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On Tuesday, that small window for subversion officially closes.
That’s because Tuesday is the “safe harbor” deadline under federal law. What that means is that when Congress tallies the electoral votes in January, it must accept electoral results that were certified before the deadline.
Most states have already certified their results. Missouri and Colorado are set to certify on Tuesday, leaving West Virginia and Hawaii — so none of the battleground states that Trump’s team was hoping to hold up will be in play after Tuesday.
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig puts it this way: The arrival of the safe harbor date should effectively extinguish any dying embers of hope even for the last few remaining election denialists. And what an utter disaster — legally and otherwise — the Trump team’s effort to contest the election in the courts has been.
Trump’s team sees the writing on the wall. There is a sense developing within Trump’s legal team and what remains of his campaign staff that their efforts to overturn or delay the results of the election are coming to an end, multiple sources tell CNN.
But there’s still room for drama. It’s now up to the Electoral College to make Biden’s victory completely official. (More on that in a minute).
House conservatives want a floor fight. Trump’s staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill are urging him not to concede even after the Electoral College vote next week, calling on their party’s leader to fight for his unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud all the way to the House floor in January.
Watch for an unceremonious exit. Where Trump decides to spend the final weeks of his presidency has become a matter of internal speculation as aides wonder whether he’ll leave the White House for the holidays — and never return.
At this stage, there are plans for Trump to remain at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach over Christmas and New Year’s, but the guidance offered to staffers ends there, people familiar with the plans said.
: Stimulus snapshot
This is the week that things either finally come together or fall apart for good on a coronavirus relief package.
CNN’s Lauren Fox and Manu Raju have a rundown of where negotiations stand right now on the major sticking points:
State and local funding: Lawmakers are very close on this issue. They’re eyeing $160 billion for state and local funding that would be based on two factors.
The first would be based in part on population.
The second would be based on states and localities demonstrating a loss in revenue.
Liability insurance: Republicans have been back-channeling potential proposals with GOP leadership, but there still isn’t an agreement. It’s the issue that is proving the most difficult to solve.
Still not part of the proposal: Stimulus checks.
Aides familiar with the negotiations tell CNN that despite the progressive push Friday for $1,200 stimulus checks to be included in the bipartisan framework, they still aren’t going to be included.
: But first, Congress needs to buy time
The House and Senate will vote this week to keep the government open until December 18, giving negotiators an extra week to strike a deal on a massive government spending package and pandemic relief.
Unless it passes additional legislation, the federal government will run out of money on December 11 and a number of measures addressing the economic crisis will expire at the end of the month. The House will vote on Wednesday.
: Electoral College takes center stage
With election results certified, electors and lawmakers follow an archaic timeline set out the Constitution and US law to make Biden president.
Just as then-Vice President Biden oversaw the counting of electoral votes that gave Trump the White House in 2017, now it will be Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s loyal soldier these last four years, who will announce the vote tally that officially makes Biden the winner. Read more about that here.
And Republicans will have to choose how deeply they want to follow Trump into his rabbit hole of conspiracy theories.
Lawmakers will have the ability to raise objections about the vote — just like some Democrats did in 2017. But while those objections were dismissed easily in 2017, Republican senators could, if they choose, drag the process out this year, and force the House and Senate to vote on individual points.
The full timeline is below: