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Former vice president Joe Biden told attendees at a virtual fundraiser Sunday afternoon that the country is being “ripped apart” by divisions and urged his supporters to vote, one day before confirmation hearings for Trump Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett kick off on Capitol Hill. In her opening statement, released Sunday, Barrett pledged to “apply the law as written.”

President Trump, meanwhile, had no scheduled public events. Trump appeared Sunday morning on Fox News Channel for an interview with Maria Bartiromo, during which he claimed that he is not taking medication and has “a protective glow” following his covid-19 diagnosis.

Trump is also expected to hold a campaign rally Monday in Florida, while Biden holds events in Toledo and Cincinnati.

With 23 days until the election …
  • Biden leads Trump 54 percent to 42 percent among likely voters nationally, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
  • Both parties are increasingly focused on the pivotal — and potentially messy — role that Pennsylvania could play in deciding the outcome of the presidential race.
  • Starting Monday, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) will again be at the center of an explosive Supreme Court nomination battle — this time in an unprecedented role as a member of a presidential ticket.
October 11, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT
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Trump says he’s not contagious. Health experts say that’s not certain.

By Karin Brulliard and Felicia Sonmez

Trump tweeted Sunday that he is “immune” to the novel coronavirus and “can’t give it,” even though the White House has not released any negative test results and immunity to the virus remains poorly understood.

The tweet was quickly flagged by Twitter, which said it contained “misleading and potentially harmful misinformation” related to the coronavirus. It was the latest example of the social media giant pushing back against the president’s posts on the deadly virus, and it appeared to refer to Trump’s claim to immunity. Some recovered covid-19 patients have contracted the coronavirus again, and experts say many questions remain about immunity, including how long it lasts.

“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday,” Trump said. “That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”

Trump’s claim came one day after his physician said the president is “no longer considered a transmission risk to others,” in a memo that seemed to clear Trump to return to his normal activities eight days after he announced he had tested positive. Trump is expected to hold a campaign rally Monday in Florida.

But experts say there would be no way to know for sure whether the president is contagious so soon after a covid-19 diagnosis, and they noted that the White House has never made clear the severity of Trump’s illness, which could influence how long he should isolate.

October 11, 2020 at 4:34 PM EDT
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Trump’s critics compare his shows of strength on coronavirus to authoritarian tactics

By David Nakamura

Trump was boarding Marine One at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a helicopter ride back to the White House on Monday when CNN analyst Brian Stelter called the dramatic images a “performative show of strength” from a president infected by the novel coronavirus.

“This is the kind of thing you see from strongmen who want to appear to be leading — it’s a ‘Dear Leader’ sort of approach,” Stelter said, referencing the moniker of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

Stelter wasn’t the only one to make the comparison in recent days.

October 11, 2020 at 3:40 PM EDT
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Twitter says Trump’s tweet claiming virus immunity violates rules against misleading information

By Felicia Sonmez

Twitter on Sunday flagged a tweet in which Trump claimed he is now immune after testing positive for the coronavirus more than a week ago, in the latest instance of the social media giant pushing back against the president’s posts on the deadly virus.

Some recovered covid-19 patients have contracted the virus again, and public health experts remain uncertain on the issue of immunity. Nonetheless, on Sunday morning, Trump claimed in a tweet that he can no longer contract or spread the virus.

“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday,” Trump wrote. “That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”

Twitter responded by flagging the tweet Sunday afternoon.

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19,” Twitter said in a message posted alongside Trump’s tweet. The company added that despite flagging the content of Trump’s post, it “has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

October 11, 2020 at 3:35 PM EDT
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Fauci says Trump campaign used his words out of context and without permission in new TV ad

By Felicia Sonmez

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the Trump campaign used his words out of context and without his permission in a new TV ad.

“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,” Fauci said in a statement to CNN. “The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials.”

The new Trump campaign ad, released Saturday, includes a clip of Fauci speaking during an interview with conservative Fox News host Mark Levin in late March.

During the interview, Levin asked Fauci about the coordinated response of the Trump administration.

