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Biden challenges Senate Republicans in blistering Supreme Court speech

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Joe Biden on Sunday made an explicit plea to Senate Republicans not to vote on President Donald Trump’s forthcoming Supreme Court nominee ahead of the November election.

In a speech from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee accused Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of trying to engage in a “constitutional abuse” following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday.

“To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power,” Biden said. “I don’t believe the people of this nation will stand for it.”

Noting that voters “have already begun casting ballots” in some states, Biden said that “their voice should be heard.”

“I believe voters are going to make it clear they will not stand for this abuse of power,” he said. “Constitutional abuse.”

Biden said that should Trump submit a nominee, the Senate should not act until the November election is resolved.

“If Donald Trump wins the election — then the Senate should move on his selection — and weigh that nominee fairly,” Biden said. “But if I win the election, President Trump’s nomination should be withdrawn.”

He called on Senate Republicans to help “de-escalate” tensions in the country and to follow their “conscious,” saying they should “cool the flames that have been engulfing our country.”

“I’m speaking to those Republicans out there, Senate Republicans, who know deep down what is right for the country and consistent with the Constitution,” he said. “Not just what’s best for their party.”

While Biden said he would not be releasing a list of potential nominees he would put forward, like Trump, the former vice president again hinted that his nominee would be a Black woman. He said however that by releasing a list of potential picks, he could give the appearance of improperly influencing their decision-making while exposing them to political attacks.

Biden said he would make his Supreme Court choice “based on what prior presidents have done” and pledged to consult with both Democratic and Republican senators.

Biden spoke after Trump earlier this weekend pledged to quickly fill Ginsburg’s seat with a female nominee. An early frontrunner is Amy Coney Barrett, a 48-year-old federal appeals court judge who was also on Trump’s list to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018.

McConnell, meanwhile, has pledged a swift confirmation process amid criticism from Biden and other leading Democrats that he is being hypocritical in light of his 2016 efforts to thwart then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge. McConnell then refused to hold any hearings related to Garland’s nomination, saying months ahead of that year’s election that the voters should have a voice in the selection.

McConnell and other Republicans defended the change of tone, pointing to Republican control of both the White House and Senate — one-party control was not the case in 2016.

“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term,” he said in a statement. “We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.”

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh echoed McConnell in a Sunday statement.

“Voters elected Donald J. Trump president in 2016 and gave Republicans an expanded majority in 2018, so the people already have spoken,” he said. “The president has placed two well-qualified justices on the court so far and he is about to select a third.”

With just over a month until the election, Democrats are scrambling to figure out how they can prevent the president from filling the seat before Nov. 3. With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, four Republicans will need to voice opposition to a pre-election confirmation in order to thwart it — so long as no Democrats break ranks.

Two Republican senators — Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have already come out against voting on a nominee before the election. But Republicans could still confirm such a pick during a lame-duck session of Congress, should Biden win.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sunday would not rule out impeaching Trump or Attorney General William Barr if the Senate seeks to push through such a nomination during a lame-duck session. And in a call with Democratic senators Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., suggested an openness to expanding the court if Trump’s upcoming pick is seated to the bench and Democrats retake the White House and Senate in the November election

While judicial activism has moved Republican voters to the polls for years, recent polling shows the judiciary is an issue that is galvanizing Democrats in 2020.

On Sunday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 62 percent of American adults believe the vacancy should be filled by the winner of the fall election while 23 percent disagreed. Split into party affiliation, eight of 10 Democrats and five in 10 Republicans agreed with that statement.



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'We're not putting on super-spreaders': Biden discusses his campaign plans

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Joe Biden was questioned on his plans to travel across the country in the final days of the campaign and how it compares to the rallies President Trump has been holding.

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Oh dear Micheal! No deal Brexit a hammer blow for 'jinxed' Irish leader, says ex-diplomat

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IRELAND’s Taoiseach Micheal Martin is “desperate” for the UK and the EU to strike a post-Brexit trade agreement, and if a deal fails to materialise it will confirm in the minds of many Irish voters that his Government is “jinxed”, a former top diplomat has said.

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Biden, Trump campaigns push in battleground states

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Putin rejects Trump’s criticism of Hunter Biden’s business

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that he saw nothing criminal in Hunter Biden’s past business ties with Ukraine or Russia, marking out his disagreement with one of Donald Trump’s attack lines in the U.S. presidential election. 

