President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, was sworn in during a ceremony at the White House on Monday. The ceremony came after Trump held three campaign events in Pennsylvania, a bid to bolster support in a state he narrowly carried four years ago. Vice President Pence campaigned in Minnesota despite an outbreak of coronavirus infections among his chief of staff and others who work with him.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden made an appearance in Pennsylvania, while his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), was in Washington as a bitterly divided Senate confirmed Barrett as the 115th justice to the Supreme Court.

After being sworn in Monday night, Barrett delivered remarks to the assembled crowd, an unusual move for a new Supreme Court justice. She spoke at length about the importance of judicial independence, saying "it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give in to them.”

With eight days until Election Day …
  • Trump insisted that he has not decided to “wave the white flag” on the novel coronavirus, as Biden accused him of doing Sunday after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said in a TV interview that the administration had effectively given up on trying to slow its spread.
  • The Supreme Court rejected a pandemic-related request from Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the deadline for counting mail-in ballots received after Election Day in the battleground state of Wisconsin.
  • Pennsylvania Republicans asked the Supreme Court to rule on the merits of their challenge to the state’s extended deadline for mail ballots, an apparent bid to put the issue in front of a friendlier nine-member court once Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed.
  • Biden leads Trump by nine percentage points nationally, 52 percent to 43 percent, according to an average of national polls since Oct. 12. Biden’s margin in the battleground state of Michigan is nine points. It’s eight points in Wisconsin, seven in Pennsylvania, five in Arizona and one in Florida.
October 26, 2020 at 9:45 PM EDT
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In remarks after being sworn in, Barrett pledges to uphold judicial independence

By Felicia Sonmez

After being sworn in Monday night, Barrett delivered remarks to the assembled crowd, an unusual move for a new Supreme Court justice.

Barrett said she was “truly honored and humbled” to have been chosen to serve on the highest court in the land. She then spoke at length about the importance of judicial independence.

The confirmation process has made ever clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate — and perhaps the most acute — is the role of policy preferences,” Barrett said. “It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give in to them.”

Judges, she said, declare independence not only from Congress and the president who appointed them, but also from their own private beliefs.

“The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor, and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences,” Barrett told the crowd. “I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it.”

October 26, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT
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Thomas swears in Barrett at outdoor White House ceremony

By Donna Cassata and Seung Min Kim

Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday administered the constitutional oath swearing in Judge Amy Coney Barrett at an outdoor ceremony at the White House, where a crowd, including several Republican senators, gathered on the South Lawn shortly after the Senate confirmed her as the 115th justice to sit on the Supreme Court.

Justices take two oaths — one to protect and uphold the Constitution and another about judicial conduct. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will administer the judicial oath to Barrett in a private ceremony at the court Tuesday.

Barrett, 48, is President Trump’s third nominee to the Supreme Court and solidifies a judicial legacy for the White House and Senate Republicans that includes dozens of younger and more ideologically conservative judges on federal appeals courts. An acolyte of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett is certain to diverge dramatically from the woman she will succeed: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18 and was for decades an enduring icon for liberals.

The battle to confirm Barrett — whose installation occurred as more than 60 million people had already cast their ballots for president — also plunged a Senate bruised by years of tit-for-tat skirmishes over the judiciary into deeper partisan acrimony. Democrats charged Republicans with hypocrisy for blocking a Democratic president’s Supreme Court nominee for eight months in 2016 and repeatedly pointed out that no justice has been confirmed this close to a presidential election.

October 26, 2020 at 9:19 PM EDT
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Barrett’s confirmation is ‘a reminder to millions of Americans why they voted for President Trump,’ campaign says

By Felicia Sonmez

Trump’s campaign trumpeted Barrett’s confirmation in a statement Monday night, describing the moment as reinforcing the decision by millions of Americans to cast their ballots for Trump in 2016.

“Justice Amy Coney Barrett is a reminder to millions of Americans why they voted for President Trump in the first place,” Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to Trump’s reelection campaign, said in a statement. “She is now the third solid, conservative Justice appointed to the Supreme Court by the President and she will apply the Constitution and not turn the Court into a super legislature.”

