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12:45 PM ET, December 2, 2020

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 Top Items: 
Mark Becker / The Bulwark:
My Call With Ron Johnson: He Knows Biden Won But Won't Admit It  —  The Wisconsin senator says it would be “political suicide.”  —  November 14, 8:37 a.m. my phone rings.  I do a double take on my caller ID and realize who is calling.  I take a deep breath and answer the phone.
Katelyn Polantz / CNN:
Justice Department investigating potential presidential pardon bribery scheme, court records reveal  —  (CNN)The Justice Department is investigating a potential crime related to funneling money to the White House or related political committee in exchange for a presidential pardon …
RELATED:
New York Times:
Trump Has Discussed With Advisers Pardons for His 3 Eldest Children and Giuliani  —  Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is promoting baseless claims of widespread election fraud, talked about a pardon with President Trump as recently as last week.  —  President Trump has discussed with advisers whether …
Jennifer Rodgers / The Daily Beast:
Here's How Rudy Giuliani's Push for a Preemptive Pardon Could Backfire  —  Imagine what the old Rudy Giuliani, United States Attorney, crime-buster and thorn in the side of organized crime, would think of the current iteration.  —  BEAST INSIDE … This is the last gasp of Donald Trump's administration …
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:
Biden: 'We're Going to Fight Like Hell by Investing in America First'  —  My talk with Joe Biden on his first few months, and his next four years.  —  President-elect Joe Biden was in a good mood as we talked on the phone Tuesday evening for an hour — he in Delaware and me in Bethesda, Md. He apologized, though, for being late.
NBC News:
Release of PPP loan recipients data reveals troubling patterns  —  Following months of litigation between the Small Business Administration and news organizations seeking data about who benefited from pandemic relief programs, the agency on Tuesday night released a sweeping dataset …
RELATED:
Washington Post:
More than half of emergency small-business funds went to larger businesses, new data shows  —  The Trump administration has emphasized PPP loans to small firms, but data released Tuesday shows that most of the $522 billion went to about 600 larger companies and chains
Axios:
Trump likely to announce 2024 bid, but GOP rivals say power will fade post-White House  —  President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.  —  Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies …
RELATED:
Timothy L. O'Brien / Bloomberg:
Trump's Election-Fraud Business Is Booming  —  The president needn't risk his own money as long as others are willing to chip in.  —  The president of the United States, a self-described multi-billionaire, is still claiming the 2020 election was rigged — and he wants you to give him some of your money to help him sort that out.
Wall Street Journal:
Trump's Fraud Claims Hit a Barr
Melanie Zanona / Politico:
The GOP's electoral mischief  —  MO PROBLEMS — Scooplet: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) has been telling colleagues and allies that he plans to challenge the Electoral College votes when Congress officially certifies Joe Biden's victory on Jan. 6, as long as a Senate Republican joins him in the long-shot effort, sources tell your Huddle host.
Michelle Roberts / BBC:
Covid-19: Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine judged safe for use in UK from next week  —  The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for mass vaccination.  —  Britain's medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the jab …
RELATED:
Roni Caryn Rabin / New York Times:   C.D.C. Shortens Quarantine Guidance and Warns Against Holiday Travel
Jim Galloway / Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The Kelly Loeffler, Raphael Warnock runoff crosses a line  —  One of Kelly Loeffler's first public appearances as a U.S. senator came last January at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  —  “I am so humbled to be here with you today in this sacred place …
RELATED:
Judd Legum / Popular Information:
Before her scorched-earth attacks, Loeffler shared a pulpit with Warnock and praised his church
Discussion: Political Wire
Gabriel Sherman / Vanity Fair:
Confessions of a Clintonworld Exile  —  Doug Band worked alongside Bill Clinton every day for nearly two decades, first as a body man and then as one of the primary architects of his lucrative and often-fraught post-presidency.  Then came a seismic falling out with accusations of self-dealing and soap-opera-level psychodrama.
Discussion: Twitchy
FiveThirtyEight:
There Wasn't That Much Split-Ticket Voting In 2020  —  The narrative of the 2020 election is that Joe Biden did pretty well ... but down-ballot Democrats, not so much.  And while this is true if you look simply at the results — Republicans defended most of their vulnerable Senate seats …
Annie Karni / New York Times:
In a Fox News interview, Parscale blames Trump's lack of coronavirus empathy for his election loss.  —  Brad Parscale, the former Trump campaign manager who was demoted in July, claimed in a Fox News interview on Tuesday night that President Trump would have handily won the election …
Discussion: Conservative News Today and IJR
RELATED:
Isabella Kwai / New York Times:
U.N. Reclassifies Cannabis as a Less Dangerous Drug  —  A United Nations commission voted to remove marijuana for medical use from a list of the most risky narcotics, such as heroin.  —  A United Nations commission voted on Wednesday to remove cannabis for medicinal purposes from a category …
RELATED:
Zack Budryk / The Hill:   United Nations commission votes to remove marijuana from list of most dangerous drugs
Robert Sanchez / 5280:
Why Did Palantir Technologies Move Its Headquarters From Silicon Valley to Denver?  —  The secretive and controversial data-mining firm moved its headquarters to LoDo earlier this year.  And while some city and state government officials lobbied for the relocation, others are furious.
Zeke Miller / Associated Press:
GOP leader McDaniel to run for 3rd term with Trump's backing  —  Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, is launching her bid for a third two-year term heading the GOP's governing organization after the party's stronger-than-anticipated showing in November's election, even though President Donald Trump lost.
Discussion: Fox News, Axios and Political Wire
Jamie Ross / The Daily Beast:
Roger Stone, Who Had His Ass Saved by Barr, Turns on ‘Deep State’ Attorney General  —  SNAKE PIT  —  Remember in February when Attorney General Bill Barr trashed his department's reputation to override the recommended prison term for Roger Stone and push for a much shorter sentence?
