ” he said. The manager also said that CNL was in alignment with both its Joint Venture partners, including NNPC and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on the process. He said: “We are actively engaging our workforce to ensure they understand why this is being done. “We will continue to consistently engage all relevant stakeholders, including the leadership of the employee unions as we continue this process of business optimization.” Earlier, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Chevron Branch, had accused CNL of sacking 600 Nigerian workers and planning to relocate jobs to America. Its Branch Chairman, Mr. Ote Oyegbanren, and Secretary, Mr. Lavin Aghaunor, in a statement said that the workers being sacked were lower cadre employees whose salaries were negligible when compared with that paid to their American expatriate’s counterparts. “National PENGASSAN appealed to Chevron Management to suspend the process and allow both parties to reach agreement on an amicable voluntary separation exercise such that workers may opt to exit but this conciliatory offer was rebuffed. “The plan of Chevron management is part of a grand scheme by multinational oil companies operating in Nigeria to gradually relocate work being done in Nigeria to their home country,” the duo said.
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