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GOP canvassers in Michigan county block effort to certify county election results

Republicans members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted against certifying the local election results Tuesday, in a move that could delay official approval in the state, The Detroit News reports.

Why it matters: The move "is a boost for President Donald Trump, who is grasping for ways to slow down his inevitable defeat," the AP writes. It comes amid a series of losses in court for Trump and GOP allies in lawsuits that have sought to delay or block President-elect Joe Biden's victories.


  • Biden won the county by about a more than 2-1 margin, according to unofficial results cited by AP.

The state of play: The board was deadlocked 2-2 in a vote along party lines to certify the election's result, after Republican members noted that absentee ballot poll books at 70% of Detroit's 134 absentee counting boards had discrepancies with the number of actual votes counted.

  • Yes, but: The same body certified the vote in the state's primary election in August, despite a comparable number of inconsistencies, per The Detroit News.

What they're saying: Michigan'sSecretary of State Jocelyn Benson wrote in a statement that it's common for some precincts to be out of balance by a small number of votes, and that the development "is not an indication that any votes were improperly cast or tabulated."

  • Michigan GOP Chair Laura Cox wrote she was proud that "enough evidence of irregularities and potential voter fraud was uncovered resulting in the Wayne County Board of Canvassers refusing to certify their election results."

Wow! Michigan just refused to certify the election results! Having courage is a beautiful thing. The USA stands proud!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2020

Vaccine shipment companies targeted by cyberattacks, IBM says

A global phishing campaign has been trying to gain information from organizations working to ship coronavirus vaccines since September, IBM's cybersecurity arm said on Thursday.

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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Coronavirus hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time

Data: The COVID Tracking ProjectHarvard Global Health Institute; Cartogram: Danielle Alberti and Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans are now in the hospital with coronavirus infections — a new record, an indication that the pandemic is continuing to get worse and a reminder that the virus is still very dangerous.

Why it matters: Hospitalizations are a way to measure severe illnesses — and severe illnesses are on the rise across the U.S. In some areas, health systems and health care workers are already overwhelmed, and outbreaks are only getting worse.

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Our make-believe economy

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

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