USA TODAY’S coverage of the 2020 election continues this week after Joe Biden won a bitterly fought presidential election and states work to finish counting their remaining ballots.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on how things are going.
USA TODAY will have live election information from across the country.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State says only 10,000 ballots received after Election Day
The Pennsylvania Secretary of State said Tuesday that around 10,000 ballots arrived after Election Day but by Nov. 6.
This is significant as a lawsuit from the Trump campaign criticizes the three-day extension of the deadline for receiving absentee and mail votes, from Election Day until Nov. 6.
That change, recommended by the secretary of state’s office and upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is now the subject of a state GOP request for an emergency injunction by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Even if those approximately 10,000 ballots were all rejected, Biden would still win Pennsylvania. He is currently leading in the state by more than 47,000 votes.
Coons: GOP senators asking him to congratulate Biden for them since they can’t publicly do so
Sen. Chris Coons, D-DE., said Tuesday his GOP colleagues are privately asking him to congratulate Biden on winning the election, because they can’t publicly do so.
Coons told CNN it’s “past time for Republican leaders to stand up and say, ‘We should accept the results of this election.’ “
“They call me to say, you know, ‘Congratulations, please convey my well wishes to the President-elect, but I can’t say that publicly yet,'” Coons said of his Republican colleagues, though he didn’t cite any Republicans by name.
Despite passing the 270 electoral votes needed to become the 46th president of the United States, most GOP senators are refusing to publicly acknowledge Biden as the President-Elect.
— Savannah Behrmann
Officials say postal worker who claimed of voter fraud admitted to fabricating the allegations
A postal worker in Pennsylvania, whose claims have been cited by top Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham as potential evidence of widespread voting fraud, admitted to investigators with the U.S. Postal Service that he fabricated the allegations, and has since signed an affidavit recanting those claims.
The postal worker, Richard Hopkins, claimed that a postmaster in Erie, Pennsylvania instructed postal workers to backdate ballots shipped after Nov 3, Election Day.
This claim, elevated and spread by right-winged organization Project Veritas, was cited by Graham in a letter to the DOJ calling for an investigation and provided to the South Carolina Senator by the Trump campaign.
Democrats on the House oversight committee tweeted late Tuesday that the “whistleblower completely RECANTED”.
Hopkin’s reversal comes amidst a flurry of unsubstantiated allegations from the Trump team and his allies the election was fraudulent, and that’s why the president has subsequently refused to concede to Biden.
Republicans had pointed to Hopkins’ claims as being one of the most credible allegations because he had signed the affidavit.
— Savannah Behrmann
House Dems say Trump’s law and order pledge, defund the police movement was factor in losses
The chairwoman of the House Democratic campaign arm told fellow Democrats on a private call Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s law and order pledge, along with GOP attacks characterizing Democrats as wanting to defund the police, played a factor in losses across the country, according to a source on the call.
Democrats anticipated not only fending off challenges by Republicans in frontline districts where Trump won in 2016, but also planned to expand their majority with several GOP seats. Instead, at least eight incumbents lost races and Democrats picked up three seats, two of which were redistricted and heavily favored liberals.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and is stepping down after losses this cycle, took fellow Democrats through the defeats during a call on Tuesday. She has promised a full breakdown of the election results to better explain the losses and why Democrats didn’t do as well as projected.
“Let me say this plainly: We knew Republicans were going to fall back on a false law and order message – we worked overtime to help position candidates to manage that,” Bustos said, according to a source on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. “Every dime and hour we spent on that helped protect frontline members and protected our majority.”
She highlighted that GOP attacks relating to the defund the police movement were “the most common across the entire battlefield,” the source said.
Bustos noted how different each district is and that members faced varying issues and voting demographics. In South Florida, Bustos highlighted that the district represented by Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a freshmen Democrat who lost her re-election bid, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 16 points and appeared to flip for Trump by about 5 points, adding that Trump had a “massive overperformance with Cuban voters” that was “simply too much for her to overcome.”
