Presidential Transition Live Updates: Giuliani Said to Seek $20,000 a Day From Trump Campaign for Election Cases

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Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has helped oversee a string of failed court challenges to President Trump’s defeat in the election, asked the president’s campaign to pay him $20,000 a day for his legal work, multiple people briefed on the matter said.

The request stirred opposition from some of Mr. Trump’s aides and advisers, who appear to have ruled out paying that much, and it is unclear how much Mr. Giuliani will ultimately be compensated.

Since Mr. Giuliani took over management of the legal effort, Mr. Trump has suffered a series of defeats in court and lawyers handling some of the remaining cases have dropped out.

A $20,000-a-day rate would have made Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has been Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer for several years, among the most highly compensated lawyers anywhere.

Reached by phone, Mr. Giuliani strenuously denied requesting that much.

“I never asked for $20,000,” said Mr. Giuliani, saying the president volunteered to make sure he was paid after the cases concluded. “The arrangement is, we’ll work it out at the end.”

He added that whoever had said he made the $20,000-a-day request “is a liar, a complete liar.”

There is little to no prospect of any of the remaining legal cases being overseen by Mr. Giuliani altering the outcome in any of the states where Mr. Trump is still fighting in court, much less of overturning President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College and popular vote victory. Some Trump allies fear that Mr. Giuliani is encouraging the president to continue a spurious legal fight because he sees financial advantage for himself in it.

The Trump campaign has set up a legal-defense fund and is said to be raising significant sums to continue legal challenges in places like Pennsylvania and Georgia.

A Trump campaign spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Giuliani had sought compensation for his work dating back to the day after Election Day, when Mr. Trump began publicly claiming that he won despite the results, according to people familiar with the request, who asked for anonymity to speak about sensitive discussions.

At $20,000 a day, Mr. Giuliani’s rate would be above the top-of-the-line lawyers in Washington and New York who can charge as much as $15,000 a day if they are spending all their time working for a client.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced several appointments to his White House senior staff on Tuesday, filling out his incoming administration as President Trump continues to refuse to acknowledge his election victory.

Mr. Biden announced that Mike Donilon, the chief strategist for his campaign and a decades-long friend and adviser, will serve as a White House senior adviser and will be especially involved in speechwriting and messaging. Mr. Donilon also served as counselor when Mr. Biden was vice president under President Barack Obama.

His White House counsel will be Dana Remus, who served as general counsel to the Biden-Harris campaign and previously was general counsel of the Obama Foundation. She is a former law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law and a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Mr. Biden also confirmed three other West Wing appointments first reported Monday night: Representative Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana will oversee public outreach; Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, will become a deputy chief of staff; and Mr. Biden’s longtime confidant Steve Ricchetti will be counselor.

All three will most likely have offices down the hall from the Oval Office, making them among the most senior aides in the West Wing.

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon will be chief of staff to the first lady, Jill Biden. A partner at the law firm of Winston & Strawn, she is a former U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay. Dr. Biden’s senior adviser will be Anthony Bernal, who was her campaign chief of staff and Mr. Biden’s deputy campaign manager.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, a former national political director for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign, will run the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Annie Tomasini, now Mr. Biden’s traveling chief of staff, will be director of Oval Office operations.

In a statement, the Biden-Harris transition team said the selections “demonstrate President-elect Biden’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America, has deep expertise governing, and will be ready to help the president-elect deliver results for working families on Day 1.”

Decisions about cabinet secretaries likely remain some time away, according to people close to Mr. Biden, who has spent recent days in closed-door discussions with advisers about the challenge of winning confirmation fights if the Senate remains in the hands of Republicans next year. Senate control will be determined by the results of two runoff races in Georgia.

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Fauci Stresses the Importance of Presidential Transitions

I have been now dealing with six administrations in my 35 years as director. I’ve been through five transitions. I can say that transitions are extremely important to the smooth continuity of whatever you’re doing. Right now, we are in a very difficult public health situation. If you want to have good continuity, which will mean maximal attack on infections, hospitalizations, deaths, you want to have the continuity I’ve used the metaphor. It’s like passing a baton in a race: you don’t want somebody to stop, give it to somebody, and then have them start running. You want everything to be smooth from one to the other. That is what we would like to do.

