Monday, January 4, 2021

The AM Confidential: Trump Bullies GA Official To 'Find Votes'

➤TRUMP PRESSURED GEORGIA SEC. OF STATE ON TAPE TO OVERTURN BIDEN'S WIN: President Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a phone call Saturday to, quote, "find 11,780 votes" to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win in the state, according to a recording of the conversation posted by The Washington Post Sunday. During the hour-long call, Trump repeatedly cited disproven claims of voter fraud as Raffensperger, who's a Republican, and the secretary of state's legal counsel pushed back, and raised the possibility of, quote, "criminal offense" if Georgia officials didn't change the vote count. 

NY Times 1/4/21

Georgia has already certified Biden's win after counting its votes three times, the initial count and two recounts. Biden senior adviser Bob Bauer was among the Democrats and a few Republicans condemning the call, with Bauer calling the recording "irrefutable proof" of Trump pressuring an official to, quote, "rescind a state’s lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place." 

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said of the call while campaigning in Georgia for the two Democrats ahead of the Senate runoffs on Tuesday, "It was a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States."

➤CURRENT, FORMER REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS CONDEMN EFFORT TO OVERTURN ELECTION RESULT: Current and former Republican officials yesterday condemned the extraordinary effort to overturn the results of the presidential election, which now includes 12 Republican senators and reportedly up to 100 House Republicans who plan to challenge the Electoral College vote on Wednesday when Congress convenes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's win that has been certified by state election officials. 

A bipartisan group of 10 senators, including Republicans Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Bill Cassidy and Mitt Romney issued a statement yesterday in which they said the attempts to cast doubt, quote, "only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the already determined election results." Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan said the effort, quote, "makes a mockery of our system and who we are as Americans." Also speaking out were Republican former House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said the efforts, quote, "strike at the foundation of our republic," and Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, who warned it sets, quote, "an exceptionally dangerous precedent."

Also yesterday, the 10 living former defense secretaries, both Republicans and Democrats, including Jim Mattis and Mark Esper, who were appointed by President Trump, criticized the ongoing effort in a Washington Post op-ed. They further warned againast any attempt to involve the U.S. military in election disputes, saying it, quote, "would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory."

➤NEW CONGRESS SWORN IN, PELOSI RE-ELECTED SPEAKER: The members of Congress were sworn in Sunday as it began its 117th session that includes those who were newly elected in November. Democrat Nancy Pelosi was reelected House speaker as her party kept the majority, but by the smallest margin in 20 years. Control of the Senate will be determined by the two Senate runoff races in Georiga on Tuesday, with Republicans keeping it if they win at least one of them.

➤OFFICIALS: COVID VACCINATIONS RAMPING UP: After criticism over a slower-than-expected start to vaccinating people against Covid-19, U.S. government health officials said Sunday that vaccinations have been ramped up in the past few days. That came as the U.S. death toll has now passed 350,000, according to Johns Hopkins Univesity's data, and more than 20 million people have been infected. The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he's seen, quote, "some little glimmer of hope" after 1.5 million doses of the vaccine were administered in the previous 72 hours, which was a significant increase. Even as the U.S. has been seeing a deadly surge for many weeks, Fauci and other experts are warning another is likely in the coming weeks in the wake of people gathering over the holidays. 

➤TEXAS PASTOR KILLED, TWO HURT IN CHURCH SHOOTING: A 62-year-old pastor was killed and two others hurt in a shooting at a church in Starrville, Texas, Sunday. The 21-year-old suspect had been trying to evade police for hours when he was found hiding in the bathroom of Starrville Methodist Church Sunday morning by the pastor. Police had initially been pursuing the man late Saturday because he was suspected of brandishing a shotgun through the roof of vehicle he was driving. After Pastor Mark Allen McWilliams found the suspect, Mytrez Deunte Woolen, he drew a gun and ordered him to stop, but Woolen grabbed the gun and began firing, killing McWilliams. Another person was injured by gunfire and a third was hurt in a fall. Wolen was apprehended and has been charged with first-degree murder and felony assault.

➤TEACHER'S UNION VEEP CRITICIZED FOR VACATION WHILE PUSHING FOR REMOTE LEARNING: Following several incidents of political leaders being caught violating the coronavirus safety restrictions they themselves imposed, a Chicago Teachers Union leader is being criticized for vacationing in Puerto Rico while calling for public schools in the city Chicago to remain on remote learning because of coronavirus risks. Special education teacher Sarah Chambers, a Chicago Teachers Union area vice president who's a member of the union's executive board, tweeted Thursday, "Tons of members are emailing their admin: I’ll be asserting my right to continue to work in a safe remote environment on January 4th, 2021. I have signed the pledge, along with over 8,000+ union educators to continue to work remotely[.]" 

At the same time, WGN-TV reported Chambers posted a photo on Instagram account that appeared to show her by a pool in Puerto Rico. Chambers spoke out on Twitter, writing: "I got 4 covid tests (2 rapid, 2 PCR) b4 coming here [and] wore 2 masks (N95). Scientists said airplanes are safer than grocery stores [because] airplanes have ICU level filtration [and] everyone wears masks. My doc said it’s extremely unlikely for me to get Covid again since I had it so badly." Chambers has written on her blog that she had the virus back in April and went to the emergency room three times. It's currently planned for Chicago Public Schools students to return to in-classroom learning on January 11th or later. The union has raised the possibility of strike over the issue.

