AP High Information at 5:39 p.m. EST

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Updated Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 | 2:39 p.m.

Who needs Russia? Loudest attacks on US vote are from Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia didn’t have to lift a finger. In the weeks before the U.S. presidential election, federal authorities warned that Russia or other foreign countries might spread false information about the results to discredit the legitimacy of the outcome. Turns out, the loudest megaphone for that message belonged not to Russia but to President Donald Trump, who has trumpeted a blizzard of thoroughly debunked claims to proclaim that he, not President-elect Joe Biden, was the rightful winner. The resulting chaos is consistent with longstanding Russian interests to sow discord in the United States and to chip away at the country’s democratic foundations and standing on the world stage.

Daily COVID-19 deaths in US reach highest level since May

The surging coronavirus is taking an increasingly dire toll across the U.S. just as a vaccine appears close at hand, with the country now averaging over 1,300 COVID-19 deaths per day — the highest level since the calamitous spring in and around New York City. The overall U.S. death toll has reached about 254,000, by far the most in the world. Confirmed infections have eclipsed more than 11.8 million, after the biggest one-day gain on record Thursday — almost 188,000. And the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 hit another all-time high at more than 80,000. With health experts deeply afraid Thanksgiving travel and holiday gatherings next week will fuel the spread of the virus, many states and cities are imposing near-lockdowns or other restrictions.

Trump tries to leverage power of office to subvert Biden win

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump sought to leverage the power of the Oval Office on Friday in an extraordinary attempt to block President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as criticism mounted that his futile efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election could do long-lasting damage to democratic traditions. Trump summoned a delegation of Republican lawmakers from Michigan, including the state’s Senate majority leader and House speaker, in an apparent extension of his efforts to convince judges and lawmakers in the state to set aside Biden’s 154,000-vote margin of victory and grant him the state’s electors. His efforts to override the public’s will extended to other battleground states that Biden carried as well.

Georgia governor certifies presidential electors for Biden

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s governor and top elections official on Friday certified results showing Joe Biden won the presidential race over Republican President Donald Trump. The certification brings the state one step closer to wrapping up an election that has been fraught with unfounded accusations of fraud by Trump and his supporters. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified results reported by the state’s 159 counties following a meticulous hand count of the 5 million ballots cast in the race. The results show Biden with 2.47 million votes, President Donald Trump with 2.46 million votes and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen with 62,138. That leaves Biden leading by a margin of 12,670 votes or 0.25%.

Pfizer, BioNTech seek emergency use of COVID-19 shots in US

Pfizer formally asked U.S. regulators Friday to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, starting the clock on a process that could bring limited first shots as early as next month and eventually an end to the pandemic — but not until after a long, hard winter. The action comes days after Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech announced that its vaccine appears 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study. The companies said that protection plus a good safety record means the vaccine should qualify for emergency use authorization, something the Food and Drug Administration can grant before the final testing is fully complete.

Trump makes late-term bid to lower prescription drug costs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Trying to close out major unfinished business, the Trump administration issued regulations Friday that could lower the prices Americans pay for many prescription drugs. But in a time of political uncertainty, it’s hard to say whether the rules will withstand expected legal challenges from the pharmaceutical industry or whether President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will accept, amend or try to roll them back entirely. “The drug companies don’t like me too much. But we had to do it,” President Donald Trump said in announcing the new policy at the White House. “I just hope they keep it. I hope they have the courage to keep it,” he added, in an apparent reference to the incoming Biden administration, while noting the opposition from drug company lobbyists.

Virus News: Another case record, positive news on vaccine

Here is what’s happening Friday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.: THREE THINGS TO KNOW TODAY The development of a vaccine took another step forward Friday when Pfizer asked U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a required step and critical milestone for the vaccine to be approved and distributed to people. The Biden transition team is expressing concern that President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election will create obstacles in fighting the pandemic. Dr. Atul Gawande, a member of Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force, said issues surrounding protective equipment supplies, staff shortages and vaccine inventories need to be resolved as soon as possible.

‘No more room for delay’: Biden wants emergency COVID-19 aid

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is calling on Congress to enact billions of dollars in emergency COVID-19 assistance before the year’s end, according to a senior adviser who warned Friday that “there’s no more room for delay.” Biden transition aide Jen Psaki delivered the remarks before Biden’s first in-person meeting since winning the election with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. The incoming Democratic president hosted the top Democrats in the House and Senate on Friday afternoon at his makeshift transition headquarters in a downtown Wilmington, Delaware, theater. Biden sat with Schumer, Pelosi and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, all wearing masks and spaced out around a bank of tables.

Mayor: Wisconsin mall shooting injuries not life-threatening

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin mayor says multiple people were shot at mall Friday but none of the injuries appear to be life-threatening. Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride said in a statement that a suspect remains at large after the shooting at Mayfair Mall. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below: Officers were responding Friday to “a very active situation” at a suburban Milwaukee mall, according to a police dispatcher, and local media reported several people could be seen being taken away from the building on stretchers. The dispatcher said she could not immediately provide further details about the reported incident at Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, but witnesses told WISN-TV that they heard what they believed were eight to 12 shots.

Illinois teen charged in protest slayings posts $2M bail

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — A 17-year-old from Illinois who is charged with killing two people during a protest in Wisconsin and whose case has become a rallying cry for some conservatives posted $2 million bail Friday and was released from custody. Kyle Rittenhouse is accused of fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz during a demonstration Aug. 25 that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. He posted bond through his attorney at about 2 p.m., Kenosha County Sheriff’s Sgt. David Wright said. Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, told police he was attacked while he was guarding a business and that he fired in self-defense.

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