Trump will use election fraud claims to stay relevant through 2021

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

The Electoral College has voted. Why is Trump still refusing to acknowledge defeat?

Well, the President has a long history of criticizing people who lose elections as losers, who quote, "choke like a dog." And I don't think the President wants to admit to himself that he is a loser who choked like a dog. In addition, he's building a pretty impressive political operation based off claims that the election was stolen from him. He's raised over $200 million in the month since the election, and that political operation is going to keep him relevant in the media and in Republican politics for at least the rest of 2021. I think that the claims of election fraud are really central to that operation. So, don't expect Trump to concede anytime soon, even after Republicans start broadly acknowledging his loss.


Why is Attorney General William Barr resigning?

Barr had been one of the President's biggest loyalists. He'd used the Department of Justice in order to advance many Trump causes. And after the election, it looked like he was moving in a different direction. Ostensibly, he's doing it to spend time with his family around Christmas, which is what President Trump said. But in recent weeks, it's come out that Barr didn't acknowledge the DOJ was investigating Hunter Biden before the election; and also, he's been disputing the President's claims of voter fraud. So, I think that relationship just wasn't tenable anymore. Barr's on his way out in the closing days of the administration.

How will the US respond to recent Russian cyber attacks?

Well first, the US has to be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the perpetrators of these attacks were Russian. It's possible that there's a false attribution, although it looks very likely these things were carried out by the Russian government. Second, the US is likely to respond with sanctions targeted at the people who did the deed, unless it turns out that this was more than just an intelligence gathering operation and, in fact, targeted US critical infrastructure or was an attempt to damage some US companies or the government. In that case, you may see something much, much broader than sanctions, up into and including cyber attacks back on the Russians to make sure that they pay a price for having done this. Third, a lot of this may not happen until the Biden administration. With the transition of government happening now and going til January 20th, the Biden people may want to reset their approach to Russia altogether, and you may see a much more aggressive response to Russia that goes beyond targeted sanctions starting in the new year.

Vaccines are the best hope to end the COVID-19 pandemic. But rich countries are hogging most of the doses, with more than 83 percent of shots administered to date having gone to residents in high- and upper-middle-income countries. Most poor countries will have to wait years to achieve widespread vaccination, according to one study.

To address this inequity some stakeholders are pushing hard for waivers to intellectual-property (IP) rights through World Trade Organization trade rules so that manufacturers in poorer countries can make their own vaccines locally. India and South Africa have been leading the charge, which would essentially mean that deep-pocketed pharma companies like New York-based Pfizer, for instance, would have to hand over the keys to the kingdom, allowing local companies in New Delhi and Johannesberg to make generic versions of their vaccines.

Unsurprisingly, the debate has gotten fiery, with passionate arguments emerging both for and against.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

What are the Russians up to against Ukraine?

We simply don't know, except the fact that they're concentrating a huge amount of military forces. And you don't do that for nothing or for fun. They are there for a purpose, to have pressure or to undertake limited to larger operations. We simply don't know. And when Putin delivered his State of the Union speech the other day, he didn't say a thing about this. They are now talking about withdrawing the forces. But let's wait and see. They have talked about withdrawing forces from Syria for a long time, but we haven't seen that as of yet.

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Australia rips up Belt & Road deal: Australia cancelled two 2018 deals signed between Victoria, Australia's wealthiest state, and the Chinese government, that committed the two sides to working together on initiatives under China's Belt and Road infrastructure development program. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that the agreements "were adverse to our foreign relations." Similar deals between Victoria and institutions in Iran and Syria were also abandoned by the Australian government this week, under a 2020 law that allows Canberra to nullify international agreements struck at local and state level. (Australian universities say the "foreign veto bill" amounts to "significant overreach.") Meanwhile, Beijing hit back, calling the move "unreasonable and provocative," and accusing Canberra of further stoking divisions after a series of escalatory moves by both sides that have seen China-Australia relations deteriorate to their worst point in decades. Chinese investment in Australia dropped by 62 percent last year, a massive blow for Australia's export-reliant economy.

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50: The US will aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. The Biden administration's commitment, double the goal set by Barack Obama almost six years ago, was announced to coincide with a virtual Earth Day climate summit attended by dozens of world leaders.

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Russian president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened an "asymmetrical, rapid, and harsh" response for anyone that dares to cross a "red line" with Russia.

What's the red line? Putin says he'll decide on a case-by-case basis. And the cases at the moment are growing: the US has sanctioned Russia over cyber crimes; Putin critic Alexei Navalny is near death in a Russian prison; the Czechs say Russia blew up a Czech munitions depot; and as many as 120,000 Russian troops are reported to be massing along Russia's border with Eastern Ukraine.

Which is to say: there's potentially a Sol Lewitt's-worth of red lines to ponder now.

Europe has been hit by a green wave in recent years. Green parties in countries as varied as Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Finland, and Sweden have made sizable electoral gains, with some now sitting in national governments.

The Green phenomenon seems to be gaining yet more momentum in the lead up to some crucial European elections (Germany, France) in the months ahead. What explains the green shift, and where might this trend be headed?

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More than 930 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have already been administered globally, and another 1 billion more are expected to be manufactured by the end of May. Most of the manufacturing is concentrated in a small group of countries. While some — like China, for instance — are exporting roughly half of the shots they make, others — mainly the US — are keeping most of the supply for domestic use. Meanwhile, export controls have been a particularly thorny issue in the European Union and India, where governments have come under intense pressure to stop sending vaccines to other parts of the world amid sluggish rollouts at home. We take a look at what the world's top manufacturers are doing with the vaccines they are producing.

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