Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 30, 2020

Harold Maass
A doctor in Houston
Go Nakamura/Getty Images

1.

Trump says he doubts Supreme Court will hear his election challenge

President Trump said Sunday that he doubted whether the Supreme Court would hear his unproven allegations of election fraud as he tries to overturn the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. In Trump's first one-on-one interview since the Nov. 3 election, Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo asked him on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures whether he expected the high court to hear his challenges. "Well, the problem is, it's hard to get into the Supreme Court," Trump replied. "I've got the best Supreme Court advocates, lawyers, that want to argue the case, if it gets there. They said, 'It's very hard to get a case up there.'" Numerous courts have rejected Trump's challenges in battleground states, citing a lack of evidence of vote fraud, but Trump said his "mind will not change in six months" about the election results. [Reuters, CNBC]

2.

Health officials warn of post-Thanksgiving coronavirus spike

Top U.S. health officials on Sunday warned that the nation could see a surge in coronavirus cases following the long Thanksgiving weekend due to the risk of infections during travel and family gatherings. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on CBS News' Face the Nation that people who traveled "have to assume that you were exposed and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week." She also urged them to avoid contact with relatives who are at risk for severe cases of COVID-19, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said everyone can still help prevent a spike in cases by practicing social distancing and wearing masks. "It's not too late" to slow the surge, Fauci said. [The New York Times]

3.

Wisconsin recount reaffirms Biden's victory

Election officials in Wisconsin's two largest counties have finished their ballot recounts, confirming President-elect Joe Biden's victory over President Trump in the state. Milwaukee County finished its count on Friday, and Dane County followed on Sunday. The final tallies showed that Biden won the battleground state by more than 20,000 votes. Under state law, Trump had to cover the $3 million cost of the partial recount. The review of the ballots in the two counties expanded Biden's lead by 87 votes. The results came after Trump failed to chip away at Biden's victory with court challenges and recounts in several states Trump narrowly lost. A hand recount confirmed Biden's win in Georgia, and Michigan courts rejected Trump's call for blocking the certification of Biden's victory there. [The Washington Post]

4.

Biden sprains foot playing with dog

President-elect Joe Biden has injured his right foot, slipping and twisting his ankle while playing with his dog Major on Saturday, his office said Sunday. After visiting an orthopedic specialist in Newark, Delaware, and then a nearby facility for a CT scan, Biden was found to have a hairline fracture in his lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones in the middle of his right foot, his doctor, Kevin O'Connor, said Sunday night. "It is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks." Major is one of the Bidens' two German shepherds, and he will be the first rescue dog in the White House when they move in. The future first couple have also said they plan to get a White House cat. [USA Today, The Washington Post]

5.

NYC schools to reopen to some students

New York City public schools plan to resume in-person learning for some students from pre-school to fifth grade starting on Dec. 7, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. Middle- and high-school students will continue with fully remote instruction. The city's school district, the largest in the nation, halted in-person classes in mid-November after the seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests across the city crossed the 3 percent threshold the district set to trigger closures in this academic year. School officials reconsidered the decision because testing of school staff and students showed low infection rates in classrooms. The roughly 190,000 students who will be allowed to return to their schools for now are among about 335,000 in those grades who opted for a mix of remote and in-person instruction. [The Wall Street Journal]

6.

Trump 'ashamed' he endorsed Georgia's governor

President Trump said Sunday that he was "ashamed" he endorsed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, because he thinks Kemp has "done absolutely nothing" to challenge President-elect Joe Biden's narrow victory in the long-red state. Georgia election officials did a hand audit of the state's balloting, and confirmed Biden's win by about 12,670 votes. Trump, who said his "full endorsement" helped Kemp beat Democrat Stacey Abrams in 2018, has blasted Georgia's top election officials, also Republicans, and made baseless allegations that Democrats cheated to steal the state's electoral votes from him. Georgia Republicans are struggling to unify the party ahead of two Senate runoffs in January that will decide which party controls the Senate next year. [The Associated Press]

7.

Biden picks diverse economic advisers, all-female communications team

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate a diverse team of economic advisers, including Center for American Progress CEO Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Princeton University labor economist Cecilia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing people familiar with Biden's decisions. Biden also reportedly plans to name Adewale "Wally" Adeyemo, who was a top international economic adviser in the Obama administration, to be a top deputy to his Treasury secretary, former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. Biden has settled on veteran Democratic spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki as his White House press secretary. She will be one of seven women who will occupy the top spots on Biden's communications staff. [The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post]

8.

New Zealand files charges over deadly White Island volcano eruption

WorkSafe New Zealand, the country's workplace health and safety regulator, announced Monday that 10 organizations and three individuals have been charged with failing to meet their health and safety obligations ahead of a 2019 volcanic eruption that killed 22 people. White Island, a popular tourist destination, is an active volcano also known by its Maori name, Whakaari. In the weeks before the eruption, New Zealand's volcano monitoring service had raised the island's alert level to Level 2 out of 5, signaling "moderate to heightened volcanic unrest." The charged organizations face fines up to $1.1 million. "This was an unexpected event, but that does not mean it was unforeseeable and there is a duty on operators to protect those in their care," said WorkSafe chief executive Phil Parkes. [CNN]

9.

Cyber Monday hits after record Black Friday online sales

Retailers are bracing for what they expect to be record Cyber Monday sales. Americans spent an estimated $9 billion online on Black Friday, smashing the previous record of $7.4 billion set in 2019. The ongoing shift to retailers' websites quickened as shoppers snapped up deals from the safety of home to avoid the risk of coronavirus exposure, rather than going to brick-and-mortar stores that would normally be jammed on the day after Thanksgiving. It was not immediately clear whether the surge in online sales would be enough to offset declining in-person sales during the pandemic. About half as many Americans visited stores on Black Friday this year as did in 2019. [Daily Mail, The Wall Street Journal]

10.

Argentine officials search home and office of Maradona's doctor

Authorities in Argentina on Sunday searched the home and offices of Leopoldo Luque, Diego Maradona's personal doctor, as part of an investigation into the soccer star's death last week. Maradona's representatives said he died from a heart attack at his home north of Buenos Aires. Maradona had suffered from numerous medical problems, including brain surgery this month, but one of his former doctors called his unexpected death "unusual." Investigators have gathered evidence and spoken with members of Maradona's family, according to a statement from a prosecutor's office in San Isidro, Buenos Aires Province. The South American nation observed three days of national mourning last week to honor Maradona, whose rags-to-riches story took him from a poor neighborhood to global stardom. [The New York Times]