Despite moves by Republicans to subvert the results of the presidential election, Pennsylvania is scheduled to certify its vote results on Monday, and a board in Michigan is set to consider doing the same.
The certifications, which come amid a string of legal losses for the Trump campaign, would all but ensure the futility of President Trump’s challenges to the election results. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College count — 306 to Mr. Trump’s 232 — mirrors the total by which the president defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The electors will meet in their respective states and the District of Columbia to formally cast their votes on Dec. 14.
Georgia on Friday became the first contested state to certify Mr. Biden’s victory, after a hand recount of the results, technically an audit, confirmed Mr. Trump’s defeat by more than 12,000 votes. It was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had won the state since 1992.
A federal judge dismissed a Trump campaign challenge to Pennsylvania’s results on Saturday, eliminating the last major effort to delay certification there. The campaign and the case’s other plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal on Sunday.
Other key states, including Michigan and Nevada, also have to certify their results. The Board of State Canvassers in Michigan is scheduled to meet on Monday to consider the certification of results that have already been certified by county canvassing boards. The state board is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats.
Mr. Trump invited Michigan Republican leaders to the White House last week, as members of the party sought to stop the certification process. After the meeting, the state’s top two Republican lawmakers — Mike Shirkey, the leader of the State Senate, and Lee Chatfield, the speaker of the State House — said they had not “been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election.”
The leaders of the Republican National Committee and the Michigan Republican Party have asked the Michigan board to delay the state’s certification for two weeks.
Mr. Shirkey and Mr. Chatfield said in a statement that they “will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors.”
Even without Michigan’s electoral votes, Mr. Biden would surpass the 270-count threshold to win.
The work of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers is not glamorous and rarely draws much attention. Its members handle matters like reviewing petition signatures and helping local clerks find voting machines. But on Monday, the national spotlight will fall on the board’s task of reviewing results from the presidential election that have been certified by Michigan’s 83 counties and giving a stamp of approval.
The Board of State Canvassers, with two Republicans and two Democrats, will meet at 1 p.m.
While the winner is clear — Joseph R. Biden Jr. beat President Trump in the state by over 150,000 votes, according to the Michigan Bureau of Elections — Mr. Trump and his Republican allies are trying to upend that reality with baseless claims about discrepancies in the vote tallies, and they are urging the board to refuse to certify the election results.
Election law experts say the certification vote is a strictly ministerial duty that the board members are obligated to fulfill, but political operatives in Michigan are preparing for a chain of events in which the two Republicans on the board follow the Trump campaign’s wishes.
A 2-to-2 deadlock, which would prolong Republicans’ unprecedented attempts to overturn this year’s presidential race, would most likely prompt Democrats to ask the state Court of Appeals to order the board to do its constitutional duty and certify the election results.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s transition team will officially announce its first cabinet appointments on Tuesday, said Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, although he declined to say which ones.
The names of at least three expected cabinet appointments were released on Sunday night by people close to the decision process; the officials are Anthony J. Blinken for secretary of state, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations.
Mr. Klain, in an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” said that Mr. Biden would be beating the pace of appointments set by both the Obama-Biden transition and the Trump transition. Mr. Biden’s cabinet and team “will look like America” in terms of ideology and background, Jennifer Psaki, a senior adviser to the transition team, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked whether the cabinet would include more progressive Democrats than President Barack Obama’s first cabinet. That group included a record 14 minorities and women.
Mr. Klain also said that inauguration events on Jan. 20 would be downsized because of the coronavirus and that they might include virtual aspects as the Democratic National Convention had done in August.
“Obviously this is not going to be the same kind of inauguration we had in the past,” Mr. Klain said. “We know people want to celebrate. There is something here to celebrate. We just want to find a way to do that as safely as possible.”
Mr. Klain called President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results “corrosive,” but said that he was not concerned that they would change the outcome.
Ms. Psaki, however, conceded that Mr. Trump was slowing down the process of building out a new government. She said that F.B.I. background checks, a key part of the confirmation of cabinet secretaries, could not be done until the General Services Administration formally recognized Mr. Biden’s victory.
The process, called ascertainment, would give Mr. Biden and his staff access to federal resources, data and personnel. Symone D. Sanders, a senior adviser and spokeswoman for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that, among key matters, conversations with government officials about a vaccine distribution plan were not happening because of the lag.
“With every single moment that there is a delay of ascertainment, every single moment that our folks are not able to get into and work with current government officials, puts the effective distribution of that vaccine in danger,” she said.
WASHINGTON — Antony J. Blinken, a defender of global alliances and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s closest foreign policy adviser, is expected to be nominated for secretary of state, a job in which he will try to coalesce skeptical international partners into a new competition with China, according to people close to the process.
Mr. Blinken, 58, a former deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, began his career at the State Department during the Clinton administration. His extensive foreign policy credentials are expected to help calm American diplomats and global leaders alike after four years of the Trump administration’s ricocheting strategies and nationalist swaggering.
