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Democratic nominee Joe Biden, during remarks in Delaware, blasted President Trump for what he characterized as recklessness in handling the pandemic, as Trump campaigned on the premise that the virus is overblow during two stops in Arizona, a battleground state he carried four years ago but where recent polls show a competitive race.

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), also campaigned in Arizona on Wednesday, while Vice President Pence looked to bolster support for his ticket in Wisconsin and Michigan, two states Trump narrowly carried in 2016.

With six days until Election Day …
  • Democrats won two major victories involving voting deadlines in key battleground states Wednesday at the Supreme Court, as the justices will allow extended periods for receiving mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
  • Former Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor revealed himself to be “Anonymous,” the author of a scathing 2018 New York Times op-ed and a buzzy tell-all book purported to be critiques of the Trump White House from the inside.
  • A sudden drop in the stock market threatened to muddle Trump’s campaign message about America’s economic recovery just days before the Nov. 3 election.
  • Biden continues to outpace Trump in two crucial Midwest battlegrounds, Michigan and Wisconsin, according to a pair of new Washington Post-ABC News polls.
  • 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 is eight points in Wisconsin, seven in Pennsylvania, five in Arizona and one in Florida.

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October 28, 2020 at 10:42 PM EDT
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Georgia GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler ‘not familiar’ with infamous Trump ‘Access Hollywood’ tape

By Colby Itkowitz

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) told local reporters that she was “not familiar” with what Trump said in the “Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced a few weeks before the 2016 presidential election.

The infamous tape, in which then reality-star Trump is heard bragging in a 2005 conversation about grabbing women’s genitals, came up after reporters asked her to clarify her answer at a debate earlier this month in which she said she doesn’t disagree with anything Trump has said or done.

Asked Wednesday if she was aware that the president had once been caught on tape talking about groping and trying to have sex with women, Loeffler furrowed her brows and said, “Look, what I agree with is the approach President Trump has taken since day one to put America first. What I am here focused on is working for Georgians in Washington and being their voice. And being a conservative champion for Georgians.”

Pressed on whether she took issue with Trump’s comments from the “Access Hollywood” tape, Loeffler said, “I’m not familiar with that.”

A Loeffler campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The shock of that recording, first published by The Washington Post, reverberated around the country, if not the world.

Loeffler was appointed to her seat this year, and is now running in a tight race to keep it.

October 28, 2020 at 9:34 PM EDT
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Harris addresses shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.

By Chelsea Janes

Harris landed in Phoenix late Wednesday afternoon for the second of two Arizona stops. When she did so, she spoke to reporters about the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man, by Philadelphia police Monday.

Reporters asked Harris why Biden, when asked about the shooting, focused his message more on condemning any looting and rioting that happened in response to the shooting, rather than the shooting itself. In a speech delivered in Georgia on Tuesday, Biden said that much of the protesting around the country is “a cry for justice” but also that “some of it is just senseless burning and looting and violence that can’t be tolerated.”

“We’ve been very clear that it is a tragedy, that his life should never have ended, and in addition, let’s also understand what we need to do about addressing mental health and the need to treat that in a public health system and not in a criminal justice system,” said Harris, who has often been more willing than her running mate to offer unequivocal condemnations of police violence without feeling the need to condemn looting, too.

“But there’s no question it was a tragedy. It never should have happened. That young man should be alive today.”

Harris also defended Biden’s plans to form a federal commission to establish national standards for police conduct against the suggestion that it is a way to defer action, rather than make bold reforms.

“It’s not another commission. Part of the reason people have been marching in the streets is there has not been the level of attention, especially recently over these last few years, that is necessary from the president of the United States,” said Harris, emphasizing the need to bring families of victims, law enforcement personnel and others into discussions about what needs to be done.

The former prosecutor also touted Biden campaign plans for banning chokeholds and carotid holds, decriminalizing marijuana, and creating a national registry of police officers who break the law to prevent the rehiring of officers who have violent histories.

