The Latest: Biden says ‘nothing going to stop’ transition

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden says “nothing going to stop” his administration’s moving forward despite President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the race.

Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday that his transition is “well underway” and that he is reviewing potential Cabinet picks and other positions.

Biden said some Republicans’ denial of his victory “is not at much consequence in our plan and what we’re able to do between now and Jan. 20.”

Asked by a reporter what he would say to Trump, Biden said, “Mr. President, looking forward to speaking with you.”

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN’S TRANSITION TO THE WHITE HOUSE:

President-elect Joe Biden is championing the Obama administration’s signature health law as it goes before the Supreme Court in a case that could overturn it.

Read more:

— GOP tries again to get high court to ax health care law

— What’s ascertainment? The green light to launch transition

— Candidate concessions have been colorful, funny — or absent

— GOP backs Trump as he fights election results, transition

— Much at stake as Supreme Court weighs future of ‘Obamacare’

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW:

2:45 p.m.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris says that each vote for President-elect Joe Biden was in support of the Affordable Care Act he helped craft during the Obama administration.

During remarks Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware, Harris said that Biden “won the election decisively,” and that “every vote for Joe Biden was a statement that health care in America should be a right, not a privilege.”

Harris also noted that, if the Affordable Care Act is dismantled, “communities of color would be hit particularly hard … because they are at a greater risk for preexisting conditions,” as well as complications from the coronavirus.

Harris spoke ahead of remarks from Biden and following oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier Tuesday, justices heard oral arguments from opponents of the health care program, arguing the 10-year-old statute was rendered unconstitutional in its entirety when Congress dialed down to zero a penalty on those remaining uninsured.

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2:15 p.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is brushing aside results of last week’s presidential election showing that President Donald Trump lost his bid for a second term.

Pompeo told reporters Tuesday with a grin that the “transition” to a second Trump term would be “smooth,” but later said the State Department was prepared for any eventuality. Trump has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden.

Pompeo ignored results showing that Biden had won the election, and he also dismissed as “ridiculous” questions about whether the U.S. had lost credibility as a judge of other countries’ election because of Trump’s unproven claims of fraud at the polls.

“There will be a smooth transition to second Trump administration, “ Pompeo said with a chuckle, before reverting to a more nuanced response. “We’re ready. The world is watching what’s taking place here. We’re going to count all the votes.”

He said the “world should have every confidence” that the State Department is “successful today” and that it will be “successful with the president who’s in office on Jan. 20 a minute after noon.”

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12:55 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden has spoken to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leaders of three of the United States’ most important European allies.

Johnson’s support for Brexit and warm relationship with President Donald Trump have made many Democrats wary, but he was nonetheless among the first European leaders to congratulate Biden in a phone call.

Johnson’s office said the two men “discussed the close and longstanding relationship” between the two countries and promised to strengthen those bonds in areas including trade and security. In the 25-minute call, they also promised to work on “shared priorities, from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy, and building back better from the coronavirus pandemic,” Downing St. said.

“Build back better” is a slogan that Biden and the British government have in common.

Johnson invited Biden to attend the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow next November and said he looked forward to seeing him at a G-7 summit that the U.K. is due to host in 2021.

The French president’s office released a video of Macron in his office, offering congratulations to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during a call on Tuesday afternoon.

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11:50 a.m.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, will leave his job as a partner with a high-profile law firm to focus on his role in the new Biden administration.

A campaign spokeswoman said Tuesday that Emhoff will sever ties with DLA Piper by Inauguration Day. Emhoff took a leave of absence from the firm in August, when Harris was named Joe Biden’s running mate. Biden and Harris will be inaugurated Jan. 20.

While Emhoff is not a lobbyist, the firm has lobbied the federal government on behalf of a range of corporate clients. Ethics experts say that connection could have presented an appearance of conflicts of interest as the Biden administration tries to restore trust and ethics in government following President Donald Trump’s norm-shattering presidency.

Emhoff is working with the transition team to determine the issues he will take on as the vice presidential spouse. He is the first man to hold that role, as Harris is the nation’s first female vice president.

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11:20 a.m.

U.S. defense officials said James Anderson, the top policy adviser at the Pentagon, submitted his resignation Tuesday, a day after President Donald Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Anderson has been the acting undersecretary for policy since June. Previously he served as the deputy undersecretary since his confirmation for that job in August 2018.

Trump’s firing of Esper comes as he has refused to concede his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

Defense officials spoke about Anderson’s resignation on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

A wide range of policy staff positions in the Pentagon have been filled with people on an acting basis over the past year or more, as a number of staff have left or have not been confirmed.

Chris Miller, who was tapped to serve as the Pentagon chief on Monday after Esper was fired, was in his second day in the building, meeting with top staff.

— AP writer Lolita C. Baldor

Categories: National News