President Donald Trump told supporters in an email that he won the debate — before it happened. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to get Republican senators to put their position on Obamacare on the record.
And a debunked conspiracy theory that Democratic nominee Joe Biden plans to use an earpiece at the debate has taken on a life of its own on social media.
There are 35 days until the election and 76 days until the Electoral College meets.
Trump told supporters in an official campaign email that he won the first presidential debate — hours before it even started.
“I finished debating Joe Biden,” the email reads.
It goes on to say “This debate will go down in HISTORY. I showed the American People that I will ALWAYS fight to put America First no matter what and that I will NEVER stop working to Make America Great Again.”
Campaigns typically have these kinds of statements pre-written and ready to send out the minute that a debate ends to raise small-dollar donations, and they sometimes get sent too soon.
In fact, the Biden campaign made the same mistake last November with an email that went out hours before a debate that said he was just “leaving the Democratic debate now.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to force a vote later this week on his bill aimed at protecting the Affordable Care Act, a move that appears designed to put Republicans in close election contests on the record about whether they want to dismantle the health care law.
While Republicans have the numbers to block or filibuster Schumer’s bill, a roll call vote doing so would force GOP senators who are up for re-election to pick a side on a lawsuit backed by President Donald Trump that would end Obamacare even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage.
Schumer wants to pass his recently filed bill to prohibit the Department of Justice from advocating against any part of the Affordable Care Act in court, including in the case before the Supreme Court on Nov. 10, a week after Election Day. — Steven Dennis.
A conspiracy theory that Biden plans to use a hidden earpiece during Tuesday night’s presidential debate is thriving on the internet, despite denials from the Democratic nominee’s campaign.
The rumor has gained thousands of shares on Facebook and Twitter and has been circulated by the right-wing conspiracy group, QAnon. It has also been discussed by right-media outlets, including Fox News and Breitbart News Network.
Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, issued a statement Tuesday saying that Biden’s handlers had agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces, only to abruptly reverse themselves. The Biden campaign denied the allegations as little more than a “distraction.”
The conspiracy theory is part of a torrent of false claims as the presidential campaign nears its final month.
Facebook Inc. said it would block campaigns from submitting new ads in the week leading to the election, preventing candidates from posting uncontested messages ahead of the vote. Meanwhile, Twitter Inc. introduced a policy on “synthetic and manipulated media” earlier this year that flags content it deems “significantly and deceptively altered or fabricated.” — Jackie Davalos.
The U.S. Postal Service is pledging to work overtime to ensure the speedy handling of mail-in ballots this fall.
In a Sept. 25 letter from USPS management posted online by Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia, the service is telling workers that it will authorize extra trips to carry ballots, and permit overtime “as needed.”
The letter falls short of necessary assurances, said New York attorney Ali Najmi, who helped to win a court order mandating overtime in a lawsuit in federal court in New York.
“‘As needed’ puts in discretion, and we don’t trust Postal Service discretion,” Najmi said in an interview Tuesday.
Najmi helped win an order that requires the USPS to automatically grant overtime for the 10 days surrounding the election. On Tuesday, the court left the overtime requirement secure as it ruled on a request for leeway from the Postal Service, Najmi said in a tweet. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in a filing had said the order could compel approval of “financially disastrous” overtime not related to elections.
The U.S. Postal Service has lost rulings in four court cases, with judges ordering a resumption of overtime and a halt to operational changes blamed for slowing mail and threatening the timely delivery of ballots for the fall election. — Todd Shields.
Biden is running even with Trump in Georgia, which last went for a Democratic presidential candidate in 1992.
In a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday, 50% of likely voters in Georgia backed Biden, while 47% backed Trump, a lead within the margin of error.
Trump won Georgia by 5 percentage points in 2016, but the state has been trending Democratic in recent years.
The poll also showed growing support for Democrats in down-ballot races. Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff had the backing of 49% of likely voters over Republican Senator David Perdue, who is running for a second term. Voters were divided in a second Senate race between Democrat Raphael Warnock, Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and Republican Doug Collins, meaning the race would likely go to a runoff in early January.