CreditCredit…Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Mr. Biden’s picks came as Mr. Trump continued to refuse to cooperate with the transition of power, a position Mr. Biden suggested on Monday could cost lives when it came to the national coronavirus response.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Mr. Biden said.

On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert, made a carefully calibrated call for Mr. Trump to allow Mr. Biden’s transition team access to the virus response plans.

While insisting he wanted to “stay out of the political stuff,” and avoiding mention of Mr. Trump, Dr. Fauci said at The Times’s DealBook Summit, “We need to transition to the team that will be doing this, similar to how we’re doing it.”

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The nomination of Judy Shelton to fill one of two remaining open seats on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors could come down to whether Senator Kamala Harris of California, the vice president-elect, can make it to Washington in time to vote on Tuesday.

The Senate is scheduled to advance Ms. Shelton’s nomination at around 2:15 p.m. and could potentially confirm her later in the day. But the coronavirus has complicated efforts to place Ms. Shelton, a loyal fan of President Trump and a long-time proponent of some sort of gold standard, in a role at the nerve center of the American economy.

Ms. Shelton is potentially deprived of two Republican votes that she needs to win confirmation if all Democrats are present after Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa announced on Tuesday that he would need to quarantine after being exposed to the virus. Senator Rick Scott of Florida is also in quarantine.

Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the minority whip, told reporters on Tuesday that some Democrats “approached” Ms. Harris “to see if it’s possible” for her to return to Washington in time for the vote.

“I don’t know if she’s going to be able to make it,” Mr. Durbin said. Ms. Harris was scheduled to be in Delaware for a national security briefing, and her Senate office did not respond to queries about whether she would return for the vote.

Democrats are opposed to Ms. Shelton’s nomination, and at least two Republican senators — Mitt Romney and Susan Collins — are expected to vote “no,” meaning she could come up short of the 50 votes she needs to be confirmed. While Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, also announced his opposition to Ms. Shelton’s nomination, he will not be present for the vote because of what a spokesman said were family matters.

That threatened to drop Ms. Shelton below the number of votes she would need to at least strike a tie, which Vice President Mike Pence could then resolve in her favor.

If confirmed, Ms. Shelton, 66, would take one of the seven seats on the central bank’s Washington-based board. With her addition, five of the six filled seats will contain Mr. Trump’s appointees. The president has nominated Christopher Waller, a Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis research official, to fill the remaining open seat. It is unclear when his less contested nomination could come to a vote.

Senators are rushing Ms. Shelton’s nomination through in a brief window before Mark Kelly, the Democratic senator-elect from Arizona, can be seated at the end of the month.

Ms. Shelton has long favored backing the U.S. currency with gold or some other peg, which would undermine the very function of the Fed. She advised Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, and while Fed appointees often have political pasts, she has written glowing articles praising Mr. Trump and has at times appeared to question the value of central bank independence. She once favored higher interest rates, but abruptly changed that position to mirror Mr. Trump’s preference for low interest rates once she was in the running for a nomination to the Fed.

Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election victory may have helped Ms. Shelton’s chances. Installing Republican nominees at the Fed before the new administration takes office will curb Mr. Biden’s ability to appoint his own central bank picks. Governors have 14-year terms, but Ms. Shelton is filling an unexpired seat and would need to be reappointed in 2024.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

A day after Georgia’s secretary of state said he felt pressured by Senator Lindsey Graham to find illegal votes that could be cause to question the legitimacy of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over President Trump, Mr. Graham told reporters on Tuesday that he had also reached out to state officials in Nevada and Arizona to ask how the states were validating signatures on mailed ballots.

Mr. Graham, echoing baseless claims Mr. Trump has made about voting fraud, said he was asking about elections in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada “as a United States senator who is worried about the integrity of the election process nationally, when it comes to vote by mail.” Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said that he spoke to Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona, and that he could not remember who he spoke to in Nevada.

Mr. Biden won all three states, flipping Arizona and Georgia from Mr. Trump’s column. He won by a wide-enough margin that he would still be the president-elect even without the electoral votes from those three states.

The Trump campaign and the state’s Republican Party demanded a hand recount in Georgia after claiming that ineligible and dead people had voted in the presidential election. Georgia is more than 90 percent done with its audit, which has to be completed by Wednesday evening. Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s statewide voting system implementation manager, said on Tuesday that the recount may take every minute until then but the results of the election were unlikely to change.

