By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 36 days.
Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:
Dec 15, 1:48 pm
Biden says he had a ‘good conversation’ with McConnell
Speaking on the tarmac in Delaware ahead of his trip to Georgia to campaign for Democratic candidates in the Senate runoffs there, Biden confirmed he spoke with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell — who acknowledged Biden’s victory for the first time on Tuesday — saying they had a “good conversation” and expressed his hope that they could work together in the future.
“I had a good conversation with Mitch McConnell today. We talked — so I called to thank him for the congratulations, told him although we disagree on a lot of things, there’s things we can work together on. We’ve always been straight with one another, and we agreed we’d get together sooner than later. And I’m looking forward to working with him,” Biden said.
Biden went on to tell reporters that he has been speaking with other members of Congress, saying about “a dozen” have been calling him. Biden promised to tell the press who he has spoken to.
“I just want you to know I spoke with him, and I’ve been calling other members. I spoke with some other members as well,” Biden said. “As I tick them off I’ll tell you who’s calling.”
Asked when he would receive the coronavirus vaccine, which Biden has said he’ll do publicly, he confirmed that it would be soon but stressed that he wanted to do it “by the numbers.”
“Dr. Fauci recommends I get the vaccine sooner than later.I want to just make sure we do it by the numbers, and we do it — but when I do it, you’ll have notice and we’ll do it publicly,” Biden said.
-ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky, John Verhovek and Molly Nagle
Dec 15, 1:02 pm
ABC: Assistant secretary of state resigning, the first senior State Dept. official to do so after election
The top State Department official for conflict operations is resigning, according to internal emails obtained by ABC News.
Denise Natali, the assistant secretary of state for conflict and stabilization operations, will depart the agency Friday, telling her staff in an email Tuesday, “It has been an honor to work with you for the past two years. I am extremely grateful for your commitment, hard work, and support.”
“You are making significant contributions to U.S. foreign policy, particularly in carrying out our mission to anticipate, prevent, and respond to conflict that undermines U.S. national interests. I am very proud of what you have accomplished and am confident that you will continue to do great work in the years ahead,” she added.
Natali is the first senior department official appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate to resign after Biden defeated their boss in the 2020 presidential election. Jim Jeffrey, a veteran diplomat who was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s special envoy for Syria, departed in November.
A State Department spokesperson confirmed to ABC News her last day is Friday.
Natali joined the Trump administration in October 2018 from the National Defense University. During her tenure, she led U.S. delegations from Colombia to Niger to Bulgaria on countering violent extremism, coordinating responses with U.S. allies, reintegrating terrorist fighters and stabilizing conflict-ridden countries.
Her note made no mention of the 2020 election. But the department has been working with Biden’s transition team, providing briefings and office space, even as Pompeo has yet to fully acknowledge Biden’s victory. The agency “will do everything that’s required by law” to facilitate the transition, he said on Nov. 24, two weeks after quipping there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
CNN reported Tuesday that includes a meeting this Thursday between him and Biden’s choice to succeed him, Anthony Blinken, which would be their first. A State Department spokesperson told ABC News, “There is no meeting planned or confirmed,” after Pompeo told the Washington Examiner Monday they’ll meet “at the right time.”
-ABC News’ Conor Finnegan
Dec 15, 12:03 pm
Biden inaugural committee confirms plans for swearing in at Capitol, encourages public to stay home
The Presidential Inaugural Committee, in a new statement Tuesday, has confirmed that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office at the U.S. Capitol in an inauguration that will include “vigorous health and safety protocols” and a “reimagined” parade.
“Our goal is to create an inauguration that keeps people safe, honors the grand traditions of the Presidency, and showcases the Biden-Harris Administration’s renewed American vision for an inclusive, equitable, and unified citizenry,” said committee CEO Tony Allen in the statement.
Organizers are encouraging people to stay home and not travel to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration as Biden tries to model good public health behavior amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic. The limited festivities will be produced by Stephanie Cutter and Ricky Kirshner, who put together the Democratic National Convention program over the summer. Much like the DNC, the inauguration will have several virtual elements.
Capitol officials have already confirmed that they plan to implement coronavirus testing for everyone expected to come into close contact with Biden and Harris on Jan. 20.
The committee’s statement also announced that Dr. David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner who is advising Biden’s transition, will be the inaugural committee’s chief medical adviser.
