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Election 2020 updates: Trump team requests recount of Georgia vote; judge dismisses Trump campaign's lawsuit in Pennsylvania

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 11/22/2020 William Cummings and Sarah Elbeshbishi, USA TODAY
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USA TODAY'S coverage of the 2020 election continues this week as states prepare to finish certifying their vote counts after President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the hard-fought presidential race. President Donald Trump has yet to concede the race as Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris prepare to take office in January.

a man riding on the back of a pickup truck: President Donald Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, Nov. 21, 2020. © Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP President Donald Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, Nov. 21, 2020.

Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.

Loeffler quarantining after mixed COVID test results

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ATLANTA – U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is quarantining after receiving mixed results from recent coronavirus tests.

A spokesperson for the Georgia senator’s campaign said in a statement Saturday night Loeffler took two rapid COVID tests on Friday morning which came back negative.

The statement says she received another test Friday evening and the results came back positive. Loeffler tested again Saturday morning and the results were inconclusive.

Her campaign says she doesn’t have symptoms. The statement says she is following CDC guidelines and informing those with whom she was in direct contact.

Loeffler appeared at a campaign event with Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. David Perdue in Georgia on Friday.

– The Associated Press

Trump team requests recount of Georgia presidential vote

President Donald Trump’s legal team said Saturday that his campaign has requested a recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race after results showed Democrat Joe Biden winning the state.

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Friday certified the state’s election results, which had Biden beating Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast, or 0.25%. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp then certified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.

The statement from Trump’s legal team said: “Today, the Trump campaign filed a petition for recount in Georgia. We are focused on ensuring that every aspect of Georgia State Law and the U.S. Constitution are followed so that every legal vote is counted. President Trump and his campaign continue to insist on an honest recount in Georgia, which has to include signature matching and other vital safeguards.”

Georgia law allows a candidate to request a recount if the margin is less than 0.5%. The recount would be done using scanners that read and tabulate the votes. County election workers have already done a complete hand recount of all the votes cast in the presidential race. But that stemmed from a mandatory audit requirement and isn’t considered an official recount under the law.

– The Associated Press

Judge dismisses Trump campaign's effort to overturn Pennsylvania results 

A Pennsylvania federal court on Saturday denied President Donald Trump's request to block certification of the state's 2020 election results in order to give his lawyers time to find evidence to support their claims of a fraudulent election system and improper ballot counting.

In a scathing ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann criticized the lack of evidence the Trump campaign presented to support its argument to potentially disenfranchise every voter in the commonwealth who cast a ballot in the 2020 elections — nearly 7 million in all.

The ruling entirely dismissed the case filed by Trump's campaign and two Republican voters who said their ballots were rejected for technicalities, while those cast by thousands of voters in the state's Democratic strongholds were accepted. The decision specifically denied permission to amend the allegations.

"This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated," Brann wrote in the 37-page decision. 

– Kevin McCoy

Trump talks COVID in G-20 message but skips pandemic side session

President Donald Trump highlighted the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic during a virtual appearance Saturday at a summit for leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies.

In remarks beamed in from the White House Situation Room, Trump told members of the Group of 20 Summit that global leaders need to work together to restore strong economic growth and jobs as the world overcomes the COVID-19 pandemic.

"President Trump highlighted how the United States marshaled every resource at its disposal to respond to the crisis, as well as the unprecedented economic recovery of the United States on a foundation of tax and regulatory cuts, energy independence and fair trade deals," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.

Trump also emphasized actions and safety measures the U.S. has taken to protect the vulnerable during the pandemic and efforts to develop vaccines and therapies, McEnany said.

Trump later traveled to his golf course in Virginia, just outside of Washington, and skipped a summit side conference on the need for a continued coordinated response to the pandemic. Leaders who participated in the conference included French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The G-20 Summit is being conducted virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump is scheduled to make another virtual appearance at the gathering Sunday morning.

– Michael Collins

Michigan GOP House Speaker Chatfield enjoys drinks at Trump Hotel 

Public skepticism that Michigan's Republican legislative leaders focused on COVID-19 assistance when they met with President Donald Trump was amplified Saturday as state House Speaker Lee Chatfield was seen socializing at the Trump Hotel in Washington and the president posted tweets that implied the election was also a topic of discussion. 

Chatfield and Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey met with Trump Friday afternoon at the White House. After the meeting, the pair issued a statement that said, the meeting focused on COVID-19 assistance and that "we have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan."