– Christal Hayes
Republican Thom Tillis wins NC seat, boosting GOP hold on Senate
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis fended off a tough battle to win a second term against Democrat Cal Cunningham, prevailing in a race Democrats had hoped to pick up in their quest to recapture the majority.
Tillis won 49%-47%, or by about 100,000 votes out of more than 5.3 million cast, a slightly wider margin than President Donald Trump’s lead in the Tar Heel State.
“The voters have spoken and I respect their decision,” Cunningham said Tuesday in a news release shortly after calling Tillis to concede. “While the results of this election suggest there remain deep political divisions in our state and nation, the more complete story of our country lies in what unites us: our faith and sense of confidence in our democracy, our civic values and common humanity, our shared aspiration to care for one another, and our belief that we live in a country that does exceptional things.”
The swing-state race was crucial for Republicans aiming to cling on to their slim 53-47 majority in the chamber as the state has swung between Democrats and Republicans by narrow margins at the presidential level in the past several elections.
Given election results so far, Republicans currently hold a 49-48 lead with three races yet to be called.
The loss means Democrats’ only hopes of taking the majority are several long-shot races. They still have a chance to take a seat in Alaska, though that appears slim, and two races in Georgia, which has been solidly red for about two decades but which Democrat Joe Biden appears to have won against Trump.
Both races in Georgia will go to a Jan. 5 runoff.
– Ledyard King and Christal Hayes
Biden: Americans need economic relief now
President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that many Americans need economic relief right now.
“A lot of people are in real trouble,” Biden said during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden’s comments come as Congress continues to negotiate another economic relief package to assist people and businesses who have suffered financially because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that Congress should pass a new stimulus package during its post-election session, which is expected to end in mid-December.
“To be clear, our work is not finished,” he said. “Too many Americans are still suffering economically.”
Biden, who is expected to make economic relief a priority during his administration, did not specify what form that assistance should take. But he suggested small businesses are hurting, warned that Americans are about to be evicted from their homes because they can’t pay their mortgage, and suggested that police officers, firefighters and other first responders could be laid off unless financial assistance is approved for state and local governments.
“I think the pressure is going to build,” he said.
– Michael Collins
European leaders speak with President-elect Biden
President-elect Joe Biden spoke with European leaders on Tuesday, the latest sign the incoming administration is proceeding with the transition process despite President Donald Trump’s unwillingness to concede the race.
“I just spoke to @JoeBiden to congratulate him on his election,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted.
The prime minister, who has campaigned to create a “Global Britain” after the country’s exit from the European Union, said that he looks forward to working with Biden on a range of issues, from “climate change, to promoting democracy and building back better from the pandemic.”
Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron about how the two countries could cooperate on climate and health issues, as well as combating terrorism, according to the French president’s office. Macron also expressed interest in coordinating U.S.-E.U. responses in Ukraine, Syria and Iran.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Biden Tuesday about revitalizing the trans-Atlantic relationship through both NATO and the EU, according to the Biden-Harris transition team. The two also spoke about addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and global economic recovery.
The president-elect also spoke the prime minister of Ireland, Micheál Martin. Biden and Martin spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as deepening cultural and economic relations between the countries. Martin also reaffirmed his commitment to the Good Friday, agreement, according to the Biden-Harris transition team.
World leaders have varied greatly in their decisions to congratulate Biden on his projected victory in the presidential election. While close allies like Canada and European leaders were quick to acknowledge the election results, leaders in Brazil, China, Mexico and Russia have waited to offer platitudes, citing ongoing legal disputes.
The calls between Biden and foreign leaders were not conducted by the U.S. State Department, as would be the norm, because the General Services Administration, an independent agency, has not allowed the Biden transition team access to federal government services.
– Matthew Brown
Fauci says he has ‘no intention of leaving’
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he has “no intention of leaving” his post during a CNN interview Monday night.
