Joe Biden urged unity in a brief address Friday evening in Delaware
10 things you need to know today!

1. Biden calls for patience as Trump pushes vote-fraud claim

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continued to pull ahead of President Trump as the last uncalled battleground states counted their few remaining ballots. As of early Friday, Biden holds narrow leads in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada, with several ways to get the last 17 electoral votes he needs to reach 270 and win the presidency. Biden expressed confidence and called for unity as the results are finalized. “The purpose of our politics isn’t to wage total and unrelenting war. It’s to solve problems,” Biden said. Trump’s campaign continued to pursue court challenges, seeking to disqualify enough mail-in votes to put Trump ahead. Republicans split over Trump’s unfounded allegations of fraud, with some joining him by insisting Democrats cheated. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said such an unsubstantiated claim “damages the cause of freedom.” [CBC News, Politico]
2. U.S. reports 132,700 new coronavirus cases, another record

The wave of new coronavirus infections in the United States showed record-breaking growth for the second straight week. The U.S. confirmed more than 132,700 new cases on Friday, the third straight single-day record above 100,000. The U.S. has confirmed more than 1,000 new deaths on four consecutive days. “Cases are going up exponentially in many different parts of the country,” says Dr. Albert Ko, professor and department chair of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health. Testing has increased modestly in the past month, but public health experts said that was not the reason for the rise. “These are true increases; it’s not just due to more testing,” said Anne Rimoin, a UCLA epidemiology professor. High positivity rates in many states also indicate many infections are going undetected. The U.S. death toll has surpassed 236,000. [NPR, The New York Times]
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3. Philadelphia police investigate bomb threat against vote counting center

Philadelphia police investigated a bomb threat made Friday against the city’s Convention Center, where votes were still being tallied and Democrat Joe Biden was increasing his lead over President Trump. No explosive device was found. Police also arrested two out-of-state men on firearms charges late Thursday, and prosecutors said Friday the suspects could face additional charges. The suspects were identified Friday night as Joshua Macias and Antonio Lamotta of Chesapeake, Virginia. They reportedly drove to the Philadelphia vote-counting center from Virginia in a Hummer, allegedly hoping to deliver a stack of fake ballots, according to a CNN affiliate. FBI agents, acting on a tip about a planned attack, searched the men and their vehicle and reportedly found a concealed Beretta .40 caliber handgun and an AR-15 style rifle, along with about 160 rounds of ammunition. They were charged with not having a valid Pennsylvania firearms license. [Independent, NBC News]
4. Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows tests positive for coronavirus

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has become the latest person close to President Trump to test positive for the coronavirus, media outlets reported Friday. Additionally, one Trump campaign adviser and four White House officials were reportedly diagnosed with COVID-19. Meadows allegedly told others not to say anything about his diagnosis, The Washington Post reported, citing an official with knowledge of the situation. Meadows’ infection came just over a month after Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and their son, Barron, tested positive. At least five people close to Vice President Mike Pence were infected two weeks later. After the outbreak in Pence’s office, Meadows said on CNN that the Trump administration had essentially given up on preventing the spread of the virus and was focused on developing a vaccine and treatments. “We’re not going to control the pandemic,” he said on Oct. 25. [The Washington Post, The New York Times]
5. Unemployment falls to 6.9 percent as U.S. adds more jobs than expected

U.S. employers added 638,000 jobs in October, beating expectations and bringing down the unemployment rate from 7.9 percent to 6.9 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. Wall Street reacted somewhat positively to the numbers, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures shaking off an early decline, although the benchmark index still closed down by 0.2 percent on Friday. The biggest job gains came in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality sector, although a renewed surge in coronavirus cases is raising concerns of more pain for the travel industry and restaurants. “The strength of this report is really amazing in the face of rising coronavirus cases,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors. [CNBC]
6. Alito orders Pennsylvania officials to separate late mail-in ballots

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Friday ordered Pennsylvania election officials to comply with a state call to separate mail-in ballots received after polls closed on Tuesday so they wouldn’t get mixed in with other ballots. Alito’s order came in a case made by Pennsylvania Republicans to invalidate a September decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to let election officials count mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day, as long as they were delivered by Friday. Alito made his decision without referring the request to the rest of the high court as Democrat Joe Biden extended his lead in four remaining undecided battleground states. A win in Pennsylvania alone would give the former vice president enough electoral votes to beat President Trump and win the White House. [Reuters]
7. Bannon dropped by lawyer after beheading comment

A prominent lawyer defending Stephen Bannon against fraud charges moved to drop the former adviser to President Trump as a client on Friday after Bannon suggested beheading Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert. Bannon said in a livestream of his online show War Room: Pandemic that he would “like to go back to the old times of Tudor England” to punish Fauci, who has contradicted Trump’s downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic, and FBI Director Christopher Wray as a warning to federal bureaucrats not to question Trump. “I’d put the heads on pikes” outside the White House, said Bannon, who is accused of defrauding donors to a campaign to privately fund a wall on the Mexican border. [The New York Times]
8. Pentagon notifies Congress of planned UAE arms sale

The Pentagon has notified Congress that the Trump administration plans to sell $10 billion of defense equipment, including precision-guided munitions, to the United Arab Emirates, Reuters reported Friday, citing a congressional aide. The informal notice reportedly was sent to lawmakers late Thursday, shortly after the administration said it would sell sophisticated armed aerial drones to the Persian Gulf nation, which agreed to a Trump-brokered deal in September to formalize ties with Israel. The State Department declined to make any immediate comment on the report. The Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees, where Democrats have criticized the UAE’s role in civilian deaths in Yemen’s civil war, review all major weapons deals. [Reuters]
9. Downgraded Eta could reach Florida Keys late Sunday

Former hurricane Eta, now a tropical depression, moved northeast toward Cuba early Saturday, putting it on a track to possibly reach the Florida Keys by late Sunday or Monday. The storm has top sustained winds near 35 miles per hour, but is expected to gain strength as it moves over warm Caribbean waters. Eta hit Nicaragua as a powerful Category 4 hurricane but weakened substantially as it churned over Central America, where it was blamed for at least 57 deaths. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Cayman Islands on Saturday, and in Cuba, the Florida Keys, and the northwestern Bahamas by Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said. Eta could drop five to 10 inches of rain on South Florida. [National Hurricane Center, The Washington Post]
10. Depp leaves Fantastic Beasts after losing ‘wife-beater’ libel suit

Actor Johnny Depp said in an Instagram post Friday that he was leaving the Fantastic Beasts film franchise at the studio’s request. The news came after Depp lost a libel suit in the United Kingdom against the publisher of The Sun tabloid over a 2018 headline calling him a “wife-beater.”

“I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request,” Depp wrote. A summer trial put Depp’s acrimonious relationship with ex-wife Amber Heard in the spotlight. Judge Andrew Nicol dismissed the suit on Monday, calling the paper’s published account “substantially true.” Depp said he would appeal. [The Hollywood Reporter]

The Week MHI

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