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Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Raj Shah has left his role as White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President. Shah occasionally filled in for Sarah Huckabee Sanders when she was still holding daily press briefings, which have since stopped without notice.

For much of 2018, until he was confirm-end Shah acted as the White House’s point person to ensure the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Shah will “launch and head media affairs firm Ballard Media Group with high-profile lobbyist Brian Ballard,” Shah said in a statement Monday, HuffPost reports. “Jamie Rubin, a former assistant secretary of state for public affairs under President Bill Clinton, has also signed on to lead the project.”

Shah is making the move ahead of other confirmation battles and an extraordinarily high attrition rate. This week William Barr, President Trump’s far right wing religious extremist nominee to become Attorney General will face his first confirmation hearings.

“As the Trump administration begins its third year, a quarter of the President’s Cabinet is filled by acting department heads,” CNN reports. “On top of that, across the government, almost 40% of key leadership positions that require Senate confirmation are vacant.”

Sarah Sanders was expected to exit the White House by the end of last year. That does not appear to have happened.

 

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Pennsylvania and Nevada, two key 2020 battleground states, both certified President-elect Joe Biden's victory on Tuesday -- while President Donald Trump kept seeking to contest election results in court and insisted that he "will never concede."

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Bookvar, a Democrat, reported that she had certified the results after receiving certifications from all of Pennsylvania's 67 counties yesterday. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf tweeted that he had fulfilled the legal requirements and "signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris." The final vote total showed Biden with a lead of 80,555 votes in the commonwealth.

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