Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has taken a roughly 900-vote lead in Georgia and 5,500-vote lead in Pennsylvania as mail-in ballots continue to be counted in key battleground states. According to the Associated Press, which has already called Arizona for Biden, the former vice president has secured 264 electoral votes and needs to win just one of the undecided battleground states to top the needed 270. Biden is also expanding his lead in Nevada. Biden’s lead in the popular vote is now approaching 4 million and is expected to keep growing significantly.
On Thursday, Joe Biden called for all votes to be counted.
Joe Biden: “In America, the vote is sacred. It’s how people of this nation express their will. And it is the will of the voters — no one, not anything else — that chooses the president of the United States of America. So, each ballot must be counted. And that’s what we’re going to see going through now. And that’s how it should be.”
President Trump addressed the nation early on Thursday evening and falsely claimed victory and accused Democrats of trying to steal the election. He offered no evidence to back up his claims.
President Donald Trump: “We think there’s going to be a lot of litigation, because we have so much evidence, so much proof. And it’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land. We’ll see. But we think there will be a lot of litigation, because we can’t have an election stolen like this.”
ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC all stopped airing Trump’s speech live because it was filled with lies about the election and the vote-counting process.
Trump campaign legal adviser Harmeet Dhillon told Fox Business that the campaign is hoping new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett will help Trump win the presidency if a case makes it to the Supreme Court.
Harmeet Dhillon: “We’re waiting for the United States Supreme Court, which — of which the president has nominated three justices, to step in and do something. And hopefully Amy Coney Barrett will come through.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham has publicly agreed that Republican state legislators in Pennsylvania and other states should consider invalidating the will of the voters and appoint Republican electors to the Electoral College regardless of the vote outcome. Republicans control the legislatures in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona. Graham was asked about this by Sean Hannity on Fox News.
Sean Hannity: “Should these Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, if there’s corruption in the law — they don’t abide by the law and they don’t allow observers in as the law calls for, should they then invalidate this?”
Sen. Lindsey Graham: “I think everything should be on the table. So, there’s the process of observing an election that’s being violated. Philadelphia elections are crooked as a snake.”
Twitter has permanently banned President Trump’s former campaign manager Steve Bannon, who was recently indicted, from the platform after he called for the beheading of the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and FBI Director Christopher Wray. He made the comment on his podcast, “War Room: Pandemic.”
Steve Bannon: “I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I’d put the heads on pikes. Right? I’d put them at the two corners of the White House, as a warning to federal bureaucrats: You either get with the program, or you’re gone.”
Here in New York, police arrested 18 demonstrators during a nighttime protest against President Trump’s attempt to steal the election. Meanwhile, in Phoenix, supporters of Trump briefly scuffled with supporters of Biden outside the Maricopa County Elections Department.
Georgia may now be facing two runoff Senate elections in January, and the outcome could decide which party controls the Senate. Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue has fallen below the needed 50% to beat Democrat Jon Ossoff outright. At the time of this broadcast, Perdue was at 49.8%. A runoff is already set for Republican Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler and Rev. Raphael Warnock for the state’s other Senate seat.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, Republican Senate candidate challenger John James is refusing to concede to Democratic Senator Gary Peters. James has asked for an investigation into the vote but has presented no evidence of wrongdoing.
International election observers who monitored Tuesday’s vote say they found no evidence to support President Trump’s claim of voter fraud. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe delegation was headed by German lawmaker Michael Georg Link, who said, “Baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent president, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions.”
The United States recorded more than 120,000 new coronavirus cases — the highest one-day total of any country since the pandemic began. The U.S. recorded more cases on Thursday than either China or Japan have reported in total since the pandemic began. Cases have hit record highs in 20 states, with the largest increases in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and Iowa. Meanwhile, the state of New Jersey released more than 2,000 prisoners on Thursday in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 inside the state’s prison system. In international news, Britain began a four-week lockdown on Thursday. Greece has announced a three-week shutdown starting on Sunday.
In economic news, another 751,000 people filed for unemployment last week in the United States. Over 30 million have sought unemployment aid since the pandemic began. This comes as Feeding America warns the number of people facing food insecurity in the U.S. could rise to over 50 million this year, including 17 million children, due to the pandemic.
In immigration news, Vice reports Immigration and Customs Enforcement is attempting to deport more women who may have undergone nonconsensual invasive gynecological procedures at Irwin Detention Center in Georgia. ICE has already deported several survivors and has threatened to deport others, including a 25-year-old Mexican woman named Ana Cajigal Adan, who’s currently fighting her removal. She says she underwent an aggressive gynecological procedure at Irwin in February.
Activists continue to demand the release of hundreds of Cameroonian asylum seekers in ICE custody. Democracy Now! spoke to Sylvie Bello, founder of the Cameroonian American Council, ahead of her “Freedom Friday” campaign, a weekly day of action in solidarity with Cameroonians held in ICE prisons.
Sylvie Bello: “Freedom Friday was inspired by 40 Cameroonian hunger strikers who protested anti-Blackness, anti-Africanness and racism in Louisiana. Today, some of those Pine Prairie hunger strikers are set for deportation on Tuesday. Please join us in calling the Congressional Black Caucus to push for the release of these Cameroonians, for Cameroon TPS, and to lift Black immigrants, within the detention and outside of detention.”
In Central America, Hurricane Eta has killed at least 57 people as the storm caused heavy rains and flooding. Most of the deaths have been in Guatemala, where the Associated Press reports at least 42 were killed due to mudslides. Massive floods were also reported across the Atlantic Coast of Honduras, including in San Pedro Sula, where hundreds of people were evacuated. Yesterday afternoon, videos of a completely flooded San Pedro Sula international airport emerged on social media. At least 13 have died in Honduras.
Israeli authorities have demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khirbet Humsah in the occupied West Bank, leaving 73 people homeless, including 41 minors.
Abd al-Ghani Awawdeh: “The Israeli military came with jeeps and bulldozers. They ordered us to empty our homes. They only gave us 10 minutes. Obviously, that isn’t enough time to empty even a single tent. We didn’t have time to remove everything. They demolished it all, with our things inside.”
According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Israel leveled 18 tents and sheds that housed 11 families, as well as the village’s kitchens, toilets, livestock pens, water containers and two solar panels. The demolition occurred on Tuesday. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accused Israel of timing the demolition to take place when much of the world was focused on the U.S. election. According to the United Nations, Israel has destroyed nearly 700 structures in the West Bank this year, displacing about 870 Palestinians.
In Brazil, the eldest son of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has been charged with embezzlement and money laundering. The charges stem from Flávio Bolsonaro’s time as a congressmember prior to his father’s election. Flávio Bolsonaro is now a senator in Brazil.
The imprisoned Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul has begun her 12th day on a hunger strike. On Thursday, a U.N. committee expressed alarm over her physical and mental health and well-being and called on the Saudi king to release her. Al-Hathloul was arrested in May 2018 after leading a movement to lift a ban on women drivers and to overhaul the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia.
The State Department has informed Congress of plans to sell 18 armed drones to the United Arab Emirates. The Trump administration recently eased restrictions on exporting armed drones to allies. This comes despite a warning earlier this year from the United Nations that the world is entering a dangerous “second drone age” as more nations obtain armed drones that can be used for targeted killings outside of war zones.
In labor news, dairy workers in Washington state won a major victory Thursday when the state Supreme Court ruled they are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week. For decades farmworkers have been exempted from state and federal overtime laws.