The transition team of President-elect Joe Biden is strongly considering its legal options over the federal government’s delay in recognizing the Democrat’s victory in last week’s elections, an official for Biden said Monday.
The president-elect’s transition hangs in limbo as President Trump continues to insist that he can reverse the results of the election, despite not having any victories in court or producing any convincing evidence to back his claims of widespread fraud. On Tuesday, the president tweeted, “WE WILL WIN!”
The General Services Administration (GSA) typically recognizes a presidential candidate after their election victory becomes clear, so that the transition between the two administrations can begin.
However, this hasn’t been the case despite U.S. television and news networks declaring Biden the winner on Saturday after he managed to clinch key battleground states, securing the necessary 270 electoral votes to secure the presidency. Trump, in the meantime, only earned 214 – far less than the minimum needed to secure reelection.
Biden has already begun planning his transition, naming his team of experts on Monday who will tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Yet Biden remains unable to move into any government office space or receive government funding without the GSA determining formally that he was the victor in the 2020 race.
The law doesn’t spell out how or when the GSA must act, and the law by which it is governed – the 1963 Presidential Transition Act – is extremely vague on this matter.
“There’s no legal standard contained within this act as to what constitutes the ascertainment [of the winner],” Robert MacKichan, general counsel to the GSA during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, told NPR.
The GSA said in a statement that its administrator “ascertains the apparent successful candidate once a winner is clear based on the process laid out in the Constitution.”
The agency cited the outcome of the 2000 election, when George W. Bush was eventually declared the winner over Al Gore, as “prior precedent.” In that case, Gore conceded following a December Supreme Court ruling.
Donald Trump unleashed a series of Tweets on Tuesday alleging that “big process” was being made in his legal battle to overturn Biden’s victory in the election, although it remains doubtful whether any of his grievances will come before the Supreme Court.
The president posted several all-caps tweets Tuesday, claiming to his nearly 90 million online followers: “WE ARE MAKING BIG PROGRESS. RESULTS START TO COME IN NEXT WEEK. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
However, many of the legal challenges to the election have fizzled out or, even if they are successful, will not be able to change the results.
The Trump campaign’s lawsuits have been thrown out in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, where judges said they were not credible or were otherwise frivolous. And on Monday, it was revealed that Daryl Brooks, one of the key witnesses alleging vote-counting fraud in Pennsylvania, is a convicted child sex offender.
A Biden transitional official told reporters that the transition team is considering legal action if the GSA continues to withhold ascertainment recognizing the president-elect.
“Legal action is certainly a possibility, but there are other options as well that we’re considering,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Without ascertainment, the Biden team has no access to federal funding for salaries, consultants, and travel; the ability to meet with officials at intelligence agencies and other departments; or access to any classified information.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.