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Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at the White House in July. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Lawyers for the Lincoln Project said Saturday they're "ready to defend against any frivolous lawsuit" from White House senior advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner after they threatened legal action over two billboards in New York City.

Driving the news: A lawyer for President Trump's elder daughter and son-in-law said in a letter to the group of anti-Trump Republicans they would sue if the "false, malicious and defamatory" billboards in Times Square relating to the COVID-19 pandemic were not taken down.

Zoom in: One billboard features an image of Ivanka Trump gesturing at coronavirus death tolls for New York and the U.S. The image was taken from a photo she posted earlier this year of herself with Goya beans.

  • Kushner's image is on the other billboard — with body bags displayed below the quote, which reads: "(New Yorkers) are going to suffer and that’s their problem."
  • This stems from a Vanity Fair article citing a March 21 Trump administration meeting attendee alleging that Kushner said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) "didn't pound the phones hard enough to get PPE for his state…. His people are going to suffer and that's their problem."

What they're saying: Marc E. Kasowitz, the couple's lawyer, said in his letter to the Lincoln Project, "Of course, Mr. Kushner never made any such statement, Ms. Trump never made any such gesture, and the Lincoln Project's representations that they did are an outrageous and shameful libel."

The other side: The Lincoln Project said in a statement that the Times Square billboards would stay up.

  • In a letter to the couple's lawyers, the group said, "Your clients are no longer mere Upper East Side socialites, able to sue at the slightest offense to their personal sensitivities. Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump are public officials."

Of note: The Lincoln project has produced some of the election cycle's most viral political attack ads.

For the record: More than 224,700 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the U.S., including over 33,400 in New York, per Johns Hopkins.

  • The U.S. confirmed at least 83,010 coronavirus cases on Friday, the country's highest daily total since the pandemic began.
  • Last Wednesday, N.Y. confirmed over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases — the most infections reported in the state since May.

Go deeper

Nov 21, 2020 - Health

U.S. surpasses 12 million COVID-19 cases

People wait in line to get tested for COVID-19 at the Ann Street School Testing Center in Newark, New Jersey. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. surpassed 12 million coronavirus cases on Saturday, per data from Johns Hopkins University, the second time the country has recorded more than 1 million new cases in less than a week.

Why it matters: The grim milestone comes as the U.S. prepares for the Thanksgiving holiday, when millions of people, despite warnings, planning to travel and gather with family and friends.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.