“The coordinated response has been — there are a number of adjectives to describe it. ‘Impressive,' I think, is one of them,” Fauci said. “I mean, we’re talking about all hands on deck.”

In his response, Fauci noted that he is “one of many people on a team” and spoke at length about the long hours that he and others within the administration have been putting in while working on combating the pandemic.

“There’s a whole group of us that are doing that,” Fauci said. “It’s every single day. So I can’t imagine that under any circumstances, that anybody could be doing more. I mean, obviously, we’re fighting a formidable enemy, this virus.”

Even though Fauci did not mention Trump in his answer, the Trump campaign clip is edited to make it appear that the nation’s top infectious-disease expert is praising the president’s personal leadership during the crisis.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh defended the use of the Fauci clip.

“These are Dr. Fauci’s own words,” Murtaugh said in a statement. “The video is from a nationally broadcast television interview in which Dr. Fauci was praising the work of the Trump Administration. The words spoken are accurate, and directly from Dr. Fauci’s mouth. As Dr. Fauci recently testified in the Senate, President Trump took the virus seriously from the beginning, acted quickly, and saved lives.”

October 11, 2020 at 2:22 PM EDT
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Biden leads Trump in Michigan and Nevada; race is tied in Iowa

By Felicia Sonmez

New polling by CBS News shows Biden leading Trump in two key battleground states and tied with the president in a third.

According to the surveys, Biden is leading Trump 52 percent to 46 percent among likely voters in both Michigan and Nevada. Trump won Michigan narrowly in 2016, while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton prevailed in Nevada.

The CBS News polls show Biden and Trump each taking 49 percent among likely voters in Iowa — a state that Trump won by a wide margin over Clinton four years ago.

A majority of likely voters in all three states say Trump has handled his own recent coronavirus infection irresponsibly and has set a bad example for the country.

The polls were conducted Oct. 6-9. The Iowa survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, while the Michigan and Nevada polls have a 3.2-point and 4.1-point margin of error, respectively.

October 11, 2020 at 1:58 PM EDT
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After being targeted by alleged kidnapping plot, Whitmer dismisses fears of potential Election Day violence

By Paulina Firozi

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Sunday dismissed the notion that there may be violence in her state on Election Day after being the target of an alleged kidnapping plot.

“I’m not worried,” Whitmer said during an interview on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” adding that Michigan is ready to keep voters safe.

Federal and state officials said Thursday that they had arrested six people on charges related to the alleged kidnapping plot, including Adam Fox, who was portrayed in court documents as the purported leader of an extremist plot to abduct the governor as she either entered or exited one of her vacation homes.

Whitmer said she has “always felt safe.”

“I am protected by the Michigan State Police, and they are an incredibly professional organization,” she said, adding that she believes “there are still serious threats” from groups like the one involved in the alleged plot against her.

Asked about whether she was worried about any issues of violence around Election Day, Whitmer said: “We are preparing to make sure that we do everything to keep people safe. And I've got incredible confidence.”

In response to a question about whether she is worried about individuals standing watch at polling locations, Whitmer said the state is “going to keep people safe as they go to the polls. And we will not tolerate anyone who’s trying to interfere with someone’s ability to safely vote.”

October 11, 2020 at 1:43 PM EDT
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Senate Democrats plan to focus on health care in Barrett hearings

By Jacqueline Alemany

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee previewed a major line of attack against Barrett ahead of her confirmation hearing Monday.

Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) on Sunday depicted Barrett as Trump’s vehicle for eliminating the Affordable Care Act, as the Supreme Court prepares to consider the constitutionality of the law on Nov. 10 — one week after the election.

“I am totally focused on what this nominee sitting there as a justice is going to do in striking down the Affordable Care Act,” Hirono told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That’s what I’m focused on.”

Hirono added that she will not ask questions about Barrett’s religious views, calling the topic “irrelevant” and a distraction tactic for Republicans who “don’t want to tell the American people that they’re about to vote for a person who’s going to take away their health care.”

Durbin was among a handful of Democrats who agreed to speak with Barrett last week to “understand her experience as a person when it came to health care because she is being sent on assignment to the Supreme Court by President Trump,” he said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”

“And we know what that assignment is: eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which protects 23 million Americans, and be there if the president needs her on an election contest. How do I know this?” Durbin continued. “Because the president makes no secret of it. He has said it over and over again.”