Trump, who is trailing in opinion polls, has accused his Democratic challenger Joe Biden and his son Hunter of engaging in unethical practices in Ukraine. No evidence has been verified to support the allegations, and Joe Biden has called them false and discredited.

“Yes, in Ukraine he [Hunter Biden] had or maybe still has a business, I don’t know. It doesn’t concern us. It concerns the Americans and the Ukrainians,” Putin said in remarks broadcast by Russian state TV, taking the time to knock down what he made clear he regarded as false allegations from Trump about the Bidens.

“But well yes he had at least one company, which he practically headed up, and judging from everything he made good money. I don’t see anything criminal about this, at least we don’t know anything about this [being criminal].”

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Lesley Stahl challenges Pence on Trump’s ’60 Minutes’ meltdown

“60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl challenged Vice President Pence on President Trump’s decision to storm out of his interview with the program on Tuesday.

Trump last week released unedited footage of the interview, which aired in full Sunday night as part of a series with Trump, Joe Biden and their running mates.

“What just happened with the president?” Stahl asked Pence, who then defended Trump as “a man who speaks his mind.”

“But he walked out,” Stahl responded.

The show also aired footage of the aftermath of Trump’s exit when White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany offered the host a book she said contained the president’s health care plan.

Stahl told viewers that the book, while “heavy” and “filled with executive orders” and congressional actions, did not contain a comprehensive health care plan.

Trump travel anticipates a race potentially decided by a single Electoral College vote

President Trump is spending precious time in the final days of the 2020 campaign in places with just a single Electoral College vote at stake — a sign of just how close an election his campaign is expecting.

With nine days to go, Trump traveled Sunday to Maine, and planned to go to Nebraska on Tuesday. Unlike most states, which tend to utilize a winner-takes-all system, Maine and Nebraska divide up their Electoral College votes, giving two to the winner of the statewide vote and one vote to the winner of each congressional district.

While most of the attention this year has been on traditional battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania, both campaigns have included Maine and Nebraska — places typically off the beaten campaign path — in their last-minute push, with the Trump team citing possible scenarios where the election could come down to one or two Electoral College votes.

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Harris to campaign in Texas, but Trump won’t visit before election

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is expected to campaign in Texas on Friday, likely making stops in Houston and in the Forth Worth area, a source familiar with the planning told NBC News.

Harris had originally planned to visit Texas last weekend but had to cancel after her communications director tested positive for Covid-19.

This news comes on the same day a Dallas Morning News/UT-Tyler poll shows Biden leading Trump in Texas 48% to 45% (within the margin of error).

Meanwhile, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who also served as Trump’s secretary of energy, told reporters on a campaign call that Trump would not be in Texas before Election Day.

Trump “will be in battleground states,” Perry said. “Texas is not a battleground state.”

 

Trump struggles to stay on message during 90-minute New Hampshire speech

Trump on Sunday meandered his way through a roughly 90-minute campaign speech before a rally in New Hampshire on Sunday, touching on everything from his concerns about voting in Pennsylvania to negotiations over a new Air Force One.

“We have plenty of time today,” Trump said. “Is there any football game? We don’t watch football as much anymore.”

Speaking about his recovery from Covid-19, the crowd began chanting “Super Trump.” The president suggested he may not have needed substantial medical assistance when fighting the illness.

“Maybe I didn’t need it but I’m happy I took that Regeneron,” Trump said. “Regeneron. Superman.”

The president attacked Joe Biden, at one point playing a video reel of comments Biden has made over time. But he also took aim at some of his other favorite Democratic punching bags, including his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Health experts raise concerns about Pence events after aides test positive for Covid

Health policy specialists questioned White House officials’ claim that federal rules on essential workers allow Vice President Mike Pence to continue to campaign and not quarantine himself after being exposed to the coronavirus.

Campaigning is not an official duty that might fall under the guidelines meant to ensure that police, first responders and key transportation and food workers can still perform jobs that cannot be done remotely, the health experts said.

A Pence aide said Sunday that the vice president would continue to work and travel, including for campaigning, after his chief of staff and some other close contacts tested positive. Pence tested negative on Sunday and decided to keep traveling after consulting White House medical personnel, his aides said.

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