Brian Naylor

The Federal Election Commission has not been able to operate since July, when a Republican commissioner resigned, leaving the FEC short of the four commissioners necessary to meet and unable fulfill its job of enforcing campaign finance law.

Following Senate action earlier in December, it now has a full compliment of six commissioners: three Democrats, two Republicans and one independent.

Still, former FEC associate counsel Adav Noti is not optimistic that even now the FEC will be able to accomplish much.

Updated Tuesday at 11:33 p.m. ET

As President Trump continues to claim falsely that he, and not Joe Biden, won the Nov. 3 presidential election, Congress will meet in a joint session Wednesday to formally count the votes of the Electoral College.

The states have already counted their own electors, and Biden won with 306 to 232 for Trump. Now it's up to Congress to tally the votes as submitted by the states.

Here's a look at how the process is expected to play out:

1. A joint session, presided over by the vice president

Updated on Dec. 30 at 11:15 a.m. ET

President Trump has signed a major legislative package that includes coronavirus relief and government spending for the next fiscal year.

Just after Congress passed the bill last week — and shortly before Christmas — the president called the measure a "disgrace," in part for not having high enough direct payments to Americans, a move his own party had been against.

President-elect Joe Biden says his transition team has been briefed on the massive cyber intrusions recently identified by the U.S. government.

President-elect Joe Biden formally announced his choice for U.S. transportation secretary on Wednesday, calling former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg "a new voice with new ideas."

"I'm honored he's answered the call to serve his country once again," Biden said of the 38-year-old veteran.

Updated at 7:37 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg to be his secretary of transportation, the transition team announced on Tuesday.

Buttigieg, one of Biden's former rivals in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, is the first openly LGBTQ person to be nominated for a permanent Cabinet position.

"Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation," Biden said in a statement.

When President-elect Joe Biden takes office next month, one of his first challenges will be the nearly 2 million-member federal workforce. Morale is down in many agencies after four years of attacks on the civil service from President Trump.

Trump has called the federal workforce the "deep state." His administration has moved hundreds of jobs out of Washington, D.C. There was a hiring freeze, a government shutdown and job cuts in some agencies.

Christopher Krebs, who was fired by President Trump last month after asserting the recent presidential election was "the most secure in American history," filed suit Tuesday against the Trump campaign, attorney Joseph diGenova and the cable channel Newsmax.

Krebs charges he was defamed by diGenova, who said on Newsmax that Krebs "should be drawn and quartered" or "shot at dawn" following Krebs' statement. Krebs says such punishments are the "fate of a convicted traitor" and are the basis for his defamation accusation.

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Ivanka Trump gave a deposition Tuesday as part of suit filed by the Washington, D.C., government over the costs of her father's 2017 inauguration.

The District is suing the Trump inaugural committee, charging it with "grossly overpaying" for event space at the Trump International Hotel as a way of funneling money to the Trump family.

President Trump is being urged to use his remaining time in office to grant preemptive pardons to people close to him, including family members and maybe even himself.

Sean Hannity, whose Fox News program is closely followed by Trump, said on his radio show this week that the president, "out the door, needs to pardon his whole family and himself because they want this witch hunt to go on in perpetuity, they're so full of rage and insanity against the president."

Now that the Trump administration has finally determined that Joe Biden is president-elect, the Biden team can begin preparing to take the reins of government on Jan. 20.

The formal letter of ascertainment by the head of the General Services Administration, released Monday, set in motion a process that will enable the Biden team to set up shop in preparation for Inauguration Day.

Updated on Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. ET

Joe Biden's administration can formally begin its transition to power after a previously little-known federal agency on Monday ascertained Biden as the apparent winner of the election more than two weeks after the Democrat became president-elect.

The awaited decision from the General Services Administration provides the incoming Biden team with federal resources and access to agencies.

Congressional Democrats, angered by the Trump administration's refusal to begin the formal transition process to President-elect Joe Biden, are demanding a briefing on the matter from the head of the General Services Administration on Tuesday.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday his intent to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban American, to head the government agency that oversees immigration issues, the Department of Homeland Security.

Mayorkas, who would be the first Latino and first immigrant to hold that job, previously was the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS agency, during the Obama administration, and then deputy secretary of DHS.

Updated at 6:26 p.m. ET

Several Republican lawmakers from Michigan met Friday with President Trump as he continues his unprecedented efforts to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election.

Trump sat down with the leaders of the state House and Senate and three other Michigan state senators ahead of the Michigan's canvassing board meeting on Monday, when the election results are expected to be certified.

As President Trump continues to contest the results of the election, President-elect Joe Biden continues to shape his administration, which will take office on Jan. 20. But there is still no formal transition underway, a far cry from the last several times new presidents have taken power.

In 2009, just before then-President-elect Barack Obama was to deliver his inaugural address, members of the outgoing Bush administration's national security team sat down with the people who were about to take their place.

President-elect Joe Biden has begun planning his transition, naming a team of experts Monday to work on the coronavirus pandemic.

But one thing Biden cannot do at this point is move into any government office space or receive government funding for the transition.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

Updated on Nov. 3 at 7:55 a.m. ET

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a bid by Texas Republicans to block Election Day drive-through voting in Harris County.

In a terse order, the three-judge panel wrote: "It is ordered that appellants' motion for injunctive relief to issue a preliminary injunction banning drive-thru voting on Election Day, November 3, 2020, is denied." No explanation was given.

With Election Day deadlines to receive mail-in ballots for many states around the corner, data show the U.S. Postal Service continues to struggle to meet its own criteria for on-time delivery of first-class mail.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the Postal Service reported that while first-class mail was delivered between one and three days nationwide at a rate of 88.8% on Oct. 29, in several key areas it was significantly below those levels.

The Trump administration has issued an executive order that would fundamentally restructure the federal workforce, making it easier for the government to fire thousands of federal workers, while also allowing political and other considerations to affect hiring.

With Nov. 3, the last day of the presidential election season, rapidly approaching, officials with the U.S. Postal Service say they have already processed a record amount of election mail this year.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 10:51 a.m. ET

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee moved Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, bringing President Trump's nominee within striking distance of confirmation and the court a step closer to a 6-3 conservative majority.

The U.S. Postal Service has settled a lawsuit in Montana that called on it to reverse service cutbacks in advance of next month's election. The suit was brought by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

In a statement, Bullock said the settlement "will ensure stability through and beyond the election by immediately restoring the mail services folks rely on."

The Postal Service said it agreed to the settlement because "it has always been our goal to ensure that anyone who chooses to utilize the mail to vote can do so successfully."

This is scheduled to be the last day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation hearings, and after two days of questioning Barrett, senators will turn to character witnesses and those who are concerned about her likely elevation to the Supreme Court.

Barrett will not be present.

Republicans will call on Amanda Rauh-Bieri, a former law clerk for Barrett on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Laura Wolk, the first blind woman to clerk on the U.S. Supreme Court and who has called Barrett her mentor.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee continued to question Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett regarding her views on the Affordable Care Act, as Barrett continued to avoid stating them.

The constitutionality of the ACA is being challenged by the Trump administration and a group of Republican state attorneys general, and the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case next month.

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