Asked about the strategy among Senate Democrats, Durbin called out four GOP members of the Judiciary Committee who are in tight reelection races — Sens. John Cornyn (Tex.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Joni Ernst (Iowa) — and noted how many Americans in their states would lose their health insurance if Barrett votes to eliminate the ACA.

“So you want to know the point we’re going to make? We’re making a point that this not only has an impact on the lives of so many innocent Americans, it could impact the members of this committee,” he said.

October 11, 2020 at 12:29 PM EDT
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Pelosi says Trump’s latest coronavirus relief proposal is ‘grossly inadequate’

By Felicia Sonmez

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday criticized Trump’s latest coronavirus relief proposal as “grossly inadequate” and said talks remain at an impasse unless the White House changes course and offers more funding for testing, tracing, treatment and other aspects of the relief effort.

“This past week, the President demonstrated very clearly that he has not taken the war against the virus seriously, personally or nationally. This attitude is reflected in the grossly inadequate response we finally received from the Administration on Saturday,” Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats on Sunday.

She added: “We have other differences in terms of who benefits from the spending. But in terms of addressing testing, tracing and treatment, what the Trump Administration has offered is wholly insufficient.”

Pelosi said that “updates will continue to be ongoing,” suggesting that both sides will continue working toward a resolution even after Trump tweeted last week that he was calling off the talks, before abruptly shifting course.

“It is hard to understand who is shaping their approach, which to date has been a miserable and deadly failure,” Pelosi said in the letter. “Until these serious issues are resolved, we remain at an impasse. However, I remain hopeful that the White House will join us to work toward a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families and will do so soon.”

October 11, 2020 at 12:14 PM EDT
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Cruz accuses Democrats of playing ‘procedural games’ for suggesting senators take coronavirus tests before Barrett hearing

By Jacqueline Alemany

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) suggested Sunday that testing members of the Senator Judiciary Committee for the coronavirus before the start of Barrett’s confirmation hearings this week is a delay tactic by Democrats playing “procedural games.”

Cruz himself is self-quarantining after coming into contact with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 2 after attending the Rose Garden ceremony where Trump nominated Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Cruz told NBC News’s Chuck Todd that he has recently tested negative, but with confirmation hearings commencing Monday, he has not self-quarantined for a full 14 days, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

It’s unclear when Sens. Lee and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who also tested positive for the virus, will back in the Senate.

Cruz claimed on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” that “all senators are following the guidance of the attending physician at the Capitol.” However, at least one Senate Republican has declined to be tested, despite recently coming into contact with colleagues who have tested positive.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) — at, 87, the oldest Republican in the chamber — has not been tested for the virus.

October 11, 2020 at 11:57 AM EDT
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RNC chairwoman denounces debate commission’s decision to cancel this week’s Trump-Biden face-off

By Paulina Firozi

In an interview on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, panned the decision by the Commission on Presidential Debates to cancel the second debate between Trump and Biden.

The nonpartisan commission called off the debate after disagreement over the format. The commission had announced that the town hall-style debate would take place virtually amid uncertainty about Trump’s infectiousness following his recent diagnosis. But Trump said he would not participate in a virtual debate.

“Voters are frustrated by the corrupt debate commission, that they would cancel a second debate,” McDaniel said. “Americans are frustrated this election commission interfered with our ability to see these two candidates debate.”

She accused the commission of making the call “unilaterally” and without consulting the candidates, and she argued that it “interfered with the election.”

McDaniel said the scuttled debate would be a “negative for Biden.”

“I think this plays into this D.C. politician who has been there for 47 years who isn’t getting tough questions from the media,” she said.

In an earlier interview on “Fox News Sunday,” the president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, defended Trump’s move to reject a virtual debate.

“I think a virtual debate is just a complete disaster,” she said, citing concerns about potential communication delays. “You can’t have a legitimate debate virtually.”

“Good for the president for calling it out,” Lara Trump added.