On Monday, elections officials in Floyd County, a Trump stronghold near Georgia’s northwest corner, turned up an extra 2,600 ballots. The error was not related to signature matching but was caused by county election officials neglecting to upload the results of a set of ballots, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, has said. The discovered ballots would cut Mr. Biden’s lead by 1,000 votes, but even so he would remain 13,000 votes ahead of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, said on Monday that the senator had asked him if it was possible to invalidate all mail ballots in counties with high rates of mismatched signatures, which Mr. Graham has denied.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Raffensperger said Mr. Graham had asked him whether poll workers might have accepted ballots with mismatched signatures because of political bias. The message he said he heard from Mr. Graham was: “Look hard and see how many ballots you can throw out,” Mr. Raffensperger told CNN on Monday evening.

Mr. Sterling, who was on part of the call with Mr. Graham and Mr. Raffensperger, said the conversation was focused on process.

Mr. Graham said Tuesday he had wanted to learn more about how the election process worked in Georgia ahead of the two Senate runoff elections there in January. Those races will determine the balance of power in the Senate.

Mr. Graham has joined other Republicans questioning the legitimacy of Mr. Biden’s victory over Mr. Trump.

“If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never be another Republican president elected again,” Mr. Graham said last week on Fox News. “President Trump should not concede.”

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

While President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken steps to demonstrate his distance from lobbyists, his presidency is being welcomed in Washington’s influence industry.

Lobbyists and other advisers who help clients navigate Washington are quietly highlighting ties to Mr. Biden and his team in pitches to prospective clients, while firms and interest groups that lack such ties are scrambling to secure them. Such connections are plentiful because aides and colleagues of Mr. Biden’s have been cycling between government and the influence industry going back to his 36 years representing Delaware in the Senate and his eight years as vice president.

It is a far cry from four years ago, when Mr. Trump swept into town with few connections to established gatekeepers and lobbyists.

Instead of fulfilling his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of special interests, Mr. Trump empowered a powerful, but relatively small, new class of lobbyists with connections to him or his inner circle. They reaped tens of millions of dollars in lobbying fees from companies, interest groups and foreign governments seeking to navigate an administration that revolved around the whims of one man, while defying established norms about policymaking and governance.

The pending change in administrations has disrupted a profitable business for K Street’s Trump whisperers, with one, David Urban, leaving a lobbying firm in September that he had built into a powerhouse, and others eying partnerships or mergers with Democratic or bipartisan firms.

In some ways, the shift is a return to normal for the influence industry, in which the most successful firms were those with deep policy expertise and connections on both sides of the aisle — a likely selling point if the Biden administration is faced with a Republican Senate.

A number of firms have been recruiting lobbyists with Biden connections.

The day before the election, the lobbying giant Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced that it had added Mark Pryor, a former Democratic senator from Arkansas, who had served alongside Mr. Biden in the Senate.

On Thursday, the Washington lobbying firm Capitol Counsel revealed it was merging with a boutique public affairs firm owned by Robert Diamond. Mr. Diamond ran Mr. Biden’s campaign in New York State and previously served in the Obama administration, which he said in a news release gave him “a deep understanding of the current climate in Washington.”

In an interview, Mr. Diamond called his Biden connection “an obvious selling point.” He added, though, that “relationships are one thing, but there is real expertise that needs to come back to Washington and tackle these problems.”

Credit…Pool photo by Mohamad Torokman

The Palestinian Authority announced on Tuesday that it was resuming its cooperation with Israel, ending six months of financial hardship for tens of thousands of West Bank residents and signaling relief over the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In May, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel pressed to annex territory on the occupied West Bank that the Palestinians have long counted on for a future state, Mahmoud Abbas, the authority’s president, cut off security coordination with Israel in protest. The move raised fears that attacks might go unprevented.

Mr. Abbas also severed civilian ties, including those that help Palestinians travel into Israel for work or medical treatment, and refused transfers of money from Israel.

The loss of more than $100 million a month in taxes that Israel collects on the Palestinians’ behalf forced salary cuts for tens of thousands of public-sector employees. The lack of funds compounded what was already a devastating economic crisis because of the pandemic.

