[guest post by Dana]
Here are a few news items to chew over. Feel free to share anything that you think might interest readers. Please remember to include links.
UPDATE: ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX, Decision Desk HQ, AP, and CBS announce that Biden has won the White House.
First news item
I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2020
Second news item
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has contracted coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter, adding to the outbreaks connected to the White House.
Meadows tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, according to one of the people, though it wasn’t clear whether he had developed symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Some White House aides were aware earlier in the week that Meadows had become infected but were told to keep it quiet, several people said.
U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz and Michael Waltz have tested positive for coronavirus as President Donald Trump‘s inner circle faces another outbreak of the infectious disease, according to reports.
Third news item
Newly elected Marjorie Taylor Greene, a supporter of President Donald Trump and the QAnon conspiracy theory, received a stern Twitter talking-to Friday from Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX). Greene had accused Crenshaw of failing to support the commander in chief’s flailing efforts to substantiate his claims of widespread voter fraud and a theft of the presidential election. Crenshaw had said Republicans should accept the results of the vote counts. Greene wrote on Twitter, “The time to STAND UP for @realdonaldTrump is RIGHT NOW! Republicans can’t back down. This loser mindset is how the Democrats win.” Crenshaw quote-tweeted her and said, “Did you even read past the first sentence? Or are you just purposely lying so you can talk tough? No one said give up. I literally said investigate every irregularity and use the courts. You’re a member of Congress now, Marjorie. Start acting like one.”
Fourth news item
House Democrats savaged Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a family venting session that featured yelling and crying lawmakers in the wake of the party’s losses on Thursday.
And the drama on the three-hour conference call played out live on Twitter, as details were leaked to the Capitol Hill press corps, who tweeted all the wild details.
The call was billed as a ‘family session’ but became a bitch fest between the liberal wing of the party and its more moderate members – all of whom were disappointed by the Democrats failure to win more seats. The party expected to pick up five or more on election night.
Fifth news item
Since Election Day, the Trump campaign has brought a series of lawsuits around the country in an effort to find a path to reelection, but four judges in different states have now weighed in with striking consistency and similar language — finding there is no sufficient evidence to back the claims.
This week, judges in Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan have rejected the campaign’s efforts to halt the counting process, if only temporarily, or alter it in some way based on shaky allegations of improper or nefarious conduct.
So far, the localized incidents that the campaign has used in an effort to elevate allegations of misconduct have been unable to convince judges to grant the campaign the large-scale relief it is seeking. The president and his allies have nonetheless continued to insist they had evidence of misconduct at press conferences and on social media.
Sixth news item
The United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday a major overhaul of the country’s Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and criminalizing so-called “honor killings.”
The broadening of personal freedoms reflects the changing profile of a country that has sought to bill itself as a Westernized destination for tourists, fortune-seekers and businesses despite its Islamic legal code that has previously triggered court cases against foreigners and outrage in their home countries…
Traditional Islamic values remain strong in the federation of seven desert sheikhdoms. Even so, Annelle Sheline, a Middle East research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, wrote on Twitter that the drastic changes “can happen without too much popular resistance because the population of citizens, especially in the main cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is so small.”
Seventh news item
Joe Biden is up by…
— 28,833 VOTES in Pennsylvania.
— 7,248 VOTES in Georgia.
— 22,657 VOTES in Nevada.
— 29,861 VOTES in Arizona.
Eighth news item
The Trump administration abruptly dumped the leaders of three agencies that oversee the nuclear weapons stockpile, electricity and natural gas regulation, and overseas aid during the past two days, drawing a rebuke from a prominent Republican senator for one of the decisions.
The White House declined comment on the firings, and declined to say whether there would be more in the wake of the election.
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the first woman to oversee the agency in charge of the nuclear stockpile. She was required to resign on Friday.
If President Trump is on his way out the door, he’ll have almost limitless power to reward his friends, settle scores and stack boards and commissions with his allies during his final days in office.
After defeat, there are no constraints on ordinary presidential powers between the election and the inauguration. Trump has shown a willingness to stretch the norms of what has been done and what can be done. So expect him to go out the way he came in.
Executive clemency: Presidents can wipe away or minimize past offenses with pardons, commutations, remissions or reprieves — like when Bill Clinton pardoned donor Marc Rich despite indictments over tax evasion and wire fraud.
“Burrowing in”: Presidents can convert political appointees to career employees, and under certain circumstances, presidents can make recess appointments so personnel can serve into the succeeding administration.
“Midnight rulemaking”: Outgoing presidents often rush to finalize the rules that administrations write to enact laws passed by Congress.
“Presidents who are leaving office usually do not feel wholly unrestrained; in fact, there is now a more immediate and pressing restraint: ‘What will history think of me?’” says John Burke, a retired University of Vermont professor who specialized in presidential transitions.
“It might be tempting for him to fire those he deems disloyal, for example, but it will not serve him well over the long run. Pettiness is an expensive exercise.”
Hm, Trump petty??
Have a great weekend.