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Mitch McConnell and the Republicans would rather not tell Trump he lost

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics this week:

Why are members of the Republican party, like Senator Mitch McConnell, hesitant to congratulate President Elect Biden?

Well, the reason is, is that President Trump hasn't conceded yet, and they're not going to admit this election is over until either the President concedes, or it becomes really a mathematical certainty that Biden will be inaugurated on January 20th of next year. There's currently a recount going on in Georgia right now. Pennsylvania is still looking at the issue of late arriving mail-in ballots, and in Michigan and other places, the Republican party, and particularly the Trump campaign is alleging campaign fraud. All these things have to work their way through the court. None of the elected Republican leaders want to be the ones who tell the President that he's lost, to end this journey. They want the courts to have that role. Once that process is done, I expect you're going to see a transition of power starting in January, but it could take until the electoral college meets on December 14th, for that to become official, and Republicans to start saying, "You know what Mr. Trump? You don't have much of a shot here. Let's back down."

With 10 weeks left as president, what do you expect from the Trump Administration?

Honestly, not a whole lot. I think that the President is more focused on litigating his reelection campaign right now than he is on any major policy changes. You may see some moves from people like Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State who will take advantage of the situation on the way out the door, perhaps to ratchet up tensions with China. You have seen the President remove his defense secretary, which reportedly had to do with a disagreement over the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, another issue that could come up in the next couple of months. Legislatively, there's the possibility of a fiscal stimulus passing, but I'm feeling pretty bearish on that right now, because the parties in Congress remain really far apart.

And, if the president is focused on re-litigating the campaign, then he's not going to have the energy, and attention to bring the sides together to get a fiscal stimulus done. I'd say that's probably unlikely right now, but it could change, because the President's mood in the lame duck session is going to determine all of the legislative outcomes, including the possibility of our government shutdown on December 11th when the funding bill runs out. We'll see what happens. Lame duck sessions are hard to predict. Members are in weird moods, and presidents who have just lost their bids for re-election are in very weird moods, and they're bringing a bit of unpredictability to the December, and early January timeframe.

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele is an unusual politician. The 39-year old political outsider boasts of his political triumphs on TikTok, dons a suave casual uniform (backwards-facing cap; leather jacket; tieless ), and refuses to abide by Supreme Court rulings.

Bukele also enjoys one of the world's highest approval ratings, and that's what helped his New Ideas party clinch a decisive victory in legislative elections on February 28, securing a close to two-third's supermajority (75 percent of the vote had been counted at the time of this writing).

His triumph will resonate far beyond the borders of El Salvador, Central America's smallest country, home to 6.5 million people. Now that Bukele has consolidated power in a big way, here are a few key developments to keep an eye on.

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Now that millions of high-priority Americans have been vaccinated, many people in low-risk groups are starting to ask the same question: when's my turn? Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious diseases expert, has an answer, but probably not the one they're hoping for: "It probably won't be until May or June before we can at least start to get the normal non-prioritized person vaccinated." On GZERO World, Dr. Fauci also addresses another burning question: why aren't schools reopening faster? And while Dr. Fauci acknowledges that reopening schools must be a top priority, he has no quick fixes there, either. In fact, that's kind of a theme of the interview.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Dr. Fauci's Pandemic Prognosis

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

I thought I would talk today, I haven't spoken much about former President Trump since he's no longer president and I intend to continue that practice. But given this weekend and the big speech at CPAC and the fact that in the straw poll, Trump won and won by a long margin. I mean, DeSantis came in number two, but he's the Governor of Florida, CPAC was in Orlando, so that's a home court bias. In reality, it's Trump's party. And I think given all of that, it's worth spending a little bit of time reflecting on what that means, how I think about these things.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.


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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

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