November 20, 2020

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is opening up about her partner Susan's experience with COVID-19 — and imploring her audience to do "whatever you can" to avoid getting it.

Maddow previously announced she would be quarantining after a close contact tested positive for the coronavirus, and on her show on Thursday, she revealed this close contact was her partner, Susan, the "center of my life."

"Susan has been sick with COVID these past couple of weeks, and at one point, we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her," Maddow said.

The MSNBC host, who said she has tested negative for COVID-19 herself, went on to describe how Susan got "sicker and sicker" while they had to remain separated, though now she is "recovering" and is "gonna be fine." But after this scary experience, Maddow offered a plea to take the pandemic seriously, especially ahead of Thanksgiving.

"What you need to know is that whoever is the most important person in your life, whoever you most love and most care for and most cherish in the world, that's the person who you may lose," Maddow said "... However you've calibrated risk in your life, don't get this thing. Do whatever you can to keep from getting it."

Maddow added that while not having people over for Thanksgiving next week is "gonna suck," it's "gonna suck so much less than you or somebody in your family getting this and getting sick. Trust me." Brendan Morrow

1:37 a.m.

President Trump gave what aides say is the closest he will come to conceding his loss to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday night, tweeting that while he is still fighting in court, "in the best interest of our country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same." The Emily in his tweet, General Services Administration head Emily Murphy, had already formally started the presidential transition process.

In an unusually personal letter to Biden and a separate email to her staff, Murphy said she had made the decision to finally start the peaceful transfer of power "independently, based on the law and available facts." She added: "I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official — including those who work at the White House or GSA — with regard to the substance or timing of my decision."

Murphy was looking for political cover to start the transition while Trump, with GOP backing, refused to concede, and she was afraid the angry president would "fire her and her top aides if she moved forward," The Washington Post reports. Her letter to Biden was issued shortly after Michigan certified Biden's victory, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court shot down yet another Trump legal challenge, and Republican pressure mounted for the transfer to commence.

But the ball started rolling late last week. Murphy's "team had notified the White House Counsel's Office on Friday that she planned to designate Biden the winner on Monday," the Post reports. "Murphy did not hear anything back." Trump hit his own "major inflection point" a day earlier, when his lawyers Rudy Giuliani and, especially, Sidney Powell, made wild, widely mocked vote fraud allegations but failed to present any credible evidence, Politico reports. Trump's more competent legal advisers, Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone, told him his chaotic legal strategy was getting untenable.

Still, "Trump only reluctantly agreed to let the transition begin," he "was described as angry about the situation," and he spent Monday calling political advisers "to say he had doubts about the GSA initiating the transition," the Post reports. "Despite Trump's resistance, officials throughout his administration were planning to coordinate directly with counterparts on the Biden team starting Tuesday," and "Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told other officials Monday evening it was time to begin the transition." Peter Weber

12:50 a.m.

David Dinkins, New York City's first and only Black mayor, died Monday. He was 93.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Dinkins graduated from Howard University, and while enrolled at Brooklyn Law School, worked at a liquor store owned by his father-in-law. Dinkins became involved with Democratic politics in Harlem, first serving in the state assembly, then becoming city clerk and Manhattan borough president.

In 1989, Dinkins defeated incumbent mayor Ed Koch and future mayor Rudy Giuliani, and at the time he was elected, the city's finances were in shambles. The first few years of his term were marked by a record number of homicides and race riots. A state investigation determined that Dinkins didn't act in a timely manner to stop the racial violence, and he was narrowly defeated in 1993 by Giuliani.

After leaving office, Dinkins was active in several charities and taught public affairs at Columbia University. In 2013, he published an autobiography, A Mayor's Life: Governing New York's Gorgeous Mosaic. Dinkins and his wife, Joyce, had two children: Donna and David Jr. Joyce Dinkins died on Oct. 11. Catherine Garcia

12:16 a.m.

Guitar Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Saturday, with CEO Ron Japinga saying this is "an important and positive step in our process to significantly reduce our debt."

Based in California, Guitar Center opened in 1959, and is the largest musical instrument store in the U.S. The company, which has more than 13,000 employees, said it will keep all 510 of its stores open through the holidays.