October 28, 2020 at 8:06 PM EDT
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Trump attacks and belittles female politicians at rally

By Colby Itkowitz

Female politicians were the targets of degrading rhetoric from Trump and the top House Republican at an Arizona rally, six days out from an election that could hinge on women voters.

Trump purposely mispronounced Sen. Kamala Harris’s first name, and then repeatedly accused her of being angry about it, leaning into racist and sexist tropes about Black women.

“Kamala, you know, if you don’t pronounce her name exactly right, she gets very angry at you," Trump said. "And then, you know what she does when she gets angry, she starts laughing ...Uncontrollable laughs. That means she’s angry.”

The president also repeated his standard rally attacks against U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), two young women of color, questioning the former’s education and the latter’s loyalty to America.

“How the hell does she get elected? She does not like our country,” Trump said of Omar, a Somali-American who came to the United States as a refugee.

Trump also patronized U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, who is locked in a difficult reelection fight in Arizona. While he invited several male lawmakers from out of state and Nigel Farage, a former British politician, to come speak, the president acted put out when he brought McSally up to address her constituents.

Martha, come up. Just fast. Fast. Fast. Come on, quick. You got one minute. One minute, Martha, they don’t want to hear this, Martha. Come on, let’s go. Quick, quick, quick, quick. Come on, let’s go," he said as she hurried to the stage.

He also invited House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to speak, who then suggested rallygoers would want to see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) physically harmed. He invited the crowd to Washington for swearing-in day when Republicans take back control of the House.

I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel," he said. "And I promise you this, I won’t bang her with it, but I’ll bang the end to the socialism.”

Also, invited onstage by the president was Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who fist-pounded the president and declared, “Here’s to immunity," a reference to them both contracting and recovering from the coronavirus, which is on the rise again in the United States.

October 28, 2020 at 7:53 PM EDT
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Analysis: It’s not just the White House: Polling shows Democrats with a big lead in Congress, too

By Philip Bump

President Trump can still win the 2020 election. But doing so increasingly looks as though it will require either a massive polling error, one larger than some states saw in 2016 — or some nondemocratic effort to sway the results. Even such machinations, though, would probably leave an awful lot of Republican candidates stranded.

On Wednesday afternoon, CNN released a national poll conducted with its partners at SSRS. It was unremarkable in general, giving former vice president Joe Biden a double-digit advantage over Trump. But that, of course, is remarkable for the final days of a presidential race. If it holds, it’s hard to see how Trump could cobble together the electoral votes he needs to win.

The 12-point overall margin is 7 points larger than the advantage the last CNN poll of 2016 gave Hillary Clinton, then Trump’s opponent. (The actual margin on Election Day was about 2 points.) Trump is faring about as well with men as he did four years ago in CNN’s poll but doing twice as badly with women. Older voters, those 65 and up, prefer Biden by double digits, though CNN’s last poll in 2016 showed Clinton with an advantage among that group that didn’t materialize, according to Pew Research Center’s assessment of the 2016 electorate.

October 28, 2020 at 7:48 PM EDT
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Texas Democrats hoped they could one day be truly competitive statewide. That change could come this year

By Jenna Johnson and Arelis Hernández

SAN ANTONIO — Many Texas Democrats had eyed 2024 as the year when what has been elusive for so long might just happen: Their state's growing, diversifying electorate would make them truly competitive statewide.

That change could come this year instead. The presidential race has tightened to become nearly neck-and-neck. The state has led the country in early voting, and more than 8 million Texans have cast ballots, more than 90 percent of the overall number who voted in 2016. Some experts project that turnout could hit 12 million by Election Day.

Democratic super PACs are pumping millions of dollars into the state during the final days of campaigning, which Republicans say they probably will not be able to match. On Wednesday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign launched a three-day “Soul of the Nation” bus tour that will stop in Amarillo, Lubbock, Abilene, Fort Worth and Dallas.