“I have no intention of leaving. This is an important job. I’ve been doing it now for a very long time. I’ve been doing it under six presidents. It’s an important job and my goal is to serve the American public no matter what the administration is,” said Fauci, among the leaders in America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci also told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell he hopes to continue working to end the pandemic and that he’s focused on the job at hand when Mitchell asked him about the president’s comments about firing him.
“Every minute of my life right now is devoted to trying to end this pandemic, so I would hope that I’m allowed to continue to do that because I think I’d do it well,” Fauci said. “I’ve been doing it for many, many years … So, for me I’m focusing like a laser beam on the job I have of ending this epidemic and really preserving the health and welfare of the American public.”
During a rally in Florida before Election Day, Trump told supporters he might fire Fauci. The crowd started chanting “Fire Fauci” during the rally, to which the president responded, “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”
– Sarah Elbeshbishi
McConnell, Schumer reelected to lead Senate as majority fate unclear
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were reelected to lead their parties in the Senate Tuesday, allowing the pair at least two more years as the top legislators in the chamber.
The two were reelected by their respective parties. The selections came at the start of a weekslong battle that will determine which party controls the chamber. Two Senate seats in Georgia are up for grabs and Democrats will have to capture both from incumbents in a January runoff to take the majority.
The leadership elections come every two years in both chambers, allowing lawmakers to choose who among them will lead the party. Along with McConnell and Schumer, Democrats and Republcians elected much of its same leadership team that led lawmakers in the last Congress but made some adds. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., will lead the GOP’s campaign arm in the Senate, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., will serve as vice chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, was elected vice chair of outreach.
McConnell has served as the top Republican in the chamber since 2006 and Schumer as the top Democrat since 2016.
– Christal Hayes
As Trump protests the election, viewing stands are being built for Biden’s inaugural parade
President Donald Trump refuses to concede the election and the General Services Administration hasn’t authorized a transition for President-elect Joe Biden, but at least one post-election project remains on track.
Construction of viewing stands in front of the White House for the inaugural parade on Jan. 20, 2021.
Posts have been planted along the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue, the skeleton for the presidential reviewing stand that will eventually block views of the White House itself. The press box for television cameras and reporters is being built right across the street.
A construction crane sits on Pennsylvania Avenue, its arm extended high in the air.
The city has been preparing for the inaugural parade for weeks, including the re-paving of Pennsylvania Avenue and some side streets. The parade comes down Pennsylvania Avenue and ends in front of the White House.
– David Jackson
Embattled Trump to form leadership PAC
While refusing to concede the current election, President Donald Trump is forming his own “leadership political action committee,” a move sure to fuel speculation he plans to run for the White House again in 2024.
Aides said the ostensible purpose of the leadership PAC is to stay involved in Republican parties by supporting and giving money to local, state and federal candidates who share his views.
“The president always planned to do this, win or lose, so he can support candidates and issues he cares about, such as combating voter fraud,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Trump’s current presidential campaign.
The PAC could also be used to keep Trump involved as he considers another presidential run in four years.
Numerous aides have said Trump has mused a 2024 campaign, though he has yet to concede this year’s race to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump is currently focused on long-shot legal challenges designed to overturn losses in key states like Pennsylvania and Nevada.
In a pair of all-caps tweets on Tuesday, Trump proclaimed that “WE ARE MAKING BIG PROGRESS. RESULTS START TO COME IN NEXT WEEK. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
– David Jackson
Barr OKs voting probe despite lack of evidence of massive fraud
Attorney General William Barr has authorized U.S. attorneys to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities during the 2020 elections, contradicting longstanding Justice Department practice of not taking steps that could impact the results of an election.
“Such inquiries and reviews may be conducted if there are clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State,” Barr said in a memo to federal prosecutors Monday.