In a surprising turn of events, Mr. Netanyahu agreed to “suspend” his push to assert Israeli sovereignty over much of the West Bank in exchange for landmark normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The Palestinians, however, held out for more concrete guarantees that annexation was dead. In the end, the election of Mr. Biden, who has stated his opposition to any such unilateral moves by Israel, gave the Palestinians the assurances they sought.

The Trump administration had indicated it supported annexation.

The resumption of coordination was announced on Twitter by Hussein al-Sheikh, a Palestinian Authority minister who oversees relations with Israel and is one of Mr. Abbas’s closest advisers. Saying that Israel had reconfirmed its commitment to prior agreements with the Palestinians, he wrote, “the relationship with #Israel will return to how it was.”

Credit…Mark Makela/Reuters

Pursuing one of their most legally fraught election cases filed so far, lawyers for the Trump campaign are in court again this afternoon to ask a federal judge to stop certification of the vote in Pennsylvania.

President Trump’s legal team for this case — his third set of lawyers on it since it was filed last week — is expected to tell Judge Matthew W. Brann of U.S. District Court in Williamsport that Pennsylvania election officials mismanaged the widespread use of absentee and mail-in ballots in the state.

The campaign seeks to effectively invalidate the results of the statewide count and deny Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Lawyers for the state and for the Democratic Party have argued in court papers that the campaign’s arguments are untimely, far too general to succeed and cannot overturn enough votes in Pennsylvania to overcome Mr. Biden’s lead, which now stands at about 73,000 votes.

“To effectuate the will of the millions of Pennsylvanians who voted in this election, the court should bring this litigation to a close expeditiously, dismiss plaintiffs’ evidence-free claims, and allow the Commonwealth to complete the electoral process,” the lawyers argued in a brief filed on Monday.

Since Election Day, the Trump campaign and other Republican plaintiffs have lost more than 20 court actions challenging the integrity of the presidential race, including four federal lawsuits — in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — that were voluntarily withdrawn on Monday by the man who oversaw them, the conservative lawyer James Bopp Jr.

Also on Monday, a court in Michigan denied an appeal to reverse a lower court’s decision that tossed out a suit aimed at stopping the certification of the vote in Wayne County, home of Detroit. The plaintiffs in that case, two Republican poll workers, appealed again on Tuesday to the Michigan Supreme Court.

This list of legal losses notwithstanding, the federal case in Pennsylvania has been especially beset by problems.

Last Friday, the law firm Porter Wright, which filed the initial lawsuit, withdrew from the case after The New York Times published an article describing how some lawyers at the firm were concerned that its work for Mr. Trump was eroding faith in the democratic process.

Over the weekend, a Trump campaign lawyer filed a revised version of the suit that dropped the formal claim that Republican poll observers have not been given adequate and equal access to the vote counting process.

And on Monday night, the legal team that had taken over for Porter Wright withdrew and was replaced by yet another set of lawyers. The Trump campaign’s new lead lawyer in the case, Marc A. Scaringi, immediately tried to delay today’s hearing but Judge Brann denied his request.

“Counsel for the parties are expected to be prepared for argument and questioning,” the judge wrote in a terse order issued Monday night.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the decision to switch legal teams on the eve of today’s hearing was made by Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, who has taken charge of the postelection courtroom strategy.

Mr. Giuliani asked Judge Brann on Tuesday morning for permission to appear in the case.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

President Trump’s campaign has until 6 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday to pay $7.9 million if it wants to pursue a recount of the state’s 3.2 million ballots. The Wisconsin Elections Commission announced the recount cost on Monday after receiving estimates from all 72 of the state’s counties.

The estimate is about four times the cost of Wisconsin’s 2016 presidential recount, which cost about $2 million. Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief election official, said the higher bill is partly because of coronavirus protocols that need to be followed, including the “need for larger spaces to permit public observation and social distancing.”

If the Trump campaign requests the recount and pays the cost upfront, a recount would begin Thursday and must be completed by Dec. 1, the commission said. Wisconsin law requires the election to be certified by the commission on Dec. 1. Unofficial results show that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. beat Mr. Trump in Wisconsin by 20,470 votes — about 0.62 percent of the state’s vote. State law requires a campaign requesting a recount to pay for it if the margin is greater than 0.25 percent.

Mr. Trump has so far not acknowledged that he lost Wisconsin to Mr. Biden, and the state’s Republicans have largely followed his lead in refusing to acknowledge Mr. Biden as the president-elect. The Wisconsin State Journal last week asked every elected Republican state legislator if Mr. Biden was the president-elect, and only one, who is retiring, said that he was.