October 28, 2020 at 6:59 PM EDT
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Trump claims not to know Miles Taylor, a.k.a. ‘Anonymous,’ says he should be ‘prosecuted’

By Colby Itkowitz

Trump wasted little time at a campaign rally in Arizona attacking Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at his Department of Homeland Security who revealed himself as the administration insider critic “Anonymous,” calling Taylor a “sleazebag” and a “low-life” whom he didn’t know.

If you heard about Anonymous, it was like somebody that was right next to me. I thought it might have been Hope Hicks, I thought it might have been Jared, I thought it might have been Mike Lee, from the great state of Utah. I was extremely worried,” Trump said mockingly.

After Taylor anonymously penned a scathing op-ed about Trump in the New York Times, Trump called it treason. At the rally, Trump said Taylor “should be prosecuted,” though he didn’t cite the offense.

Earlier, Trump had tweeted: “Who is Miles Taylor? Said he was “anonymous”, but I don’t know him - never even heard of him. Just another @nytimes SCAM - he worked in conjunction with them. Also worked for Big Tech’s @Google. Now works for Fake News @CNN. They should fire, shame, and punish everybody associated with this FRAUD on the American people!”

Shortly after Taylor revealed himself as “Anonymous,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also issued a statement denigrating him.

“This low-level, disgruntled former staffer is a liar and a coward who chose anonymity over action and leaking over leading. He was ineffective and incompetent during his time as DHS Chief of Staff which is why he was promptly fired after only serving in this role for a matter of weeks,” she said, dismissing him as a “low-ranking official.”

October 28, 2020 at 6:31 PM EDT
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Trump stops at two of his own properties in one day

By David Fahrenthold and Josh Dawsey

President Trump appears to be ending his 2020 campaign as he began it — by visiting his own for-profit businesses. On Wednesday, he was expected to visit two in the same day.

Trump stayed overnight Tuesday at his hotel in Las Vegas, then held a news conference at the hotel Wednesday. He was scheduled to spend Wednesday night in Miami, at his own Trump Doral resort.

Trump began raising money for his 2020 campaign in June 2017, at his own D.C. hotel. Since then, the president has visited his own properties more than 280 times. Often, those visits brought his company revenue from the U.S. government, his own campaign or both.

In all, Trump’s company has received at least $8.1 million from the two groups combined, according to records obtained by The Washington Post.

This week, a conservative group is hoping that the president will make another visit to one of his properties.

On Thursday and Friday, the Republican Party of Palm Beach County is planning a two-night “Lincoln Day” dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. The event was originally planned for March, then rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, party chairman Michael A. Barnett, said they had split the 700-person gala into two nights, because Mar-a-Lago was restricting ballroom crowds.

Barnett said that added some costs to the price of the event, which he’d estimated in past years as $100,000 to $150,000.

Electorally, it would not seem to make sense for Trump — trailing in polls — to spend a precious night in the last days of the campaign mingling with paying customers at his own property.

But Barnett said they were holding out hope.

“I knew he’s going to have a rally in Tampa” on Thursday, Barnett said. “It’s just a hop, skip and a jump across the state.”

When the Trump campaign was asked how much money the campaign has spent at Trump properties this week alone, and how much it expects to spend at Doral and Mar-a-Lago later in the week, communications director Tim Murtaugh responded by email Wednesday evening: "The President will be holding boisterous rallies in 10 states in the final week, with 11 events in the final 48 hours alone.”

October 28, 2020 at 6:19 PM EDT
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Trump’s false claim that counting ballots after Election Day is illegal ‘shows his lack of patriotism,’ Pelosi says

By Felicia Sonmez

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday denounced Trump’s incorrect claim that it is illegal for states to count mail-in ballots after Election Day, declaring that “the votes will be counted until they’re finished being counted.”

In an interview with MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, Pelosi suggested that by making such comments, Trump “is just trying to gin up his base so that he can save face when he suffers a defeat that is coming toward him.”

“The easiest thing for him to do is to stand up like a man and accept the results of an election of the American people,” Pelosi said. “For him to make these kinds of statements shows his lack of patriotism, his undermining of our elections, while he allows foreign countries like his friend Putin to undermine the integrity of our election. He himself is doing it as well.”

