Live Updates

The latest on the 2020 election and SCOTUS battle

Updated 12:57 PM EDT, Mon September 28, 2020
Avlon: This is evidence of a broken system

What we covered here

  • Trump’s taxes: President Trump paid no income taxes in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000, according to a New York Times report. Trump denied the story and claimed that he pays “a lot” in federal income taxes.
  • SCOTUS fight: Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee, formally kicking off a contentious battle over the fate of the court.
  • The first debate: Joe Biden and Trump will face off tomorrow in the first presidential debate.

Our live coverage has ended. Read more about the 2020 election here.

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Trump and Biden will debate tomorrow. Here's what we know about the event.

Audio technician Dan McNeil participates in a sound check during a rehearsal for the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio,
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Audio technician Dan McNeil participates in a sound check during a rehearsal for the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio,

Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Trump are set to square off for the first time on stage tomorrow.

All debates are scheduled to take place from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET on their respective dates without commercial breaks.

Here’s what we know about the first debate:

  • Who is moderating: Fox News’ Chris Wallace
  • Where it’s happening: Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Key topics: Wallace selected the following topics for the first debate: “The Trump and Biden Records,” “The Supreme Court,” “Covid-19,” “The Economy,” “Race and Violence in our Cities” and “The Integrity of the Election.”
  • The format: Each segment will last about 15 minutes, and the candidates will have two minutes to respond after the moderator opens each segment with a question. Wallace will then use the rest of the time in the segment to facilitate further discussion on the topic, according to the commission.
  • Coronavirus measures: The size of the audience will be limited compared to previous debates, and everyone attending the debate at Case Western Reserve University will undergo testing for Covid-19 and follow other health safety protocols. The candidates will forego giving each other a handshake. Peter Eyre, a senior adviser for the Commission on Presidential Debates, said the candidates also won’t exchange handshakes with the moderator. Once on stage in Cleveland, Ohio, the three men will not wear masks.

White House press secretary: "The President has done enough preparation" for Tuesday's debate

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said “the President has done enough preparation” ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday night, in her third television appearance on Monday.

McEnany said in an interview with Fox News that Trump is “ready to go,” pointing to a “few sessions” with personal attorney and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as well as his experience daily taking “the most hostile of questions” from White House reporters.

“As he noted yesterday it was with Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and others so he has had some sessions to prep but really and we lean very hard on this, you can’t have better preparation than taking the most hostile of questions from the White House press corps each and every day, multiple cases, and oftentimes on the way to the plane, the back from the plane in the press briefing room, but he has done some additional prep and he is ready to go for tomorrow,” McEnany said.

Asked to react to Democratic party candidate Joe Biden saying he anticipates the debate to be a “straight attack” and that Trump “doesn’t know how to debate the facts because he’s not that smart,” McEnany called it a “ridiculous statement.”

She said tomorrow’s debate will be a “comparison.”

“It is a contrast — this President has three and a half years of the results to stand on that now includes Middle East peace, and he will be making that case,” she argued.

White House is "not at all" concerned about NYT report on Trump's taxes, spokesperson says

 Ken Cedeno/Sipa/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday night, White House communications director Alyssa Farah told Fox Business that President Trump is “excited” and reiterated that “every day is prep for him.”

Farah said Monday the White House is “not at all” concerned that the New York Times report on Trump’s tax returns will sway voters.

She also touted how Trump donates his “full salary back to the American taxpayer,” he is “working as the President for free, which is incredible – and not something that his opponent can say.” 

She slammed the report as fake and a “partisan hit job.”

Pressed on how specifically the Times report is not accurate, she claimed it “paints a snapshot” and only points to a “handful of properties.”

“But the point being this: he has followed the law,” she argued. 

On Trump asking Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to take a drug test ahead of their first debate, Farah said Trump is “absolutely willing” to take a drug test and “the President has been very transparent about his health records.”

Trump campaign to GOP members: Do not underestimate Biden

On the eve of Tuesday’s presidential debate, the Trump campaign is warning Republican members of Congress not to underestimate Joe Biden’s debate performance.

“Yes, Biden’s alertness may be suspect but do not underestimate his abilities in a debate. This may be where he shines,” the campaign said in an email sent to GOP staff, obtained by CNN, Monday afternoon.

The directive is another example of the Trump campaign seeking to set expectations for Biden’s performance.

The campaign cites Biden’s “47 years of practice,” including this year’s primary debates, his vice presidential debates, his three runs for president, and his 43 years in the Senate. The email also said that Biden is “very well rested and prepared,” again calling attention to his light schedule over the past several days.

“As your members preview and/or react to the debate, please consider incorporating these points,” the email encouraged staffers.

The email was first reported by The Hill.

Harris frames SCOTUS fight about the future of health care

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris arrives at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday.
Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris arrives at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris framed the looming fight to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a nomination whose implications will reverberate far beyond this election in remarks on the court in Raleigh, North Carolina.

She also broke down the threat Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation poses on the Affordable Care Act with an emphasis on women’s choice, voting rights and the ability for families to make a living wage. 

Harris said President Trump and Republicans in ignoring Ginsburg’s dying wish for the next elected president to choose her replacement, are not listening to her or the will of American voters. The senator made sure to tie the President’s party in with his decision nearly every mention.

“We’re not even debating whether the Senate should hold hearings on a nominee and an election year. We’re in the middle of an election. An ongoing election. Almost a million Americans have already voted, and more will vote this week and next week. And in just a few weeks, all Americans will have voted. But President Trump and his party don’t care. They just want to jam this nomination through as fast as they can. It’s called raw power, she said, calling on Americans to make it “very clear” how they feel about being cut out of the nomination process at the ballot box.

Using her name directly, Harris said Barrett’s confirmation would be undoing Ginsburg’s life’s work—both on ACA and Roe v. Wade, an effort to mobilize women voters. But she did not say whether or not she would meet with the judge.

“But now President Trump has nominated judge Amy Coney Barrett, and we know where Judge Barrett stands on the on the Affordable Care Act,” she said.

“If nothing else, the voters should be very clear about one thing— President Trump and his party and Judge Barrett will overturn the Affordable Care Act, and they won’t stop there. They have made clear that they want to overturn Roe vs. Wade and restrict reproductive rights and freedoms. Judge Barrett has a long record of opposing abortion and reproductive rights. There is no other issue that’s so disrespects and dishonors the work of Justice Ginsburg’s life, then undoing the seminal decision in the courts history that made it clear, a woman has a right to make decisions about her own body.” 

Harris said Trump’s desire to overturn ACA is out of rage towards former President Barack Obama.  

The California senator urged viewers to vote like their life and right to vote depends on it, because she said it does. And she again called Trump weak and accused him of trying to suppress votes. 

“We will not let the infection that President Trump has injected into the presidency and into Congress, that has paralyzed our politics and pitted Americans against each other, spread to the United States Supreme Court,” she said.

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