All eyes on Michigan

If the transition train is going to jump the tracks, this is a critical junction

Good evening. Voting in the 2020 presidential election ended 17 days ago. The inauguration happens in 61 days. It’s also Joe Biden’s 78th Birthday!

The Topline

If there is a “last stand” for the Trump campaign’s effort to deny the will of the American people, it may be in Michigan, and it very well may come to a head over the next 72 hours. Here is the situation:

So what’s next? Now we wait until Monday.

If the vote is certified, then Donald Trump’s quixotic quest to overturn a democratic outcome may well be totally dead, not just in Michigan but entirely. More signs are emerging every day that that is the case:

Either way, only a few more days remain until the Safe Habor Deadline on December 8th, after which General Service Administration chief Emily Murphy has no choice but to ascertain a winner and the federal government must get on with what will likely be a thoroughly unprofessional and shambolic transition at the level of Trump political appointees.

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Driving the Conversation

Biden Team Faults Mnuchin for Letting Fed Aid Programs Lapse. Nick Timiraos and Paul Kiernan, The Wall Street Journal.

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team sharply criticized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s decision to allow funding for several emergency Federal Reserve lending programs to expire, escalating a political fight. “The Treasury Department’s attempt to prematurely end support that could be used for small businesses across the country when they are facing the prospect of new shutdowns is deeply irresponsible,” said Kate Bedingfield, a Biden spokeswoman, in a statement Friday.

Donald Trump Is Leaving Behind Blueprints to End Democracy. Timothy Egan, The New York Times.

This is Trump’s legacy: an attempt to blow up an election, from Wayne County, Mich., to Maricopa County, Ariz. For Trump the failed businessman, cheating and suing were a way of life. For Trump the failed president, cheating and suing are a blueprint for his followers into the future. And I fear there’s no going back.

The chaos Trump is sowing threatens the Biden transition — and all Americans. Garrett M. Graff, The Washington Post.

The country is watching Trump and his allies pursue a sham legal effort to deny the reality of his defeat that is equal parts outlandish and implausible. At some point in the next 61 days, it will fail. But little stands in the way of Trump’s broader push to deal his successor the weakest possible hand. Where Trump’s “leadership” will steer the country before Jan. 20, 2021, is an open question. It’s clear, however, that his actions threaten not just the incoming Biden administration but all Americans.

Trump’s Lawyer Sidney Powell Is Hardcore QAnon: Her performance at Thursday's press conference was virtually a recitation of QAnon’s greatest hits. David Gilbert, Vice.

Exactly a year before Thursday’s press conference, Powell appeared on a QAnon YouTube show and praised the host's support for her other client, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, as “huge and extremely helpful.” The appearance on the YouTube show was not the first time Powell had publicly backed  QAnon, the baseless conspiracy theory that claims Donald Trump is secretly battling the deep state while trying to uncover a cannibalistic Satanic child sex-trafficking network operated by Democrats and the Hollywood elite.

Not a Coup at DOD: How Acting Sec. Miller’s Reorganization May Improve Special Ops Oversight. Luke Hartig, Just Security.

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller has only been on the job for 10 days, but he is already making big waves. With announcements of major reductions in U.S. troop deployments and a reorganization of the oversight structure for special operations, Miller’s short tenure has been met with suspicion and sharp critiques from defense experts. But the move to revamp the oversight of special operations deserves further consideration, because Miller just may have landed on a valuable reform. Far from being a Trump power grab, it’s more likely that Miller’s moves on special operations oversight are the culmination of reforms he had long contemplated and can now oversee during his short tenure leading the Department.

Get involved

Inspired to keep up the pressure on Michigan lawmakers? Spread the Michigan message online: Follow We Make Michigan on social media (twitter, IG, Facebook) for messages from leaders across the state speaking out to support our democratic process to spread the word. Use these graphics to create social media content you can share from your own accounts.

Your Moment of Savory Schadenfreude

Your Moment of Sweet Celebration


CORRECTION: Your humble correspondent Greg Greene, in Wednesday’s issue, linked to one Shakespeare play while thinking of another. He shall compare Silvana, the reader who alerted us to the error, to a summer’s day — for they are more lovely and more temperate. Anyhow, we’ll stop short of sonnet length, and say that Greg apologizes to the Globe for the error.

American Interregnum is a pop-up newsletter covering the issues and ideas that will define the Presidential transition period from Nov. 3, 2020, through Jan. 21, 2021. It is written and edited by Justin HendrixGreg Greene, and Melissa Ryan. Have questions or comments? We love your feedback. Reply directly to this email. We read all responses and respond to most.