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Biden calls Trump's refusal to concede "an embarrassment"

A seemingly amused President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday he doesn't think legal action against President Trump is necessary to enforce the outcome of the election, and that his refusal to concede is "an embarrassment" that "will not help the president’s legacy.”

Driving the news: Biden was asked by several reporters in Wilmington, Del., how he would work with Republicans in Congress who haven't acknowledged his victory and whether Trump's refusal makes it difficult to lead the country in a unified way through the transition period.


What they're saying: "I think it will not help the president's legacy. I know from my discussions with foreign leaders thus far, that they are hopeful that the Democratic institutions of the United States are viewed strong and endure," Biden said after making remarks on the future of the Affordable Care Act.

  • "I think at the end of the day, it's all going to come to fruition on Jan. 20. And between now and then, my hope and expectation is the American people do know and do understand that there has been a transition," he added.

The backdrop: Earlier Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to say that Biden has won the election.

  • "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration," Pompeo told reporters, before stressing that the legal process must play out.
  • On Monday, Biden's transition team warned that it could take "legal action" if the General Services Administration doesn't make an official determination that Biden has won the 2020 presidential election.

"I don’t see a need for legal action, quite frankly," Biden said when asked by a reporter if he would consider that. "So far there's no evidence of any of these assertions made by the president or Secretary of State Pompeo."

  • "We're just going to proceed the way we have. We're going to do exactly what we'd be doing if he had conceded and said we'd won, which we have. So there's nothing really changing," Biden said.

The bottom line: "We are already beginning the transition," Biden stressed. "We're well under way. And the ability for the administration in any way, by failure to recognize our win, does not change the dynamic at all and what we're able to do."

Trump sets auction for Arctic refuge drilling rights before Biden takes office

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Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney elected chair of House Democrats' campaign arm

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Why it matters: Successfully distributing a COVID vaccine will already be challenging for the U.S. and other wealthy countries, especially to rural areas with less resources — while poorer countries are expected to have delayed access.

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Fauci to meet with Biden transition for first time

The government's top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci will stay on at the National Institutes of Health and plans to meet virtually with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team to discuss the coronavirus response for the first time Thursday, he told CBS News.

Why it matters: Fauci, widely viewed as one of the country's most trusted voices on the coronavirus, said it will be the first "substantive" conversation between he and Biden's team. He said he has not yet spoken with Biden directly, but has connected several times with incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

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Trump weighs firing Barr over fraud comments and Durham delay

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

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Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning as administration enters final days

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.

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Tech's race problem is all about power

As problematic as the tech industry's diversity statistics are, activists say the focus on those numbers overlooks a more fundamental problem — one less about numbers than about power.

What they're saying: In tech, they argue, decision-making power remains largely concentrated in the hands of white men. The result is an industry whose products and working conditions belie the industry rhetoric about changing the world for the better.

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Mayors fear long-lasting effects of COVID-19

Data: Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. mayors tend to be an optimistic bunch, but a poll released Thursday finds them unusually pessimistic about prospects for post-pandemic recovery.

Why it matters: In a survey of mayors of 130 U.S. cities with more than 75,000 residents, 80% expect racial health disparities to widen, and an alarming number predict that schools, transit systems and small businesses will continue to suffer through 2021 and beyond.

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