The Washington Post – Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey / Barr says he hasn’t seen fraud that could affect the election outcome
- Attorney General William P. Barr said Tuesday that he has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” undercutting claims that President Trump and his allies have made — without evidence — of widespread and significant voting irregularities.
- His comments to the Associated Press, while caveated, make Barr the highest-ranking Trump administration official to break with the president on his allegation that the election was stolen, and they might offer political cover to other Republicans to stake out similar positions.
- Trump’s relationship with his attorney general was already deteriorating, with the president frustrated that Barr was unwilling to launch aggressive measures to support his fraud claims or take other steps that might benefit his reelection campaign.
- An administration official, like others speaking on the condition of anonymity to detail a sensitive topic, told The Post that in recent months, Barr and Trump have “barely spoken,” though they did have a conversation the week before Thanksgiving.
- The New York Times – Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt / Trump has discussed with advisers pardons for his 3 eldest children and Giuliani
Financial Times – Valerie Hopkins and Michael Peel / Orbán loyalist caught in Brussels lockdown-busting ‘sex party’
- Jozsef Szajer, a veteran Hungarian MEP, resigned from the European parliament at the weekend before apologising on Tuesday for breaching Covid-19 restrictions by attending the all-male party last week.
- The married politician, a pillar of Mr Orban’s nationalistic party Fidesz, helped draft a constitution widely seen as hostile to LGBT rights. He was spotted escaping via a gutter and had later been found by police with bloody hands and drugs in his backpack.
- Mr Szajer said in a statement that he disclosed his MEP status to police, who issued him with an official verbal warning and transported him home. He added that the drugs — which he said had been a single ecstasy tablet — did not belong to him.
- Fidesz uses conservative Christian rhetoric and Laszlo Kover, the speaker of parliament, has compared homosexuality to paedophilia. In spring, the government made it illegal for people to change their birth gender.
- The Guardian – Daniel Boffey and Shaun Walker / Right-wing Hungarian MEP resigns for attending ‘sex party’ that broke Belgian lockdown
Bloomberg – James Paton and Naomi Kresge / U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech covid vaccine ahead of U.S., EU
- The U.K. became the first western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, with its regulator clearing Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s shot ahead of decisions in the U.S. and European Union.
- The emergency authorization clears the way for the deployment of a vaccine that Pfizer and its German partner have said is 95% effective in preventing illness. The shot will be available in Britain from next week, according to a government statement Wednesday.
- “We can see the way out, and we can see that by the spring we are going to be through this,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sky News. In a radio interview he added that 800,000 doses are ready to be delivered from Belgium.
- The U.K. had signaled it would move swiftly in approving a vaccine, and doctors across the country were put on standby for a possible rollout. For the government, it’s an opportunity to make up for missteps during the pandemic as Britain’s death toll nears 60,000.
- The Economist / Britain becomes the first country to license a fully tested covid-19 vaccine
Politico – David M. Herszenhorn, Nektaria Stamouli and Rym Momtaz / US and Turkey target each other in NATO meeting
- Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Turkey during a virtual meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday, accusing Ankara of stoking tensions with fellow allies in the Mediterranean and of giving a gift to the Kremlin by purchasing a Russian-made anti-aircraft system.
- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu fired back, accusing Pompeo of phoning European allies and urging them to gang up on Turkey, of siding blindly with Greece in regional conflicts, and of refusing to sell Ankara U.S.-made Patriot anti-aircraft weapons.
- Çavuşoğlu also accused the U.S. of backing Kurdish “terrorist organizations” in Syria, while Turkey fought the Islamic State, and insisted that the U.S. and France had worsened a conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh by backing Armenia in a war that Azerbaijan won with Turkish military support.
- The sharp clash over videoconference, confirmed by multiple allied delegations, came as Pompeo was attending what was likely his last NATO foreign affairs ministerial on behalf of President Donald Trump — a meeting that was intended to focus primarily on a new report about how NATO should adapt for the next decade.
- Foreign Policy – Shlomo Roiter Jesner / Erdogan’s economic Hail Mary won’t work
- Financial Times – Sarah O’Connor / The academic precariat deserves better