The Washington Post – Amy Gardner, Emma Brown and Rosalind S. Helderman / Wisconsin and Arizona make it official as Trump fails to stop vote certification in all six states where he contested his defeat
- Wisconsin and Arizona on Monday became the last two of six states where President Trump has contested his defeat to finalize their vote counts, dealing a fresh blow to his quest to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
- Trump and his allies vowed to continue pressing legal claims challenging the election results in several states, but such efforts have met with resounding failures in the courts across the country.
- Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) certified her state’s election results alongside the Republican governor and attorney general. Several hours later, the Democratic chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Ann Jacobs, completed her state’s canvass and declared Biden the winner of the state’s 10 electoral votes.
- Monday’s certifications brought to a close a key period in which Trump and his advisers had said they would be able to derail Biden’s win. Their actions brought Biden one step closer to an official victory on Dec. 14, when the electoral college meets.
- The New York Times – Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman / Trump raises $170 million as he denies his loss and eyes the future
Bloomberg – Raymon Colitt, Arne Delfs and Marek Strzelecki / Hungary and Poland unbowed over EU budget deal as showdown looms
- Hungary and Poland are headed for the gravest clash with their peers since they joined the EU in 2004, after reiterating on Monday they won’t agree to tying disbursements from the bloc’s budget and virus-recovery fund to upholding the rule of law.
- “When it comes to EU negotiations, we are open to new proposals and convinced that an agreement can be reached, but it must be in line with EU treaties,” Piotr Muller, Morawiecki’s spokesman, said after the two eastern European premiers met in Warsaw.
- Merkel has long supported the flow of cash to help lift living standards in ex-communist countries like Poland and Hungary. After 15 years as German chancellor, she’s now battling on multiple fronts including future relations with the U.K. after Brexit.
- And even as she called for compromise from both sides, she rejected claims from Orban and Morawiecki that a July agreement between EU leaders on the strings attached to disbursements improperly mixes the budget and issues related democratic norms.
- Politico – Hans von der Burchard / Merkel says ‘all sides’ must make compromises to break budget deadlock
The Guardian – Daniel Hurst / France and New Zealand join Australia’s criticism of Chinese government tweet
- France and New Zealand have joined Australia in criticising the Chinese government for its inflammatory tweet about Australian soldiers, as a former senior diplomat called for more countries to take a stand against Beijing’s “coercion”.
- The tensions between China and Australia showed no sign of abating on Tuesday, with the Chinese embassy in Canberra accusing the Morrison government of overreacting to the social media post and of stoking the issue for domestic political purposes.
- Chinese state media also claimed that Australia was treating “China’s goodwill with evil”, while an editor of the nationalistic Global Times tweeted that Australia “can’t even be counted as a paper tiger, it’s only a paper cat”.
- New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said her government had directly raised concerns with China over the “unfactual” image attached to the tweet by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
- South China Morning Post – Kinling Lo / China doubles down on criticising Australia over Afghanistan, further inflaming relations
Foreign Policy – Ariane Tabatabai / How will Iran react to another high-profile assassination?
- Fakhrizadeh’s death marks the second time this year that a foreign adversary successfully targeted and killed a major Iranian figure: in January, the United States killed Qassem Suleimani.
- Unlike Suleimani, Fakhrizadeh was not a household name in Iran, much less outside of the country. In fact, until recently, very few photos of Fakhrizadeh had been made public.
- Tehran has an incentive to avoid appearing weak. Iran’s response to these events has been calculated and calibrated. It has tried to balance two potentially conflicting objectives.
- But now, with U.S. and Israeli pressure mounting, the Iranian leadership may find it more difficult to sustain its relative restraint. Iran’s leaders may view a failure to act as a sign of weakness to adversaries.
- Haaretz – Yaniv Kubovich / Iran has a range of options to retaliate against Israel after assassination
- Politico – Laura Kayali and Lili Bayer / Vera Jourová, Europe’s ‘lonesome sheriff’