Latest on 2020 election and SCOTUS battle

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:20 PM ET, Tue September 22, 2020
18 Posts
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1:09 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Julia Louis-Dreyfus urges Americans to register to vote and sign up to work polls 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Julia Louis-Dreyfus speaks at CNN’s Citizen virtual conference on September 22.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus speaks at CNN’s Citizen virtual conference on September 22. CNN

Actress and activist Julia Louis-Dreyfus encouraged Americans to register to vote and sign up to be poll workers on Tuesday during CNN’s Citizen virtual conference. 

“It's very fundamental but it's important because, particularly during this pandemic, if you do not have enough people working the polls, polls closed down. And of course, a lot of people who work the polls are older people, and they may be less inclined to sign up to work, given the Covid outbreak, understandably so. So the idea was to keep polls open for everybody. And to do that we need workers,” Louis-Dreyfus told CNN’s Jake Tapper. 

The Emmy-award winning star of the HBO show “Veep” directed viewers to go to the website of Power The Polls, an initiative to recruit poll workers. She also spoke about “vote tripling,” a mobilization tactic to increase voter turnout which involves encouraging three people in one’s personal orbit to vote. 

The former "Seinfeld" star, who has endorsed Joe Biden for president, has been vocal about her activism and recently hosted the final night of the Democratic National Convention.  

“I’ve known Joe Biden for a really long time now actually, and I believe in what he's doing and his message and his leadership, and I don't believe in the — what the other side is doing is democratic right now. So I thought, well, I have to sort of rise up, this is my patriotic duty to help out,” Louis-Dreyfus said. 

Louis-Dreyfus spoke about when Biden called her when she was diagnosed with cancer. 

She also spoke about her admiration and the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday. 

“We've got to carry on her legacy which is to say, getting people to vote, getting people to vote, getting people to vote,” Louis-Dreyfus said. 

Watch:

1:19 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Loretta Lynch calls out Barr for comments on racism and slavery

From CNN's Devan Cole

Loretta Lynch speaks at CNN’s Citizen virtual conference on September 22.
Loretta Lynch speaks at CNN’s Citizen virtual conference on September 22. CNN

Speaking during CNN’s Citizen Conference, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch called out current Attorney General William Barr for comments he made this summer about racism in the US and slavery.

Barr came under fire from Democrats in June after saying he didn’t think the country’s law enforcement system is systematically racist.

“It’s honestly, it’s tremendously sad and it’s a missed opportunity by the attorney general to truly understand the people whom he is supposed to and sworn to protect. So honestly I was quite disappointed to hear that statement coming from him,” Lynch told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during the event.

Lynch, who served as the first African American woman attorney general during part of the Obama administration, also blasted Barr for comparing coronavirus lockdowns in the US to slavery earlier this month.

“Again, just a tremendous missed opportunity by the attorney general,” she said of the comments, adding: “I find it fascinating that the attorney general recognizes the detrimental nature of slavery but for some reason cannot see the badges and incidents that flow today in the form of systemic racism in our society.”

Watch:

1:09 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Lindsey Graham says Judiciary committee plans to hold 3 days of hearings for a SCOTUS nominee in October

From CNN's Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav

Sen. Lindsey Graham walks in the Russell Senate Office Building on September 17.
Sen. Lindsey Graham walks in the Russell Senate Office Building on September 17. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday that the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold three days of hearings for the Supreme Court nominee in October.

“Yeah, trying to keep the process like we had before,” said Graham, chair of the committee, when asked if the committee will hold the traditional three days of hearings.

Graham, who is up for re-election in South Carolina, also touted Amy Coney Barrett, who has emerged as President Trump’s top choice to fill the late Justice Ginsburg’s seat.

“I think she’d be a great choice,” he told reporters. 

The South Carolina Republican also downplayed abortion as a key issue if Barrett is the nominee.

When CNN’s Manu Raju’s asked Graham if Barrett is chosen whether that would bring the issue of abortion front and center in the election, he replied: “I think every issue is gonna be thrown at the nominee.” 

11:33 a.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Biden campaign reacts to report that Putin is "probably directing" efforts aimed at undermining him

From CNN’s Zachary Cohen, Alex Marquardt and Sarah Mucha 

Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 2.
Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 2. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is reacting to the Washington Post report of a CIA assessment that Putin and his top aides "are aware of and probably directing Russia's influence operations" aimed at undermining the Democratic nominee in the 2020 election, saying that it is clear who Putin wants to win the election because "Donald Trump's foreign policy has been a gift to the Kremlin." 

In the statement, Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates adds that it is "tragic" that certain members of Congress are "so overcome by the most corrosive form of partisanship imaginable that they have chosen to be accessories to foreign influence operations against the very sovereignty of the United States.”

Here's the full statement from the Biden campaign:

“Donald Trump is weakening our nation by directly exacerbating the most severe crises we have faced in generations - costing over 200,000 Americans their lives and crashing the strong economy he inherited. He is dividing the country for perceived political gain, and undermining our most critical alliances in the world. This president is even giving Russia impunity for offering bounties to terrorists for murdering American troops. As Joe Biden has said for months, it is absolutely clear who Vladimir Putin wants to win this election — because Donald Trump's foreign policy has been a gift to the Kremlin. And it is tragic that certain members of Congress are so overcome by the most corrosive form of partisanship imaginable that they have chosen to be accessories to foreign influence operations against the very sovereignty of the United States.”
1:10 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

What you need to know about voter registration 

From CNN's Rachel Janfaza

It is National Voter Registration Day, and CNN is here to help guide you through the process. States require voters to register with election officials before casting a presidential ballot.

