NBA All-Star offers up personal training facility as voting center
From CNN’s Cesar Marin
The Denver Nuggets Paul Millsap, who is currently playing in the NBA Western Conference Finals, has announced a partnership with Georgia’s DeKalb County to provide his personal training facility, CORE4, as an election vote center from Oct. 12 through Oct. 30.
“I chose to wear ‘Vote' on my Denver Nuggets jersey during the 2020 NBA Playoffs to demonstrate my personal passion for the cause,” Millsap said in a news release. “However, I was compelled to do more. So, I’m proud to provide access to the CORE4 facility as an early voting polling location in the DeKalb community.”
Millsap is also part of the “I am a Voter” campaign, with the hopes to create a cultural shift around voting and civic engagement.
He said he plans to honor the life of Congressman John Lewis by encouraging students to be part of the “Good Trouble” mantra that Lewis famously coined.
7:48 p.m. ET, September 24, 2020
White House chief of staff says he fully expects "a peaceful transition of power"
From CNN's Josiah Ryan
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows today said he fully expects a peaceful transition of power following the election, despite President Trump again declining to commit to relinquishing the presidency if he is defeated in November.
"If it's free and fair, we'll accept the will of the American people," said Meadows, speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, adding, "we believe that will be the re-election of Donald Trump."
When pressed by Blitzer, Meadows said he believed Trump would also support a peaceful transition, as long the Constitution was upheld in the process.
“As long as we’re upholding the Constitution... I fully expect that we’ll have a peaceful transition of power that the President not only will support but Americans across the country will support," he said.
At a news conference Wednesday, Trump again declined to guarantee a peaceful transfer if he loses to Joe Biden.
"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," Trump said when asked whether he'd commit to a peaceful transition, one of the cornerstones of American democracy. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
Trump has previously refused to say whether he would accept the election results, echoing his sentiments from 2016. And Trump has joked — he says —about staying in office well past the constitutionally bound two terms.
Watch the moment:
7:18 p.m. ET, September 24, 2020
Boston's historic Fenway Park will serve as early voting center
From CNN’s Cesar Marin
Boston’s historic Fenway Park hasn’t hosted spectators for baseball games in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic, but for two days in October, the city’s residents will be able to visit the ballpark while casting their vote in the US presidential election.
The Boston City Election Commission on Thursday approved the use of the Boston Red Sox home as an early voting location on Oct. 17 and 18.
“We are thankful to the City and the Election Commission for giving us the opportunity to open our doors to our community for this important undertaking,” said Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy. “Voting is one of the best ways to support and champion the issues and policies we value and what better way for the Red Sox to help with that effort than to open up our ballpark for Boston residents to cast their early ballots.”
Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Nationals Park in Washington, DC, have also been approved as voting venues. The NBA says the league has 21 team facilities set to host voting-related activities.
6:24 p.m. ET, September 24, 2020
Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power is "very disappointing," McMaster says
From CNN's Leinz Vales
Former United States National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Thursday that President Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power after Election Day is "very disappointing."
"Really this is something that our founders feared," McMaster said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We all have to demand that our leaders restore confidence in our democratic principles and institutions and processes. Of course, it's the administration who has responsibility to secure the election process. There's been a lot of work done within that administration to do it after the lessons of the 2016 election."
On Wednesday, Trump was asked whether he would not commit to a peaceful transition of power and he said, "Well, we're going to have to see what happens."
"Our elections have been under attack in the past," McMaster added. "Let's not attack them ourselves. Let's come together as Americans and execute a process that we can have confidence in."
The retired United States Army lieutenant general went on to echo America's most senior general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who told Congress in a letter released in August that the military will not play a role in November's election and won't help settle any disputes if the results are contested.
"Those who suggest that the military would have any role in transition, they are being equally irresponsible," McMaster said. "The military should have nothing to do with partisan politics and nothing to do with even any talk about a transition between administrations."
4:32 p.m. ET, September 24, 2020
Ohio governor to issue proclamation activating 300 National Guard members ahead of presidential debate
From CNN's Gisela Crespo
Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday tweeted he will issue a proclamation activating around 300 state National Guard members ahead of Tuesday's first presidential debate in Cleveland.
The guard members will assist Cleveland police to "ensure a safe and secure environment for those attending Tuesday’s presidential debate," DeWine said in the tweet.
During a news briefing, DeWine said, "Last night Cleveland officials sent a formal request for us to make available our National Guard and we are granting that. In the past, when we've been asked for help by any of our cities, we've been able to supply the National Guard."
Read the governor's tweet:
4:37 p.m. ET, September 24, 2020
Trump to sign health care executive orders
From CNN's Maegan Vazquez
President Trump will sign a series of executive orders on health care Thursday as part of an announcement about his larger health care vision for the country, according to administration officials who conducted a call with reporters Thursday afternoon.
“Today the President will sign executive orders that direct HHS to take tangible steps toward delivering on the health care plan he’s laid out for America — better care, more choice and lower costs,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. “In addition, the President will be laying out his broader plan for American health care and announcing other major steps to deliver lower health care costs following his drug pricing executive order in August.”