Earlier Wednesday, Trump told reporters in Las Vegas that “hopefully the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after Nov. 3 to count ballots, that won’t be allowed by the various courts.”

Mohyeldin also asked Pelosi during Wednesday’s interview in which two states she would like to see Biden campaign this weekend.

“Well, I always like to have a guarantee, so I would say I would campaign in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin,” Pelosi responded. “I would make it three so that we have a big, strong victory.”

And asked about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent statement to the New York Times praising his own ability to shepherd three Supreme Court nominees through the Senate during Trump’s presidency, Pelosi sharply criticized the Kentucky Republican.

“Mitch McConnell is not a force for good in our country,” Pelosi said, accusing McConnell of rushing a “justice into the Supreme Court in a way that dishonors the court and dishonors Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

October 28, 2020 at 5:13 PM EDT
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As U.S. coronavirus cases continue to climb, Trump ramps up ridicule of masks

By Felicia Sonmez

At a campaign rally in Bullhead City, Ariz., Wednesday afternoon, Trump trotted out a new line of attack — against face coverings.

The president’s broadside comes as the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the United States has been climbing. The seven-day rolling average of new cases topped 70,000 Tuesday, eclipsing previous records set at the height of the pandemic’s first wave.

In his remarks Wednesday, Trump appeared to be mocking a tweet by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) office over the weekend advising residents of the state to “keep your mask on in between bites” when dining out at a restaurant.

“In California, you have a special mask. You cannot under any circumstances take it off. You have to eat through the mask,” Trump said. “It’s a — right? … It’s a very complex mechanism. And they don’t realize those germs, they go through it like nothing. They look at you with that contraption, and they say, ‘That’s an easy one. I’m going right through with the food.’ ”

As the crowd laughed, Trump continued.

“And boy, you know, when you have spaghetti and meat sauce, that mask is not looking — you walk out, it looks like you got into a fight with Dana White,” Trump said, referring to the Ultimate Fighting Championship president, a longtime Trump supporter and friend.

October 28, 2020 at 4:33 PM EDT
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Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa cancels campaign stops after some staff were exposed to the coronavirus

By David Weigel

URBANDALE, Iowa — With less than a week to go before the elections, Democrat Theresa Greenfield canceled a day of campaign stops. The reason: Some of her campaign staff came in contact with a person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The candidate herself tested negative, but an RV that was supposed to take her from the Des Moines exurbs to Sioux City would stay put.

“The best part of campaigning is getting out there to meet everyone, and listen and learn from them,” Greenfield said in a phone interview Wednesday. “But the bottom line is that this virus has disrupted all of our lives; certainly, here in Iowa where infection rates are so high, we’ve been clear all along that we’re working hard to follow public health experts and their advice. And we know that Iowans are making sacrifices during this pandemic.”

Like much of the country, Iowa has seen a spike in coronavirus cases over the past week. But the state’s response to the pandemic had already become a political firefight, with Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds resisting calls for a mask mandate and declining to issue a stay-at-home order — one of few governors who never did so.

Reynolds’s approach has been popular with Republicans, who compare Iowa’s relatively low spike in unemployment with the larger increase in states that instituted lockdowns and long-lasting restrictions on businesses. On Tuesday, Reynolds joined Donald Trump Jr. and congressional candidate Ashley Hinson for an indoor rally that filled much of Cedar Rapids’s Veterans Memorial building, with some attendees wearing masks and many opting not to. On Wednesday night, Reynolds will join Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) at a “Trump Parade and Freedom Rally” in the Des Moines suburbs, though attendees are expected to stay in their cars.

October 28, 2020 at 3:55 PM EDT
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‘Anonymous’ critic of Trump White House revealed as Miles Taylor, former Homeland Security chief of staff

By Colby Itkowitz and Josh Dawsey

Miles Taylor, the ex-chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security who has spent the last two months building a case against reelecting President Trump, revealed himself Wednesday to be the presidential critic from inside the administration known only as “Anonymous.”