Ellis also called on Biden to “come clean with the American people, reveal his list of prospective Justices, explain his position on court packing, and stop telling voters that they ‘don’t deserve’ to know what he thinks.”

October 26, 2020 at 8:52 PM EDT
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When we’ll find out election results: Here’s what we know about swing states, ballot counting and more

By Elise Viebeck

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything about 2020 — including what to expect from the final act of the election.

A massive increase in early and mail voting, with many voters seeking to avoid crowded polling places, has reshaped how and when most ballots are counted, creating uncertainty around when results will be known. Election experts predict that the rate of mail voting will range from 50 to 70 percent nationwide this fall, compared with roughly 23 percent in 2016. Early in-person voting has also broken records around the country. For the first time in history, most Americans are expected to cast their ballots before Election Day.

As a result, while many Americans are accustomed to voting on Election Day and learning results that night, Election Day 2020 in fact marks the end of a lengthy voting period and the start of a potentially lengthy counting period. (See how many Americans have voted early so far.) Some states plan to report results the night of Nov. 3, but others expect their counting process to take longer, depending on when they begin counting mail-in ballots.

October 26, 2020 at 8:33 PM EDT
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Twitter flags Trump tweet on mail-in ballots as potentially misleading

By Felicia Sonmez and Elise Viebeck

Twitter on Monday flagged a tweet in which Trump declared that there are “big problems” with mail-in ballots, a claim that is not backed up by facts.

“Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA," Trump tweeted Monday night, reiterating a baseless claim he has frequently made during the 2020 campaign. "Must have final total on November 3rd.”

Not long after Trump posted the tweet, Twitter flagged it as potentially misleading for users of the social media platform.

“Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about how to participate in an election or another civic process,” the message from Twitter reads.

While it may be slower, there’s no evidence that mail voting leads to widespread fraud, and delayed reporting of mail ballots is not a sign of a problem with the vote.

Election experts predict that the rate of mail voting will range from 50 to 70 percent nationwide this fall, compared with roughly 23 percent in 2016. Given the large proportion of mail-in ballots this year, it’s hard to say when the election results will be known. Some states won’t have complete results for weeks, and most news organizations plan to use extra caution when projecting winners because early results may not provide the full picture.

October 26, 2020 at 8:20 PM EDT
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Can Biden pull off a win in Georgia?

By Sean Sullivan and Toluse Olorunnipa

The last time a Democratic nominee for president won Georgia, “Wayne’s World” was a box office hit, Boyz II Men topped the charts and Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff was 5 years old.

On Tuesday, Joe Biden will campaign there, sending the strongest signal yet that Democrats are serious about trying to shake the Republican Party’s decades-long grip on the second most populous state in the Deep South. Their hopes are powered by two pillars of the emerging Democratic coalition, Black voters and suburbanites.

Biden’s visit will include a speech in Warm Springs, where Franklin D. Roosevelt’s private retreat was located. His remarks, which aides billed as a major piece of his closing argument, are expected to urge national unity in a country confronting difficult challenges. Later, he will host a drive-in rally in Atlanta.

October 26, 2020 at 7:43 PM EDT
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Analysis: But what does all the Texas early voting mean?

By Philip Bump

More people have voted already in Texas than voted in total in 46 states in 2016. More people have voted in Texas already than voted for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the state four years ago. It’s possible — maybe even likely — that the state will match its total 2016 turnout before Election Day.

It’s a fascinating phenomenon. It is also an inscrutable one.

Back in early 2019, it was already apparent that Texas might be more of a problem for Trump than it was in 2016. He didn’t romp in the state that year, but he won by enough of a margin that there wasn’t much mystery on the night of the election. So much attention was focused on his surprise victory nationally, though, that his having won Texas by a single-digit margin passed without notice. Texas was closer in 2016 than Iowa was, a significant shift in presidential politics.

