Countdown to the midterms: 1 day out

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Brian Ries, Jessie Yeung and Sophie Tatum, CNN

Updated 1:26 p.m. ET, November 6, 2018
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3:30 p.m. ET, November 3, 2018

Trump claims Democrats want to give illegal immigrants the right to vote in order to “stay in office forever"

From CNN's Liz Stark

President Donald Trump took aim at the Democratic Party’s policies on illegal immigration, claiming that Democrats want to give illegal immigrants the right to vote in order to “stay in office forever.”

“The Democrat Party wants to sign illegal aliens up for free health care, free welfare, free education. And what do they really want? The right to vote. Because they figure that’s the way they stay in office forever,” Trump said.

The President later slammed Democrats who support getting rid of ICE and suggested people in Montana would be concerned about their safety if ICE is abolished.

“They want to get rid of ICE," Trump said. "Even you in Montana, you’re not going to be able to walk around. You’ll be locking those doors, you’ll be locking those windows.”

6:24 p.m. ET, November 3, 2018

Trump slams Tester for opposing Dr. Ronny Jackson’s nomination to lead VA

From CNN's Liz Stark

At a rally in Montana, President Donald Trump slammed Democratic Sen. Jon Tester for opposing Dr. Ronny Jackson’s nomination to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“He might be a nice guy, except he tried to destroy Admiral Ronny Jackson, who is the most clean-cut, wonderful person that you ever met. He tried to destroy him,” Trump said.
“And I’ve never forgotten it. And it’s honestly one of the reasons I’ve been here so much,” Trump added, as the Belgrade crowd cheered.

The President later questioned why Tester opposed Jackson’s nomination: “Jon Tester tried to ruin him, in order, what? In order so that I’d pick someone else to run the VA? What was the purpose of it?”

“It wasn’t a political threat," Trump continued. "Ronny didn’t even really want to do it in retrospect. I feel guilty because I’m the one that said you should do it, because I thought he’d do a great job.”

There is an ongoing Pentagon IG probe into allegations against Jackson.

2:58 p.m. ET, November 3, 2018

Trump on Democrats: "You know, they're lousy politicians and they have lousy policy, but they stick together"

From CNN's Bonney Kapp

President Donald Trump recognized that Democrats stick together well at his rally in Belgrade, Montana. 

Of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, Trump said, "You know, they're lousy politicians and they have lousy policy, but they stick together. one thing I'll say: they stick together. they really do, the Democrats." 

He noted how they stuck together during the Kavanaugh "hoax" as well as the "Russian hoax" that cost Hillary Clinton the election.

He also took the opportunity to knock his former rival, saying she didn't lose because of Russia.

"You gotta go and you got to campaign in Wisconsin. You got to campaign harder in Pennsylvania. You got to campaign in Michigan. You got to campaign harder in North Carolina. You know? Not Russia," he said. 

He continued, "They used that as an excuse for losing the electoral college," which he said is set up for Democrats to win.

"But you know what? Hopefully 2020 is gonna come along and we're going to do even better."

4:23 p.m. ET, November 3, 2018

Trump misleads crowd on Kavanaugh accusers, saying: "About rape, she lied, and we’re supposed to sit back and take it"

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

Rallying supporters in Montana on Saturday at an crisp airport rally outside Bozeman, President Donald Trump blasted Sen. Jon Tester for opposing Kavanaugh. 

"If crowds mean anything, we're going to have a great Tuesday -- that's for sure," Trump said. 

The President dwelled extensively on Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation — and repeatedly misled the crowd about the sexual misconduct allegations made against him, blaming Democrats for a "filthy, dirty lie."

He amplified the argument he made on Twitter earlier today, not mentioning the name of Kavanaugh's accusers but suggesting all have recanted their stories, which isn't true.

"One of his accusers just came out a little while ago and said it was all a lie and said she never met now Justice Kavanaugh. It was a made up story. She made up the story. It was a lie. It was a total like. It was fake. You know what fake means? It was fake. She lied about the story about rape. About rape, she lied And we’re supposed to sit back and take it."

He did not draw a distinction between Christine Ford and other women who made claims to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Correction: A previous version incorrectly used the word "recounted" instead of "recanted" in a suggestion made by the President on Kavanaugh accusers.

2:45 p.m. ET, November 3, 2018

Trump rallying in Montana for last minute push against Tester

President Donald Trump is in Big Sky Country this Saturday -- making this his fourth trip to Montana since July.

And he's there to campaign against Sen. Jon Tester.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports that Trump is more invested in Montana's Senate contest than almost any other, and that the President has not forgiven Tester for raising questions that ultimately led to the embarrassing withdrawal of Dr. Ronny Jackson, Trump's personal physician, as the nominee for secretary of veterans affairs.

