After a relatively quiet weekend in Washington, the political world was all abuzz with a few new developments that happened on Sunday. Here are the leading political headlines heading into the new week.
Giuliani Tests Positive for COVID-19: President Donald Trump tweeted out the news Sunday that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had tested positive for COVID-19. Multiple sources have confirmed that the former mayor of New York City is currently hospitalized at Georgetown University Medical Center. Trump said that Giuliani was feeling well and receiving great care.Read More »
Giuliani on the Go Over the Last Week Giuliani has been working hard in recent weeks as a key member of Trump’s legal team that is trying to overturn the results of the November 3 presidential election. Ever since President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner, Giuliani has been on the road meeting with state legislatures and judges working to prove widespread election fraud.
Giuliani began his week in Arizona attempting to convince members of the state’s legislature of voter fraud. After this meeting, he went to Michigan to meet with more state lawmakers to convince them that their state’s election results were not legal. Following this meeting, he traveled to Georgia to attend a state Senate hearing concerning the election. Throughout the coverage of all of these events, Giuliani was repeatedly seen without a mask. While in Atlanta, he took time to pose for pictures with his supporters without wearing a facial covering.
Battle in the Peach State: All eyes continue to be drawn toward Georgia. With less than one month to go until the state’s Senate runoff election, both parties are pouring enormous resources into both of these key races. As it stands, the Republicans hold a two-person majority in the US Senate. Both of Georgia’s Senate races were sent to a special runoff election, scheduled for January 5. Should the Democrats win both races, the Senate will be tied at 50-50. However, the Democrats will seize control by virtue of the tiebreaking vote going to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
With the stakes exceptionally high, incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler squared off against her Democratic challenger, Reverend Raphael Warnock in a debate on Sunday night.
The discussion was largely civil with the two candidates even agreeing on the fact that Americans need to be ready to take the COVID-19 vaccine when asked. Both Loeffler and Warnock said that they would take the vaccine without question.
Loeffler was able to effectively dodge questions regarding the legitimacy of Biden’s presidential win. While she would not go so far as to say that the election was rigged in Biden’s favor, she did say that Trump had every right to challenge the legality of the election.
Meanwhile, Warnock was playing his own game of sidestepping on certain issues. The reverend would not give a total amount of money that he would be willing to approve in a Congressional COVID-19 relief package. He also would not directly answer questions about his opinion on whether the Democrats should look at expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court in order to negate the recent gains made by the Republicans in solidifying their majority on the highest court in the land.
Senate Becomes Hopeful that Stimulus is Within Reach: Senators on both sides of the aisle are growing increasingly optimistic that a COVID-19 stimulus package will be reached by the end of this week. The support is falling on the bipartisan package put forth by a group of Senators working together to reach a compromise. On Sunday morning, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said that the agreement could come as early as Monday.
While the details of the package are not yet known, Warner confirmed that it was a $908 billion four-month emergency relief package. Some political leaders were speculating that Congress would try to tie the legislation into a separate funding bill needed to keep the government open past December 11.
According to Warner, the COVID-19 stimulus will provide financial assistance for the unemployed, rental assistance for those facing homelessness, small business protection, and additional funding for minority businesses struggling to keep open. In addition, the stimulus has funding set aside for vaccine distribution and help for medical facilities as hospitalizations reach peak numbers across the country.
Warner also said that he is optimistic that Congress has the votes that they need from both sides of the aisle to pass the funding right away.
Barr to Leave Office Early? The New York Times reported on Sunday that Attorney General William Barr is considering leaving his post prior to the official end of the Trump administration on January 20. It has been no secret in Washington circles that Trump and Barr have been at odds since the November election.
Barr ruffled Trump’s feathers earlier in the week when he said that the Justice Department has found no evidence of voter fraud. The allegations of voter fraud have been the rallying cry of the Trump team ever since he lost the election to Biden. On Thursday, the president would not answer if he still had confidence in his attorney general.
On Tap for This Week: The Biden transition team is expected to announce more key Cabinet positions in the coming days. Over the last few weeks, these names have been confirmed on Monday and then formally introduced by Biden on a Tuesday. Also this week, the Biden transition team is expected to begin to receive its daily defense intelligence briefings from the Pentagon.