October 26, 2020 at 7:25 PM EDT
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Audience at Amy Coney Barrett’s swearing-in will be socially distanced, wear masks, White House says

By Seung Min Kim and Felicia Sonmez

Those sitting in the audience at Monday night’s swearing-in ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett at the White House will be required to socially distance and wear face masks, according to the White House.

The move comes after the Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony where Trump announced his nomination of Barrett turned into a “superspreader” event, with several attendees later testing positive for the coronavirus. Masks and social distancing were not required at the event.

“Tonight’s seated audience will be socially distanced,” said a senior White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the planning for the event. “Face coverings are required for all those attending. Those in close proximity to the President will be tested beforehand.”

October 26, 2020 at 6:35 PM EDT
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Analysis: Jared Kushner’s unhelpful reminder to Black Americans

By Eugene Scott

Jared Kushner went on Fox News on Monday morning and pretty well encapsulated why, for all the talk about his father-in-law President Trump making inroads with men of color ahead of the election, the Republican Party continues to struggle with Black voters.

Kushner, a White House aide, was asked about working with hip-hop artist Ice Cube on the Trump campaign’s Platinum Plan for Black America.

His statement suggested that Trump is more invested in improving the lives of Black Americans than Black Americans are themselves. This would be news to many Black Americans considering Trump’s history of denigrating and insulting so many of them before entering the White House.

October 26, 2020 at 6:19 PM EDT
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Analysis: No, Biden did not confuse George W. Bush and Donald Trump

By Meg Kelly

“Joe Biden confuses President Trump with George W. Bush: ‘because of who I’m running against…George, ah, George’”

— Republican National Committee rapid response director Steve Guest, in a misleading tweet, on Oct. 25

The video clip Republican National Committee rapid response director Steve Guest tweeted late Sunday night seemed to be the stuff of opposition researcher’s dreams. Just a 27 seconds long, it appeared to show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticize former president George W. Bush as the person he is running against — not President Trump. The snippet from Biden’s Oct. 25 ‘I Will Vote’ concert seemed to be evidence of a nasty theory the Trump campaign has been pushing for months: Joe Biden is senile.

Fox News, The Today Show and The Daily Mail among others all picked up the story. Trump tweeted about the supposed debacle, saying: “Joe Biden called me George yesterday. Couldn’t remember my name. Got some help from the anchor to get him through the interview. The Fake News Cartel is working overtime to cover it up!” Guest’s tweet had more than a million views as of 2 p.m. on Monday.

Still, most things that appear to be too good to be true are just that and, as our colleague David Weigel originally pointed out, this is clip was no exception.

October 26, 2020 at 5:35 PM EDT
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GOP seeks second Supreme Court ruling on Pennsylvania ballot deadline

By Elise Viebeck

Pennsylvania Republicans have asked the Supreme Court to rule on the merits of their challenge to the state’s extended deadline for mail ballots, an apparent bid to put the issue in front of a friendlier nine-member court once Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed.

The GOP made its request to the high court on Friday, four days after a tied decision left in place a lower court’s ruling that allowed Pennsylvania election officials to count mail ballots postmarked by Election Day but received up to three days later. The Supreme Court’s four conservatives said they would have granted a stay, leaving them one vote short of doing it.

Barrett, who will join the court’s conservative wing, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate on Monday night.

“With courts around the country weighing similar extensions of received-by deadlines that could push voting past Election Day in numerous states, the issues presented are important, recurring, and in need of this Court’s immediate resolution,” Republicans wrote in a court filing Friday, urging swift action on its request.

Pennsylvania Democrats said it would “guarantee confusion and disruption” if the high court agrees to take the case.

“There is no conceivable reason why this Court should reverse course and agree now — mere days before Election Day — to [the GOP’s] rash and unseemly request that it intervene in the electoral process in such as disruptive and unfair way,” the state Democratic Party wrote in a filing Sunday.