A Biden ally says Trump is a “master of distraction” who will seek to change the subject at the debate.
In an interview with Bloomberg Radio, Delaware Senator Chris Coons said Trump would throw out a lot of different lines at the debate Tuesday night.
“I expect the unexpected from him tonight,” he said. “I think he’ll make some bold but baseless announcements. I think he’ll go after Joe’s family personally in ways that will be tough for Joe not to be distracted by.”
Coons said Trump has “an uneven relationship with the truth” and will make “wild misstatements and pronouncements,” but that Biden needs to stay focused on his own plans for fighting coronavirus and boosting the economy.
“You can’t chase every rabbit hole that opens up before you,” he said.
The survey of 1,125 likely voters in Georgia was conducted Sept. 23-27 and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
After alleging that Democratic nominee Joe Biden uses Teleprompters and performance-enhancing drugs, the Trump campaign is now calling for proof that he’s not using a hidden earpiece at the debate.
In a statement released Tuesday, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh claimed that Biden backed down from an agreement for an inspection.
“Joe Biden’s handlers several days ago agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces but today abruptly reversed themselves and declined,” Murtaugh said.
He also claimed that Biden asked for “multiple breaks” during the debate, which the Trump campaign rejected, and again repeated Trump’s call for a drug test before the debate.
The Biden campaign was expected to respond to the allegations later Tuesday.
Problems with mail-in ballots marred the start of early voting in New York, potentially disenfranchising thousands of voters while boosting Trump’s efforts to discredit the election.
As the first ballots have begun arriving in mailboxes, New Yorkers have reported receiving ones marked for members of the military and return envelopes with a different voter’s name.
The latter problem could lead to ballots being rejected for failing to match the signature on file.
As a reliably Democratic state, problems in New York are unlikely to affect the outcome of the presidential election, but they will give Trump more grist for criticizing vote by mail. He has already cited New York’s botched primary, falsely arguing that the slow count and other problems meant it was a “rigged election.”
In recent days, Trump has suggested that he may not accept the results if he loses the election, making baseless claims of voter fraud, especially in vote by mail.
But on Fox News this morning, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani went off script, lowering the bar for Biden dramatically.
“The man has dementia, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “I’ve talked to doctors. I’ve had them look at a hundred different tapes of his, five years ago and today.”
Secret tapes may have brought Richard Nixon down, but Bob Woodward didn’t think much of his own tapes of Trump at first.
The Watergate journalist said he taped his interviews with Trump for his book “Rage” for his own aid in transcription, but it was his wife, Elsa Walsh, and a CNN producer who convinced him to release the audio, Woodward told Bloomberg TV Tuesday morning.
Woodward said he has released 38 audio clips of his interviews with Trump so far, but he estimated he has about eight hours and 30 minutes still unreleased.
He said he may release further clips as issues arise.
Biden’s sort-of home-state advantage is paying off in Pennsylvania, where two new polls show him ahead by substantial margins.
The Keystone State, where Biden lived until he was 10, is seen as one of the most likely tipping-point states, and factors in most of Trump’s paths to re-election.
But Biden is ahead of Trump by 9 percentage points among likely voters in both a poll conducted by the New York Times and Siena College and a poll by the Washington Post and ABC News. Biden led Trump 49% to 40% in the Times poll and 54% to 45% in the Post poll.
The Times poll was conducted Sept. 25-27 and released Monday evening. It has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. The Post poll released Tuesday morning was conducted Sept. 21-26 with a margin of error of 5 percentage points.– Emma Kinery.
A poster being sold by the Trump campaign seeks lawyers to fight over ballots after Election Day.
Selling for $24, the 24-inch by 36-inch “limited edition fine art poster” features a drawing of Trump with a white spangled top hat and pointing at the viewer, done in the manner of Uncle Sam in a World War I propaganda poster.
“I Want You to Join Lawyers for Trump,” it says in large letters. Below, it adds, “Help prevent voter fraud on Election Day.”
The Trump campaign has already sued over election rules in Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Trump, who frequently makes baseless charges of fraud about vote-by-mail, has said he expects the election to end up before the Supreme Court.