But critics of the meeting were already dubious that the president did not try to persuade the lawmakers in his ongoing efforts to subvert the election results before photographs surfaced of Chatfield drinking and sitting, unmasked, with others at the Trump International Hotel. Their concerns were amplified when the lawmakers did not elaborate on what, if anything, the president asked about Michigan election results

Trump hopes the state's Republican-controlled state legislature will flip Michigan's 16 Electoral Colleges vote to him even though President-elect Joe Biden earned approximately 154,000 more votes in the state than Trump. 

Trump tweeted twice Saturday, responding to both lawmakers with more unfounded allegations of fraud and misconduct in Michigan. 

"We will show massive and unprecedented fraud!" Trump tweeted in response to Shirkey tweeting out his statement. 

In response to a Chatfield tweet, Trump tweeted, "Massive voter fraud will be shown!"

– Dave BoucherClara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press

Ben Carson says he is 'out of the woods' after being 'desperately ill' from COVID

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, was "extremely sick" and "desperately ill," according to a post on his Facebook page Friday morning.

"Thank you everyone for your support and prayers as Candy and I battled COVID-19. I was extremely sick and initially took Oleander 4X with dramatic improvement. However, I have several co-morbidities and after a brief period when I only experienced minor discomfort, the symptoms accelerated and I became desperately ill," Carson wrote.

Oleander 4x uses an extract from the oleander plant, which is an unproven treatment advocated by My Pillow founder Mike Lindell who has made unsubstantiated claims about its effectiveness in treating COVID-19. In September, the Food and Drug Administration rejected a request to label the oleander extract as a dietary supplement ingredient, citing "significant concerns." 

 Lindell is the one who brought this unproven treatment for COVID-19 to Carson’s attention. Carson later called the drug the "real deal" despite not being an expert in infectious diseases.

Carson also shared that the president was following his condition and cleared him for the antibody treatment Trump received when he had COVID. Carson also wrote that he is convinced the treatment “saved my life.”

Carson believes that he is “out of the woods at this point" and recovering from the virus.

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

Trump Jr. to spend COVID isolation watching Netflix, cleaning guns

After news broke that he tested positive for COVID-19, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. shared a video on Instagram, asking for movie and book recommendations

“If you have any book Netflix recommendations, anything as it relates to movies or any good ebooks since I can’t go out and buy a book, but give me your thoughts because, you know, I might have a couple days of solo time and there’s only so many guns I can clean before that gets bored,” Trump shared in the video.

He also shared with followers that he’s asymptomatic but following protocol.

“You may have seen it by now but apparently I got the 'rona. You wouldn’t know it based on anything I have felt or seen – I guess I’ve been totally asymptomatic,” Trump said. “But out of an abundance of precaution, I’ll quarantine. I’ll follow the protocols, you know take it seriously, there’s no reason to take it otherwise.”

The president also tweeted about son Saturday amid a flurry of baseless voter fraud tweets, saying, "My son Donald is doing very well. Thank you!"

Trump, like his father, has continuously downplayed the virus even as cases and deaths have risen to record numbers across the country.

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

Blackburn staff says senator misspoke when she called Biden president-elect

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., a stalwart supporter of President Donald Trump, on Friday referred to Joe Biden as the country's "president-elect," a comment her staff later said was a mistake.

Blackburn made the comments Friday evening live on ABC News, where she was being interviewed by Juju Chang. The remark placed her among just a handful of Republican senators signaling acknowledgment of Biden's projected victory.

"I have not spoken with the president-elect," Blackburn told Chang. "We did have the vice president come to the floor, the vice president-elect come to the floor this week to cast a vote. I was presiding at the time. Didn't get to speak with her."

But Blackburn walked back her remark later in the interview insisting, without evidence, that "if every legal vote is counted, Donald Trump would get four more years."

When asked about the reference to President-elect Biden, Abigail Sigler, a campaign spokesperson for Blackburn, said, "She simply misspoke – it's nothing more." 

– Natalie Allison, Nashville Tennessean

Gov. Cuomo to get Emmy for coronavirus briefings 

ALBANY – And the International Emmy goes to: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo, a Democrat whose daily briefings at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic received extensive airplay across the nation, will receive the International Emmy Founders Award on Monday. 

The governor is being recognized in part for his use of television to inform people of the latest coronavirus updates at the height of the state's outbreak in March and April, according to The International Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences, which granted him the award.

Cuomo held more than 100 consecutive days of COVID-19 briefings, many of which were broadcast on cable news networks internationally.

The governor will receive the International Emmy during a virtual award ceremony Monday. It's a separate ceremony from the better-known Primetime and Daytime Emmys, which focus on American television. 

– Jon Campbell, New York State Team

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Election 2020 updates: Trump team requests recount of Georgia vote; judge dismisses Trump campaign's lawsuit in Pennsylvania

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