According to Azar, the executive actions will address individuals with preexisting conditions and surprise medical billing.
“The President is declaring that it is the policy of the United States to provide protections to ensure that Americans with preexisting conditions are protected regardless of whether the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, and its protections of preexisting conditions invalidated,” Azar said.
Some context: Today's announcements on executive actions still don't offer comprehensive details of a long-promised health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. The President has promised since 2017 that his plan would be released soon, but the administration has blown through a number of self-imposed deadlines to produce a plan.
The latest deadline set by the White House is less than two months before the 2020 election, but there is virtually no chance the legislation will be approved by Congress and ready for Trump to sign before Nov. 3.
Trump's attempts to replace the Affordable Care Act while in office go back to 2017, when efforts to pass a Republican health care bill backed by the White House fell apart. GOP lawmakers have shied away from tackling the issue since then.
Still, the President has repeatedly promised to unveil a new health care bill.
In an interview with Fox News this July, Trump said he would be signing a "full and complete health care plan" within two weeks. And in an Aug. 3 press briefing, Trump said his health care plan would most likely be released before the end of the month.
And at an ABC town hall last week, Trump said that his health care plan is "all ready."
"We're going to be doing a health care plan very strongly and protect people with pre-existing conditions," he said. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters last week that an Obamacare-alternative health care plan will be rolled out sometime "before the election."
5:18 p.m. ET, September 24, 2020
Trump tries to cast doubt on election honesty
From CNN's Jason Hoffman
President Trump said he’s not sure November’s election will be honest with unsolicited ballots, again casting doubt as to whether he would accept the results of the election.
Asked if the election results would only be legitimate if he wins, Trump did not answer, instead saying “we have to be very careful with the ballots,” calling mail-in voting a scam.
“We have to be very careful with the ballots, the ballots, that’s a whole big scam,” Trump told reporters before departing the White House on Thursday. “You know they found I understand eight ballots in a waste paper basket in some location,” he added referring to announcement, the Justice Department made about potential issues with a small number of mail-in ballots” in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
“We want to make sure the elections is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be, I don’t know that it can be with this whole situation, unsolicited ballots, they’re unsolicited, millions being sent to everybody,” Trump added.
His claims about unsolicited ballots are not accurate.
Facts First: While some sources estimate there will be around 80 million ballots submitted by mail this year, the President is wrong to suggest that they are all somehow unsolicited. In 41 of 50 states, voters have to request their ballot by mail before being sent one, with only a handful of states automatically sending mail-in ballots to all registered voters.
Trump also criticized Hillary Clinton for telling Joe Biden not to accept the results of the election. Of course, Clinton is not running for president this year and Trump is.
His comments about an “honest election” come one day after he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election. "Well, we're going to have to see what happens," Trump said at a Wednesday news conference.
Earlier on Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not explicitly say Trump would accept the results of the election, only saying Trump would “accept the results of a free and fair election.” However the President himself continues to cast doubt on whether he will view this election as “free and fair.”
Watch the moment:
5:04 p.m. ET, September 24, 2020
DOJ investigating "discarded" ballots in Pennsylvania
From CNN's Ross Levitt
The US Attorney’s Office removed its initial news release regarding an investigation into “discarded” ballots in Pennsylvania and issued a new one that changed some of the facts. The new release said seven of the ballots were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The initial release had said all nine were cast for Trump.
“Two of the discarded ballots had been resealed inside their appropriate envelopes by Luzerne elections staff prior to recovery by the FBI and the contents of those 2 ballots are unknown,” the new statement said.
Reached by CNN’s Kelly Mena, the US Attorney’s Office acknowledged that there was a new release, but had no further comment on the investigation.
The Luzerne District Attorney’s office tells CNN the ballots were general election ballots.
This post has been updated with new details on the US Attorney’s Office investigation into “discarded” ballots in Pennsylvania.
3:29 p.m. ET, September 24, 2020
Senate unanimously passes resolution reaffirming commitment to "orderly and peaceful transfer of power"
From CNN's Phil Mattingly
The US Senate on Thursday agreed unanimously to state the obvious – that the chamber is committed to the orderly and peaceful transition of power – even if President Trump has declined to do just that.
A day after Trump appeared to call into question a bedrock democratic principle, the chamber passed, by unanimous consent, a resolution that “reaffirms its commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States; and intends that there should be no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the US."
The resolution, offered by Sen. Joe Manchin, comes after Republicans were deluged by questions throughout the day Thursday about Trump’s comments. Most Republicans expressed little worry about them, repeatedly telling reporters the transition, if Trump were to lose in November, would be the same as it has been for centuries.
“It’s a shame that we have to come and reaffirm our commitment to our country, to our Constitution and who we are as a people,” Manchin said on the Senate floor. “Sometimes we hear things that challenge that, and we heard that yesterday and we were very concerned about that.”
Trump’s comments were enough to draw a rare tweet from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell related to comments made by the President.
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th,” McConnell tweeted. “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”
Asked if he took Trump seriously, McConnell responded: “That’s what my tweet was about. I think it pretty well sums up what I feel about it.”