Taylor wrote in a Medium post revealing his identity that his criticisms of Trump were “widely held among officials at the highest levels of the federal government. In other words, Trump’s own lieutenants were alarmed by his instability.”

Using the nom de plume, Taylor first wrote a scathing New York Times op-ed in 2018 purporting to be among a group of people inside the administration working to protect the country from the president. The essay sent shock waves through Washington and set off a years-long guessing game of who might be its author. “Anonymous” reemerged in 2019 with a buzzy tell-all book, “A Warning,” that described a chaotic and reckless president who posed a threat to America.

October 28, 2020 at 3:55 PM EDT
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President Trump’s questions about mail-in ballots, answered

By Monica Akhtar

With six days left until Election Day, Trump is still questioning the legitimacy of voting by mail.

At a rain-soaked rally Tuesday in Lansing, Mich., the president, as he often does, asked the crowd rhetorical questions about voting by mail: “Who’s sending them? Where are they going? Who’s sending them back?”

Here’s a video that answers those questions.

October 28, 2020 at 3:24 PM EDT
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Trump says he hopes courts won’t allow states to count ballots after Election Day

By Felicia Sonmez

Trump on Wednesday said he hopes the country’s courts won’t allow for the counting of ballots after Election Day — his most direct criticism to date of what has been standard practice in U.S. elections.

“We’ll see what happens at the end of the day. Hopefully it won’t go longer than that. Hopefully the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after Nov. 3 to count ballots, that won’t be allowed by the various courts,” Trump told reporters at an event in Las Vegas before leaving for a campaign rally in Arizona.

Earlier Wednesday, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) disputed recent suggestions by Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh that it is improper to count ballots after Election Day, urging Americans to “keep voting.”

In an exchange with reporters outside the White House on Tuesday, Trump falsely claimed that it would be unlawful for states to count mail-in ballots received after Election Day.

“It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3 instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate, and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws,” Trump said.

Kavanaugh, meanwhile, has come under fire this week for his concurring opinion in a case in which 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 key battleground state of Wisconsin.

“States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election,” Kavanaugh wrote. “And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.”

In their statement Wednesday, Klobuchar and Sanders said that Kavanaugh’s opinion “contains incorrect information regarding voting.”

“In America, we count the votes to determine who wins an election,” the senators said. “Despite the incorrect assertions from President Trump and Justice Kavanaugh, election officials across the country accept ballots well after Election Day every year, and results are not certified until the votes are counted and a canvas to confirm the results is conducted. Absentee ballots counted after election day do not ‘flip the results of an election,’ as Justice Kavanaugh claimed. They are the results of the election.”

The two senators noted that more than 20 states require that ballots postmarked by Election Day must be counted even if they are received after Election Day.

“This is critical to ensuring that those who may face hardships in voting, including members of our military serving abroad and those affected by covid-19, are not disenfranchised by things like mail delays,” they said. “These are not new rules and they do not serve any political party. It is on all of us to reject misinformation and to tell the truth. … The best defense against those trying to undermine our democracy is the resolve of the American people, who are voting by the millions as we speak. Keep voting.”

Robert Barnes contributed to this report.

October 28, 2020 at 3:09 PM EDT
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Maryland man arrested for trying to vote without a mask has sued, saying his rights were violated

By Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox

A retired Maryland correctional officer has sued his county Board of Elections and sheriff’s office after being arrested at his polling place on Monday for not wearing a mask.

Daniel Swain, 52, accuses Harford County election officials of “illegally interfering with and suppressing” his right to vote. He filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Harford County Circuit Court and is seeking a temporary restraining order that would prohibit the election board from requiring voters to wear a mask to vote as a way of limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Swain is also seeking monetary damages and an order that would require the defendants to pay for and receive “Constitutional voting rights training.”

“I feel disenfranchised,” he said in an interview.

Swain is represented by Del. Daniel L. Cox, a Republican who represents Frederick and Carroll counties and has filed a lawsuit of his own against Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration over his stay-at-home orders, which also were designed to curtail the covid-19 pandemic.