The TAKE with Rick Klein
He is defeated but not changed. The same may not hold for the party he has become used to dominating.
As his time in office draws to a close, President Donald Trump is demanding loyalty of his GOP allies in ways not all are ready to deliver. With his long-shot final bid to overturn the results of the election, there's even a list -- which Republican lawmakers will join him in asking the Supreme Court to intervene.
Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., wrote in an email to GOP colleagues Wednesday that the president told him he wanted their support for his case.
"He specifically asked me to contact all Republican Members of the House and Senate today and request that all join on to our brief," Johnson wrote, in an email obtained by ABC News. "He said he will be anxiously awaiting the final list to review."
Not all Republicans, of course, will feel comfortable asking the high court to invalidate the votes of tens of millions of Americans. It will be notable, though, how many do -- including some 17 Republican attorneys general who have joined the case.
Meanwhile, with COVID-19 relief still waiting and government funding still in the balance, the president is practically daring GOP lawmakers to override his promised veto of the annual defense bill.
Loyalties to the president continue to run deep among elected Republicans. But he could suffer a final series of indignities as he clings to power -- including the danger of simply being ignored.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Police reform, civil rights, voting rights, housing laws, possible investigations into the Trump family or even Biden's own family, and Big Tech antitrust decisions too -- the list of weighty policy matters awaiting the next attorney general is long and growing by the day.
Wednesday's lawsuits from the Federal Trade Commission and dozens of states against Facebook brought the issue of monopolies front and center in the closing days of this administration. There has been bipartisan support for investigations into Facebook and other tech giants, so the incoming attorney general could have some wind in his or her sails next year.
A move to undo Facebook's recent acquisitions could easily be just an opening salvo for regulators or prosecutors interested in moving further or more aggressively down this path.
Members of Congress and watchdogs have floated the idea of cases against companies like Amazon too.
So far, Biden has seemed to prioritize personal relationships and government experience most in his Cabinet picks, but balancing that with someone at the Department of Justice who can read this moment in his party too will be key for him.
The TIP with Alisa Wiersema and Quinn Scanlan
The aftermath of a pandemic-era election and two subsequent recounts now looms over the lead up to Georgia's January Senate runoffs. Cobb County -- one of the state's most populous and racially diverse areas -- planned to have about half as many early voting locations as it did for the general election. Initially planning to have only five sites open during the three-week period, on Wednesday, the county announced it would add two more locations for the final week amid pressures from outside organizations to stand up 11 sites.
In a letter directed to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners and Board of Elections & Registration on Monday, organizations like the Georgia NAACP, Black Voters Matter, All Voting is Local Georgia and ACLU Georgia, said the polling closures would be "harmful to Cobb County's Black and Latinx voters because many of the locations are in Black and Latinx communities." Stacey Abrams's organization, Fair Fight, had joined those organizations' call for change, and upon news of the adjusted number of open sites, the group tweeted Wednesday, "Attention now turns to Forsyth and Hall counties, which have closed locations in heavily AAPI and Latinx areas."
Explaining the decision to downsize, Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler said, "Between COVID, the workload and the holidays, we have simply run out of people. Many workers told us they spent three weeks working 14- or 15-hour days and they will not do that again. We simply don't have time to bring in and train up more workers to staff the number of locations we had for November."
While some elections officials grapple with difficult logistics surrounding the upcoming elections, the state's GOP appears to be in full swing with poll watcher recruitment efforts. According to Abigail Sigler, a Georgia Republican Party spokesperson, and the NRSC, Republicans across the state -- including the Georgia GOP, Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the RNC and the NRSC -- have over 4,000 volunteers signed up to serve as poll watchers during the early voting period. As described by Sigler, the amount is "the largest number in Georgia history and many more than during the general election."
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Thursday morning's episode features University of Chicago biologist Anthony Williams, who tells us why communities of color may have a hard time accepting that a COVID-19 vaccine is safe. New Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon joins the show to tell us about his push to eliminate cash bail. And ABC News' Deirdre Bolton examines recent IPOs from DoorDash and AirBnB. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
- President Donald Trump has lunch with state attorneys general at 12:45 p.m. and delivers remarks at the Congressional Ball at 8:15 p.m.
- Vice President Mike Pence travels to Greenville, South Carolina, for a roundtable on vaccine distribution. He then heads to Augusta, Georgia for a campaign rally at 2 p.m. in support of Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are each running runoff elections.
- President-elect Joe Biden receives the President's Daily Brief and meets with transition advisers.
- Vice President-elect Kamala Harris receives the President's Daily Brief and meets with transition advisers.
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