The system is different in every state. Some states offer online voter registration, but others do not. And deadlines are different everywhere.

About two-thirds of states require eligible voters to register before Election Day.

Those deadlines fall in the first few weeks of October:

  • October 5: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas. 
  • October 7: Missouri. 
  • October 9: Oklahoma, New York. 
  • October 10: Delaware. 
  • October 13: Kansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia.
  • October 16: Nebraska. 
  • October 19: Alabama, Pennsylvania, South Dakota. 
  • October 24: Massachusetts.

In the remaining states, eligible voters are able register on Election Day — although in most, voters are required to visit a polling location in person, which could present a challenge this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

You must re-register if you move. Use CNN's voter guide to check your voter registration status, change your existing registration, or find out how to register to vote in your state.

CNN spoke with Lauren Kunis, program director for National Voter Registration Day, about voter registration in 2020 and the history of voter registration in the US. The conversation, conducted over the phone and lightly edited for flow, can be read in full here.

1:11 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Romney on SCOTUS vote: "it's appropriate to look at the constitution and look at the precedent"

From CNN's From Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav

Sen. Mitt Romney attends a hearing in Washington, DC, on August 4.
Sen. Mitt Romney attends a hearing in Washington, DC, on August 4. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney signaled Tuesday he will support a Supreme Court nomination vote before the presidential election, filling the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.

“I think at this stage it’s appropriate to look at the constitution and look at the precedent,” Romney said in response to CNN’s Manu Raju’s question about the Republican party’s message in 2016, to let the voters decide, and why it’s appropriate now to not let the voters decide.

Romney declined to discuss a hypothetical of a lame duck session vote on the vacant seat if Trump loses the election.

“I'm not going to look at all the hypotheticals that might occur,” he said. “But I've laid out what I intend to do and that would be … not dependent upon the timing.”

Pressed further by CNN, Romney replied, “I’ve indicated what I intend to do is to proceed with the consideration process and if a nominee actually reaches the floor, that I will vote and based upon the qualifications of that nominee,”

Asked his view of Amy Coney Barrett, he said, “I haven’t reviewed her judicial record to this point. I would look forward to doing so if she’s the nominee.”

Romney also said that he recognizes “we may have a court which has more of a conservative bent than it's had over the last few decades … my liberal friends have over many decades gotten very used to the idea of having a liberal court and that's not written in the stars.”

He continued, “I know a lot of people are saying gosh we don't want that change, I understand the energy associated with that perspective. But it's also appropriate for a nation which is, if you will, center right to have a court which reflects center right points of view.”

His remarks come after the Utah senator released a statement signaling his support for an election year confirmation earlier Tuesday morning.

Watch:

1:11 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as Trump's favorite to fill Ginsburg's SCOTUS seat

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Ariane de Vogue, Kevin Liptak and Pamela Brown

Amy Coney Barrett speaks in May 2018 at the University of Notre Dame's Law School commencement ceremony in South Bend, Indiana.
Amy Coney Barrett speaks in May 2018 at the University of Notre Dame's Law School commencement ceremony in South Bend, Indiana. Robert Franklin/The South Bend Tribune/AP

Judge Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as President Donald Trump’s overwhelming favorite to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to several people familiar with the deliberations, who say the President’s view was solidified during a lengthy meeting at the White House on Monday.

Trump has not finalized his decision, and with days to go until he announces his pick at the end of the week, his thinking could change. 

But for now, Barrett — currently sitting on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago — is his clear front-runner and is viewed inside the White House as the likely nominee.

Officials said Trump seemed very enthusiastic about Barrett after their meeting, which lasted for several hours. He told people afterward he believes Barrett will be very well received by "his people," one official said. While no one close to the process would go so far as to say Barrett is the pick, Trump is giving people the impression he is completely sold on her.

Judge Barbara Lagoa remains on the list but multiple people familiar with the matter tell CNN that Trump is fading on her.  While Trump was initially enthused at the prospect of nominating a Cuban-American from Florida, a critical electoral battleground, Lagoa hasn’t been previously vetted for the Supreme Court and some advisers suggested it would be a heavy lift to clear a new name quickly. The White House may still schedule a meeting with Lagoa, but two sources said her chances have dimmed significantly since the weekend.

On Monday, Trump initially said he was considering five names for the high court vacancy before adding he was really focused only on “one or two” names.

Others on the list — including federal appeals court judges Joan Larsen and Allison Jones Rushing, and deputy White House counsel Kate Todd — are not considered serious contenders, particularly after it was learned inside the White House that Larsen volunteered for Joe Biden’s 1987 presidential campaign.

1:11 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Romney signals he's on board with confirming a Supreme Court justice in an election year

From CNN's Manu Raju and Clare Foran

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney speaks in Washington, DC, on September 22.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney speaks in Washington, DC, on September 22. Pool

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney signaled in a statement Tuesday that he's on board with an election year confirmation for a Supreme Court nominee, saying that if a nominee reaches the Senate floor then he will vote "based upon their qualifications."

Romney's decision provides the votes needed to move ahead with the process to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat. 

"The Constitution gives the President the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees. Accordingly, I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications," Romney said in a written statement. 

He also said: "The historical precedent of election year nominations is that the Senate generally does not confirm an opposing party’s nominee but does confirm a nominee of its own."

Watch:

1:11 p.m. ET, September 22, 2020

Trump says he will announce Supreme Court nominee Saturday at the White House

From CNN's Sam Fossum

President Trump said Tuesday morning that he will announce his Supreme Court pick on Saturday at the White House. He provided no further details.