This is the first of two rallies Trump will be speaking at on Saturday -- later he'll head to Florida.

2:13 p.m. ET, November 3, 2018

Biden on Trump: "Truth is truth. Honesty is honesty"

From CNN’s Arlette Saenz

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden reacted to President Donald Trump recently saying he tries to tell the truth when he can. 

“Did you hear him trying to explain honesty?” Biden asked in Parma Heights, Ohio. “No, no, no I’m not joking. He was on the air saying well honesty is — they’re trying to convince us that honesty is relative depending on where you stand. Truth is truth. Truth is truth. Honesty is honesty.”

Biden was in Ohio for the second time this week campaigning for Sen. Sherrod Brown and the Democratic nominees for governor and lieutenant governor, Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton.

Biden still seems to be recovering from laryngitis, sounding even more hoarse than days before. He joked about his raspy voice, saying he was trying to sound like Senator Sherrod Brown.

“My name’s Joe Biden and I have been in 22 states with 60 candidates, 11 cities in the last 4 days. And the reason I…tell you that is I wanted to get my voice so I could sound like Sherrod Brown,” Biden said.  

One of the moments where his voice is normally booming but instead sounded raspy and squeaky: 

“Ordinary people can do extraordinary things if given a chance. That’s what built this country. Ordinary people. Just give them half a chance to do it. We have to re-set the moral compass of this nation and we do that on Tuesday."

He seemed to save the most of his voice’s energy for his closing argument.

"We Democrats have to make it clear who we are. We choose hope over fear. We choose unity over division. We choose our allies over our enemies. And we choose truth over lies,” he said.

12:57 p.m. ET, November 3, 2018

Trump, Obama record robocalls for their parties ahead of Midterms

From CNN's Eric Bradner and Andrew Kaczynski

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama are both recording robocalls for their parties’ candidates ahead of Tuesday’s midterms. 

Trump recorded calls for the Republican Senate candidates in Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Tennessee and West Virginia through the Senate Leadership Fund, per an aide to the group. He also recorded one for Martha McSally in Arizona via Defend Arizona, another GOP super PAC backing Martha McSally.

Trump also recorded calls for the Republican National Committee and some House GOP candidates. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for a full list of candidates for whom Trump recorded get-out-the-vote robocalls.

Obama, meanwhile, recorded calls for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a county Democratic Party in Texas, Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and a slate of House candidates. 

His office declined to provide a list of candidates and committees for whom the former president has recorded calls, but said Obama has recorded a total of more than 50 robocalls, digital spots and radio ads.

12:34 p.m. ET, November 3, 2018

Racist robocall targets Stacey Abrams, Oprah in Georgia governor's race

From CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi

A white supremacist group that targeted Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum with racist robocalls is now targeting Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

What is it? The prerecorded phone message features a voice impersonating Oprah Winfrey, who was in Georgia on Thursday stumping for Abrams, and contains racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Abrams' Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, strongly denounced the automated call, calling it "absolutely disgusting" in a statement Friday.

Here's what Abrams' director of strategic communication, Abigail Collazo, said in a statement on Saturday morning:

"Over the last few weeks we've seen increasing desperation from many dark corners trying to steal the election, cheat, lie, and prey on people's fears rather than having the respect to listen to voters and speak to their hopes," Collazo said. She added that it was "pathetic" that Kemp "has only now suddenly decided to find a conscience as polls are tightening and Georgia voters are making it clear that they reject the kind of hate he and his allies have been spewing around the state. These automated calls are being sent into homes just days before President Trump arrives, reminding voters exactly who is promoting a political climate that celebrates this kind of vile, poisonous thinking."

Read more here.

2:18 p.m. ET, November 5, 2018

The Trump factor: 2018's real test

From CNN's Lauren Dezenski

Everything we know about midterm voters -- including that there will be less of them and they'll hail more from the parties' bases than in a presidential cycle -- means that the Trump factor will be on their minds at the polls.

"Both of these sides have been waiting for this moment since January 2017," professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University (and CNN contributor) Julian Zelizer told me about this year's midterm voters.

"These are people who have been encouraged or most aggravated by what's happening in the news." 

Because of that, for campaigns this year (and increasingly over the last few cycles) it's less about how to win voters over, but how to get the ones you want to the polls. Case in point: Trump's hard pivot to the immigration issue in the last week of the election in an attempt to rile up Republican voters.

"It's clear he's trying to activate his base," UNI political science professor Chris Larimer told me this week.

But will that strategy activate his base, or encourage those who dislike him? 

At least nationally, we have a picture of just how polarized voters are on Trump, thanks to polling from CNN and SSRS earlier this month. Among Democrats, 92% disapprove of Trump -- while 87% of Republicans approve of the President.

In key states like Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia on Election Day, the difference will ultimately come down to which side is bigger -- and who makes it to the polls.