Though President Donald Trump and his campaign have repeatedly claimed there has been fraud, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. In fact, election officials from both political parties have publicly stated the election went well, though there have been minor issues that are typical in elections, including voting machines breaking and ballots that were miscast and lost.
Barr noted in his memo that the Justice Department has not concluded that “voting irregularities have impacted the outcome of any election.”
– Kristine Phillips
Some GOP donors aren’t keen to help Trump with election lawsuits
President Donald Trump’s campaign is aggressively seeking donations to pay for lawsuits and recounts in a handful of states where Democrat Joe Biden won, but some GOP donors are already moving on to other fights.
An abandonment of institutional Republican donors for Trump’s legal cause would leave the campaign in a tough spot as it vows to launch a series of legal battles in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and elsewhere – a multifront effort that would almost certainly require the party to shell out tens of millions of dollars in legal fees.
Three GOP donors speaking to USA TODAY on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations echoed an argument that has been raised by legal experts in recent days: Trump’s effort to retain power through the courts may result in a few battles won but it won’t win the war for his reelection absent some bombshell revelation.
Rather than invest money in the president’s legal crusade, several donors said they were instead shifting focus to Georgia, where Republicans Kelly Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue will both face runoff elections on Jan. 5, contests that will likely decide whether Republicans retain the Senate and can serve as a check on the Biden administration.
– John Fritze and Courtney Subramanian
‘Call off the legal dogs’:Some GOP donors aren’t keen to help Trump with election lawsuits
Biden and Trudeau discuss COVID
President-elect Joe Biden spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Monday afternoon, where the two discussed racial justice and working to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a readout from the Biden transition team, the two discussed an array of issues, including combating climate change and collaborating on strengthening NATO. Biden “indicated that he looks forward to working closely” with Trudeau on these issues.
This is the first read out the Biden transition has released of the president-elect speaking with a global leader. On Saturday, Trudeau was quick to congratulate Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris after being projected as the winners of the election.
“I just spoke with @JoeBiden, and congratulated him again on his election. We’ve worked with each other before, and we’re ready to pick up on that work and tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our two countries – including climate change and COVID-19,” Trudeau wrote in a tweet.
“On these and other issues, President-elect @JoeBiden and I agreed to keep in touch and work closely together,” Trudeau added in a separate tweet.
— Rebecca Morin
Trump campaign adviser David Bossie tests positive for COVID-19
David Bossie, who was tapped just a few days ago to handle the Trump campaign’s legal efforts to challenge the results of the election, is the latest in the president’s orbit to test positive for the coronavirus.
Bossie’s diagnosis was reported on Monday just a few hours after news broke that Ben Carson, the Housing and Urban Development secretary, also had tested positive for COVID-19.
Bossie, 55, was recently in Phoenix, Arizona to participate in a press conference about election results, and has traveled to the campaign headquarters in Virginia several times in the last week. He was often seen not wearing a mask.
According to NBC News, Bossie tested positive on Sunday.
— Savannah Behrmann
McConnell: ‘Trump is 100% within his rights’ to challenge election results
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered his strongest support yet in President Donald Trump’s quest to challenge the results of the presidential race, arguing the president is within his rights to take his fight to the courts and refrain from conceding.
“President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor Monday. “If any major irregularities occurred this time of a magnitude that would affect the outcome, then every single American should want them to be brought to light. And if the Democrats feel confident they have not occurred, they should have no reason to fear any extra scrutiny.”
While McConnell backed Trump’s legal efforts, he did not echo the president’s baseless claims about voter fraud and Democrats breaking the law to steal the election from him. McConnell also did not back Trump’s claim that he was the winner of the presidential race, but he did voice support for the president’s refusal to concede.
“Let’s have no lectures about how the President should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election,” he said.
McConnell’s speech marked the latest comments displaying the divide among Republicans over the results of the election. Some senators like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine have congratulated Biden on his win, but others, like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas have said the election had not been decided yet and backed Trump’s efforts.
— Christal Hayes and Ledge King