Live politics updates: Wall Street Journal editorial board tells Trump it's time to concede

USA TODAY's coverage of the 2020 election and President-elect Joe Biden's transition continues this week as he rolls out more of his picks for top jobs in his administration. With the final vote counts certified, the Electoral College will meet Monday in statehouses across the U.S. where the 538 electors will cast the ballots making Biden's victory official. 

President Donald Trump has cleared the way for Biden's team to use federal resources and get briefings during the transition, although Trump has yet to formally concede the race and continues to challenge the results.

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

Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveils details of COVID-19 stimulus legislation

A bipartisan group of lawmakers that has worked for weeks on a COVID-19 stimulus compromise unveiled the latest versions of their proposal Monday as lawmakers struggled to close a deal that could pass both the House and Senate.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., one of the leaders of the bipartisan group, said it was now up for Senate leadership to take up the proposal and “make this happen on a timely basis.”

Seeking to break the months-long impasse in negotiations, the group, which introduced a $908 billion framework at the beginning of the month, split their proposal into two bills:

The first bill, totaling $768 billion, includes funding to reauthorize the PPP small business lending program, rental assistance, an extension of a $300 per week federal boost to unemployment insurance, emergency funding for airlines and transit agencies, and funding for vaccine development and distribution, among other provisions.

The second bill, totaling $160 billion, includes provisions that have been among the major sticking points in negotiations – aid for state and local governments and some COVID-19 liability protections for businesses. Democrats have wanted state and local aid in any relief bill, and Republicans have demanded liability protections for businesses and schools.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said the $768 billion bill gained broad support among their group, but acknowledged the second, $160 billion one, could not achieve “uniform consensus” among the group of lawmakers.

The group’s proposal does not include more stimulus checks. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., one of the proponents of the checks, said Monday Congress “cannot go home for the Christmas holidays” unless they pass legislation including them.

Nicholas Wu

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds Biden's win, rejects Trump lawsuit

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld Democrat Joe Biden's Wisconsin win Monday, handing President Donald Trump a defeat less than an hour before the Electoral College is to meet.

The 4-3 ruling was the latest in a string of dozens of losses for the president across the country as Republicans pursue a last-gasp efforts to give Trump a second term. 

– Patrick Marley (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Wall Street Journal editorial board tells Trump it's time to concede

The Wall Street Journal editorial board, which stood by President Donald Trump through many of the controversies that dogged his four years in office, said Sunday it was time for him to concede.

"The Electoral College meets Monday to cast its votes for President, officially marking Joe Biden as the election winner," the board wrote. "President Trump’s legal challenges have run their course, and he and the rest of the Republican Party can help the country and themselves by acknowledging the result and moving on."

The editorial referred to the Supreme Court's rejection on Friday of the petition from Texas to overturn the election results in four battleground states as "Trump’s last legal gasp."

The call to concede is the culmination of a month in which the editorial board's skeptical patience with Trump's election challenges withered away.

Three days after the election, the board said Trump "has every right to demand recounts" and to "go to the courts for relief if there is evidence of fraud." After Georgia ordered a manual recount the board said, "There’s no reason not to let the process play out," though it acknowledged the "odds seem small that the preliminary vote tallies will be overturned in enough states to give Mr. Trump a second term in the White House."

But by Nov. 23, after Georgia's recount was complete and Pennsylvania had certified its results, the board warned "Trump is running out of time and options." By Dec. 1, the board said it was "open to evidence of major fraud, but we haven’t seen claims that are credible."

"As the election timetable closes, Mr. Trump should focus on preserving his legacy rather than diminishing it by alleging fraud he can’t prove," the paper declared.

Though Sunday's editorial calling on Trump to concede cited Democratic opposition to Trump and allegations of collusion with Russia as "one reason that tens of millions of Americans are inclined to believe Mr. Trump’s election claims," it concluded, "None of this excuses Mr. Trump’s attempts to delegitimize Mr. Biden’s victory on Nov. 3."

Warning that "bitterness as a political strategy rarely wears well" the board warned, "If Republicans lose the Georgia Senate runoffs on Jan. 5, Mr. Trump will deserve much of the blame."

"There’s a time to fight, and a time to concede. Mr. Trump has had his innumerable days in court and lost."

– William Cummings 

Early voting kicks off in Georgia runoffs for Senate seats

Early voting may sound like a misnomer more than a month after the Nov. 3 election, but Georgia voters begin doing exactly that Monday, the first day they can vote in person in the Jan 5. runoff election to determine the winner of their state's two seats in the U.S. Senate.

Because none of the four candidates in the two Senate races secured more than 50% of the vote in last month's contest, Georgia law requires the rematches, which will feature Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Raphael Warnock and Sen. David Perdue against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.

The GOP incumbents are favored to hold their seats in the traditionally conservative state, but their victory is far from certain given President-elect Joe Biden's victory there, the first time a Democrat had won the state since 1992.

Their chances of success are further complicated by President Donald Trump's baseless claims of widespread fraud. Despite an absence of evidence, Trump and his allies have insisted the election was stolen from him, raising concerns in some Republican circles the allegations could lead GOP supporters to sit out what they think is a rigged process. Pro-Trump attorney L. Lin Wood has openly called on Republicans to boycott the runoff election as a protest against what he sees as a failure of the GOP establishment to aid Trump in his quest to overturn the election results.

Voting by mail is already underway in the runoffs and more than a million Georgians have requested absentee ballots, according to Democratic voting rights activist Stacey Abrams.

– William Cummings 

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Raphael Warnock speaks to church members during a drive-up worship service at St. James Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday in Columbus, Georgia. Warnock is facing incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a runoff election that will take place on January 5th.  The results of two Georgia U.S. Senate races will determine which party controls the Senate.

Electoral College to make President-elect Biden official 

One of the most contentious and closely watched presidential elections in U.S. history comes one step close to completion as the Electoral College meets Monday.

The 538 electors will gather in each of their respective state houses to cast their ballots for the presidential and vice presidential candidates selected by their state's voters. 

Normally, the event is a formality that draws little attention, but because of President Donald Trump's persistent efforts to overturn the election result based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud, the electors' votes will likely draw protesters. The votes have already been certified and no surprises are expected. 

Biden is scheduled to give a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, at 8 p.m. EDT on "the electoral college vote certification and the strength and resilience of our democracy," according to a press release from the transition team.

Official copies of the results of the electors' vote are due to be sent to Congress by Dec. 23, before the members of the new session formally count them on Jan. 6. 

– William Cummings