Friday’s top stories
Donald Trump Jr. tested positive for the coronavirus at the beginning of this week and has been in quarantine, though he is not experiencing any symptoms, according to a spokesperson for the president's son.
Why it matters: His diagnosis adds to the list of people associated with President Trump who have been infected by the virus, including the president himself.
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Georgia election officials and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) certified the state's election results on Friday, AP reports.
Why it matters: President-elect Biden now officially wins the state by a little more than 12,600 votes, though the Trump campaign has until Tuesday to request a recount since the margin is within 0.5%.
Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech said that they applied on Friday for an FDA emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine.
Why it matters: This could set the stage for initial vaccine distribution in the U.S. by mid-to-late December. It also comes less than two weeks after Pfizer released efficacy data for its vaccine, and just days after releasing safety data — which suggests that fellow vaccine developer Moderna may apply for its emergency use authorization around Thanksgiving.
Rudy Giuliani and other key members of President Trump's outside legal team won't be attending today's meeting with two Michigan lawmakers because they've been exposed to the coronavirus, two sources familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.
Why it matters: This added turmoil inside the president's legal operation comes at a time when the president is urging Republican state lawmakers to interfere with the electoral process and reverse Joe Biden's victory to a Trump win.
Air travel is becoming a touchless, self-directed journey, which poses a threat to traditional airport customer service jobs.
Why it matters: Automation and artificial intelligence have long been viewed as a threat to jobs, but the unprecedented disruption that the coronavirus pandemic is posing to the travel industry could have lasting workforce implications.
Ezra Klein, co-founder and editor-at-large of Vox.com, the political news website owned by Vox Media, and Lauren Williams, editor-in-chief and senior vice president of Vox.com, are leaving the company, executives tell Axios.
Why it matters: They are the latest examples of high-profile media executives to leave management roles in pursuit of more hands-on, creative careers.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) tweeted Friday that he tested positive for the coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms.
The state of play: Scott is the second Republican senator to test positive this week, following Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. Scott has already been in quarantine and says he'll now continue working from home until it's safe for him to return to Washington, D.C.
The race to scale isn't always won by the companies that dominate the largest markets.
Why it matters: DoorDash and Airbnb both filed to go public this week, ratifying the thesis that for real-world businesses, the road to multi-billion-dollar valuations does not need to go through major cities.
General Motors announced Thursday that it is increasing its investment in electric vehicles and autonomous tech to $27 billion through 2025 — $7 billion more than prior plans — as it seeks a top global position.
Why it matters: It's the clearest sign yet that GM is hoping to challenge Tesla, which dominates U.S. electric vehicle sales. It was already on, but now the competition for the electric vehicle market of the future is really on.
A battle over stimulus escalated in Washington on Thursday night: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin put emergency lending programs it set up alongside the Fed chair Jerome Powell on the chopping block.
Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic is worse than when these facilities were established in the spring — and economists worry about a resulting steep economic backslide.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was one of the heroes of the coronavirus crisis, working hand-in-glove with Fed chair Jay Powell to give the central bank all the ammunition it needed to fight the virus and the associated economic recession. Now, he's trying to take that ammunition away.
Why it matters: If he's successful, Mnuchin will effectively disarm the Fed, creating a lot more economic downside once President-elect Biden takes office.
Most of President Trump's closest advisers have completely distanced themselves from his legal effort and are avoiding his lawyers to avoid being swept into their courtroom dramas.
Why it matters: Some of the president's advisers act like they think he can still overturn the election results — because they remain on the payroll and don't have another choice. But talk to them privately, and many say Rudy Giuliani and his team are on a dead-end path.
A coalition of more than 40 racial justice groups is asking GSA Administrator Emily Murphy to begin the transfer of power to Joe Biden, saying the delays disproportionately hurt people of color and "playing politics with the ascertainment process is playing politics with our lives."
Driving the news: In a draft of a letter to Murphy dated Friday and reviewed by Axios, the group, Just Democracy, urges the General Services Administration official to formally ascertain that Biden likely won the Nov. 3 election so his transition team can gain access to virus mitigation and vaccine distribution plans.
School districts nationwide are facing a worsening teacher shortage because of the coronavirus, further complicating the tough decisions about whether to have in-person classes.
Why it matters: When teachers test positive, fall seriously ill or are self-isolating from potential exposure, many districts don't have enough substitutes to keep up.
President-elect Joe Biden will enter office with no fast fixes at hand to stem a tide of online misinformation that has shaped election-year politics and, unchecked, could undermine his presidency.
Where it stands: Election and coronavirus misinformation spreading widely on digital platforms has already done serious damage to the U.S., and it's bound to go into overdrive as the Biden administration starts enacting its agenda.
President-elect Biden has won Georgia, AP reported Thursday evening.
Why it matters: His win, the first by a Democrat there since 1992, sets the state up as a new battleground — giving Georgia a chance to test that status in January when the runoffs for two Senate seats determine control of the chamber.
Why it matters: The report concludes that President-elect Joe Biden is ahead of President Trump by 12,284 votes, slightly narrowing Biden's lead of around 14,000 before the risk-limiting audit.
The Trump administration is working quickly to shift U.S. policies and, where possible, bind the incoming Biden administration to them.
Why it matters: All of these steps are being taken without any coordination with Biden's team, which still lacks access to the intelligence and resources typically made available during a transition. In many cases, the Trump administration is trying to proactively thwart Biden's agenda.