Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on US politics:
Is Trump out of options now that William Barr said the DOJ found no election interference?
Trump's problem isn't William Barr not finding election interference, it's that he lost the election and he lost it by millions of votes, and he lost it in the most important key states by tens of thousands of votes. Now, this was a very close election. The three closest states, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona, Trump only lost by 44,000 votes so far, and if he'd ended up winning those three, we'd have an Electoral College tie. But the election was not close enough that Trump's strategy of trying to kick this to the courts and then getting it to go all the way to the Congress, with an alternate slate of electors, it just wasn't possible. Had the election been a little closer, he might've had a shot. But as it is, his chances are over. Joe Biden's going to be inaugurated on January 20th.
Will Biden's new economic team be able to make progress on a COVID stimulus plan?
This is really out of the hands of Biden's economic team, and it's all about what Congress wants to do. We've seen a lot of progress this week, starting with a bipartisan proposal that came out of the Senate, that a bunch of House members quickly signed up for that forced Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to come down from their $2 trillion number much closer to the compromised $900 billion number. Now the ball is in President Trump's court. If he wants to get a deal, he can send signals to Senate Republicans that he wants to move closer to that $900 billion number. And if no deal gets done, they always have the fallback position of simply extending some of the expiring provisions of the Cares Act into January or February of next year so they can come back and fight another day.
Reports that Trump discussed pardons with his three eldest children begs for an important question, what about Tiffany?
Well, poor Tiffany has always been the forgotten daughter, but I think the reality is these reports are pretty ridiculous. There's no clear crimes that any of the children have been accused of, and where this came from was a conspiracy theory by Sean Hannity that the Biden administration would retaliate against President Trump once he was out of office by going after his adult children. Unfortunately, in order to pardon them in advance, which the President could certainly do, he would need to be pardoning them of an accusation of a specific crime, and in the absence of that, there is no pardon that's available. What probably is going to happen though between now and the end of Donald Trump's term is that the President's going to use his very broad power to commute sentences and part of people to forgive high profile accused criminals, people in his political orbit, and people that are being pushed to him by lawyers like Alan Dershowitz, who's representing a known accused criminal, trying to get a pardon. The President could also commute or pardon people who are in jail for low-level drug offenses, which is something that he did over the summer and he used it to his political benefit. Watch for this to happen if the President truly wants to run again in 2024. He may think there's a new base of voters of convicted felons who are free who love Donald Trump now.