-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel
Dec 15, 11:29 am
Schumer calls on GOP to follow McConnell’s lead and recognize Biden win
Shortly after McConnell called Biden the president-elect for the first time, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in his floor remarks Tuesday urged the president and other Republicans to follow McConnell’s lead.
“For the sake of the country, President Trump should take his cue from Leader McConnell that it’s time to end his term with a modicum of grace and dignity,” Schumer said.
“Enough is enough,” he continued. “Our Republican colleagues for the sake of our democracy, for the sake of the peaceful transition of power should stop the shenanigans, stop the misrepresentations and acknowledge that Joe Biden will be the next president.”
-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin and Trish Turner
Dec 15, 10:52 am
Trump retweets attorney who said Georgia officials are ‘going to jail’ without citing evidence of a crime
Trump has retweeted conservative attorney Lin Wood, who slammed Georgia Gov. Brain Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Twitter Tuesday saying, without citing evidence of a crime, that they’re “going to jail.”
“President Trump @realDonaldTrump is a genuinely good man. He does not really like to fire people. I bet he dislikes putting people in jail, especially ‘Republicans.’ He gave @BrianKempGA & @GaSecofState every chance to get it right. They refused. They will soon be going to jail,” Wood said in the tweet Trump retweeted to his 88 million followers.
Kemp and Raffensperger have both said they are strong supporters of the president and voted for him, but they’ve upheld the integrity of their state’s election and have seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
An apparently altered photo of the two officials wearing face masks bearing the flag of China accompanied the tweets.
It’s unclear why Wood believes Trump has the authority to put the two Republicans officials in jail as he suggested. Wood, along with fellow pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell, filed a lawsuit earlier this month seeking to stop the certification of the state vote and naming Kemp, Raffensperger and other Georgia election officials. The suit has since been dismissed.
Dec 15, 10:24 am
McConnell congratulates Biden for first time
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in Congress, acknowledged Biden’s win for the first time from the Senate floor Tuesday morning after weeks of holding out.
“Our country has officially a president-elect and a vice-president elect,” McConnell said. “The Electoral College has spoken, so today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden.”
McConnell also congratulated Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on historic nature of her win.
His acknowledgement comes one day after the Electoral College cemented Biden’s victory. Now that McConnell has accepted the incoming adminstration, it’s expected other Congressional Republicans will fall in line.
Before McConnell took the floor, Senate Chaplain Barry Black opened Tuesday’s session by saying the Electoral College decision has been accepted and callings for blessings in his opening prayer on “President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.”
-ABC News’ Trish Turner
Dec 15, 9:58 am
Overview: Biden heads to Georgia to campaign in Senate runoffs
Fresh off the Electoral College affirming his win, Biden is returning to the campaign trail Tuesday to stump for Georgia’s Senate runoffs and the promise he could pass the big ticket legislation through Congress he’s hoping for — as the balance of power in the incoming Senate hangs on two seats there.
Biden is slated to speak at an afternoon, drive-in rally in Atlanta for Democratic Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, challengers to sitting GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue in the Jan. 5 runoff. Early voting kicked off in Georgia Monday.
After the Electoral College officially cemented his victory Monday, Biden delivered his strongest rebuke of Trump and his ongoing challenges to the election’s outcome in a primetime address, calling on the country to move on and noting that Trump hasn’t been able to prove the allegations of fraud he’s made.
“The integrity of our elections remains intact. And now it is time to turn the page, as we’ve done throughout our history. To unite. To heal,” Biden said.
The pressure is now on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to do just that as he’s yet to publicly acknowledge Biden’s win even as some Senate Republicans — and Russian President Vladimir Putin — have done so since the Electoral College vote.
Trump has no public events on his schedule Tuesday — refusing to acknowledge both his election loss and the country’s worsening death toll from the coronavirus pandemic — but continues to air his grievances with the election and a litany of false claims on Twitter.
The president also announced on Twitter Monday Attorney General William Barr is resigning from the administration before Christmas — with only a month left to go.
Dec 15, 10:29 am
Putin congratulates Biden on winning election
After weeks of holding out, Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Biden on winning the presidential election following Monday’s Electoral College voting affirming Biden’s win.
According to the Kremlin in a statement released Tuesday, “Vladimir Putin wished the president-elect every success and expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, which bear special responsibility for global security and stability, can, despite their differences, effectively contribute to solving many problems and meeting challenges that the world is facing today.”
“For my part, I am ready for interaction and contact with you,” Putin added, according to the Kremlin.
While Putin has now congratulated the president-elect on his victory, Republican leadership in Congress still has not — at least not publicly.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.