October 26, 2020 at 5:20 PM EDT
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Meadows under fire as Trump chief of staff for handling of pandemic and other crises

By Josh Dawsey

When touting his chief of staff Mark Meadows onstage in North Carolina this month, President Trump gave an unusual compliment for a risky move.

“He follows me,” Trump said of his helicopter ride to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for the coronavirus. “I said, ‘You know what? I just tested positive.’ He didn’t care. He was in that helicopter.”

Meadows, after seven months on the job, has developed a close and durable relationship with Trump, who regularly calls his top aide eight or 10 times a day, according to current and former administration officials. He has largely avoided the will-he-won’t-he-be-fired chatter that dominated the tenures of his three predecessors. But with Trump trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden and the coronavirus pandemic surging again, Meadows’s uneven handling of the pandemic response and other West Wing crises has dismayed many staffers and campaign officials, who say he has largely proved to be an ineffective chief of staff, instead serving more as a political adviser and confidant.

October 26, 2020 at 4:30 PM EDT
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In Pennsylvania, Biden knocks Trump for continuing to hold ‘superspreader’ events

By Amy B Wang

Visiting a field office for his campaign in Chester, Pa., Biden continued to knock Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, in the wake of a fresh outbreak in Pence’s office.

Biden said billions of dollars should be invested in rapid testing and other measures, and he criticized Trump for continuing to hold what he called “superspreader” events and flouting public safety guidelines. The White House plans to hold an outdoor event tonight to celebrate the expected Senate confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t blame them for celebrating,” Biden said, adding that he hoped the attendees would wear masks, practice social distancing and take other precautions, according to a pool report.

“I don’t know what we’ll inherit on January 21, but at the rate he’s going, it’s not going to be good,” Biden said.

The Democratic presidential nominee demurred when asked whether he was being overconfident about his prospects a week from Election Day. “You know me. I am not overconfident about anything,” he said.

Biden said he hoped to win Pennsylvania “by the grace of God” — a native of Scranton, Pa., he said that the state was important to him personally as well as politically — and that he felt good about Michigan, Wisconsin and other battleground states that previously formed a reliable “blue wall” for Democrats.

He also said he had a “fighting chance” in redder states such as Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and Iowa.

“I’m going to be going to Iowa, I’m going to Wisconsin, I’m going to Georgia, I’m going to Florida, and maybe other places, as well,” Biden said of his travel plans for the remaining week before Election Day.

October 26, 2020 at 3:50 PM EDT
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Former second lady Lynne Cheney won’t say whether she is voting for Trump

By Paulina Firozi

Former second lady Lynne Cheney won’t say whether she is supporting President Trump’s reelection bid.

When asked in an interview with The Washington Post’s Robert Costa about whether she is backing the president’s bid for a second term, the author and wife of former Republican vice president Richard B. Cheney said: “No yes or no on my vote.”

“Well I’m not here to be a pundit but I will tell you I’ve been reading a lot of the pundits you know and what had seemed to be a certain Biden victory now seems very much that the election seems to have closed,” she said during a Washington Post Live event. “I sense those people in the media and probably in my circle of friends who might have been counting on a Biden victory are no longer so sure.”

She pointed to Trump’s campaign rallies and said despite a “message that many of us don’t like about not wearing masks and going to large gatherings,” they have been “very effective.”

“People watching them on television I don’t think are into the covid mode of thinking, they’re just into this energetic way of thinking about politics and the president seems strong and Joe Biden just hasn’t,” she said.

Earlier in the interview, Cheney said masks “do matter.”

She was asked about a June tweet from her daughter, House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (Wyo.), that featured a photo of the former vice president and said, “Richard B. Cheney says WEAR A MASK.” Liz Cheney is the third-ranking Republican in the House.

“People are making up their minds that mask-wearing is good, whatever may be happening in the president’s rallies,” the former second lady told The Post. “I think people do take this in hand. I do think we mislead them some when we say masks don’t matter because they do matter.”

At a private gathering in 2019, the former vice president challenged Vice President Pence on a number of the administration’s foreign policy decisions.