Guitar Center declared in court documents that it was on "extraordinarily sound footing" before the pandemic, and its sales dropped primarily because of stores having to close due to the coronavirus. Company officials said Guitar Center has more than $1.3 billion in debt, and under a reorganization plan, that number will be reduced by nearly $800 million, CBS News reports.

Several major retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection amid the pandemic, including Neiman Marcus, Hertz, and J.C. Penney. Catherine Garcia

November 23, 2020

Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for a cruise missile attack against an oil facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The missile hit a fuel tank at a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. facility on Monday morning, and an Energy Ministry official said the strike caused a fire. The facility is near the King Abdulaziz International Airport.

In 2015, the Iranian-backed Houthis seized Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Since then, a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the rebels, resulting in a humanitarian catastrophe. The Houthis have used cruise missiles against Saudi targets before, The Associated Press reports, with United Nations and Western officials accusing Iran of supplying the weapons, allegations Tehran has denied.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Col. Turki al-Maliki, called the missile attack "cowardly," adding that it "not only targets the kingdom, but also targets the nerve center of the world's energy supply and the security of the global economy." Catherine Garcia

November 23, 2020

The White House is still going to hold indoor parties this holiday season, with first lady Melania Trump's spokeswoman saying attending the celebrations "will be a very personal choice."

The number of coronavirus cases is surging across the United States, with the highest-ever number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, but invitations still went out for a Nov. 30 event hosted by the first lady, ABC News reports. The White House has held events linked to coronavirus outbreaks before, including a ceremony in September to introduce President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, told NBC News in a statement that the holiday celebrations will be held in the "safest environment possible," with masks "required and available" and plenty of hand sanitizer. The guest lists will be smaller, she continued, and attendees will be served "food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations," with all passed beverages covered.


"Attending the parties will be a very personal choice," Grisham said. "It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic decor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations."

If he receives an invitation, Surgeon General Jerome Adams is probably going to RSVP "no," seeing as how earlier Monday he said it was important for people to "understand that these holiday parties can be superspreader events." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends holding any celebration outside with just a handful of people, and Adams said these guidelines "apply to the White House, they apply to the American people, they apply to everyone." Catherine Garcia

November 23, 2020

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday said she will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position of any committees next year.

Feinstein is the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and if the Democrats take control of the Senate in January, she would have been in line to become its first female chairman, the Los Angeles Times reports. Feinstein said she will remain on several committees next year, including judiciary and intelligence.

In a statement, Feinstein said California is "a huge state confronting two existential threats — wildfire and drought — that are only getting worse with climate change. In the next Congress, I plan to increase my attention on those two crucial issues. I also believe that defeating COVID-19, combating climate change, and protecting access to health care are critical national priorities that require even more concentration."

Feinstein faced heavy criticism from progressive lawmakers and organizations last month after she embraced Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at the end of the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She also stated, "This has been one of the best set of hearings that I've participated in." After fielding complaints about Feinstein and whether she is tough enough on Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he had a "very serious" conversation with her.

Feinstein is 87 years old, and the Times notes her announcement will likely renew speculation that she won't finish the entirety of her term. Catherine Garcia

November 23, 2020

President Trump has yet to concede the election, and New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman thinks his Monday evening tweet about what is in "the best interest of our country" is "the closest to a concession Trump is going to get."

Trump wrote that he spoke to Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, and recommended that she "do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols," adding that he has "told my team to do the same." Murphy needed to ascertain the election in order to formally start the transition process, and after weeks of delays, she sent President-elect Joe Biden a letter on Monday telling him the transition can officially start.

Haberman tweeted that she's been told some of Trump's advisers "had been urging him" to let the transition begin before Thanksgiving, "even if he never said the word 'concede.'" Between the Trump campaign and other Republicans, more than 30 lawsuits have been filed in six swing states, in an attempt to contest the election results, NBC News reports. Despite Trump and members of his legal team claiming there has been widespread voter fraud, no court has found a single piece of evidence.

Trump's election legal team is being led by his longtime friend and personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City. Giuliani has been "key in stoking Trump's conspiracy theories," Haberman said, but people with knowledge of the matter told her that a recent court loss in Pennsylvania made Trump realize "Giuliani was not painting an honest picture" of his chances of actually changing the election results. Giuliani, she added, took control of Trump's legal team after the campaign dropped a lawsuit in Maricopa County, Arizona, and he warned Trump that "other advisers were lying to him." Catherine Garcia

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