Discussion: Mediaite and Raw Story
Wall Street Journal:
Trump Moves Forward With Changes to Federal Hiring, Firing  —  Democrats and public employee unions are trying to stop changes to longstanding protections for civil servants  —  WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is rapidly moving forward with a last-minute push to ease hiring …
Discussion: New York Times
Politico:
Anticipating Senate bottlenecks, Biden races to fill agency jobs  —  Now that he's chosen a big chunk of his Cabinet nominees, President-elect Joe Biden's transition team is focusing increasingly on selecting candidates for government positions that do not require Senate confirmation.
Heather Knight / San Francisco Chronicle:
S.F. Mayor London Breed had her own French Laundry party — the night after Gavin Newsom's  —  Gov. Gavin Newsom is in good company when it comes to politicians attending fancy birthday parties while encouraging others to avoid gathering.  —  It turns out San Francisco Mayor London Breed dined …
Tony Romm / Washington Post:
Trump threatens to veto major defense bill unless Congress repeals Section 230, a legal shield for tech giants  —  President Trump on Tuesday threatened to veto an annual defense bill authorizing nearly $1 trillion in military spending unless Congress opens the door for Facebook …
Peter Montgomery / Right Wing Watch:
Pro-Trump Attorney Lin Wood and Pardoned Michael Flynn Call for Trump to Declare Martial Law  —  Lin Wood, an Atlanta-based lawyer who says President Donald Trump asked him to join the effort to challenge Joe Biden's election victory, is promoting a right-wing group's call for Trump …
Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
RNC blasts Politico over Michigan election story  —  Politico chief political correspondent Tim Alberta packed a lot into his sizzling Nov. 24 feature, “The Inside Story of Michigan's Fake Voter Fraud Scandal.”  There's a tight narration of the Trump campaign's destructive effort to undo the Michigan vote …
Veronique de Rugy / National Review:
Walter Williams, R.I.P.  —  The great economist and freedom fighter Walter Williams has died.  This is an incredibly sad news.  Walter was a great communicator of ideas and a prolific, provocative and uncompromising writer.  He was the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University.
Tyler O'Neil / pjmedia.com:
WHISTLEBLOWER: I Drove ‘Thousands of Ballots’ From New York to Pennsylvania  —  On Tuesday, a truck driver testified that he had driven thousands of ballots from Bethpage, N.Y., to Lancaster, Pa., two weeks before Election Day.  Phill Kline, a former attorney general of Kansas and director …
Discussion: Townhall and Power Line
Matthew Yglesias / Slow Boring:
The “racial wealth gap” is a class gap  —  Rich people are very white, but most white people aren't rich  —  Good morning it's Wednesday!  —  And what a fine day to discuss an unfashionable leftist view of mine.  The discussion “racial wealth gap” is a somewhat perverse way to think about the real issue …
Gina Harkins / Military.com:
Army Hits Back Against False Claim that Soldiers Died in CIA Op to Nab Election Servers  —  A retired Air Force three-star general reignited baseless conspiratorial claims about U.S. troops' involvement in clandestine missions in the wake of the presidential election — claims an Army official said are 100% false.
Discussion: Army Times and Raw Story
Felicia Sonmez / Washington Post:
Mark Kelly to be sworn in Wednesday, giving Arizona two Democratic senators for first time in more than six decades  —  Democrat Mark Kelly will be sworn into the Senate on Wednesday, marking the first time in more than 67 years that Arizona will have two Democratic senators.
Discussion: ABC News, CBS News, CNN and NBC News
Yuichiro Kakutani / Washington Free Beacon:
Biden-Linked Firm WestExec Scrubs China Work From Website  —  Dem cabinet nom for State Department cofounded consulting firm WestExec  —  The Washington, D.C., consulting firm cofounded by President-elect Joe Biden's secretary of state nominee, Antony Blinken, has removed from its website details …
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr / The American Spectator:
This Election Stinks  —  Is something rotten in Denmark?  —  W  —  ashington  —  I have been on the fence.  Ever since the election on November 3, I have been on the fence.  I am prepared to accept the will of the people, and only in the election of 1960 was there evidence of a presidential election being stolen by either party.
Susan E. Rice / New York Times:
Our Democracy's Near-Death Experience  —  Now is no time for complacency.  The next Congress must shore up our institutions.  —  Ms. Rice is a former national security adviser.  —  It appears that our democracy dodged a bullet — or, more precisely, multiple concerted efforts by the president …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Jake Offenhartz / Gothamist:
Defiant NY Young Republican Club Plans Indoor Gala “Featuring” Sarah Palin
David Bauder / Associated Press:
Robert Mueller does rare interview in ‘Oath’ podcast
Discussion: NBC News and Fox News
Byron Tau / Wall Street Journal:
Homeland Security Watchdog to Probe Department's Use of Phone Location Data
Naomi Lim / Washington Examiner:
Obama chides Democrats for giving AOC short convention speaking slot
Discussion: Politico, CNN and Breitbart
Washington Free Beacon:
Trump Lawyer's ‘Drawn and Quartered’ Threat Ripped From Neera Tanden Playbook
Discussion: Fox News and Washington Monthly
 Earlier Items: 
Patrick Tucker / Defense One:
Foreign Leaders Congratulate Biden, Ignore Trump's Claim to Reelection
Discussion: Washington Post and NBC News
Scientific American:
Our Immigration Policy Has Done Terrible Damage to Kids
Discussion: ImmigrationProf Blog
Molly Beck / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
GOP candidate says he was used without permission as a plaintiff in lawsuit to overturn Wisconsin election results