October 11, 2020 at 11:41 AM EDT
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Biden heading to Ohio on Monday

By Felicia Sonmez

Biden will hold two events in Ohio on Monday, the same day that Trump will hold his first campaign rally since he announced his positive coronavirus diagnosis.

Biden will first deliver “Build Back Better” remarks in Toledo at 1:15 p.m., according to his campaign. He will then hold a voter mobilization event in Cincinnati at 5:45 p.m.

Trump, meanwhile, is expected to deliver remarks at an airport hangar in Sanford, Fla., at 7 p.m. Monday.

October 11, 2020 at 11:26 AM EDT
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Trump says he has a ‘protective glow’ after contracting covid-19

By Felicia Sonmez

In a phone interview on Fox News Channel on Sunday morning, Trump said he is no longer on any medication, is “in very good shape” and has a “protective glow” after testing positive for the coronavirus more than a week ago.

Trump told host Maria Bartiromo that he no longer has covid-19, even though the White House doctor has yet to reveal whether the president has tested negative since contracting the virus.

“Yes,” Trump said when asked whether he no longer has covid-19. “And not only that, it seems like I’m immune. So I can go way out of a basement. … So the president is in very good shape to fight the battles.”

Trump also dismissed concerns about Saturday’s event at the White House, arguing that the closest person to him was “probably a couple of hundred feet away.”

“Even yesterday, I knew I was free,” Trump said. “I beat this crazy, horrible China virus. … I passed the highest test, the highest standards.” He added: “The word ‘immunity’ means something; having a protective glow means something. … I’m not on any medication.”

October 11, 2020 at 10:42 AM EDT
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Ben Sasse calls it ‘grotesque’ that Biden won’t say whether he would ‘pack’ the court

By Paulina Firozi and Jacqueline Alemany

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said on “Fox News Sunday” that it is “grotesque” that Biden has not said whether he would “pack” the Supreme Court.

Biden and Harris have faced growing pressure to answer whether they would do so if the Republican-led Senate confirms Barrett to the court.

“It’s grotesque that Vice President Biden won’t answer that really basic question,” Sasse said. “It isn’t just one branch of government. What they’re really talking about, or refusing to talk about, is the suicide bombing of two branches of government. What they’re talking about is blowing up the deliberative structure of the U.S. Senate by abolishing the filibuster.”

He added: “They’re talking about doing that to pack the Supreme Court.”

In a separate interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) said the Senate Judiciary Committee should not move forward with confirmation hearings for Barrett given that two members recently tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We shouldn’t be having this hearing with two members of the committee infected with covid,” Coons said. “It’s rushed, it constitutes court-packing.”

Asked Thursday whether he would install additional justices on the Supreme Court, Biden said he will answer the question “when the election is over.”

“The moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that rather than focusing on what’s happening now,” Biden said. “This election has begun. There’s never been a court appointment once the election has begun.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield repeatedly dodged the question.

She claimed that the Republican effort to confirm Barrett to the court ahead of the election is unconstitutional, without elaborating.

Bedingfield said Biden will not “play into Donald Trump’s game” by answering the policy question that Biden himself has called a “distraction.” He said Friday that voters “don’t deserve” to hear his opinion on court-packing ahead of the election.

October 11, 2020 at 10:24 AM EDT
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In her opening statement, Amy Coney Barrett pledges to ‘apply the law as written’

By Seung Min Kim

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will pledge in her opening remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she will remove politics from her legal reasoning as a future justice, stressing that “policy decisions” need to be made by Congress and the White House, not the courts.

In her four-page opening statement, Barrett repeatedly emphasizes her view that the judicial branch is not the place for policymaking, but rather to enforce and apply the law. She also discusses how her former mentor, former Justice Antonin Scalia, shaped her judicial philosophy: “A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were. Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like.”

“The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.”Barrett will also say that “courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life.”

“I ask myself how would I view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against: Even though I would not like the result, would I understand that the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in the law?” Barrett will say in her opening remarks. “That is the standard I set for myself in every case, and it is the standard I will follow as long as I am a judge on any court.”

Her confirmation hearing begins Monday with opening statements and are expected to run through Thursday.