Jenna Ellis, the legal adviser for Mr. Trump’s campaign, did not rule out requesting or paying for a recount in Wisconsin. “The legal team continues to examine the issues with irregularities in Wisconsin,” she said, “and are leaving all legal options open, including a recount and an audit.”

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

The question the reporter asked President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday was simple enough: Did canceling student-loan debt figure into his plans for the economy and would he take executive action to do it?

“It does figure in my plan,” Mr. Biden said during a question-and-answer session after delivering his first speech on the economy since winning the election.

“It’s holding people up,” he said about student debt. “They’re in real trouble. They’re having to make choices between paying their student loans and paying their rent, those kinds of decisions. It should be done immediately.”

Mr. Biden referenced legislation proposed by House Democrats calling for immediate forgiveness of $10,000 in student-loan debt as part of a pandemic relief bill.

He also offered an overview of plans he introduced during his campaign, including ensuring that anyone whose family made less than $125,000 would have access to free education.

But Mr. Biden did not explicitly say whether he supported canceling all student-loan debt. Nor did he say if he would cancel the debt through executive action.

Social media soon lit up with calls from the left for Mr. Biden to cancel all student debt, a signature policy issue championed by progressive leaders including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Already, the idea of canceling student-loan debt has been gaining some traction in the party. Mr. Biden himself has proposed a loan forgiveness program for workers in public service: For each year of service, for up to five years, workers could have $10,000 of their undergraduate or graduate debt eliminated.

And Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said in a recent interview that he and Ms. Warren had a proposal to eliminate the first $50,000 of student-loan debt, and that he believed Mr. Biden could eliminate the debt through executive action in the first 100 days of his presidency.

“We believe that Joe Biden can do that with the pen, as opposed to legislation,” Mr. Schumer said.

Credit…Maxar Technologies, via Reuters

President Trump has been dissuaded from striking Iran in recent days after his aides warned it could escalate into a broader conflict in his last weeks in office.

Attacking Iran to force it to stop growing its nuclear program would be a significant blow to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who wants to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear accord — the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration that Mr. Trump pulled out of in 2018. Such a strike on the eve of a new administration could poison relations with Tehran so much that reviving the deal would be impossible.

Since Mr. Trump dismissed Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and other top Pentagon aides last week, Defense Department and other national security officials have privately expressed worries that the president might initiate operations, whether overt or secret, against Iran or other adversaries at the end of his term.

Officials, however, say a strike could be inevitable if any Americans are killed before Inauguration Day. They are especially nervous about the Jan. 3 anniversary of the U.S. strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and the Iraqi leader of an Iranian-backed militia — deaths that Iranian leaders regularly insist they have not yet avenged.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Scarred or energized by President Trump’s four years, Americans voted in record numbers in this election. A set of maps The Times published Monday night shows some of the electoral trends that led to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

Mr. Trump, despite his defeat, drew 10.2 million more votes than he did in his 2016 triumph over Hillary Clinton, including noticeable jumps in heavily Hispanic parts of Texas and Florida.

Across the rural heartland, Mr. Trump found hundreds of additional voters in county after county, including the Appalachians and the Piedmont South, rural centers of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and the farmlands of the Midwest.

“The president made significant inroads with critical nonwhite swaths of the electorate while also growing his share of rural white voters,” said Ken Spain, a Republican strategist. “In any other election year, this would be an incredible feat that would all but guarantee victory.”

How did Mr. Biden win, then?

There was a countervailing force. Mr. Biden’s biggest cache of additional voters came from big counties — urban and suburban — that are mostly white, where his support increased substantially from Mrs. Clinton’s in 2016. He ended up getting 13 million more votes than she did.

Mr. Biden’s best hunting grounds for new voters were posh Republican counties. In areas with very high concentrations of white, high-income voters who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, Mr. Biden garnered substantially more additional votes than his opponent.

Mr. Trump made some inroads with Black voters. In mostly rural areas across the South that are predominantly Black, turnout was up only slightly, and there was a modest shift to Mr. Trump.

But in heavily contested Georgia, turnout in areas with a large share of Black voters was way up, and shifted to Mr. Biden, helping him capture a state Mr. Trump won in 2016 by more than five percentage points.