➤TIPS FOR COPING WITH POST-HOLIDAY BLUES AMID CORONAVIRUS: In the case of a normal holiday season some people get a bit blue once it’s all over, but the 2020 holidays may have made those blues even worse this year. Dr. Desreen Dudley is a licensed clinical psychologist and explains, “Post-holiday blues are negative mood changes that set in after the common buildup of intense and high emotion and activity of shopping, planning and overall excitement of the holidays.” He adds that re-adjusting to normal life can be tough, especially following 2020’s socially-distanced holidays which could’ve included feelings of grief. Signs you might be feeling the post-holiday blues include sadness, low-energy, difficult concentrating, difficulty sleeping, low motivation, worry, stress, and more. Children and adults can experience this, and Dudley says we can alleviate the feelings by planning post-holiday activities or something to look forward to, or even taking some time off work instead of jumping right back in can help. Usually, post-holiday blues go away after you’ve readjusted to your typical day-to-day life, but if the feelings become more permanent, or even just overwhelming you should consider utilizing a telehealth service to talk to a mental health professional.

➤HOW TO TRICK YOUR BRAIN INTO KEEPING A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: If you’re trying to make and keep a new year’s resolution this year there are some scientifically-backed things you can do that might help. First, quantify your goal and then break it into smaller, more achievable pieces. As you complete those small pieces your brain will reward you, and the more frequently you do that the stronger the connection in your brain gets, and you’ll be more motivated to continue along to your goal. If your goal involves developing a new habit, you’ll want to connect the changes you want to make with things you already do, for example, if you want to start working out, decide you’ll do it right after you get out of bed, or right when you get home from work. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself after you do each thing—simply mentally telling yourself you’re proud of what you did that day might sound silly, but it will actually work. Additionally, know that it takes about 66 days for people to form a new health habit, and this is about how long it will take for your brain to form a strong connection that makes doing the thing automatic instead of forced. So hang in there for about two months and you might be rewarded.  

  • Buffalo Bills 56, Miami Dolphins 26
  • Baltimore Ravens 38, Cincinnati Bengals 3
  • Cleveland Browns 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 22
  • Minnesota Vikings 37, Detroit Lions 35
  • New England Patriots 28, New York Jets 14
  • New York Giants 23, Dallas Cowboys 19
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 44, Atlanta Falcons 27
  • Green Bay Packers 35, Chicago Bears 16
  • Las Vegas Raiders 32, Denver Broncos 31
  • Indianapolis Colts 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 14
  • Los Angeles Chargers 38, Kansas City Chiefs 21
  • Los Angeles Rams 18, Arizona Cardinals 7
  • Seattle Seahawks 26, San Francisco 49ers 23
  • New Orleans Saints 33, Carolina Panthers 7
  • Tennessee Titans 41, Houston Texans 38
  • Washington Football Team 20, Philadelphia Eagles 14
🏈JETS FIRE HEAD COACH GASE: The New York Jets fired head coach Adam Gase last night (January 3rd), after two seasons in which the team had a combined 9-23 record. The announcement came a few hours after the Jets lost 28-14 to the New England Patriots to end the season at 2-14, the second-worst record in franchise history.

🏈BROWNS INTO PLAYOFFS, ENDING NFL'S LONGEST DROUGHT: The Cleveland Browns made it into the playoffs yesterday (January 3rd) with a 24-22 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, ending the longest postseason drought in the NFL. The Browns last made the playoffs in 2002, a nearly two-decade span that included a winless 0-16 season in 2017. 

🏈REPORT: NEWTON NOT EXPECTED TO RETURN WITH PATRIOTS NEXT SEASON: Quarterback Cam Newton isn't expected to return with the New England Patriots next season, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported yesterday. Newton signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in June after the departure of Tom Brady, but the team didn't make the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season. The Patriots ended the season Sunday at 7-9.

🏈TITANS' HENRY BECOMES EIGHTH IN NFL HISTORY WITH 2,000 YARDS RUSHING IN SEASON: The Tennessee Titans' Derrick Henry on Sunday became the eighth player in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards or more in a season. The running back went into the game with 1,777 yards rushing and ran for a career-high 250 yards in the Titans' 41-38 win over the Houston Texans, ending the season with 2,027 yards.

🏈CHARGERS' QB HERBERT SETS NEW SEASON TD PASSES MARK BY ROOKIE: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert set a new single-season record for touchdown passes by a rookie on Sunday. Herbert threw three touchdown passes in the Chargers' 38-21 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, setting the new rookie record with a season total of 31. Herbert also ran for five touchdowns over the season, including one yesterday, giving him 36 total touchdowns, which is another rookie record.


🏀WARRIORS' CURRY SCORES CAREER-HIGH 62 POINTS: Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry scored a career-high 62 points in the Warriors' 137-122 win over the Portland Trail Blazers last night at home. Curry's 62 points came in just 36 minutes, the first players with 62 or more points in 36 minutes or fewer since Kobe Byrant had 62 points in 33 minutes in December 2005. 

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