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‘National embarrassment’: Christie slams Trump legal team antics | US & Canada



Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says Trump’s lawyers have not presented evidence to back US voting fraud claims.

Former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, who has remained a close ally of United States President Donald Trump since the 2016 election, has derided the conduct of the president’s legal team as a “national embarrassment”.

Christie, who has helped Trump prepare for debates throughout the 2016 and 2020 election seasons, said Trump’s legal team has made vast claims of fraud in news conferences, but has not backed those up in the courtroom.

Trump has refused to concede defeat in the presidential contest, and has instead focused on long-shot legal challenges and recounts in hopes of overturning the electoral victory of his opponent, Democrat Joe Biden. President-elect Biden currently has 306 electoral votes, well above the 270 electoral votes needed to win under the US Electoral College system.

“What’s happened here is, quite frankly, the content of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment,” Christie said during a panel appearance on ABC News.

“I have been a supporter of the president’s. I voted for him twice, but elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen. You have an obligation to present the evidence,” he said.

Christie added that Republicans should be focusing on the two Senate runoff races in Georgia in January, which will decide which party controls the Senate.

‘Throwing rocks through windows’

Few high-profile Republicans, and even fewer Trump allies, have acknowledged Biden’s victory, with many instead offering tacit or explicit support to Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voting fraud and voting irregularities.

However, in recent days more have broken their silence. Those include Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, who on Saturday urged Trump to accept the results.

“To ensure that he is remembered for these outstanding accomplishments, and to help unify our country, President Trump should accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process,” Toomey said, earning a quick rebuke from Trump on Twitter.

Other prominent Senators, including Trump ally Lindsey Graham, have said Trump should allow some cooperation with Biden’s transition team, while still supporting the president’s legal challenges.

On Sunday, North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer became the most recent conservative to criticise Trump’s transition delay. However, he also defended the president’s myriad legal challenges.

Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who fell out with the president and was fired in September of 2019, also had harsh words for the president on Sunday.

In an interview with CNN, Bolton accused Trump of “throwing rocks through windows” and being “the political equivalent of a street rioter”.

Bolton added that Trump’s challenges were no longer a “legal exercise”, but had become “an exercise of raw political power”.

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US says it has jabbed 82 million people, topping the world | Coronavirus pandemic News



But coronavirus rates have plateaued over the past week, raising concern over yet another surge in cases and deaths.

The United States has administered 82 million coronavirus vaccine shots, White House officials announced on Friday, more than any other country in the world.

During a coronavirus task force news conference, health officials said 55 percent of Americans aged 65 and older have now received at least one shot, up from 8 percent just six weeks ago.

“Altogether we’ve administered more than 82 million shots, more than any country in the world,” said Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for the COVID-19 response team.

But the US has also suffered more deaths than any other country in the world – more than 518,000 Americans have lost their lives to the disease.

President Joe Biden has set a goal of 100 million vaccines administered during his first 100 days in office [File: Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

US President Joe Biden who took office in January has promised to make tackling the pandemic a top priority for his administration and has set a target to vaccinate 100 million Americans by early May – to coincide with his 100 days in office. He has said the country is well under way to meeting that goal.

Officials say 450 vaccination sites have been set up around the country which has sped up the effort and they have plans to open up more sites as vaccine supplies increase over the next weeks.

In an effort to further boost the campaign, last week the US gave emergency approval to use a third vaccine produced by drugmaker Johnson & Johnson. Biden has also announced that the US will manufacture the J&J vaccine, a shot that requires only one dose, further speeding up the effort.

But even with the vaccination campaign well under way, officials said deaths and infection rates have plateaued in recent days, indicating that the nation could be at risk of yet another surge.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said amid the rapid spread of new variants across the country, Americans need to ‘double down’ on protection measures of wearing masks, maintaining social distance and frequent hand washing [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, said over the past week, there have been daily 60,000-70,000 new coronavirus cases, and 1,900 Americans have been dying every day.

“The current numbers remain concerning,” Walensky said, “cases and deaths are still too high, and have now plateaued for more than week.”

Amid the rapid spread of new variants, which have been detected in 48 US states, she urged Americans need to “double down” on protection measures of wearing masks, maintaining social distance and frequent hand washing.

“I know that the idea of relaxing mask wearing and getting back to every day activities is appealing,” she said, “but we’re not there yet.”

Several states have in recent days announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions on businesses and have lifted statewide mandates to wear masks. Health officials have responded with concern and urged Americans to continue to wear masks and follow precautions set under federal guidelines.

Biden blasted the decisions by state governors on Thursday, calling it “a big mistake” and “the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking.”

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor said the current numbers are an indication of a likely fourth surge in cases.

“When you have that much viral activity in a plateau it almost invariably means that you are at risk for another spike,” he said.

During the briefing on Friday, officials also announced that the CDC is working on publishing guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, indicating which activities they may or may not be able to resume.

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