Mr. Biden is also expected to name another close aide, Jake Sullivan, as national security adviser, according to a person familiar with the process. Mr. Sullivan, 43, succeeded Mr. Blinken as Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, and served as the head of policy planning at the State Department under Hillary Clinton, becoming her closest strategic adviser.
Together, Mr. Blinken and Mr. Sullivan, good friends with a common worldview, have become Mr. Biden’s brain trust and often his voice on foreign policy matters. And they led the attack on President Trump’s use of “America First” as a guiding principle, saying it only isolated the United States and created opportunities and vacuums for its adversaries to fill.
Mr. Biden is also expected to name Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a 35-year veteran of the Foreign Service who has served in diplomatic posts around the world, as his ambassador to the United Nations, according to a person with knowledge of the process. Mr. Biden will also restore the post to cabinet-level status after Mr. Trump downgraded it, giving Ms. Thomas-Greenfield, who is Black, a seat on his National Security Council. The selections of Mr. Blinken and Mr. Sullivan were reported earlier by Bloomberg News, and Ms. Thomas-Greenfield’s nomination was reported by The Washington Post.
President Trump’s campaign on Sunday disavowed Sidney Powell, one of his lawyers, after she made wild accusations of Republican governors being involved in a payoff scheme to manipulate voting machines.
Ms. Powell, who had appeared with the Trump campaign at a news conference just last week about his efforts to overturn the results of the election, had been embraced by many of his allies.
The disavowal came a day after a Pennsylvania judge eviscerated arguments that other members of Mr. Trump’s legal teamhad made in court that millions of votes in the state should be invalidated, potentially disenfranchising huge numbers of voters. The president was said to be furious about the judge’s decision.
The extraordinary statement from Rudolph W. Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, two lawyers for Mr. Trump, about a third person who had been involved in their efforts was released Sunday evening.
“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” the statement said. “She is not a member of the Trump legal team. She is also not a lawyer for the president in his personal capacity.”
Ms. Powell, who stood with Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Ellis at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Thursday, was described as a member of the legal team’s “elite strike force” as she laid out an elaborate conspiracy theory about efforts by the former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, to essentially rig elections in the United States by using voting machines made by Dominion.
Appearing on the conservative network Newsmax on Saturday night, Ms. Powell further pushed the conspiracy theory, saying that two top Republicans in Georgia — Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — were taking payoffs as part of the scheme. Two runoff elections in the state on Jan. 5 could determine which party controls the Senate, and Republicans have grown anxious about the Trump campaign’s legal efforts there possibly affecting those races, which are likely to have low voter turnout.
Ms. Powell’s claims were widely derided, including by some Trump allies. Chris Christie, the Republican former governor of New Jersey and a Trump ally, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the legal team had become a “national embarrassment.” Most of the president’s other lawyers have declined to become involved in his efforts to delay certification of votes in states by alleging fraud in public statements.
Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, a Republican who is campaigning in a high-stakes runoff election that could determine control of the Senate, is isolating “out of an abundance of caution,” a campaign spokesman said Sunday, after a series of coronavirus tests delivered mixed messages about whether she had contracted the disease. The latest results showed that she had tested negative.
According to Stephen Lawson, a campaign spokesman, a rapid test Ms. Loeffler took Friday morning came back negative, but a second test she also took that morning — a polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R., test, which is considered more accurate — returned a positive result on Friday evening.
In between her receipt of the two conflicting test results, Ms. Loeffler attended campaign-related events on Friday, including a rally with Vice President Mike Pence and Senator David Perdue of Georgia, Mr. Lawson said.
Ms. Loeffler, 49, received another P.C.R. test on Saturday morning. But it was “inconclusive,” Mr. Lawson said of the results, which came in Saturday evening. On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Lawson issued another statement saying that the senator’s “previously inconclusive P.C.R. results were retested overnight and the results thankfully came back negative.”
He added: “Out of an abundance of caution, she will continue to self-isolate and be retested again to hopefully receive consecutive negative test results. We will share those results as they are made available. She will continue to confer with medical experts and follow C.D.C. guidelines.”
Ms. Loeffler has notified those with whom she had sustained contact while she awaits further test results, he said.
“She has no symptoms and she will continue to follow C.D.C. guidelines by quarantining until retesting is conclusive, and an update will be provided at that time,” Mr. Lawson said.
Ms. Loeffler has held recent events with prominent Republicans, including Mr. Pence, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mr. Perdue, who is also engaged in a runoff election that could determine control of the Senate.
“Senator Perdue will remain at home until Senator Loeffler receives confirmation of her test results,” John Burke, a Perdue campaign spokesman, wrote in a text message Sunday.
Mr. Perdue, 70, has encouraged people to wear masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. But he has also appeared at rallies where people did not wear masks. A Friday tweet from Ms. Loeffler includes a picture that shows the two senators in an indoor setting without masks.
A spokesman for Mr. Pence, Devin O’Malley, said that “as he awaits a confirmatory test from Senator Loeffler, Vice President Pence is in regular consultation with the White House Medical Unit and will be following C.D.C. guidelines as he has in other circumstances when he has been a close contact.”